Obtaining Target exclusive figures sucks. I just needed to get that off my chest right away because while the G.I. Joe Classified line is delivering some of my favorite toys right now, the Target exclusive Cobra Island sub-line figures have definitely been the hardest action figures for me to acquire at a reasonable price in a long time. But I did manage it again, so let’s take a look at the Cobra Viper!
The box is in line with the previous Cobra Island figures with the character art on the sides and front and a map of the island on the back. I do love this portrait on the box, though it does slightly annoy me to see three on the side of the box when I can’t build the army I’d like to.
The figure comes with a nice assortment of stuff including a rifle with removeable clip, a pistol, goggles, a backpack, and a neckerchief.
The pack has a great sculpting with some really sharp details and appropriate textures. The paint is minimal, but I like how they did add a bit of blue, the red on the grenades, and the gray on the rope to tie it all in with the colors on the figure and call out some of that great detail. Some of the packs in the Classified line have had trouble staying on, but fortunately this one pegs into the backs pretty securely and doesn’t slip off.
The neckerchief or scarf is an open circle so it’s pretty easy to pop on and off. It lays loosely over the chest, but doesn’t flop around. The scarf piece does get in the way of head movement and the figure has less up and down movement when wearing it. One weird thing about the scarf for me is that it is cast in a gray plastic that happens to resemble the color of the two-part epoxie putty I would use to customize action figures, so it makes me think of customizing.
Since the scarf and goggles are removeable, you can get a few different looks to add variety to your army, if you can build one. I think if I had a squad, I’d probably keep the goggles on the helmet for all of them and add the scarf to one guy as a squad leader as it seems to me that the goggles are a defining feature of the Viper’s look. It never occurred to me how weird it was that a guy with a face mask had goggles, but aesthetic beats logic every time with this type of stuff. It just looks cool, so maybe unclench and don’t think too much about it too much. Without them the viper does look a little too much like Cobra Commander for my taste.
The goggles are cast in a softer plastic, but I found out the hard way that the plastic is not quite as flexible here as it was with the Cobra Trooper’s goggles when they snapped. I was trying to push the goggles down over the back of the helmet when the strap snapped. I was able to glue the strap back together, but I’m not really satisfied with how the goggles rest on the helmet. They seem to want to float a little higher than I’d like and fall off pretty easily.
The rifle has that sci-fi feel that we usually see in the line and you are either into it or not, but I feel like this is one of cooler looking guns they’ve made thus far. The removeable clip is kind of neat and I’m sure it’s the type of thing I would have loved as a kid. As an old fart, I’m glad that the clip fits in the gun securely and doesn’t fall out.
One nice feature is the barrel of this rifle has a hole designed to work with the blast effects (not included) from Marvel Legends figures like movie Black Widow.
The pistol and the holster are re-used from Duke and are cast in black plastic. They mostly work for me, though a little paint hit would be nice to jazz it up a bit. This gun doesn’t work with the blast effects.
This figure re-uses the upper body from Duke, but the legs and vest and forearm armor and head are all new pieces. I think the sculpting here is all very good and mostly captures the spirit of the original Viper while adding original and more detailed touches. The one area I don’t think is entirely successful is the red padding on the sides of the leg.
I like that there is padding on the outside and inside of the leg, but it kind of throws me off a bit how the red padding cuts off at the thigh swivel on the outside of the leg and starts at the thigh swivel on the inside of the leg. I feel like the padding on the outside of the leg should continue down the thigh. You can swivel the forearm armor and also pry it off for a little more variety, though the watch on the left arm made it tougher to do and made me nervous about possibly tearing the armor so I didn’t do it.
Articulation for this figure is in line with most of the rest of the G.I. Joe Classified figures with the following articulation:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Swivel biceps, boots, and thighs
- Ball and socket head, neck, and waist
- Double hinged elbows and knees
- Hinged mid-torso, neck, and butterfly pecs
The articulation works well for the most part except where it runs into interference from the torso vest overlay. The overlay is fairly soft plastic, but it does make the ab crunch fairly useless and the butterfly hinges don’t work as well. The overlay basically encompasses a vest and the belt, so I wish they would separate the two to allow for a bit more ab movement.
Overall, even with my nitpicks, I still really like this figure a lot. It is a great looking trooper with a nice heft and bulk to him and I’d love to build an army of them to join the Cobra ranks on the shelf. It is extremely disappointing that Hasbro and Target seems to not have bumped up production for these figures even after seeing the insanity of the first wave of Cobra Island, especially with an army builder. I am hopeful that they release a non-exclusive version later, like they did with the Cobra Trooper, though I really like this color scheme and hope it remains mostly unchanged in any future releases.