2004 Red Ninja Viper

2004 Red Ninja Viper

Most of the TRU exclusive 6-packs from ‘03 through ‘05 were invalidated by the Black Major. Many of these were and still are cool figures, though often flawed in enough ways that a few years of high quality bootlegs could easily replace them. Such is the case with the Red Ninja Viper, as although TBM’s Storm Shadow bootlegs have some quality issues too, these figures are probably even worse. I find novelty value in these figures still, so here’s some paragraphs on what that is.

I was not buying GI Joe toys in 2004, so I missed out on the initial run of this guy as well as all of the other Valor vs Venom releases. I didn’t get to go to Toys R” Us often as a kid, so I didn’t even know about these sets until some time around ‘05. Had items like this been more available to me, I probably would’ve bought them. Back then, I wanted GI Joe figures that looked familiar and somewhat subdued like these, and not the more goofy looking things they were pumping out in the retail line (Venomous Maximus, eww…). That’s not to say I think Hasbro would’ve been better off relying on then 20 year-old molds for the main line, though the direction and overall branding with Valor vs Venom was a mistake that cost them my interest in the line.

The Red Ninja Viper has some pretty snazzy colors. He’s very drab and muddy compared to Agentina’s Satan or TBM’s Red Ninja. I’m sure at the time I might’ve been upset he wasn’t brighter and didn’t blend better with my vintage ninjas, but now I have TBM’s figure, so I can enjoy this guy as something different. It appears he has the same paint masks as the Black Dragon Ninja who also comes included in his set. This picks out all of the mold’s important details and even paints his gauntlet and arm-bands a separate color, which is nice. Also featured in his paint job is some ARAHC-style wash or paint-wipes. I think the figure would’ve looked better with clean plastic, but it doesn’t kill it for me.

The real downfall of this figure is that the plastic quality is complete crap. When I acquired my first pair, one of the figures immediately crumbled at the shoulder. Apparently, these having poor quality plastic is a fairly well documented issue, and it definitely lowers them a lot now that TBM’s figures are floating around. I would probably still be army-building this guy right now, but knowing there’s a chance the figure will spontaneously crumble does a lot to point my interest elsewhere. Feeling them in hand, the plastic is shoddier than even something like ‘97 line, and it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say these are some of the worst feeling figures I’ve ever touched.

For parts, he includes only the bow and arrow from ‘02 Scarlet, ‘93 Snake Eye’s sword and knife, and the curved sword from ‘92 Nunchuck. You couldn’t have found a worse part to give this figure if you tried with the bow and arrow. They’re parts meant for Scarlet’s crossbow, so they look dumb and the figure can’t even use them. A figure like this is hurt for not including the original Storm Shadow accessories, but almost anything else would’ve been better than this. The other parts are okay comparatively, though there’s something to be said for how badly out of place it looks for a figure from nearly the beginning of the line, to be paired with parts from the end.

Red Ninja Vipers seem to hit around $15, usually with some amount of their generic gear (it’s hard to say what a “complete” figure is, since there’s two identical figures in the Ninja Cobra Strike Team, with separate sets of parts). I like the colors on this figure enough that I’m still tempted for more, but the quality being this bad kills that notion for me. Spending that much money on a figure that could crumble just while handling it seems like a really bad idea, especially when TBM figures are out there as an alternative.

gi joe tru six pack hasbro valor vs venom toygi joe tru six pack hasbro valor vs venom toy

2004 Red Ninja Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Joe A Day

Half the Battle

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One Response to 2004 Red Ninja Viper

  1. Mike T. says:

    I’ve never seen a brand tank as quickly at retail as Joe did between 2003 and 2004. As 2003 wound down, Hasbro couldn’t make enough Joes. Spy Troops was a hit…though I think a big part of the uptick in Joe sales was also cultural.

    But, man, once it switched to Venom vs. Valor in early 2004, the figs were everywhere and did not move for months. It’s like all the air was just sucked from the brand in the span of a couple of weeks.

    The quality on these isn’t good. And, the gear didn’t help. The fact there’s not at least 1 set of V1 Stormshadow gear in the set remains a travesty.

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