HELI-VIPER v.2 (2016)
It’s time to review yet another 2016 Joe Con exclusive figure. However, this one was not included in the 15-figure box set like all the others I’ve been reviewing lately. This first-ever modern-era Heli-Viper was sold in 3-packs exclusively to Con attendees. Unlike the box set, the Heli-Vipers and other individual con exclusives could not be pre-ordered online in advance by non-attendees. Every year the Club produces a handful of figures and vehicles that are not revealed to anyone until the Convention actually begins. The sales floor mystery items would make attending in person pretty exciting I imagine but they’re a real bummer to non-attendees like myself. Even though I spend hundreds of dollars every year to sign up for the Club’s figure subscription service and to purchase their Con Set there’s still a half dozen figures that I can’t get my hands on unless I’m willing to pay crazy secondary market prices. 2014’s Freestyle is a much desired Con figure that I’ll likely never own (she sells for over $200 now) and last year’s Tiger Force Frostbite is also too rich for my blood at $80.
Fortunately the prices tend to be a little more reasonable when it comes to the army builder packs. Since they come in groups of 3 there’s more supply to meet demand. People tend to sell the trios for between $100 and $150 and the individuals for $40 to $50. I bought this Heli-Viper from a dude online for $40 and I’m comfortable with that.
The original Heli-Viper was released in 1992. I never had one and wasn’t even aware of him. He’s one of those late era Joes I only became familiar with after I got back into collecting Joes as a young adult with the help of the internet. The Heli-Viper was made up of Night-Viper’s torso and legs, Techno-Viper’s arms, and Snow Serpent’s head. I’m fine with the build from the neck down but the Snow Serpent head is too recognizable to reuse. Cobra’s first Arctic Trooper was released in 1985 and it has long been a fan favorite. All I see when I look at Heli-Viper is a purple Snow Serpent with a helicopter. Hasbro really should have sculpted a new head or reused something more generic. And about that purple, the paint job on the ’92 Heli-Viper was ungodly. There was way too much red and purple and those hues did not compliment each other at all.
The Club’s recreation of the Heli-Viper stays quite true to the original, which I usually appreciate, but it’s to the detriment of this figure. Heli-Viper v.2 is burdened with the same issues that sullied version 1. He’s too red, too purple, and too Snow Serpent. The other problem this guy has is his unwieldy helicopter pack. Instead of using the more compact helicopter gear we got with Annihilator and Matt Tracker we get the humongous pack that originally came with Cobra Commander v.53. It’s way too big so I just know I’m going to be standing this guy up on my shelf over and over again. Top heavy toys can be the bane of a collector’s existence.
His other accessories are a display base, a pistol that can be holstered on his webgear, a machine gun, and two useless grenades.
This is a relatively weak figure but it’s not horrible. The modern-era Snow Serpent head is such a cool piece that it elevates this otherwise ugly figure. I’d rather he had a unique head but since he doesn’t I do like how this paint job exposes the details of the sculpt better than the all black face of the Snow Serpent. I’m glad I managed to add one of these guys to my collection but I definitely didn’t need 3 of them. 6 out of 10.