Zombie Initiative Toxo-Viper
In my opinion, the one glaring hole in the 25th Anniversary line was how many late 80s army builders got missed in favor of additional version of named Cobras that we’d already seen somewhere in the line. While the Hazard-Viper from the 30th Anniversary line was a spiritual update of the Toxo-Viper in my opinion, I was a little bummed not to have a purple-clad Cobra chemical weapons specialist somewhere in my collection. When the GIJCC announced that the 2014 con set was going to have Toxo-Vipers I was excited. However, it appears I was in the minority about being excited about the fact that the 1991 Toxo-Viper was the one that they chose to update. Don’t get me wrong, I have strong memories of my 1988 Toxo-Viper and I never had the 1991 version, but I have to say, if Toxo-Viper is only going to get one update,they probably chose the right one. The 1991 is more striking figure, it fits better with the Eco-Warriors theme of the con set and it didn’t require as much investment into new tooling to make it. I’ve gone from having no Eco-Warriors Toxo-Vipers to having three of them and I have to say, the modern rendition of the 1991 version is a great figure and the GIJCC (along with some help from the great guys over at Boss Fight Studio) really made me like this less-than loved version of the Leaky Suit Brigade.
I’ll admit, I don’t do a lot of customizing, but every year when JoeCustom’s Custom Celebration rolls around, I participate in their “Virtual Customizing”, where you come up with parts lists for figures but don’t necessarily have to make them. I’ve always been a little obsessed with the Eco-Warriors subteam, so I’ve parted out the 1991 Toxo-Viper a couple times in this exercise and I have to say, the GIJCC did a great job with their choice of parts—dare I say, they probably came up with a more accurate version of the 1991 Toxo-Viper than I did. The legs are a combination of Airtight and Techno-Viper. The Airtight upper legs give off a great cleansuit vibe while using the Techno-Viper lower legs instead of Airtight’s keeps him from being a little boring and ties him a little bit more to Cobra. The legs mesh well together and keep us from overloading on Airtight parts on this figure. The torso comes from Pursuit of Cobra Arctic Threat Destro. The armored chest is a great addition. While the 1988 Toxo-Viper looked like he belonged in the Leaky Suit Brigade, in my opinion the 1991 Toxo-Viper showed that Cobra was more serious about chemical and biological warfare and was willing to invest more money into protecting such deadly assets. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the Arctic Threat Destro torso without an additional piece over it. That allows me to really appreciate the detailing on this piece. The angular panels look sharp and make it clear that the Toxo-Viper is well-protected both in the field and in the lab. Around his waist, the Toxo-Viper has a removable belt. I’m not 100% sure who originally had it, but it looks like the piece the Rise of Cobra Viper Commando had. It’s not a bad piece, but its design isn’t great. When the belt buckle is centered on his waist, the pistol holster looks just a little too far back in my opinion. I know you can wear a pistol that far back, but I’d still rather have it closer to his hip than his butt. If nothing else, I’d imagine it’s a bit harder to sit down when you’re wearing a holster that far back. Toxo-Viper’s arms come from 30th Anniversary Airtight and that’s a great call. They’re a nice, simple piece that looks great as part of a suit that someone who works with dangerous chemicals would wear. Underneath his newly-sculpted helmet courtesy of Boss Fight Studio (seriously Hasbro, why did you ever let these awesome guys go?), the Toxo-Viper is using the Rise of Cobra Flash head. It’s a great call and it kind of reminds me of the facemask the 1988 Toxo-Viper had. It’s not a perfect recreation, but I like they made the helmet removable and made sure that the Toxo-Viper was wearing some sort of protective facemask underneath it to serve as a last line of defense should the helmet fail to protect him. Finally, we have to talk about the helmet. This piece is absolutely incredible. The details are incredible crisp and the helmet horns look great here. I remember seeing the 1991 Toxo-Viper on the shelves back in the day and I think part of the reason I passed on it is because while the helmet looked cool in the card art, it really didn’t translate all that well to the figure itself. The horns were little nubs back in 1991, but now, that’s definitely not the case. I’m not sure why he has a horned helmet, but they took that detail and really made it shine. The helmet itself also has a lot of technological details molded into it, from the rebreather on the front of the helmet and the hoses that connect it to the back to the little boxes on the side of his head. The faceplate is nice and open and makes a lot more sense than some of the narrow visors that Cobra troopers have been given back in the day. It makes sense that someone who works with dangerous chemical and biological weapons would want to be able to see well, so the wide faceplate makes a lot of sense.
The choice of parts the GIJCC made really made a good figure, but the paintwork on the Toxo-Viper really makes him shine. While the 90s often get criticized for their odd color choices, the 1988 Toxo-Viper wore purple and green and so did his 1991 counterpart. The purple and green looks just as good here as it did back in 1991. However, it does seem like the purples don’t quite mesh up with each other. The purple on the arms and his knees are a bit more of matte color while the legs have a bit more of a shiny, satin finish. It isn’t that noticeable unless you’re right up on the figure (say for the purposes of reviewing it), but it is kind of annoying when the colors on a figure don’t match up. It’s not as bad as some lines have done (like DCU’s Joker with purple pants where the upper legs and the lower legs don’t match), but it’s still a little annoying. The green on the armored chest is great and I love that it looks kind of metallic. The metallic green is a great color and it works well both on his chest armor and his helmet. I’m not sure what I think of the metallic green belt, but regardless, it’s a good color. My only question is why does he have a metallic green butt? The front of his waist area is purple fabric, yet the back is the metallic green. It’s just a little confusing. Is the Toxo-Viper wearing an armored buttplate? If so, why? The red gloves really pop well on the figure it’s straight off of the 1991 figure. Finally, the helmet gets some additional paint work, with a bright red faceplate and purple hoses running around the back. My favorite detail, though, has to be the red Cobra biohazard logo on his chest. I’ve mentioned how much I love this logo before, but every time I see it, it makes me smile. It’s a nicely designed piece and I’m glad to see it getting used again on this set where its inclusion is totally appropriate.
I’ll admit, the one thing that had me a little flummoxed about the 1991 Toxo-Viper was how to equip it. The GIJCC made some unusual choices, but they work really well and do a great job at referencing the 1991 figure’s gear. Starting off with his backpack, he’s equipped with the 30th Anniversary Airtight’s alternate backpack. I love the design of this piece. It’s a great air supply and it’s shockingly similar to the backpack the 1991 version had as well. This was some smart reuse here and it really helps bring the Toxo-Viper’s look together. Looking at his smallest weapon first, the Toxo-Viper is equipped with the 25th Anniversary Lamprey’s pistol. It’s an all right piece (though not my favorite), but my bigger beef is how poorly it fits in this holster. If you place it in the holster like a normal pistol (ie, with the grip facing the back) it doesn’t fit at all well. It falls out very easily—believe me, I know. I spent a couple hours trying to find the pistol from the first Toxo-Viper I pulled out of the box because it slipped out of his holster while I was moving him. I kind of find myself wishing they’d either given him whichever pulse pistol the Viper Commando put in there or that they’d used the 30th Anniversary Techno-Viper’s belt since it has a holster that can actually hold the Lamprey pistol well. His primary weapon is the funky-looking submachine gun that the first Retaliation Snake Eyes came with. While I wasn’t sold on its inclusion, looking at the 1991 Toxo-Viper’s gear, it’s not a bad stand in for the hightech pistol that he came with (and that I absolutely loved when I first got it with my 1992 Viper). I’m impressed that the GIJCC found a Hasbro piece that gave the same feeling as that funky pistol. His final weapon is the one that I was least sold on as a piece for the Toxo-Viper, though it did make me excited for the upcoming 50th Anniversary H.E.A.T. Viper. To reference the Toxo-Viper’s big water-blasting cannon, the GIJCC used a spring-loaded version of the H.E.A.T. Viper’s bazooka. It’s a surprisingly decent stand-in for his large water cannon and while it’s spring-loaded, it looks enough like the plasmatox cannon that I’m okay with it. My only concern is that when I look it out of his hand once, the handle’s paint (and possibly plastic) flaked off. I’m a little concerned about the Toxo-Viper’s overall durability if the metallic green plastic they used for the figure is of similar quality to the metallic green plastic they used for his plasmatox cannon.
Though I never had the 1991 version of the Toxo-Viper, I still had an attachment to the character and I’m very glad that I have a version of Cobra’s chemical weapons expert in my collection. The look is incredible and I’m really glad that the GIJCC went with the Eco-Warriors version over the classic. I love my 1988 Toxo-Viper from a nostalgic standpoint, but I think the 1991 redesign was a bit more effective. Everything was much more streamlined and therefore made him look like a more effective presence on the battlefield. As I said in my Field Report on it, I feel that the Hazard Viper is a pretty effective spiritual update of the original Toxo-Viper. That figure would look at home working with and cleaning up dangerous chemicals. However, the 1991 Toxo-Viper looks like a more battlefield-effective version of the same specialty. This is the Toxo-Viper Cobra would send out into the field to unleash the chemical or biological weapons it’s working with. As such, they need to be equipped differently to make sure they get to the release site with their payload intact and return to Cobra so they don’t lose their knowledge or their willingness to work with dangerous substances.