1991 Attack Cruiser

1991 Attack Cruiser

I’ve had this rant I’ve been wanting to get off my chest for awhile now, but never seem to find the time to lay out. Although 90‘s GI Joe figures tended to be a lot of fun, I really can’t say that vehicles held up so well as the line went on, especially those from 1991 and ‘92. As just one example of a terrible 90‘s vehicle, I have to say I think the Attack Cruiser is the worst vehicle from the entire line.

It’s actually kind of weird too, as popular opinion tends to push that late 80‘s vehicles like the POGO and Buzz Boar are some of the worst that the line had to offer, but I feel like opinions such as this are focusing more on the premise of those toys and not the execution. They’re silly, but aesthetically they look pretty good and are fairly fun to play with. Several vehicles from ‘91 and ‘92 aren’t like this however. Examples like the Ice Sabre, Barracuda, and this toy present simple concepts, but fail on execution.

This toy has numerous problems, but for a start, it’s most critical flaw is in the drone it launches. It’s a cheap and flimsy piece of plastic, which seems to break almost as soon as you use it. It’s made from a super thin piece of plastic like you might see on disposable packaging, which is noticeably worse than the already bland drone pictured on the back of the box. Already, it’s really baffling for them to cheap out on such a core component of the vehicle, as launching the drone is it’s main gimmick. It’s like no effort went into this area of the vehicle at all.

The vehicle is basically barren for other play features. It holds a three-man crew and has some rotating turrets; a pair of mines too, but that’s it. There’s no seat-belts like you saw on certain vehicles from around that time, or any canopies, removable hatches, ect. There’s just nothing going on with it, which relative to it’s size makes it feel very phoned in.

It has a bizarre asymmetrical design that looks horribly ugly and thrown together. I’ve tried photographing this thing from different angles before, and there’s just no one direction the Attack Cruiser looks good to be seen from. It looks almost like two separate smaller vehicles that were sandwiched together for some reason, and I really can’t figure out what they were going for with this. There’s no real-life vehicle I know of that looks like this, and there’s no other way to describe it to me besides… Extremely ugly.

The colors aren’t the worst, but the neon green certainly puts a damper on it’s overall look. It’s mostly black and I’ll say it’s a decent color choice, though I still feel like the black looks cheap. Probably worse than the green is the goofy paper decals that go on it. A lot of 90‘s vehicles feature decals like this, and they’re a sad downgrade from the familiar 80‘s decals. They’re really delicate and fall off much easier than the vinyl ones, which is a shame on the nicer vehicles, though on the Attack Cruiser, they’re really just a hallmark of the lower quality presented here.

In the end of the day, all of this leaves you with a vehicle that refuses to be fun and doesn’t even succeed at it’s single niche purpose. It’s ugly, fragile and obtuse, which really leaves the Attack Cruiser with almost no room for redemption. At least with the RAT, the idea was alright and it didn’t look too terrible; meanwhile the Attack Cruiser has almost nothing it does right. To me, it feels like an example of where they did start to take short-cuts in the line’s waning years, as there’s not a single vehicle from 80‘s that strikes me as being this bad.

Attack Cruiser’s aren’t hard to get ahold of, even complete and in good shape. This is a vehicle no one will fight you over and can be had for around $15. To be honest though, it’s a waste of money. Opinions will vary on what constitutes the worst GI Joe vehicle ever made, and a lot of that will depend on what you expect from a vehicle. In this Joe fan’s opinion though, I really can’t think of a vehicle I dislike more than the Attack Cruiser.

Attack cruiser gi joe arah vintage hasbro 90's cobra a real american hero 1991
Attack cruiser gi joe arah vintage hasbro 90's cobra a real american hero 1991

1991 Attack Cruiser Links:

3D Joes

Toys from the Past

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4 Responses to 1991 Attack Cruiser

  1. Mike T. says:

    I’ve pretty much ignored any vehicle made after 1988. One one hand, that seems contrary to my position on figures. But, on the other, vehicles were never key elements of my collecting experience and I’ve never had overt interest in them. So, they don’t usually hit my radar.

    I’ve seen photos of this thing on Instagram and it looked interesting…they type of thing that would be a good candidate for a look. But, after this, probably not. It looks like it could be fun: if there were a few changes. It holds enough figures to be worthwhile. But, the only real value I see here is as a base for vehicle customs. And, not too many people are able to pull those off.

  2. R.T.G. says:

    I never realized how off kilter that vehicle was. I knew it could fit three seated drivers, I always thought it was more symmetrical!

    It doesn’t look bad, at a glance, but the second you pay any attention, it really falls apart. The solid black base isn’t too bad, but still strikes me mainly as a COBRA colour (I know it stopped being that in like 1984, but whatever!), I also always figured this thing was just a repaint of that weird ass thing from 1988? The RPV or whatever.

    1990s Vehicles are for the most part, pretty awful, because they’d gone from being multiple pieces forming a whole, like a VAMP, and turned into a thing that was obviously a single stamp mold.

  3. A-Man says:

    No argument here. There’s no logic or style to it. I mean there’s absurd concepts that are at least cool from a fantasy point of view, like the Razorback. And the quality is abhorrent. I recall there was a Hasbro designer who hate symmetry, maybe he created this mess. You couldn’t repaint it and salvage it, either. There’s nothing to salvage unless you were missing wheels for the Mean Dog (reuses the same wheels).

    The flick action saw blades mines…why? How is that intelligent deployment of lethal weapons? I’m reminded of the flame thrower on the Ice Sabre (Cobra one). A big ski mobile that melts the snow/ice in front of it. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

    No driver figure, not that it could redeem it. If anything it means you could skip it all the more.

    They could’ve made the vehicle more useful if it somehow could launch the Air Commandos. I mean, the design would still be awful, but it would tie into another segment of the toys.

  4. DJV says:

    I like A-Man’s idea for launching Air Commando gliders. That is literally the only thing they could have done with this.

    I didn’t have a huge amount of vehicles as a kid, but I did have this one. And I really disliked it, even then. I like the colors (neon green and black is my favorite combo) but it’s just so awkward looking. And, as you said, it’s aggressively unfun. I had a pretty good imagination as a child and I still couldn’t see a use or a purpose for this thing. It could carry three Joes to a mission or in a vehicle chase, but it just looked so wrong and off that I never even used it for that. I used Action Master Wheeljack’s red convertible turbo space car for my Joes much more than I ever used the Attack Cruiser.

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