GI JOE SpyTroops: Patriot Grizzly Tank by Hasbro

Rounding out this impulsive little GI JOE week, I thought I’d throw in at least one of the Joe’s vehicles. It’s also one that I didn’t have to dig into a tote to get because a) it’s too big for my totes and b) I love it so much that I keep it displayed on a shelf. Yeah, it’s another one of those shining moments of the SpyTroops Dark Ages, the Patriot Grizzly Tank. Considering a tank is such a commonplace military vehicle it always struck me as odd that the Joes didn’t have more of them. Sure, there was the Mauler, but it was a poor substitue for a real tank… something like this one.

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No packaged shot, but like the Ringneck, the Patriot Grizzly came in a big window box minus the window. It’s a terrible design for a toy that actually had bits that could come off of it. I can remember seeing a bunch of these at KB Toys with all sorts of damage, missing bits, or other problems. Oddly enough, despite it’s size, the Grizzly required practically no assembly. As a result, it’s really sturdy hunk of plastic, so you can rough house with it all you want. Even the barrel is removable so if you snap it off, you can just pop it right back on. And did I mention it’s big? Big enough that I couldn’t shoot it in my usual staging area.

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The Patriot Grizzly features a beautifully detailed sculpt, complete with panel lines, vents, equipment, and other compartments. The treads are simulated and molded in plastic, but the tank rolls along on concealed wheels. The vehicle is finished in a desert camo motif and pre-applied stickers include the GI JOE logos on the sides and an array of Cobra emblems to catalog confirmed kills. The tank has a radar dish, a whip antenna, a minigun on the front, and two small swiveling gun emplacments. The machine gun pegs into one of the hatches, or you can remove it if you want to button up. The tank is designed to hold figures in three stations: One in the driving slot, one in the front gunner placement, and one in the machine gun hatch on the top. Of course, the tank is littered with pegs all over, so you can really load this baby up with figures. The only problem is that the pegs designed for the SpyTroops era of figures don’t work with the modern Joes.

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One of the coolest things about the Patriot Grizzly is its electronics. There’s a handle concealed in the back tha folds out like a joystick. Using this control you can rotate the turret left and right, move the tank forward and backwards, and rapid fire the huge stock of missiles that are fed into the main gun from the hatch on the main turret. Just about every movement the tank makes is accompanied by nice sound effects. The engine rumbles, the treads squeal, and the machine gun fires off bursts. It’s lots of fun to take this baby for a spin and it usually sends my cat running for cover.

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The Patriot Grizzly remains one of my favorite Joe vehicles. It has a great sense of realism to its design, it’s sturdy enough to survive storage and rugged play, and the electronic gimmicks actually enhance the toy without crapping all over its design or aesthetics. I still long for the day when Hasbro might build a Joe tank with a removable top so that you can actually have access to the interior, but the until then this one will have a place of honor in my collection.

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