Alley Viper (2002 Red Version)
The 2002 Alley Viper was available in two fun flavors. At the time of their release, I picked up just a few. Although army building had gained popularity in the early 2000s, I didn’t feel obligated to track down dozens of copies of the same. I did however place a focus on making up squads of Cobra troops. For a time, I was quite fixated on buying five examples of all of the Cobra troopers and insert-adjective-here Vipers. It was a bit of a sick habit.
The Battle Corps figure upon which most of the 2002 Alley Viper is based was a huge favorite of mine in the 90s. For a time, I couldn’t locate very many of either the black and yellow or orange and blue repaints. I was happy to see this figure show up among the second wave of the new series. Unfortunately, the leg molds of the original did not survive the years between the end of the Real American Hero line and the relaunch/rebirth of small Joes in ’02. The Duke legs are a serviceable substitute, but their thinner early 80s sculpt style don’t quite fit as well with the bulkier 90s torso. Nevertheless, I was enamored with the new camo paint scheme and worked on acquiring my self mandated five man squad.
These days, this figure seems to be much easier to find, particularly on card. Maybe the demand just isn’t so great because collectors don’t see this on the same level as a vintage o-ring figure. On multiple occasions, I’ve seen this figure and his blue compatriot show up in local collectibles stores. The paint scheme still beckons me to male a purchase, but I pride myself in having managed to stop from buying every example I come across. There is hope for the obsessed collector.