Astro Viper (1993)

I really like Star Brigade, the fairly grand experiment at the end of the original small scale GI Joe line. Maybe experiment is the wrong word. Some may say desperate attempt to boost sales. Was Hasbro prescient, foretelling the successful relaunch of Star Wars under their banner? Were they trying to catch some of that galaxy far away’s lightning in a bottle? There are certainly some hallmarks of it, particularly in the second year, with an alien empire, an implied galaxy of space travel and adventuring heroes, including a scoundrel of a freighter pilot.

Going back to the first series, the figures were much more based in reality, and GI Joe and Cobra had simply taken their battle into Earth’s orbit. Both sides adopted the few existing space suited figure molds to the series, and also filled out the ranks with others whose looks could pass for astronauts.

Astro Viper was an older Cobra space operative, and one that boasted an impressive set of space themed accessories, including a nicely scaled down EVA backpack. Unfortunately, none of it was given to this release. Maybe the parts weren’t available at the time, although they did turn up in another re-release within a decade. Instead of the classic space pack, the standard weapons tree was packed with the figure.

Other than the weapons, the colors aren’t too bright, and I rather like the single color of the space suit as an alternative to the black and red of the first version. The head is molded in gold, and as Transformer collectors know, one can never tell when 90’s gold plastic may crack or disintegrate into dust. Be afraid.


  • I think this guy will be my first Cobra figure from the set, if I ever find one.

    And on the subject of the Gold Plastic Syndrome plague–don’t forget the TARGAT released in this sub-set.

    Also, word of advice for those who like the Star Brigade or the Mega Marines–if you’re going to display them, make sure the figures are holding the most sci-fi looking of the weapons they come with, it really helps sell that aspect.

  • Star Brigade is part of what got vintage ARAH cancelled. Hasbro appeased the recently acquired Kenner people by axing 3 3/4″ GI JOE in 1994, since Star Wars was planned come back the next year. To sweeten the deal (or rotten it, for us Joe fans), they gave the Kenner team the action figure lines, including GI JOE (Kenner made the utterly unpopular GI JOE Extreme). You’d think Kenner bought out Hasbro, instead of the otherway around.

  • Hey. I have this guy but he’s missing all his gear. I like the more ‘realistic’ star brigade figures like the white space suit versions of Roadblock, Payload and Spaceshot. On the subject of G.P.S, rest in peices Electro 30th May 1994-June 1st 1994

  • I’ve never warmed up to the Astro Viper due to that tiny head. It’s way too small to be menacing compared to the melon-headed Cobra Soldiers, Officers, and Vipers from the classic years.

    The GPS article over at Trans Wiki is far more chilling. Sorry to hear about your two-day old Electro, Skymate. 🙁 GPS is the Transformers equivalent of that most irreversible of RAH fatal conditions: Cracked elbows! I’d take the Hate Plague over it any day.

  • I wouldn’t mind having all the Star Brigade figures on top of earlier ‘Joe astronauts and Cobra-nauts. Of course, I would have to have the Defiant, Crusader, Starfighter, StilettoS, InvaderS, and any other spacey vehicle available.

    Astro Vipers just seem like good army building troop figures.

  • Thanks Clutch, Electro was and still is my favorite G2 transformer. That same day my brother got the G2 Slingshot and it crumbled to peices in his hands the moment he opened it. Thank god not so many Joe toys were made from it

  • Something about the neon green visor really puts this guy in space for me.

  • I just had this chap out yesterday, he is one of my favourite Cobra figures from that period. Talking about GPS, I was examining my Target from that year last night as well and found that his shoulder joint is very stiff, to the point of not being possible to move, should I leave well enough alone and be grateful he’s in one piece?

  • No matter how well you look after figures and toys made from gold plastic they will eventually crumble to peices. Even if they are carded and boxed

  • I like the original Astro Viper, not this one. The turquoise, black, gold, and lime green (not to mention neon orange weapons) just don’t go together. I can defend some late ARAH line figures, but not this one.

    About GPS, headless Astro-Viper v2s would be a fitting complement to platoons of Toxo-Zombies. What GI Joe figures and vehicles were made from GPS plastic? With as many Serpentors as there are out there, it would seem like they aren’t subject to it because there should be many reports of it. Heck, GPS might’ve been discovered via Serpentor if it had the condition. The only report I’ve heard is some Air Chariots and specifically some part of them having the GPS tell-tale swirl. What is the base color for Serpentor plastic? (it might vary given how many different Serpentors are out there due to the mail-order extension of his availability)

  • As for the GPS, is there the same problem with 1992 Duke’s brown accessories?

    I’m not sure if it is common, but mine looked like a it had different layers of plastic after it literally crumbled with no effort on me.

    Is this how GPS looks when it happens?

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