Direct to Consumer Wave 2 - Range Viper
name: Range Viper
Assortment: Direct-to-Consumer Wave 2
Price: MSRP $4.99
Availability: September, 2005
I knew from the minute I saw this figure in the glass case at the convention that I was going to love it. First of all, I'm a fan of the original Range Viper mold (although I prefer the "Rock-Viper" look from 2000) and I'm a big fan of the Swamp Rat figure, too, so for me, this was a match made in heaven.
The Swamp Rat has been one of my favorite new sculpt troopers since their release way back in VvV Wave 2. They were surprisingly in proportion and moved seamlessly...add to that their unusual and very cool uniform design, and you had a fun COBRA Trooper with some interesting backstory. Well, Range Viper took that mold and ran with it, and ended up with a fantastic end result.
We'll start off with the head sculpt, which is about as close to perfect as you can get. The skimask look for the COBRA trooper was something that Devil's Due kind of came up with, and this ribbed texture head sculpt looks like it was pulled straight from their pages. It makes me very excited to see a potential DD-inspired new sculpt COBRA Trooper somewhere down the pipeline. The body itself also looks terrific, and makes great use of Swamp Rat's mold. The layered and stiched uniform design is surprisingly effective, and as different, design-wise, as this figure is compared to the original Range-Viper, you immediately see the resemblance. The two-tone uniform continues all the way down to the boots and looks great the whole way, really making you think this IS a Range-Viper. His arms use the Valor Vs. Venom Destro's mold, but are pretty reminiscent of the old school Range Viper's flared gloves, so they fit in well and look good. They do still look a little short and stubby, as they did on Destro back then, too, but with Swamp Rat's smaller mold, it doesn't stick out quite so bad. The little sculpting addition of the gunbelt to his chest looks nice, too, and immediately brings you back to the Range Viper again...an excellent retooling!
Paint Applications/Color Choices
Finally we get some nice splashes of color and effective use of the paint apps. Range Viper is supposed to be a wilderness trooper, yet somehow the blues and grays still work for him. They're subdued enough to be none too bright for the jungle operations he's likely to go on, and immediately make him recognizable as a COBRA trooper. The colors really bring you back to the 1990 version and are probably the main reason why this figure is so effective as he is. The brass color of the gunbelt is even better and brings a great splash of color to the figure and a nice touch of realism...the wide assortment of colors mix well on the Range Viper, and he looks great, color-wise, and mold-wise.
Hasbro manages to take the basic core colors of the original, and leave out the obnoxious yellow color, and give us a figure that is still very reminiscent of the original, even without too many of the same trademark features.
Continuing Hasbro's MO of nicely chosen re-used weapons, Range Viper comes with the machine gun that came with Recondo originally in the Spy Troops days as well as the MP-5 that was used with Wave 7 Duke. Neither weapon is new, but they both serve their purpose well here. He has two knives for his sheaths, inherited from Swamp Rat, and those work well, too. But obviously the crowning jewel here is his skull-themed removable helmet. This thing looks NASTY. Gone are the exposed brains of the original, replaced with a nice smooth, slim helmet with the familiar skull-faced theme and bone-white visage. Hasbro has really started getting great with including removable helmets with nearly all of their figures, and this one is fantastic! Great touch.
My only minor complaint would be that as a wilderness/survival expert, Range Viper really should come with a backpack at some point, even if he is supposed to be self-sustaining. But really, if that's my only complaint with this figure, than Hasbro is doing pretty darn well.
Great trooper, great figure. Probably up there with Major Bludd as my favorite figure of the wave, and gets my highest recommendation. You really can't go wrong building up a small army of these figures, and they're among my favorite DTC troopers so far.
Ratings (out of 10)
Mold : 8.5
Paint Apps: 9
Overall score (not an average): 8.5
Range Viper head w/ Valor Vs Venom Wave 6 Overkill's helmet. Devil's Due COBRA Trooper?
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