Techno-Viper (2011)

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.

7 comments

  • I’m not too worried about the articulation since the Techno-Vipers are more like engineers than soldiers. I respect them for that. I’ve also been a fan of the figure since I first saw him grappling with Lt. Falcon on the 1987 accessory pack card art. Back then, I thought he was going to be a new Cobra honcho of some kind instead of an army builder. I’ve always loved the helmet design and purple suit. The Techno-Vipers have been put to great use in the comics throughout the years, much like the Tele-Vipers before them, so I was very glad to see Hasbro revisit these guys despite their minor imperfections.

  • “helmet looks like a Cybertronian Marmaduke”

    I could not quite formulate the words to describe what I thought of this helmet sculpt. You, Sir, have hit that nail perfectly.

    I was never a huge fan of these guys. I understand and fully respect their purpose, which is fully sound reasoning. However, the design just never garnered much interest from me. I have one of these figures, only because of my irrational need to have my M.E. collection be at least as close to complete as I can make it. Aside from that, the only remaining interest I have would be to amass multiples of that fantastic road cone for all sorts of great displays and/or dioramas (trip hazards beware!).

  • I hate when a vest won’t stay closed properly like this one. If he wasn’t already such an awkward figure, his vest would be enough to ruin him for me.

  • They probably could’ve pulled off the look while doing something like Lifeline, where the vest overlapped the chest swivel. At this point in the main toy line, I think people would’ve gone for a 30th re-invention than the “25th style” remake he is.

  • Great figure with a lot of accessories!

  • I’m surprised by the mediocre reception towards this guy. I loved him as a kid and absolutely love this update. He went straight from the package to my display shelf mind you so I didn’t notice any vest issues. Maybe if I were playing with him it would bug me. Enjoyed your review as always.

  • I LOVE this figure! Much improvement over the vintage version! I have 4 and I wish I had more!

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