Red Ninja Viper (2004)
Is there a more iconic GI Joe ninja figure than the original 1984 Storm Shadow? For me, the first one remains the favorite, for nostalgic reasons, as well as the perfect simplicity of the mold.
The Red Ninja Viper, part of the Ninja Cobra Strike Team (that’s not a typo, by the way) was released during the Valor vs. Venom series. When I first saw photos of a red repainted Storm Shadow in the set, I thought we would be getting an affordable copy of the red Argentinian Satan figure. Such was not the case, as the final release was cast in a deeper red, with washes to give a bit of added texture. The result is not a bad figure by any means, but I would have flipped for an outright copy of the famous international ninja.
Valor vs. Venom multi-packs were often plagued by the same random accessory issues that ran through the new sculpt era. Individualized weapons didn’t seem to be much of a priority at the time. As a result, many a collector ended up with bins or bags full of similar rifles and backpacks. Weapon complements are a bit of a guessing game with this.set, as the figures had various swords and other melee weapons packed around them. The Red Ninja Viper was grouped with several swords and a strange bow, which seems to be missing a piece.
Though the color wasn’t initially what I expected, I’ve since come to appreciate the figure on its own merits. The paint wash, which can sometimes mute the underlying color with drabness, is not too obnoxious. The paint details of the eyes and torso are pretty amazing, especially the unique outlined Cobra sigil.