Viper Pilot (Code Name: The Enemy)
Apologies for the less than pristine figure, but that’s how these guys are often found. The Viper Pilot is of course the standard original Cobra trooper mold, with a silver sigil in place of red. Something about the silver paint used for the chest emblem just doesn’t hold up to play over the years. Like the HISS driver I posted a few days back, this guy’s Cobra insignia is usually non-existent. Viper Pilots certainly got their share of play back in the early 80s, at least until their vehicles crashed enough times to render them unworthy of flight.
I never had the Viper Glider, instead electing to pick up Joe’s Falcon in a trip to the local Montgomery Ward. I found this figure in a lot at a flea market years later, and he’s still in my collection. Sure, I could spend a bit of money to pick up a more mint specimen, but I find some charm in this worn out fellow, and so I keep him around. It’s more economical to pick up a third-party repro chest piece than buy a mint loose figure at this point anyway. His barely-there emblem reminds me of what these toys once were, before the days of collectors sealing them in baggies or airtight Lucite cases. I’m sure this pilot spent his fair share of time both in the air and stuck in trees, waiting for his young owner to free him. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
With a few exceptions, (basically anything worth more than $75) my son has access to my collection which has expanded considerably in the last few years. All I ask is my guys dont go outside with their gear and he put them back in the case when he is done. Some have been damaged, but by and large they have held up admirably.
Add characteristic as the worn sigil is, it’s always fun to see the impact battle damage on the front of the helmet, too. Glider veteran, not some display diva!
Love the battle-worn figures. The wear tells a story. As a kid, I appreciated tearing open a new Joe, then immediately taking him outside to the sandbox or the mud or the grass and wearing off the shiny newness. I wasn’t thinking about keeping them 30 years down the road, but how much fun I could have with them that afternoon. I wasn’t abusive, like Sid from Toy Story, but there was something about muddying up your Joes to make them look like they’d seen some action. When I think about putting them in the sandbox, and what sand does to paint and joints – yikes! But it was well worth it. I’d hate to think what my brothers and I would have missed out on by keeping our Joes in pristine condition. My Firefly still has a small burn mark on his shoulder from an unfortunate smoke bomb incident. That’s what you get when you play with fire . . .
I used to think their heads were too big. I thought they were ugly. After having the new versions in hand with the redone heads, I have a larger appreciation for these guys. They were great figures then and still cool now.
It’s not (just) wear over years, the early silver emblems could be rubbed off just by merely touching them. The only toys O can think of with paint ops as fragile were Mattel’s Secret Wars.
My brother had the glider and pilot and the glider of course, didn’t hold up. The pilot’s sigil eventually wore away entirely. I think my brother used him as Scar-Face after that.
It’s paint “apps” as in “applications”, fyi.