Back in the dog days of Sigma Six, the traditional 3 3/4 GI JOE figures and vehicles were confined to Hasbro’s new Direct To Consumer line, which meant the only way you could buy them was on online or at Toys R Us. This DTC line featured a sparse series of figures, most of which were kitbashed (ie. cobbled together from the parts of various other figures). It produced very few figures that I found worthwhile, and even fewer toys. Its something of a contradiction then that this was also the time that we got one of the coolest and biggest new JOE vehicles to come down the line in a long while.
I love the box that this thing came in. Its very reminiscent of the vintage Joe packaging. No frills, no fancy diagonal corners, just a big brick of a box. The front of the box has some artwork of the vehicle in action and a cutout window to show off the Long Range figure, which I could not find for this article. No big loss, he was a mediocre figure at best. The toy inside is pretty much already assembled and it will roll back into the box by taking just a few bits off of the top.
Of course, the idea of a rolling command center is not new to GI JOE. There was the Mobile Command Center, the more recent PITT and to some extent, I suppose even The Defiant could count. Its not a coincidence either, but rather a clever attempt by Hasbro to address the idea that playsets don’t sell well, but vehicles do. Hence, the vehicle-playset.
In vehicle mode, the ROCC is pretty straightforward. I let Matt Trakker drive it, because its elaborate conversion reminds me of a MASK vehicle. The front cab windshield folds down to accomodate a driver and four passengers. The goofy turret system on the back of the vehicle is the one real sticking point for me. Through an overly convaluted hinged arm system, the turret pod, which holds one figure, can be maneuvered to sit in the hole in either the front or back of the vehicle. It seems like an awful lot of needless maneuvering just to slide the thing front and back and if there was a gunner in there while it was shifting, I’m pretty sure he’d be puking his guts out while being bounced around inside the turret. The one thing this complex arm system does allow for is the pod to orientate itself into a useful firing position on the back of the ROCC’s base mode, so I guess there’s a reason for it. The curious thing about the ROCC is the number of sockets that look like they were intended to plug guns or equipment into, but nothing came with the set to make use of these holes.
Once converted to command base, this toy’s fun really takes off. The back splits open revealing the command area, a vehicle maintenance area, complete with ramps and a robotic arm, and a launching gantry for a small one-person stealth fighter. The vehicle area is only large enough to fit the smallest of Joe vehicles, but chances are you have something in your collection that will fit in there. The ATV or RAM Cycle both fit fine. The command area seats four figures, although only one really has access to any controls, so I’m not sure what the other three are supposed to be doing.
The stealth jet is a pretty simple little toy, and somewhat reminsicent of the Cobra Firebat that came with the old Terrordrome. The cockpit opens to seat one figure, and that’s pretty much all this little jet does. Again, besides the socket that hooks the jet to the gantry, there are a couple more conspicous sockets under it that look like they were intended for something else.
With the command base set up, the cab portion of the truck can deploy to create a little scout vehicle, which is quite reminiscent of one of the old 70’s GI JOE Adventure Team toys. This little vehicle includes a missile launcher, that holds a formidable eight firing missiles (or seven if you’re like me and just shot one behind the couch).
As a playset, this thing is nowhere as big or complex as the Mobile Command Center or the PITT, but then again, it doesn’t look like a Jawa Sandcrawler either. On the contrary, its truck mode looks great and its playset mode offers more than a few cool features. I stumbled upon this thing at a TRU somewhere around 2005 and was amazed at its reasonable $29.99 price tag, so it came home with me. Its pretty cool for what it is, and while its plenty large, its still a good compromise if you want a mobile base for your JOES, but don’t want to store the gargantuan MCC or PITT.