2002 Cobra Viper

2002 Cobra Viper

The collecting community in the 2000‘s was all about army-builders; especially the coveted classic Cobra Troopers, BATs, and Viper. The first two I mentioned Hasbro struggled to deliver on, though Viper repaints were put out in numbers not too different from Firefly figures. This Viper was one of the first recolors after the Cobra Infantry Team in ‘98.

A lot of the appeal of this figure is lost now because of the subsequent repaints that came after him, and the availability of some more interesting factory customs. In it’s own right, this is a passable Viper repaint that I think looks pretty good for it’s lighter, desaturated greens compared to the similar olive one from 2003. Another thing that makes this repaint nice to me, is that Hasbro kept the visor silver rather than painting it some weird color like they did on the later repaints.

The paint masks are really questionable on this figure, particularly referring to his lower legs. Because the figure uses BAT legs instead of actual Viper legs, the designers decided to paint the entire lower leg piece, including the knee above the boot, solid grey. The idea was to simulate the look of the classic Viper’s knee-boots, but it really looks horrible here. On many of my figures I removed the paint on this part which improves the look slightly, though I hate doing mods like this.

Of course, the figure also suffers from all of the classic tooling issues that plague almost every Viper repaint post ‘97. That includes the tab on his neck that makes him permanently look down, and using BAT legs instead of Viper legs. The head tab doesn’t bother me that much, but it would’ve been nice if they could have removed it. Why is it that it’s always too expensive to remake lost molds, but they can modify a mold at a moment’s notice for an obscure set of reissues made in smaller numbers?

The Viper really suffers from the poor accessory choices you saw often in the 2000‘s. Included here is ‘84 Baroness’s gun, and the backpack from the SAW Viper; generic items used extensively in later 00‘s releases. I’ve really softened my views on the Baroness rifle in recent years, as it’s not really a terrible gun, but just an okay one that was really overused in this period. As a kid, it was my go-to weapon for the Python Tele-Viper, and it has the benefit of being a relatively easy weapon to hold. The SAW Viper backpack was also not that bad of a part, but really just didn’t feel appropriate here. Even among a catalog of parts Hasbro frequently used at the time, there were better items that could’ve been chosen for this figure.

In all of the uses of the Viper mold in the 2000‘s, I really like this one for it’s colors. The 2002 Crimson/Fuschia Viper is probably the best looking use of the mold, but it’s niche and expensive. Another blue recolor came out in ’02, which was pretty nice, but it was also very darkly colored and somewhat bland. Three more were released in separate colors under Spy Troops, which all looked a little phoned-in to me. Then you had the Viper Pit set come along in pseudo ‘86 colors, which had it’s own series of problems associated with it. Putting all that in context makes me realize that Hasbro never did anything very interesting or curious with the mold, despite that the Viper is ubiquitously popular and would’ve fit well into a TRU 6-pack. To a certain degree I’m glad we didn’t see it again though.

One of the last benefits you can attribute to this figure, is that it’s a common and relatively cheap Viper. They’re a little tedious to look for among so many Viper releases, but you can get them often with the Mirage he was packed with around $10, and if you look long enough, you can get this guy by himself for around $6 or $7. Even just a few years ago this was a cheap and fun figure you might get as a toss-in purchase, though it’s a little less often now with the current market.

gi joe arah joe vs cobra 2002 vintage hasbro viper vs mirage
gi joe arah joe vs cobra 2002 vintage hasbro viper vs mirage

2002 Cobra Viper Links:


Photo by Cradea2

Photo by Scarrviper

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2002 Cobra Viper

  1. Mike T. says:

    At the time of their release, these guys were different as we didn’t have many green Cobras. But, man, Hasbro skimped out on both paint and gear and that really hurt this guy’s long term prospects. Plus, Wave 1.5 was hugely overproduced…to the point where it was still hitting clearance and discount stores in 2004 before the final batches were dumped in Israel of all places. The nice thing was, though, you could get them cheap and easily. (Early fears when Hasbro announced them was that they were going to be impossible to find.)

    For some reason, I sold off all of my 2000’s era Vipers aside from the Viper Pit. (I bought 2 cases of those sets and got bored trying to get rid of them for peanuts and still have a bunch left over.) I miss having the green figures available as they did have uses. And, the softer plastic left them more poseable than guys like the Viper Pit. The silver visor helps to make them pop in photos and they are a nice way to get some Cobras that blend into scenery instead of clashing out from it.

  2. A-Man says:

    I have more of this figure than I do common sense, in part to Family Dollar clearance sales. The good old days.

    This was one of the few believable color schemes for a Cobra army builder, which might be why isn’t not as popular. People love the blues and blacks and such.

    The painted lower legs are kinda bad, and made much more so by the grey not matching the other grey on his uniform. He looks like he stepped in fresh cement.

    I’ll disagree sort of and say the neck tab is the worst thing about the figure. I tried to correct a few of mine with mixed results then gave up, probably due to my lack of skills and proper tools. I hate damaging figures to correct them. On some level that means I hate all the o-ring Vipers from this era. I don’t know why Hasbro kept running with the 1997 mistakes (Duke’s arms, Alley Viper’s legs, Snake-Eyes’ waist…)

    Accessories, yeah, the tiresome Baroness rifle (makes more sense than the 1997 Cobra Infantry using vintage French SMG’s, though). They could remake the viper rifle as a sound attack weapon but not a normal one. I’d say you have the SAW Viper packs on upside down, but I’m not sure how they are supposed to go.

    They also had a knife, (Lowlight V3’s?) it was theirs and not Mirage’s weapon, as evidenced by its inclusion with the Viper in K-Mart bonus packs, and IIRC, the Viper and Alley-Viper 2-pack from Spy Troops.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    This is a figure I’ve never managed to acquire. It’s common, but when they were probably decently priced, I didn’t fuck with anything post ’84.

    These Vipers are in a weird spot, as they’re in an actually useful colour scheme (That would be dragged down by the two subsequent olive green ones), but they also suffer from the distinct lack of paint apps.

    The baroness rifle, is one of those things that looks good, and is historically a COBRA weapon, so I don’t mind it being used, the physical toy is terrible, but the idea behind it is solid.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *