Sand Viper with Air Assault (2005)

While I appreciate the modern era GI Joe figures, I do miss some elements of the 2000’s lines. Most of all, I miss the deluxe figure concept. It’s something that was somewhat specific to the era, and though it wasn’t a part of the Joe line in the 80’s, there was a sort of precedence for it. The low price point vehicle or accessory, usually sold for a bit more than a single figure, was a staple of the 80’s and 90’s and has unfortunately faded away. It was replaced for a time with the deluxe figure, a concept that had been present in Hasbro’s Star Wars line since its own 90’s relaunch. These figures usually included a figure (commonly a repaint) along with a small one-man vehicle or large scale mounted weapon.

By 2005, the Air Assault glider had already seen release twice with Barrel Roll, and also in an exclusive battle pack. The winged backpack was a bit of a throwback to the classic Cobra CLAW, although this time maintaining a more glider like appearance. The modular construction allowed for a fairly large wingspan considering it was packed in a blister not much larger than the standard figure package. It also could be reconfigured into a compact secondary mode. The glider mold was used yet again in two Rise of Cobra Target exclusives, which were sadly the last recent examples of deluxe figures.

The Sand Viper included is yet another repaint of the Spy Troops series figure. I found this to be one of the better molds in terms of detail, and I enjoyed the background given to the Sand Viper armor, which functioned much like a Dune stillsuit in retaining and purifying body moisture. Oh, and you can’t go wrong with a little Cobra blue, even on a desert trooper.

8 comments

  • I remember reading one of Justin Bell’s reviews on this, and I think he was the one that noted the Sand-Viper’s resemblance to the never-made Raptor-Vipers from the Devil’s Due comics.

  • Very informative review. I know little about this phase in RAH history and the stories behind these guys are news to me in 2012. I think the concept of deluxe figures originated after Kenner merged with Hasbro. The Cincinnati team basically took over from Pawtucket for a while, didn’t they? Kenner’s various Batman lines thrived on the deluxe concept while they worked on the brand and this probably affected G.I. Joe in later years as well.

    • I think it started during the 1997-98 years, when they had the release of the Duke w/Silver Mirage, Viper w/Flight Pod, and Torpedo w/Night Landing sets.

    • The deluxe figures of the “new sculpt” era were first shipped with the two pack waves, instead of another figure, there was a figure and a large accessory/small vehicle. They both had the same price point. So they were deluxe but they sort of weren’t since they shipped with the regular stuff.

      Near the end (2005), they got their own wave…but it was all recolors.

  • Nice looking figure, and great pic!

  • Love Sand Vipers, I upgraded them to armored troops as they just looked so cool. This guy ended up being thier leader since I had only one and he looked the part.

  • He looks like a long-armed, neckless alien freak, but the mold is hard to dislike in any color. And he holds a gun well.

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