ELITE ICE-VIPER v1
Yesterday I reviewed Ice-Viper version 3, the modern update of one of my favorite childhood figures. While I was quite disappointed with that figure initially he did grow on me over time. It’s a dismal representation of the original Ice-Viper but it’s still a decent figure in its own right. I do have faith that I will eventually see a proper update of the 1987 original.
Some of the things that I disliked about the updated Ice-Viper were his bland gray and white color scheme and the fact that he was wearing a ridiculously bulky jacket. I hate to knock the guy for dressing appropriately but it was less about how the jacket looked and more about how it failed to represent the original version of the character that bothered me. If they had just called the figure “Snow-Viper” or “Polar Trooper” I probably would’ve liked him just fine. He’s far cooler than many of the other movie based Cobra soldiers that came out in 2009. But by calling him Ice-Viper they set themselves up for failure, at least in my eyes, because I hold the original in such high regard. On the flip side of that coin, had they named this figure something else, I probably would’ve bought him, admired him for a moment and then placed him at the back of my display shelf along with other Rise of Cobra rejects like the Neo-Vipers and Elite Viper where he would never be admired again. But because his name is Ice-Viper I have him proudly displayed at the front of my shelf, and not on the generic trooper shelf but up on the higher up “name Cobra” shelf alongside characters like Cobra Commander and Storm Shadow. As disappointed as I may be with the new look I have accepted this figure as my modern day Ice-Viper, the character I had throwing jeeps around in the 80s, so he gets treated with respect.
So the figure I reviewed yesterday was Ice-Viper version 3. The figure I’m reviewing today could be called a couple of things, Ice-Viper version 4, Ice-Viper version 3B, but most people refer to him as the Elite Ice-Viper. From what I know, the version 3 Ice-Viper was slated for re-release with a new paint job in late 2009 but the Rise of Cobra line fizzled out before that ever happened. But the figure had made it into the production stage and began showing up all over ebay even though it hadn’t been released at retail. Luckily it wasn’t expensive to pick up so I was able to add this almost never-was Ice-Viper to my collection. The changes made aren’t drastic but they’re enough to make me like this version a lot better than the standard version 3. This figure isn’t as dull as the original version. He’s got some nice splashes of red on his coat which really pop and liven up the mold. Adding bright red to your costume probably isn’t a good idea if you’re going to engage in Arctic combat but military realism isn’t what appeals to me about G.I. Joe. This version also has a full red visor as opposed to the clear one with the weird red stripe down the middle that Version 3 had. I already had 2 of the version 3 Ice-Vipers when this guy arrived in the mail. As soon as I got him I knew that this would be the figure to represent my ’87 Ice-Viper and the other two could be his lackeys. Now it seemed to make sense. My Ice-Viper had been promoted to elite status and now leads all of the other Ice-Vipers. I liked that the red on his outfit tied him to the original who wore a red ski mask. This version also ditched the camo pants and instead has solid white pants with a dirty effect that I think looks pretty cool and realistic.
I mentioned at the end of my Ice-Viper version 3 review that I liked this figure better with his coat off, and I do, when he’s representing my main dude. Once I got the Elite Ice-Viper I was fine with the other 2 wearing their coats around, it made Elite stand out that much more and also served as a nod to the bad-ass attitude I gave him when I was a kid. While the other Ice-Vipers walk about in the snow all bundled up, Elite struts around in nothing but his tight sweater unfazed by the elements. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if some Joe fans thought it ridiculous that I preferred this figure sans jacket. The figure is rather scrawny underneath and his neck seems long and extra thin once the coat is removed. He loses most of his sculpted details and his pants look that much wider without the poufy jacket to balance him out. Valid points. But I kind of love how scrawny he is. It makes him seem that much tougher to me. He’s not some muscle bound powerhouse, he’s a lean mean ass kicker. The leanness of this figure makes me think of him as less of a Schwarzenegger-like strong man and more akin to Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Snatch. I imagine him streetwise, vicious and willing to fight dirty. As for the wide pants, I was a skateboarder as a teen so I have a fondness for big pants. I used to buy size 42 waist pants for my 32 inch waste in order to have the baggiest pants I could. Luckily those days pre-date the days of everyone owning digital cameras so there aren’t a ton of picture floating around. So yeah, I like his wide leg pants.
I’ve really grown to like this figure and when Hasbro eventually releases a classic looking Ice-Viper it will be hard for me to then transfer the personality of “my” Ice-Viper from this figure to that. As for accessories this guy came with the same guns and that stupid ski missile as the version 3 figure. if you don’t have one of these already, I’d say track one down, it’s become one of my favorite figures from The Rise of Cobra series. 8 out of 10.