Neo Viper V6, Spy Troops 2003

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.

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Neo Viper V6 Links:

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4 Responses to Neo Viper V6, Spy Troops 2003

  1. Matt Owen says:

    The Early 2000s New Sculpt era seems to be like the forgotten middle child of GI Joe. I like them as toys but I have trouble displaying them with the 80s style figures. I got New Sculpt Bombstrike and Scarlett for my daughter and she loves them.

  2. Mike T. says:

    Of all the JvC era designs, the Neo Viper has held up among the best. I’d have loved an ARAH take on the character as it had potential. There were just so many of them with all the repaints and re-issues that collectors got a bit tired of them. Good news was that you could get pretty much all of them at retail without too much trouble. (Though, the Wal Mart repaints disappeared relatively quickly.)

    I wonder if the JvC stuff will ever see any collector appreciation. I don’t think so since the “modern” collector will choose anniversary Joes over them. But, Joe’s biggest retail success came in 2003 when Hasbro couldn’t keep up with demand. So, there have to be a lot of kids out there who grew up on this line. Whether they become collectors or not, though, seems undetermined.

  3. A-Man says:

    New sculpts were a divisive time for GI JOE collectors. Most people loathed the t-crotch stuff and let Hasbro know, who retooled 2002 wave 2 in response. Some people wanted to like the new stuff but got frustrated by odd design proportions like small heads, big shoulders, short torsos, etc.

    Yeah, the big prob with the figure is he’s stuck holding guns at waist level. Even a normal left hand wouldn’t change that. The figure’s design doesn’t allow much in the way of aiming rifles (True of many new sculpt era figures). If only they had swivel wrists. Though, that would be a potential problem, I had a new sculpt Night Creeper whose hand outright broke off.

    There’s a “unreleased” version that was overseas with his cobra chest symbol painted red.

    Neo-Vipers’ designation is Cobra Infantry Officers, yet there’s no mention on their file cards of being officers besides that. It interesting these guys were pushed as the new common Cobra trooper at least for awhile. That hadn’t happened since the Marvel comic used 1994 Vipers just before it ended. Then the Rise of Cobra’s NEO-VIPER’s stole the new sculpt’s thunder.

  4. R.T.G. says:

    From a design point of view, this figure didn’t suffer from a lot of the terrible design choices a lot of the New Sculpt era did*. I don’t even mind the odd hand placement, that much.

    *Goatees, short vests, bicep bands, utility belts, and knee pads.

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