2004 Tele-Viper (Python Patrol)

2004 Tele-Viper (Python Patrol)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a New-Sculpt era figure, though as always I know only a very, very small contingent of people still care about these. The modern attitude towards these figures seems to almost represent toy collectors in a nutshell, where the newest, coolest thing renders the old thing obsolete, because the new thing is superior and caters to contemporary trends and interest, only to be made dated and obsolete by the next new thing, which is superior, modern and everything you wanted until the next new thing… It’s an unending cycle of consumerism. With GI Joe, it’s especially pronounced since virtually no part of the brand has had staying-power since ARAH.

Which sort of leads into me implying that the Spy Troops Tele-Viper is actually a fantastic and underrated sculpt . It’s not. The toy has terrible proportions and soft-sculpting to an extent that actually looks worse than the ‘85 Tele-Viper, which is 19 years older than it. His arms are a pair of logs, he has no waist, and the head’s sort of small. It all makes for a figure that looks cheaper than it should be, but there’s still some charm to be had here; just not in the sculpt.

As a toy, the Tele-Viper (in this case, Python Patrol Tele-Viper) is pretty fun. It’s mainly for his parts, which I’ll get to below, but the toy is still playable and has the same basic charms ARAH figures did in the 80‘s. Comparatively, there aren’t very many 1/18 scale figures that are as fun to fiddle with, even to this day. Most of what you see today is collector targeted, making it expensive, fragile, and typically rather drab. Among this figure’s contemporaries, there’s barely anything to make note of besides some crumby The Corps! figures. Spin Master makes the new DC/Batman figures, and those are probably the only modern things I can think of that compare pretty well as toys.

This Python Patrol Tele-Viper has my favorite version of the Python Patrol color-scheme. It’s mostly gray, with a black and red grid pattern on a few bits, and some gold. It’s very drab and muted, but the poopy adult in me thinks it looks pretty good. The prior Spy Troops release of the mold had some pretty punchy colors between the purple and the bright, contrasting details, so a more muted figure is welcome for the repaint.

gi joe hasbro vintage valor vs venom 2000's 2003

His parts are actually cool! I feel like I spend my accessories paragraph typically bitching about Sound-Attack tabs, Rock-Viper rifles, random Ninja Force parts with 80‘s figures and other such problems, but this toy has some okay gear. Included is a microphone, a walkie-talkie, a shoulder radio, a Streetsweeper shotgun, and a pistol. The easily lost microphone feels like an unwanted flashback to every lost mic in the past, but it looks nice on the figure either way. The walkie-talkie is extremely small and not as fun as Firefly’s classic part, but again, it looks okay, and is much better with a figure that has smaller hands.

The Streetsweeper is particularly odd as an inclusion, though I love it and am very glad it exists. In real life this is a somewhat obscure and odd weapon from the 80‘s, originally sold in Rhodesia as the Striker. The Rhodesia tie especially makes this gun interesting to me, since that’s where Major Bludd’s wanted for war crimes. It was later simplified into the Streetsweeper, with several important features removed when it was sold in the US. Because it’s extremely shitty, it found a better life as a prop-gun for movies and the like. The details only seem okay on the GI Joe version of this gun, but it’s nicely scaled and not even too scary for vintage hands; in particular, I used to give it to Motor Vipers a lot as a weapon they could ride with.

You don’t see these left to open pricing so much, but when you do, the figure might fetch $7 at best. It took 90‘s Joes thirty years to present much value on the market, so I’ll be curious if anyone starts to miss Valor vs Venom by 2032. To be honest, I still don’t think there’s that much 90‘s nostalgia, so I’m very doubtful we’ll ever see interest return to these 00‘s sculpts. In a broader sense, most of the nostalgia-driven culture we see today is really just escapism from the bleak reality that is life in the post-millennium. If better times ever come, you’ll probably not see this to such an obnoxious extent.

gi joe hasbro vintage valor vs venom 2000's 2003 gi joe hasbro vintage valor vs venom 2000's 2003 gi joe hasbro vintage valor vs venom 2000's 2003

2004 Tele-Viper (Python Patrol):


Half the Battle

Streetsweeper at Forgotten Weapons

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5 Responses to 2004 Tele-Viper (Python Patrol)

  1. Mike T. says:

    The original Wave V Tele Viper was initially not included in the Wave V case. So, there was a perception that the Tele Viper was rare. So, the mold was pretty popular at the time with each release. The small gear was odd and, were it vintage, would have made this guy stupidly expensive.

    It’s funny you mention the Spinmaster Batman figures. They are almost exact matches for the JvC era figures. They have the big hands and general proportions of the Joe figs from two decades earlier. And, they are about the only real action figures meant as toys and not collectibles that are on the market today. My affinity for them may be driven by my remaining nostalgia for the JvC era.

    • Mr. Acer says:

      Agreed on the Spin Master DC figures. (Though the hands aren’t so big on some of them, in my opinion.) I do wish I’d gotten in earlier, otherwise I wouldn’t have missed out on Lex Luthor and Talon.

      • Mike T. says:

        They’ve just released a new Luthor in a boxed set. And, if you can find them, there is a 2022 wave just coming out now that re-releases Luthor.

        Talon is cool. He comes with an owl that attaches to his back. They’ve re-released a bunch of the 2020 figures. So, a repaint of Talon might be in the cards.

  2. Dak Knomadd says:

    I found one of these guys in a nationwide scavenger hunt that was happening on a couple of the forums around 2009 or so. I honestly don’t even remember if he had any/all of his gear. The colors help him be less aggressively as bad as most of his contemporaries.

  3. A-Man says:

    Technically the packaging doesn’t mention Python Patrol at all, which was strange.
    Also, this introduces a 3rd generation Python Patrol scheme, grey non-pythonized base and black with red pattern. I’m going to counter your opinion, it’s a bit of a cheat, I think, to skimp on the python pattern or a concession that the pattern isn’t realistic, so it’s downplayed. Either go Python or not. The current Python Patrol Classified release are worse, like the first official Python Patrol BAT, whose sole snake pattern is on its removable chest plate. It’s Python Patrol for people who hate python patterns, which is apparently Hasbro, too.

    You think the head is small, but it’s a melon compared to his pin-head pack mate, the Viper, which people hilarious tried to defend back in the day. Hey, there’s supposed to be a human head in there. It’s also amusing the Tele-Viper looks bigger and tougher than the infantryman.

    That said, this Tele-Viper, with the mold quirks you mentioned already, was a decent release. I had two or three of these two-packs. Though, I got a pack with a deformed torso that had a hole in the side, meant to return it, never did.

    I was going to defend THE CORPS, but they don’t even arrive at stores anymore and they refuse to give up reissuing t-crotch molds that are over 10 years old, as well as figures with 3 to 5 points of articulation. There’s something wrong with an action figure line where you get 3 very differently articulated figures in a set.

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