VYPRA v.4 (2015)
G. I. JOE: FIGURE SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE 3.0
Last year I did a pretty good job of reviewing all my Figure Subscription Service (FSS) G.I. Joes as they arrived in the mail. I’m lagging a little behind this year but I’m trying to get back up to speed before the next two figures show up. Thus far I’ve covered Psyche Out and Repeater from the first shipment, Slice from the second shipment, and Spearhead from the third. That just leaves Muskrat and this figure; Vypra.
The first Vypra figure was released in 1998 which was a weird time for G.I. Joe. The 3 ¾” Real American Hero (RAH) toy line that flourished in the 80s and hung in there during the early 90s finally called it a day in 1994. From there, the brand essentially stayed dead until the new sculpt revival of 2002. However, there were several blips on the G.I. Joe radar during those “dead” years. In 1995 Hasbro tried rebranding G.I. Joe as Sgt. Savage. One wave of figures was produced but the line quickly fizzled out. Later that year Hasbro released G.I. Joe Extreme which featured figures with a brand new scale and construction. Collectors and children alike ignored it so that line also faded into obscurity (although the Collector’s Club snuck an Extreme character into their inaugural FSS).
1997/98 saw the release of a handful of Toys R Us exclusive figure 3-packs and vehicle sets to celebrate RAH’s 15th anniversary. All of the figures in those sets were constructed using repainted 80s molds. It was cool seeing vintage style Joes in toy stores again but there wasn’t much to get excited about since the line was nearly 100% repaints of toys I already owned. I didn’t bother to pick up any of the 15th anniversary figures.
One of the 1998 vehicle sets was a repainted Cobra Stinger Jeep but instead of coming packaged with a Stinger Driver it came packaged with a brand new character named Vypra. As per her file card, Vypra’s primary military speciality was driving the Jeep and her secondary military specialty was martial arts. It seemed like an odd choice to package a ninja as a vehicle driver but whatever. One interesting thing to note about her file card is that it revealed her true name, a rarity for Cobra operatives. Vypra’s real name is Ann A. Conda (groan).
Construction wise, Vypra was a Jinx v.1 figure from head to toe. She even came packaged with all of Jinx’s accessories, two swords, a backpack to store them in, and a naganita. Except instead of wearing red pajamas like Jinx, Vypra was wearing black and blue.
Second and third versions of Vypra were released in 2004 in a Toys R Us exclusive 6-pack titled Ninja Cobra Strike Team. Again, the figures were complete repaints of Jinx v.1 but in an odd move both 2004 Vypras were wearing red, making them almost indistinguishable from Jinx. The one thing that differentiated them from Jinx, and each other, was that each had a unique golden pattern painted on their chest. The file card described them as twin sisters and members of the Arasikage Clan, the Clan that Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow, and Jinx belong to.
With this most recent version of Vypra the Collector’s Club has dropped the red twin sister angle and used the black and blue 1998 Vypra as a reference point. Vypra v.4 is a repaint of 2012’s Jinx v. 4 which makes sense since the 2012 Jinx is the modern update of the 1987 Jinx on which the original Vypra was based.
Jinx is one of my favorite Joe characters and I thought Hasbro did a great job of updating her for the modern era with their 2012 San Diego Comic Con exclusive figure. It pained me to keep that figure sealed on the blister card but I’ve opted to keep all my SDCC Joes carded. At least the pain was alleviated when Hasbro re-released the figure, repainted in Yellow, as part of their Retaliation toy line the following year. That figure I opened.
Because that Jinx figure is pretty great, Vypra is pretty great too. The body is slender and feminine, well articulated, and there’s some nice sculpting throughout. One thing I’m happy about is that for the first time Vypra is not entirely a repainted Jinx figure. The Club has swapped out Jinx’s ninja-sock -footed lower legs for a pair of combat boot wearing gams courtesy of Scarlet. It’s a small change but it’s a nice nod to the fact that Vypra is not just a ninja but a combat driver as well.
According to this Vypra’s file card she’s actually picked up a third military specialty; she is now the Cobra intelligence courier. The new file card also says that she “tenaciously defends the secret of her background, using false histories and even deceptive attire to keep both friend and foe alike from discovering her true motives or the extent of her skills”. That might help to explain away the Ann A. Conda alias, the 2004 red outfit, and the twin sister. This chick is full of lies.
Vypra came with a display base, a pair of swords, a double sheath backpack to store them in, a gun, and a suitcase which houses a second gun and a computer.
I like this figure but I’m not wowed by it since it’s essentially a figure I have twice already; though it does look nice in black and blue. What I do like is the character. I’ve never owned a Vypra before and I’m always happy to add new “name” characters to my Cobra ranks. I wish Vypra had a more unique look, like a new head, to separate her from Jinx but I can appreciate that the Club needs to save cash where it can and that this figure is true to the original Vypra which was a straight repaint of Jinx. Besides, if they both came from the Arashikage Clan then it make sense that they’d wear the same outfit. 8 out of 10.