HEAT Viper (2014)

It’s good to see new GI Joe product on the shelves. Earlier this year, no one really knew if Hasbro was going to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the seminal action figure brand. All corners of the fandom have weighed in with opinions on the makeup of the Toy R Us exclusive line, and I won’t belabor the usual general observations about the release. I’ll just say that I’m happy to see something. Look for more 50th anniversary entries all this week, by the way.

I found the old HEAT Viper figure to be quite odd. Maybe because it fell in those years that were unfamiliar to me, a time that I was out of toy collecting. For me, if there isn’t a childhood connection to an older toy, I just don’t quite seem to vibe on it the way I do with the playthings of my youth. Cliche as it may seem, the  nostalgia factor weighs heavily in my mind. Well, at the gut level at least. I’ve found that having a child has allowed me to reconnect more with that old sense of wonder that came from obtaining a new toy. Many times, as an adult collector, I opened a toy, analyzed it for a bit, then either stuck it on a shelf or in a baggie for storage. That all changed when my son reached the age at which he could safely play without fear of shoving every accessory into his tiny mouth. Now every toy gets playtime with its targeted demographic, and as a toy fan, I’m all the better for it.

Unfortunately, the modern style of GI Joe figure construction just isn’t as conducive to the play patterns of little ones. I think that an older age group of kids, (and adults) would find a lot to love in the articulation and amazing detail. Younger kids might just get frustrated. My son certainly did. After all, the figures tend to get a bit fiddly, especially when it comes to arming them with weaponry. There are little nuances of annoyance here, like the too-soft backpack that doesn’t quite plug in, and the main weapon’s hanging hose. The HEAT Viper’s main accessory launcher mimics the old, but without a place on the helmet to plug it in, the hose just dangles. You don’t want to leave your heavy weapons units hanging in the breeze.

Nitpicks aside, the figure looks cool, and it’s a lesser known later Cobra to boot. The more I check out the 50th sets, I just can’t see kiddos getting into these toys, which is a shame, but not surprising. They’re squarely aimed at us old guys.

The gold accented stand is a nice touch, though.


  • That is odd about the hose…Stoked for 50th week!

  • No plug on the helmet is a major fail but the figure is very faithful to its vintage counterpart.

  • I have the original HEAT viper and yes he is a bit odd. Most notibly, his helmet which only has a visor on one side. Its good to see that Hasbro went the extra mile and painted both sides this time. Atleast this one can see what he’s aiming at.

  • Construction-wise, maybe they should have used the Resolute Duke upper legs–they could swap out the non-functioning holster with a port for the hose.

  • As a kid I always had trouble looking past the ankle rockets. They’re just silly. Cool to see Hasbro execute a helmet closer to the original card art! That’s too bad about the dangling hose. I wish they could’ve connected it to the backpack or something. All in all, quite a figure for less than $8.

  • I plugged the hose into that little nipple on the underside of the backpack. The gun handle bends a little out of shape, but the hose stays on and doesn’t look too bad. That’s the good thing about the softer plastic.

  • Hasn’t anyone else worked out he holds the bazooka, LEFT handed. The rear of it rests on the ‘U’ shaped cradle that protrudes out of the left bottom side of the backpack. It helps him hold the thing in a ‘shoot from the hip’ fashion….Hasbro didn’t design the backpack just to look weird, theres form and function there….It amazes me NO ONE ELSE has ever figured the stupid thing out….

    And no, you can buy a toy as an adult and still look at it with the same childlike wonder one had as a kid. For me, buying toys is a retention of lost childhood innocence…I buy toys I’ve never owned as a kid because I like the concept, design and well, its something to fiddle about with when I’m in the mood for messing about with a toy or two…also, it may well be something I wanted as a kid, but was never bought.

    • I thought it was quite clear in the entry, but I wasn’t saying that one couldn’t look at toys from the perspective of youth, I was simply pointing out my own experience.

  • Great looking figure, and the helmet looks much more like the ARAH card art. That “U-shaped cradle” to me always looked like some sort of exhaust….

  • The hose can wrap around and connect to the other peg on top of the weapon. That’s what they did with it when used for various GvC-era figures.

  • The visor is on one side is because the thick hose is supposed to go to the left side of the helmet, it’s a SIGHTING mechanism connected to the weapon, remember these aren’t fire and forget weapons, HEAT-Viper has to stay locked on the target. By not have that helmet peg, Hasbro missed the point of the strange looking helmet.

    The gold sigil is odd, you can barely see in on the yellow, but they wanted them on all the 50th Cobras I guess.

  • He’s cool, nice to have a modern version of another childhood fave from the Viper corps.

    That gray hose on the original did attach to the helmet and I believe was part of the fiber-optic targeting system. There was another basic black hose that went from the weapon to his shoulder, too. I always thought it was strange that none of the hoses attached to the backpack, because the bottom of said pack looked like it had the launcher’s exhaust-pipes. Maybe the backpack was some kind of engine?

    Stick that hose wherever you want, friends! We’re talking about a soldier who wears rockets as leg-warmers here…reality isn’t the highest importance–fun is.

  • The bazooka’s rear rests on the ‘exhaust pipes’ so he can hold it one handed….

  • Mine came today, was happy that the rockets still are removable from the leg holders.

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