Pursuit of Cobra Rock-Viper

I've gone on record many times saying that the 1990 release for G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was drastically underrated. Featuring mostly new characters with some great military paint schemes and a ton of awesome accessories, it was pretty much the epitome of what makes G.I. Joe great. No shoe-horned Snake Eyes or Cobra Commanders, no neon, and a ton of newly tooled weapons and gear.

One of my favorite figures from that era was the Rock Viper. Certainly it was tough to figure out why he's got a moustache (does every Rock Viper have a moustache?) but the figure's design is just awesome.

On the G.I. Joe side, many of the characters used environments or themes that had been used by previous characters, while Cobra really went in different directions and focused mostly on specialties that we hadn't seen before. The Rock Viper was the centerpiece of this, in my opinion, as a Cobra mountain specialist. I was always a bit curious as to why the Rock Viper was kind of in a desert paint scheme, but it was still subdued enough...and best of all was the overall design. Large and muscular, with a place for every weapon.

Wait a minute...is this a review for the 1990 version or for the 2011 version? I digress...

This new version of the Rock Viper takes elements from the classic version, but changes some key things to make this more of a tribute than a direct homage. First and foremost, he uses a traditional skimask and helmet rather than the distinctive helmet of the old school version. He's got the Jungle-Viper torso, which gives him those huge pouches instead of the basic chestpad. Where the original Rock Viper had more rectangular camouflage, this version is more traditional...he's also got the Jungle Snake Eyes arms and lower legs, which is a pretty distinctive difference between the '90 version, yet retains a cool Cobra aesthetic. I do see what the Hasbro designers were going for, trying to emulate those ridged pads, but the end result isn't really accurate.

One thing that I really like is by using the Jungle Viper parts, this Rock Viper bears some resemblance to that trooper and looks like he could have come from similar ranks.

I do think the parts combination is interesting...combining the Jungle Viper with the Jungle Snake Eyes and Low Light, and the figure works well as one cohesive figure, even with all those separate components. The one question mark to me is the holster on the left thigh which works to hold Low Light's scope, but Rock Viper doesn't come with anything to go there.

I'm also glad Hasbro was able to get the multi-jointed wrists in here, though they do look a little "bulgy" on the bare forearm. The arm guards hide that somewhat, but still looks a bit funky.

This Rock Viper comes with some lower scale weapons than the previous version, sporting a small form factor sniper rifle rather than the oversized monstrosity that the original came with. He's also got a cool subdued MP5 and the crazy grappling hook backpack. This makes a lot of sense, and is a useful accessory for a mountain climber, it's just so huge that it makes it tough to use this figure with that thing slapped on his back. He's got a pretty standard helmet, pick axe, pistol, and knife, as well as a spear. And honestly I have no real idea where that spear is supposed to fit in, but it's there.

All in all, this figure is not a traditional re-issue of the classic Rock Viper, but he's got all of the great elements of the 1990 classic, and is a very neat Pursuit of Cobra upgrade. He's got a great assortment of weaponry, and for a figure that just borrows parts from other figures, he makes for a cool trooper and a nice addition to the Cobra ranks. I like him.


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Add the Slipstream head and you have a little more tribute...