1994 Techno Viper

1994 Techno Viper

1994 and the Star Brigade line in particular are memorable for the amount of tooling Hasbro recycled during that period. One source of repaints came via the drivers for the obscure Power-Fighters, which included Gears for the Joes and a Techno Viper for Cobra. Just for being seldom seen and offering alternatives for some good sculpts, they’re fun repaints, though, that’s about the extent of what you can say about them.

Like a lot of collectors, I’m really fond of Techno Vipers. They do a great job filling a support role for Cobra in a way that’s a lot more fun than the Tele-Viper. I like Tele-Vipers too, but that figure is arguably the worst sculpt from ‘85, while the Techno Viper has little competition for the best Cobra from ‘87. Despite that, there’s only one solid variation of the Techno Viper, and it’s this repaint from the very tail-end of the line.

You never really see this Techno Viper or Gears very much, even by 1994 standards. I attribute some of that to the fact that the Power-Fighters never got out very well, and to this day are hard to find items. It’s also worth mentioning that on top of that, the Power-Fighters are awful toys, and the only reason you’d want the sets is for the odd repaint drivers.

The ‘94 Techno Viper is a solid recolor which for the most part, has darker colors than the toy it’s based on. It’s also a lot worse looking than the original Techno Viper, mainly because so many paint applications were cut for this release. On a figure like Gears, that really didn’t hurt the Barricade sculpt too bad. However, the V1 Techno Viper was a very detailed and well-painted figure, which makes this ‘94 release look much worse by comparison. There’s a lot of blank space on the ‘94 release, where the paint is so sparse he doesn’t even have a Cobra symbol. The helmet too, is a particular area where I feel the toy is bowdlerized compared to the original, featuring only two colors compared to four.

Early production samples of this figure feature all of the copper colors replaced with bright yellow. You can see pictures of this variant on the back of the box (3D Joes), which implies to me it was changed to copper a bit later in the production process. It’s a curious thing that they swapped the colors like that, though I must say I’m glad, because this figure would be way worse with the yellow.

In my collection, this figure has often had the role of an officer, a generic idea I often apply to one-off repaints. Sadly, there’s not much else to do with a figure like this. Army-building this figure is far from easy, likewise, there’s no other practical role or niche to put him in. So for that, he defaults to being a simple team leader. I enjoy him in this role, and have sometimes contemplated him being a unique character akin to Skullbuster. Still, I’ve never found him important enough to develop that idea much further.

1994 Techno Vipers are very hard to find, and costly too. Last one on eBay as of this writing sold for $92, probably a little more than it was worth, but it’s what you can expect to pay if you want one. These have always been on the pricey end, and I have to say I find it amusing how figures like this one haven’t increased in value parallel to V1 Cobra Commanders and Funskool Sky Divers. I suppose that speaks to how niche this figure remains, and for that, it’s pretty interesting.

When I was 15 I thought this was clever. Fun times.

1994 Techno Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

3D Joes

Half the Battle

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4 Responses to 1994 Techno Viper

  1. Mike T. says:

    You win the Joe fan of the month for October for using the word “bowdlerized”.

    This figure is an odd duck for sure. There are production samples of the figure in green. (Gears, too.) But, there’s like 4 of them and the owners don’t want anyone to know they exist. It’s a near certainty that Hasbro had the mold in the 2000’s. This guy in the Python Patrol or Urban Assault would have been a really nice repaint. Sadly, I don’t think there’s enough market for factory custom makers to ever revisit him.

    A bunch of these showed up in Asia in the mid to late 2000’s. Gears, too. As the Techno didn’t include any accessories, it’s impossible to know if a figure is Asian overstock or a retail figure. But, they’re the same. I remember lots of 4 or 5 selling for maybe $30 at the time. It’s one of those weird finds that I wish I could have taken advantage of.

    I actually found this guy’s filecard in the bottom of a box of figures at a local comic shop. It’s one of the more obscure finds I’ve had. Yet, this store also had a little box of weapons for $1 each that included Starduster’s gear, Keel Haul’s pistol, all of the 1988 and 1989 Night Force gear, Listen & Fun Tripwire’s gear, both ’86 Slaughter batons and 2 Sneak Peek mics. Finds like that made collecting fun and their absence is a big reason why the joy has been sucked out of the Joe world.

    • A-Man says:

      I should’ve bought some of those Chinese Techno-Vipers, too.
      And Street Fighter Movie Chun-Li

      But that was when there was a lot of stuff to buy and at reasonable prices. Now we have crazy aftermarket prices, $13 modern figures that never arrived at Walmarts, with *cough*certainhordingandscalpingcollectorsmakingthesituationevenworse*cough*

  2. Mr. Acer says:

    I have a feeling that if they’d gone with the yellow highlights, those Techno-Vipers would probably pair well with the 1993 Dr. Mindbender.

  3. R.T.G. says:

    The 94 Techno Viper sure is a strange figure, he’s such an old mold for Hasbro to be dusting off at the time (though, I guess the 88 Astro Viper was similar), and he looks quite neat.

    I never bought him from those weird Chinese sellers, and I regret it.

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