Laser Viper (2001)

The 2000 and 2001 series were interesting in that they utilized vintage molds with some paint application processes previously unseen on Joe figures. Those two years presented figures with a new kind of swirled colored plastic to approximate camo, and they also made use of paint washes. Washes are generally used in modeling to convey shadow and bring out deep details on a sculpt. A thinned paint (usually a dark color or black) runs into the crevices and creates contrast. When done well, it’s quite effective. When done poorly, it just makes things look dirty.

The Laser Viper is a case of successful use of paint washes. I’m not usually a big fan of them, but in this case I like it. This is yet another Cobra figure that brings to mind the comic’s early variations of standard troops. The body and accessories are a reuse of the 1991 Sci-Fi, also a laser specialist (go figure). It’s a generic enough mold (a simple coverall with armor added) that it also works as a trooper. The newly sculpted head is a great complement to the rest of the figure, and also serves to remind me of the original Cobra trooper designs, all the way to the red face mask–very much in the comic style.

I must admit, the file card cracks me up. These are not the same troops as the 1990 Laser Viper, which used their lasers as guidance for missiles. According to the bio, these guys are weapons developers. They all have Masters degrees in mechanical engineering, and they “test” their weapon improvements on each other. Wow. No wonder Cobra hasn’t taken over the world. Talk about wasting your recruitment department’s hard work.


  • This figure has long been a favorite of mine. I only have one, but have always thought about getting a few more for my Cobra Army.

  • It’s a great army builder and more true to the standard Cobra uniform designs than the 1990 version. I do love the bit about testing the weapons on each other. Not too bright an idea for a bunch of well-educated engineers.

  • I so badly want to like this figure. I really like the original Laser Viper, the cool backpack with attached laser, the wicked head sculpt under the cool hemlet.
    Its hard for this one to stand next to the original. And those 01 file cards are all pretty terrible.

  • This is a figure that hasn’t really stood the test of time. It was much better when it came out when collectors were desperate for any retail army builders. But, a decade later, this figure just doesn’t hold up among all the army builders that came later.

Leave a Reply