G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY (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.”
Back in 2016, more than two years before “The Day of the Vipers,” a day which will forever haunt me, I wrote my first Viper review, which is thus far the only one of my Cobra Viper reviews not to be shoe-horned into the ever-growing day. Since today’s offering is more a take-off of that review than of the ones that followed, I guess I’ll dispense with the “Day of the Vipers” pleasantries. For today’s Viper, we go back to 2009. Hasbro’s 25th Anniversary line was winding down in preparation for the tie-ins for Rise of Cobra, and Hasbro was going back and doing some slight tweaks to earlier figures from the line. The online-exclusive “Hall of Heroes” sub-line was used to put out ten figures, all either tweaked or re-releases of tweaked figures that had thus far been multi-pack exclusives. And, hey, the line had a Viper!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Cobra Viper was figure 6 of 10 in the “Hall of Heroes” sub-line of G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary. This marked the 22nd version of the Viper, the seventh under the 25th Anniversary banner. He’s just a minor tweak on the version 20 figure, which was released as part of a Cobra five-pack earlier the same year. The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation. Most of this figure’s sculpt is shared with the first 25th release, which is overall a decent starting point. The only real drawbacks to the sculpt are the head and hands, which are, notably, the parts that are changed out for this release. The new head takes a page out of the line’s updated Cobra Commander, who added a proper chromed faceplate. In order facilitate this set-up, the faceplate is a separate head piece, with the helmet/goggles sitting atop it. It makes the head just a touch larger (and thus slightly better proportioned to the body), as well as making the goggles a fixed part of the helmet sculpt. They sit just a little wide for my taste, and the underlying head seems just a little too pointy at the chin. In general, I was always a little bit more fond of the prior head in terms of appearance, but in terms of function, this one was certainly an improvement. Speaking of improvements, the hands are an unquestioned one; the prior mold had some really awful hand sculpts that made it difficult for him to hold his weapon. The new ones fix that, giving him a much more secure hold on things. In terms of paint, the Viper gets the expected change to the face, which is now vac metallized, instead of flat silver, as well as some additional silver on the goggles, and an additional red insignia on the left arm. Beyond that, the colors are a little bit shifted from the first release, but the application is mostly pretty consistent. The Viper is packed with his signature rifle (molded in a darker silver than the first release), his back pack, and a display stand molded in a fancy gold.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I skipped this style of Viper at first because I was already invested in the previous look and I didn’t want to inter mingle the two styles. It was only later that I decided to go more for the one of every style approach for Vipers. Not too long after I got most of the other Vipers, a small 25th Anniversary collection came through All Time, which happened to have this guy in it. I was all gung-ho on Vipers, and he was one I didn’t have, so into my collection he went. The adjusted hands are definitely an improvement, as is the paint. The head, I remain iffy on, but I like it more now than I did when they first dropped. And, hey, it’s another Viper!