Buzz Boar (1987)
I figured I’d break up my usual run of figures this time with a small vehicle. As a kid, I always loved the small vehicles. You could pick them up, grab a figure and just start playing. They were also really cheap which meant it didn’t have to be a special occasion to get one from my parents growing up. However, there were still a few random small vehicles that I really liked that I could just never find. Enter the Cobra Buzz Boar—another wacky Cobra vehicle that appealed to my kid brain. However, this neat little vehicle didn’t enter my collection until my birthday in 2011, courtesy of my local comic/action figure shop.
The vehicle itself is pretty simple, with four main pieces for the body (left side, right side, center buzz wheel, and the pilot’s chair) with a very 80s gull-wing door and a pair of small missiles on the left side and a dual-barreled cannon on the right side. While this was an inexpensive and uncomplicated vehicle, the Hasbro design team still gave it a lot of attention. The little detail I honestly love is the raised Cobra sigil on the pivot point for the hatch. A sticker would have sufficed, but the team went the extra mile and molded in a very nice piece to make even that relatively forgettable part of the vehicle look nice. My only real complaint with the vehicle is how the missiles are attached. The fin of each missile slides into a slot on the side of the vehicle and honestly, with my sample, they don’t always fit the nicest. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the missiles fall out and hit my worktable when I turned my desk chair too quickly and smacked the chair arm into the table. I realize that this may not be a universal problem with all Cobra Buzz Boars, but mine has that problem and figure I should make a point of it. I also should note that my version came pre-assembled from the comic shop and appears to be missing most of its original stickers for whatever reason. I do think that does make it look a little blander that it probably would otherwise, but I’m still very glad to have added it to my collection, even if it is somewhat incomplete as I later discovered. It’s a very fun looking vehicle and, by virtue of having very few small parts, would have been great for any kid to play with back in the day. The central wheel blade turns quite nicely and freely, and those teeth do look really wicked. The color scheme, while simple, works very well and is pretty classically Cobra. While just from the design, it’s pretty clear it’s not a Joe vehicle, the red, black and gray color scheme also nicely meshes with a lot of Cobra vehicles out there so it doesn’t look out of place working alongside the rest of the Cobra ground forces.
It’s hard to look at the Buzz Boar and keep a straight face. It’s definitely goofy…and I believe it made an appearance in an article on the comedy website Cracked about the worst vehicles in the Joe line which referred to it as something only considered a dangerous weapon if you happen to be the groundskeeper of the G.I. Joe headquarters. However, much like Rob (who reviewed this piece a few months back), I see some real potential. Though the box art shows it more as a tunneling vehicle, I see it as a high-speed attack vehicle designed specifically to disrupt supply trains by tearing up the roads they need to drive across. Tactics may be important to winning a battle, but the logistical support is the key to winning wars. When viewed from that standpoint, the Buzz Boar is a pretty addition to the Cobra arsenal. The role of battlefield disruption also, to me, fits better with its somewhat limited armament. While I can understand how an ambush from below the ground would be served with a pair of small missiles and a gun, it also wouldn’t last very long after said ambush, leaving the Buzz Boar woefully outgunned. However, as a vehicle whose sole purpose is to create problems either well-behind or well in advance of enemy positions, a light compliment of weapons isn’t nearly as problematic as it would largely be pitted against opposition scout vehicle or supply convoys which don’t have as much weaponry as an armed column or fortified position would.