Tuesday, August 11, 2009

REVIEW - Steel Crusher A.P.V.

Though the Rise of Cobra vehicles are overpriced, one of the more popular ones seems to be the Steel Crusher A.P.V. [Armour Plated Vehicle], nicknamed the "Cobra Party Van" on the internet. The Crusher is a modified civilian Hummer and is featured in a frantic chase scene in the movie.

I don't like the civilian Hummer. The 'bling'-ed out truck seems to defeat the purpose of the Hummer in the first place - a tough, rugged truck for military use and other odd jobs. To me, this excessive oversized penis-extension seems more appropriate for a rap video than for an international terrorist organization.

After the Cobraz With Attitude [C.W.A.] broke up, the Resolute Trooper took his recording career solo.
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I understand that the Steel Crusher can drive around incognito unlike most other Joe and Cobra ground vehicles, but I would have preferred a generic truck over the civilian Hummer. But that's just me.

The all new 2009 Steel Crusher A.P.V. Parisian model shown. Some features not standard on all models.
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The truck is large, there's no doubt about that. It's as wide as the box is tall, and as tall as the box is wide. It's on its side inside the box, fully assembled. It has rubber tires, metal axles, and a detailed undercarriage. There's almost enough clearance down there for a figure: Snake-Eyes, Indiana Jones, or otherwise. You'll also notice that the body is held together by six screws underneath the truck instead of plastic tabs. Sure, the truck costs more than a 25th HISS Tank, even on sale, but it's much more sturdy, and bigger, too!

Crush THIS under your treads!
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The truck is assembled in the box. You just need to apply the stickers, which is tricky as the instructions are printed in grayscale and the labels aren't numbered. I was very confused as to which caution lines went where - thick yellow ones? Thin yellow ones? White ones? I guess you can put the stickers you like where you want them! The instructions want you to apply the small Cobra sigil over the rear window for some reason, but you should just stick it to the license plate area.

Cobra - Evil comes standard.
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The labels are complete throwbacks to the '80s toys with warnings such as "Keep Vent Clear," and "Step" indicators. Even with the stickers on, the truck still looks awfully plain. It is mostly black with some silver for details like the rims, front grill, gas cap, roof gear, and red for lights. The round lights on the front bumper and on the roof gear are unpainted, and there is no paint on the interior or the mirrors. The door handles aren't painted either: colours do indeed vary from the back of the box!

Dig the horizontal gearshift - like something out of a boat or a plane.
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The interior has details like a horizontal gearshift and instrument panel. It can seat two figures which you can put in via the opening doors or the hole in the roof.

Access hole in the roof makes it easy to load figures in - or have them stand up and unload.
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Thing is, the back of the truck is completely dedicated to gimmickry, so you can't seat any other figures in it. The rear doors don't open, and neither does the trunk area. I would have preferred seating area for 4 figures instead of lame gimmicks, but there are a lot of foot pegs to make up for the lack of seating.

Here's a rundown of the features:

The Iron Plow in the front of the truck can be removed.

That name again is Mr. Plow!
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Without it, the Crusher can be in undercover/hiding in plain sight mode.

Don't mind me, I'm just wasting fuel and pollutin'.
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The non-opening doors have flip-down panels which reveal small red CLAW missiles. Sucks for the guy standing on the foot pegs on that running board!

Say hello to my leetle friend!
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The roof gear slides forward, revealing a rear gun. There's flip-down armour plating that covers the windshield and looks like something off a Dreadnok vehicle.

Who's up for chocolate doughnuts and grape soda?
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When the armour and rear turret are deployed, the roof gear gives the driver a non-opening roof hatch, and the gap for the passenger to stand up and shoot out of gets a handlebar and some kind of port, I'm guessing for a missile launcher.

The roof hole makes it easy for passengers to make themselves useful.
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And speaking of missile launchers, the rear turret can rotate 360 degrees and there's storage for the 3 missiles right in the truck. There is room near the gun for more troopers to ride. The gun doesn't shoot the missiles very far, and it can only rotate. It can't elevate. The spring which deploys the gun from the bottom of the truck doesn't feel that strong, and the launcher wobbles around a lot.

"Fire at will!" "Who's Will?"
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On the topic of figures, the Steel Crusher comes with a "Nitro-Viper," a modern take on the Motor Viper, the old Driver of the STUN, that strange three-wheeler. As per Rise of Cobra standards, the Nitro-Viper has no stand nor weapon, despite his ID card mentioning his favourite rifle.

He is main colour is a dark blue, like the Motor Viper. His boots, gloves, and vest are a lighter shade of blue, though nowhere near as baby-blue as the Motor Viper's arms and legs. He has a large clear visor to protect his face.

With no gear, no stand, and the only major paint app being his face, a lot of collectors were upset that this guy is a half-assed homage to the Motor Viper rather than a full-fledged 25th update of that character. To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised he looks as much like the Motor Viper as he does. I'm glad they didn't just take Firefly's head, Snow Job's body, Cobra Trooper legs, and Resolute Duke arms, colour the whole thing black and call it "Generi-Viper." They made the Nitro-Viper a new head and vest, after all.

Now I'm no fan of the original Motor Viper: I find he's an ugly-looking figure driving a bizarre vehicle, but when his colours are toned down [no damn baby-blue!] and he ditches those shoulder pads for HISS Tank driver arms, he looks much better. And hey, at least he doesn't look like the one on the back of the Steel Crusher's box! If you put the Nitro-Viper's vest and head on a Resolute Trooper, you can make a good-looking Motor Viper, too.

I've painted my Nitro-Viper to look more like the Motor Viper and gave him an SMG, so keep in mind that he does not look like this out of the box.

Figure comes ready to paint!
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There's only seating for two figures, but the truck can hold much more: there are 2 foot pegs on each running board, 2 on the roof, and space for figures when the truck's in attack mode. In theory, you could carry 10 figures on this truck. That's a lot of Cobras!

All aboard the Cobra Party Van!
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If the truck was a bit longer, even a half-inch more, they could have added another row of seating. There really should be a few more paint apps on the truck and the driver, too. I can't help but feel that the Crusher is somewhat ambiguous. It's expensive, but underwhelming. It has a few gimmicks, but none of them are really that cool. It's a big truck, but can't hold many figures inside it. The fun comes from its size, its bulk, and its aggressive appearance. Those big rubber tires can climb over anything, and that Iron Plow well get stuff out of the way, fast!

The Steel Crusher A.P.V. is an overpriced Hummer which only has 2 opening doors due to gimmickry, and its driver is pretty much unpainted. But loaded up with Cobras and rolling out in its battle mode, it's still an enjoyable toy. I would have loved this as a kid. The Joes better beware the wrath of the Cobra Party Van! Who knows, maybe we'll see a new G.I. Joe Hammer vehicle to counter this bad boy - and let's hope it can seat more than 2 figures!

"We're gonna need a bigger VAMP!"
Click to see full size
G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra Steel Crusher A.P.V.

  • Nitro-Viper
  • removable Iron Plow
  • 3 missiles
  • 2 small CLAW missiles
  • stickers and instructions
  • large bulky vehicle [when compared to 25th Anniversary ground vehicles]
  • rubber tires, metal axles
  • sturdy construction
  • nice interior
  • fun battle mode
  • storage for missiles
  • foot pegs for many figures
  • expensive, even when on sale
  • can only fit 2 figures inside
  • lackluster paint on truck, lack of paint on driver
  • weapons not very intimidating
  • trades gimmicks [missiles] for functionality [rear seating]
  • is just a civilian Hummer with a few gadgets
3.5 ON 5


Jason said...

Great review! Love the Mr. Plow caption. I'm pretty underwhelmed with this vehicle, too, for the price. But it's still not bad, and you could rip that launcher out and throw some seats in there if you really wanted to.

Another sort of neat thing about it is the wheels are popped on an axle, old-school style. So if you really wanted to, you could pop on some wheels from some DUB-type vehicle and REALLY bling it out. I'm thinking spinner rims. Word.

1337W422102 said...

Thanks, Jason!

No, it's not bad. It's just expensive and underwhelming. If I really wanted a Joe Hummer, I'd get one of those Humvees or pick up that Hulk one, or get a 1:18th replica!

Sure, the rear launcher can be easily removed, but it adds to the "Joe-vehicle-ness" and the seats in there would be really small unless if you customized it properly.

I'd better keep Rezzy-T away from it... If he had his way, he'd lower it, equip it with hydraulics, tear out the rear cannon and replace it with subwoofers!

Editor said...

Frankly I love this Vehicle, I do.

But I could only bring myself to put the cobra logos on and left the rest of the stickers untouched.

Sadly I find the Nitro-viper as brilliant as a rock in your shoe. Sure he can be painted but for me he went from the box into the pile of bits for modding later on.

As far as the price, I got mine at Wal*mart (with a friends 10% employee discount) and feel that despite that it will always be most of a display piece that something to toy around with, I'm getting better value from it that any of the other ROC vehicles and even most of the 25th vehicles.

Arctic HISS aside, Hell I'd have payed more to ensure I got one of those.

All in all, Great review Leet.

1337W422102 said...

It sure does make an impressive display piece, Editor!

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