2003 C.A.T. II

2003 C.A.T. II

In terms of Hasbro’s 2000‘s failures with GI Joe, few items strike me as more of a flop than the KB Toys exclusive Crimson Attack Tank. Mind you, I didn’t watch that go down live, as in 2003, I was a mere 9-years old. But the 2003 CAT had a long life at retail, and languished on the aftermarket long enough for me to pick one up cheaply as a teenager. Because of that, I probably like it better than I should.

You wouldn’t know it now, but used to, Big Bad Toy Store sold a decent amount of vintage items. Usually, their prices weren’t all that good, but every now and then something would set around for long enough that they’d put it on clearance. Occasionally, I’d pick up a decent deal from them this way, such as with the CAT II, which had been rotting at KB Toys stores a few years prior. I missed out on the best CAT II clearances there, mainly because I was only taken to KB Toys once a year. Though, if I had seen the CAT II at retail, I can guarantee I wouldn’t have bought it, because I was a germophobe as a child and refused any toys with open-packaging like the Spy Troops line had.

The CAT II was my introduction to the MOBAT mold, and I have to say, I’m glad I started with a CAT II and not the MOBAT. I’ve always enjoyed this vehicle for providing me with an interesting, realistic looking tank for my Cobra arsenal, that also stands out nicely in photos. However, outside of the niche the CAT II provides, the MOBAT sucks. It barely does anything, figures don’t fit on it, the sculpted details are clearly closer to 1/35 as opposed to 1/18… There’s barely anything good I can think to say about it. The only thing fun about this toy is sitting it in the background of photos.

With that said, I don’t hate the CAT II at all. It has all the problems of the MOBAT, but at the very least the CAT II is interesting and eye-catching, while the MOBAT is dull and easily replaced by several better GI Joe tanks (the Mauler). I do wish that I could fit a few more troops on the CAT, or at least a driver, but for $10 with a cool Crimson Guard Immortal repaint, I’ve gotten more than my money’s worth out of it. That said, I’ll probably never buy an ’85 CAT unless I find it near that price too.

Cobra having GI Joe weapons is a seedy and interesting idea that really appeals to me in the fiction. GI Joe’s top-secret and experimental weapons falling into enemy hands speaks not only to Cobra’s fighting capabilities, but also to the levels of Cobra’s entrenchment. Personally I’m not really familiar with the CAT’s comic appearances (if it even had any), but it speaks to the traitorous nature of the arms industry, and works well with a shady character like Destro slipping around. It gives me something to play around with in my head, which again, is more than I can say for the MOBAT.

Sadly, the days of cheap-as-free CATs are all but over. Now, it’s hard to find a CAT II, and when you do, it’s usually some nerd selling it as a buy-it-now for $100. It’s not worth that in any regard, but it’s not very often you’ll find one left to open pricing besides that. I honestly wonder how many of these were just tossed in the trash or ended up in landfills somewhere. There had to be thousands of these that never sold, and most collectors only wanted it for the CGI repaint. Personally, I think it’s a neat toy, but it’s only fun for a few dollars.

gi joe cobra arah cobra cat cat II 2003 gi joe cobra arah cobra cat cat II 2003 gi joe cobra arah cobra cat cat II 2003 gi joe cobra arah cobra cat cat II 2003

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 2003 C.A.T. II

  1. Past Nastification says:

    Nice write up!

    The MOBAT is great, despite its underscaled proportions. More than one hatch would have been nice, and maybe a pop-off panel to show the interior. Hatch probably isn’t even the right word, since the existing one doesn’t close/open and the figure doesn’t entirely fit inside.

    If the MOBAT had been released in any but the initial wave, it would be rightfully rejected by fans and collectors. But in ‘82 things were just starting, and imagination was necessary more than in following waves.

    I’d always hope that Hasbro would do a proper scale-up of the design, allowing for more features.

  2. A-Man says:

    My fun story about the CAT II back in 2003. I drove to a few KB’s, the local one had none. I drove to other a half hour or more away. NOTHING. (Why didn’t I just call?) Guess what? Later I found out they weren’t retail; they were online only*. I ordered two. Opened one, never put batteries in it. Put it back in the box, may have looked at it twice in the past 15 years. It’s no surprise they didn’t sell if they were never at physical retail. I also never found Operation Crimson Sabotage at brick and mortar, either.

    Yeah, if you didn’t grow up with the MOBAT, it mostly sucks. It’s not worth the batteries but it’s little fun without then, it’s under scale and you know what? That HASLAB Joe item should be a proper scale MOBAT with no electronics.

    So while the CAT 2 is nice gesture and cool looking for what it is, I’d have preferred a HISS 2 reissue or almost anything else pre-1991.

    *Someone feel free to prove otherwise, but none at 4 or more retail locations I went to.

    • cyko9 says:

      Can you imagine a redesigned Haslab MOBAT?! It’s arguably more iconic than the Skystriker for comic covers & retro posters. If it were closer to that Bradley IFV people show off, that’d be a legacy. The original MOBAT is almost fun but better set dressing than an actual vehicle. Foot pegs would’ve gone a long way since it always gets piled up on top anyway.

  3. Mike T says:

    A Man is correct that these ended up being de facto online exclusives. They were supposed to hit brick and mortar. But, didn’t. Eventually, they dropped to $8 each online and tons of guys bought up multiples, kept the figures and, sometimes, chucked the tanks because they were worthless.

    The MOBAT just sucks in general. The original CAT was a stretch. This is probably a better paint job for Crimson Guards. But, the mold is still limited and really doesn’t offer anything and wasn’t much fun to play with. I do wish I’d just snagged one for $8 back in the day as it’s probably worth that.

  4. DJV says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. Though I have the CGI that came with the tank, I’ve never given the vehicle itself more than two seconds of thought. Like Mike, I kind of regret not grabbing one for $8 back then. But my money was limited and I was spending it mostly on Transformers Armada.

    I like your idea of Destro stealing the plans and producing a few of these (probably cheaply) for Cobra. It seems like a pretty utilitarian tank to have around.

    I’ve never been sold on the MOBAT either. I always ignored the repaints when I saw them in stores. I did end up buying the 25th Anniversary version (which I still have) and randomly got an original in a local lot a couple years ago. Using them both in photos has really softened my opinion on the tank. It’s not a great toy and doesn’t interact with figures at all, really. But I like having it around to throw in the background.

    That said, I would still by a CAT II if I saw it for under $20.

  5. R.T.G. says:

    I might be the only person who genuinely likes the MOBAT, but I can’t fault your opinions on it!

    The CAT II is oddly coloured, but it’s pretty damn easy on the eyes. If I found one for 10 bucks, I’d buy it and be happy, too!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *