Review & pics by: Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Danger at the Docks – SDCC version
July 2014 marked a double-whammy for many Joe fans. First, it saw the release of another San Diego Comic Con exclusive—this time released in conjunction with Toys R Us. Secondly, it saw the debut of the 50 th Anniversary line in stores across the nation. After a long dry spell of no new product since the end of the G.I. Joe Retaliation, Joe fans were suddenly scrambling to catch up on the new product. Fortunately, the SDCC exclusive proved easier to acquire on ToysRUs.com than the “blink and you miss it/keep slamming F5” experience that greeted consumers on HasbroToyShop.com the past few years.
The original VAMP holds a special place in my Joe-collecting heart. Back in 1982, it was not only the first G.I. Joe vehicle I acquired but it was the first G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toy I ever owned. Who knows—had I not been completely blown away by it this might be a website dedicated to My Little Pony instead of the greatest action figure line of all time. However, I digress.
I’ve yet to getting around to reviewing the 25th Anniversary VAMP w/ Clutch but eagle-eyed fans will recognize that this vehicle is based on that update of the classic vehicle. The basic body is entirely the same, right down to the clear plastic head and tail lights, the opening hood, and the removable shovel on the hood. I’ve always felt that this was a terrific update to the original G.I. Joe workhorse vehicle with one small concern. The 25th VAMP was based on the original 1982 mold right down to the fact that it was scaled for the original 3.75” action figures. Over the years, the Generation 3 (aka “Modern Era” – a misleading moniker IMHO) Joes have edged taller and taller with the standard now being 4”. The VAMP, however, has remained stuck in 1982 in terms of scale—which means that newer figures tower over it more than their vintage counterparts. With the 25th VAMP this wasn’t as much of an issue because of the open-top roll cage but the VAMP Mk II presents some different challenges.
For the VAMP MK II, Hasbro recreated the original vehicle as closely as they could. (The gas cans are different. If you noticed, you win a No-Prize.) This means that the side doors and roof have been added on to the roll cage and the dual-action cannon has been replaced with a four missile rotating launcher. The doors and roof attachment snap onto the cage as they did on the original vintage vehicle to provide more cover for the occupants of this nimble 4WD attack vehicle. However, the increased height of the figures makes it a bit trickier to fit Gen 3 Joes inside w/o popping off the roof piece first. It might seem like I’m nit-picking and in this age of “We have to buy everything to support the line” mentality, some folks will see it as such. I’m pointing it out as something to be aware of—which is the job of any review and while it may be a bit frustrating it doesn’t diminish my love of this vehicle any.
Lastly, the directions on the VAMP are misleading—in the fact that the launcher hoses are skipped entirely during assembly. Also, I’d recommend putting the decal on the dashboard BEFORE snapping the top of the vehicle shell on the chassis as it is much easier to access at that point.
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