The “New-Sculpt” era of Joes has a funny relationship with the general GI Joe collecting community. To my understanding, the new designs were met with a lot of hype at the time, and hailed as the superior design for GI Joe much akin to the early 25th Anniversary GI Joes (which similarly, haven’t aged well). For me, this is all second hand information, as at the time I was still a kid and so I have a slightly different perspective on these toys. The Spy Troops Neo Viper is no exception.
Compared to the ‘97 line, I generally lost interest in GI Joe between ARAHC and GI Joe vs Cobra. There was an occasional item that caught my interest, but usually all I ever found at retail was the scraps and tidbits unwanted by collectors at the time. I did end up with a FANG III at some point, and it became a toy I was quite fond of, but the pilot left me with cold feet. Hasbro’s decision to give that figure and a few others a t-crotch really soured me on the toys, and even as a kid, I thought they looked ridiculously cheap.
Hasbro would remake proper o-ring versions of the t-crotch figures such as this Neo Viper in 2003. Like many figures from his era, these remained cheap online and could even be found in dollar stores for years later. Collectors largely dumped their Spy Troops era figures for pennies and they were pretty fun to collect in the later 2000‘s that way. The Neo Viper was among the figures I was curious about as a kid, so upon the chance I bought a couple.
The overall design and aesthetic of the figure is pretty cool. It’s similar to the classic Viper design in a few ways, but totally new in others. There’s a few sculpted Cobra symbols prominently featured on him, and they speak towards the character’s high status in Cobra. The helmet is also nicely done, and has a fresh look while still blending in well enough with the established Cobra designs. The overall look of this figure really reminds me of something that might’ve come from the later part of ARAH.
The sculpt has good proportions unlike certain figures from his time, but an odd choice was made with the Neo Viper. His left wrist is turned at an angle for gun holding poses. It kind of reminds me of the way a lot of early Action Force figures were designed, and I really don’t mind it. With that said, it does at times limit the figure, and really doesn’t improve him that much either.
There’s two separate releases of this figure and each comes with different accessories. Neither allotment is very good, but for the sake of this post I’ll consider the Spy Troops version the real one. He came with the pistol from V1 Ambush, the generic Scorpion and AK47 included with other New-Sculpt Cobras, a modified Tele-Viper backpack and a soft-goods ghillie suit. Like many figures from this era, these parts are random and generic. At the very least, he’s one of the few figures that can hold that bulky AK47 and look natural with it. The ghillie suit is very random, but it’s a quality fabric piece and a cool addition just for throwing in the parts bin, if nothing else.
With all that said, I really like this figure and I think he’s well done enough. Other collectors will not though, and generally have a distaste for this style as a whole. Personally I think this figure’s worth around $6 because of that, but the GI Joe market is in a weird state right now. So you might go periods without finding many fairly priced Neo Vipers, you might also happen upon some going for even cheaper prices. Like other oddball and obscure figures, patience will be required when looking for them nowadays.
Neo Viper V6 Links: