Attack Cannon (FLAK)

The Joe team’s original surface to air cannon, the FLAK is a smaller, stationary weapon that saw action for several years during the relaunch era. As a toy, it may not be exciting from a modern standpoint in that it doesn’t fire a missile, make a noise or light up. However from a 1982 perspective, the weapon is highly detailed, interestingly designed, and fits a figure as an operator. The FLAK embodies what was really magical about the first few years of vehicles and weapons; a bit of real-world technology projected slightly into future.

The cannon functions well in its toy capacity, and what’s not to love about a battlefield accessory that seats a figure? The only downside in comparison to the other cannons like the HAL and Whirlwind is the lack of wheels for towing. However you can always drop it on the battlefield via the Dragonfly’s winch.

The FLAK was part of the mail-in program all the way up to 1990, and as a result was pretty easy to find bagged during my online years of the early 2000s. If you wanted a pristine loose example, this was the way to go. Of course, you’ll miss out on the incredible box art featuring Rock ‘n Roll. I bet RnR loved climbing into this bad boy and firing some heavy ordnance at Cobra.

The FLAK was a mainstay artillery piece for the Sunbow Joes in their first mini-series, and figured prominently during Major Bludd’s airbase attack at the outset of the first episode. Years later, the piece would still be a viable release in both the 25th Anniversary series, as well as a Collectors Club Exclusive.

6 comments

  • ”The F.L.A.K.did not get much publicity beyond the 1983 movie
    :”The M.A.S.S. Device”.Since it was not towable, or self propelled cannon, it did not get much demand in later years.”

  • This is where the line really started to shine! Battlefield accesories! Turrets were awesome and this began the trend of fleshing out the toy battle field! something that was cool but didnt have wheels or moved. But you could pretend it was the perimeter defense for a base! It looked real world based but “techy” and being in the cartoon just sealed the deal! If you couldnt afford a skystriker, this bad boy would take down those pesky rattlers!

  • A grey-green version of the FLAK was used by COBRA on their Helicarrier in part 4 of The MASS Device. Oddly, a Cobra version hasn’t been made.

    The FLAK was my first boxed accessory/vehicle. It was pretty cool until a seat tab broke years later. By then the cannon was so loose its default mode was aiming up. One plus side to it was it could be manned by Joe figures who’d lost both their thumbs

    Besides no towing wheels, the problem with the FLAK was that GI JOE was a mobile unit, and Cobra was the one more often the side with bases getting attacked. Thus a defensive cannon like the FLAK was ignored in the comic and even underused in the cartoon.

  • SpiritoftheBeachhead

    Did anyone else use their FLAK as a handheld laser gun for battles with their brothers? Worked well as a gun when the base was removed….felt like Buck Rogers!

  • In my childhood imagination, the FLAK was a great stand-in for the Weather Dominator

  • A few Flaks also look great outside the perimeter of the first GI Joe Headquarters!

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