GI JOE Rise of Cobra: Steel Crusher APV by Hasbro

Earlier this week on Vintage Vault, we checked out Jackhammer, that black SUV of death from the MASK toy line. At the time, I tossed out a comment about how Hasbro paid homage to it in the Rise of Cobra line with the Steel Crusher. I was all ready to drop in a link when I was horrified and amazed to realize that I hadn’t featured the Steel Crusher here on FigureFan before. So today I’m remedying that oversight. Not only is it a cool, albeit subtle, nod back to the MASK toy, but its also one of the few truly shining moments of what is otherwise the mostly forgetable pile of schlock that made up the Rise of Cobra vehicles.

No package shot, but Steel Crusher comes in a fairly standard box with some angled corners and a little window to show the driver figure that is included. Apart from the weird penchant for green, I had no problem with the Rise of Cobra packaging. It was more functional than attractive, but at least it stored well. The front shows off some artwork of the vehicle in action and the back panel shows an actual photo of the toy.
Let’s get the figure out of the way first: He’s the Nano-Viper. I hated this guy when I first got him and quickly swapped him out with one of my many 25th Anniversary Stinger Drivers. In retrospect, he isn’t a bad figure, but I don’t think he really fits the bill as a vehicle driver. He looks like a cross between an urban combat soldier and a fighter pilot. I guess it makes sense, since the Steel Crusher is basically an urban assault vehicle, but the figure just seems kind of bland and forgettable. It also didn’t help that within just a few moments of playing around with him, his visor shot off his helmet and disappeared into the great beyond. Its probably in my cat’s secret stash by now.  Anyway, he’s grown on me a bit since I first got him, but I still prefer to have a Stinger Driver at the seat of this marvelous vehicle.
The Steel Crusher is based off the vehicle seen during the “Paris Pursuit” sequence of the Rise of Cobra movie. As such, it isn’t exactly your traditional Cobra vehicle, and therein lies the MASK homage. Its a black SUV that converts, similarly to the Jackhammer, into an armored, rolling death machine. But we’ll get to that in a minute. In its covert mode, it is a really great looking toy. The detail in the front grill, bumper and ramming bar is very impressive. Both side doors open up and you can fit figures into the roomy seats. The interior is amazingly detailed, right down to the sculpted stitching in the seats and the shifter on the console. This baby even has real rubber tires! There are a bunch of stickers to apply, most notably the Cobra emblems, which don’t make a lot of sense if you want to use it as a covert vehicle, but I think they go a long way to making it look more like an official Cobra vehicle.
To convert the vehicle for action, you slide the roof piece forward, which causes the missile launcher to pop up out of the back. You can then flip down the armor shield that covers the windshield, and you can flip open the two side-mounted rocket launchers. The end result is pretty similar to the overal concept of VENOM’s Jackhammer. Steel Crusher even has compartments to store the three missiles, similarly to how the Jackhammer houses the attachable machine gun. The vehicle looks really awesome with the armored windshield and the side rockets deployed.
You may not like the Rise of Cobra movie, lord knows I don’t. And you may not really dig the idea of a covert Cobra vehicle. But I’d challenge anyone to deny that this is a really well made, great looking, and ultimately fun toy. The fact that all the Cobra emblems are optional stickers, really give it a lot of possibilities for using it with other 3 3/4″ lines, but I personally think it looks great with the Cobra insignia. I’d go out on a limb here and say this is probably one of my favorite toys released in 2009 and certainly a pleasant surprise from the otherwise forgettable Rise of Cobra toy line. I passed on this thing for a long time, because I thought the $25 price tag was kind of high for a vehicle in this class assortment, but when I finally relented and bought it, I had no regrets about the pricetag. Its just a great all around toy.

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