Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
 

G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Figure Subscription Service 3

Cobra Courier – Code Name: Vypra

Vypra had a rather convoluted name; both personally and vehicular.  She was originally a Rattler (Stinger) Jeep driver when she debuted in 1998, and as such, Ann A. Conda (yes, that was her painful file name…) was planned as an individual with a unique codename.   However that was null and voided in the 2004 Toys R Us exclusive Ninja Cobra Strike team, when the twin daughters of the Arashikage swordsmith were also given the codenames of “Vypra” instead of their original planned titles of “Guardians of the Sacred Forge”.  Thus the codename Vypra became a generic troop builder title, and the original Vypra was put out of place because she was never meant to be a troop builder herself. 

You know… I actually liked the two “Vypra Sisters” from back then. They had a very “Shaw Brothers” quality about them—as if they stepped right out of one of those old Kung-Fu movies I used to watch on Saturday nights before I could drive. Ah… the exciting night life of the self-professed geek.

I watched those too!

Totally not surprised by that at all.

When Hasbro was creating The Plague team in 2006, there was some talk of possibly using Vypra as a Plague member and updating her codename to something new to differentiate her from the Arashikage Vypras, but nothing ever came of that.

And yet STILL better than Ann A. Conda. Seriously, that’s just a horrific name.

It is, and thankfully the Club realized it, as now her stupid filename has been discarded and simply listed as “CLASSIFIED.”

For modern era collectors, however, the codename shouldn’t really be an issue since it’s unlikely we’ll never get the Guardians of the Scared Forge re-released in modern tooling, so this way Vypra can stay unique.

What say you Freddie?  If I recall correctly, in the early days of JBL you used to write slash fiction involving Vypra and Gnawgahyde's boar.  How does this modern incarnation feel to you?

 Look, if that E.L. James can turn hackneyed Twilight fanfic into the best-selling “50 Shades of Crap” series, then my epic tale of inter-species animal love can and will find an audience! Wait… this is going to be published on the internet with my name attached? Never mind then… nothing to see here, folks. Move along!

Meh.  Bondage.  It’s so passé now---so mid 90’s along with Zima, Djarums clove cigarettes, and Cleopatra Label goth albums…  But I digress.

I will say that I would have been WAAAAY more excited for a pair of the Guardians of the Sacred Forge than for this version.

Parts:

 

Vypra uses the Renegades Scarlett legs on the otherwise SDCC/Retaliation Jinx body.  The look is not altogether successful, as it gives her a dumpy and sloppy look that seems like she’s wearing combat boots over pajamas or sweatpants.  To further the poor part choice, the Renegades Scarlett legs were incorrectly tooled by Hasbro, as the upper legs are longer than the lowers, thus her gams are noticeably disproportionate.  While the tooling issue is not the fault of the Club, I do place blame on an uninspired choice of legs when better ones could have been used.  (RoC Reactive Impact Armor Scarlett legs work great, and are proportionate.)

I will say this—the Renegades Scarlett legs do have a nice range of motion in the ankles so that’s something.

Truth to be told, I am not a fan of “rocker ankles”.  I find them hindering me more than they help.  I much prefer the standard articulated modern ankles to these. 

My only issue is that they make an already thin figure look like she’s even more desperate to find a sandwich.

Speaking of thin, like Jinx, her hands are very thin and tiny, and the pre-molded grip of the fingers makes it difficult for her to hold her briefcase---especially on the left hand.  Some may want to swap out the hands for better ones.

You're not wrong. She can hold the swords okay but the hands are all wrong for the MP5's-- especially in the left hand.

Vypra’s deco also deviated from the original figure, and this is also a disappointment. The O-ring figure had black, blue, and grey camouflage, while this Vypra has a blue uniform with black accents, plus a silver Cobra insignia.  The original figure’s deco was obviously more detailed, so it’s a shame that a premium collector figure could not duplicate that.  It is also worthy to mention the blatant hypocrisy between Vypra and Spearhead’s deco.  Why is it acceptable that Vypra can deviate from her original camo pattern and have none of the “fanboi” outcry, but Spearhead cannot?

Let’s not even get into “Hit & Run Gate”. Or “Bait & Switch” as some have called it. Apparently the amount of perceived uproar in the fan community is directly proportionate to the “kewlness factor” of the figure in question. However, just wait until we have to talk about the Night Creeper Leader.

Oh yeah!  Some of you people think we’re rough on this stuff?  Well just wait ‘til the Night Creeper Leader review!  Yeah, we’ll lose Facebook friends on that one, and some people may be tempted to take special pains to make sure our FSS figures are shipped out very last!  

Said the guy who just joined Facebook for this first time this past week!

And I still feel dirty about it.  That, and I think Zuckerberg is a d-bag, but that’s a rant for a different night.

Vypra’s color scheme is “okay” but nothing terribly inspired. Honestly, the tones used are fine but it feels as though something is missing. The ’98 version had that awesome paint wash over the entirety of the figure which provided some depth to the color scheme. Without that extra bit of detail, this version just feels unfinished to me.

Agreed.  It’s not a failure, but it is milquetoast. It feels like a home-made Jinx custom being sold on eBay for $37.00.  It doesn’t exude value or splendor.

It doesn't help that the head black head piece reminds me of a burka which immediately conjures up images of the X-Man Dust in my mind. It really doesn't help that there's quite a bit of paint slop on the head of my figure as well.

 

 

Gear:

  • HK MP5K w/suppressor 
  • Ruggedized Computer Case w/ removable HK MP5K (different tooling)
  • Katana Blades x2
  • Backpack
  • Figure Stand

Vypra’s combat gear is composed of two MP5s, but of differing tooling.  I would have kept the computer case one, but swapped out the other one for a different gun to add variety to her mix.  She also comes with two swords, maintaining her link to her original figure and Jinx, but these are impractical for a vehicle driver or courier.  The rest of her gear is listed above.

(Do I need to say I am not a fan of silver or gray guns?  Has this become a broken record yet?)  

Well, there goes your Christmas present for this year! I wonder if I can return them without a receipt.

Well, as long as you’ll still get me that Hello Kitty gimp suit, I’ll be happy.

Wow... I don't even have a reply for that. *shudder*

 

 

Vypra’s function has been changed from an attack vehicle driver to a courier, and that’s fine with me, as the difference doesn’t really change what she is.

There’s a comedy bit in there somewhere with Clutch making a crack about “Cobra women drivers” but it’s late and I don’t feel like shooting any more photos. I will say that there were better choices of brief cases available for a courier. Personally, I would have thought that this would have been the perfect time to break out the money case that came with the 30th Anniversary Destro.

I was thinking the same thing!

However I’m sure the Club’s accountant recoiled at the thought of spending the extra $$$ on the included money. Any final thoughts, Chris?

The last thing I want to mention is her card art.  While passable, the artist should have taken greater pains to make her “slim” like the figure.  If you look at the area below her sternum dropping across her midriff and groin, she looks bloated, or she looks like she’s wearing diapers.  Yes, it’s supposed to be the drapery from her pajamas, but it comes across looking too much like pudge.

"Pudge?" I don't know if I want to look that up or not given your previous Hello Kitty remark!

Overall Vypra is a lazy figure wrought with poor part choices (why not the Helix torso that has only even been used once?), and an even more banal deco, thus while she is based on her original figure, she is not accurate.  (Again, where’s the nerd rage from overzealous fans?)  However, despite her flaws, I personally feel she’s still a worthy character.  First off, she’s a female and one of the few named Cobra characters left, so that adds value to your rosters of evil.  Second, her legs can be swapped out for better ones, and lastly, it’s not hard to add more detail or camo to her uniform.  Again, it’s a classic case of having to fix a figure right out of the package, but at least here these are easy fixes.  Yeah, more thought should have went into her, but for what she is, and when we factor in the totality of circumstances, I think she’s worth it to get.

Your closing thoughts Fred?

Originally, I thought Vypra was a good idea executed poorly. The initial announcement had me pretty excited but then we got the photo-shopped mock-up and low and behold, the paint wash was gone. As such, Vypra left me a bit cold. Granted, I warmed up to her somewhat once I got the figure in hand but she still feels incomplete somehow. She’s not a bad figure but she’s not a great figure either. Rather, she’d have been a perfect inclusion into the Dollar General waves that were released last year instead of a premium-priced figure from the Collector’s Club. There are folks who love to complain about their fellow Joe fans by calling them “cheap” and claiming that they’re all part of the “wait for Ross crowd” but honestly, why shouldn’t fans expect something premium for a premium price? Is it so wrong to expect something better now and then? As such, Vypra is a figure that’s merely “okay” and that’s frustrating to me as she could have been so much more.

The Bottom Line : Vypra is an extremely average figure comprised entirely of recycled parts with minimal paint applications. The concept of the character far outpaces the execution on this one.

 

 

 

 
Copyright 2003 JoeBattlelines.com