Repaints and re-use have been part of the G.I. Joe line since the beginning, but I think one of my favorite types of re-use is when they kitbash parts and repaint them into a new character in a way where you don’t see the original figure clearly. Python Patrol Vypra is a fun example of such a practice, so let’s take a look!
The box has one of the cooler character insert paintings on the side and back that emphasizes the creepy skull mask in a great way. My figure came with a big barcode that obscured the little rendered scene which was momentarily annoying until I threw the thing in the recycling bin. Every once and a while these retailers like to remind you they really don’t give a crap about collectors.
The figure comes with a bow, an arrow, two swords, a backpack, and a mask. It’s a nice amount of stuff the figure can carry all on her person. The pack, which is re-used from Storm Shadow, has scabbards for the swords, a peg for the bow to attach, and a slot for the arrow. It actually stays on pretty well for one of these packs.
The bow is cast in some exceptionally soft maroon plastic and has plastic strings. These strings came extremely bent out of the box and don’t really want to stay straight even after a couple of straightenings with heat. I really like that they included a little slot that holds the loose arrow on there, but unfortunately it doesn’t work well in drawn back poses, since the string doesn’t move or looks goofy if you bend it.
The swords are also re-used from Storm Shadow and have a snake motif that I think works a bit better in my mind for Vypra than Storm Shadow. They have silver paint on the blades and seemed mostly straight out of the box, fitting well in the scabbards and hands.
By far, the best re-used accessory for my taste is Zartan’s skull mask from the deluxe Zartan from a couple of years back. It fits tightly on the head and while it does seem a bit over-large for the face, it lends the character a spooky menace I dig. There is a bit of mold flashing on the teeth of my figure’s mask that kind of obscures and dulls the sharpness of the teeth, but it’s otherwise really sharply detailed.
The main body re-uses the Snake Eyes Akiko with arms from Dreadnok Zarana and feet and head from the Blue Ninja. The parts work surprisingly well together as I never really thought of Zarana’s arms as having a samurai feel to them.
Since she shares Akiko parts, it’s a simple matter to pop her head on the figure and I think it looks really nice. She can even wear the mask.
The articulation moves fairly well, the only point that I didn’t get any movement from was the butterfly hinges at the pecs and I can’t tell if they are just stuck or perhaps marrying the different figure parts has rendered them useless. The Zarana shoulder pads do interact with the shirt to limit upward shoulder movement a bit. Vypra has:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Double hinged knees and elbows
- Swivel thighs, biceps, and boots
- Ball and socket lower neck, mid-torso, and waist
- Hinged neck and drop-down hips
The paint is good here with mostly clean separation on the costume details and a nice face print on the eyes that differentiates her from the Blue Ninja a bit. My figure does have a bit of a chip on the mask, which is a bummer, but I can hand wave that as battle damage. I think the mask might have benefited from a wash.
The color scheme strikes me as the least Python Patrol-ish of all the Python Patrol figures, which is fine by me, but I wonder if the green could have been incorporated in the mask or maybe gray in the pants. On the other hand, the more black you wear as a ninja, the better. It does make me curious if they might do a non-Python Patrol Vypra in the future.
The original Vypra was a Jinx figure repainted a mottled black and blue and packed as a vehicle driver. This Vypra is also all re-used parts, but for my dollar it’s done in a much more fun and creative way that I’m happy to add this character to my Cobra ranks.