1990 Sonic Fighters Viper

As ARAH moved into it’s final years, Hasbro started experimenting more and more with adding different gimmicks to figures. One example, is the Sonic Fighters from 1990. Unlike the later Super Sonic Fighters and Talking Battle Commanders from ‘91 and ‘92, the Sonic Fighters were comprised entirely of repaints, such as the Viper of today’s profile.

The Sonic Fighters Viper is fairly memorable for being the last appearance of the 1986 Viper mold in it’s entirety. As many fans didn’t fancy the use of the BAT legs on every Viper release there after, this adds some significance to the piece despite the relative obscurity of his sub-line.

The Sonic Fighters Viper has been a lot of things in my collection. For a while, it was the only version of the original Viper sculpt I owned, so for that alone he was a tad more interesting. By and large though, he’s flipped between two roles I think he works well as. The first, is as a body guard for 2002 Headman. It’s a strange idea and I’m not the biggest fan of that figure, but as he is technically a Cobra, I think it’s interesting to match him with some similarly colored Vipers. The second, is as a desert version of a normal Viper. That idea may be a bit less original, but the colors are well suited for that role.

Speaking of colors, it’s a rather eye-catching figure. He’s largely caramel brown, with black and gold details, as well as a orange visor. These are attractive colors, and also likely the most unique ones the Viper’s ever been featured in. Some might be bothered by the orange Visor, but I think it adds to him somewhat, and doesn’t seem like an unreasonable color just for the visor.

The parts are an interesting mix on this figure. They’re all cast in gold plastic, and you get Shockwave’s pistol, Hit&Run’s carbine, the Annihilator’s SMG, Downtown’s mortar, and the gigantic backpack with the sound gimmick. The pistol is a notorious thumb-breaker that looks dumb if you can get a figure to hold it, but the other guns are both pretty good as is the mortar. It’s a figure worth having most of the parts to, and if you want to army build them, one complete figure can arm a few other incomplete examples, which isn’t bad.

Of course, I guess I could comment on the backpack too. The Sonic Fighters backpacks are hilarious monstrosities. They’re so heavy it’s impossible to stand a figure with one; and difficult even if you use a figure stand. It makes 4 different sound effects, which are amusing for a few seconds but get boring after that. Doesn’t seem like much to be worth pushing the price of a figure up a few dollars, but they kept the gimmick for two more years so obviously kids at the time liked it well enough.

At a time, this figure wasn’t as expensive and collector’s didn’t like him much. Clearly, opinions have changed as his Sonic Fighter contemporaries have stayed relatively cheap while this Viper has seen an increase in value. Complete figures often run between $17 and $30, while the seldom incomplete example may go for $5 to $8. Oddly enough, that’s a pretty large disparity in value between the complete and incomplete example, especially for a figure who’s parts aren’t that hard to find. At the moment, it remains a figure you’ll have to hunt for to get one at a fair price.

Sonic Fighters Viper 1990 Version 3 Hasbro 90's HISS II Major Bludd Super Sonic Fighters Rip It vintage action figure Sonic Fighters Viper 1990 Version 3 Hasbro 90's  vintage action figure1990 Sonic Fighters Viper Links:

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4 Responses to 1990 Sonic Fighters Viper

  1. A-Man says:

    The problem with this one is the metallic paint issue with vintage ARAH, silver and gold paint rubbed off too easy.

    Sonic fighters were $6 back in late 1990/1991, which was twice what an all-new figure was most places. Super sonic fighters were $7. Maybe not much in today’s money, but back then it wasn’t a good deal, especially as the novelty of digital battle sounds wore off quick.

  2. djv says:

    This was the only Viper I had as a kid. And, for whatever reason, I didn’t really understand that he was THE Cobra Infantryman. I did use him as a nameless Cobra, but other “grunts” got the nod over him. I actually lost him in a canal when I was playing in the park around 1991 or so, along with my Secto Viper. It’s a long story that involved another kid being a total jerk, so it wasn’t just me being negligent (though that happened enough, too). Strangely, I still have a couple of his guns left over from childhood. My 92 Duke used the Hit & Run SMG for years and years.

    This is a great writeup on him. Beautiful photos, as well.

    I did like the sound backpacks as a kid, even just as noisemakers. But I seldom used them with my Joes or during playtime (with the exceptions of the super sonic fighters packs, which could be used as sleds, jetpacks, and computer stations).

  3. R.T.G. says:

    The Sonic Viper is kinda cool, as he’s far more original an idea for a Viper repaint than we’d ever see afterwards. I like the red visor because it ties in with the Python version, too.

    Your Headman idea is pretty neat! I like to see people come up with odd figure combos that can be justifiably used together (rather than just randomly throwing a pair of figures together)

  4. Matt Owen says:

    I really like this color scheme. The first Sonic Fighters were excellent repaints, though imho the backpack gimmick wasn’t really worth doubling their price.

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