Techno-Viper (1987)

1987 only produced one single carded Cobra army building trooper, the battlefield technician, or Techno-Viper. Some folks look at ’87 as the year things started to go downhill with the Real American Hero line, but I don’t agree. There was still a mix of Joe and Cobra personalities with new and different designs and specialties to keep things interesting. The year’s Cobra drivers also made a big impact on me, and are some of my favorite driver molds. It’s funny to think that the same year with only one single carded Cobra also had four army builder drivers.

The fact that these guys come up from the Viper ranks makes sense, as combat engineers are just as well-trained and capable combatants as any other troop type. Considering that they can also build, repair and place charges in the midst of a firefight brings them up a notch in my book. Talk about nerves of steel.

The Techno-Viper, as cool a trooper concept as it was, didn’t live up to the card art. At least, the helmet didn’t. I always found it bulbous and a bit lacking. This was rectified in the more recent version, which really nailed the card art’s menacing look.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the mold’s reuse in the Star Brigade sub-group as the pilot of the Cobra Power Fighter. It’s still purple, but with gold highlights. The box art shows a pre-production version with bright yellow in place of the gold. I’m not a prototype collector, but that’s one freaky repaint I’d like to have.


  • I always liked the Techno-Viper since first spotting him grappling with Lt. Falcon on the card art for ’87’s accessory pack. I only learned that he was an army builder after finding the actual figure. These guys were portrayed as having more brains than brawn in the comics, no doubt due to their more technical role within the Cobra ranks. The colors here mark a departure from the previous Cobra troops but somehow, it still works out. Ditto for the 25th style update to say nothing of all the cool gear included with both versions.

  • This was an impressive Viper back in 1987. The purple made sense because dark blue seemed to be the color of combat soldiers (Cobra Officer/generic/Viper) while the Techno-Viper filled a support role, salvaging wrecked and disabled vehicles or pulling a Scotty in the midst of a firefight. Not bad at all. Loved their toolbox backpack too. I don’t think there was another 82-94 with a backpack like that.

  • It’s funny, I found most of the Techno-Viper’s gear first before actually getting the figure. The backpack, hammer, hoses, claw, and rifle I found in my first big flea market haul; the figure and the wrench I had to buy or trade from fellow collectors. In the end, I’m glad I now have a complete one, and there is one thing I hope to do–paint the eyeholes yellow like the card art. That’s it.

  • I really want to army build these guys.

  • I liked them. But what’s with the hoses or wires on his chest and arms? Never understood that.

    Also, I think I like the old figure helmet better than the card art. The art and modern figure makes them seem like a robot bulldog.

  • No doubt about it the Techno Viper is one of my favorite figures of all time! I have three ARAH versions, with two being complete. I also have three 30th versions, with one kept on the card. I hope to score an 87 carded figure someday. I love the helmet and back pack. Purple is my all time favorite color, so that helps too.

  • I like this head/helmet more than the updated 30th/POC version.

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