Release Date: June 2015
Price Point: $9.99 (depending on retailer)
Retailer: General (Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart etc.)
Official images and text below in italics are from Amazon.com:
Convert, arm and attack with all the Transformers action you can handle. Decepticon Viper is a fierce Decepticon warrior with some mad flying skills. This Decepticon Viper figure looks just like him and he’ll be a match for any Autobot who tries to challenge him. He converts fast from robot mode to fast-flying jet mode, and when it’s time for some recon he can convert to quick-strike drone mode. No enemy can hope to escape him, so keep converting him back and forth so he can handle whatever his foes dish out. Transformers and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro.
With the amount of money and work that went into the development of the "Combiner Wars" toy line, it's no surprise that almost every figure in the line thus far has received the redeco treatment. Wave three of "Combiner Wars" brought about a bit of a surprise however. Viper is a redeco and retool of Powerglide from earlier in the year. While a redeco of Powerglid is not particularly surprising, the inspiration for the redeco was: G.I. Joe! Specifically, Viper pays homage to both the Cobra Rattler and its pilot Wild Weasel. This follows a tradition of Transformers paying homage to its Hasbro "80's toy line" counterpart G.I. Joe including Boltflash, Skyhammer and Snow Cat.
This review will focus on the changes made to the figure for this release. Check out my Powerglide review for my original thoughts on the base sculpt.
Viper is packaged on a blister card. The top of the card has a small "Combiner Wars" logo on it. To the left side of the card (the right if you're facing it) is the Transformers logo set vertically with the "Generations" logo above it. The figure itself is packaged in robot mode. Behind it is a collector's card, like the ones that were released with Deluxe Class figures in Wave One of "Combiner Wars". The card itself has a large portion of the Viper package art on it. I was happy to see the art is a new piece of work and not just edited Powerglide artwork. It features the character's distinct head sculpt and some really nice coloring that includes "battle wear" in the form of scratches and scuff marks.
The back of the packaging features the figure in all three modes. The weapon mode is shown as being "held" by Dead End (really I think they just superimposed a photo of Viper in weapon mode on top of Dead End's stock photography). The bio on the back indicates Viper is more of a drone than a sentient character (yay, troop builder!) and the bottom section has various legal declarations in multiple languages.
Powerglide has a pretty distinct body frame, especially when you consider the way his vehicle mode wings come up on either side of his torso and head. He also has thrusters on his lower legs and thick, chunky looking arms. Given that, it was very important that the designers give this figure a new head, otherwise he really would just look like Powerglide masquerading as another character. The new head sculpt is based on the helmet design of the Cobra Rattler pilot known as Wild Weasel. The basic shape of the head has to remain "cone shaped" since it forms the front of the vehicle mode, but it incorporates many of Wild Weasel's key design elements. This includes the visor eyes, the "oxygen mask" where the mouth would be and a mouthplate. I really appreciate how different the head looks (even the curve on top is different than Powerglide's) and the callbacks to Wild Weasel himself.
The head sculpt isn't all that's dramatically different. Gone is Powerglide's signature red color. Instead, most of this figure is cast in dark blue and dark grey plastic. The blue makes up most of the figure including the torso, waist, lower legs, head and wings. The arms and thighs are dark grey. These colors are based off the Cobra Rattler, which was primarily blue with some grey details.
The paint colors on this figure include red, silver and gunmetal grey. The red is the most heavily used color. You'll find it on his face and torso. Silver is used on the edge of the boosters on his legs and gunmetal grey is used for the eyes. The finishing detail is a Cobra symbol right in the middle of his chest. It's outlined in silver with one addition: a small Decepticon symbol in the center! I love this combination of two classic logos from the two toy lines. It really helps make the figure look distinctive.
Interestingly, the joints on my copy of the Viper figure are actually a bit tighter than the joints on my Powerglide figure. His fists will still allow him to hold 5mm peg weapons so there's lots of play potential with Viper.
Transformation to Vehicle Mode:
- Turn the robot head so it is facing the back.
- Straighten out the robot arms and legs.
- Swing the robot feet up.
- Push the lower legs together.
- Swing the stabilizer fins on each of the lower legs out to the sides.
- Swing each of the wings out to the sides then rotate them forward.
- Pull the plane cockpit piece on the back of the figure forward, then push it down.
- Under each wing, bend the robot arm at the elbow then slide the tab on the forearms into the corresponding slots on the wings.
The homage to the Cobra Rattler isn't limited to a Cobra/Decepticon symbol and a head sculpt. The true homage with this figure happens in the vehicle mode. You see, the original Powerglide figure (and his "Combiner Wars" counterpart) both had vehicles based on the A-10 Thunderbolt. At the same time, the Cobra Rattler was also based on the A-10 (with some design embellishments such as added engine turbines). This made the Powerglide sculpt a perfect choice as the basis of a Cobra Rattler homage!
Of course, the vehicle mode sculpt on this figure lacks some of the Cobra Rattler's design elements. It doesn't have tons of missiles mounted under the wings, there is no machine gun on the nose cone and there aren't extra turbines attached to the back and wings. Still, the homage works brilliantly and most fans picked up on the homage immediately.
This mode is mostly dark blue, with some grey parts peeking out under the wings and towards the back. The cockpit cover is painted gunmetal grey and blue. More fu homage details can be found on the wings. The left wing features a combined Cobra/Decepticon symbol while the right wing has the alpha numeric code "Z06". This is a reference to a sticker found on the original Cobra Rattler toy. All these details look great and I really love how simple yet effective these colors are in paying homage to the Rattler.
Transformation to Weapon Mode (Starting in vehicle mode):
- Swing the rear stabilizers down.
- Rotate each wing forward, then swing it up to attach it to the tabs on the sides of the vehicle.
- Swing the front landing gear down (this will serve as the handle).
- Swing the middle panel on the top of the vehicle to reveal a targeting scope.
In weapon mode there aren't any real surprises. Some red paint is used on the "targeting scope" and the rockets sculpted into the robot forearms are painted gold. On my copy of the figure the painters were a tad sloppy so some of the paint wound up on the outer edge of the arm as well. This really wasn't something I could see with the figure in package, but honestly to me it's not a huge deal.
Viper is a super fun homage to the history of G.I. Joe and Transformers, two sibling toy lines that have crossed over several times in their long history. As a "Combiner Wars" figure it's cool to have another "Targetmaster" for the Decepticon Combiners. Recommended!