Desert Viper

By Past Nastification

This figure is in my collection, but I have no recollection of it. I discovered it the other day and it triggered absolutely no memories. Hasbro pumped out a ton of figures during the Rise of Cobra run, and this is one of them. The more I look at it, the more I like it. Like many figures from the Rise of Cobra, it’s not good or bad, it’s good and bad.

Desert Viper’s overall look is chocolate fatigues with tan drybrushing, and lots of gear. How much gear? A ridiculous amount. Included are a pike and two hatchets, which would seem better fitted to a firefighter. Likewise, the sword and machete are out of place. The two weapons, backpack, and vest are all fine. But looking at the abundance of stuff, I say why not? It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.

The paint is good, with the exception of the tan stripes on the vest. That paint doesn’t “stay within the lines” and is a bit gloppy in places.

Speaking of stuff, the head is a bit confusing, too. Desert Viper’s head is a molded form-fitting helmet, already featuring goggles and an enclosed face. To put a hat on a hat, Hasbro included removable goggles and a removable bandana (sculpted in a pulled-up-over-the-nose position). An alternate, unmasked normal human head might have worked better with the goggles and bandana. But Cobra Vipers have goggles on their helmets, which already have faceplates. Maybe this is a Cobra thing that simply works because it looks cool. Fortunately, the Cobra symbols on the shoulder pads indicate this is a Cobra character.

For the sake of simplicity, I would have preferred a Cobra Soldier released in this same color scheme instead of an over-geared figure. The 2008 Desert Assault Squad set came somewhat adjacent in concept with several of its figures. Desert Viper, for all of its cluttered busyness, has a unique bad guy look.


  • This was a figure design that as an O-ring enthusiast, I was a little jealous of. The ’91 Desert Scorpion comes off more like a single character to me, so we never really got a Cobra desert trooper. That said, the Rise of Cobra/Pursuit of Cobra era tried really hard to make chocolate brown the color of Cobra’s choice for desert. Night ops, I guess? So this Desert Viper is a little outside the box (bumblebee stripes & gear, especially), but if Hasbro had ever repainted him in more traditional tans & browns, I think the concept would’ve taken off versus the half-hearted repainted 25th Viper in the 5-pack.

  • Dark colors in the desert sun….doesn’t seem smart. Just an Elite-Viper in desert kit? Where were the regular vipers in RoC? Who knows? Why did all the RoC cobra troopers look like Snake-Eyes wannabes or grey aliens in stargate jaffa armor?

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