Track Viper (1989)

How’s this for an improvement over a Cobra driver that’s as fondly remembered as any in the line? I don’t dislike the original HISS tank’s driver, but I’ve also felt like it was missing something. For an early line figure, it was impressive, but even as a kid, my excitement for it quickly faded. Maybe it was the big honkin’ head or the fact that the chest symbol rubbed off within five minutes of opening the package. Then again, thigh high boots haven’t been one of my favorite styles of footwear, either. Overall, I think the original Cobra tank vehicle itself stood the test of time much better than its pilot.

The Track Viper took a different road than the HISS II in terms of design. This is not simply the HISS driver upgraded with new features, but rather a new take on a Cobra tank driver. While the figure may not be as iconic as its predecessor, I find its look more interesting. The faceplate reminds me of the zombie-like crew of the Cygnus in Disney’s The Black Hole. Not a GI Joe related observation, but hey, I make the rules here. Deal with it. The faceplate also brings to mind the singular face shield of Cobra Commander himself. The faceless look of the helmet could have made for an effectively intimidating Cobra bodyguard for the Commander. Too bad it wasn’t reused later, aside from a straight repaint as the Nitro Viper.

The proportions on this figure, though slim, sort of bear out the file card’s explanation of the Track Viper forces typically being made up of large and muscular types. He’s certainly bigger in the biceps than most figures, and he’s got a pretty impressive set of abs.

On the subject of reuse, the body mold was one of several drivers acquired by Olmec Toys and used in its 90’s Bronze Bombers multi-pack. I covered one of them, named Hard Drive (where have I heard that name recently?) previously on the blog.

Note to checkers-of-fact and pickers-of-nit: yes, I realize that the figure is holding the wrong handgun in the pic. I’m too lazy (not to mention busy) to retake the photo. Just imagine it’s the correct one, and we can all move on, okay?



  • Gotta say, I agree with your assessment 100%

    This guy is a welcome replacement to the go-go boot wearing ’83 HISS driver. I also like that he’s got a name, Track-Viper as opposed to the generic Cobra HISS driver. I always felt like drivers / pilots named after the vehicles they drove / piloted got short changed (Stinger driver, Viper pilot, etc.).

    One thing you didn’t touch on that bears mentioning is the awesome helmet sculpt behind the mask. He looks like he’s wearing a high tech toaster oven for a helmet! This was definitly a new direction, and I can’t think of many other square-headed Joes.

    Check it out:

  • Hey! You’ve got the wrong gun in the photo!

    Seriously, this is a great figure and the best cobra driver. He looks great in the original hiss. Too bad we never got a cobra blue version. But the nitro viper is cool enough.

  • I found one of these at my flea market and traded the torso to one collector and the rest to another.

  • For a moment i thought he was one of those C.O.R.P.S space figures. I dont care if figures are given the wrong guns for photos. None of my A.R.A.H joes still have their weapons.

  • Definately an improvement over the original HISS Driver. Does anyone feel otherwise? Not the most stand-out figure but the off-white/soft gray, black, and bright red do go together well in just the right proportions. The almost ovoid helmet is a bit of a curiosity though. For me, the head invokes a bit of the 1991 Cobra Commander.

    Whenever I hear his name though, I think of the defunct auto parts store Trak Auto…

  • Much like the same year’s Long Range, Hasbro didn’t give this guy much love in the paint app department. The helmet and boots in particular received a lot of intricate detailing but zero color except for the face plate. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Track Viper reissued in the ’83 HISS Driver’s familiar red, blue, and black scheme.

    And yeah, he does resemble those creepy Black Hole zombie dudes. I liked the movie and its accompanying toy line turned out just as memorable.

  • This must be the most painful helmet in the Cobra inventory.

  • One of my favorite figures of all. The orange Nitro-Viper is a winner too,

  • He’s an odd fellow, but good in that late ’80s Cobra kinda way. Probably an android, judging by the back of that helmet. A RIPPED android! But the off-white on off-grey makes me wonder if Hasbro was planning on painting his boots. Why would they use two nearly identical yet markedly different colors of plastic?

  • I just noticed that it’s kinda weird for an android looking figure to wear Captain America looking gloves.

  • Always liked this figure, especially that striking red faceplate. The “Cobra Commander” that comes with the new Retaliation HISS feels like a modern version of Track Viper to me, just paint the mask red.
    Now if only he were articulated…

  • It’s interesting he’s the new HISS Driver but has the colors of the Stinger Driver.

    In some vintage mail in offers for a 6 figure driver set, Hasbro goofed and labeled the Stinger and Hiss driver with each other’s designations. Maybe that mistake carried over here?

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