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Wave 6, 2008 COBRA Para-Viper

COBRA Bazooka Trooper | COBRA Para-Viper | Croc Master | Duke | Mutt & Junkyard | Mercenary Wraith

Review by Justin Bell

I must admit with this figure I saw something I’ve rarely seen before.  Shortly after these shipped from Big Bad Toy Store, I hopped around to various message boards, and on nearly every single board, there was a separate thread by different people who were absolutely lavishing this figure with praise.  This is very unusual.  Sure, there are often various threads about the wave as a whole, and often in those threads there is praise given to a particular figure, but folks took time out of their days to make threads specifically about this figure and raving about it top-to-bottom.

You know what?  From a design perspective, the figure deserves every bit of praise he gets.  This figure is LOADED.  Absolutely loaded.

From head to toe, this figure is by far the most laden with accessories as any figure I have ever seen, but the coolest thing is the actual design and sculpting of these accessories.  Sure, you can have a figure loaded with a helmet and web gear, but it’s the way this gear is designed and sculpted that makes this figure shine.  His helmet?  Awesome.  His parachute gear?  Incredible.  The little touches?  Fantastic.  Straight off the top, his sculpted snake-like helmet is great looking head gear with removable goggles.  The intricately sculpted parachute pack is absolutely huge and LOOKS great, but unfortunately it does restrict his movements pretty harshly.  He really cannot move his legs much at all and his arms don’t move much either.  G.I. Joe has been all about how figures move and how they interact, and that’s once again a tough call.  The Anniversary line since day one has really struggled with finding a good meeting place between sculpting, design, and articulation.  But really, this figure is designed with absolutely insane accessories for a halo jump, and heck, the accessories are removable, anyway, so…

But even as cool as the parachute is, it’s all of the other added features that make this figure shine.  The small knife in the ankle sheath, the two flippers in the leg harness, and his awesome submachine gun only adds to the “cool” factor of this figure.  I also really love the “fins” that these guys have on their forearms.  I can’t even imagine what led to that design element, but whatever it was, I applaud it, and those are the cool little details that make some of these figures so cool.  I can just picture a small squad of these bad boys dropping from the sky and preparing to infiltrate their target…I’m a huge Eel fan, too, so merging them into that branch is a fantastic idea, and the Eels are quickly becoming the defacto special ops team for COBRA, which makes a lot of sense.

One slight downside, though, is that if you want a decent ground troop figure, this one doesn’t really fit the bill that well.  You’ve got to figure after he hits the ground, the Para-Viper is going to ditch his chute and move in by foot…but once you take the parachute pack off, the figure really doesn’t look that great dressed in the same flight suit as Ace and Wild Bill.  He looks overly skinny and scrawny, and unless you dig up some other web gear for him to wear when he sheds the parachute pack, he just doesn’t look that great without it.

I have seen a lot of folks complain about the colors of this figure, but I don’t have an issue with it at all.  Yeah, he’s purple, but it’s a very dark purple that would work fine in a nighttime assault.  Sure, he’s got some orange kneepads as well, but the purple and orange colors tie perfectly in the COBRA Night Vulture branch, which I have to think is a deliberate homage that works exceptionally well.  I’ve always loved the Night Vultures in spite of their odd color scheme, and I can say the same here without hesitation.

For those guys who display their figures, there is little to complain about here.  Absolutely stacked to the hilt, this figure looks impressive on display, but is somewhat limited if you want a figure you can actually use.  With his parachute pack he is stocky and immobile, but without it he looks scrawny and under-equipped.  Kind of tough to find a middle ground.  The new parts that we get with this figure are great, from the awesome head sculpt to the very cool textured gloves, and the lower legs…there are enough terrific parts to make this a great, great figure.  It just depends on how you want to use it.

Archive entry:
COBRA Para-Viper

More action shots:

Images from the collection of: Justin Bell

For a great selection of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles like this one, check out BigBadToyStore.com.

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