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Snake-Eyes & Viper

Combat Heroes
by yo go re

We already talked about how some of the Combat Heroes pairings don't make much sense. This one does, if you stretch your mind a little bit: it's one retro throwback, and one futuristic update.

The first Combat Heroes figure released was Snake-Eyes, which is hardly surprising - he's the (masked, silent) face of the franchise. That same mold made it into the first series as a repaint, and here he is again. That's three releases, out of a line that only had 25 figures. Not even Wolverine gets that kind of exposure!

Those Snake-Eyes were based on the most famous version: the 1985 costume. For Series 3, they went back in time to his original 1982 look, back before he was a ninja. Back to when he was a commando wearing a ski mask and sweater, molded all in black plastic so Hasbro could use the paint app budget elsewhere. This one does get paint, though: he's still mostly black, but there are dark grey apps on his belts, wrists and goggles.

Snake is molded kneeling down and pointing at some unseen enemy with his left hand. The pose seems unusual, but there's a reason for it: the figure is based on Ron Rudat's card art for the original figure. Adorably obscure! Obviously that limits what else you can do with the figure, but since when has that not been the case with the Heroes-scale toys? He moves at the shoulders, neck and waist, but the way his explosives satchel hangs down his back keeps the lower body from turning very far.

The villain of this set is a Cobra Viper, who we keep telling you is a higher rank than the Cobra Troopers. Turns out Larry Hama disagrees with us - he sent a note to Hasbro back in the day telling them "Vipers can be the generic term for all Cobra Troopers," with everything else branching out from there. Of course, he also suggested that they didn't need to introduce any new characters, just give new costumes to the old ones, so don't expect a reversal of position from us any time soon.

The Vipers have always sported some of the fanciest uniforms in the Cobra army, and the duds have translated well to the superdeformed Combat Heroes style. He has the ribbed panels on his vest, gloves and pants, a pair of grenades strapped to his chest, and even has a fully detailed belt. The mirrored helmet is detailed not only with the goggles on the forehead, but also the technological panel on the back.

For whatever reason, the Viper doesn't move at the waist - he still has both shoulders and his neck. There are some definite paint issues on the Viper, however: the red of the uniform seems to have been sloppily applied. It spills onto the rest of the uniform, it comes too far onto his arm, it gets on the gun... this is normally the kind of thing we'd tell you to check before buying, but since you have to order these online if you want them, that's not an option.

-- 07/09/10

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