Alley Viper (2013 Kre-O)

Since the second series of Kre-O blind bag figures are apparently out, I thought I’d cover one that hadn’t gotten coverage from me a few months ago. It’s a lovely little bit of sweet orange plastic.

Hasbro really has to get props for making such an effective product using mostly existing parts. I’m amazed how well some of the Battleship parts stand in for GI Joe. The Battleship sets are still languishing on toy shelves all around my area, even at discount prices. By the way, if that large Battleship set ever drops below $50, I’m all over it. Anyway, the ability to pull quality GI Joe product out of the ashes of a spectacular failure speaks well for those in charge of this segment of the GI Joe brand. I do have to wonder, however, how much of the Kre-O sales are going to kids vs. nostalgic adult collectors. Not that it really matters, for as long as someone continues to buy enough of these, Hasbro will keep making them.

The 1989 Alley Viper is one of the troops builders that I pined for early on in my re-entry to Joe collecting in the early 90s. I was fascinated by the odd look and bold colors, as well as all of the gear included with the figure. Thankfully, this Kreon incorporates all of the elements that made the old Alley Viper a standout figure. While the face shield isn’t exact, the idea still comes across. The simplified Lego-esque style covers up the limitations of the parts. The same can be said of the extra rifle with grappling hook (that also stores on the backpack) and the two shields.

The Kre-O figures so far have been very effective in presenting the essence of each character with a minimum of form and line. I’ve been wondering lately whether the appeal of these figures lies more with the format or the subject matter. For me, it’s the perfect marriage of both. Regardless, in an age of hyper-realistic action figures, it’s nice to see the pure fun of GI Joe toys distilled.

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