The Neo-Viper part 2
(continued from part 1) So a few months after I read that article in ToyFare I had the first wave of G.I. Joe vs Cobra figures in my hands. I was so stoked to have new G.I. Joes; updated versions of favorite characters from my childhood plus an influx of new characters. This was the beginning of the new-sculpt era. It seemed to be a real back-to-basics relaunch without all the goofy neon colors and gigantic missile firing weapons that plagued the last few years of the original toyline. But as excited as I was about these new Joes they were far from perfect. I’ll address the main issue first; they were called “new-sculpt” figures for a reason. It’s because the sculpts were dramatically different from the 80s era Joes we were used to. These guys were constructed more like Joe knock-offs that you would buy at a discount store. (I’m looking at you CORPS figures). One of the things they made Joes so great back in the day was their freedom of movement. They had ball-jointed heads, swivel arms, twisty waists and the little rubber washer in their center (the O-Ring) allowed them to move in all kinds of ways. They could do the splits if they wanted to. Han Solo could never do that. Well the new-sculpt figures had done away with the O-Ring and opted for a more simple and stiff design. I apologize for bringing attention to the groin of this fellow but if you notice it’s very square and flat. This became known as the “T-crotch” in the collector community. It only allows for basic forward/backward movement with no ability to kick to the side or widen the figures stance. This was the mark of a cheaper figure and fans did not like it. Another problem with the new figures was the packaging. Joes had always had cool packaging with a unique painting of whatever character you were buying on the blister card. This makes mint-on-card vintage Joes very desirable because the packaging is art in and of itself and looks cool when displayed. These new figures had very generic packaging and were not very desirable to “on-card” collectors.
Crotch and packaging issues aside, it was nice to have new G.I. Joe figures available for purchase at retail. The initial wave of 12 figures seemed to be a success so additional figures and vehicles followed. It’s pretty standard in the action figure world to release re-paints of previously released figures as a cost-saving measure so, sure enough, re-paints of the first wave figures quickly started showing up. I really liked the Neo-Viper so I didn’t mind buying this second version in white. He is an infantry trooper after all so it makes sense to have more than one. The problem with the 2-packs though is that every time I bought a Neo-Viper I got stuck with another Frostbite, who was an individual Joe character; not a trooper.
I imagine the white Neo-Viper to be a snow trooper and he was a welcome addition to my Cobra army who was short an arctic specialist at the time. 7 out of 10.