G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Cobra Viper

I’ve been waiting a looong time for a new Viper figure to be released.  Ever since my geographical location caused me to miss out on picking up a lot of the infamous 1998 Cobra Infantry Team, I have been dying for a new Viper figure that I could stock up on.  Even though this figure is only available in a 2 pack rather than a 3 pack of the same figure, I envisioned myself finally being able to build the Viper army I had only dreamed of.

Alas, I don’t think it is to be.  After a few years of waiting, Hasbro has indeed released a new version of the venerable Cobra Viper, but it’s final incarnation leaves me somewhat lacking…it is not the “blow me away” version that I anticipated, or that I really wanted. Is it a bad figure?  Nah, not at all…just not worth $8 a figure to stock up on 10 or 12 of them.  It seems Hasbro has finally gotten ready to release a Jungle-based Viper trooper, and I think it’s about time, but the figure just doesn’t knock me over.  Don’t get me wrong, the mold is as cool as always.  While I would have always preferred that these new Viper version would come with the original Viper legs, the B.A.T. legs don’t really bother me too much.  So as always, the mold is quite nice.  The trademark faceplate (and useless goggles ;) ), flak vest and gloves are all here and he is a new Cobra Viper…but it just leaves me somewhat flat.

The camo scheme is quite cool, using the same very sweet plastic marble technique that they used to success with Big Ben.  The deep, dark gray of his vest and wrist pads are also cool, and the figure is SO close to being a wonderful one!  But a few flaws really take away from it and really keep me from buying 20 of these babies.Problem number one: the bare hands.  A minor complaint, I’m sure, but I just don’t know why they couldn’t finish painting the dark gray around the hands themselves.  Hasbro just hasn’t seemed to catch onto the fact over the past few years that if a figure as glove outlines on his hands, then the gloves should be painted on.  Perhaps their demographic showed them that bare handed figures sell better, I don’t know, but ever since 2000, flesh hands have been where gloves could have easily (and should have easily) been painted.  The guys are international terrorists…are they going to leave their fingerprints everywhere they go?  I rationalized it with figures like Firefly and Dial Tone, but with the Viper it just doesn’t look right. 

But perhaps the major problem is his darn boots!  It really looks like Hasbro made it to his knees and simply forgot to paint!  Which isn’t the case, because the gray on the knees is painted right over the cool marble plastic pattern underneath.  I’m not sure if it’s the shade or if it’s the way the cloth is painted, but it just looks like an unfinished prototype, which is too bad, because it might cost Hasbro some cash.  I would have bought twice as many of these Viper figures with only these minor changes, and I have a feeling many other Joe fans feel the same way.  If they had only not painted the knees and had painted the boots in a shade matching the vest and helmet, this figure would have been GREAT!  As it is, it is a nice Viper figure and a moderate army builder, but not much more than that.And the accessories don’t help.  While it’s nice that they didn’t just toss in the same old weapons they did with the ’98 Infantry Team, I’m really not sure why the put Baroness’ rifle in there.  The Vipers cannot hold it that well, and it really doesn’t match them that well either.  In my opinion, they should have just put the cool AK-47 that came with Sure Fire in there and given them Alley-Viper’s backpack.  I would have been happier with that, but I do have an order from Raven hopefully on the way, so at the moment this is a small consideration.

I suppose it sounds like I hate this figure, but I really don’t.  It is a nice enough figure, I just feel a little let down by the end result when I had my hopes pretty built on a nice new Cobra Viper figure to build an army with…well at least my Crimson Strike Team(s) should be coming soon… :)