Snow Serpent (1991)

Will I ever stop lavishing praise on the 1991 series of figures? Not until I’ve covered them all. Even then, I probably won’t stop. I can’t say this enough: it’s my favorite year for Joe figures in the 90’s, and within the top few years of  my overall favorites. There was so much great stuff going on in ’91, even if it was the beginning of missile launchers. Don’t hate on the early launchers too much. They’re actually not bad. At least they weren’t yet too huge or attached to a helmet.

How could an update of a classic Cobra troop from the gilded Joe year of 1985 ever hope to be successful? Maybe if the concept is truly updated and taken in interesting new directions, both in regards to design and playability. Though I’ve covered the mold previously with the mail-in version, which is a great repaint, the first example stands out for its accessories.

Figures like this solidified the departure from first generation small Joe fans’ ideas of what made the line exciting. Consider the original Snow Serpent, with its abundance of purposeful equipment. From snow shoes to parachute pack to missile launcher (non-firing) to an amazing AK-47, it was a dream figure for the mid 80’s. By the 90’s, a new group of kids were of the age to be into Joes. They were a group who, unlike us, had more sources of entertainment competing for their attention. Joe was called upon to do something more than just look cool. The equipment reflects the change; we got a firing missile launcher, a snowboard and brighter colors. It’s all more than a bit crazy, but lovable. I continue to be impressed by things like the cobra motif worked into the shape of the snowboard.



  • Steven B. Williams

    I liked how the file card went deeper into what a Snow Serpent’s life is like: unheated barracks, cold food, even the part where taking only cold showers was considered an act of honor.

    Now the figure, I don’t know. I think it would of been better if they had used blue or grey rather than yellow. Clever idea with the heating unit for the weapons, though.

  • At least it got better colors in 1998. Now if only it got reused for the RAH-style releases during the New Sculpt Era….

  • Ahh i remember playing with that figure when i was a kid . I recall enjoying his snowboard 🙂 This is a good example of a fun toy . It didnt take itself to seriously (with those colors!?) and it’s accessories complimented that feel.

    Imagine if they had packed this figure with Action Man as a 2 pack …..

  • Great figure! One of my best Cobra as a child!

  • Yeah, 1991 was the last great year for me, along with 1990. It was also the swan song for classic file cards. Veteran characters like Grunt and the Crimson Guard were revisited. Missile launchers like Red Star’s made the figure look cool. It was a good time to jump on the bandwagon or leave with grace and head up high, which is what I ended up doing.

    Although I prefer the 1985 original, this was a nice, fresh take on the Snow Serpent. I would have gone with blue instead of purple, but other than that there’s little to complain about here.

  • It was neat that his pack held his launcher and his board.

    I much prefer the 1985 version, though. This one’s colors are too bright, and he’s not menacing looking. Also, he had pistol holster, a leg holster and a big pistol with a scope! Maybe that pistol was meant for his right thigh holster, but it’s far too large.

    It’s not a bad mold, though.

    • I agree, 1985 was better, but compared to some revamps (Eels), Snow Serpent wasn’t too bad. The snowboard was nice. The purple’s not bad, it’s the big red visor and the light brown that detract from it.

      I remember quickly getting this figure up as soon as it came out (it was wave 1 for 1991). I had wanted the original Snow Serpent, but it was the 2nd rarest 1985 figure in my area. Snake Eyes was first (only saw it once and saw why it was on the shelf- Snake Eyes was stolen from it, leaving behind the accessories) and Alpine was a close third, only saw SS & Alpine 2 or 3 times. The original Snow Serpent gets overlooked as a hot, hard to find figure (at least in the original store-going experience). Coming out in a decade that tended to have cold, snowier winters seemed to help sales (as was mentioned about Snow Job in another article here).

  • The launcher later turns up recoloured on 3 Generation 2 Transformers toys: Sideswipe, Jazz and Onslaught

  • One of my favorite figures from my collection.

  • Definitely one of my favorite figures growing up!

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  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    I’m disappointed there aren’t very many arctic weather Cobra figures, but this is one of my favorites. I really like the look of this figure.

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