I suppose the Badger filled a similar spot to the old VAMP, albeit in a bit of a scaled down size. While this is not as small a vehicle as you would think, it is a one-seater. There are a couple of foot pegs on the sides, but any riders had better hang on, and watch for firing missiles. The large tires and working suspension are more akin to an off-road adventure vehicle than a military machine. If you need more reference to an off-roader, there’s a roll cage and even an antenna with flag handily emblazoned with the vehicle’s name. I guess that’s in case the Joes either participate in a cross country race or forget where they park when they head off to the mall.
Kidding aside, I really enjoy this vehicle. It’s in a similar vein to the Mudbuster, in that it incorporates fun play features and a chunky look that is different from the 80’s vehicles, yet not entrenched in the Tonka-like style that would dominate in the early 2000’s lines.
Of course the elephant in the room with this vehicle is the color. What can I say–or what do I even need to say, the pictures tell the story without my blathering. Yes, it is a brightly colored attack jeep. Why? Maybe Hasbro was trying to capture a bit of the Ninja Turtles market by making their toys brighter. Okay, maybe it wasn’t all due to the Turtles’ success in the toy aisle. After all, it was a pretty colorful decade in general. I’m not afraid to.admit that I had some bright orange Zubaz pants at one point. When I see the colored weapons of the time and the color coordinated parts on vehicles like this, I can’t help but see the similarities between the Playmates Turtles toys. They even have crazily bold paper stickers, though with no references to pizza.
The mold saw another release in the Street Fighter line, in a less brightly colored scheme, yet still not anything typical of a military vehicle. Obviously, this mold would have been more of a hit with collectors if it had been released later in shades of green, tan or even black. I often wonder what happened to the molds for the 90’s vehicles, and why other than the Barracuda and Monster Blaster APC, they didn’t get a re-release in the 2000’s lines via Toys R Us or the Collectors Club.
The 90’s vehicles weren’t the same animals as their predecessors in a lot of ways, but they were surprisingly consistent in terms of look and feel. Even though the color of vehicles like the Badger aped other toy lines of the time, in the end, they do occupy their own little niche of GI Joe toys.