COBRA VIPER COMMANDO v.1 (2009)
Hey gang, I’m back after a very busy weekend. I took Friday off from work so that Vanessa and I could drive to the neighboring province of New Brunswick. Moncton, New Brunswick was the only Canadian stop on Everclear’s Summerland Tour. Everclear is one of my favorite bands. You probably remember them from their hits, Santa Monica, Wonderful, Everything to Everyone, etc. They haven’t exactly been topping any charts for the past decade or so but their most recent album was fantastic and I encourage you to check it out if you were ever a fan of the band. The 2013 Summerland tour is headlined by Everclear and they are joined by Live (Lightning Crashes), Filter (Take a Picture), and Sponge (Wax Ecstatic). I’m a big Filter fan as well so this was a pretty decent line-up and worth a few hours of travel. The concert was at the Moncton Casino which was a pretty nice venue. We were in the front row and had a great time, all of the bands put on stellar performances. I last saw Everclear in 1998 and they haven’t lost a step in 15 years.
Saturday I came home to attend my friend Angie’s wedding and then on Sunday I went to two BBQs, a friend’s housewarming and my family’s father’s day gathering. So you can see why I haven’t posted anything for a few days. But fear not, I did acquire a few new toys over the weekend to tell you about. On Main St. in Moncton there is a fantastic store that is actually 3 stores merged together: A DVD/Bluray rental shop, a record store, and a new/used toy store. This was perfect for me as you already know I collect toys but I am also one of those dinosaurs who still buys his movies and music as well. While not accessible from the inside, the same building housed a comic shop and a skateboard shop as well. If I lived in Moncton I would never need to visit another store, it was a one-stop-shop straight out of my dreams. I could’ve spent a fortune in the place but I had to show some restraint as the weekend was pretty expensive already what with the gas, hotel, concert, beers, and wedding. I managed to get out only spending 25 bucks.
I bought 3 items, and oddly enough, they were all Rise of Cobra figures from the 2009 live-action Joe movie. When that movie first came out I wasn’t impressed with the look of the characters and I shunned most of the product. I was very happy with the 25th anniversary line of Joes which consisted of modern sculpted classic characters in their most iconic costumes. As pleased as I was to be getting a live-action movie, I was not impressed that the movie based toy line replaced the 25th anniversary line on store shelves. I found the movie figures were all black, gray, and boring, so when ROC versions of characters like Hawk and Shipwreck came out I figured I didn’t need them, I already had them in their classic iconic looks. Well the movie line was short lived and the toys soon reverted back to 25th anniversary style of figure. In hindsight, the black and gray blip that was Rise of Cobra suddenly didn’t seem so bad and I found myself backfilling the holes in my collection. In Moncton I picked up ROC versions of Wetsuit and Snow Serpent at half the price I would’ve paid for them back in 2009. It was a decent little score. The third item I bought is the subject of today’s post, Cobra Viper Commando.
You’ve probably noticed that very few toy lines are released in 1 format anymore. You get the standard figure, the block figure version, the cutesy pre-school version, the 12″ doll version, etc. Superman immediately comes to mind. My local toy stores have recently been flooded with “Man of Steel” merchandise and the variety of shapes and sizes that you can buy Superman in is staggering. Well when Rise of Cobra came out in 2009 the same was true of the G.I. Joe brand. There were the standard 4″ figures, the cutesy Combat Heroes figures, the 12″ doll figures, and probably a handful of other variations. One of the odd formats that I remember seeing in stores back then were these 6″ Action Battlers. There were 4 available Battlers: Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, Duke, and the Cobra Viper Commando. The figures were bigger, less articulated, and more stylized than the normal Joe figures. They also had action features, this guy for example has “rifle raising action” when you squeeze his legs together. I would guess that they were directed towards younger kids since they had less moving parts, fewer accessories, and the play features. These are the kind of toys that I would usually ignore. And I would have ignored them had this guy been painted silver and named Neo-Viper. The other 3 Battlers were just big clunky versions of characters that I already owned dozens of times over and so I had no use for them. This guy however was unique to the Action Battlers line. He looks like the standard Neo-Viper from the ROC line and yet he has a gold paint job and is named Viper Commando. This made me view the character as an individual, or maybe as an entirely different type of trooper. Many times I debated on buying him and displaying him with my 4″ Joes as a roided out experiment of Dr. Mindbenders, or as a a robot like the BATS or SNAKES, or maybe as a normal sized guy in a large battle suit of some kind. But seeing as he was $15 ($5 more than a regular figure) I always talked myself out of it.
Well this Moncton store had him for $5 so I knew it was time to finally add him to my Cobra ranks. And I’m glad I did. In the years since ROC the look of the Neo-Vipers doesn’t bother me so much anymore and it’s never looked better than it does on this figure. The sculpted brow really makes this guy look angry, and the line details on the mask are more clear than on the smaller figures (though I still don’t know what purpose they serve). The chest armor has a very cool riveted texture and the gold and black paint wash looks awesome. I love his big hands and feet too as they make him seem even more monstrous. This doesn’t look like a “kids toy” to me at all other than maybe his big playskool looking nano-cannon. He’s actually pretty darn cool. I should have picked this guy up ages ago. 8 out of 10.