1987 Sky Sweeper (Battle Force 2000)

1987 Sky Sweeper (Battle Force 2000)

The weird thing about the Battle Force 2000, is that half of their vehicles are as lame as you’d expect, and half are cooler than they honestly should be. A great example of the later can be found in the Sky Sweeper, which has become a go-to vehicle in my GI Joe armory, and it even has a life away from the Battle Force 2000, too.

I have a slight fascination with the Battle Force 2000, which definitely makes me confront how much my tastes have changed over the years. When I was a kid and up through my early collecting years, I hated this group more than Cobra-La. The pulpy sci-fi aesthetic just seemed so chintzy and out of place to me. I remember looking at them online with my brother, who explained to me that in the comic they all died except Dodger; which sounded a lot cooler than it really was. That changed at some point years ago, though I still don’t like them a lot.

All of the original Battle Force 2000 vehicles had a gimmick, where you could combine pieces from each to form the Future Fortress. I have to give it some credit as an example of where the line kept trying to do new things and innovate, but this was a horribly corny and greedy idea (you had to buy EVERY vehicle to assemble the set). It’s also crappy, in that certain vehicles were more compromised than others to include a Future Fortress piece: This Sky-Sweeper has only a small block on the back, which looks fine, though the Marauder for example, fared less well. Then again, I’m really not sure what the Marauder was supposed to be in the first place, so maybe that one was just a bad idea overall.

That aside, the Sky Sweeper is an excellent vehicle, and by far my favorite anti-air vehicle (I like it better than the Armadillo and the Asp!). It’s the perfect size, with a similar profile to the ‘83 HISS, just trading some height for a little extra width. The guns are large and look powerful, with two side guns and a turret in the back, plus four missiles. Thanks to it’s nice size, the vehicle is fairly roomy, and it’s easy to fit any driver you want (including bulky figures like Knockdown), and there’s foot-pegs for several more commando friends to hitch a ride. Overall, it delivers a lot of play value for it’s size, and that’s probably the vehicle’s strongest point.

gi joe arah bf2000 cobra hasbro vintage 80's vehicle

If there’s one thing I don’t like about this vehicle, it’s the turret on the back. At a glance it looks pretty good, though almost all of my issues with this toy revolve around this turret. There’s nothing there to hold the gun up, which means most of the time it just flops around freely. It also lacks any sort of control sticks for a figure to hold onto, meaning you just have to play pretend back there. Usually you can find a way to reason out the turret with no controls, though here it’s a fairly glaring flaw.

A surprisingly nice detail here is the clear orange headlights above the canopy. It’s strange and unusual for an ARAH vehicle to feature something so nice, when most headlights prior and after were represented by stickers. You didn’t even see this detail make a comeback much until 25th Anniversary, when clear plastic lights were added to the VAMP mold and the Arctic HISS. I’m sort of left wondering if the BF2000 vehicles had some gang-molded parts, as it would make a little more sense if the Sky Sweeper’s lights were just an extra tacked onto the mold for the Vector’s canopies.

I’m pretty mixed on the Battle Force 2000‘s signature colors, which you can see represented on the Sky Sweeper. On the plus side, the silver, green and blue mixture is pleasing to the eye and sets them apart from the sea of olive GI Joe vehicles that were still being pumped out to that point. With that said, silver is not really a realistic color for a tank, so it mildly requires more suspension of disbelief than some of the fluorescent colors you’d have seen in the 90‘s. Assuming the mold was still around, I think it’s a shame the Sky Sweeper never got a repaint, as a green/beige one could’ve been interesting as a beefed up Armadillo.

Sky Sweepers tend to run around $20, sometimes more or less depending on shipping, but it’s usually somewhere around there. Sadly, finding a complete one does require a fair bit of hunting. The antenna, headlights, and one or all of the missiles can often be missing. Truthfully, it’s not hurt too bad by not having the antenna or the missiles, but the headlights looks amazing, and you definitely don’t want to miss those.

gi joe arah bf2000 cobra hasbro vintage 80's vehicle  gi joe arah bf2000 cobra hasbro vintage 80's vehicle

1987 Sky-Sweeper (Battle Force 2000) Links:

3D Joes

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2 Responses to 1987 Sky Sweeper (Battle Force 2000)

  1. A-Man says:

    Pictures aren’t showing up for me, just links to them.

    I didn’t have the Sky Sweeper when it mattered, got a used copy in the early 90’s, missing missiles, IIRC. I wish I had it sooner, rather than the Marauder, which I did have in 1988 and was lame. For some reason I got two BF2000 vehicles and never looked back until I realized I wanted them after they were mostly gone (I found a Dominator missing instructions in 1991 at Caldors, the other 3 I evnetually got used).

    I guess the turret gun stays up via friction, which loosens over time.
    I think it’s odd that a gun platform is HIGH TECH AND FUTURISTIC, when such AA tanks were largely outmoded, considered too expensive/high maintenance (like the Flakpanzer gepard) and replaced with missile systems. And the only missiles on the Sky Sweeper were apparently anti-tank ones. This was also before Hasbro’s love of miniguns, which if anything gun wise, an anti-air tank would have.

    I think the vehicle gets stuck in the BF 2000 zone and gets overlooked. Also, if this were a Cobra item, it would be a staple army builder.

  2. Mike T. says:

    After seeing you and Gen Liederkranz use this in photos, I’ve been wanting one. But, after shipping, the Ebay prices just seemed exorbitant for a vehicle like this. As stuff continues to fall, though, I’ll probably pick one up.

    I like the observation that the BF 2000 vehicles are either solid or just terrible. I had the snow tank as a kid and thought it was pretty nice. My brother had the flying car thingy and it was terrible. I bought a Vector as a collector and still really enjoy it. But, I’ve never really had any desire to build the fortress.

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