Saturday, July 25, 2020

20th Anniversary Key Moments - 1993 Cyber Viper

The Cyber Viper has occupied two prime slots in my timeline.  The first time I reviewed the figure was back in 2004 for the site's 5th anniversary.  That was the final profile of my site as it existed in that format under that domain name.  After that Cyber Viper profile, it was a full 6 months before I wrote about another figure.  And, it was now under the domain instead of my own.  The second time I looked at the figure was nearly 10 years later: on January 1st, 2014.  In both instances, though, the figure's bright colors, excellent mold and untapped potential dominated my perception and expressions.

The Cyber Viper is a perfect analog for my site simply because he has always been somewhat hard to find, is ridiculously colored and also has a ton of untapped potential.  I've long wanted figures like the Cyber Viper to get the respect they deserve.  And, in the 2000's, I was a staunch advocate of Hasbro repainting 1990's molds instead of the 1980's figures that so many other collectors clamored for.  In the cases where Hasbro did look at someone from the 1990's, they often produced a high quality repaint.  But, in almost every instance, collectors ignored it.  The community just wasn't ready for repaints of the newest vintage Joe molds.

I'm a critic of the 2000's era Hasbro because they so thoroughly wasted their mold library with far too many releases of the same molds over and over again while ignoring many figures like this Cyber Viper who had amazing potential, but poor initial colors.  However, the reality of the time must be factored in.  Hasbro did attempt to bring back a few of their later molds in better colors or retconned as more popular characters.  In each and every instance, though, these releases failed.  Big Ben was a retail disaster despite the fact that each repaint of him was very good to excellent.  Nobody cared about the convention repaints of the Ferret, Mega Viper or 1994 Viper.  Mirage pegwarmed even though he was packed with a Viper repaint!  Collectors punished Hasbro for innovation.  So, they had zero incentive to actually try to find obscure molds like the Cyber Viper and update them in better colors.

Now, we're left with a fun, ostentatious figure that has started to fall out of the range of many collectors.  And, that's too bad.  Everyone should be able to revel in the '90's wackiness that invaded the Joe line.  But, this Cyber Viper is also useful and fun.  He goes well with '90's vehicles and does look good in a variety of displays.  His colors pop in photos and the details of mold are always appreciated by collectors who either overlook him or simply can't find one for a price they are comfortable with.  

In looking back at my writings on Cyber Vipers, I mention both times that the figure is hard to find.  Looking at the $12 price point for a mint, loose and complete figure in 2004 and the $22 price for the same in 2014, you see two prices that seem cheap now, but were actually rather high for those time periods.  Now, mint and complete Cyber Vipers routinely fetch $70+.  That's way too much for a figure who lacks name recognition, is poorly colored and has non-descript accessories.  But, in 2020, collectors are paying for scarcity, be it real or artificial.  So, you see high prices for both the Cyber and Mega Viper figures since the Mega Marines were produced in lower quantities than other 1993 releases.  It's a sad state of affairs as figures like this were fun when they were cheap.  At current pricing, you lose some of the silliness factor that drove the early 90's neon era.

1993 Cyber Viper, Interrogator, Mail Away, DEtonator

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