Viper Pilot (1983)


Apologies for the less than pristine figure, but that’s how these guys are often found. The Viper Pilot is of course the standard original Cobra trooper mold, with a silver sigil in place of red. Something about the silver paint used for the chest emblem just doesn’t hold up to play over the years. Viper Pilots certainly got their share of play back in the early 80s, at least until their vehicles crashed enough times to render them unworthy of flight.

I never had the Viper Glider, instead electing to pick up Joe’s Falcon in a trip to the local Montgomery Ward. I had ten dollars of birthday money from my grandma burning a hole in my pocket, so I convinced my parents to stop at the store on the way home. I found this figure in a lot at a flea market years later, and he’s still in my collection. Sure, I could spend a bit of money to pick up a more mint specimen, but I find some charm in this worn out fellow, and so I keep him around. His barely-there emblem reminds me of what these toys once were, before the days of collectors sealing them in baggies or airtight Lucite cases. I’m sure this pilot spent his fair share of time both in the air and stuck in trees, waiting for his young owner to free him. I wouldn’t want it any other way.



  • I especially like the scuffs on his helmet. That proves he was an active glider pilot. Tan Grunt helmets usually look like that. Which always makes me wonder: tan Grunt doesn’t get nearly the hype that the Viper pilot does. Is it the “cool” badguy factor? I’d think they were probably produced in similar quantities, so it’s not scarcity making them valuable.

  • I was at a toy show a couple of years ago and I saw an ok Viper pilot with a cobra logo about 80% intact. I asked a dealer, “How much for the Viper pilot?” He says “it’s a Cobra Officer, not a pilot.” I told him it WAS a Viper pilot, but in his hubris ,insisted it was a Cobra Officer. Finally, I said “Okay, How much for the Cobra OFFICER?” .He said 10 dollars. I gladly paid, thankful of my good fortune. I have two of these figures-both have wear on the right side of the logo, like yours. Mike Taber, stated on his old site “Forgotten Figures” (Man I miss that site),stated that the Viper pilot was rarer because Moms bought the Viper one first usually, then when the glider would crash into the ground, told all the other mothers in the neighborhood about the poor quality of the gliders, hence the Grunts being more common.

  • Aside from the sigil, what shape was this figure in when you bought it?

  • Ah, the Viper Pilot… the original Cobra gliding pioneers. Who said officers had it easy, LOL? His uniform & face bear the scars & bruises from Cobra’s ill-fated attempt to fight the Joes with styrofoam. Of course, so did Grunt, which explains why he scored a Shemp on the ugly-meter in 1991. A decade later, with technological improvements from their officer guinea pigs and lo and behold, Cobra has Air Commandos safe to wear thin masks (Night Vulture) or have their face exposed (Sky Creeper and the Air Devils).

  • I have an early cobra trooper but i dont know weather he’s this guy or someone else. He’s quite scuffed so i’m guessing he’s a glider pilot.
    My namesake is also found with scuff marks on his cap [as it landed first] and with a broken bow peg.

  • I found one with almost no logo left on it years ago. Thought it might be an error, till I heard about the viper pilot…..

  • Blue shirts are still my favorite troopers. Although the 1986 viper has better equipment. So funny in The Germ episode, two blue shirts talking. Here comes one of the Crimson Elite. Elite, Ha, we do all the work.

  • ”The Cobra Viper and The G.I.Joe Falcon Gliders were made out of styro-foam and were easily breakable .Grunt(Tan Version),and The Cobra Officer were just put with the gliders, since both action figures were readily available.”

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