1989 Python Viper

1989 Python Viper

Viper repaints are something I like; Python Patrol repaints are another thing I like. Naturally, I like the Python Viper a lot because of this, but that’s not much of a surprise. It’s not a figure that does anything particularly amazing, though at face value it’s probably the best Viper repaint ever made, which by extension makes it the best Python Patrol figure ever made too.

The Python Patrol as a whole, is a set that works best in harmony with each other, though not so much piecemeal. Each figure’s colors pulls off another in various ways, which makes oddball repaints like the Python Crimson Guard look much more reasonable when in the company of the Python Viper and Tele-Viper. I think that’s part of why some fans desire a requisite Python repaint for virtually every Cobra, since they have a nice aesthetic and represent an interesting idea, though not many figures outside of their group really match with them much.

I never got to read most of the Marvel comics until just recently, and the comic’s take on them as stealth units being deployed by Darklon in eastern Europe struck me as an interesting idea. In particular, I’ve always viewed them as Cobra’s jungle fighters, since that’s what almost everything else seems to pin them as, including the fact that they’re the Cobra analog to the Tiger Force. Besides that though, pairing them with Darklon and other contemporary Cobra’s is antithetical to my view of them as a harmonious set; it’s cool, but I still don’t think it looks as good in practice.

The Python Viper is very nice for several reasons. One is that his colors are mostly gray and black with some yellow details, which is pretty much the perfect ratio of drab to bright colors for a GI Joe figure. The brighter gray is also very nice for appreciating the sculpted details of the Viper mold, which are much easier to overlook on the original blue and black colors. Other than that, it’s cool because it’s different. That may sound dismissive, but army-builder repaints like the Python Patrol are usually a little superfluous like that.

You get the same rifle and backpack from the ‘86 Viper, just now in black. It’s a simple kit that works, and while the light-gray weapons were originally something I didn’t mind, the Viper rifle looks much more convincing in darker colors. I would like them even more if I actually owned some, though Python Patrol gear always runs up the price of a figure more than I feel like it’s worth. If given the choice, I’d rather have two Vipers with replacement guns than one that’s complete.

I feel like prices are faltering some on Python Patrol items, at least from the height of the post-covid market. Oddball auctions for Vipers are starting trend lower, though just a few months ago there were still tons that were hitting upwards of $40. Incomplete figures usually go for less than $20, which is a slightly more reasonable amount. I get the sneaking feeling the prices on the Python Patrol got pushed way up by that wave of post-covid speculators, and a lot of morons who were hoarding oddities as “investments”. I like these a lot, but I won’t be getting any more until prices come down.

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1989 Python Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Joe A Day

Half the Battle


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2 Responses to 1989 Python Viper

  1. A-Man says:

    I remember when online fans were largely dismissive of the whole Python Patrol team because “anything made after 1986 sucks.” And the comic purists pushed the team as Darklon’s forces.

    I never saw Python Patrol as a jungle team. I was disappointed they didn’t get more recolored Joe vehicles and had nothing to tow the ASP.

    The Viper benefits from the all grey, because it deceives us into thinking he has more python pattern than he does, but the pants really have none. But why the black shoulder rivets?

  2. Sam Smith says:

    It is true that there are few figures that look good next to the Python Viper. But here are two: (1) 2002 Serpentor and (2) 1993 Alley Viper v2. The blacks among these three figures feels fairly consistent. The yellows are not perfect matches, but close enough to look good together.

    In my head cannon, each version of the Viper (86, 89, and 91) are the foot soldiers for different/competing factions of Cobra. Cobra Commander controls the blue 86 Vipers. The Python Vipers are loyal to 2002 Serpentor. And the 91 SF Vipers are loyal to Overlord.

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