1991 Battle Wagon

1991 Battle Wagon

gi joe battle wagon hasbro vintage 1991 90's vehicle ARAH1991 produced some classic GI Joe figures that any frequent reader of this blog would know I like quite a bit. The vehicles from this year however, are not a thing I find myself the biggest fan of. In general, I don’t think a lot of 90‘s vehicles compare too well to the offerings from earlier in the line, even though some of them were still quite ambitious like Armor Bot, or generally fun like the Brawler. Then you have things like the Battle Wagon.

Straight to the chase, the Battle Wagon is not a vehicle I fancy myself a fan of. To me, it just looks too stupid to ever be something I could take seriously. Still, I can’t really fault it for existing, as it is very much a product of it’s time, maybe so much so that I’d even say it’s the most 90‘s-centric toy of ARAH. I mean, it’s basically a monster-truck for GI Joes with a gargantuan multi-barrel missile-launcher turret in the back. It’s completely ridiculous, but it also seems tailor made for the interests of a young boy in the 1990‘s, so it’s not without reason.

In terms of playability, it pretty much checks all the important boxes for a large GI Joe item. It supports a decent amount of figures, has firing weapons, a working tow winch, is motorized, and even has a removable battle station in the same vein as the MAGGOT. It has a lot of things you can do with it, and most of the gimmicks work well enough too, which makes it inherently better than a total dud like the Attack Cruiser. One problem with a lot of very large GI Joe toys, is that they take up a ton of space without really doing all that much, which is fortunately not the case here.

gi joe battle wagon hasbro vintage 1991 90's vehicle ARAHFor my uses however, the Battle Wagon is much too over-the-top to ever really be useful. While the military industrial complex can justify the existence of a great many absurdities to waste my money on, in the end of the day the Battle Wagon really is just a monster-truck. For the GI Joe team, it looks far too out of place to work in my eyes as military equipment, and generally it’s really just a much worse version of the Mean Dog. It has some cool gimmicks like the hidden computer station under the turret, but what’s the point of it? To me, it really does feel like something crammed in just to give it more play features, though I suppose that’s not the worst thing.

The turret/gun station is another element that should be really cool, but just isn’t. The Mean Dog, Maggot and Thunderclap all do a similar thing, where the turret can be removed and used as an individual piece, but they don’t look so ridiculous. The individual components of those vehicles also tended to look a little better on their own, while I find the Battle Wagon looks really empty without it’s turret. At the same time, it looks really silly with it, so there’s really no helping it.

I have no childhood memories of playing with the Battle Wagon, and through all of my adulthood I’ve barely so much as touched the thing, besides one time taking it apart to rescue a handful of parts my brother lost in it as a kid. In fact, the only thing that prompted using it for some photos is that Battle Corps Cross Country’s filecard mentions he drives it, and I had one, so I used it. In that light, I’m tempted to say I’ve generally had a sense of contempt for this thing for the longest period. Despite that, I realize that it’s not an objectively bad toy, rather, it’s a good one that suffers for being too big and ridiculous looking (The opposite of the MOBAT, a toy that looks great, but is too small and does almost nothing!).

Battle Wagon’s float around $30, with the price usually getting jacked up by shipping since it is a very large vehicle. Truth is, that’s really not a lot of money for a large vehicle like this, but that probably goes to show the general disinterest in this vehicle. Crazy things like Dreadnok vehicles can be fun when they don’t take up much real estate, but this vehicle doesn’t really provide much for how much space it takes up. I respect it for being a toy that could’ve only existed in the 90‘s, but there’s countless GI Joe vehicles that do similar things in a much better way.

gi joe battle wagon hasbro vintage 1991 90's vehicle ARAHgi joe battle wagon hasbro vintage 1991 90's vehicle ARAH

1991 Battle Wagon Links:

3D Joes

There’s not much out there on the Battle Wagon, so if you have some cool Battle Wagon content or photos, feel free to share ’em.

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5 Responses to 1991 Battle Wagon

  1. Dak Knomadd says:

    I ended up with a Battle Wagon around 2008 or so (I honestly don’t remember how). It was fun for a little while, until the one of the two struts for elevating the turret snapped a couple months later. Since then it’s continued to collect dust despite two house moves.

  2. Sam Smith says:

    This thong looks like a Dreadnok vehicle (as does the 91 Badger). It’s basically the monster truck version of the Dreadnom Cycle.

  3. General Liederkranz says:

    I got the Brawler first and the Battle Wagon later, and I remember being annoyed how much press the BW got in Hasbro marketing materials–especially after I got it. I thought the Brawler had a lot more bang for the buck. The motorization was fun though, and I liked the puffy tires.

    The tie-in with Cross Country is interesting. I’m always intrigued when Hasbro referenced toys that were no longer on the shelf, since it was rare but showed an awareness of the overall line’s integrity and history, instead of just a short-term concern for optimal marketing. This is one such case since the BW was a ’91, and discontinued by the time ’93 Cross Country came along. They must’ve thought the Battle Wagon was still a prominent enough part of many kids’ collections to drive sales. Even more intriguing that year was Bazooka, whose file card said he was the Blockbuster driver–but the Blockbuster only came out a year later!

    • A-Man says:

      Well, yea, but also Battle Wagons were still out there when Cross Country arrived late in 1992 (considered 1993, but the first wave or two of Battle Corps actually arrived in fall 1992…not like the last weeks of December, but like October or earlier). In fact I want to say got the Battle Wagon as a 1992 X-Mas gift. (Not really sure). Stock lingered longer with higher production runs and fewer collectors. I got some 1992 vehicles well into 1993, and I think none of them were still shipping…vehicles were one year and done by that point in GI JOE. (I once saw the Tiger Cat at a TRU in West Virgina in 1994! And no, I didn’t get it. Since I had one and money was too tight. Dammit.)

  4. A-Man says:

    And I rarely did much with the Battle Wagon. The motorized thing killed it for. Motorized gun fun, having to move its wheel by battery power…not fun.

    Realistically, as a combat vehicle it’s silhouette is huge, one big target. Plus the usual exposed gunners.

    Also, bugs me how the side guns are mounted, they can only shoot forward and move up and down. not good to shoot off to the sides, which would be point of having them, I’d think. Yet the driver side gun can swing out of the side (and also possibly collide with the pod gun…nice!).

    Also, no steering wheel, because when Hasbro went cheap and decided vehicles are simply mounting platforms for gimmicks. It’s also interesting how they ditched glass canopies on ground vehicles for roll cages, no canopies and this wire mesh look.

    I think the design is serviceable and could be scaled down, remove the orange, make some tweaks and be fun. Never happen.

    One problem with it as an addition to GI JOE is how many multi-weapon land cruisers did GI JOE have at this point? 1991 is almost like “Choose your cruiser”. Crappy mess Attack Cruiser, better armed and armored Brawler, big target monster truck Battle Wagon.

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