#1821: Cobra Viper

COBRA VIPER

G.I. JOE: SPY TROOPS (HASBRO)

“Ripping up the roads on their COBRA VENOM CYCLE vehicles, COBRA VIPER members like to think of themselves as a biker gang with the most technologically advanced hogs on the planet”

Here we are at the finish line.  Just one more entry in my insane 6-in-1 Day of the Vipers reviews!  Oh yeah, I did it!

In 2003, the G.I. Joe line once again rebranded, taking on the heading “Spy Troops.”  Joes and Cobras were given infiltration gear and disguises, and it was all very spy-y.  Well, it was mostly spy-y.  Some of it was not at all spy-y at all.  The the Viper’s one release during the line’s run fell into that non-spy area.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra Viper was released as a pack-in figure with the Cobra Venom Cycle, a small-scale vehicle from the Spy Troops line.  The cycle was undoubtedly the selling point, but I don’t have it, I just have the Viper.  For I am a mad man.  He’s the same basic figure I’ve looked at three previous times today, the tweaked V5 Viper mold that Hasbro would continue to use for another three years after this.  Hey, they had a good formula down, right?  The big difference, of course, was the paint scheme.  He’s got this olive sort of thing going on, which is right in line with the overall look of most of the Spy Troops figures.  At first glance, he looks a little bit like the Turquoise Viper from ’02, but if he’d been left out in the sun.  That being said, I do actually quite like this color scheme, and have generally found myself kind of drawn to this figure.  Since he was just a pack-in with a vehicle, the Viper didn’t come with any accessories of his own.  Maybe he’s like the pacifist of the group, or something?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the last figure I dug out of the collection at All Time.  I had just about called it on getting any more Vipers, and I looked down and saw this guy staring at me.  With no accessories of his own, he was an easier grab than some of the others, and I’ll admit, I was just thoroughly broken at that point.  There’s not really anything to distinguish him from the rest, but he’s a Viper, and a kinda neat one at that.  He rounds out the set nicely.

So, there you have it: nine new Vipers, courtesy of my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for old Joes (provided that you don’t want Vipers, because seriously, I’ve cleaned them out) or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

Advertisements

#1820: Cobra Vipers

COBRA VIPERS

G.I. JOE VS COBRA (HASBRO)

“COBRA VIPERS are the grunts of the COBRA legions.  If there’s a dirty job that needs doing, these guys are first in line.  They wear multi-layered body armor and wrap-around helmets with built-in radio telecommunications gear, and carry multi-burst laser pistols, commando rifles and grenade launchers.  They know that they’re looked down upon by the more elite COBRA groups, but that just makes them fight harder so they can prove to everyone that plain rottenness gets the job done as well as fancy training.  They’re ready at a moment’s notice to cause harm and do damage anywhere that COBRA COMMANDER sends them.”

For part 5 of The Day the Vipers, we move to 2002.  An important year for G.I. Joe, as it returned fully to mass retail, relaunched under the G.I. Joe vs Cobra banner.  The first assortment of vs Cobra figures sported all-new sculpts, of a radically different styling than the vintage line.  However, when the initial line-up proved successful, Hasbro wanted to follow-up as soon as they could, and re-purposed a number of vintage-styled sculpts for a quickly thrown together second assortment.  Included amongst those figures, was the Cobra Viper, who had been absent since 1997.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The three Vipers here were available in two different ways.  Turquoise was available at mass retail, with Indigo as his color variant, both of them packaged with Mirage.  The Crimson Viper, on the other hand, was packed with 11 identical Vipers, a Tomax, a Xamot, and a Baroness, as part of the 2002 Joe Con-exclusive Crimson Strike Team boxed set.  All three figures were built on the V5 Viper mold, but now used a slightly higher quality of plastic than V5 and the Officer/Trooper did, resulting in figures that not showcase the sculpted details better, but also stand up a little better to play.  All three are sporting wholly unique paint schemes.  Turquoise and Indigo are the more similar two, mostly just palette-swapping from each other.  Turquoise’s overall lighter coloring means the handful of details that have gone unpainted are a little more obvious than they are on the much darker Indigo.  Both of them leave the hands unpainted, which don’t hate, but I do which they’d have at leas painted the edge of the glove to make it look like a strap, rather than some weird skin tag, but that’s quite minor.  I dig Indigo’s blue visor, as well as the swirly, molded camo on the fatigues portions of their uniforms. Crimson rivals only the V1 Viper in terms of quantity of painted details.  Just about every sculpted element is properly painted, and very sharply handled at that.  He’s definitely a very good looking figure.  In terms of accessories, Indigo and Turquoise are each packed with a sniper rifle and a back pack, both different from the originals.  Crimson gets the same backpack as prior Vipers, but yet another rifle, which is probably one of the best when it comes to his ability to actually hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding the original Viper in the collection that All Time Toys bought, it was actually the 2002 bunch that really grabbed my interest.  2002 was the year that got me into the small-scale Joes, and though I never actually owned these figures, I’ve still got a soft spot for them.  In particular, I’ve wanted at least one of the Crimson ones for quite some time.  All three figures here are a lot of fun, and while the original Viper might be objectively the best Viper I got, these three are my favorites.

Thanks goes to All Time for helping me out with these.  If you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1819: Cobra Officer & Cobra Trooper

COBRA OFFICER & COBRA TROOPER

G.I. JOE: THE REAL AMERICAN HERO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“The COBRA Officers are “officers” in name only.  The only real rank they have is over their own little squad of Cobra Troopers.  They are among the meager handful from the teeming ranks of COBRA Troopers that, for some reason, whether it’s previous experience, personal ambition or dumb luck, manage to show some level of initiative, organization or leadership skills.  Ultimately, somebody has the keep the ranks together and moving with a purpose, so that even these bottom-of-the-barrel COBRA forces can achieve their given objective, because nobody else wants the job.

The COBRA Troopers are the most basic, bottom-of-the-barrel soldiers in the COBRA regime. They have to work their way up to even become Vipers. They come from all over the world. They are thugs, mercenaries, pirates and assorted lowlifes that have committed so many atrocities that they only organization that will have them is COBRA. They are given the most basic level of training, which amounts to little more than organizing a handful into a reasonably cohesive group, giving them the most basic of uniforms, handing them equipment, and telling them to go out and cause trouble. The COBRA Trooper divisions were the first of COBRA’s notable forces. They’re not specialists. They’re not qualified for anything than the most low level of infantry. They only advantages they have are pure nastiness and sheer numbers.”

For part four of the Day of the Vipers (!), I’m not actually looking at Vipers at all.  Weird, huh?  Yeah, there were *technically* no Vipers released in 1998, but I’m focussing pretty heavily on that “technically.”

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Cobra Officer and two of the Cobra Troopers were released as one of the three triple-packs of figures from the second year of The Real American Hero Collection.  That’s a lot of numbers going on there, isn’t it?  Don’t worry about it too much. The key thing about these two figures is, that despite the name they may be sporting, their both effectively Viper figures, using the Viper/B.A.T. hybrid body introduced with the V5 Viper.  Presumably, the original Officer and Trooper molds were lost, and, as with so many other figures in the 97-98 lineup, they had to improvise a bit, grabbing the just recently frankensteined Viper from the preceding year.  So, they’ve still got those square butts.  Poor guys. 

Paint is what differentiates them.  The Officer is grey, which was a change for that rank, but makes him easily distinguishable.  The Trooper goes for a more familiar dark blue.  The Officer has larger sections of silver, with gold accents, while the Trooper gets the reverse.  Curiously, neither of them actually gets a Cobra sigil.  Maybe they’re trying to be more covert?  Both figures included the same accessory selection.  A pistol, a rifle, a stock, and a backpack.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys are absolutely on the “Ethan was already buying a bunch of Vipers” train.  I wasn’t planning to get them, given their comparatively bland appearance, but I was already getting 7 others, so what difference did these two make?  I was actually a bit baffled by them at first, since I wasn’t able to find any reference to Vipers in this style, but eventually realized they weren’t Vipers at all.  So I didn’t have to buy them.  Great.  Nah, I’d probably have bought them anyway.  I actually ended up liking both of these more than I’d expected to.  That said, in my mind, I’m always going to consider them Vipers.

Once again, All Time Toys helped me out with these.  If you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1818: Viper

VIPER

G.I. JOE: THE REAL AMERICAN HERO COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Vipers are the backbone of the COBRA Legions. They are the bottom of the pyramid, which leads to the hierarchy of material wealth and power within the organization. When COBRA received word that G.I. Joe operations had been shut down by U.S. Government, he promptly began recruiting more soldiers. Within weeks, the most cruel, greedy, back-stabbing lot – joined the ranks; tripling the original size of their ground forces. All Vipers are issued a combination assault rifle/grenade launcher, along with a three day field pack. Multi-layered body armor and wrap-around acrylic/composite helmets with built-in radio telecommunications gear are standard issue. This equipment and a bad attitude makes them very dangerous opponents. Vipers are highly motivated, and superbly trained. However, to make them follow orders, the punishment for failure is to be left on the battlefield when the B.A.T.S. (Battle Android Troopers) are deployed. This is due to the fact, these Androids are programmed to shoot and incinerate anything that moves in front of them. That is the last thing any Viper would want, better to take his chances with the real enemy. Vehicle Specialty: COBRA Flight Pod a.k.a. “Trouble Bubbles.””

Man, Hasbro really likes that thing about the Vipers being the backbone of the organization, don’t they?  It’s the Day of the Vipers part 3!  The Vipers, having been a regular feature of the line, made a reappearance every couple of years.  After 1989’s Python Patrol offering, the Viper’s tried out that bright colors thing in 1990, and then got their second new mold in 1994.  The less said about the latter, the better.  Fortunately, it was more or less a return to form for Version 5 of the Viper, which I’ll be looking at now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Version 5 Viper was released in 1997, the 15th Anniversary of the A Real American Hero incarnation.  After a three year absence from stores, G.I. Joe returned, albeit in a slightly different form, all under the heading of The Real American Hero Collection.  The Viper found his way into one of the three Mission Packs, where he was released alongside one of the Flight Pods, or “Trouble Bubbles”, mentioned in the bio.  This figure marked an important change for the Vipers.  He uses the same upper body as the original figure, but for the first of many releases, the Viper is actually sporting the legs of the B.A.T., rather than the proper Viper gear.  In the years since the original mold Viper had been seen, it seems the mold for his legs had been lost, necessitating a replacement.  The B.A.T. legs work in a pinch, I suppose, though it does mean this guy ends up with a really squared-off backside.  He also got a brand new paint scheme, almost an inversion of his original.  It’s predominately a brownish red, with a blue vest.  It’s ugly is what it is.  Perhaps its due to my figure not being in quite as good shape as the other Vipers, but he just feels kind of washed out, ratty, and generally not as cool.  He reminds me of a supermarket on a Sunday morning.  He’s all florescently-lit, and pale, and full of that oddly dark and murky sort of despair…sorry, I went a very specific place there, didn’t I?  The V5 Viper mixes up things slightly on the accessory front.  He gets the same backpack as before, but a new, slightly less distinctive, sub-machine gun as his firearm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The V5 Viper was not on the list of ones I was really looking for.  Truth be told, I didn’t actually know he existed.  But I found him while digging through all those Joes that All Time just got in, and at that point I was just too far into the Viper’s Den to say no.  He really lacks the flair of the last two, and I’d have preferred to find the V3 release, but another Viper’s another Viper, right?

Again, thanks goes to All Time Toys for helping me get this guy, and if you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1817: Python Viper

PYTHON VIPER

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“The PYTHON VIPER is the backbone of the Python Patrol. He is highly motivated, superbly trained, and formidably equipped. Due to the Pythonizing Process, this particular viper is equipped with stealth-like capabilities, whereby he can penetrate enemy areas undetected! His combination rifle/grenade launcher has been retro-fitted with a passive, infrared seeker and the barrel rifling has been changed to accept hyper-velocity discarding ammunition.”

What’s this?  Didn’t I publish a review earlier today?  Why yes, hypothetical reader, I did.  Here’s the scoop: back in my first year on the job—er, running the site, I was more lax with the “I personally must write a review every day” thing, which has been throwing off my review numbering by five days ever since.  With my fifth anniversary upcoming, I wanted to correct things.  And, as luck would have it, I just procured a bunch of rather similar figures, who don’t quite warrant a whole day to themselves.  So, I’m going to be running five bonus reviews today.  It is officially the Day of the Vipers!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Python Viper was the second iteration of the Cobra Viper, released in 1989.  He was part of the Python Patrol subset, one of six repainted Cobra troopers designed to be even more elite than the previously more elite Viper.  He’s the elite-est!  The Python Viper is the same exact mold as the standard Viper release, which, as you’ll recall from just a few hours ago, I really liked, like a whole lot.  So much.  Anyway, the paint work is the main differentiating thing.  The Python Patrol were all in grey, yellow, and red.  It’s not quite as nuanced as the standard Viper coloring, but I think the Viper definitely looked better in these colors than some of his compatriots.  That being said, I was a little saddened to see some of the nice painted details from the last figure missing, leaving a number of sculpted elements (like the straps on his wrist guards) completely unpainted.  The Python Viper gets the same assortment of extras as his standard equivalent, though his rifle is now in black rather than light grey.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After digging out the basic Viper from All Time Toys’ recently acquired collection of Joes, I kept digging through just to see what else I could find, and ended up coming across this guy.  I was only thinking I’d grab one or two of them at that point, so he got added to the pile.  He’s not quite as good as the standard Viper was, but I have to admit, I like this variant more than I’d expected to.

Special thanks to All Time for helping me get this guy, and if you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1816: Vipers

VIPERS

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Vipers are the backbone of the Cobra Legions. They are highly motivated, superbly trained and formidably equipped. All Vipers are issued a combination assault rifle/grenade launcher; the rifle part of which can function as a short burst assault weapon, a sustained fire cover support weapon, or a long range sniper rifle with an advanced light-intensification night vision telescopic sight with a built-in range-finder. Multi-layer body armor and wraparound acrylic/composite helmets with built-in RTO gear are standard issue.”

When G.I. Joe first moved to the smaller scale, Hasbro’s biggest concern was keeping down the line’s budget.  They came up with a handful of unique (well, unique enough…) heroes, but they needed some villains for those heroes, and they needed them to be cost effective.  Preferably, they needed to sell multiples of the same figure to the same consumer.  Enter Cobra (The Enemy) and Cobra Officer, G.I. Joe’s original faceless goons.  They carried the line for four years without much trouble, but then came the need for a more elite fighting force, an even more faceless selection of faceless goons.  Enter the Vipers, my favorite Cobra trooper of all time.  Yeah, they’re just that cool.*

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Viper (or Vipers, as the figure is specifically referred to on the packaging) was introduced into the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero line in 1986.  That was a good year for the line, at least by my count.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The Viper was an all-new sculpt at its time of release (though most of the parts have seen some liberal re-use for other variants of the Viper as the line progressed).  It’s quite a good one.  There’s some some solid detailing going on within the various sections of the uniform.  You can clearly see all the pieces that add-up to the whole Viper look, and how they all attach.  The padded arm guards have two separate straps keeping them in place, the wrist length gloves jut out a bit to show a slightly looser fit at the ends, the belt and all of its pouches are individually detailed, the pockets on his pants have stitching on the edges, and, heck, you can even make out the pull tag on his vest’s zipper.  Real attention to detain here.  You can even see the loops on the helmet that are holding his goggles in place (a detail that Hasbro would miss on their 25th Anniversary version, who had infamously hard to place goggles), so that the Viper doesn’t lose them mid-mission.  And, while this sculpt has a lot of the stylistic hallmarks of the rest of the line from that era, his fully helmeted appearance means he doesn’t look quite as dated as some of his compatriots.  Perhaps the only drawback is that he’s still got those standard vintage Joe hands, meaning he’s not really optimized for holding and sorts of firearms.  Odd for a line of figures that are all designed to be shooting guns, but it’s not like the Viper’s alone in this.  The paintwork on the Viper is solid for a vintage offering.  He’s got some eye-catching elements, but doesn’t quite descend into the neon madness of later troopers. The dark blue calls back to the standard troopers, and the silver faceplate to the original Cobra Commander.  The application fo the paint is mostly pretty clean; there’s some slight slop here and there, but nothing too major.  The Viper was packed with a light grey rifle and a backpack.  The rifle does have some trouble staying in his hands, but its workable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as noted above, the Vipers are a favorite of mine.  That said, in a rather interesting turn, I didn’t have a single one of them as a kid.  My first Viper was the 25th Anniversary one.  I’ve always loved the design, though, and in the last couple of years, I’ve been working my way into a vintage Joe collection.  My friends over at All Time Toys just got in a rather sizable Joe collection, and I was able to fish out a complete vintage Viper, amongst other things.  He’s an awesome figure, full stop.  I  really, really love him, and I’m happy I got one…but I may have found a new obsession.  More on that later.

While I can’t promise that anyone else will be getting their hands on any of these awesome Vipers (because they’re mine, all mine, I tell you!), as I noted above, All Time Toys just got in a rather sizable vintage G.I. Joe collection.  So, if you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

*Okay, so there’s also the B.A.T.s; they give the Vipers a good run for their money, largely due to that whole cool robots thing they’ve got going.