G.I. Joe Classified Series Alley Viper – Fwoosh

The G.I. Joe Classified line has had quite a year with some truly excellent figure releases and increased availability across the line and they still managed to squeeze out a couple of stellar releases before the end of the year. The B.A.T. and Alley Viper did briefly bring back the panic of the initial Cobra Island waves back in October because only a small handful of connected collectors were able to order some in-stock figures from Walmart leading to insane prices on eBay. Fortunately, they went up for pre-order at the usual places and are now currently shipping from a variety of vendors. Let’s take a look at the Alley Viper!

The box continues the established Classified style, but I do find it funny that the character specific artwork calls out the army building nature of this figure because I would like at least three of this guy. It is also interesting that the mural on the back features an alternate design for the Alley Vipers than the more V1 style we have here.

The Alley Viper comes with a plethora of weapons, almost a weapons-pack worth, with three rifles, a pistol, two knives, a pack, a shield, a grappling hook, and two removeable ammo magazines.

The pack has a lot of sharply sculpted detail and looks to include non-removeable mines, grenades, and ammo magazines. It has a spot to store the grappling rifle, something that comes directly from the old figure. The rifle has a loop as does the removeable grappling hook, so I suppose you could add your own length of rope for grappling adventures.

The knives are small little black plastic pieces and the blades are fairly dull, but can fit into sheathes on the chest and in the figure’s hands securely. The wrist sheathe is removeable, so you could switch it to the other arm and the knife actually can go in so the handle is over the hand or up near the bicep, but I think it is designed to be over the hand since that was how the knife worked on the original figure.

The pistol is also plain black plastic and re-use from Duke and fits securely in his holster.

The medium length rifle has a removeable magazine and fits well in both hands. The design feels a little more realistic than some of the recent nerf-inspired sci-fi style guns in this line, though admittedly I’m no gun enthusiast. It has the bored out barrel so it can fit some of the Marvel Legends blast effects, but they are pretty tight fits. If the Joe team continues to do this, I wish they would give us some muzzle flash effects to use.

The shorter rifle looks to be based on the vintage figure’s weapon. It also has a removeable magazine which can kind of get in the way of getting the gun in the figure’s hand easily. It’s not impossible, just a little fiddly and a couple of times I knocked the magazine out of the hand while swapping the guns.

The shield, arguably the Viper’s defining feature, is a good chunk of plastic and the pointed end looks like it would work well as a melee weapon. The shield attaches to the figure via loops on the inside and I found it easier to pop off the hand first, then slide the loops over the forearm and reattach the hand rather than squeezing the hand through the loops. The coolest feature for the shield is that the loops swivel so you can easily adjust the orientation of the shield. There is also a green and black decal on the inside of the shield that gives me the idea that the viper can use that for targeting without coming out of the shield’s cover.

The Alley Viper re-uses a lot of Duke parts, but in a pretty clever way to make him feel pretty much all new. The legs are Duke, but the armor on the front of the shins and knee pads are different, so it’s not immediately obvious. The helmet and moveable visor read as metal and while it looks cool up or down, I almost hate to cover up the intense angry eyes and blue cloth mask. The chest is entirely an overlay and it looks fantastic with lots of straps and pockets, but does hinder articulation.

Articulation is the standard for classified with:

  • Swivel/hinge shoulders, wrists, hips, and ankles
  • Double hinged elbows and knees
  • Swivel boots, biceps, and thighs
  • Ball and socket waist, lower neck, and head
  • Hinged neck, mid-torso, and visor
  • Butterfly hinged pecs

I’m not really sure if there is an ab crunch hinge under the overlay because I can’t get that to move at all. The overlay is pretty tough, so the butterfly hinges don’t allow for a lot of movement across the torso either.

The paint is very solid, but not flashy with fairly clean work on the symbols and the camouflage pattern (though I can’t imagine how that pattern would help him blend anywhere) but no washes or drybrushing. The eye print is also really nice.

Overall the Alley Viper is another solid army builder for the Classified line, hindered really only by an overly solid overlay. If the Classified line has one real issue right now, I’d say the restrictive torso overlays are it. I’ve only got the one right now and not a lot of nostalgic connection to this kind of viper, so I could actually see him work as an individual character with his flashy colors and unique weaponry.

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