By the time the Alley Vipers arrived back in the Real American Hero days, I’d gathered a pretty decent Cobra army. The Alley Vipers were so cool however that I really went all out and built an army. Of course, as a kid that meant a pair of Alley Vipers. Now that means I can do nuts and build a sizable army.
And with quality as good as these Classified Series Alley Vipers, that could mean a pretty impressive, Joe-overwhelming army. When Hasbro revealed these guys and the BATs, it felt like the Classified Series hit another level that’s going to be hard to top in 2022.
Let’s kick the door down and see if they’re worth my excitement.
Package: The Alley Viper package art looks great showing their strength in numbers mob mentality.
I dig the extra touch of having Cobra Commander at the bottom as if he’s motivating them to charge into battle. It’s interesting how old the rear package is as it suggests the Alley Vipers have just been delayed in release. There’s no Flint, Lady Jaye or Major Bludd on the back.
Alley Vipers are Cobra’s thug army and don’t need to be highly skilled or efficient in anything. It’s all about overwhelming smaller forces. They rank at two in foot soldier and shield while climbing to three for vanguard and urban combat.
Their bio, which you can read on gijoe.hasbro.com states:
Alley Vipers are the hard-hitting urban shock troops of the Cobra army, deployed to suppress opposition, spread fear and secure Cobra control with unchained brutality.
That’s a nice bio although I still wish Hasbro would just include these with the figures.
Likeness: As much as I’m down for cool new designs, the Classified Series has made it clear I really just want modern sculpting interpretations of the classic Real American Hero designs.
It’s a testament to how great those 80s- to early-90s really were that they’re still so effective now. And the Hasbro sculptors have deciphered what design elements can use more of a modern flourish and which parts to leave intact.
It’s the best of both worlds with this design as it matches up very well with the RAH design — right down to the sheath on the left breastplate and the right forearm as well as the Cobra logo armband. There’s some enhancements as well with the waffle pattern kneepad and shin guards added to the tall boots.
My favorite element is that sinister headsculpt with the easily identifiable snake motif coming through again. The “teeth fangs” are an excellent example of the benefit of going to this larger scale to incorporate additional detail.
The flak jacket front makes sense with this outfit. I thought it was a reuse of the Firefly figure, but it’s a new piece to include various pouches and small clips along the belt.
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Paint: Alley Viper’s original color scheme of orange and blue is one of my favorites of the latter era RAH designs. The CS figure retains that bold and bright combination — all the better to immediately get attention to the invading armor striking a city block.
Hasbro applied the blue camouflage elements smoothly, so it didn’t get overwhelming. The orange is very vibrant and contrasts perfectly with the more toned-down Classified Series Cobra troopers and Vipers.
There’s the slightest bit of overspray around the mouth portion, but definitely nothing that is too noticeable.
Scale: Alley Viper reuses the Duke mold. It’s a fine choice as it’s average height and doesn’t make him taller or shorter than anyone else in the line.
Articulation: Like Firefly and Barbecue, the flak jacket significantly hinders the torso articulation.
You’ll still be able to get some fun poses out of him, but it’s more of a siege style attack mode as opposed to creeping into small spaces to pursue their targets.
I pre-ordered four Alley Vipers and each one had a weak left ankle that was the typical suspect in them not holding a pose long-term. They’ll need some superglue or something to stiffen it up more.
Alley Viper has:
- shoulders (butterfly)
- elbow (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- hips (ball-jointed)
- drop down hips
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: The Alley Vipers are loaded with accessories — perfect for Cobra Commander’s quick strike shock troops.
There’s the infamous pull-down visor, which masks the eyes to make for an even more intimidating visual.
He’s also got a machine gun, a rifle and a pistol. Also, he’s got another machine gun looks like a pretty exact port of the RAH figure’s gun. That’s a nice touch.
For closer scale combat, he’s got two knives that fit in either sheath, the grappling hook that was part of the original backpack and the big angular barricade buster shield.
You can attach the grappling hook to the rifle.
The shield looks as deadly as it did back in the day and includes a readout grid for the Alley Viper to survey for any hidden targets.
In another nice touch, the shield straps rotate so you can position the shield in various ways. You can also position the classic RAH rifle against the shield for full protection mode.
Worth It? I got the Alley Viper for a little under the new normal retail price of $22.99. At this quality, I’m less bothered by the price uptick since he’s loaded with accessories that add value.
Rating: 9.3 out of 10
Alley Viper makes a strong case for a figure of the year for the Classified Series line right away even with the restricted torso. The only lists he won’t be on for the end of 2022 is those lucky folks who got him at the end of last year.