Track Viper (1989)
How’s this for an improvement over a Cobra driver that’s as fondly remembered as any in the line? I don’t dislike the original HISS tank’s driver, but I’ve also felt like it was missing something. For an early line figure, it was impressive, but even as a kid, my excitement for it quickly faded. Maybe it was the big honkin’ head or the fact that the chest symbol rubbed off within five minutes of opening the package. Then again, thigh high boots haven’t been one of my favorite styles of footwear, either. Overall, I think the original Cobra tank vehicle itself stood the test of time much better than its pilot.
The Track Viper took a different road than the HISS II in terms of design. This is not simply the HISS driver upgraded with new features, but rather a new take on a Cobra tank driver. While the figure may not be as iconic as its predecessor, I find its look more interesting. The faceplate reminds me of the zombie-like crew of the Cygnus in Disney’s The Black Hole. Not a GI Joe related observation, but hey, I make the rules here. Deal with it. The faceplate also brings to mind the singular face shield of Cobra Commander himself. The faceless look of the helmet could have made for an effectively intimidating Cobra bodyguard for the Commander. Too bad it wasn’t reused later, aside from a straight repaint as the Nitro Viper.
The proportions on this figure, though slim, sort of bear out the file card’s explanation of the Track Viper forces typically being made up of large and muscular types. He’s certainly bigger in the biceps than most figures, and he’s got a pretty impressive set of abs.
On the subject of reuse, the body mold was one of several drivers acquired by Olmec Toys and used in its 90’s Bronze Bombers multi-pack. I covered one of them, named Hard Drive (where have I heard that name recently?) previously on the blog.
Note to checkers-of-fact and pickers-of-nit: yes, I realize that the figure is holding the wrong handgun in the pic. I’m too lazy (not to mention busy) to retake the photo. Just imagine it’s the correct one, and we can all move on, okay?