G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary VAMP w/ Steel Brigade Delta

When the G.I. Joe VAMP was released in the Pursuit of Cobra line, I was baffled by fan reaction, and as such, I assumed I was pretty much the only person who really loved the vehicle. To be fair, though, I wasn't wild about the "is it jungle or is it desert" color scheme, and the red suspension did seem a bit out of place.

Well, with this version, not only did Hasbro fix the color scheme, they fixed the suspension, and they gave us a totally kick ass driver to boot. Yeah, this VAMP is a winner.

Ever since Gyre-Viper first revealed the VAMP in test shot form, I was pretty much in love. The sloped armor, the large troop capacity, and the awesome design of the rear chain gun and rocket launcher just fell inside my wheelhouse. As a huge fan of the design aesthetic for the Sigma 6 2.5" line, it felt like a lot of those elements were pulled into this version, which made me very happy. It was like the awesome concepts of the 2.5" line were pulled into the "correct" scale. Considering my only main issues originally were the colors, this version fixed most issues I had.

Most...not all. There is a particular quirk that deserves mention that make this vehicle fall just short of perfect.

As with the original VAMP release, the rear chain gun mount configuration is pretty sketchy. It doesn't really "click" in all the way and ends up floating around a little bit in the rear bay. When you turn it, it has a tendancy to fall out and just doesn't work quite as perfectly as I would like. I love the design of the weapon mount (whether you want the machine gun or the rocket launcher on it) but it just doesn't work exceptionally well. Somehow I can get over this little issue, though, and still find a lot to love about the vehicle all told.

It should also be noted that there are apparently two paint variations at retail. The more common one is a darker green color that you see in the images in this review. However, there is also apparently a lighter green version that looks a bit more like the classic VAMP. That one appears to be the more rare one out there.

So beyond the weapon mount, this vehicle is pretty freaking awesome. The working winch, the customizable weapons, and the small holes for backpack mounts across the body of the vehicle. It all works very well.

Steel Brigade Delta

Let it be known that I have always been against G.I. Joe army builders. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Cobra having a wide array of the nameless and the faceless, but in my opinion, the Joe team being what it is, faceless "grunts" just don't really fit to me. But then Hasbro had to put out some awesome Steel Brigade figures and totally ruin that.

However, I've still found a way to work it into my G.I. Joe mythology. Fans of the G.I. Joe Collectors' Club are no doubt aware that according to their 2005 Convention Set, the Steel Brigade aren't the grunts of the Joe team, they're a UN sanctioned international global security force. I love this. It has really become how I view the Steel Brigade. It kind of integrates with the G.I. Joe concept, in that perhaps a Steel Brigade member trains as part of G.I. Joe before being deployed to the official Steel Brigade, but it also allows for good guy faceless troopers without sullying the G.I. Joe concept. So that is how I still see these guys, and since the Steel Brigade and G.I. Joe work so closely hand-in-hand (Gung Ho is a charter member, after all) I am able to cross pollonate effectively. Thank you, GIJCC!

That long lead in is just a combersome way of me saying I don't really like the Steel Brigade concept as Hasbro sells it to us, but I absolutely love these most recent Steel Brigade figures, and the Delta is no exception. Using the base figure for the Cobra Shock Trooper from neck to boots, the figure is large, bulky, and muscular. It's a great look for the trooper, and even without his gear on, he is an imposing figure.

The head sculpt is, what many fans are assuming, a potentially unused Snake Eyes head that still works quite nicely in this role. He's got the awesome improved articulation we're all used to and is loaded with detail. There really aren't many paint apps to speak of here, but the ones they have are used well and gives us a nicely generic military figure.

The accessories should all be quite familiar, mostly pulled from other figures. He's got the machine gun from the Rise of Cobra Pit Commando, the vest and knives from the Pursuit of Cobra Beachhead, however he also has a very cool Steel Brigade helmet that I don't believe we've seen anywhere before. It's not quite like the ones back in the DTC days, it's not the same ones with the Pit Commando or the PoC/30th Anniversary version...it's just a different enough helmet to stand out from the more standard Steel Brigade figure, but still very "Steel Brigade" like. End result is a great looking figure.

When looking back at my first VAMP review, I was a bit taken aback that I gave it 5 stars. I do think it was a fantastic vehicle, but the wobbly rear cannon mount should have driven it down a half-star. That leaves me wondering how to rate this one, since it is much better in pretty much every respect compared to the original, but still has the wobbly gun. Ultimately I feel like this vehicle is close to perfect, but not quite there, so I gotta fix past transgressions and give it 4.5 stars.


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