I’m going to start this review with a confession, though it’s a confession that will likely not come as a surprise to many.
I love me some neon G.I. Joe. I always have. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the figures because of the neon, I enjoy them in spite of their garish colors, and in most cases actually would prefer it if the kickass 90s molds would use slightly tamer, more realistic color schemes. That being said, I will never look down on a figure because of its brightness, and the Battle Corps COBRA Viper is a perfect example of that.
Yes the figure is purple and orange, and yes he would be a huge target on the battlefield, but from a pure sculpt perspective the figure is incredible. The awesome narrow, sloped helmet with embedded visor, along with the built-in rebreather is an amazing design aesthetic, looking somewhat insect-like but also like something that could completely exist in the real world. I think that’s what I’ve always loved so much about A Real American Hero, the fact that they take this outlandish concepts and manage to build figures around them that make them seem realistic.
As one might imagine, after modern era format figures have been around going on seven years, we’re starting to run out of credible updates…so the Collectors Club is having to dig deep into the vaults, and with the COBRA Viper I think they made a great choice. The choice makes sense as well, considering the Iron Anvil that was released for the 2015 G.I. Joe Convention. Once that figure was revealed, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the character’s predecessor from the vintage days would appear somewhere along the line as well.
Interestingly, rather than duplicate the spectacular build for the Iron Anvil, the Collectors Club went their own way, and I think the results are mixed. I’ll never be one to admonish trying to develop new concepts rather than just repaint what’s already been done, however the Iron Anvil figure build, frankly, was superior to this one in every way. The sculpt and tooling for the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Snake Eyes works a lot better in my mind, and allows the figure some better range of motion and an appearance of being more streamlined.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against the Jungle Viper torso and legs we see here, the look is just thicker and more bulky, and overall I prefer the nimble appearance of the previous iteration. Also, the use of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation COBRA Trooper arms means the wrists don’t get the extra articulation, which is a shame as well.
Looking at the color scheme, they did a decent job matching up the vintage ’94 COBRA Viper, while muting the tones somewhat. You can immediately tell where the inspiration came from, but they manage to dial down the neon to a degree, which is a good combination.
The G.I. Joe Collectors Club chose some neat weapons for the COBRA Viper as well. I’m a huge fan of the assault rifle that he comes with, I’ve loved it ever since it was released with G.I. Joe: Resolute Destro and I’m happy to say the COBRA Viper hands fit it really well. He’s also got a purple knife inspired by the crazy blade that the original Viper came with, though since this knife is one that generally plugs into a hole on a figure, it has a huge rounded peg on it. Without having some place to plug it in on the Viper, that seems a bit odd, but it’s not terrible. Lastly, he has a pistol that fits neatly into the holster on his ankle. He doesn’t come with a lot of weapons, but what he comes with makes sense and look pretty neat alongside the figure itself.
I’m a huge fan of this version of the COBRA Viper and I have been for a long time. I was really looking forward to seeing what the Collectors Club did with it. Unfortunately I ended up slightly disappointed in the build, though the overall color scheme and accessory compliment (almost) make up for that. It’s a fun figure and a nice addition to the modern era collection. Now someone get me a Crimson Guard Commander dammit.
FSS 5.0 COBRA Viper
I will happily take more Battle Corps figures and the COBRA Viper would have been near the top of my list. Love the colors, love the accessories, though honestly I prefer the build from the Iron Anvil from a few years back. That being said, I’m glad to see the Figure Subscription Service starting to dip its toes more deeply into the 1990s waters.