Viper (1994 Battle Corps)
The presence and popularity of the 1986 Viper within Joe fandom goes without saying. The updated faceless Cobra trooper appeared more battle ready than the previous ’82-83 blueshirt, and is many a fan’s favorite army builder. The design continues to resonate into the most recent toyline.
The 1994 Battle Corps figures were rife with re-dos and repaints of previously released characters. The lone original Joe for the series, the infamous Ice Cream Soldier, was covered in head-to-toe armor, much like this new Viper. While a faceless trooper can make for an imposing force, some exposed skin, whether it be a partial face or even bare arms, makes for a more humanized force. This figure seems too well armored compared to previous Cobra grunts. The mold may have been better suited as a specialized trooper, maybe as an updated Annihilator. Funny enough, the mold in its entirety was later repainted as the Iron Grenadier Iron Anvil trooper in the 2005 convention exclusive set. Hey, a late-line figure actually fulfilled the frequently repeated “repaint it in better colors” wish of collectors.
The redesigned Vipers made a few appearances in the final issues of the Marvel comic, albeit in a different and (believe it or not) far gaudier color scheme. Overall, it’s a well-detailed, yet somehow nondescript figure.