1989 Night Viper

1989 Night Viper

I was surprised when I realized how it had slipped my mind, but incidentally, I’ve never wrote about the ‘89 Night Viper. It’s one of my favorite figures too, but I suppose after writing about the TBM Python Night Viper, I forgot to get around to this one. It’s also been one of the most consistently popular post-’86 Cobras in the franchise too; so perhaps I also ignored him for the feeling of the figure being over exposed at this point.

The original Night Viper I had as a kid was another figure from my brother’s collection, and it was a figure we both liked. When my collecting focus shifted to vintage figures around ‘09, it was a figure in the old Joe tubs that really stood out to me and I enjoyed rediscovering as I gradually found all of his parts again. Of course, being a favorite meant this figure was in somewhat rough shape, but it was a start that pointed me in the direction of acquiring more over time.

The colors and deco on the figure is very nice overall. There’s not a lot of different colors here: mostly just dark green plastic and black paint. However, that itself is an attractive and realistic combo that’s likely helped earn this figure it’s popularity over so many years. One of the nicest details on him is the shoulder-patch tampographed onto his left shoulder. It’s a Night-Viper specific emblem that’s rather detailed and good looking. It’s also remarkable as the Night-Viper is one of the only figures with a unit specific marker like this, which is a shame, as something equivalent to this would’ve been fantastic on the SAW Viper or a few others.

The sculpt has a lot of nice details going on too. Nothing too absurd, but a nice smattering of knives, straps and gear throughout the figure. The strap of bullets on his right arm is a little detail I especially like. The helmet also has a sleek, high-tech look to it, which does pretty well to represent the gear his file card mentions him having. I’ve always thought the ribbed legging on half of his thighs looks a little weird, but it’s also distinctly Cobra, and looks similar to what you saw on the ‘83 HISS Driver.

The accessories really help make this figure, though at the same time he’s perfectly fine without everything except the visor. Included is a gun, backpack, a clip-on visor and a scope that attaches to the visor. The gun’s one of those awkward weapons with no pistol-grip, making it hard for him to get an aiming pose with it. It’s still not a bad part though, as it interacts with the figure in a few different ways thanks to both it’s sling and the pegs for mounting it on his thigh.

As I mentioned, the Night Viper is an extremely popular figure, and almost any given version has commended a premium throughout the history of the brand. Prices are very unstable for them right now, but generally it’s a figure you shouldn’t pay more than $20 for, complete. That’s in line with what they’ve trended at for a few years until now, and it’s reasonable to assume that’s still about what the figure’s really worth. They are common and army-builders hoarded them and the Funskool variant through the 2000‘s, so there’s plenty of mint examples in circulation.

Night Viper hasbro 1989 gi joe vintage cobra ARAH
Night Viper hasbro 1989 gi joe vintage cobra ARAH
Night Viper hasbro 1989 gi joe vintage cobra ARAH

1989 Night Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Photo by Scarrviper

Photo by Dreadnok Dread

Photo by PeterDB.net

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3 Responses to 1989 Night Viper

  1. A-Man says:

    I find Night Viper overrated, not bad…I don’t dislike them as a whole, but as far as one of the greats? No. Something worth building a large army of…not really (Unless you are recreating Operation Dragonfire where the Night Viper is oddly Cobra’s default trooper). The colors are good and the uniform design is good overall, but the torso of the figure inhibits arm posing too much for my tastes. Also, it hard to take photos of him in his natural environment.

    Hasbro pushed a lot of night ops stuff in the early 2000’s but never reissued the ARAH Night Viper. Strange and a real shame. And they waited until the very last wave of “new sculpt” to make Night Vipers in that format. (I don’t own that figure and the only modern Night Viper i have I never opened.)

  2. Mike T. says:

    Night Viper’s were the most expensive vintage army builder as we headed into 2001. They were kind of hard to find and one sold for $36. (At the time, more than any Night Force figure or Starduster.) But, once the Funskool versions showed up, the prices plummeted. No Joe dealer could keep the Night Viper in stock for about a year or two. They’d sell out in a day, double their order, and sell out in two days. Eventually, demand was sated and you could get them whenever you wanted. But, vintage pricing was permanently affected. (Which was a good thing.)

    Black Major proved that this mold had some potential, but not a lot. I really like the grey version since it fits with the Stinger and Hiss. But, the all black version is boring and the rest of the repaints are too niche for a mainstream release. Even the club bungled their release by keeping the same general color palette.

    But, I only bought on retail figure between mid 1988 and late 1992 and it was the Night Viper. I bought him at a Kohl’s store during my lunch 1/2 hour one day in the summer. His cardback (with bubble attached) was stored in a Banana Republic bag and sat on a top shelf in a closet in my parent’s house until 2013.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    It’s a nice figure, and would’ve been nice to see Hasbro attempt a few things with it in the 2000s. However it’s also one of those figures that was pretty much done as well as it could be, the first time.

    I like the overall Night Viper design, but I think Hasbro went a little too far in terms of the accessories. The visor and scope didn’t really need to be two separate pieces, and the clip on gun was a little janky too.

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