G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary - Night Viper
I think it's safe to assume when most of us heard that the Night Viper was getting repurposed for the 50th Anniversary line, none of us really expected this sort of color scheme. The Night Viper has always been a pretty popular Cobra Trooper, especially for the late 80s run, mostly because of its military oriented colors and its very cool specialty. It's interesting that it took Hasbro so long to get a modern version released, and ironic that it was so hard to find. Here we are only about a year later and there's already another version, though not quite as traditionally colored and designed as the G.I. Joe: Retaliation version was.
Last year's Night Viper was an interesting design, I thought. A mixture between the vintage and the Direct to Consumer version, it took elements of both and made them somewhat modern. I'm still not a huge fan of the MARS webgear (especially when there isn't really anything to go into the holster), but the range of motion and parts chosen for the other pieces of the figure work well. As someone who isn't strictly adhered to vintage aesthetic, I don't mind the color swap really, but I'm just not sure what the mindset for the change was.
I like the look of the Shock Trooper torso and arms, and Hasbro's idea to make those somewhat generic to fit multiple purposes appears to have worked out in spades, as it's been used many times over the years, and nobody complains a whole lot about it. The lower legs still seem a little off to me (the pieces more directly tied to the DTC version of the character) and his feet still do not fit on the stand pegs at all.
Going back to the colors, Hasbro went with quite a bright red as the base with some black trim. I, for one, kind of got my fill of crimson overload during the new sculpt era, especially when the reds don't really match. Hasbro has released several red themed figures over the past year or so, and I hate to say that the Night Viper doesn't match any of them, so I'm not sure what they were trying to tie this to. It's an especially bright red, and just looking at the colors themselves, I actually don't mind it, but it would be nice if it was designed to compliment some other figures, especially the Crimson Guard.
The parts of this version are the same as last year's, with the new monocle with visor, and a great assortment of weapons. Three different guns, including a sniper rifle, assault rifle, and shotgun to go along with the backpack and webgear. The weapons are all pretty great, but I hate to say it, the somewhat cheaper plastic material makes it a challenge to hold the weapons in dramatic ways. Even just a year ago, the figures could clutch weapons really well two-handed, but this Night Viper was a bit tougher as the hands keep separating and releasing the weapon when I try to move the hands closer together. A small complaint, but especially when looking at the amazing sniper rifle, you'd love to have the figure hold it really solidly.
Ultimately this is a decent figure. I will say the press photos showed a better, more subdued color scheme (that still used a pretty cool black and red pallet). Anyone who knows me knows I have no issues with bright colors, but for a Night Viper it just seems like an odd choice. Add to that the plastic quality, and this trooper is okay, but not fantastic. I suspect this one won't be nearly in as much demand as its G.I. Joe: Retaliation predecessor.
Get this figure at Big Bad Toy Store!