Marauder Snowmobile (Force of Battle 2000)
It’s time for another KansasBrawler confession. I like a lot of early Joe vehicles, but I’ve never really liked the vintage Polar Battle Bear. For some reason, that vehicle just never really spoke to me. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it’s probably because, growing up in a town in South Dakota that manufactures front skis for Arctic Cat, the vintage Polar Battle Bear looked really old and dated compared to the snowmobiles I saw as a kid. However, a strange thing happened to me when the GIJCC turned the Polar Battle Bear into the Battle Force 2000 Marauder Snowmobile. For some reason, I really like this thing. KansasBrother and I were discussing the con set before it went up for sale in the store and were talking about the exclusives and while we were more impressed with the B.A.T. Rocket Pack, we both were fairly impressed with the Marauder Snowmobile as well. The fact that both sets were actually available after the con is part of what made me pull the trigger a little earlier than I was planning to do since doing so meant I could also snag the exclusive vehicle two-packs. Since KansasBrother was interested in a loose figure set, it worked out well that both vehicle sets were two-packs, so I have one Marauder and he has the other, and truthfully, that’s all I need. It’s a decent vehicle, but not one I like enough to need a pair of them in my collection.
I’ve never been all that interested in the Battle Force 2000 vehicles, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect when it came to exclusive vehicles this year. At first, I thought they picked the Marauder because I thought they had dropped a hint that the set could have a slight arctic theme to it. However, as I was looking at the Battle Force 2000 stuff on YoJoe, I was surprised to learn that one of the two-in-one vehicles was the Marauder Snow Tank, essentially a heavily built snowmobile that hauled around a large gun emplacement. After learning that, I was a little more sold on the Marauder Snowmobile. The overall design is pretty simple. It’s a low-slung vehicle with an angled front, a surprisingly large place for the driver to sit, some rear running boards and handles on the back for the other riders to hang onto. There’s a dual cannon mounted under the front of the Marauder and there are missiles attached to the front skis. Interestingly, the mold date on the bottom is from 2001, and I don’t recall a release of the Polar Battle Bear in that year, or again until 2009 with the Rise of Cobra Target exclusive Rockslide/Polar Battle Bear set. I’d be interested to know what plans Hasbro had for the Polar Battle Bear around that time that didn’t pan out, just from a brand history perspective. The Marauder’s look is solid, but it is fairly dated. Modern snowmobiles are fairly compact and they haven’t had as much of a nose sticking out in front for a very long time. While that hurts my enjoyment of the Polar Battle Bear, it actually kind of works for Battle Force 2000. The concept was Joe designers spitballing what military hardware would look like in 2000 back in 1987. As such, I’m strangely more okay with a retro-futuristic design for the Marauder than I am the Polar Battle Bear. This is a solid vehicle, though there are a couple of little design hiccups that I’m not wild about. First of all, I do love that the front guns have a built in action feature in the form of two tabs that stick out from the side of the vehicle that you can use to move the guns back and forth. However, it looks to me like when the guns are in the forward position, the tabs are set a little unevenly. I’m weirdly anal retentive about stuff like that and it kind of bothers me. The other issue I have is that the slightly larger modern figures don’t work as well on the Marauder as they could. It’s kind of difficult to get a Joe behind the control stick of the Marauder, and I always think that’s a bit of a bummer. Beyond that, though, the Marauder is a solid vehicle and while I’m new to my fandom of the Polar Battle Bear, it was a great call for the GIJCC to tap this vehicle for inclusion in the Force of Battle 2000 set.
Where the Marauder really shines is in its color scheme. Though some of the Battle Force 2000 figures had some weird color schemes, the vehicles all looked really good and the Marauder was probably one of the best looking vehicles back in the day. The color scheme fits very nicely on the Polar Battle Bear, and that’s always a plus. The base of the vehicle is dark blue, with silver for the hood, green for the missiles, guns, steering column, handles and engine cover, and black for the treads. These colors all work very well together. The GIJCC paint team also made sure to add some additional color to the vehicle via tampo work. The single, offcenter headlight is painted yellow, which is a nice little extra touch. “BF2K-7” and a large Battle Force 2000-styled “7” are tampoed on the top of the hood while the G.I. Joe logo is tampoed on the sides. There’s a single star tampoed on top of the engine cover and “Panel Removal” is tampoed on each side. Finally, rounding out the tampo work, there are two American flags, one on each side, of the rear quarter panel of the snowmobile. The colors work well together and, like the overall design, give the Marauder a bit of a retro-futuristic feel that I think works wonderfully for Battle Force 2000 in the year 2017.
I didn’t quite know where the GIJCC was going to go for vehicles with a modern Battle Force 2000 set. I don’t think I ever saw any of the vehicles on the shelves as a kid, but I assumed the vehicles were just as funky as the figures, so I wasn’t sure how the GIJCC was going to reference them. Using the Polar Battle Bear as the snow mobile part of the Marauder Snow Tank was a genius call. It’s a vehicle that hasn’t been seen a lot in the recent years and its look fits pretty well with the Battle Force 2000 figures. It may not be the flashiest vehicle out there, but it’s a solid piece and the Battle Force 2000 figures look great on it. I may not be wild about the Polar Battle Bear, but the Marauder Snow Mobile has definitely given me an appreciation for this classic Joe vehicle.