The GI Joe line has, since the relaunch in 1997, had a history of repaints. The original Dragonfly helicopter became the Locust, Ice Cream Soldier mercifully became the Shock Viper, etc, and etc the list goes on and on. Since then, however, there have been very few retoolings of classic vehicles. I’m referring to an overhaul so complete that the vehicle becomes more than it was originally intended. Such is the case with the Night Ops Humvee—an overhaul of the Jungle Strike Humvee so thorough that you’d swear it came out of an episode of the A-Team.
If you’re reading this review, you’re probably already familiar with the Jungle Strike Humvee so I’m not going to rehash the basics of this mold that have been covered in another review. Instead, I’m going to talk about the differences and how they take an already terrific vehicle and skyrocket it into the category of greatness. When I first heard about the Night Ops Humvee, I assumed that Hasbro would follow the same pattern they applied to the repaints of the Night Attack Chopper and Patriot Grizzly tank. Each of those vehicles received a paint redeco and was released in both standard and desert versions. With the NOH (Night Ops Humvee), however, Hasbro took a more radical approach. Picture the standard Humvee. Now cut off the rear hatch and rework the bed so that it is completely open. Cut the doors down to half of what they once were and add rails to the bed. Mount some removable tools on the hood to help clear obstacles and “remove troublesome locked doors”. Remove the tailgate and the passenger-side windshield and instead add a heavy machine gun and modify the front grill so that it now drops down. Rework the turret to now accommodate a .50 cal and add in a bracket to hold a can of ammo. Lastly, add in a swivel-mount for a high caliber sniper rifle in the bed. (NOTE: You’ll have to pry this weapon out of Crosshairs cold dead hands.) If this sounds like something from the end of an episode of the A-Team to you then you’re not alone. A true professional—sacrificing armor for speed and extra firepower, has extensively reworked this Humvee. In fact, the modifications are so extensive that I see this as being a “one of one” vehicle and not something produced on a line. This is what I mean by this being a product of my favorite “Soldiers of fortune, living on the edge”. From the first moment I laid eyes on this vehicle I saw it as something that belong in an issue of Special Missions or even Frontline. Just picture the scene—the A-Team (or whomever) is locked in a garage full of broken down vehicles while the local Viper commander contacts Cobra HQ to determine what to do with his prisoners. He just gets off the line with Snake Central when the garage door bursts open and out rolls the Night Ops Humvee—guns blazing and loud Mike Post music blaring in the background. Cobra is defeated and a cigar-chompin’ white-haired veteran soldier comments “I love it when a plan comes together.” Okay, maybe I just watched too much TV as a kid but that’s my take on this latest addition to the motor pool.
The NOH isn’t the only thing in the box that got a severe facelift—just check out the new and improved Rollbar! The first Rollbar was a good—albeit bland—figure. He had a decent uniform, a standard helmet, and pretty non-descript visage. The new Rollbar utilizes the same basic body as the first but instead casts it in a deep blue that is reminiscent of a SWAT uniform. The chest has been reworked as well as the NOH driver is now sporting a tactical vest that would make Beach Head truly green with envy! Covered in pouches for ammo clips, this vest makes it truly a shame that Rollbar doesn’t come equipped with any type of weapon. He’s certainly carrying enough spare ammo! Even the helmet has been reworked as Rollbar now has a darker piece of headgear complete with a set of molded goggles. His head is completely unchanged and yet I can’t help but look at this figure in a completely different light. Hasbro took a relatively blasé figure and made him into the dynamic soldier who could take “an engine and some wheels and turn them into a road-chewing, COBRA-thumping, mobile motorcade of justice.” Color me impressed because Rollbar just joined my Joe team!
I love the Jungle Strike Humvee and couldn’t see how it could be improved upon. I was wrong. While not a line vehicle by any stretch of my imagination, the Night Ops Humvee represents a terrific “mission specific” vehicle that my Night Force figures seemed destined to occupy. If you’ve written this vehicle off as “just another repaint” then it’s time to reconsider that opinion. The NOH represents the very best in retooling that Hasbro has to offer and for under $20.00 it’s a heck of a lot of vehicle! Run, don’t walk, to your computer and order this bad boy today!