Astro Viper (1993)
I really like Star Brigade, the fairly grand experiment at the end of the original small scale GI Joe line. Maybe experiment is the wrong word. Some may say desperate attempt to boost sales. Was Hasbro prescient, foretelling the successful relaunch of Star Wars under their banner? Were they trying to catch some of that galaxy far away’s lightning in a bottle? There are certainly some hallmarks of it, particularly in the second year, with an alien empire, an implied galaxy of space travel and adventuring heroes, including a scoundrel of a freighter pilot.
Going back to the first series, the figures were much more based in reality, and GI Joe and Cobra had simply taken their battle into Earth’s orbit. Both sides adopted the few existing space suited figure molds to the series, and also filled out the ranks with others whose looks could pass for astronauts.
Astro Viper was an older Cobra space operative, and one that boasted an impressive set of space themed accessories, including a nicely scaled down EVA backpack. Unfortunately, none of it was given to this release. Maybe the parts weren’t available at the time, although they did turn up in another re-release within a decade. Instead of the classic space pack, the standard weapons tree was packed with the figure.
Other than the weapons, the colors aren’t too bright, and I rather like the single color of the space suit as an alternative to the black and red of the first version. The head is molded in gold, and as Transformer collectors know, one can never tell when 90’s gold plastic may crack or disintegrate into dust. Be afraid.