BTR-Ticles: Ground Striker
The Ground Striker was released as part of series 2 of the Built to Rule sets released in limited distribution in 2004.
The primary mode is a 6-wheeled attack vehicle resembling an SUV.
A pair of swivel platform bricks are used to make the twin missile launchers pivot with the turn of a thumbwheel at the vehicle’s rear. Notable parts for the set include the grab bars in aqua, the green fenders, the aqua brush guard, the 1×4 plates with clips in aqua, the grey chassis extension, the front grill in olive, the windshield pieces in olive, the window pieces in olive, the 2×6 plate with 2 attached 1×6 bricks in grey, the swivel platforms in transparent red and aqua, and the two roof hatch pieces in grey. In addition to these unique or rare parts, and the many pieces with printed decoration, the Ground Striker provides a large number of some of the most useful parts from other BTR sets in one package.
The included figure is the Joe team’s warrant officer, Flint. The figure features O-ring construction, and bears some resemblance to the Spy Troops version of Flint from 2003.
The Ground Striker’s secondary mode is an attack boat/hovercraft. Weapons for the Ground Striker include two of the standard BTR miniguns in black, with aqua mounts, and two of the standard BTR missile launchers in black, with red missiles.
Among BTR toys, the Ground Striker is unique for having appeared in a G.I. Joe movie – the 2004 direct-to-video CGI movie Valor vs. Venom. In the story, Flint and a team of Joes (Beachhead, Gung Ho, and Tunnel Rat) are using the Ground Striker in its primary mode to perform reconnaissance on a tropical island. After they are discovered by an overwhelming force of Cobra troops, the team must withdraw to report their findings to HQ, and it is during this escape sequence that the Ground Striker receives heavy damage from Cobra’s attack. After Gung Ho points out that Hi-Tech designed the Ground Striker as a customizable kit, the team sets to work repairing and converting their ride. We next see the Ground Striker cruising at high speed across the ocean in its secondary mode, the attack hovercraft/boat. The island recon team joins up with a Joe naval force (consisting of Shipwreck, Wet-suit, and Torpedo) aboard two Piranha attack boats. The film, and Valor vs. Venom in general, represent the peak of the new-sculpt era. Though somewhat more simplistic and juvenile than many would have wished, VvV represented one of the most confident expressions of the G.I. Joe brand at retail in the 21st century, and it gave BTR its media moment in the sun. The Ground Striker’s involvement in the movie was a nod to the role construction toys play in the imaginations of children and adults, a notion fully embraced 10 years later with the Lego Movie.
One of the central vehicles in a military toy line is the general purpose attack vehicle. The Ground Striker’s parts can be used to make Joe’s 1982 VAMP…
…and 1984’s follow-up VAMP Mk. II
Going for more of a pickup truck look, the set can be used to make an interpretation of 1993’s Mudbuster.
The parts also work for a Jurassic Park dinosaur hunting vehicle.
If it’s truck month, the set can be used to make a super-duty, extended-cab attack pickup.
Putting four wheels up front and two in the back gives an unusual look to an armored missile vehicle.
A close approximation of the BTR Forest Fox can be built from the Ground Striker.
Forgetting about the wheels for a moment, the set can be used to make a structure vaguely reminiscent of the 1984 Watch Tower.
The set can be rebuilt into the Joe team’s 1988 Forest Fox 6X6.
Revisiting the structure theme, an approximation of the 1985 Checkpoint Alpha can be constructed.
As can a larger defensive base.
Not sure if Joe ever had a custom conversion combat van, but he certainly could have one.
A heavy cargo truck can be built from the set…
…and, by adding parts from another Ground Striker, the builder can create a G.I. Joe combat semi-trailer.