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.


  • I just got my first one this year, at a comic convention for $4. I just need to get him his hoses, cesta, and grenades, and he’s all set.

  • Though not exactly at the same timy, my brother was four years old in ’93 [i think] and he used to love army building the Battle corpse Frag viper

    On the subject of this guy. It is good to see that a needless ‘throwing’ feature wasnt incorperated into his desighn

  • I don’t think the Frag-Viper was included in the Battle Corps. You might be thinking of the HEAT-Viper.

  • I never army built any characters during the vintage era since there were so many new Joes each year to collect. I only had some of the main Cobra characters, with notable exceptions such as Zartan and the Crimson Twins.

    Whomever designed the Frag Viper must have been a fan of Miami Vice. You can see a jai alai player in the opening sequence to each episode and there is even one ep which centers around the sport where a guy does die after getting whacked in the head.

    This figure is okay, despite the unusual concept behind it. I never liked that caramel color, though. I would have gone with traditional Cobra red and blue, or even black.

  • Thanks Acer. I meant to say “Flak viper’ [was he the one with the robocop style helmet and toga thing he wore ontop of his uniform?]. He also used to army build battlecorpse HEAT viper and Firefly. He loved neon green cobra troops

  • I just picked this guy complete for 10 bucks.Trying to find accessories can be madning, so I rather pony the few extra bucks to get all their crap and save the frustration.Some figures you can get away with buying incomplete-not this guy.By the way, who here thinks this year’s con figure of this guy is extremely substandard?

  • That was it: “That’s Incredible”! I learned about jai alai there, too. The FragViper was after my time, but he’s okay. Weird helmet (that’s Cobra), but the multiple sashes are… odd? Reversed colors (blue with tan sashes) would’ve looked cool.

  • that’s incredible was a awesome, but i became aware of jai alai from the miami vice intro.

  • And a great uniform’s style!

  • Frag Viper was cool for being different. The weird bug-eyed helmet, the claw grenade thrower, the brown color (it seemed a departure from standard Cobra colors but wasn’t bad). The sash seemed to fit in, probably because Frag Viper was odd all around, but without being outlandish.

    1989 had a great complement of Vipers. In fact, Vipers seem to be one of the real strengths of 1988-1990. Night Viper, Alley Viper, HEAT Viper, SAW Viper, Astro Viper, Laser Viper, Rock Viper (where the moustache is part of the uniform!), Range Viper. Toxo-Viper looked like a slow, lumbering troop in a toxic miasma wasteland (or in a volcano where sulfur fumes can kill). Hydro-Viper was the only really crappy one. Destro’s faction had some great troops too then.

  • I army built back then but I was getting too old to be called a kid, more like a young teen collector.

    I’d guess Frag-Viper’s helmet has targeting electronics and the hose is related to that or part of a gas mask. Strange concept for a trooper, but Im liked him.

  • What a cool and unique action figure. Cobra got what amounts to walking weapon systems with the gear they gave out in the latter half of the ’80’s and early ’90’s.

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