G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper
I'm going to make an effort to not just regurgitate what I've been saying in previous reviews, but truth be told, I've never been a big fan of the Techno-Viper. No doubt, there is a specific specialty that he is there for, and Cobra needs them as much as anyone, but the figure just never rocked my world. He had a really strange helmet, random hoses throughout the figure that made very little sense, and as a technician, he didn't end up on the battle field much, which relegated him to my tackle box of useless figures.
That being said, I do agree he was a big hole in the cast of characters for the 25th Anniversary line, and for those folks who have been clamoring for him, I'm glad Hasbro got him into a retail assortment. However, unlike Sci Fi and Airtight, whose figures were so cool they overshadowed my initial displeasure for the character, this new Techno-Viper, while still very cool, doesn't totally knock my socks off as the others do.
I can't entirely explain it... I know Hasbro used the same formula with this figure as they did with Sci-Fi and Airtight, and the results are pretty appealing. But honestly, I just don't find myself drawn to this figure like I am the other two.
With figures like Sci-Fi and Airtight, I felt like Hasbro brought a lot of new things to the table. Sci-Fi's interchangable helmets, the troop building concept, his rifle that interlocked with his backpack. Airtight had some weapon swap outs, a removable helmet as well, and also some potential for cool troop building. The Techno-Viper doesn't really add a whole lot to the existing figure from 1987. Sure he's got improved sculpting and detail, but at his core, he still has the backpack with the removable tools, the gun, and hey a traffic cone! But while Sci Fi and Airtight really seemed to go above and beyond, Techno-Viper, while a fine figure, didn't impress me quite the same way.
From a pure design standpoint, he does work well. His head is sculpted in very fine detail, somewhat matching the original, but exaggerating some components of the structure. For instance, the angular design of the surrounding helmet really made me notice for the first time that his facemask actually looks to have a built in air-filter for breathing, which is a very cool touch that has been there since 1987 but went unnoticed (at least by me). He has terrific range of motion in his joints and holds all of his weapons quite well. Aesthetically, I have no real issues with the purple and I love that we got a big huge silver Cobra symbol on his chest. For whatever reason I really love those forearm pads he has, too, but don't ask me why, since they don't particularly match anything classic. Sure, I do think there is an element of functionality there, seeing as how he probably spends a lot of time climbing under equipment. At the end of the day, the figure is good, to be sure. But amongst the stellar releases of Sci Fi, Law & Order, Airtight, and many of the Renegades figures, this is one that doesn't bowl me over quite to that same level.
Now, it's tough to top the original Techno-Viper as far as accessories go. Back in the 80's you didn't find a whole lot of removable weapons that fit in backpacks. It was the exception. These days it's a bit more common place, and while I love that Hasbro retained that functionality, it's still a 25 year old concept merely implemented in 2011. The designs of the tools themselves are straight out of the 80's, though the welding gun seems a lot slimmer and smaller, which is great, because it's easier for him to hold. I do think the embedded handle in the backpack is a neat idea, giving the Techno-Viper a way to carry his tools around outside of wearing it on his back.
One thing I'm not a big fan of the execution of is his removable tunic. The clasp doesn't seem to work seamlessly, so you end up with this puffed out ribcage that hinders the aesthetic pleasure of the figure. Sci-Fi and Airtight both managed this very well...Techno Viper, not so much.
He also comes with his trusty green traffic cone, which is somewhat unusual, but a neat idea for when he needs to block a path while he works on something. Certainly a unique concept.
Last but not least, Hasbro did at least give him a removable pistol at his left hip, which was a cool touch. It's a very small one, but it matches the sculpted on detail of the original, yet is removable and can be weilded by the technician.
I'm sure it sounds like I'm piling on...that's not my intention. The figure is good, certainly, but rather than being a drastic improvement over the original like so many are, it manages to be a nice general evolution, but doesn't "wow me" like the others. I'm sure most Joe fans will add at least a few of this guy to their collections, and I don't blame you, but in my opinion it isn't quite as impressive as other figures in this new line.
I do like that Hasbro invested so much money into new tooling to make this figure as accurate as possible, but they didn't necessarily improve on a design that I wasn't really enthralled with back in 1987.
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