NEO-VIPER v.10 (2009)
Hasbro has their hooks in me pretty good. I don’t buy every G.I. Joe figure they put out but I buy a lot of them. I’m pretty close to being a completest but I need to draw the line somewhere. Some collectors will buy the same figure a dozen times over just because they changed the color of his shirt. When it comes to an individual character like say Duke, I don’t need him in 12 different color shirts. I want him in his standard tan shirt. If they release the exact same figure in a blue or brown shirt for no good reason I generally pass on it. Now if they were to release the same figure in all white and label it Arctic Duke or paint it all in green camo and call it Jungle Duke then I may be tempted. When I pass on Joe figures it’s almost always because it’s a superfluous new version of a character I already have.
But when it comes to Cobra Troopers, the faceless grunts who pad the ranks of the villainous organization, I’m a total sucker. If you change the color of a troopers shoelaces chances are that I will seek him out. In the early 2000s I was a habitual army builder, meaning I would buy the exact same figure multiple times over in order to create a squadron of that particular trooper type.
Nowadays I can’t afford to be so careless with my money so I never buy the “exact” same figure twice. However if any slight changes are made to a figure it gives me an excuse to buy another trooper. I really like to see variations of my favorite troopers so putting out previously released Cobra troopers with new paint jobs is mutually beneficial to everyone. Hasbro gets to make a quick buck with minimal costs seeing as no new pieces need to be sculpted, and I get to strengthen my Cobra army by building squads of similarly dressed soldiers.
Initially I disliked the design of the Neo-Vipers from the 2009 Joe movie, The Rise of Cobra (ROC). It bothered me that the costume designers had so many cool Cobra Trooper options to choose from and yet they decided to create a brand new Cobra soldier with sci-fi elements. However the ROC Neo-Viper did grow on me with time. Hasbro continued to release the figure in new color variations and as my squad grew so too did the figure’s appeal. Eventually I had the Neo-Viper in silver, red, blue, black, purple, and green.
Earlier this summer I was visiting the neighboring province of New Brunswick to see Everclear in concert. I found a great comic/toy store while I was there and ended up buying a bulkier “action battler” variation of the Neo-Viper. I reviewed him when I got home which resulted in me hauling out all of my 2009 era Neo-Vipers to take pictures. It was then that I realized that I was missing the metallic brown K-Mart exclusive version. Somehow it had slipped through my fingers and I forgot all about it.
I tracked a loose one down on ebay and he recently arrived in the mail. I gotta say that I’m glad I went searching for this guy because he’s pretty cool. Sculpt and weapon wise he’s the exact same as previous versions. But as with the Crimson Neo-Viper, this new paint job does wonders for the figure. The shimmering rust colored armor looks great with the dark brown base used on the rest of the figure. This is definitely one of the better variations of this trooper. He came with a large backpack that holds his two laser rifles and a small metallic brown pistol. He was originally packaged in a 4-pack with Duke, Heavy Duty, and a similarly rust colored MARS Officer, which I purchased in the same transaction. I’ll review him separately at a later date but I’d say he is far and away the best version of the MARS trooper. I really should have sought this figure out years ago but I have it now which is all that matters. 7 out of 10.