I feel that I’ve been remiss in my coverage of GI Joe vehicles. After all, they’re as important an aspect of the brand as the figures, especially in the years since Joe’s reintroduction in the 1980s. What kind of all-inclusive GI Joe blogger am I to not have represented more of the great rides of Joe history after over two years? I’ll endeavor to bring more of them up over this year.
As a collector during the new sculpt or relaunch era of the early to mid 2000s, I was both intrigued and frustrated by some of the vehicle releases of the time. There were some greats; like the Patriot Grizzly, the Rhino and the ROCC, and there also were flops, like the Road Rebel and Battle Blitz, that rivaled any of goofiest offerings from the 80s and 90s. Some of the others, like the Quickstrike, fell in between. The construction style was a source of most of my frustration with new sculpt era vehicles, as there was a thick, rounded, Tonka-like quality to the newer pre-assembled toys. It was a far cry from the sometimes delicate multi-part kits of the old days.
I actually find a lot to like about the Quickstrike, notwithstanding the chunkiness of the design. On a positive note, this thing will stand up to rugged play, and you don’t have to worry about it breaking while in storage, something that has happened to several of my 90s GI Joe vehicles. I’m a fan of play features, and there are a few here. The elevating missile-firing cannon is the primary feature, and though the operator is unprotected (which is nothing new, really) it looks like a fairly formidable armament. The only drawback is that the gunner station doesn’t swivel. The turret located in front of it does, and it’s gun also makes a happy little clicky sound when moved about. The gunner station is similar to the anti-aircraft La-Z-Boy manned by the 12 inch Big Brawler. Anything that brings to mind the Brawler can’t be all bad. As an added touch, the two extra missiles store inside the rear of the vehicle, and blend in with the design a bit, giving the effect of steel bumpers. The cockpit area has a unique hatch that opens out as one piece, and reveals the entire drivers’ compartment, which is also a two-seater. Finally, there’s a spot that looks like it was intended as a battery door built into the bottom. I wonder if this thing was intended to have lights, sounds or battery powered moving parts?
The Quickstrike at first glance might look like a truncated version of the classic APC, but its purpose isn’t troop transportation. It doesn’t even have space in the back section for more than a gunner. This vehicle is also a bit reminiscent of the Adventure Team’s Big Trapper vehicle from 1976, one of the later out-there vehicles from the end of the original GI Joe era. The large, bright yellow vehicle with its angled nose, rear gun compartment and six off-road wheels was intended as a means to capture the Intruders, Joe’s late line enemy force of circus strongman lookalikes. Cobra-La wasn’t the only goofy conecpt in Joe’s history.