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Rolling Thunder Review

King James

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So I was finally able to get a Rolling Thunder off of Ebay. For about a year, I've been looking to get one that wasn't missing any parts, and I finally got lucky with the right bid at the right time (READ: I sniped my butt off). This particular one didn't come with the Armadillo figure, but I won the Armadillo figure in another auction for a whole $3.00, so I guess everything worked out. I wasn't too worried one way or another about the figure though. He ain't all that pretty.


Anyhow, the Rolling Thunder is an 88' vehicle. Also released that year were figures such a Hit & Run, Shockwave, Muskrat, and Roadpig--some all time fan favorites--not to mention most of the RAH Iron Grenadiers. It was one of the last great years for RAH sorry to say, but still one that produced some great stuff.


By the way, sorry for the chair/ table legs in the background of the pics, not to mention the metal flower planters. Our balcony is about three by seven, so there isn't much room to maneuver.


On with the review.




When I got this thing, it had all sorts of wierd grease specks all over the top, so I had to scrub it with a toothbrush and some Windex. I also used some of my wife's nail polish remover to get some old fingerprints and stuff off of the canopies. It cleaned up very well.




I had seen pictures of this thing on Yojoe and other fan sites, but like many of the big RAH playsets/ vehicles, you don't realize how big this sucker is until you see it for yourself. Converting the RT from safe to firing mode is a simple matter of sliding the main cannon bac, opening some panels, and lifting the missile gantry.

I still can't get overalso couldn't get over the size of the two missiles. Considering the size of the average kid's Cobra army back in the day, I can imagine that one of these missiles would pretty much end the war before it got going. Heck, it would probably waste most of the army builder armies we see today. It'd take out mine anyway.




The blueprints call this thing a "Magnetic Array Radar/ Multi-missile air defense." I kind of wonder how in the heck the Joes transfer this thing from the deck of the RT to the ground without a crane, and I also sort of wonder how something so low to the ground (that doesn't elevate) works as an air defense. It's called imagination, I guess ;D

Anyway, it's a nice extra feature and helps to add some color to the deck of the RT. The wheel holding the missiles spins 360 degrees, by the way.




General Hawk shows off the controls. Very nicely detailed. I always kind of wondered what was up with the seatbelt craze that Hasbro had this year. Was it some kind of politically correct thing or a good way of keeping figures buckled into place? I'm guessing a little of both.




Dial-Tone and Mainframe work in the control center that sits behind the driver's seats. The control center is fairly nicely detailed with one place for a figure to sit and more room for another to stand. What I like about this is that I can really imagine those two big honkin' missiles being plotted and fired from this control center. It's just another attestment to what made RAH great.




Rock n' Roll poses in the main cannon. If I'm not mistaken, 88' was one of the last years before Hasbro started using the single stamp process of making vehicles. I didn't get a picture of the inside of this cannon where the figures sit, but it has just as much control detail as you see on the outside.

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I don't know if it shows up in the pic all that well, but the antenna were white along the bottom from where they had been bent. I put these in some boiling water and bent them back to shape. They came out pretty well considering that this thing probably sat in someone's garage, wedged one a shelf for the past ten years. Anyhow, I guess I was lucky to get the antennas at all since I notice they're usually missing from most auctions. The cannon is supposed to be a 90mm. Oh yeah.




The RT has four of these gun stations positioned at the four corners of the vehicle just above the wheel wells. While I've never been all that keen on the idea of the gunners having no protection, I do like the idea that the RT is well defended against infantry assault on all sides. Just shows how much thought went into this thing. Plus they have seatbelts, too!




My version of the greenshirt rolls the ATSV down the ramp while Spearhead guides him. Repeater (one of my favorites) provides cover. I don't know if it's just my RT or if all RTs have this basic design flaw, but the ramps that fold over the ATSV to enclose it don't close all the way (or at least they don't meet flush together). I've tried to figure out what the problem was, but it seems that the resting place for the RT, which is actually on the back of the missile gantry, sits up too high. I don't see any way to really fix this. It's just a minor thing though.




Backblast points to the window on one of the two missiles. What I think is funny is that Hasbro has designed these two giant missiles--the largest missiles to grace the whole line--and yet they still decide to put three cluster bombs inside of each of the missiles. Now that's what I call overkill! Just another really nice design idea though even if a *little* impractical. @hmmm@




Heavy Duty sits atop the gantry. Below, Backblast has removed the cluster bomb's window panel. I think one thing I would have liked to see is a small ladder sculpted in the side of the gantry for figures to climb. While I don't know how realistic this would be, it would be just another interactive play feature. Anyway, I suppose figures could climb the gantry's crossbeams just as easily.

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Hawk dispatches a patrol team. Just a better picture of the ATSV. I like the fact that this thing sits low to the ground and doesn't have any kind of missiles or pegs for figures to stand on. I reminds me of what the military might really design (in the Joe world, I mean)--low profile with a decent heavy weapon for cover fire purposes. The only thing I wish this little scout vehicle had was a tow hook. I can imagine that it might be used to drag logs off a trail or to tow a VAMP out of a ditch. The six wheel design also has a nice, lunar-rover feel to it.




Just a shot of the patrol as it leaves. One thing I'd like to mention is that the Recoil figure is one of the best of the later figures. I believe he's an 89' and even with the light blue weapons he came with, I always liked him. Plus, he had a wonderful generic quality--the very reason why I've got four of him. They make a nice LRRP team, particularly with the claymore pack they came with. A very worthy anfd necessary accessory.




Just an overall shot for fun.




Our photographer gets a shot of himself with the famous general. Scoop is one of those highly overlooked figures of the later years. Great details. Great specialty. And I love the cocky smirk. Scoop really deserves a repaint.



All in all, I really can't give the RT any kind of definitive rating, say a 9 out of ten or something. My rating: "kick ass." That's all I can say. This thing has certainly gone far beyond how sweet I thought it would be. But as big as it is, it's really a rolling playset more than anything, as I can't imagine driving this thing around the house to any effect. As such though, I can think of a lot of ways one might use this. I thought of Cobra either stealing it or else Firefly sneaking into the Joe compound to fiddle with the missiles, maybe putting the VvV venom inside them before launching it toward a major city, or Cobra fooling Joe in to launching the envenomed missiles (kind of like how Cobra island was created with the nuke in the Marvel comic). Great drama ahead...


This is probably going to be my one big Joe purchase of the year. *Probably.* I've seen the RT go from $45 and up. I got this one for $61 and change. Finding a good, complete one is fairly difficult though, so it seemed worth the price to get it now rather than wait. Plus I'm an impatient so and so. It seems that finding most of the 88' and 89' vehicles is hard enough as it is, so you've got to factor that in, too. Anyway, this thing is definitely worth the hunt. #US1#

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