IRON Panther tank (1995 Sgt. Savage)
I’ve become fascinated with the period following the end of the Real American Hero line. I can remember when the announcement was made that the old line was ending, but a new one was coming. While Sgt. Savage may not have been the ideal replacement for twelve years of small Joes, I gave it a chance. Though scale, articulation and subject matter were vastly different than what came before, there are a few really nice toys in the line. The IRON Panther, the lone enemy vehicle in the line, is a very evil looking and surprisingly useful ride even for the smaller Joes.
The IRON Panther tank is an odd duck, to be sure. With its pyramidal shape, the vehicle appears to be simultaneously heavily armed and stealthy. Not as much of a throwback as Savage’s jeep or Warbird, the tank has an almost alternate history vibe. I could see this as a tank in one of those myriad “what if World War II had ended differently?” stories. Oh, and they had also developed the utterly useless concept of a stealth tank.
The tank not only looks impressive, but also works in a few nice play features, similar to those in the last few years of thr Real American Hero. The main gun elevates, and also fires a missle. The turret opens, and while the interior is not detailed, it can accommodate a couple of figures. Unlike the previously mentioned Sgt. Savage jeep and plane, the scale of the tank is very workable with 3 & 3/4 inch Joes. This is mostly due to the lack of much comparable detail, like a steering wheel or cockpit, although the shovel on the back could be a giveaway to the tank’s intended size. Whatever the use, it’s a real diamond in what was a rough period for Joe. Now to find a decent GI Joe Extreme vehicle. Stay tuned.