HEAT Viper (1993)
I always found it strange that a late 80’s Cobra like the HEAT Viper was revisited just a few years after its original release. However, the late 80’s Alley Viper was also given new life in the Battle Corps series. I find both to be well done and worthy successors to their earlier figures, but with their own distinctive 90’s feel.
The first HEAT Viper was among the more strange designs of the time, with its half face shield, boot mounted missile racks and unwieldy main weapon. This new version is a more simplified, stripped down design in terms of sculpt, paint and accessories. I think it’s due more to the changing style of the toyline than anything else. A strong sci-fi look, bold colors, and arbitrary weapon choices were common to the time.
Though the uniform is less detailed than its predecessor, I still find it to be an enjoyable Cobra trooper. The plain, single colored outfit harks back to the very early Cobra troops’ more simplistic styling. There aren’t multiple layers of clothing, pads and the like, just a simple suit with bandolier. Replace the green with Cobra blue, and he could stand with the rank and file troopers as a nameless heavy weapons trooper. Speaking of which, this mold would have been perfectly suited in blue and black alongside Firefly and the 90’s Flak Viper mold in the Cobra Urban Strike Team multi-pack. The only thing that bothers me about the figure is the solid painted waist piece. It looks too much like he’s wearing black Superman shorts.
HEAT Viper is another instance of the spring loaded missile launcher being less of a liability for display. It makes more sense to pose this figure with his giant missile launcher than someone like Keel Haul. An anti tank trooper would naturally carry a large weapon, and though his is still outsized, its presence doesn’t stretch the limits of plausibility too badly.