1994 Viper

1994 Viper

Although I’ve actually talked about the Battle Corps Viper on here before, that post was from a different time, years ago, when I hadn’t really figured out what was doing with this blog. That’s important to note, because rehashing old topics isn’t really something I feel like doing, yet I have a lot I want to say about this figure, so he’s kind of an exception to that.

Without a doubt, the Battle Corps Viper is one of the coolest Battle Corps toys, and honestly one of the best Vipers ever made. I don’t think he’s better than the original Viper’s design, just because I can’t really see this one filling the same role that that figure does. This version of the Viper looks less utilitarian, and more like an intimidating soldier of the future, with state-of-the-art gear that can take a few hits. He’s been various things to me at various points, though what I’ve settled on is an elite soldier in top-class combat gear. He can move quickly, but also take repeated gun shots without stopping. Perhaps this figure’s only flaw is that he looks like something more than just a basic Viper.

There’s so much detail going on with this sculpt to comment on. The look of his helmet is both unique among GI Joe designs, but also reminiscent of something a little pulpy and old. Personally it kind of reminds me of something you’d have seen out of Japan from decades prior, like the Cyborg Men from Cyborg 009, or maybe a little like Hakaider (though, it’s probably the pointy shoulders that remind me more of Hakaider). It cements them in my mind as intimidating foes; though it’s also an interesting direction they took with the Viper’s design. Making this connection and then thinking about the live-action GI Joe advertisement from the time, I’m left wondering if Tokusatsu was an inspiration behind this look. Probably a stretch, but nerds have always liked Japan, so maybe not too unrealistic.

This figure’s always been a favorite of mine, though my opinions have come and gone on his colors. Back in my teenage years I used to stare at this figure, and contemplate what he could’ve been with better colors. Of course, there was the drool worthy Iron Anvil figure floating around, which for a while I wanted much more than this one. Then at some point, my opinions flipped, and I’ve been stuck ever since feeling like the Iron Anvil was shallow and largely a missed opportunity for something else, while this figure became the more interesting usage of the mold in my mind. I think part of that’s because both visually and in terms of story, the Iron Anvil doesn’t really have anything new going on, where as this guy seems more like an interesting and unique Cobra, that doesn’t look just like every other figure in his faction.

This mold still could’ve been so much. With how expensive and tedious factory customs have become, someone like TBM bringing back this sculpt could really reel me back in from my recent wave of disinterest. Coil colors, Red Shadows, Arctic, Jungle, Cobra CAT… Heck, put out a Cobra La color-scheme reminiscent of the Royal Guard. It’s really just a shame that such a solid sculpt was only reused once, and in none other than the Iron Grenadier “magic-sauce” colors.

For parts, you get Monkeywrench’s speargun, a ’91 Toxo Viper pistol, ’92 Spirit’s pistol, the Hydro Viper’s knife, and a figure stand all in bright red, with a requisite missile launcher and missiles (‘93 Alley Viper’s). From when I was a kid until now, I really loved how that Toxo Viper pistol looked with him. In my mind, this was an experimental and highly dangerous weapon, like a railgun, that could even penetrate tank armor. Some of his gear takes a little imagination to rationalize, but I like it more than I really should. Plus, if you use the logic of an FPS game, that trident-launcher is probably the most deadly weapon after a riot-shield.

A ‘94 Viper will now run you around $15 for a complete example, but you can get partless figures for army-building for around $8. Unfortunately though, this figure has gotten a lot harder to find. Most of that probably has to do with eBay’s seller policies being so crappy now, compared to years ago, but regardless you won’t find figures like this as often as you used to. When you can find them though, he’s relatively cheap for a ‘94 figure, which is still a nice thing to see.

Battle Corps Viper 1994 Gi joe hasbro cobra vintage Battle Corps Viper 1994 Gi joe hasbro cobra vintageBattle Corps Viper 1994 Gi joe hasbro cobra vintage

1994 Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

3D Joes

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2 Responses to 1994 Viper

  1. Josh Z says:

    Hasbro’s mistake with this figure was naming it just Viper when it definitely looks like it should be a specialty trooper, not basic infantry. It looks to me like it was probably designed as part of Star Brigade. A new Star Viper, perhaps?

  2. Mike T. says:

    This remains one of my favorite later release army builders. I found two of them at retail and they were my first “army builder”, per se. I see them as unsupported infantry troopers who attack cities or physical installations and then quickly leave. The 1986 Viper is more for long term military sieges or unsupported operations.

    Your use of the red weapons is inspired. I always used the two pistols with them. And, like you, I viewed them as super powerful weapons that were capable of massive destruction for something their size. I did also give them a black Ambush rifle from the 1994 Flint and still love that look for them.

    I do wonder if Hasbro would have repainted this figure in 1995. The comic showed them with green uniforms and golden helmets, similar to the Aero Viper. I’d have liked that look. Getting one of these in the Viper Pit set would have also made that release more palatable. I just can’t get behind the Iron Anvil. It’s neat. But, it’s almost too much. And, I’m not a huge fan of Iron Grenadiers in general.

    These guys were getting nuts last year with some mint and complete ones hitting $40 on Facebook. But, the morons there are starting to run out of money and prices are starting to soften up on all but the most desirable stuff.

    I’ve also noticed that these Vipers are starting to discolor. In some cases, very badly. They turn a dark purple. So, it’s not as noticable unless you’re a fan of the figure or if the figure discolors unevenly, which seems to be common. The upper arms go first. And, the elbows sometimes turn white, too. You never used to see discoloration on ’90’s figs. But, now, it’s almost common.

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