After coming up with the Cobra Viper design back in the 80s, it’s easy to imagine the Hasbro team dropping the mic knowing it would be tough coming up with a better army builder. Fast forward to 2021 – yes please after the crap show that was 2020 — and I envision the current Hasbro team feeling much the same way with their Classified Series update of the Viper.
Sure, I can’t wait to see the updates of the specialist troops like the Eels, Crimson Guards and Snow Serpents, but as far as regular army builders between the classic Cobra Troopers and the Cobra Vipers, it’s going to be hard to top these guys.
In fact the only issue they could possibly have is people not being able to get as many of these army builders as they’d like. But that’s crazy talk. There’s no way Hasbro would throw away a print money license figure away by making it a store exclusive or anything. Right? Oh…
It seems like much like my childhood, Hasbro is intent on making my Cobra armies one version of each grunt troop. Let’s see how the Cobra Viper turned out.
Package: In keeping with the other Cobra Island figures, there’s no big difference on the packaging save the Cobra Island tag. At this rate, the artwork showing four Vipers seems like a tease as there seems little chance to get that many for the foreseeable future.
The Vipers aren’t specialists and are basically a step above the Cobra troopers. They rank at two-stars in foot soldiers and light weapons and one star in hand to hand combat and night fighting. This is why Cobra Commander hires so many mercenaries to actually get the job done.
Their bio, which you can read on gijoe.hasbro.com states:
Highly trained and heavily armed, Cobra Vipers are elite Cobra soldiers. These battle-hardened recruits are selected from the best Cobra troopers and become Vipers only after months of intense training.
That essentially means they hit the Joe stand-up targets a few more times than the regular Cobra Troopers.
Likeness: I can mock their skills, but I can’t fault their design. It seems like with each wave, Hasbro’s sculptors are leaning more towards updating the classic Real American Hero looks instead of wholesale redesigns. That’s probably the smart approach as us 80s-nostalgia tinged collectors do not do well with change. And with these results it’s hard to argue that direction should change with the 2021 Classified Series releases.
One area the Hasbro team has focused on with the Classified Series is enhancing the details of the RAH designs. All of the major design elements are intact like the red grenades on the left chest area, the thick black flak vest, the ridged kneepads and the silver faceplate in homage of their Commander is intact. The Viper even has his collar up like the RAH version and the ridged inner portion of his pants.
I do kinda miss the rolled-up sleeves visuals, which showed off the red gauntlets better. And I wish the faceplate section were a bit wider and not so enclosed. These are minor aesthetic gripes and hardly deal breakers. This does make the Vipers better suited for less than ideal climates. I’m pretty sure there’s zero reuse with the Cobra Viper.
It’ll be interesting to see what parts get reused for other characters. Maybe Leatherneck could reuse the torso piece though he’ll need a different belt since the Cobra logo is actually sculpted on. The texturing on this guy is incredible and there’s so much detail throughout.
These figures can be a nightmare to track down, but much of that annoyance goes away when you can actually get your hands on them and see all the details. Hasbro might not be cranking these out as fast as we’d like or have an abundance available at retail yet, but they constantly deliver on the figures at an impressive level.
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Paint: Hasbro changed up a few details on the paint scheme making the gauntlets black instead of red. If they follow the pattern of the Cobra troopers’ wide release following the Cobra Island versions, I can definitely see this as an easy repaint switch.
There’s some red added to the helmet for a greater degree of difficulty and impressively the line work is exceptionally crisp with no overspray, something I’d expect at this scale.
Scale: The Vipers don’t need to be giants, but them being tall football player size actually makes them look more intimidating.
Articulation: Like the Cobra Trooper, the Viper features outstanding articulation allowing him to move with surprising ease considering his bulk. The Vipers look so good in posing and can strike a number of aiming poses. They almost look too cool for basic Cobra cannon fodder.
Cobra Viper has:
- shoulders (butterfly)
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- hips (ball-jointed)
- drop down hips
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: I mentioned earlier how Hasbro made more elements of the outfit three-dimensional so the goggles that were sculpted onto the helmet with the RAH version are now removable.
He’s got a scarf that covers his neck on those cold nights staking out Joes.
As far as weapons, he’s got a blaster with a grip and long stock that channels the RAH gun. I wouldn’t be surprised if the (hopefully) eventual repaint features a silver gun. He also has a smaller pistol that fits in his holster.
Viper’s backpack has some nice detailing with a rope, a sculpted Cobra logo and additional grenades. The paint on the snake is lined up incorrectly, but that kind of mistake seems like something Cobra would actually do.
Worth It? Cobra Viper is $20. Some scalpers are trying to pay off their debts with auctions going for five times that price already. Don’t pay them so hopefully they’ll go away and get back to stalking Hot Wheels and LEGOs.
Rating: 10 out of 10
This is another excellent army builder and the only downside is the availability for collectors looking to completely stack the odds against the Joes.
Where to Get It? As all Cobra Island figures, Cobra Viper is exclusive to Target. He’s currently not available on the website, but there’s always a chance he’ll show up again soon.