Air-Viper (2009)

Should a Cobra pilot really be considered an army builder? I know the answer is yes in the common sense, as a generic trooper type of which Cobra may employ hundreds. But as a collector, is it at all useful to pack them with infantry types when the pilot is for the most part useless without his signature vehicle?

The mostly great Defense of Cobra Island pack’s troop builders included figures that had been demanded since the 25th anniversary series began. It’s a cool inclusion, no doubt, but I would have rather seen another infantry or named character in the set.

Why is this figure called the Air-Viper? Who knows. Anyway, the Air-Viper–excuse me–Strato Viper design has always struck me as a very dashing and stylish figure, like a pilot from an adventure serial or comic . All that’s missing is a white silk scarf. Say what you will about Cobra; as an organization, they have a fierce dedication to style.

The only thing that really bugs me about this figure is that it serves as a reminder that we’ll probably never see the likes of his original vehicle, the Night Raven, re-released. The Rise of Cobra version, while a fun toy, just wasn’t quite as epic. On a positive note, the existence of this figure brings the possibility of a future repaint into Drop Zone of Sky Patrol. All it needs is a new head and helmet. A good candidate for a future convention set, or perhaps a subscription service figure?


  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    It looks like a nice take on the Strato Viper.

  • I have the one that came with the FLAK/CLAW two-pack. I say there’s rather little difference between the two figures. I only wish that his holster was hollow so he could stick his pistol in there.

  • I have to say, I was so stoked when I heard RoC was doing a Night Raven. That mold has always been a sore spot in my collection. I’d gotten the Sky Raven for Christmas one year, but it was missing a bunch of parts and Hasbro didn’t have any spares to send. I don’t remember all of what was missing but I do recall the support struts to attach the figure bay to the main body were all missing and that’s kind of an important piece.Then I was disappointed when I saw how dinky the RoC version turned out to be. I still picked it up but I also waited until my Target was just giving them away for $15…definitely worth it at that price.

    Unrelated tangent aside, I really do like the looks of this version of the Strato-Viper. My brother had the original from that vehicle-driver mail away offer where you got him, Keel Haul, Lamprey, Steeler and someone else (who were all drivers for pretty big-ticket items) and he got a lot of use. It’s just a classy, stylish looking Cobra. I was happy to see him in my Cobra Island seven-pack since I really wasn’t inclined to get the FLAK/CLAW two-pack since I already had a CLAW from the FANG/CLAW set. I’m more than willing to duplicate figures, but duplicating vehicles is just something I don’t really like doing. While I agree I would’ve preferred seeing another Cobra groundpounder, say maybe a fixed-arm version of the Viper that was not at Hall of Heroes price or maybe an RoC Nitro-Viper fully painted to look like a Motor Viper, he’s still a good enough figure I’m glad there were two ways to get him in his classic colors.

  • If Hasbro ever uses this mold for Drop Zone and releases an updated Sky Patrol, I sure hope they go the way of these Cobra Island sets. Sky Patrol would be a six-pack, easy enough to distribute through places like BBTS. But please, anything but another convention set. The club makes their stuff impossible to get as it is when compared to online exclusives.

    The problem with generic pilot and driver figures is that they only tend to be available with higher price point items such as the Night Raven, Condor, Skystriker, and so forth. In the late 80’s, Hasbro Direct offered the Strato-Viper, Motor-Viper, and a couple of others on their own and at low cost, so at least kids could army build them if they chose to do so, although they’d still lack their rides.

    The 25th anniversary Air-Viper/Strato-Viper sort of bucked this trend by showing up in two different sets, but it was still difficult and kinda redundant to buy multiples when Cobra Troopers, Vipers, and Siegies will always be far more desirable to the average collector. It’s nice to have a few pilots or drivers around for a display, but I wouldn’t see myself amassing a ton of them, either.

  • He is a great figure, the original was one of my favorites. Although I will never understand Cobra’s wasteful spending on redundant googles and visors. Must be a Halliburton thing…

  • The seeming redundancy of both goggles and visors on a Cobra operative is actually a well thought out cost analysis: It offers more protection when Dick Cheney shoots you in the face. ;D

  • Perfect Cobra pilot upgrade!

  • If there’s one Cobra vehicle I remember the best, it’s the Night Raven. I loved that thing (Strato Viper included). It ranked right up there with that giant Joe truck housing two equally giant missiles.

    As for using pilots as army builders, it could work wonderfully if they’re used creatively. A squad of Strato Vipers lounging around a break room; waiting to be called into action. Throwing darts, mocking Joes, watching television. (Though even this scene is itself archaic as now they’d all be huddled around smart phones.)

  • You mean the Rolling Thunder from 1988?

  • I wish they had made driver/pilot six-packs when they were doing the ARAH o-ring sets in the early-mid 2000’s. There’s a few driverless vehicles and vehicles with crew positions that I’d like to fill with appropriate personnel.

    With Modern era, it hardly matters…most vintage vehicles won’t be remade, so they might as well make the operators for the collectors who want every character updated.

  • @Clutch–I agree with you wholeheartedly on that particular opinion. I wish more stuff was getting the BBTS treatment than the GIJCC treatment. It’d be nice to actually have a shot at getting it for something other than the cost of my kidneys.

  • It would also be nice to, you know, give money to a company who would at least apologize for compromising credit cards. That, plus the forever-delay for the FSS to get together, was enough to get me to move away, and I haven’t looked back.

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