ELITE VIPER v.1 (2009)
In my last 2 posts I reviewed the Crimson Guard Officer and the G.I. Joe green shirt Troopers. I bought them in a lot from a dude on facebook recently. Today I’m gonna take a look at the final figure from that lot, the Elite Viper.
I’ve said all this before but I’ll say it again. My relationship with the first live-action G.I. Joe movie, Rise of Cobra (ROC), is a complicated one. I was super stoked when the movie was first announced. Then I was continually let down as each new cast member was announced and each new piece of concept art was revealed. When the movie finally came out I was both disappointed and pleasantly surprised. It definitely wasn’t the G.I. Joe movie I would’ve made but it was a lot of fun to watch.
I had a similar reaction to the movie-based action figures. The actor likenesses were quite good for the most part, they were well built and showed some major improvements in articulation and sculpting when compared to the 25th anniversary figures, plus they had lots of accessories and vehicles. But I didn’t feel like I needed a Duke that looked like Channing Tatum or a Ripcord that looked like Marlon Wayans. The color palette for the figures was dark and drab. Almost everyone, good guys and bad guys alike, was wearing black and grey. I really ramped down my Joe collecting during the ROC years. I decided to only buy one version of each main character and I passed on most of the secondary characters that didn’t even show up in the film like Shipwreck and Snow Job.
Cobra has a wide array of troopers, from Alley-Vipers to Zombie-Vipers, and they come in every color of the rainbow. Which is why it was so frustrating to see the film makers populate the movie with dreary uninteresting new trooper types. The main troopers in the film were the Neo-Vipers. I really disliked them at first but I must confess they’ve really grown on me over the years. I cannot say the same for the other movie-based troopers. They all have a similar generic look that pales in comparison to the beloved classic trooper types of the 1980s. Some of them were okay, like the Desert Viper and the Ice-Viper. And some of them I really hated, like the ROC Eel (but I still bought one). The Elite Viper was one of the ones I really hated. So much so that I didn’t buy any of the 3 versions of him that came out in 2009 and 2010 and thats saying a lot because I pretty much buy all of the various troopers. Absolutely nothing about it appealed to me.
Years have passed since the Elite Viper’s release and more and more I find myself wanting to fill in those ROC holes in my collection. Thus I reluctantly added the Elite Viper to my want list a while back. Well it took a while but now I finally have one in hand. Now that I have examined him thoroughly for this review I no longer hate him; but I still don’t like him.
The Elite Viper shares a waist and torso with the MARS Troopers and Neo-Vipers so I suppose its nice to have a cohesive looking Cobra team, but that consistency also diminishes the uniqueness that made the old troopers so fun to collect. Elite Viper at least got brand new arms and legs and they’re not bad. He also received a brand new head. I would’ve sworn he had the same head as the Eel but apparently he does not. They’re very similar but there are a few subtle differences that can be spotted when scrutinized. The main reason its so hard to see the differences is because both have a shiny black head with zero paint apps. The head was the thing I liked least about the Eel and its the thing I like least about the Elite Viper too. The sculpting is okay, it kind of looks like a Neo-Viper helmet mixed with a Snake Eyes mask, but the lack of paint really hurts it. None of the details can be made out and it looks unfinished. It seems like it belongs on a completely different figure. Some silver paint on the visor would have made a world of difference. Both versions 2 and 3 of the Elite Viper have painted visors so perhaps I should seek them out next.
The Elite Viper came with a healthy dose of accessories. He’s got a display stand, a pistol that can be holstered on his leg, 2 machine guns, a missile launcher with missile, a backpack, and an axe that can be stored on the backpack. I don’t know why he has an axe but it makes him that much scarier.
Lastly I should mention his paint job. While lack of paint is this figure’s biggest downfall the black paint wash over his silver armour actually looks pretty awesome. It adds a real-world whethered look to the figure. 5 out of 10.