Note: This is not a full review. This simply a more in-depth look at the figures I profiled in my Russian Funskool GI Joe Jamboree post, and is intended as a resource for fans and collectors.
Updated 5/6/21: According to a source in a former Soviet country (who has also translated the card backs), the entire Russian run of Funskool GI Joe figures was released in 1998. The company who assisted in this release, Two Beetles (see their logo on the card back below), likely had a connection at Funskool. Aside from Chuckles, all Russian Funskool figures are nearly identical to their Indian counterparts– only the card backs were changed. Though these were reportedly only produced for a year, they can still be found in former USSR territories. As a fun side note, “beetle” is Russian slang for “swindler.”
Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper and Accessories
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper was released somewhere around 1998. Or at least this particular figure was, according to its card back. It’s possible these figures were released from 98-03, though I don’t have any hard concrete evidence.
This figure is based on Hasbro’s Night Viper from 1989, and uses the same figure mold and accessories. Only the colors and plastic quality are different.
The Russian Funskool Night Viper is notable for being one of the most similar figures to its Hasbro counterpart. The Indian version of this figure was widely army built by fans in the early 2000s. At the time, it presented an affordable alternative to an expensive and popular Hasbro Cobra trooper.
The carded figure:
The card back (note the Russian language used for the file card and cross sells– Indian Funskool cards were mostly presented in English):
All Funskool cards are printed on a much flimsier material than Hasbro figure cards.
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper is cast in dark green plastic and features mostly black paint details. There are a few other types of paint, such as gold, yellow, and flesh tone. The color layout, as well as the overall appearance and presentation, are the same as the Hasbro version. Only color shades and certain details are different.
The figure’s side:
The figure’s accessories:
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper comes with three accessories, much like the Hasbro version.
The figure comes with a black rifle, complete with holes (for corresponding pegs on the figure’s leg) and a strap.
The figure also includes a yellow night vision scope piece, which attaches to its visor. The visor is technically removeable as well, and can count as an accessory since it’s packaged separately with a new figure. The visor is cast in green plastic to match the figure’s body.
The figure’s last piece of gear is an orange backpack.
The figure’s accessories are where it differs the most from the Hasbro version. See the comparison section below.
All Geared Up:
The Russian Funskool Night Viper retains all of the articulation and features of the Hasbro version.
The plastic quality on the Funskool version is slightly lesser, but it’s still a sturdy, solid action figure. All of the accessories fit nicely and the toy has no problems standing or holding any poses.
Russian Funskool Night Viper Compared to Indian Funskool Night Viper
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper and its Indian counterpart are virtually, if not completely, identical. The accessories are also the same. You may see some small differences in these figures, but that is likely just due to the batches they were produced in.
Honestly, the only reason I can easily tell them apart is because the peg on my Indian Night Viper’s visor is broken.
Russian Funskool Night Viper (L) and Inidan Funskool Night Viper (R):
Russian Funskool Night Viper Compared to 1989 Hasbro Night Viper
The Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper is rendered in a different green than the Hasbro Night Viper. I’d describe it as a bit darker, but I’m slightly color blind so your mileage may vary.
The Funskool version’s Cobra symbol is yellow (and larger), whereas the Hasbro versions is green. The Hasbro version also features an insignia patch on its left arm, which the Funskool version lacks.
They are not an exact match for one another, but they do look good together– which is why they were so popular with army builders before things like Black Major figures came along.
The figures from the front (L – Russian Funskool, R – Hasbro):
From the side:
A closeup on the visors:
The Funskool date stamp:
The Hasbro date stamp:
As far as I can tell, there is nothing remarkable about the date stamps.
The Hasbro accessories pictured are from the 2006 Flaming MOTH Night Viper, as I don’t own the original’s accessories. They are expensive, as is the figure. For a time, the MOTH figure’s gear could be purchased cheaply from China, which is how my Hasbro figure is outfitted.
The 89 Hasbro figure’s accessories rifle and backpack are all black. The Hasbro 89 rifle is likely glossier than the Funskool version’s, but it would be difficult to tell them apart unless you had them both together.
The Hasbro figure’s scope is green, whereas the Funskool version’s is yellow. The Funskool version’s orange backpack and Hasbro version’s black backpack are likewise easy to tell apart.
The backpack was also released in brown with the Funskool Tunnel Rat figure:
Other than the rifle, there is obviously no mistaking Funskool Night Viper accessories with Hasbro Night Viper accessories.
Both figures All Geared Up:
Just for fun, here’s the Russian Funskool Night Viper, Indian Night Viper, 89 Hasbro Night Viper, and 06 Hasbro Flaming MOTH Night Viper:
If I missed anything about the Russian Funskool GI Joe Night Viper, please let me know via social media or through this website’s contact form.