Cobra Viper (2003)

With the GI Joe relaunch in 2002, the o-ring style originated in the 80s made a limited comeback. In just the first two years, the classic Viper mold (well, most of it–more on that in a minute) had been revisited five times in the mass market, and once (okay, twice if you count the fuschia fiasco) as a Collectors’ Club exclusive. I was a bit troop-builder crazy in those days, and even picked up a few of the Venom Cycles just to get some more of these Vipers. I guess I wanted a rainbow of Cobra troops.


Folks who pined for a subdued hued Viper got their wish with this figure.The muted green and blues make for an interesting variation on the standard blue and red uniform. It’s too bad the paint app doesn’t follow the boots. The entire lower leg paint looks a bit cheap, but I suppose it’s meant to replicate the lost original Viper legs. The Viper of this era, in general, suffered from ill-fitting components and seemed to have an aversion to being posed in any realistic manner. I consider myself lucky that I was able to get two of these guys to behave for my photos. The legs are problematic in that they originated with the Cobra BATs. As a result, they don’t quite seem to fit with the rest of the figure, and also lack the flair of the original Viper gams.

If you can get them to stand, they don’t look too bad as a forest-y variant uniform. They certainly look better in rank than they do riding their somewhat bloated (but fun) Venom Cycles. To see what I mean, check out the JAD video review of the cycle right here–and forgive me when you watch it, I was really sick that day.


  • I have two of these–for one of them, I painted a few details black. I also gave them the same weapons compliment as their 1998 Infantry 3-pack cousins.

  • I loved the 2002 and 2003 “grunge” Vipers (my own nickname for those two variants). Both had nice forest-y colour schemes as well as being readily affordable army builders.

    Of course, I also loved the Venom Cycle, so yeah

  • The paint on the legs does look a bit odd. Almost stepping into “Slaughters marauders” territory.

    You ever see them down here?

  • I prefer the 2002 as “forest” camo Vipers. These guys are a little too olive for me to see them as Cobras. They have kindofa 1982 Joe look. But I do like the gold visors.

  • The colors and helmets make them look like a couple background Joe grunts found their way into the Steel Brigade’s locker.

  • Since the cartoon from back in the day, I always really liked the Viper (’86). Always wanted a Viper, period. Had Motor Viper from my STUN which was the closest I could get until around 1999/2000.

    All these lost pants Viper releases I was really into at the time, as I wanted a Viper army, as well. Long term the BAT pants as well as the not very refined movement/ posing that the 1986 Viper had bugged me.

    This culminated in the 2006 Viper Pit set. It was a grinding and new o-ring project to get those to play well.

    Having to alter a purchased product to, well, essentially work better is something that should not have happened. Or still happen.

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