Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Viper
Back in 1986, I'm sure the Hasbro designers had no idea they would be creating such an iconic look with the Cobra Viper. The initial backbone of the Cobra core was the blue-clad pajama wearing Cobra Troopers, and they were pretty basic.
Not four years later and they got a significant upgrade, utilizing body armor, reflective face shields, and more high powered weaponry. I'm not sure exactly why, but the design was revolutionary and really struck a chord, and you have a legion of fans who absolutely love the look of the Cobra Viper. I count myself among them. What amazes me, though, is that Hasbro has had such a hard time capitalizing on that look. Don't get me wrong, we got nearly a dozen versions of the old school Viper in the early 2000's, but using those B.A.T. legs just didn't ring as true as the originals. And even when Hasbro invested some money in new tooling for the Toys "R" Us 6-Pack, the legs were nearly immovable, and threatened to break the crotch with every motion.
Fast forward to 2008, and the first release in the 25th Anniversary line was an absymal mess with contorted wrists, unmovable ankles, and goggles that fell off the helmet at a glance. The Viper was greatly improved with the Hall of Heroes and Cobra 5-Pack versions, but still had some mobility and structural issues.
Now we have the Pursuit of Cobra version.
I mentioned in my Shock Trooper review that I really loved the tooling, but it just didn't look right as a fairly generic SWAT soldier. It wasn't really "Cobra" enough. Well, Hasbro took that great tooling and totally "Cobra-fied" it in a big way. The rich, dark blue colors make for an outstanding base Cobra Viper figure, just ripe for customization. This figure retains the large, muscular body of the Shock Trooper which is awesome. Just by coloring it in the identifiable blue, by adding the terrific Arctic Storm Shadow forearms, and slapping on the Viper head and vest gives you one hell of a Cobra Viper update that retains all of the style and flair of the original but has the great updated tooling from the more modern Pursuit of Cobra line. It's a nearly perfect marraige of classic design and new tooling, and I absolutely love the figure.
Of course I said "nearly perfect"...I do wish he could hold his rifle a bit better in a two-handed grip, and to complete the homage, having his forearm guards be red would have been great. But honestly these are small and minor complaints on an overall fantastic figure. It's amazing what a different some adjusted paint apps will do to take somewhat generic tooling and totally move it into awesome Cobra trooper territory. The fact that he's got those great multi-jointed wrists certainly helps even more as well.
The Viper comes with the standard body armor, weapon, and backpack of the regular Cobra Viper. The backpack has some minor issues staying attached in this new tooling, and the somewhat thick handle and stock of the weapon prevent some better grips, but they are classic elements of the Viper. He also comes with the familiar rocket launcher that the Resolute Firefly came with, which is a cool enough addition as well.
I do need to caution you a bit... I was removing the Viper head in order to take off his vest, and not only did his head pop off, but the helmet popped off, too:
There is a groove in the back of the head where the helmet fits back in, and it seems to go back on and stay okay, but just take some care when removing the Viper's head, so you don't permanently remove the helmet itself.
All in all, I've heard many fans complaining about this figure, and I just can't understand why. He looks like a great update to the old school Viper and will perfectly compliment figures like the Pursuit of Cobra Alley-Viper and Shock Trooper. I'm really happy with this update. Sure, he pulls lots of inspiration from the classic Viper, yet also looks a little bit different...but personally, I think the improvements help differentiate him from the old school Cobra trooper, and the articulation enhancements are a big help, too.
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