Jungle Assault Jungle Viper
For the longest time, there was one gaping hole in the Cobra ranks—a Viper who specialized in jungle warfare. A case could be made that the Range Viper filled that hole, but they really didn’t look the part. The Night Viper looked the part, but at the same time, its specialty was strictly defined as a night ops soldier. The GIJCC stepped up and created a Jungle Viper out of some of the Valor Vs. Venom parts, but that figure really never appealed to me. However, in the Pursuit of Cobra line, the Hasbro folks gave us a Jungle Viper and while everybody saw him as a spiritual descendant of the Night Viper, this guy is way more interesting than that. Jungle Viper is a great figure and it’s definitely one you need to find if you don’t already have it.
Jungle Viper’s tooling is all new and isn’t referencing a previous figure, so bear with me. The legs look like basic military pants with angular kneepads and wrapped boots with a holster on the right leg. The boots have some added detailing that looks like a metal toe cap. The gear looks like it would be appropriate for a jungle sniper. The torso is a sleek suit with reinforced side panels and three pouches mounted on his chest. As somebody who spends much of his time in deep cover, it’s probably better for them to have quick access to their other gadgets than it is to have to pull something out from a rucksack. The Jungle Viper also gets an added on belt piece that reminds me of the belts that Clone Trooper commanders wore in the Star Wars prequels. It’s a unique look for a Cobra and does help break up all the black on the body but mercifully it doesn’t restrict the figure’s legs as much as some waist pieces do. It also has a second pistol holster so the Jungle Viper can John Woo his way out of trouble at close range should the need arise. Much like the legs, the arms are appropriately armored, with shoulder pads and forearm guards. The forearm guards also have attachment points for part of his high tech digital camouflage suit. The arms also have additional wrist articulation so he can hold his weapon in a more realistic sniping pose. Finally, we come to the head. While I thought it could be a reused Rise of Cobra Ice Viper at first glance, there are plenty of differences between that head and this one, even though the designs are similar. The faceplate looks a bit more skeletal and makes him look even more intimidating. Of course, most of these details are going to be covered by his digital camouflage ghillie suit, but it’s nice to see how much attention they gave to these details despite the fact they’re going to spend 90% of their time not being seen. It helps him look like a complete figure even if his accessories aren’t on. Some companies have started cheaping out on sculpting when it’s pretty clear the figure isn’t supposed to take off its gear even though it’s removable. I appreciate that Hasbro, by and large, bucks this trend.
Jungle troopers tend to rely on green and blacks for their main colors so the Jungle Viper isn’t really breaking any new ground. The paint applications are solid and aside from some slop on the red on the digital camouflage ghillie suit, they did a bang up job on it. At times, the black does get a little overwhelming, though. Some of the fine detailing, like the ridges on his helmet and even the reinforced side panels on his torso get a little lost. A second, lighter green there and some gray on the helmet would really help these details pop and brighten up what is a very dark figure. He does a great job of blending in with his surroundings, and while I appreciate that, I want a figure that’s as cool as the Jungle Viper to stand out more than he does on my shelf. He’s already relegated to back row duty just because he’s so large, but with all the black and very dark green, he’s almost a bit too dark. I don’t mean that Hasbro should have brought out the neonizer, but some lighter greens would have helped bring out the impressive detailing on this figure and made him stand out a bit more. As a side note, the figure is also so dark my camera had a devil of a time photographing him. I think it took me three photo sessions with the Jungle Viper before I got one where the darkness didn’t cause the autofocus to just throw its hands up in frustration and just take the photo and hope it turned out. The paint detailing it has is great, and I really love what Hasbro did with this figure’s eyes. His pupil-less eyes are just soulless and kind of creepy. This guy is someone who really has no problems with being a stonecold killer. Plus, I like the concept of there being a price to pay for using the image-intensifying technology they have. I’m not sure if it came from a Hasbro interview or if Justin Bell over at GeneralsJoes came up with the idea that it’s a side effect from the night vision and amplification technology, but regardless, it’s a great bit of justification and really sells it to me. The Jungle Vipers spend so much time wearing their imaging equipment, it’s caused a degree of atrophy in their human eyes. That’s dedication to the job and it’s kind of twisted.
Jungle Viper was one of the first Pursuit of Cobra figures to really load the card down with accessories. A lot of his pieces are rather large, but the detailing is still excellent. Starting off small, the Jungle Viper has a pair of pistols that can be placed in his holsters. The fit is quite snug in the holster and in his hands, which is always a plus. I can see a pistol being useful should some unsuspecting Joe get too close to his position. The other small piece is his image intensifier that flips down over his face. This piece is where a lot of the Night Viper comparisons came from and I’ll agree they look similar, but I see this piece as far more versatile than the Night Viper’s gear. In my mind, their monocle was a combined night vision rig and imagine intensifier. However, I see the three different stalks on the Jungle Viper’s rig as having different functions that can be used as the situation needs it. The primary stalk is a next-generation image intensifier while the two smaller ones have thermal/night vision capabilities plus enhanced targeting systems. They can be used individually or in conjunction with each other to give the Jungle Viper more battlefield awareness. This is clearly bleeding edge technology that Cobra Commander somehow got his hands on and figured it was best to give it to his elite corps of jungle snipers. His jungle snipers are definitely equipped for the job, though they’re using an interesting throwback weapon. The Jungle Viper’s rifle design is based on the Finnish Lahti L-39 which saw service during World War II. This behemoth was initially used as an anti-tank gun, though when tank armor became too thick for it to penetrate, it became a sniper weapon and was also used to harass armored columns. A later variant became a popular improvised antiaircraft weapon. This gun is a beast. The Hasbro team faithfully replicated this relatively obscure yet impressive-looking gun. The gun itself is a little over seven feet long in real life and assuming around a six-foot height for the Jungle Viper, Lahti stands at about the right height past his head to be around seven feet in real life. Yes, that’s right, the Jungle Viper’s gun is taller than he is. That’s one heck of a rifle. It’s so large, in real life, if you wanted to move it from place to place you either had to strip it down and have a couple men carry it or you moved it around with a team of horses. Considering I see the Jungle Vipers as a static, stealth defense, I’m okay with them having a gun that weighs over 100 pounds since they’re not going to be moving it from place to place that often. Finally, we come to the elephant in the room, Jungle Viper’s impressive digital camouflage ghillie suit. Not everyone likes it, but personally, I love the idea and I think the execution is stellar. The camouflage suit consists of seven pieces. Two sets of blades attach to the points on his arms. The rest attach to a backpack with two very broad pieces for across his back, two smaller sets that come across and help cover the rest of the front and a top piece to obscure him from any trooper that may be looking down on him. The design is so effective, I never even noticed that on the Jungle Assault cardbacks there’s a Jungle Viper hidden in the diorama scene until another Joe site pointed it out. That’s an impressively good design. I see the technology used here as an extension of Wraith’s stealth suit from the comics, The Jungle Viper can orient his seven-piece system to provide him with maximum cover and the images broadcast to the front of the blades are based on what the microcamera’s relay from the other side.
Jungle Viper is an incredible figure. The attention to detail on the sculpt is impressive and the accessories work very well to establish this character as a high-tech jungle sniper. I don’t see Cobra Commander having too many of these guys. Their equipment is expensive, but it turns them into such a formidable fighting force that you don’t really need to field that many of them to deny your enemy access to areas you don’t want them. Cobra really upped their game during the Pursuit of Cobra era. Their gear became a lot more high tech, and I’m okay with that. While the US military is limited by budgets and safety concerns, Cobra Commander doesn’t have to worry about those sorts of things. I can see the US military rejecting the Jungle Viper’s imaging system because of the dangers it poses to the operators’ eyes. Cobra Commander wouldn’t care about that sort of thing as long as it gives him what he needs for the time being. Jungle Viper is another one of those figures that looks great standing but is a bit cumbersome to use. I’m sure as a kid, I would have stripped off the digital camouflage suit and just had him running around without it. It’s more playable that way. That being said, though, the Jungle Viper is still a great figure and is probably my favorite Cobra specialty trooper that was released during the Pursuit of Cobra line.