I’m going to start this review by saying that I was a fan of the Ferret ATV released in the classic GIJoe: A Real American Hero line. Sure it was gargantuan in proportion but the Ferret filled the gap between “walking” and “small truck” quite nicely. It was, however, a vehicle released for COBRA and therefore its colors just didn’t work well for use with the GIJoe team. Over the years, I’ve seen fan attempt to incorporate various 1:18 th scale vehicles into their collections with varying degrees of success. Either the items were designed for “display only” and therefore weren’t rugged enough to withstand much use or they were “too civilian”- emblazoned with all matter of logos and color schemes. This was hardly the type of vehicle suitable for use with any modern military toy line. Once again, enter the folks at M&C Toy Center Ltd—the company behind the Power Team Elite line of figures, vehicles, and accessories. This company has an uncanny knack for producing inexpensive yet realistic 1:18 th scale vehicles that can withstand the rigors of both play and display. Thanks to the efforts of Marauder John, two of their vehicles are now available singly to add to any collection!
It wasn’t until recently that I came to the realization of just how widely used Quad ATV’s have become in both civilian and military circles. Ideal for traversing expanses of terrain in a short period, these little workhorses can carry two passengers and extra gear with ease. The M&C ATV can comfortably seat two 1:18 th scale figures and still has room on the “gear rack” for a few ammo crates, etc. The vehicle is surprisingly detailed for the SRP of only $4.00. The bulk of the ATV consists of a two-piece olive drab mold, split along the vertical axis and held together by four small metal screws hidden within the front and rear wheel wells on the right side of the vehicle. It’s a very simply assembly that provides a solid and durable construction. There are a few molded details on the body, including a front grill and some engine vents just behind the front wheels. Visible on the back of the ATV is a “chain drive” as well as the exhaust pipe. It’s a surprising bit of detailing—especially considering that the “chain” is visible from the right side connecting to the engine. The molded engine is clearly visible from either side and is highlighted with a coat of black paint. The headlights, which in many other toy lines would have been comprised of two decals, are instead highlighted by two yellow paint applications. The front bumper, rear gear wrack, handle bars (which rotate), and set are all separate pieces cast in black plastic and attached to the body shell. One of the most impressive details is found in the four all-terrain tires that give this ATV its off-road capabilities. Each tire is cast in a black plastic and sports heavy sculpted tread. The tires, however, are not what make up the actual wheel; instead, M&C sculpted gray hubcap/rims which attach into sockets on the underside of the body. The result is four sturdy free-rotating wheel assemblies that give a solid support to the small work horse vehicle. For a vehicle that costs about half of what I’ve seen individual “sports quads” sell for, it’s a surprisingly durable construction that will hold up to all sorts “use and abuse” in hands of any toy collector—regardless of age.
Motorcycle w/ sidecar:
When it comes to off road equipment, M&C certainly provide variety! The second vehicle offering at MGR is a light motorcycle with armed side car. It’s a nostalgic combination that would fit in perfectly in either a third-world diorama setting or in a WW2 display. (I’m regretting now owning any 21 st Century figures to showcase in this bike right now.) The bike itself is quite functional without the attached sidecar and previous offerings from M&C have offering the vehicle in that fashion. It is a light, nimble-looking craft that will certainly offer your 1:18 th scale figures the ability to traverse terrain quite rapidly. Superficially, the motorcycle resembles the 1942 Harley-Davidson XA, developed for the United States Army for using during World War 2. The match isn’t exact but there are plenty of design similarities that lead to me to believe that this is the basis for the M&C motorcycle. There are a few additions to the body, however, that help to set this bike apart from the Harley. First, the seat has been extended to accommodate a passenger if desired. Secondly, a cylindrical canister has been added over the headlight and just in front of the handle bars. This is reminiscent of the courier motorcycles used during WW1 to run dispatches back and forth between command centers and field units. The body sports some terrific detailing including a molded engine highlight by a black paint application as well as a molded drive chain connecting to the rear wheel. As with the Quad ATV, the tires are composed of two separate pieces with the rims being molded in gray plastic while the tires are molded in a hard black rubber. There is even a small kickstand that will allow the bike to be displayed standing w/o the aid of the sidecar. This stand also doubles as a foot rest on the left hand side with the sidecar mount functioning in that capacity on the right. Overall, this is a very basic motorcycle that will fit in well with multiple eras of military figures.
The real highlight for me of this vehicle, however, is the side car. Aside from the GIJoe: A Real American Hero Silver Mirage motorcycle, I cannot think of a 1:18 th scale motorcycle that came equipped with this addition passenger conveyance. The side car is pretty plain when compared to the motorcycle although it is interesting to note that there is a light application of black paint sprayed across the surface. It gives the “passenger pod” a more textured look than unadorned olive plastic would offer. The construction of the side car is otherwise pretty solid—one piece comprises the body shell and other makes up the flooring. The side-mounted wheel is similar to that used on the cycle providing a uniform look. There is a weapons mount located on the front of the car to allow the passenger to lay down some forward fire with the included heavy machine gun. NOTE: This included weapon is an M&C product and not the usual highly detailed weapons produced by Marauder Gun-Runners. Still, it’s a nice addition and serves its purpose well. There is also an included radio antenna which is a bit thicker than you might expect—giving the impression of a metal pipe more than that of a whip-style antenna.
When it comes to alternative 1:18 th scale gear, you’ll be hard-pressed to find comparable vehicles at the price that MGR is selling these. The quality of M&C vehicles has been widely known since the debut of the Power Team Elite line at KB Toys back in Fall 2003 yet the limited availability of the products has proven a hindrance. With MGR stepping up to offer a selection of M&C accessories and vehicles at reasonable prices, collectors can now snag up these awesome vehicles to round out their motor pools and custom projects. While the motorcycle may appear a bit dated, it fulfills the role of “standard gear” quite nicely. After all, not every Army soldier is going to be riding around on a RAM motorcycle. The Quad ATV works well in either civilian or military displays and the solid construction ensures that even “little collectors” could play with these and not have to worry about breakage. My recommendation is to not only snag a few of these vehicles for individual collections but also to let Marauder John know if you’d like to see more small offerings from M&C offered through the store in the future.