Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
Valor vs. Venom Wave 7: Gung Ho vs. Viper

  Review & pics by Fred Meyer

Gung Ho poster shot

Okay, I’ll be honest here. There are two things that can render me into a giddy fan boy when it comes to GIJoe. The first is a “definitive” redesign of a favorite character and the other is a troop builder in classic Cobra colors. Now, factor in two simple facts: Gung Ho is one of my all-time favorite Joes and I’m a huge fan of army-building troops in Cobra blue. The result is that I think this is the absolute best pack in Wave 7—bar none!

Gung Ho:

Gung Ho frontGung Ho back

I liked this mold when it was released in Wave 4. Sure, the crotch was a bit too low, the fact was a bit too long and the “action attack” feature meant that my favorite marine would be saddled with a t-crotch yet I still loved the figure. It captured the all of the definitive elements of Gung-Ho and combined them into one terrific update! Well, my days of loving that figure are over as I now have the definitive Gung Ho for my collection! It really is amazing just how much different the addition of an o-ring can make to a Joe sculpt. Honestly, there is NO bad to this figure. The head sculpt is classic Gung Ho—right down the moustache and shaved head. He’s even got the truncated Joe star logo tattooed on his right bicep! When you add in the removable vest and hat as well as the working holster on his right leg you’re left with a figure that is not only a fantastic update to a classic character but also a great design in its own right!

Gung Ho closeup

One nice addition to this figure is the new sculpt grenade launcher included in the accessories! It’s a terrific homage to the first version of the character as well as a welcome addition to any Joe fan’s armory. It’s almost a shame that this figure was packed with the Viper troop builder as I fear that Gung Ho will come to be held in the same regard as Mirage—a nice figure but everyone’s got far too many of them to know what to do with. He’ll end up in lots of 5 on Ebay with a Buy-It-Now of $10.00 and be labeled as “custom fodder”. Still, I can’t stop gushing about just how much I love this figure so it’s time to move on.

Gung Ho gear


Viper frontViper back

I remember when the new-sculpt Valor vs. Venom Viper was first released in maroon and purple. People loved the design but were left scratching their heads over the color scheme. Not only did the two colors not really go well together but also they weren’t even close to any previous Viper color scheme. It wasn’t long until photo-manipulations of the figure began to show up on various forums and the true potential of the figure was seen. It’s almost as if Hasbro simple copied a few of those images as the paint guides for the new figure as it is the best Viper color scheme we’ve had in a LONG time.

Viper closeup

The look is classic Viper v1: red arm guards, silver face mask, black vest and boots. The addition of a red Cobra sigil across the chest is key, however. It adds something that was desperately missing from both the first and Python versions of this mold. This is a figure that screams “COBRA!” from head to toe. In fact, I can only hope that at some point in the future Hasbro decides to release this mold in troop-builder packs as this is destined to be the most sought-after new-sculpt troop to date. Of all of the new sculpt troops—this is the one that holds appeal to both fans of the classic RAH as well as the newer GIJoe vs. Cobra relaunch figures. Thrown in the fact that he comes packaged with an AK-47 with a bayonet and you’re left with a figure that represents the best that Hasbro is capable of. It’s unfortunate that this figure is in the last wave before the hiatus as it might make him difficult to obtain. Add in the fact that people will be troop-building these by the dozens and you find yourself faced with only one option: get this figure when you see him as you never know when you’ll see him again.

Viper gear

I can hardly call this an objective review. Hasbro packaged a fan-freaking-tastic update of one of my favorite characters with a phenomenal repaint of a classic troop-builder. There’s no way that I can rationally describe this set and make recommendations without coming across as a gibbering fan boy. So, the bottom line is this: get this set. Whether you’re a troop builder, a completionist, or just someone who loves Joe. There is literally “no bad” to this set! I know I’m certainly good for a few more of these!

Gung Ho comparison

Viper comparison

Two of my favorites: Gung Ho & Roadblock

Vipers on patrol

Tactical team

Viper patrol

Viper Patrol


Copyright 2003