PYTHON PATROL VIPER
G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)
Alright, for the ninth entry in this truly maddening concept that is the “Day of the Vipers”….hang on, wait, that was, like, five years ago, wasn’t it? Well, maybe the Day of the Vipers just keeps going and going and going…you know, not unlike the Energizer Bunny. Or an exceptionally bad joke that I refuse to let die. It’s definitely one of those things. The point here is that I’ve got another Viper to review. So, I’m gonna do that. Has to be done. In 1989, Hasbro repainted a bunch of their Cobra troops in a rather garish new color scheme and dubbed the whole group “The Python Patrol”, who were like the regular troops but “pythonized.” I’m not even kidding. “Pythonizing” is used on the file cards and everything. Though they’re a pretty easy justification for a repaint in more modern lines, they only really surface every so often, probably due to how garish the aforementioned color scheme is. Classified has decided to tap into the Python Patrol for their latest round of Target-exclusives, and, surprising no one, I have the Viper.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Python Patrol Cobra Viper is figure 42 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up. As mentioned in the intro, all of the Python Patrol stuff is Target-exclusive. The Viper is the second of them, after the B.A.T., although they both hit pretty much in tandem, alongside the Tiger Force Outback figure. The figure stands roughly 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. Like the three-pack from last year, this guy is built from the same selection of parts as the initial Cobra Island Viper. It’s a pretty solid selection of parts, and it keeps all the Vipers consistent across the board. It also makes perfect sense for the Python Patrol figure to be a straight repaint, because all of the other Python Patrol Vipers have been, too. The main change-up here is the paint, which makes the expected shift to grey, yellow, black, and red. The layout of the colors works out pretty well with the newer mold; some of the details wind up shuffled around a bit, but the overall look reads very similar to the original. The actual application isn’t quite as strong as previous Vipers, unfortunately. On mine, there’s quite a bit of slop, especially on the yellows. It’s not the worst I’ve seen from Hasbro, but it’s on the lower end for more recent figures. This figure’s accessory selection is largely the same as the standard Viper, but there are some changes, and none of them are particularly good. He’s got the goggles, the rifle with the removable magazine, the pistol, the arm guards, and the back pack. So, on a positive note, the arms guards here are the easiest to remove of all of the uses of this mold so far, which is a definite plus. Unfortunately, the goggles are the worst fit thus far, and they simply do not want to stay on unless you really jam them on, far past where it really feels safe. I definitely worry about them breaking over time. Also, while all other uses of the mold have included the bandana, this is the first one to leave it out. Given that he’s a total repaint, and retailing above the cost of the original, it feels almost insulting to leave the piece out, especially when even the three-pack made sure that all three Vipers got it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I had mixed feelings about this guy from the start. On one hand, I wasn’t thrilled about this one being another Target exclusive, but on the other, I feel like he’s kind of the perfect choice, since it’s not like Python Patrol is anyone’s primary look. Certainly not mine. That said, I do sure like my Vipers, in all the various colors, so I put in my pre-order when they dropped, and played the waiting game. I was half expecting the order to get cancelled, but it just showed up at my door one day. Of the five Vipers we’ve gotten in the line, he’s the weakest. He’s not bad, mind you, but his execution definitely feels a bit lacking. Still, it’s another Viper, and I won’t complain about that.