Frag Viper (1989)
Wow, did Cobra ever branch out their specialized troops in 1989. Talk about diversification. The year gave rise to urban ops, night troopers, anti-tank specialists, land and air drivers, not to mention several funky Iron Grenadier types. Kids who wanted to troop build must have been in hog heaven. By the way, did anyone troop build back then? I think the most I had of one trooper was the original Cobra and Cobra Officer, and that was only because I had an extra from the Missile Command HQ.
Among the new Cobra troopers was the Frag Viper, a grenade thrower. That’s right, a trooper whose main purpose is to throw grenades. Now that’s specific. How he throws them is part of what makes this figure really interesting. He’s equipped with a weapon similar to a cesta, usually seen in the sport of jai alai. I remember as a kid hearing about that sport (I think it was on the TV show That’s Incredible) and more specifically talk about how dangerous it is. Apparently, the velocity of the ball can be deadly. Now imagine that coupled with a high explosive. Pretty cool picture, right?
While 1990 for the most part had big complements of accessories per figure, the 1989 Cobras were no slouches. This guy has hoses upon hoses, one attaching to the grenade thrower and one to his helmet. Why? The larger hose is supposed to feed the grenades from his backpack into the cesta. Why the helmet hose, and why a helmet at all? Who cares, it just looks like a Cobra should. The same can be said for the colors on the figure. While not overly bright, they’re not conducive to camouflage either. That doesn’t bother me one bit. Sometimes the best Cobra designs don’t make much sense, but the troops look good doing their job.