Joe-Frag Viper v1 fullG.I. JOE

In my Darklon review the other day I told you how 1988 was the final year that Doug and I collected the entire wave of G.I. Joe figures released that year.  But we were still going pretty strong in 1989 collecting 11 of the 17 carded figures released.  Of the 6 we passed on a couple of them, Stalker and Deep-Six, were new versions of characters we already had in our collection so they didn’t seem essential.  There were just 4 new characters available that year who we skipped, 3 Joes: Backblast, Scoop and Recoil and 1 Cobra: Frag-Viper.

I’m not sure why we let those 4 figures slip away from us.  We were still pretty into Joe at the time.  A few of the ’89 Joes are favorites of mine like Heat-Viper, Alley-Viper, and Gnawgahyde.  The lamest figure released that year was Dee-Jay and I still got him.  Doug and I are both serial collectors who have a hard time not having the complete set of anything so letting a mere 4 new Joes get away from us is very out of character.  It just goes to show the power of girls as I imagine that’s where our attention was shifting around this time.Joe-Frag viper v1 carded




While Backblast, Scoop and Recoil are not bad figures at all they still do little for me when I look at them.  They’re all pretty average.  But not getting a Frag-Viper, that’s just weird.  I loved Cobra Vipers and was thrilled to add new variations to my Cobra army.  Between us Doug and I had Ice-Vipers, Motor-Vipers, Strato-Vipers, Gyro-Vipers, Night-Vipers, Secto-Vipers, Hydro-Vipers, Astro-Vipers, Toxo-Vipers, Techno-Vipers, and of course just plain old regular Vipers.  Each one specialized in a different field or environment.  The Frag-Vipers were grenade throwers.  Frag-Viper came with a unique throwing tool inspired by the wacky sport Jai Alai in which athletes hurl a ball around using a similar curved hand basket.  It’s a pretty neat concept.   Which makes it even weirder that 11 year old me didn’t seek this figure out.

They never made an updated version of the Frag-Viper in the new sculpt or modern sculpt eras and so I never had one.  Just before Christmas I was checking out a toy retail website that I visit on a regular basis and they had a bunch of vintage Joes listed at some great prices so I snagged a half dozen of them to add to an order of modern Joes I was purchasing.  One of those vintage Joes I picked up was the ’89 Annihilator whom you caught a glimpse of in my 2012 Annihiliator review the other day and another one was the ’89 Frag-Viper.Joe-Frag viper v1 head

I figured I might as well finally get this guy seeing as there was no indication that I would be getting a modern version of him anytime soon.  He only cost me a couple of bucks which is nice but unfortunately he doesn’t have any of his weapons so I am without a grenade tossing hand basket.  While I am happy to finally have this figure I will say that he is pretty lackluster in design.  I’m not sure why the Hasbro designers would put such a cool science-fiction inspired helmet on a guy who’s basically wearing a potato sack for a uniform.  The head is very cool and looks like some sort of robot bug.  Those big black eyes really make the Frag-Viper look unnervingly alien.Joe-Frag viper v1 Jai Alai

I guess Cobra Commander blew his Frag-Viper budget on their helmets because the rest of the outfit really is one of the most abysmal Joe sculpts I’ve ever seen.  The shirt and pants have no detail at all other than a bad stitch job down the front of the shirt.  No collar, no pockets, nothing.  And the color is just gross.  And then for some bizarre reason the Frag-Viper is wrapped in a blue sash that seems to serve no purpose at all.  It’s just weird.Joe-Frag viper 2013

The reason I decided to review the Frag-Viper today is to give me an excuse to tell you about the G.I. Joe Collector Club’s 2013 Convention set which was revealed this week.  Last year’s set featured Destro’s Iron Grenadiers vs Russia’s version of G.I. Joe, the Oktober Guard.  The Darklon and Annihilator figures that Vanessa got me for Christmas spun out of that set. Well this year’s theme is the G.I. Joe Night Force Team vs the Cobra Demolitions Team.  This set will feature a number of highly anticipated Joe figures being released in the modern style for the first time and will also feature the first modern style Frag-Viper.  The new Frag-Viper does a great job of capturing the look of the ’89 version, the good and the bad.  The 15 figure box set will contain 3 of these guys so as long as I’m able to get my hands on a set I’ll have gone from having no Frag-Vipers to having a small squad of them.  He may be far from the best Viper out there but he’s not too shabby.  4 out of 10.


About mike's collection

I'm a dude that collects toys and writes. I figured I'd combine my hobbies.

Posted on January 26, 2013, in G.I. Joe and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I want phsyche out

  2. I love that convetion Frag Viper, it’s fantastic.

    But convention Letal doesn’t work for me somehow.

    Go figure (pun semi-intended)

  3. Personally I don’t like the Mortal figure at all.

  4. The 88 / 89 Joes and Cobra’s were some of the best Hasbro put out. In the UK we got an 87/88/89 mix of the two waves of some of those cool characters, they always were a year or two behind the US releases, we got BF: 2000 as single cards in 89/90 as G.I.JOE THE ACTION FORCE, no mention of BF: 2000 on the cards. Same with THE IRON GRENADIERS – we got them, minus the AGP but again, no I.G. logos on the boxes. When I first saw FRAG VIPER on the back of a new card in 89 I actually thought it was Cobra’s FIRST EVER ethnic figure – it looked like a guy with no shirt on…Not so. Anyhow, its a cool figure but I agree, odd colour for a uniform with little detailing. I can see why the Brazilians turned him into a singular character, re-coloured him and suggested he was an alien perhaps as the helmet is weird. The equipment the original came with was brilliantly original – a Grenade Thrower – if you think about it, a true ‘Grenadier’…If I recall, one of the smaller hoses could fit onto the chin area of the figure – which wasn’t suggested by the card art but was shown in photos featuring that years new figures. While I like the fact the Club Exclusive has the same head as the original, it is disappointing its not a removable helmet. They could have made a generic head for the FRAG VIPER underneath and perhaps even an ‘alien’ head for the COBRA LETAL figure as an extra ‘selling’ feature (read: rip people off more likes…).
    I don’t like the scrawny choice of legs for the new sculpt and its a shame they didn’t add a bit more detailing to the figure either, that and the weird choice of bland light grey for the weapons…
    Going back to the original, looking at it, it would have complimented the COBRA MAGGOT vehicle and W.O.R.M.S. perfectly.

    • Hey Stan,
      It’s neat to hear about how you guys got these figures across the pond. Seems strange to me to have just integrated the BF 2000 and IG characters into the standard Joe and Cobra ranks. Did you ever have a Quarrel figure?
      There’s a few ethnic Cobra characters now which is nice to see. Shadow Tracker, Burn Out, Night Adder, and a few blueshirts as well. Even Firefly is black in the IDW comics.
      The Frag Viper and Letal designs still do little for me but I’m happy to add them to my collection anyway. I just ordered my convention set a few minutes ago. Removable helmets would’ve been cool.
      WORMS was such a great looking figure. Helmet was very Rocketeer-esque.

      • Hey Mike,
        yes of course I had the original Quarrel – Action Force was originally a Palitoy product and she was one of their characters (using the Hasbro mold of Scarlett). I even had the bike that went with her – sold off ages ago…I still have all my non-articulated A.F. figures though – love that stuff.
        What seems strange to the US collector has a rationale to the UK, Hasbro used figures from a year or two behind current US releases and I guess Marketing and Brand Managers picked and chose certain figures and vehicles for our range; the BF 2000 figures made perfect figures for the UK range, as did The Renegades – we got all 3 figures on single card with new card art, I guess the UK Hasbro wanted to simply have a Joe Team and a Cobra Team, with as few as possible sub teams, we did have Sky Patrol and Tiger Force as well as the Steel Brigade mail in which was renamed ‘Special Corps’ over here (but it was essentially the same thing you had down to the ‘name the figure’ thing). Another thing was Hasbro UK were slowly unifying Action Force (the Hasbro version) and G.I.JOE via first having figures on ‘G.I.JOE – THE ACTION FORCE’ cards (story being the two teams united to fight Cobra) and I guess having a BF 2000 or I.G. logo atop that would be too confusing. That melding of the brands lasted about a year or two at most and we then had simply ‘G.I.JOE’ (no ‘International Heroes’ or ‘A Real American Hero’ sub line). By this period we also had a few of the BF 2000 vehicles in our range but again, no mention of BF 2000 nor which figure went with which vehicle. It was really as an adult collector I got to know of all the vehicles and figures that the UK market never had. Its a smaller toy market so vehicles like the MAMBA, NIGHT RAVEN and the DEFIANT SHUTTLE COMPLEX or the TERRORDROME never made it here – essentially due to large size and space on toy store shelves.

        I’ve seen a lot of the new ‘ethnic’ Cobra’s and own quite a few, but even for me, as an ‘ethnic’ myself I think racially changing Firefly or any established White / Black / Asian etc character into another race is pretty ridiculous i.e. the new comic Firefly…its a bit like having a Black Robin to act as sidekick to Batman…I guess I’m a traditionalist in some ways…I don’t actually like Burn-Out, the figures have been rather crap imo, he’s like a second rate Torch…

      • Interesting stuff, thanks for the info. It might be cool to try and track down some carded Renegades.

        I agree changing Firefly’s race is dumb when it serves no real purpose. Although i’ve accepted the IDW universe as something separate from “my” Joe Universe. It enables me to enjoy the crazy things they’ve done to character like Jinx, Xamot, Chuckles, Cobra Commander and others. Just so long as they don’t go changing Firefly’s race in the “Real American Hero” book as that feels like the true canon to me.

        I’m sure I’ve complained on this site before about characters getting their race switched (Nick Fury) and even their gender (Dial Tone) but it’s best to tread lightly on the subject as I don’t want to offend anyone unintentionally.

        Burnout is weak. I quite like the other two characters though.

      • I don’t ‘do’ universes…I’ve often found it bizarre that adult Joeheads do that. And the amount of realistic detail they go into about their ‘world’ put me off ( forum being a prime reason). For me, theres the Joes and the Cobras, maybe Serpentor’s Coil, theres the Palitoy A.F. but they aren’t part of that ‘world’. I also don’t ‘kill off’ figures even if they’re ‘dead’ in the comics. I actually don’t like IDW at all – it all got too convoluted and boring. The reintroduction of Serpentor and The Coil, all that promise and then, BOOOOMM! Defeated. Pathetic writing really.

        If I could source Hama’s continuing ARAH comic over here for a cheap price I may look at it…but they cost a lot to buy anyhow.

        The Euro figures I mentioned – you can source them off ebay I expect with ease. But then again, as long as you see good on card pics of them why bother? They are exactly the same as the U.S. versions but just single carded.

        Shadow Trackers an okay character but wasted in that no backstory (which was clearly intended, i.e. his disfigurement) was given – he also can’t carry all his gear which is annoying…

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