Saturday, November 18, 2023

Action Figure Review: Range Viper from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro


   The November G.I. Joe Classified review series isn't a mini-marathon, is it? It's a full blown marathon! Hasbro has been releasing these guys like crazy during the last third of the year and I'm honestly wondering if the Classified Series reviews will last through the rest of the month! Today's review subject is the Range Viper, another Walmart exclusive figure paired with the G.I. Joe: Night Force releases. The Range Viper is another figure I didn't own as a kid though I do remember him being out there. I had the DTC version from 2005 and the 25th Anniversary Range Viper from the Defense of Cobra Island set, but I was a married adult when those ones came out. I've always been curious about the intent behind the Range Viper's design. Older file cards describe the Range Vipers as troops who are survival experts and are simply dropped into the field by Cobra with minimal supplies, as they are expected to survive off of the land and steal or scavenge for everything else they need. What's the deal with the skull-like helmet and the extreme backpack, though. Personally, always wondered if they were intended to be troopers for highlands or more mountainous regions (but not mountain climbers). They seem oddly dressed for long term survival and concealment. Their helmets being so intimidating makes me wonder if they utilize fear to frighten villagers and indigenous peoples in more remote areas to make taking supplies from them easier. However you use them, the Range Vipers are pretty intimidating and armed to the teeth. Ready to check out the Classified Series Range Viper? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 1/2 inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed drop down hips, ball jointed waist, mid-torso hinge, butterfly pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed neck base, and a barbell jointed head.

Accessories: Backpack, bandanna, bandolier, pistol, holster, thigh pouch, grenade launcher, dagger, light machine gun, hatchet, and ammo magazine.

Non-Scalper Price: $25 dollars

The Positives:

* The Range Viper is certainly inspired by the vintage figure but the Classified version is a huge upgrade. The vest and web gear the Range Viper is wearing just seems like it would be quite useful. Multiple large chest pouches, a belt loaded with pouches and spare shells, armored plating, and some additional grenade shells running up the left shoulder. The blue color of the Range Viper's shirt is really bold and looks fantastic, though it's nicely muted by the black, grey, and dull yellow of the other parts of the gear. The Range Viper has short sleeves but the arms look like they're covered with a thin bodysuit or long sleeved of something like Under Armour. 

* The Range Viper has a very distinct helmet that just looks crazy terrifying. It's skull-like, sure, but it also has glowing red eyes and visible brains. It definitely seems like it's designed to scare the locals wherever the Range Vipers are operating. What's the deal with the brains, though? I assume they provide some additional head protection and padding while also adding to the frightening appearance. 

* Like the standard Viper, the Range Viper has a removable bandanna that you can place around his neck. It's solid black and matches nicely with the rest of his gear.

* The vintage Range Viper has a belt of ammunition around his chest so that's been included here too. It's a separate piece so you can take it off if you don't want to use it. Oddly enough, the vintage figure came wit a belt of ammunition like this but no machine gun. Weird, huh?

* The Range Viper has fantastic articulation. Plentiful joints, a great range of motion, a sturdy build, and he can easily hold all of his weapons in believable firing poses. These Classified Series figures are pure hand candy and I keep picking up the Range Viper to mess with him and swap up his weapons. He just looks so cool no matter how you display him.

* The Range Viper's backpack is packing some serious hardware. There's a field radio on the side, some additional ammo rounds (maybe some special types of rounds?), some sort of electronics device on the bottom (maybe a scanner or navigation device?), and what I presume is an oxygen tank. 

* There's a hose on the oxygen tank that plugs into the base of the helmet. I guess this allows for a supply of emergency oxygen when the Range Viper needs it? Interesting. I'd really love to here more about the design of the original figure and this Classified Series interpretation. 

* The Range Viper comes with plenty of weapons, so let's start checking them out. First up is a hatchet. It's very modern and it looks like it's more of a multitool with a pick on the back, a prybar like construction, and various implements on the "handle" for opening doors, breaking locks, and otherwise causing mayhem and accessing whatever the Range Viper needs.

* There's a tab on the backpack so the hatchet can snap right on and sit within easy reach. 

* Like his vintage counterpart, the Range Viper is toting around a grenade launcher. It looks like a Milkor MGL. The drum magazine rotates (it can come out but it's extremely difficult to pop back in) and the forward grip allows for a great firing pose. 

* There's a notch on the inside of the backpack which allows the grenade launcher's site to slide inside of it so the Range Viper can tote the grenade launcher from the bottom of the pack. 

* The Range Viper's sidearm is an incredibly cool pistol that looks kind of like a Glock. I'm loving the design on this weapon and that extended magazine. 

* It fits perfectly in the removable holster on his right hip. 

* Not only does the Range Viper have some impressive looking footwear and kneepads for any rough terrain but he also has a removable pouch on his left thigh for toting around some extra gear.

* The included sai is another weapon which the vintage figure came with. It's a unique extra for sure, and something the Range Vipers carry in place of a traditional blade.

* There's a loop on the left side of his belt so that the sai can fit through. You can also see three additional magazines (nonremovable) for the pistol on the back of his belt. 

* The Range Viper's light machine gun doesn't stand out to me as being based on any specific model (I see elements of the Ares Shrike, the H&K MG34, and the FN Minimi in it) but it definitely seems stripped down to be lighter. It doesn't even have a stock! There's a forward grip and a box magazine with a belt of ammo already feeding out of it.

* The barrel is hollow so you can place a firing effect inside and the box magazine is removable.

The Negatives:

* I personally don't think the weapons are overly rubbery on the Range Viper but the way the light machine gun was packaged left the barrel very bent. I've used heat and pressure a few times to get it back straight and, while it's getting there, it's still a bit curved. 

  The Range Viper is yet another absolutely Epic G.I. Joe: Classified Series figure. I'm so happy with this line and each release usually manages to really impress me. I don't know where I'd even begin in constructing a top 10 list of my favorite Classified Series releases of 2023 but I think the Range Viper would likely be on there. He's just such a cool looking figure with an incredible selection of weapons, most of which he can carry on his person in clever ways. He's superior to all of the previous Range Viper toys previously released and he adds some great new energy to the Cobra legions. 

This is the first Range Viper I've reviewed on the site. For more G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews check out the following:

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