Alley Viper (1994)
I’m not afraid to say it–I love the 90’s Joes as much as the earlier figures. Detractors of the era talk about the color schemes, departure from pure military style and overabundance of action features. I prefer to dwell on the positives; color schemes, departure from military style and action features. This release of the Cobra Alley Viper epitomizes the playfulness of this period’s color schemes. The vibrant blue and orange also harken back to the colors of the original figure from 1989.
The Alley Viper troops were intended to be Cobra’s urban warfare specialists. The original figure was equipped with a large shield, machine gun and backpack with molded in grappling gun. The helmet of the figure was especially strange, as it appeared that the trooper had no eye holes to see out of. When the figure was redesigned for 1993, the helmet became a snake shape, which included obvious eye holes. The shield was also redesigned to a Cobra symbol. The file card for this new version of the Alley Viper states that Cobra re-fitted and trained this new breed to make their counterparts look like “nerdy wimps.” The redesigned elements do create a figure that is heavy on Cobra symbolism. These guys may not be decked out in urban camo, but there’s no doubt as to who’s rolling up on you.
I’ve often wondered why urban camo is simply grey and blue. Shouldn’t an urban assault trooper be outfitted with camo that truly represents the environment, like store fronts, ads and car bits on their uniforms?
The top half of this figure was also reused numerous times in the 2000’s series. What happened to the legs? The story goes that when Hasbro sent molds to other countries like Brazil and Argentina to produce their own figures under license, some of them were not returned. Future releases had to be made using substitution parts. Such was supposedly the case with this version of the Alley Viper mold.