Copperhead (1984)

I don’t always have a good memory for the old days of toy buying as a kid, but I can still remember when I got the Water Mocassin. Near our neighborhood was a small shopping center, with a couple of larger stores. One of the stores was a local grocery store chain and the other a TG&Y, a department store from before the days of WalMart’s seeming takeover of all shopping opportunities. TG&Y had a decently sized toy section, and I remember picking up other 80’s toys there, like Voltron, Transformers, and Mighty Crusaders. There was even a sizable selection of knock offs. I think I picked up a phoney baloney Insecticon at one time.

Anyway, I remember being excited not only for the vehicle, but for the driver as well. At that point I had a HISS and a VAMP, and while I liked Clutch quite a bit, the HISS Driver was not a favorite. Copperhead quickly became my favorite Cobra driver, and I even used him a lot outside of his vehicle, a rarity for me.

This figure has just the right amount of menace, and a great uniform design that still resonates today. The exposed eyes of the helmet have a kind of simplified comic art look to them that is simple yet expressive. I’ve talked about it before, how I find the early figures with only exposed eyes to be very interesting, in a graphic sense. The bulk of the figure also drew me in, as many figures in the line at that point still had a tendency toward thinner sculpts. Copperhead had a solid and imposing stature, with larger arms and a barrel chest. The uniform is a great blend of function and symbolism, with its wet suit look and snake belly motif on the inside of the legs.

I didn’t discover the variant, with darker green gloves and armbands and solid colored helmet, until the days of the internet. It’s an interesting look, but I don’t really care for the missing paint apps on the helmet.


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