1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper Review

Today I’m joined by my friend Video Dracula, who just launched a new website! If you enjoy Transformers of all eras, you need to check it out. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.

Drac helped write the review and also took a ton of photos for this post. I’m sure you can tell which are mine and which are his.

The 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper is not technically a 90s figure, but it is a figure I got around 1990 and played with throughout my childhood. I asked Drac if he wanted to collaborate on a review with me, and he suggested this late 80s weirdo. I thought it was a great idea, because what is 1989 if not the dark herald of the 90s to come?

And boy oh boy, does this figure ever foreshadow what would happen in the 1990s with GI Joe.

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper and His Bright Green Friend

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Dustin: The 1989 Cobra roster is beloved by the kind of hardcore, crusty fans that get mad when you so much as mention an Eco Warrior or a spring loaded action feature. Highly realistic military figures like Alley Viper (perfect real world camouflage) and Night Viper (totally reasonable weapon the figure has no problems holding realistically) are held in the same high regard as earlier figures like Crystal Ball and Python Patrol Copperhead for these stalwart old school fans. Well, 1989 was the year many of my early childhood GI Joe figures came from. I had a couple earlier ones that were probably still hanging out on shelves in 1990 (Crystal Ball, Hardball, Dodgeball, Weiner Dog), but 1990 was the first year I started getting more than a couple Joes, and many of them were from 89. But I never had the fan favorites like Alley Viper and Night Viper.

Instead, I had HEAT Viper and Annihilator. They were my earliest enemy troopers. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

As a kid, the HEAT Viper kind of baffled me. It was too avant-garde for my 6 year old brain to make any sense out of. The little missiles were quickly lost and its weapon was a little too cumbersome with the hoses attached. As soon as I got a BAT and Sludge Viper the next year, my HEAT Viper became Cobra’s #1 jobber. He was the first trooper the Joe team took out before moving on to tougher enemies. He would drive the doomed vehicles. He was there exclusively as cannon fodder. 

The figure survived most of my childhood (and a house fire), but I eventually swapped his head with Annihilator’s because the figures were so loose and well-played-with that I didn’t even need to unscrew their torsos to remove their heads. 

I never thought I liked HEAT Viper as a kid, but I’m appraising my experience differently, now. Maybe I did like him? Otherwise, why would he have gotten so much use? I’ve always had some mixed feelings about this figure, so when my friend Drac suggested we do a collaborative review of it, I knew it was a chance to process my thoughts on the matter. 

Drac, did you have HEAT Viper as a kid? If not, what convinced you to finally buy one? I know you’re more of a Transformers guy, so what were your childhood experiences with GI Joe and this figure?

Drac: I grew up with the last couple years of ARAH, mainly the Battle Corps figures with their weapon sprues. Of those, among the first I had was the HEAT Viper v2, the bright green guy with the Judge Dredd helmet and the gigantic rocket launcher. Of course nearly every figure in Battle Corps had a gigantic rocket launcher, which my dad was fond of poking fun at (he used to tell me stories about his hyper-realistic original 1960s GI Joes, and how they could hold a rifle perfectly). But for HEAT Viper, the rocket launcher felt appropriate, because the guy’s whole specialty was having a rocket launcher, after all. Now the thing that confused me about this guy was how his launcher had a name, and the name was “FANG II.” It always made me wonder what happened to the first FANG. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Well, of course, the reason was because this dude wasn’t the first HEAT Viper. As I accumulated Battle Corps figures, I also started to learn about the earlier years of GI Joe figures that I missed. I was given some second-hand early 80s figures, and I started watching the cartoon on VHS. I immediately loved this older stuff more than what was on shelves at the time, so I started hunting for it everywhere.

I don’t remember where or when I first found an original HEAT Viper, but I definitely picked one up sometime, probably from a yard sale. He had none of his parts, the little peg on his head was broken off, but he had kind of a Cobra Commander-esque helmet, so I loved him. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I eventually figured out who he was when I mailed away for the Sky SHARC, which came with a 1990 foldout catalog. That foldout showed a number of the 1989 figures as well, including HEAT Viper. And oh, Dustin! How I pined after everything in that catalogue. I squinted so hard at the accessories to try to figure out what they were and what they did. 

Anyway, without parts, HEAT Viper is a weird little dude. The helmet had some strange ridges along the side, it has half a face shield, and some of the figure’s chin pokes out of the bottom (but not all of it). The bright orange and purple make for an arresting color scheme, which is of course perfectly natural and appropriate for a military uniform. I like the rough strap that trails down the middle of his torso – what is it for? Who knows. He’s got some purple webgear on his legs and a molded-in silver handgun for the times when the Joes get too close for missiles.

So what do you think of the design of this oddball?

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper Review

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Dustin: I loved looking at the older catalogs, too, especially as we moved into the 93-94 era. I loved a lot of those Battle Corps-era figures, but they kind of lost a little bit of magic when they stopped coming with unique accessories in 1993. And I had HEAT Viper v2 as well! I remember being quite taken aback when I received that figure. “Why did the goofy-ass orange guy need another figure?” I asked myself. Of course, I got Countdown and Ozone v2 around then, too, who were also new versions of figures I already owned. But HEAT Viper v2 was something entirely different. I kind of just used him as another Cobra goon. 

But, to answer your question, we’d better get on with the actual review!

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

The 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper figure is an oddity, but he’s odd in a way that only later-era Cobra could pull off. He has an asymmetrical helmet with an exposed chin. As you said, Drac, he’s also done up in bright orange and deep purple with some dark grey and silver highlights. It’s honestly a stunning color scheme, and there was nothing else that looked like this figure at the time.

Even if you don’t like him, you probably look at him and instantly wonder “what’s this guy’s deal?” He demands your curiosity. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Well, he’s a Cobra Bazooka Man, which makes him the enemy equivalent of someone like Zap or, uhhh, Bazooka. That’s actually a specialty no Cobra troop type had before he came around. And he certainly does it with unique Cobra flair. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I mentioned that as a kid, he was a bit too off-the-wall for me. I didn’t know how to use him. But now I appreciate just how much he stands apart from everything else. The colors and the helmet are just so unique. As an adult, I really enjoy looking at this figure. He does have those pegs on his legs, though, which don’t look great unless you have the accompanying missiles. Which I don’t, really. I only have one!

Drac, what are your opinions on his overall look? How do you think he functions as a GI Joe figure, both as a toy and within the in-fiction universe?

Drac: In some ways I think he functions a little less well than HEAT Viper V2, weirdly enough. The asymmetrical helmet and felt-lookin’ straps kinda conspired to make him feel, I dunno, a little less tough than the V2 version? V2 has a distinctly more muscular torso, and he also has those knee-high boots with the giant kneepads which make him feel kinda like a motorcycle cop (plus, the kneepads do feel appropriate, since he’s probably gotta kneel to use that massive launcher…). The guy had the attitude of a boss enemy, or at least a miniboss, even without his signature weapon. V1 doesn’t feel quite as evocative on his own.

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

But on the other hand, it’s the guy’s weird details that make him stand out as a favorite for me. Like you said, he demands your curiosity. And it gets better when you read his original file card, which describes all the technology in his rocket launcher and his helmet (Active heat vents! Infrared suppressor! Fiber-optic link!). For me, these concrete details were the missing link between “neat action figure” and “imagination kindling,” and it’s one reason why I’m obsessed with vintage toy file cards like this, especially ones from the ARAH and Transformers lines. The quote from the bottom has always stuck with me too, and paints a picture of a lone HEAT viper hanging out in a bombed-out building, his range-finder and trajectory computer filling his mind with data he needs to take his one shot at a Rolling Thunder or whatever, knowing if he misses his shot, the Joes will be all over him in seconds. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

So I guess it’s time to talk about those crazy accessories, eh?

Dustin: Yes, let’s talk accessories! But first, I must concede that HEAT Viper v2 does cut a very strapping, muscly figure. He is all frowns and biceps. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

The 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper comes with a light grey bazooka, light grey backpack, six light grey missiles (that attach to its legs), a thick light grey hose (that attaches to the weapon and the figure’s head), and a regular black accessory hose that connects the weapon to the figure’s shoulder. All of the grey parts are prone to discoloration. 

With all the missiles attached to his legs and his hoses connected the right way, HEAT Viper is a visually arresting figure. He just looks armed to the teeth in a way that only the best GI Joe figures can capture. No other toy line really comes close to doing something like this. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I’ve seen people configure HEAT Viper’s gear a lot of different ways– rocket launcher held over the shoulder like a standard bazooka, the wrong end of the launcher pointing forward (see YoJoe.com), and plenty of other things.

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Personally, I always keep the launcher held underhand in his left hand, where the pipes from the backpack can help support its weight. If you take that route, the figure is pretty easy to stand up and pose, even though the weapon is absolutely huge. 

What’s your take on the accessories and how the figure interacts with them, Drac? Do you find them fiddly or frustrating? Personally, I think they could be much worse in that regard. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Drac: I’ve had worse times getting figures to pose with even simpler accessory sets (glares at original Alley-Viper). HEAT Viper is comparatively easy for me. The two rubber tubes can sometimes be a little too rigid to allow him to aim his launcher well, but it’s surprisingly easy to get him into good poses.

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I do like trying to figure out alternate configurations for all the hoses and stuff. For one thing, the front end of the launcher, to me, looks less like a rocket launch barrel than the back end. And I always feel like a bazooka guy should have the thing braced on his shoulder. But either of these configurations end up with the “FANG” emblem facing the wrong way, which is completely unacceptable. It’s also impossible to get him into any sort of kneeling or knees-bent pose unless you remove the two missiles from the backs of his ankles, which you can see in some of the photos in this review. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I tend to stick one end of the black tube in the launcher, and the other end into the tip of a protrusion in the backpack, rather than the intended hardpoint on his shoulder. Speaking of the backpack, what on Earth does it do? The bio card only describes the launch tube and the targeting systems, leaving it up to our imagination what functions the backpack accomplishes. The sculpt suggests it might be a rack for more (or different types) of missiles, perhaps. But then it’s got this huge exhaust tube, like one that’s been transplanted from a motorcycle. I’ve never been able to reconcile this thing. Obviously a giant tech-laden rocket launcher would give off lots of heat, but I don’t know why the heat would end up coming out of the backpack!

What do you think?

Dustin: Okay, this is the part I’ve been eagerly awaiting– where we discuss how on earth this stuff probably actually works! You know, in the fake real world. The hyper-realistic military-only world of GI Joe. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I think as far as toy design goes, the pipes on the backpack exist to support the rocket launcher’s weight so the figure can hold it better. In fiction, though, I think those protrusions on the backpack are missiles. And I think they launch from the backpack! If you think about it that way, the exhaust pipes make sense. The bazooka can vent itself through the rear, like real world rocket launchers do, but if a missile launches from the backpack, that exhaust needs somewhere to come out, too. And I think the backpack missiles work with the HEAT Viper’s targeting stuff so he can easily take down enemy helicopters and such with a more vertically launched rocket. 

The rockets on the legs are obviously extra ammo for the bazooka. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

So, the grey hose on the bazooka plugs into the helmet– the orange part of the helmet (with no visor) serves as the area for all of the targeting reticles and HUDs and stuff, and the silver side (the visor) allows the HEAT Viper to see what’s actually in front of him. The black hose is the designer’s poor attempt at making the launcher “harness supported,” as it says on the file card. I don’t think it accomplishes that goal, but it does look very cool. I do like your idea of plugging that hose into the backpack, though. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Also, I have one more fun little topic to discuss before we wrap up, but I wanted to touch on something else first. The HEAT Viper was repainted into Fast Blast Viper in 2001-2002. The first version of that figure had most of HEAT Viper’s accessories, but used an Undertow head instead of HEAT Viper’s trademark helmet. I guess Hasbro was trying to make this late 80s weirdo more palatable to the hardcore army builders of the early 00s. But, without that helmet, the figure can’t properly interact with all of its accessories. The figure was also repainted into Python Patrol HEAT Viper in 2003, which is a neat looking figure with a slightly-remolded helmet that also loses the 89 version’s exposed chin. 

What do you think of my half-baked theories? And what do you think of the repaints?

Drac: Well, consider my mind blown. I honestly never imagined the backpack serving as an alternate weapon, because I always assumed all of HEAT Viper’s gear served to help him fire his bazooka! The back-mounted rocket-pack makes a hell of a lot of sense to me (as far as a toy like this can make sense), and I can even see the differently shaped rockets as serving different purposes depending on what type of target the Viper is trying to hit! 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

I’ve never found Python Patrol to be especially compelling, and I can’t forgive the unpainted chin, but I do enjoy the two other redecos, even from just a colorway perspective. Red, gold, and black will always be a winning combo. 

One last thing about the rocket launcher. I’ve always felt like the thing is shaped like it should shoot something other than rockets. Like, the narrow barrel makes me think of the beam rifles from Akira. The attached hoses make me think it could shoot out something else, too, like maybe flames? 

Dustin: What an uncannily perfect transition!

As a kid, I at least subconsciously shared your thoughts and always used the HEAT Viper as a flamethrower trooper. At least when I bothered to use him with his launcher. It seemed like a sci-fi flamethrower to me and he had HEAT in his name. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Taxan, the developers of the first GI Joe NES game, seemed to take HEAT Viper’s name as literally as 6 year old Dustin did. They were flamethrower troopers! This influenced my thinking a lot as a kid, since a friend and I rented that game pretty consistently. I did have my HEAT Viper’s file card back then, though, and whenever I’d binge-read all of my Joe file cards, I’d remember that HEAT Viper was actually a bazooka trooper and then use him that way for a while. Until I forgot again. Fun times! 

Any closing thoughts on HEAT Viper before we issue our final verdicts, Drac? I have to say that I like him a lot more now as an adult than I ever did as a child. I’m surprised at how much my opinion has changed, in fact. 

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Drac: Man, I’ve really got to sink some time into those NES games. I don’t post about it nearly as much, but NES and Famicom is another major hobby of mine. I tried both games, and I think I briefly owned one of them, when I was a teen, but not much since then. It makes me wonder if the Japanese developers had access to the file cards or if they just interpreted the character based on his visual design and name. 

Drac’s Verdict: At any rate, HEAT Viper has been a longtime favorite of mine. I have a very tiny ARAH collection of less than 20 figures, and this HEAT Viper is among them. I even had (for a while) the no-ring version of the character that was released, I think, during the 50th range, but he was eventually sold along with nearly everything else from those years. He comes Recommended for me, with the mild caveat that he probably needs to be more or less complete to be enjoyed. You could probably lose the backpack and the black tube and still get the fun factor.

Dustin’s Verdict: My opinion of this toy has softened over time and now I like it pretty well. As Drac said, this is a figure you pretty much need to have complete. At least the launcher, backpack, and grey hose. It’s also weird and won’t suit everyone’s taste– but that’s why I like it as much as I do. HEAT Viper fills a necessary spot in the Cobra legion and does it with style. Still, there are much better Cobra troop types, in my opinion. But because he’s such an aggressive little oddball with delightful colors, he is at least Mildly Recommended

Additional Resources:

Closing Thoughts on the 1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper

Thanks for reading! And thanks to Video Dracula for suggesting this weird figure, helping with the review, and making the whole thing much more interesting.

Did you have HEAT Viper during the years when you were actively playing with GI Joe toys? If so, what did you think of him as a kid? Or did you get the figure as an adult and what caused you to buy the figure? Let us know in the comments! 

17 thoughts on “1989 GI Joe HEAT Viper Review

  1. Corpscommandercody

    I appreciate the review- I think you boys had some awesome thoughts on the HEAT viper.


    Drac pointed out that the Alley Viper accessories were hard to use. Boy are they!! I think the person that designed the N64 controller designed the rifle. What the heck is that? I usually put my rifles underneath a Joe’s arms but like what do I do with that monstrosity? And the shield is cool but how can I put it in his hand so it looks right?? I can’t abide them like everyone else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Cody, thanks for stopping by!

      I totally agree with both of you. I mentioned the awkwardness of the 89 Alley Viper in both my 97 AV review and my TBM Urban Assault Trooper writeup. The accessories are difficult to position how you want and the figure has trouble standing, too. I find the best course of action is to put the gun in the left hand (so the magazine doesn’t get in the way) and have him hold the shield in an underhand fashion in his right hand. It’s not perfect and still has problems, but it’s the best solution I’ve found. That way, at least you can get the gun resting in between the grooves of the shield and kind of get the stock against his shoulder or under his arm. I hope that helps, at least slightly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. generalliederkranz

        Yes, good points! This is frustrating. I only started doing the left-hand thing recently and it works great. The other thing I like is to just rest his hand on the rear grip, and have him mostly hold it on the front grip. That gives it a realistic-looking “ready” pose.

        Back in the day I forced the shields into my Alley-Vipers’ hands overhand, and I like the look of that more than underhanded. I was way more reckless with things like that 25 or 30 years ago. I don’t think I broke any thumbs, but it stretched them out a lot. I’ve been able to do it with a one or two Black Major Alley-Vipers but then decided it was too risky. Mostly I just don’t use the shields now. I picture them as useful for beating up anti-Cobra protesters in occupied countries, but left at home when Alley-Vipers go out for real combat against the Joes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I find it interesting that it seems that both the Alley Viper and HEAT Viper were designed with left handed weapons. For some reason, I recall some artwork where the exhaust pipes on the pack came out over the figure’s right shoulder. So, I’ve often posed them with the packs upside-down from what you’ve done. The pipes cradling the big ass bazooka, though, makes more sense.

    And, because I’m a sadist with gear, I always alternated the positioning of the leg mounted shells. So, two would point up and one would point down. I got an ’89 in a lot once that came this way and it stuck.

    It was nice that that a bunch of 2000’s era figures included black rockets that work for this guy. But, I’ve never liked the black gear on the ’89 figure. The grey just looks so much better. Hasbro knew what they were doing in that regard. But, I’m glad that we got the Fast Blast Vipers and the Python Patrol HEAT Viper, too. They’re the type of figures that you can only need a couple of, but they bring a lot to a collection.

    This guy was released after I was done with Joe. But, we visited some family friends in Vermont in the summer of 1989 and they had all the ’89 army builders. The colors didn’t bother me and I was fascinated by the complex gear. It was far more intricate than anything released through ’87. As I got older, I always had a HEAT in support of Cobra Urban units. When they couldn’t crack a position, the HEAT came in and just blew it up. All those weekend warriors with their store bought weapons learned real quick that they were mincemeat against military grade hardware.

    I had a nice little squad of these guys back in the day. I only kept 1, though. And, now, they’re $30 figures and I’m not spending that kind of money on more. I’ve seen them nicely paired with the Parasite, too. And, that seems to work out pretty well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mike! The next time I’m around one of these figures, I might try placing the backpack the way you suggested, just to see how it looks. I suppose the backpack pipes could be mini rocket launchers, too.

      I do like that the one Neo-Viper even had 6 HEAT Viper rockets for no real reason– it couldn’t even use them! But they are handy replacements for Fast Blast Vipers. I agree that the black rockets don’t work especially well with the 89 HEAT Viper, but it’s nice that you have some kind of option.

      I’m a little surprised they’re $30 figures since I don’t think they’re that popular. But they do have a lot of easily lost gear and are prone to paint wear and discoloration, so I guess it makes sense.


  3. generalliederkranz

    I love the picture with the Techno-Viper! I actually have something along those lines planned for a future #TechnoViperTuesday. All the pics in this review are great.

    I got a HEAT-Viper early on in my collecting, in either 89 or 90, right after I first got into Joes as a kid. I didn’t really understand the technology and I lost the rockets quickly, but I loved the high-tech sounding jargon of the file card, which held up surprisingly well as I got older. I’m glad you highlighted that! The colors didn’t bother me–I barely thought about such things as a 7-year-old–but nowadays I justify it by pretending it’s desert camo. I would love to see The Black Major re-do this guy in brown, green, and urban color schemes like he’s done for the Alley-Vipers and Night-Vipers, but I guess that’ll never happen.

    I appreciate that you included the 93 in this review. He, Bazooka, and the Alley-Viper were my first Battle Corps figures and I loved that there were new versions of the 89 classics, as well as that they made a FANG II. Excellent that you brought it up! I had seen so many re-issues of figures from before my time that it was exciting they ere now doing refreshed versions of “my” figures, from the 89+ era. Of course the accessories were disappointing and the 93 hasn’t held up nearly as well for me as the 89 did.

    I have never thought of the backpack having surface-to-air missiles, but it’s an intriguing idea. I always used to put his launcher in his left hand, underhanded. Then at some point I briefly switched to putting it his on shoulder. Now I’ve gone back to underhanded back because I figure with the fiber optic feed from the large hose, he doesn’t need to aim it from the shoulder.

    I’m also surprised to hear these guys are expensive these days (ok, I guess not really, since everything is now). I saw a lot of them at flea markets back in the late ’90s and early ’00s, and often bought them as consolation prizes if they were cheap (like a dollar or less) and if I couldn’t find any other Vipers that I really wanted that day. Their equipment was a different story of course, especially those rockets. So with a bunch of unarmed HEAT-Vipers, I made them into vehicle crews, on the theory that they would know a lot about anti-tank weaponry, large-caliber guns, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for stopping by to leave a comment!

      Bazooka and HV were two of my first Battle Corps figures, as well. And they’re the two it made sense to include spring loaded launchers with! I thought the accessories were good, in their case. But both as a kid and as an adult, I just can’t see HV v2 as a straight across the board update to the v1 HV. He just seems like a bit of a downgrade to me, as far as a high-tech bazooka trooper goes. So even now, I just tend to use him as a generic Cobra ‘Heavy’ and give him two of those neon green Annihilator SMGs.

      And I agree, that targeting system connected to his helmet means that he can hold that huge rocket launcher underhand and still hit his targets. That grey hose makes for a very convincing targeting system, imo. Hasbro did a good job with it.

      I like your idea of using them as vehicle crewmen, too. There are lots of vehicles from the last 7 years of the line they’d look good with. I know I often used my childhood HEAT Viper as a vehicle driver or gunner.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sam Smith

    OH MY…the H.E.A.T. Viper…Ol’ Heaty. I bought this guy new as a 9 or 10 year old. My buddy and I didn’t know what to think of him. I have studied his gear for decades(?) now. It never occurred to me that his backpack could be a Neuvo-Boba Fett type launching system. Brilliant. 👏👏👏👏

    Ok. So. The 2000s repaints…

    In my opinion, the best version of Ol’ Heaty is the Fast-Blast body with a Python Patrol Heaty head. The combo looks perfect. 👌 If this type of trooper could ever exist (it can’t) then he would definitely need to be in subdued colors and fire from distance & darkness. (Otherwise, he’s a bright orange target.) Ya ya I know it probably hurts your soul to visualize Ol’ Heaty dressed in something other than day-glo togs, but…give it a try. Fasty Blasty and Python Heaty both came with dark versions of Ol’ Heaty’s gear. It just works.

    Now, I just happened to have both Fasty Blasty and Python Heaty lying around in my parts bins unused and unloved. So this was a quick kitbash for me. (Praise be to 2000s era nerd Sammy. 🙏 He bought *anything* joe related that he saw at KB’s and ToysRUs.)

    Anyway I loved the kitbash so much, I thought about buying the 2000s repaints on ebay and building a 2nd one. But then…

    *checks ebay*
    *does spit take*

    HOLY MOLY these repaints are so dang spendy now?!?!?! Whyyyyyyyyyy??


    Anyway, Ol’ Heaty is an excellent sculpt, with a creative/interesting weapon set. Pure imagination fuel. …Now, if only Hasbro made him in black! 🤭

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Sam! I like your kitbash idea and might try it out to see how it looks. I don’t mind the idea of a HEAT Viper in black– the Python version is enough proof that it works!

      Fast Blast Vipers are okay, but I think they lose something for using the Undertow head. It kind of looks like a HEAT Viper just forgot his helmet back at the base. They look unfinished, for lack of a better term. I use various helmets and goggles from Marauder Gun Runners with them, which helps a bit for me personally. I do appreciate that they come with the full load of HEAT Viper gear, though.

      Two or three years ago, you could still get the regular Fast Blast Viper for cheap. I got 3 of them within a month without even trying. You could also get the red version from Chinese sellers for under $5. Both of those things have dried up now, but I’m surprised anyone cares enough about Fast Blast Vipers to pay high prices. Looks like they are going for about $20 or more apiece, on average.

      I’m not sure the Python HEAT Viper has been affordable for a long time, though. I kind of lucked into mine a few years back.

      Anyway, hopefully we’ll get back to a point where fun little kitbashes are financially viable again.


  5. Alexx's Techo Viper

    Did I cameo in this review?!? Does Cobra have something akin to an actors guild? 😃


    Oh. 😐

    Ok then. Back to fixing/modding/un-death-trapping/but-also-maybe-re-death-trapping all that Cobra gear.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A-Man

    HEAT-Viper suffers from name too technical for its young audience. HEAT means fire to most people, not a common military acronym. (Next year SAW-Viper had the same problem…and Hasbro got that acronym wrong!)

    I had too many of them, but they arrived the year before my old playing days were ending due to moving to a smaller place. As such, they never made as much of an impression as they might have. But I had a bunch, for some reason. I think they were common at one point when Walmart lowered figures to $2.50 or something.

    The gear: I got the hoses switched for at least a year. Not sure how I got the grey peg on that shoulder. No idea what the pack does. It’s the “Cow Tools” Far Side comic of GI JOE.

    The colors. I see yellow, you guys see orange. Hmmm. Hasbro liked contrasting colors in 1989.

    The media: No cartoon appearances, not even a cameo. MARVEL comics usage, some decent use.

    Yeah, the BATTLE CORPS HEAT-VIPER, interesting…very little visual tie-in with the original. V2 could’ve been anything, a new trooper, or Scrap-Iron or a Tele-Viper with the right backpack. The launcher ties in and the straps on both of the legs, and V2 has a unpainted “codpiece” and some boot detail reminiscent of V1. (It took me 5 minutes to spell reminiscent right)

    Fast-Blast Viper, I kinda of like but they don’t work when looked at closely. The head is smooth and doesn’t tie into the HEAT-Viper body or role. I also have more red FB-Vipers than anyone should, not as many as the “identical rows of the same figure” collectors do. The soft hands are big bonus. One reason I don’t go after factory customs, not nostalgic for hard hands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      It’s interesting they went on clearance. Were they the 1990 equivalent of pegwarmers? Also $2.50 is interesting as well– were joes around $3.00 then, or am I mistaken? I wasn’t buying them with my own odd job or allowance money until 93 or so, and I can’t say I remember how much anything cost back then.

      And yeah, a lot of GI Joe names were bad for little kids who had never heard certain phrases or military acronyms. Names that confusedme: HEAt Viper, Hit & Run, Snake Eyes (was he a Cobra?? at one point I did not know because I’d never heard that term), Long Arm (his arms were normal). Sure I was a dumb kid, but I was not alone in being a dumb kid.

      I’ve never thought of HV v2 as Scrap Iron before, but the look could have definitely worked for the character and served the same role. I guess they just needed more goons that year?

      The Fast Blast Viper’s head is by far its weakest point. It’s a good sculpt, but it does not match up with the body or the trooper’s specialty. At all. It could have worked for a spy or infantry type, but not for a high tech bazooka weirdo. I also have more red Fast Blast Vipers than anyone should have, and I only have two.

      And yeah easily broken hands with ill-matching weapons aren’t my jam either. I haven’t busted a factory custom figure’s thumb yet, but I’m sure I’ve come close.


      1. A-Man

        Yeah, standard GI JOE figures were around $3 (until Battle Corps, when the odd price of $3.29 was common). Walmart did their roll back thing, probably to move old stock.

        So much more stock back then. I recall when Walmart clearanced Talking Battle Commanders to $4.

        Liked by 1 person

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