Hard to belive that this figure is actually five or six years old already, but as I never acquired the Rock Viper during the POC days, this 50th Anniversary release comes off as new to me. Originally I was fairly unimpressed by the vintage inaccuracies of this release, but in time I’ve changed my tune slightly.
The entire figure is a repaint made of recycled tooling, although it’s a mostly good recipe. It runs into a glaring flaw with the head because of that, as it looks absolutely nothing like the vintage figure. Given that toy represented an army-builder with a uniform mustache, this may not be a bad thing, but I think it’s the execution that hampers the 50th/POC version. His head is now a generic balaclava and black helmet, an extremely generic look that doesn’t even match the colors of the original toy. The new look is greatly improved with some goggles from Marauder’s Gun Runners as you can see above, so a little creativity can make up for where this figure lacks.
With all that said I wasn’t ever a big fan of the ARAH Rock Viper, so in most aspects this figure appears to me a an improvement. The part recipe (comprised mainly of Snake Eyes and Jungle Viper parts) looks enough like the original that I can appreciate it. The shin and arm guards are well repurposed here for a rock climbing look, and the torso sculpt works well for the Rock Viper too.
Like you’d expect of a Modern Era GI Joe, he comes with a load of parts. A few of them feel like toss-ins to me (the spear namely), but a few parts work really well for this figure. His sniper riffle is a huge improvement over the bulky old one (a riffle that was a bane to 2000’s collectors), the backpack also does a nice job of mimicking his vintage equipment. His pistol and knife come off as standard equipment, but there again it’s nice to have things like that.
In a way, one of the figure’s main strengths is it’s ability to deviate from the original while keeping the same basic idea. It’s problem is that it sadly loses a lot of character with the heavy usage of generic parts. Still, I can forgive it for that gripe and accept it as a nice little army-builder that is at least worth owning a few of.
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