2002 Fast Blast Viper

2002 Fast Blast Viper

The 2002 BJ’s 8-pack captivates me probably far more than it should, but it’s one of those things that’s just so odd for existing that I can’t help but look at it every now and then. Among the 4 Cobras included in the set is the Fast Blast Viper, a carry-forward of the HEAT Viper retool from ARAHC. I’m not a huge fan of the V1 HEAT Viper, or the Fast Blast Viper, but this figure is probably the more interesting take on the design.

Armed with specially designed battlefield weapons, FAST BLAST VIPERS are sent out to lead an attack with only one objective: stop G.I. JOE forces. Each one has learned to withstand tough battlefield conditions. They obey every order from COBRA COMMANDER instantly and without question. To make them formidable, FAST BLAST VIPERS have been trained to wipe out any fear or hesitation in attack situations—they show no emotion no matter what happens. They are mean and aggressive opponents with many combat skills and are tough enemies of the G.I. JOE team.
“We fight until we win.”

The Fast Blast Viper is a fairly vague entity who as a character I don’t like very much. If you read the file card included with this toy, it’s actually amazing how it manages to say so little about what he is, in so many sentences. “Fast Blast Vipers fear nothing… do exactly what Cobra Commanders says… are good at everything, blah, blah, blah”. What on earth is he supposed to be? Obviously, the answer to that is nothing, but that still doesn’t render the figure useless. This red repaint in particular makes a nice grunt for stuffing in vehicles and pairing with other crimson figures. I don’t mind it, but I wish Hasbro’s laziness was a little less transparent here.

Like the rest of his pack-mates, the BJ’s Fast Blast Viper is decked out in Crimson Guard-esque red colors. One of the curious problems of the BJ’s 8-pack is that no two of the figures really have a matching color scheme despite all being red, though the Fast Blast Viper here probably came out on top for the usage of black and gold on his details (compared to an Undertow with bits of gray, a Storm Shadow with brown, and Firefly with copper and gray). It’s a good look and provides some options for the FBV, who doesn’t serve much of a purpose if you already have or like HEAT Vipers in your collection. To be honest, this is probably the second best usage of the HEAT Viper mold after the Python Patrol variant from 2003.

I never really liked the mold changes made to the FBV over the ‘89 HEAT Viper. The balaclava head is generic and doesn’t provide much benefit to the figure, even if the original HEAT Viper head was a weird asymmetrical design. Other than that, they went out of their way to remove the shoulder peg from the original sculpt, which really didn’t benefit the figure any and leaves behind this weird tab where it should’ve been. None of this really ruins the figure, and in his own right the FBV is something that looks pretty good, I just don’t understand why Hasbro made these seemingly pointless tooling changes.

The parts are an obvious area where this figure is going to lose out. You get a Sound Attack version of the Spearhead rifle, a Hit & Run knife, ‘91 Dusty pistol, and a ‘91 Sci-Fi gun. All very generic stuff you should have piles of if you’ve ever collected 90‘s and 00‘s Joes, and a poor selection of gear at that. I used to really mind this figure’s lack of missiles for his legs, but really he looks fine without them, and all they really do is make me nervous one’s going to fall off.

From the looks of it, this figure has gotten a little bit harder to find than his black counterpart. Despite this, it’s still safe to say that the BJ’s Fast Blast Viper is worth less than the black one, and you can find them from time to time for probably $6 to $8. Usually they’re more often in lots, and without parts as many of the ones you see on the market are likely the Chinese overstock that was saturating eBay a few years back. Like the figures he’s packaged with, it’s a toy no one’s collection desperately needs, but it’s nice to have if you like crimson figures.

2002 Fast Blast Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle


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4 Responses to 2002 Fast Blast Viper

  1. Mike T. says:

    I’m a fan of this figure just because it’s really nicely done. It was rare to get convention level paint apps on a retail figure, even in 2002. So, this guy’s nice combo works for me. I don’t have a ton of uses for a red FBV, but he works as a gunner or crew on a STUN or SMS.

    At the time, the pegwarming Wave 1 Neo Viper included 6 leg missiles that worked for this figure. So, I got a few sets of those and have the full FBV gear for my BJ’s figs.

    The BJ’s set was terrible in that it wasn’t available in large parts of the country. Imagine a regional exclusive today that wasn’t available online! The community would simply cease to exist under it’s own misery.

    • A-Man says:

      It was eventually available from webstores. Because I found out it was also terrible that the pointless oversized box made shipping costs higher for the set. I bought two sets from Entertainment Earth. Why two?…I guess I still gave a damn that much at the time.

  2. A-Man says:

    It’s funny their GI JOE vs Cobra Official Handbook (a kid aimed book that has file cards info and art) entry says “Branch Field Commander” Their average height is 5′ 10″ and weight 185 lbs. Their stats are 90% offense, 80% defense, 30% vehicle, 10% tech. Their attack/defense stats are better than Destro’s and the same as Storm Shadow’s! These guys are Cobra’s best, it seems. LOL

    They should’ve made a Navy version called Fast Ballast Viper. *snicker*

    Oh, the head swap doesn’t work the more I’ve dwelt on it over the years. HEAT-Viper has this elaborate uniform and then to top it off with a smooth scuba mask doesn’t mesh. But at least he doesn’t have a tight fitting mask to rub off the Cobra emblem.

    I have 13 of these jerks after finally caving in and buying some from China, before they all vanished, like the Undertows and Fireflies did (I think a certain factory customizer bought most of those) Actually they still have them but not in lots. Not sure why he’s lingered just a big supply, or not appealing to fickle army builders. The red is limiting to me. That might be part of it. These in Cobra blue or even the original black probably would’ve been long gone.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    I bought like four of these from China last year, for some reason. I think it was the fact that I’d been skipping over them since like 2007, made me do it.

    It’s an odd figure, in that he doesn’t really match too well with the rest of the set, as the colours on this one are way more vibrant than the Firefly, Undertow or Storm Shadow. I’m probably extrapolating, but I wonder if this figure was intended to be the parachute figure at the 2002 Convention. It matches the scheme perfectly, and at the time the FBV was a pretty popular figure online (the 2001 version was only available for a short time)

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