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Skyquake87's Review: Combiner Wars Viper

Name : Viper
Allegiance: Decepticon

Bio: Quick-strike attack drone who can take a pounding and keep flying.

Although I wasn't a massive Action Force (or G.I. Joe if you're from across the pond) fan, I always liked the Cobra Rattler I got one Christmas. It was huge, for one thing, and I loved the old-fashioned look of the thing. And the pilot Wild Weasel was cool as. So when I saw this little Legends guy done up in homage to the Rattler, I was sold.

Viper's been crowbarred into the melee of Combiner Wars, one of a number new characters slipped into the Generations update-the-old-guys fanservice line. He first popped up in some video game thing I wont pretend to know anything about and is a retool/ redeco of Powerglide, who came out a few months earlier in this line. I've always liked the smaller Transformers figures. When they're done well, they can rival some of the best of the larger toys and after the generally excellent Combiner Wars Bombshell toy, I was hopeful that Viper would similarly be awesome.

Robot Mode: Very obviously an evil version of Powerglide, the figure on first impression doesn't do much to put much of a stamp of individuality on Powerglide's frame. Proportionally, he's pretty good, all straight lines with only the Popeye-like forearms making it obvious that this is a minor tweaking of a mould clearly designed with another character in mind. There's some good detailing on show too, with various panel lines and etched panels which I like. The headsculpt is decent, but its not particularly pretty. Its there to mimic Wild Weasel's helmet, but it doesn't quite come off. Instead, he looks like he's got an enormous nose for a face. It also makes his face look very fat too, which doesn't fit with his athletic looking body. The palette is pretty plain too, which is fine – works well for realism- save for the big blob of red that is his chest. Honestly, this looks awful. It dominates too much over the rest of his body. I'd have much preferred that Hasbro left the whole body that lovely navy blue and just had that wicked Cobra/ Decepticon tampograph decorating the chest. He looks like he's wearing a tabard. Or a bib.

Alternate Mode: A pretty swish looking A10 Thunderbolt II, Viper makes a good fist of the real thing with some nice design work and a homage to the aforementioned Cobra Rattler by sporting Z06” on the right wing. Only the slightly floppy rear tail fins let down what is otherwise a very nice alt mode which is great for swooshing about.

Alternate Mode: The weapon mode is what it is. It looks like a crumpled up aeroplane crossed with a coat hanger. It looks alright and is passable enough. It lacks a little bit of structural integrity where the robot legs come together to form the barrel of the thing. It may be my example, but the hips are a little loose so this thing tends to list a little. Its not a big deal, and I like it as a fun play feature for the larger robots to wave this thing around.

Marks Out Of Ten For The Following:

Transformation Design: A souped up version of the original Powerglide toy's transformation (which was always pretty decent) this throws in a few extra touches with a neat panel to cover up the robot mode face. The engines sliding on a couple of axles for the weapon mode is good and there's a general level of 'impressive' going on here, as there tends to be with smaller Transformers that cram a lot in. 9/10

Durability: Mine does have a few points where he feels a bit more fluid than perhaps he should – the hip joints, where the wings fold down and the tail fins – which I can only see getting worse over time. Whether this is just my bad luck, or a symptom of a lot of moving parts crammed in on a small frame I'm not too sure. It does feel to me that whilst toys of this size only a few years past could handle a lot of moving parts at this scale, today's plastics just don't feel quite up to the job.7/10

Articulation: Good range of movement, nothing fancy, as you'd expect of a Basics/ Legends/ Scout sized toy. Works it better than the earlier shipping Bombshell in this range. 8/10

Fun: Viper is tops in the fun stakes – no contest with his triple-changing capability. He's a good little toy to fiddle with and great for interacting with larger figures. 8/10

Price/Value: I'll be honest, I don't like paying 10 for a tiny figure like this, irrespective of what I actually like about him. Action figures in general are running a premium across the board, and it makes them a questionable purchase. 4/10

Overall: Despite his big nose face and red planky chest, Viper is easily the best of the Combiner Wars Legends that I've picked up. Bombshell is great, but his Dreamwave style marshmallow form looks like he's waddling in robot mode, Blackjack is loose as hell and feels rubbery and weak. Not really stiff competition in my collection, admittedly, and probably nowhere near as good as the some of the Generations Legends, but in terms of his looks, play features and design, he is definitely worthy of consideration – and fun for gestalts to wave about. 7/10
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