1987 Techno-Viper

1987 Techno Viper

At a glance, I would’ve one time told you that the worst year of ARAH figures was 1987. It’s a very unique line-up of toys, as in the course of about three years you go from mildly realistic contemporary military costumes in 1985, futuristic sci-fi designs for 1986, and then you wind up on 1987, which mixes pulp fiction with super-villains. It’s an unappealing transition, but even among the wacky designs, there’s hardly a figure from ‘87 that’s truly bad (And that one figure is probably Golobulus.). A few figures are even stand-out classics, like Falcon and Outback; for the Cobras, it’s easily the Techno-Viper.

Besides that I like the figure a lot, I realize I don’t have many substantial observations to make about the Techno-Viper. I think part of that’s because I’m a little nostalgic for this figure, which is something I don’t often feel about GI Joes, or much of anything. This was one of the first Joes I bought when I got into collecting vintage stuff when I was around 15, along with V1 Major Bludd, a Lamprey and a Stinger Driver. I think that’s a bit of an odd scenario, since I know most of you didn’t buy toys as a teenager, and likewise, I think people are usually more nostalgic for their early childhood. For me though, it was a good time: toys were cheap, and I didn’t have much better to do than daydream about plastic terrorists from the Cold War, and occasionally take some odd photos of them while learning how to do that. I still sometimes think about that mish-mash selection of Cobras going on missions, only for the fact that I got them at roughly the same time.

There’s a lot going on with the Techno-Viper that makes him such a cool figure. I think first and foremost the idea is a lot of fun. They’re basically combat engineers and maybe a little more, which makes them versatile characters you can always pepper in to a few scenarios. As the only generic, single-carded Cobra in his year, having a guy who mostly only fills a support role seems a little tame, but he works as a nice replacement for the Tele-Viper who would’ve been discontinued by this point, and he’s a little more action-oriented than that figure too.

Another thing they have going for them is looks: The Techno-Viper is one of the most visually appealing Cobras ever created. The purple and dark-purple colors are really eye-catching, and do nicely to compliment Dr. Mindbender. It’s a really well painted figure, and all of the major details and elements present on the sculpt are highlighted with a few colors of paint. The only thing about the sculpt I’ve never been to keen on his his helmet: it’s a little soft looking and more vaguely shaped than what you see on his card art, the size and paint on it are still very good though.

Finally, his accessories are absolute winners. He includes a hydraulic clamp (usually called a claw, but I think the card calls it a clamp), a sledgehammer, a wrench, a plasma rifle, a backpack and two hoses that hookup his tools to his backpack. There’s a lot of fun that could be had posing him with his various tools, and it’s very nice they have thin handles that let him hold them really easily. Without his parts, this is still a very fun figure with some uses, but these accessories are really one of the main factors that make him stand out.

V1 Techno Vipers remain relatively affordable figures most of the time. In general you can get a good one, mint and complete for around $13; BiN’s commonly go for around $20. This figure is especially prone to elbow cracks, so you might want to look out for that when buying one. Oddly, I’ve noticed prices can be really inconsistent on some of these, where sometimes figures with a lot of damage will outprice relatively mint examples. In particular, the elbow cracks don’t seem to stop people from randomly paying way more for a figure.

GI Joe ARAH Techno-Viper Cobra 1987 figureGI Joe ARAH Techno-Viper Cobra 1987 figureGI Joe ARAH Techno-Viper Cobra 1987 figureGI Joe ARAH Techno-Viper Cobra 1987 figureGI Joe ARAH Techno-Viper Cobra 1987 figure

1987 Techno Viper Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

3D Joes

Joe A Day

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4 Responses to 1987 Techno-Viper

  1. A-Man says:

    Seeing the head more matching the card art more in Modern style, I came to prefer the original toy. The robot bulldog look doesn’t work for me. Though Hasbro’s Mark Pennigton noted he was inspired by the Cylon from Battlestar Galactica. I never made the connection, but it seems obvious now. Like I never made the connection that Darklon was inspired by Predator (the design was edited to remove some wild mane of hair Pennigton had designed for the character), and there’s aspects that seems obvious now.

    I always liked Techno-Viper but they continued the slide from Cobra from improbable military/terrorist group into pure science fiction villains. The purple ties into Mindbender and Tele-Viper’s vest, too. Like purple was Cobra’s tech color, but we can’t have that consistency last.

  2. Sam Smith says:

    “I know most of you didn’t buy toys as a teenager”

    ^ Actually, I’m willing to wager that *all* of your readers were buying toys as teenagers lolol ? myself included (tho it may not have been GI Joe anymore).

  3. R.T.G. says:

    I didn’t buy a Techno Viper, until 2018 or so. It was an oddity, but one of those things where I don’t even know if I’d ever seen one in person until that point.

    I have to say, because of the purple base colour, I have trouble viewing this figure without thinking of the generic foot soldier enemies in the TMNT arcade game. It’s a cool figure and all, and the idea behind it is useful. Still that’s the first thing I see.

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