Thursday, August 4, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra - Desert Battle Desert-Viper

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2009

Part of the COBRA trooper army, DESERT-VIPERS are enhanced with nanomite technology to thrive in desert regions. Able to survive extreme heat, sandstorms and waterless conditions, they use Smart-Code Rapid-Projectile Nullifier (SCRPN) launchers to battle the GI Joe team.

Packaging Shots

Desert Battle Desert-Viper
The Desert-Viper was released as part of 2009's Series 1Wave 5, during an era that saw the movie-style figures transitioning into what became the Pursuit of Cobra line, where the oversized weapons were retired and the figures were given a more real-world look in terms of design and paintwork. There are some excellent figures from this time. Is the Desert-Viper one of them?

The Desert-Viper is an Army Builder and - as such - is a little anonymous. That's not really an issue, as the nanomite-enhanced Vipers in the movie also tended to be quite faceless, which gave them a kind of cool aura of menace. The Desert-Viper fits right in with this look.

There are a lot of pieces here you'll recognise if you're a long-term Joe collector. Pretty much all of his  accessories have been used - or re-used - at some point along the line, his basic body parts are certainly very familiar and there's very little here we haven't seen before - or will see again. However, unlike the lazily kitbashed Red Fang Ninja, the assembled pieces here work well together.

The basic uniform is well-sculpted, with a number of cool creases and plated details giving the eye plenty to take in. Even without the paint app (see below) there's a good sense of the uniform being weather-worn and used. I like it a lot.

This look is further augmented with the removable vest and neck scarf. Although the former isn't the most exciting of sculpts - there are a couple of grenades attached at the shoulder and that's it - it works well with the figure to add an extra layer of detail to the overall look. The neckerchief looks great though. He also comes with a removable belt, complete with (working) holster and additional weapon detail to the rear. 

Articulation is good, with a wide range of movement and poses on offer. There are no issues with any overly loose/stiff joints and the figure does pretty much everything you'd expect of it. The only real negative is that the neck scarf tends to restrict head movement, but you can work around it with a bit of creative posing.

The Desert-Viper's paintwork is excellent. The muted browns and khaki tones are accentuated with a dry brushing to give the impression of battle- and weather wear, with the gauntlets, neckerchief and pant legs being particularly dusty. It looks great and does a superb job of enhancing the already cool sculpt. I'm not sure about the brown/black stripe effect on the vest but everything else looks great. He also has a cool-looking Cobra Tampo logo on either shoulder, which - being an eye-catching silver - really sets-off the figure's look.

Again, we've seen a lot of what the Desert-Viper comes equipped with, but each piece is well-produced and looks good.

As mentioned, the Desert-Viper comes with a neckerchief, belt and vest pre-applied. In addition to that, he also comes with a backpack (into which his pike can be slotted and within which weapons can be stored), twin axes, goggles, a machete, a pistol, assault rifle and sword. 

The fitting of each accessory is a mixed bag. Some weapons seem a little large for his hands, others slightly too slim (especially when you switch-out one of the larger weapons.) However, with a bit of balancing and squeezing, it's possible to get him to hold each item without too many issues.

The figure also includes his own stand.

Final Thoughts
Whilst not quite as awesome as the more recent Army Builders such as the Steel Brigade soldier or Cobra Trooper, the Desert Battle Desert-Viper is a very, very good figure. The basic sculpt looks great, he has enough accessories to offer plenty of options for both play and display, the paintwork looks great and he's a cool-looking figure.

It's difficult to find fault with the Desert-Viper but at the same time, he just lacks that extra oomph that would push him over from being very good into the must-have category. With that said though, I'd say he's certainly one of the better Rise of Cobra trooper-style figures and if you're a fan of the nanomite-enhanced Vipers, then you could do a lot worse than grab this guy, especially as he's often to be found in discount outlet stores such as Marshall's for under $5.

The Desert-Viper is a very solid, good-looking figure with good accessories and a fairly unique look that makes him a worthwhile addition to any Joe collector's roster.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Image Gallery


  1. He's really very good. Just not quite awesome, you know? Really he's a B++ or A-- but I don't have a score to cover that and he's just not quite there as an A-rated figure. He looks great though and has some very cool accessories.


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