Aero-Viper (1989)

Imagine piloting a vehicle that puts so much stress on your body that you have out of body experiences. That is the most trippy thing I’ve read on a GI Joe file card. Talk about dangerous and a liability for your air forces. Once again, Cobra pushes the limits of safety for its troops, and puts itself at a combat disadvantage. How effective can a pilot be in a dogfight if his mind is hanging out on the astral plane with Edgar Cayce and Dr. Strange?

The Aero-Viper mold is one of those figures that for me has no use outside of his role in his vehicle’s cockpit. That’s not a bad thing, just a fact. I was always more likely to keep a vehicle driver matched up with his ride anyway. The design is effective enough, and I can’t recall the body being reused for any other later figures. This is another instance, like the Rock Viper, of a Cobra trooper with distinctive facial hair. Was this an oversight, or does Cobra Commander require all of his Aero-Vipers to sport a goatee, and a black one at that? The head later made a con exclusive appearance as the numerous Dreadheads included in the 2004 set. Again, one head used for many, but at least the color of the beards were changed.

There’s a lot of texture to the flight suit, something I always appreciate seeing included on a figure. The lone accessory, the helmet, is unlike any previous pilot helmet in the line, and is quite menacing. The gold offsets the uniform well, and makes for a great accent color.

The Aero Viper’s vehicle, the Condor, first made a cartoon appearance in the Operation Dragonfire mini-series. Unfortunately, it wasn’t manned by an Aero-Viper. I hate to harp on this again, but it’s too bad some of the more interesting later vehicles and their drivers didn’t have the chance to rise to get more exposure in Joe animation. 

11 comments

  • I have the most distinct feeling that the head was meant to be for an individual character–it’s just too obvious.

    I found an Aero-Viper (sans helmet) at my local flea market a couple months ago. It was in really nice shape, all I need is his helmet and vehicle. Once I have the helmet, I’m planning to paint the visor black, as seen in the card/box art.

  • The helmet could have benefited from a clear visor or at least some paint app love. Solid gold plastic doesn’t suit the rest of the figure somehow. The flight suit texture is nice enough. I don’t know who started the whole goatee thing because the traditional masks with only the eyes exposed made for a more uniform appearance.

  • I dont remember seeing him on yojoe or in Bellermo’s book. I had no idea he even existed until i read this article

  • I loved this fig a decade ago. But the dread heads hurt the mold for me and time has robbed the fig of the newness that was his calling card when I first got one. Give me a strato viper any day.

  • Yeah,MK, i’ve never seen this figure either! I have both of those Joe books and I don’t recall ever seeing him. This is a cool figure. I think one of the problems with Mark’s book is that he takes pictures of the figures with their gear off .The YoJoe! site is also incomplete, not all figures have the “All Geared Up” picture.
    Acer, your custom idea sounds really cool. Good luck on finding Aero’s accessories! As you well know,finding the accessories is often more difficult then finding the actual figure itself.

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  • With the scale-like pattern in the mold and with those colors, this guy looks like an underwater trooper to me. Maybe he could be a Cobra-La aquatic dude.

  • “This is another instance, like the Rock Viper, of a Cobra trooper with distinctive facial hair. Was this an oversight, or does Cobra Commander require all of his Aero-Vipers to sport a goatee, and a black one at that?”

    I wondered the same thing, particularly about the Rock Vipers. Perhaps Cobra felt it needed mountaineering moustaches to counter GI Joe’s very own moustachioed mountain climber, Alpine.

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