Night Ops Humvee w/ Rollbar

Toy name: Night Ops Humvee w/ Rollbar
Assortment: Direct to Consumer Bravo Vehicle
Price: MSRP $14.99
Availability: July, 2005

Key Features

- Rollbar figure included
- Interchangable Machine Guns”
- Hood opens
- Flip-down brush guard
- Rolling wheels
- Gunner station
- Doors Open
- Cargo area
- Marksman rifle

Lots of people really went nuts with the revalation of the Jungle Strike vehicle last looked to be a fully licensed, authentic military vehicle for the G.I. Joe line finally, after a long, long time. What could go wrong with that?

While executed to near-perfection, the Jungle Strike has some glaring problems in my mind. First of all, ever since '82 G.I. Joe's vehicles have been "based" in reality, but not 100% translated from military authentic, completely realistic vehicles. Stuff like the Skystriker, Mauler, and Conquest are all based on real life planes or tanks, and some of them are pretty accurately styled, but they still retain that G.I. Joe flair. The Jungle Strike HUMVEE was just a camouflaged army jeep that didn't really hold true to the Joe mythos, I didn't think. Don't get me wrong, it's an excellent vehicle, but it doesn't really scream "G.I. Joe". This problem was even further compounded by the Desert Hummer, which had the same stylistic realism as the Jungle Strike, but without the interesting deco. As a result, I see this pair of vehicles as stuff that can be used in a civilian sense, but I just don't see how they would compete with the whacked out stuff that COBRA comes up with.

So when I first heard about the possibility of a Night Ops Humvee, I thought "oh, great...just what we need, yet ANOTHER Hummer that will never see combat". Man, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Design and Playability

First of all, at it's essence the Night Ops HUMVEE is still a faithful representation of the familiar utility vehicle we all recognize and know. But here, Hasbro has gone with a much more urban style of tooling, completely reworking the entire rear of the vehicle into a much more usable space.

Hasbro could have very easily just slapped a black coat of paint on the familiar Humvee and folks probably wouldn't have minded all that much. After all, that is what they did with the Desert Humvee, and people seemed to be eating that up. But it quickly becomes evident with the Direct To Consumer movement that Hasbro is pulling out a lot of stops to produce excellent toys which are not so reliant on straight repaints. They are getting a lot more creative, and the Night Ops Humvee is a perfect example of this. Instead of the typical closed cargo area, we get an open troop carrier section which completely revitalizes the Humvee design and instantly makes this vehicle 100% more desirable.

First of all, Hasbro very quickly separates themselves from the competition with the look of this Bravo sized vehicle. There are countless other companies who are producing Humvee styled vehicles, all with varying degrees of success and design. But I'll tell you right now, I have seen absolutely ZERO Humvees with this much design element, this much detail and this much pure playability.

The overall look of the Humvee is quite reminiscent of the real world version, but retooled here into a troop carrier variation often seen in SWAT or Night operations. But even the parts of the vehicle that are the same have been nicely altered. Four holes in the hood hold down a pair of removable tools. The front brush guard looks intimidating and even flips down. The one-sided window adds some realism and works with the open passenger side where the gunner can man the weapon perched there.

The tires are still a realistic rubber which is terrific...the back driver's side door now has a clip-on compartment to hold items, as does the newly tooled machine gun mount up on top. The steps on the side are new additions, too, and add a nice bulk to the overall look of the utility vehicle and really adds some flair to the vehicle. If there were downsides to the two previous Humvee vehicles, it was their generic appearence...well this one definitely does not suffer from that at all.

Of course the most massively retooled part of the vehicle is the rear end, which loses the cargo cover and is instead a troop transport type of design with some nice, thick railings and a lot of additional detailing throughout. Gas cans, molded seats, and nice large rear bumper all combine to form an extremely solid back end to an all around solid black Joe vehicle. The addition of an absolutely awesome .50 caliber sniper rifle is only the icing on this cake. What a fantastic designed vehicle and almost flawless execution.

As for playability...well, you don't get much more without some battery power or motorized actions. There are TONS of removable and changable weapons and gear on this vehicle...I could literally spend hours taking pictures in all of the different configurations that this thing has. It's very, very cool. Add on to that the fact that Spirit's rifle fits on the rear section as well, and you already see some integration taking place that Hasbro has obviously had in mind. I really cannot see a better way to execute a bravo sized vehicle in the Joe world. It's based in reality, yet has some awesome Special Forces flair that really makes it "belong" in the Joeverse.

Figure and Accessories

Even the minute the Jungle Strike was first seen at a Toy Fair of some sort, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to be a Rollbar fan. The figure was fairly realistic, but bland doesn't even begin to describe the design asthetics for the figure. A plain old style jacket, plain uniform underneath, plain head, and plain helmet all combined to a plain figure, which held little to no character and little to no interest.

Well, Hasbro is making a lot of changes in the right direction, although the figure still doesn't knock me off my feet. I will tell you though, just a retooled torso makes a really big difference in how Rollbar comes across.

Where originally, he merely had a non-desript military jacket both in his incarnation and in the Duke version that came with the Desert Humvee. While these may have been pretty accurate, they were extremely dull, in my humble opinion, especially considering how G.I. Joe relies on their pseudo-military pseudo sci-fi designs. As neat as the vehicle was, the driver was not. Here, though, there are some nice differences. The torso is absolutely terrific. It originally looked like some sort of rubber vest, but is now revealed to be an actual resculpted torso, and it really, really works. The nicely detailed pouches bring a lot of life and flair to what used to be a blah figure. Unfortunately, as a result the rest of the figure looks somewhat plain (except for the helmet, which now sports a very nicely retooled set of goggles). The legs are without elaborate trimming, although the cloth is cleanly detailed and nicely wrinkled to produce an accurate sense of realism.

The uniform color is really nice, too, using a nice dark blue hue for the base color and the tacvest being black, really stands out nicely against the deep midnight blue. I really like this color, because it maintains an almost SWAT appearence, and is a nicely different color compared to the original's pretty bleh olive drab green.

Final Comments

Wow, man, I had no idea. When I first heard of the Night Ops Humvee, I was certain I would be bored to tears with yet another rendition of the super-realistic, nearly dull utility vehicle. As everyone knows I like my sorta fantasy to go along with my Joe military, and those Humvees, while nice, were just almost too real. This Humvee is real as well, but has so much more detail and interactivity to it, that I can completely forget how based in realism the vehicle is.

The new design is eye-catching, great to display, and a downright blast to play with. It's everything a Joe vehicle should be, and is one of the best new-style Bravo vehicles I have had the pleasure of reviewing. The figure lacks a little something to really make this whole package shine, but regardless, this thing is fantastic. No one should hesitate to pick it up, no matter how you prefer your Joeverse.

Combine all of this with the near-perfect new box and logo design, and you really have an awesome flashback to the classic days of G.I. Joe...what a great overall package and a flawless way to start this new Direct To Consumer enterprise.

Ratings (out of 10)

Presentation: 9
Design: 9.5
Playability: 9.5
Value: 9
Overall score (not an average): 9.5

I've heard a few folks a little confused about what goes with I'll try my best to diagram it here.

Spirit's Rifle even fits on the rear hole where the included rifle goes


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