This is the Sit-Rep, soldier, the Situation Report! It's here where we get the intel on the new troops, talk to the big brass, and generally do anything else
that isn't in an archival capacity! So what are you waiting for? It's time for your debriefing!
When the Ninja Viper first appeared as a mail away in 1992 I didn't understand it, and you know, I still don't understand it to this day. As I already said in the Python Crimson Guard review, I have no direct hatred for bright or obnoxious colors, when they make sense, and when they're on a decent figure, but in 1992, it made absolutely no sense to take a Storm Shadow figure and paint it some obnoxious teal blue color. What's the point?
For some reason I've seen a light (very light) clamoring from the fandom for a Ninja Viper inspired repaint, and I have no clue why anyone wants to see it. Hasbro apparently thought it was a good idea, but they kind of went a different direction...and honestly, I really like the different direction they went it. Sure, the name and paint scheme are obviously based on the original Ninja Viper to be released as a mail away sixteen years ago, but everything else is much more pulled from the second version of Storm Shadow, and this version has the fixed Duke arms, which is neat. Also, they've wrapped up the Comic Pack Storm Shadow accessories and bundled them in here as well, which is very, very cool.
Instead of a more straight forward Storm Shadow v.1 repaint that we could have gotten, Hasbro used the tooling from the second version, giving him the hooded head, taking away his chest strap, and equipped him with the Duke arms as well.
I have to say right here and now that I was a bit unfair in my examination of Tiger Force Duke, especially when it came to the range of motion in his arms. Straight out of the package, his elbow motion wasn't extensive, and even with the improved location of his swivel joints, it didn't seem to make much difference. Well, with a little arm rotation, the Tiger Force Duke DOES end up gaining quite a bit of range of motion in his arms, and the same can be said for Ninja Viper. This little swivel makes a big difference, and you end up with a Duke that can hold his weapon much more convincingly, and you end up with a Ninja Viper figure that has some nice motion in his arms as well. I almost like this design more than I would have liked a straight up Storm Shadow v.1 repaint.
Another neat aspect of this figure are the accessories that he comes with. Hasbro takes the v.2 Storm Shadow tooling to heart with the weapons allotment here, and gives him the gear that came with the Comic Pack Storm Shadow, who in turn, came equipped with many of the same weapons as the original Storm Shadow v.2 did in 1988.
Hasbro picked a strange figure to homage, and didn't do a direct translation, but instead gave us a somewhat interesting update to the Ninja Viper character. In spite of the colors, the figure itself is decent, though it would probably be more usable with a darker, more reasonable color scheme. As it stands, it's sort of a strange choice with some strange execution. It's an homage without being a direct homage, and is actually a kind of fun figure in spite of itself.