Flak-Viper (2006)

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.



  • I agree with you on the merits of the figure. I just completed the ’92 version recently.

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Not a bad looking figure, but I think some of the colors could have been just a little darker. The original version is definitely one of my favorites.

  • I had the original growing up and thought it was pretty cool. I’m glad to see it resurrected by the Club. However, his color scheme is awfully monotone even for a desert figure. Had they just carried that brown down from the helmet through the smock and maybe even the leggings, I think it’d be a better-looking figure.

  • I miss the o-ring, too. Especially now that classic characters can be found anywhere but retail due to the second movie’s prominence. But hey, Hasbro just brought back the Star Wars line’s original five points of articulation so anything can happen.

    Flak-Viper is one of the vintage era’s last great army builders. The figure was cool looking in its original colors and would rock even more in traditional Cobra blue and red or Iron Grenadier black and gold.

    I can forgive a missile-firing backpack and really big gun since this guy originated in the 90’s. It was all about being EXTREME back then. Heck, I could easily picture these guys being designed by Rob Liefeld and his cohorts. Thankfully, the figure ended up looking far more realistic.

  • Liefeld told me on twitter that Hasbro did offer him a job as like a design consultant or something but he didn’t take it.

  • My little brother used to army build Flak vipers and battle corpse HEAT vipers in the 90’s.

    I had the Parasite at one point and the Destro that came with that disc/fan thingy. We used to try and recreate the picture on the parasites box. The problem was we couldnt fit all of the Flak vipers on it.

    I always thought he was wearing a toga ontop of his uniform! For what ever purpose that would serve?

    I still think some of the battle corps/90’s moulds work if they are given subdued colours.

    As a star wars collector i was really irritated when i saw those new 5POA figures. What next? That Rob Leifeld Luke Skywalker again?

  • why is the garter of his leggings painted a totally different yellower tan from the lower legs molded in actual tan? it really throws off the look of this whole figure.

  • This particular figure is a bit random in paint apps and presentation, but I still really appreciated having an official desert Cobra Trooper (I use them as army builders). Dunno how you did it, but that last photo with his hand on his hip, proud of his stockings, looks like he’s smiling!

  • Yeah but the articulated figs were going for like 10 bucks!!! The 5poa ones are going to be 5. I may actually buy a Star Wars fig again.

  • A bayonet that is shorter than the gun barrel makes no sense. Even having a bayonet makes no sense in this age (or 20 years ago, when this guy was new).

    The single shouldered “togo” leotard thing seems stranger than the leggings. The good head sculpt and muscular body save this mold from become, well, SAW-Viper.

    Also, it’s a true shame that there were never retail o-ring desert packs or jungle or arctic (all no-brainers, even the joes got them all except jungle)…but we got odd sets like Imperial Procession and Shadow Guard.

  • @Nega

    I’ll grant you that a blade that doesn’t extend beyond the muzzle of the rifle it’s attached to is rather useless, but to say that retaining bayonets made no sense even 20 years ago is remarkable silly, given that British units have been successfully employing them for close-in fighting as recently as 2004…

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