When the GI Joe Rise of Cobra Viper’s helmet pictures first leaked onto the internet, everyone assumed it was Cobra Commander’s mask. As it turned out that was the mask of the Viper and I must admit upon first sight, I wasn’t a fan. Once I saw the figures in stores I was even less of a fan. I thought it was a bit of a shame since the Cobra Vipers have one of the best “real world” designs that it didn’t make any sense for the movie to change them so drastically. I told myself I wouldn’t be buying any of the regular Viper figures. I liked the Neo-Viper design, but the regular Viper, not so much.

Then I saw the movie. It turns out in GI Joe Rise of Cobra that the Vipers are pretty badass. Sure, the Neo-Vipers were even cooler but it was the regular Vipers who saw most of the action in the film. Soon after I was certain I wanted to purchase at least one of the figures to see if I liked it. When Toys R’ Us was running it’s 2 for $10 sale this past week I figured it was the best time to bite.

I’ve said it several times now that I like the GI Joe Rise of Cobra packaging quite a bit. Seems to me that I’ve covered every aspect of these packages, except one. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that these packages are resealable. Technically they aren’t resealable by design, but you can very easily reseal the figures in the package so long as you’re careful taking them out.

The back of the package gives a little bio on the Viper and I like that they didn’t just give him the traditional Viper biography. Since they technically call him the “Viper Commando” it helps me, an old school Joe fan try to figure out a way to keep this guy in my personal mythos. Obviously to me a Viper looks nothing like this. So what can I use this guy as? Toxo-Viper maybe?

The little posters that these figures come with are quite cool too. It’s a shame that they’re so folded up that you could never really do much with them. Still they have a nice bit of artwork on them and I’m sure they’ll be hung up on kids walls. I would have hung them up when I was kid. Do kids still hang posters on the wall or have they replaced those with iPods too? Damn kids today, grumble, grumble…

These Rise of Cobra toys have the same articulation that GI Joe 25th Anniversary figures had. That amounts to a ball jointed neck, pin post style swivel hinge shoulders, pin post style swivel hinge elbows, mid torso joint, t-bar ball joint legs, double jointed knees and Dr.Nightmare ankles.

The shoulders have limited movement because of the shoulder pads. I tried to pull them off but couldn’t get them to come off. I assume they are glued on, but maybe they pop off. That’s a bit of a bummer. The chest armor also impedes the torso joint somewhat although it cleans the sculpt up without breaking it up so damned if you do, damned if you don’t in that respect.

Shoulder pads, bad 80’s style returns!

Even with a couple of minor setbacks in the articulation because of the sculpt, I found myself able to get this guy into plenty of poses. You could always take scissors and snip a piece of the shoulder armor away and it’d still look fine and improve articulation if you’re one of those guys who freaks out if every figure doesn’t have maximum articulation.

It took me a while to figure out what these guys reminded me of, but it finally dawned on me. The face looks like the aliens from “Fire in the Sky”, making these guys quite creepy. Aside from the crazy facemask you have a decent amount of sculpting on the body. If you remove most of the extra pieces such as the chest plate you’ll find this is a very plain buck underneath that could be used for plenty of other troopers.

It’s a shame most of the figure is cast in pure black because you can’t see a lot of the subtle details that are present throughout the sculpt. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some that do pop out though. The belt and holster both are hidden a bit but once you notice them you see how wonderful they are. The belt is very cool with a little grenade and other doodads sculpted onto it. The boots are cool too.

The Viper Motto: Always Come Prepared… Or was that the boy scouts?

There isn’t much paint on this guy at all. He’s cast in all black and only the outer armor and head and painted. They appear to be painted in a dark gray with a purple wash and then another black wash on top of that. My version is particularly purple but most appear to be more gray with just a lighter purple wash. I picked one with a heavier purple because I preferred the way it looked. As always, your mileage may vary.

Accessories have been the strong point of the GI Joe Rise of Cobra line and that’s not a tradition that stopping here. For starters he has the big honkin’ rocket launcher, with a cool blue missile. Although it’s my job as a fan to hate these things, I’ll confess that he actually looks pretty cool holding his. Granted this one is smaller than most which makes it a bit less offensive.

He has a small slightly futuristic handgun that fits into the holster on his side. If you didn’t know to look there you might think it was sculpted in, but it is removeable. He also has a larger laser pulse rifle as well as a knife that looks a bit like a large ice pick. Maybe it’s Catherine Tramell under that mask?

Finally he comes with his backpack which might be the best part about this figure. His backpack has a working wench and grappling hook. This is a ton of play value for the money in my view. I loved these sorts of things as a kid and it’s got a bunch of little mechanisms on it that make it more than just some crappy grappling hook and rope. Naturally a figure stand rounds out the accessories, although he doesn’t need it to stand.

Additional Notes:
Upon picking this Viper Commando up, I’m a bit torn. I loved how they were portrayed in the movie, but I’m still not sure I love the figure. There are just so many better army builders out there. If I could find a more specific rank for this guy, I might be inclined to buy more. As is, I’ll probably only pick up one more. I am looking forward to the Nanomite green version though.

Depending on where you go, you can expect to pay between $6.99-$7.99 for this little bugger. I got him for $5 during the 2 for $10 sale at TRU. At that price he’s a great value. Actually I got him for less than $5 because my TRU gave me a extra discount, but chances are you won’t be as lucky. Bottom line, if you can score him for $5 or below he’s a very, very good value. If you’re paying $7.99 though he’s just not as good as the other figures that are out there.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 6
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Backpack w/wench & Grappling Hook, Pistol, Pulse Rifle, Ice Pick Knife, Stand, Rocket Launcher
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10

I consider this to be one of the weakest figures I’ve reviewed so far in the Rise of Cobra line and he scores a quite high 7 out of 10. That pretty much confirms my belief that these are really incredible toys. Hasbro has done a bang up job with this line. Characters like this don’t knock me out, but the accessories and decent scores elsewhere make this figure as good if not better than a lot of competing toys on the market.

This version of the Cobra Viper isn’t my favorite, it’s nowhere near. It’s not even one of my favorite Rise of Cobra toys, but if you’re like me and enjoyed these guys in the movie, you can’t go wrong with adding a few to your Cobra ranks.

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