SAW Viper (50th Anniversary)
Usually, it doesn’t bum me out when I can’t afford to buy in on a con set. However, back when the GIJCC did the Nocturnal Fire con set, I was legitimately interested in the set, but I just couldn’t afford it. I was okay with not getting the Night Force Joes, especially since the GIJCC has redone the Night Force Joes from that set in their traditional colors (which I preferred) in subsequent FSS releases. However, I was pretty bummed about not being able to get was the S.A.W. Viper. S.A.W. Viper was one of my favorite Cobra figures back in the day so I was a bit disappointed I wasn’t going to be able to get his modern version. Thankfully, after quite a few years, Hasbro released their own version of the S.A.W. Viper and truthfully, I’m kind of glad I had to wait. I think the Hasbro version might actually be superior to the GIJCC version.
The 50th Anniversary S.A.W. Viper has a pretty simple build and while it’s not a spot on recreation of the vintage version, like 50th Anniversary Duke, it takes the general ideas of the vintage figure and updates them with a more modern military sensibility. The vintage figure looked a little funkier, an influence of the 90s aesthetic creeping into the line. The modern figure looks quite a bit like a realistic heavy assault troop. While the GIJCC version relied extensively on the Pursuit of Cobra City Strike Destro parts, Hasbro changed things up a little. That gives us a S.A.W. Viper who still looks well protected but is a little less bulky, reminding me more of the vintage figure. Instead of the Destro torso and legs, Hasbro opted for the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper torso and legs. The legs are pretty basic, but they still have a pretty strong military vibe. The tight shirt of the Shock Trooper works well under the vest, but it’s a good thing that the S.A.W. Viper is wearing that vest because the tight shirt would look a little odd with the bulkier arms. Rather than go with the Pursuit of Cobra City Strike Destro vest, Hasbro opted for the Pursuit of Cobra Beachhead vest and I kind of like that. I did like how much bulk the GIJCC version had, but I think the slightly slimmer build works a little better for the S.A.W. Viper. The vintage S.A.W. Viper wasn’t that bulky, so I like seeing this different, less bulky build. The Pursuit of Cobra Beachhead vest still looks appropriately protective and fits well with the arms Hasbro used. Like the GIJCC, Hasbro tapped the Pursuit of Cobra City Strike Destro arms for duty. I really do like these arms for heavy gunner figures. The arms are bulky to begin with, but when you add on the extra armor plates, they look absolutely beastly. Like the GIJCC, Hasbro also used the Retaliation Airborne head for the S.A.W. Viper and I’m glad to see this piece again. However, it doesn’t necessarily fit with the S.A.W. Viper look. I kind of liked the exposed lower face and I think Hasbro could have made this figure a little more interesting had they taken the 25th Anniversary Dusty head or some other equally generic piece and put it underneath the helmet. Finally, like the 25th Anniversary Range Viper, the 50th Anniversary S.A.W. Viper borrows his helmet from the DTC S.A.W. Viper figure. This was one of the few DTC figures I ever found at retail, and I think part of what made that figure so great was the excellent removable helmet Hasbro designed for it. The helmet looks great on top of the S.A.W. Viper and helps complete the look. This is a solid build and Hasbro made some great changes compared to the GIJCC build so it wasn’t a complete re-release of a premium figure.
The S.A.W. Viper has always had a weird color scheme, and it’s no different for the 50th Anniversary version. The GIJCC did a fairly straight up recreation of the vintage color scheme, so Hasbro had to go a different way, and unfortunately, I don’t think it works quite as effectively as the vintage color scheme does. The figure’s base color is purple, and while it’s a slightly better color than the vintage fuschia, it’s still not a great looking color. The figure’s armor, face mask and vest are done in black. I think that’s where part of the problem is. The pairing of and fuchsia and pink, while not exactly stealthy military colors, works very well together. The purple and black don’t work together quite as well, though. There’s a little bit of gray on the figure’s vest thanks to the knife sheath and the binoculars, but the majority of the figure is purple and black. The helmet is molded out of purple and has a gold visor. Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of the gold visor. It’s another color I think just doesn’t work quite as well with the purple as the vintage green. I think the bright green popped a little more against the fuschia and I liked that. I also wish Hasbro had taken the time to paint the mic built into the side of the helmet. It just looks a little odd being the same purple as the rest of the helmet and makes it look just a little unfinished. Considering Hasbro changed up the build so much, I wish they would have stuck with the vintage colors like the GIJCC did. I think there are enough changes here that even if it had been in the same colors that it wouldn’t have felt like a rerelease of the GIJCC’s version.
The S.A.W. Viper has always been defined by his gear, and unfortunately, I don’t think either modern version of the S.A.W. Viper has quite nailed things down yet. Personally, I think Hasbro should have done what they did with the H.E.A.T. Viper and invested a bit of tooling money to recreate the vintage S.A.W. Viper rifle. I’ve always felt that was a key part of the figure and I think the S.A.W. Viper suffers a little bit from not having access to that specific piece. However, just because he’s without his crazy big vintage machine gun doesn’t mean he’s not still packing some heavy fire power. Starting off small, he’s got a pair of knives to fill the sheaths built into his vest. While I don’t think of knives when I think of the S.A.W. Viper, it’s still nice that they’re included here for completeness’s sake. S.A.W. Viper also carries a very small pistol. It’s a nice touch that he has a backup piece, but I do wish he had a holster to carry it in. Of course, if you release a S.A.W. Viper without a heavy machine gun, you’re doing this wrong. The S.A.W. Viper has two options for machine guns, both shared with Retaliation Ultimate Roadblock. The one I have as his primary weapon is the modern S.A.W. that we’ve seen several times in the last few years. It’s a great piece and the silhouette is similar to the vintage S.A.W. Viper rifle. His other weapon is the big .50 caliber machine gun that we’ve seen several times as well. Truthfully, I don’t like this weapon with the S.A.W. Viper. He has a little trouble holding it and it looks just a little too military for me. I kind of like when Cobra’s weapons look a little more out there, but this machine gun is clearly a real world piece and I think the S.A.W. Viper would look a little better carrying something different. The nice thing about the .50 caliber machine gun, though, is that it can plug into his back so the S.A.W. Viper can carry all his gear on him at once, which is something I appreciate. The S.A.W. Viper’s gear is great, but I do wish we’d gotten a modern version of his vintage rifle.
This version of the S.A.W. Viper is a solid figure. The build is great and it fits the S.A.W. Viper look very well. I’m not sure the colors are successful as they could be, but it’s still a decent look. I think the changes Hasbro made to the build of the figure were wise and it fits with the look I associate with the S.A.W. Viper a little more. The gear works well, though it’s a bit more of the same when it comes to machine gunners. I do wish Hasbro had found a way to tool up a new version of the vintage S.A.W. Viper gun. That’s an iconic piece and I think its inclusion would have helped turn this figure from just good into great. He’s a solid addition to the 50th Anniversary line and it’s someone we haven’t seen much of since the original line, and I’m glad to see a slightly more obscure Cobra specialty trooper got some attention from Hasbro once again.