G.I. Joe: ARAHC - Desert Striker

I have to say, usually I come across the ultimate optimist first and only through time weigh the downsides to things and can only see them in a “fair” light after some time of investigating them. This applies to G.I. Joe items especially. Usually, as soon as I get a new figure or vehicle, I am wow’ed and awed by the coolness of it. Only after some time of really looking at it, playing with it, what have you, do I really get a decent idea of how good or bad the figure is. If it’s character and playability doesn’t hold up, then I lose some interest.

For whatever reason, the Desert Striker seems to have had the opposite effect on me. When I first received it in the mail from Entertainment Earth I was fairly excited. As I assembled it (with some difficulty) I grew a little less impressed. I was finally done and kind of sat there looking at it, unsure of really what I thought. Was this the future of G.I. Joe vehicles? It didn’t seem very exciting. So, it sat, reviewless for a night while I went to bed after a long day of work.

Perhaps that’s what did it. Maybe a long day at work had somehow dimmed my "funmeter". It’s happened before, I suppose. Whatever the reason, I woke up this morning and went down to my computer and saw the Desert Striker sitting there. And I was hit! This thing is COOL! I wasn’t quite sure what purpose it would serve when I first assembled it. It was not a match for a HISS Tank, that’s for sure. But this morning as soon as I saw it, I could picture it charging through the sand dunes, not as an assault vehicle, but as a recon or rescue vehicle. Something small and light to breach enemy lines, with a nice chunk of firepower to defend itself, but not so much that it gets weighted down. Immediately I pictured this thing with Flint at the helm, deftly evading tanks, Stinger jeeps and what have you, bringing in some vital information or bringing home a prisoner. Suddenly, the Desert Striker had purpose! But, I really should stick with the formula so folks have some way to judge this against it’s peers:

Presentation: Decent enough. Good boxart, although neither of the characters represent any actual Joes. Odd and somewhat annoying oversight, but hey, it’s just a package, right? Who collects THOSE anyway? :) 

Assembly: This was a little irritating. I had a VERY hard time getting the dashboard to snap into the rollcage. When I finally did, it stayed really well, but it took a good fifteen minutes of coersion. The stickers helped some, although those blasted rollcage stickers, despite a lot of extra material, still do not stay on worth a darn.

Playability: Here, the Desert Striker shines in some respect, but not in others. First things first: If you want to use this thing in any kind of active role, immediately take off those stupid oil cans with the spike mines in them! They flip flop whenever you move the vehicle even slightly and those little mines hurt the fingers when you don’t see them! Seriously, I cannot move this thing more than six inches without those things spilling all over creation, so I just remove the entire platform. No big thing. The rest of the vehicle works well, though. It’s small and light, yet rugged and tough for rough playing. None of the weapons swivel, which is a hassle, but the machine gun is exceptionally cool even though it just fits in even the 2000 figures rubbery hands. I really love the rollbar addition, it adds a LOT to the VAMP mold and all in all, this vehicle is exceptionally playable!

Color: Eh…this works to a certain extent. Yeah, it is a desert vehicle, so the tan color makes sense. But, this vehicle would have been VERY cool in jungle green or even black and gray. As a desert machine it works, but I would have preferred a slightly more versatile color.

All in all, the Desert Striker is a nifty little vehicle, and you get a good bang for your buck. The Flint figure is quite cool and makes the perfect driver for this jeep. I’m still waiting for a Joe vehicle to knock me off my feet, but so far, they’re doing pretty well.