Imagine a world where a 1987 figure would garner attention from the modern Joe collector. Hard to believe I know but that’s what happened at the announcement of the Techno Viper for the 30th anniversary line. Who knew folks would freak for the purple engineers? I always thought the old head sculpt was weird, but this new version’s helmet looks like a Cybertronian Marmaduke.
Maybe the expectations for the figure were based on the simple fact that its a Cobra army builder. Whatever the case, here he stands, aping his vintage counterpart. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily. I think however that in the effort to remain as true to the details of the original as possible, the figure on the whole suffers.
The biggest issue for me with this figure–articulation. In a modern line that presented us with a poseable and fantastically updated classic figure in the Cobra Trooper, we get this overburdened and stiff fellow. The modern figures’ use of modular web gear has been one of the great revelations in modern Joe and allowed a great range of figures to be achieved. However the Techno-Viper design needs a fairly large additional torso piece to achieve the classic look. It’s this rubbery tunic that doesn’t quite fit right and just ends up too bulky. Both elbow and knee movement are hindered, especially the knees, which don’t seem to be able to straighten out completely.
On the positive side of the ledger, the accessory complement is effective and well represents the orignal’s set of power tools. The safety cone is a fine little touch; if I buy a few figures I can finally keep my Cobra troops safe from slips, trips and falls.
In the end it’s a noble attempt, but one that for me unfortunately calls back to the articulation and accessory bugaboos that plagued the early 25th anniversary figures. I would have been interested in seeing the current designers put a Pursuit of Cobra style update into the mix.