I suffered a random wave of hopeless curiosity about a toy I had as a kid a while ago and decided to indulge myself by snagging one off eBay for a few bucks. The toy in question: the Dreadnok Thunder Machine from the G.I. Joe line. I had a sudden realization about how utterly odd it was: in a line of military realism (back when it was more or less about military realism, mind you, and not a pro wrestler driving around on a neon open-top battle tank), this vehicle possessed a different sort of realism. The Thunder Machine was basically a chop shop special — a hodgepodge mess of random vehicle parts welded together and covered with makeshift armor plating.
It appears to possess the body of a truck with a jet engine bolted to the back and a Camaro grille bolted to the front — no doubt for vanity. Strategically-placed bits of armor protect the drivers, and there are twin gatling guns on the front. I’m not too certain about the jet engine, but the rest of it is uncannily convincing as a sort of urban guerilla armored vehicle. As a kid I thought it was simply cool-looking, but now I really wonder who came up with something so offbeat yet appropriate.
Anyway, I just noticed tonight that there’s a set of police flashers bolted to the top, which pretty much pushes it over the edge from “great toy” to “greatest toy.” You kids these days don’t know how bad you got it. Playthings were way more awesome when I was your age.
[Image from Yo Joe]