GYRO-VIPER v1. (1987)
Today’s review is going to be short and sweet. I’ve been very busy these past few weeks with weddings, concerts, barbecues, and all of that other stuff that comes with warm weather. I’ll be acting team leader for a couple of weeks in July while my boss is on vacation so work has been extra busy as well, having to learn his job while managing my usual workload. Plus it’s been hot and that makes me lazy. For all of these reasons my toy reviews have been put on the back burner. I was going to opt out of reviewing all together tonight so I could lounge around on the couch in front of my air conditioner, but I started feeling guilty so I took a quick browse through my folder of stock photos to find a toy that I could review in about 20 minutes or so. I found this guy.
This is Gyro-Viper, released back in 1987. The reason I chose this guy to write about is because I have very little to say about him. He was only available as the pilot of the Cobra Mamba, some crazy-ass, triple cockpitted, purple attack chopper. It was a cool looking vehicle which was featured in the cartoons a lot but I never owned one. I found air and sea vehicles kind of useless most of the time when playing with my Joes, so the Mamba was never a high priority item for me. I owned the Joe and Cobra jets, the Sky Striker and the Rattler, and when I played with them it pretty much consisted of me holding one in each hand and spinning in circles as they “chased” each other through the air. I much preferred landing the planes and having the pilots, Ace and Wild Weasel, duke it out on land . So while I passed on the Mamba I still wanted the Gyro-Viper. Vehicles in general didn’t ring my bell but I was a figure completist.
I don’t recall where I got this figure exactly, maybe at a flea market or maybe I traded a a friend a fruit roll-up or something for him, but this is what he looked like when he came into my possession. I took care of my toys. I was never the type to blow them up or light them on fire; I loved them, which I think is evident since I’m still sitting here writing about them at 35. I won’t lie and say that no Joes have been injured on my watch because there have been a few. Tiger Force Roadblock took a nasty tumble out of the aforementioned Sky Striker onto some ice which didn’t end well, my version 1 Major Bludd was lost altogether, and many brave plastic soldiers have lost thumbs and crotches. But I have never had a man lose an entire arm before. I don’t know what this Gyro-Viper’s previous owner did to the poor bastard but I like to think I rescued him. I actually made a paper cast for him so he didn’t look so weird running around with a stump on the battlefield. Yes, my poor Gyro-Viper was forced to run around on the battlefield like a regular infantryman despite the fact that he was missing an arm and didn’t come with a gun. But I didn’t have his helicopter so what could I do.
I never cared much for this figure. It didn’t help that he was released the same year as Ice-Viper and Techno-Viper, two of my favorite viper troopers. His flight suit was pretty dull both in detail and paint applications. His big visored maroon helmet was decent looking but didn’t have much in the way of personality. It was cool that it was removable but I hated that you could see his nose through his under mask. Secto-Viper had the same problem which I corrected with a sharpie. I probably would have done the same to this guy if he didn’t have the other helmet to cover up his face. This guy was kind of a dud amongst my many awesome Cobra soldiers and being handicapped didn’t help him any. Not great, but not horrible. 5 out of 10.