In the summer of 2007, I’d finally got into Joe collecting upon falling in on the 25th Anniversary hype. I had flirted with the brand prior, but my tastes being focused mainly on 80‘s Joes left me with little to catch my attention until that point. Seeing pictures of the toys on the Internet had me hunting all over my town for anything I could find. Alas, I had no luck finding any GI Joes that summer, except for a smattering of leftover Valor vs Venom toys. One such toy, was the 2004 Cobra Viper and Alley Viper two-pack.
At first I hesitated given they weren’t “modern era” style figures. I may have even passed on the set once or twice only to find it still hanging there a month later at that same Big Lots. Disappointed at my lack of a growing GI Joe collection, I bought them just to have something new.
By no means were these my first “new-sculpt” figures that I had acquired, so I knew somewhat to expect from them quality wise. With that said, the Alley Viper was solidly disappointing and a garbage figure, but it’s not the subject of this writing. The Cobra Viper, was actually pretty satisfying. For a Valor vs Venom figure, the proportions of the sculpt are pretty decent, and he has standard articulation with no issues. With that said, the figure has no obvious issues from the outset so that’s certainly a good thing.
The color scheme of this Viper is probably his most distinguishing aspect. It’s rather unique and a bit unlike any other colors ever used on a Viper. The shade of dark red that comprises most of the figure bears a passing resemblance to the 1997 Cobra Viper, but only slightly. He also sports a fair amount of purple, which ties in well with the other dark colors. The black visor is another interesting color choice that sets him apart quite a bit from the standard Viper look, which is nice.
The accessories leave something to be desired, arming him with a measly G36 riffle and generic combat knife. To improve his load out, I’d usually arm him the the scorpion pistols from the Alley Viper since that figure had no value anyway and the accessories were wasted on him. The last part included with this figure was some sort of two piece “pod” as Yo Joe! refers to it. I have no idea what this is or what purpose it’s supposed to serve. As far as I know it was only included with this release and was never reused. I spent a lot of time trying to figure it out when I got this figure, but could only guess it was a crate of some sort.
Overall, he’s a good figure that could have used some better parts. I think if the Joe vs Cobra and Spy Troops lines had started with sculpts of this quality, the collecting community might not hold the era in such low regard as they do today.