Thursday, October 20, 2011

[Review] G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary Hazard-Viper

What's nastier than a psychopath wielding a gun? Uhm, a psychopath wielding a gun that discharges toxic sludge instead of bullets seems like a good answer. So peeps, without further ado, let me introduce you to the bearer of the dreaded Compound Z, Cobra's toxin specialist, the Hazard-Viper.

Code name: Hazard-Viper [Toxin Specialist]
Name: N/A
Birthplace: N/A
Primary weapon: Liquid toxic sludge attack weapon
Combat gear: Helmet, chemical transport case, Compound Z canisters, pistols, toxic sludge pressure backpack

"Hazard-Vipers work with unpleasant and nasty substances. They may plant them as part of an attack, or clean them up after an operation. As a part of their job, they deal with secretive lab experiments, like the mysterious canisters they carry that contain a dangerous new chemical substance, Compound Z."

Nope, the file card doesn't say that the guy's a psychopath, but joining Cobra surely makes him one in my book. So, what's Compound Z, and will it be Cobra's ultimate game-changer? To be frank, I really don't know yet, but sources say that the substance will be used by Cobra to transform people into zombies. Yikes!

This figure is basically just a Volcano Viper with cancelled Desert Battle Ripcord's (or POC Skydive's) arms and hands, a different paint scheme, plus/minus some accessories. Yes, the base body (head, upper torso, lower torso, upper leg, lower leg, feet) originally came with the Rise of Cobra Ice-Viper figure, but the use of accessories like the helmet and the vest gives this figure the Volcano Viper look. If you own that figure, then you already know what to expect from this one: limited articulation brought about by the long and bulky vest.

Without the vest, the base figure actually looks good with all the fine (but minimal) details showing through. It doesn't blow me away but I'm glad too see this sculpt being used in the 30th Anniversary line as it somehow ties the new line together with the Rise of Cobra line. One thing that caught my attention in a bad way was the use of a very soft kind of plastic on the figure's hands. The hands easily pop out of their respective wrist holes because of the very soft plastic, and even though it's not too big of a deal, it gets annoying quite fast.

As mentioned earlier, articulation is not one of this figure's high points. The elbows provide a pretty good range of motion, but the bulkiness of the vest prevents the figure from gripping a rifle with two hands. The swivel-hinge knee joints help maintain the pants' bulky look, and though it can bend a full 90 degrees, double-hinged knees still work way much better. Hip articulation doesn't fare much better as its range of motion is limited to about 30 degrees regardless of direction (forward, backward, and outward to the side), thanks to the long pouches at the bottom of the vest. Believe me, this figure can't sit. 

On the accessories department, the Hazard-Viper is also a head-scratcher. The guy's got the Doctor's amazing carrying case (which now contains Compound Z canisters instead of Nanomite canisters) and Arctic Destro's backpack/rifle combo going for him, but he also has some accessories that are a tad redundant like the two pistols and another handgun (also from Arctic Threat Destro). With no pistol holsters available, there's no way this figure is going to carry all his accessories at once. To make matters worse, Hasbro decided to cut costs and reduced the number of air tanks available on this figure. The result? Take a look at these photos:

Yes, there's a gaping hole on the mask wherein a hose was supposed to be plugged in. And yes, there's a protruding peg at the figure's nape where an air tank was supposed to be attached. Geez! Way to go, Hasbro! I wish they could just have given the fig another air tank or so  because I'm quite sure that the character doesn't really need three handguns to do his intended work.

This figure is a good display piece. It looks good, but it doesn't function very well. If you display your figures standing straight up, this one's good enough. If you love displaying your figs in dynamic poses, it's tough to recommend this figure. For me, the Hazard-Viper is good enough, especially because it looks great leading my small squad of Volcano Vipers, but I don't see myself army-building this figure in the future.

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