I’ve said this a few times before, and I’ll say it again here: I miss the o-ring. Now, before you tell me I’m just being a curmudgeon who pines only for the days of old, I’ll tell you no, in fact, I’ve passed curmudgeon and gone fully into ornery old coot territory. As far as longing only for the past, there’s more to it than that. I suppose I just miss the opportunity to see old molds rescued from obscurity and given a fresh look. The Collectors Club’s Operation: Flaming MOTH sets filled the bill for giving us a few great Cobra trooper molds. In an interesting turn, each of these apparent army builder figures were given individual names.
I suppose the Flak Viper isn’t horribly obscure, having been released twice in the 90s and also in a more modern multi-pack (renamed as Nullifier), but the mold isn’t right on the tip of most folks’ tongues when they think of the Cobra troops. That’s too bad, because I think the figure has always been pretty great.
The Flak Viper’s first iteration wasn’t too brightly colored, considering its time of release. It at least had some blue worked into it, although a shade or two brighter than the usual Cobra fare. The uniform and helmet design are what stood out to me, and the figure had a unique look that couldn’t easily be confused with other Cobras. Sure, the backpack is a little on the odd-looking side when the very long missiles are inserted, but the pack itself isn’t too badly oversized. I would say that I’m worried for a trooper who carries an anti-aircraft missile battery on his back, but we’re talking about Cobra here, so I’ll just ignore the feeling. The impressively large laser rifle is one of my favorites of the 90s, and a unique and seldom seen weapon.
The uniform is also unique, to say the least. Along with Battle Force 2000’s Blaster, who’s wearing what look to be garters, this is another GI Joe figure that’s proudly sporting some odd form of hosiery. The original version’s file card points out that they’re “protective, non-corrosive, leg shield slip ons,” a sort of coverall to protect his legs from the blast of his backpack, I suppose. Sure, that’s what I’ll tell myself to avoid thinking about having purchased a squad of stocking-wearing male action figures.