A recurring theme in the Indy movies has been to include some cool and unusual vehicle as the background to one of the set-piece action scenes. Raiders had the Flying Wing, Last Crusade had that awesome tank, and Crystal Skull had the Jungle Cutter. Can’t think of what you would consider Temple of Doom’s contribution, but there’s always one nagging exception to every rule. The Cutter was one of only three larger vehicles that Hasbro decided to reproduce for the 3 3/4″ line, and while I would have rather had one of those amphibious jeeps from Crystal Skull, the Jungle Cutter here is no slouch and definitely toy worthy.
The vehicle comes boxed in a great looking package with the traditional Indiana Jones style deco and a great art rendering of this rather unique looking vehicle in action. The back panel shows off a photo of the toy itself and points out some of its features. As with all three of the vehicles in the line, the box is designed to convert into a diorama, along with a bonus fold up cargo crate, which is a great little bonus if you’re willing to mangle the box, which I am not, as the box is otherwise fairly collector friendly. The toy comes with the two blades detached and you can easily take them off again to fit it back into the box for storage.
Basically, the Jungle Cutter is a military-style tracked vehicle with a plow and two monstrous circular saw blades on the front. The treads are molded and the vehicle rolls along on wheels that are concealed underneath. Rolling the vehicle along causes the front blades to spin, which is a pretty cool feature. The sculpting on this thing is really nicely done. There are a lot of panel lines and simulated hatches, including sculpted latters leading up to the control cabin. The front of the vehicle has two molded rollers with simulated grinding teeth to chop up whatever trees it sucks in and two chutes on the back to spit out the sawdust. All of the military markings and lettering are painted onto the toy and there are no stickers to be applied.
The control cabin has a seat that will fit most of 3 3/4″ figures, a control panel with levers and one side has a flexible plastic tarp with a window, while the other side has a molded rolled up tarp to allow for easy access.
The spinning blades are spattered with paint spray to simulate mud, as is the plow. The Jungle Cutter has one really weird action feature, where pressing one of the smokestacks will shoot the plow off like a missile. I’d like to think that this is some kind of misguided attempt to simulate the vehicle exploding, but more likely Hasbro intended it as some kind of goofy secret weapon. It’s all good, though. So long as you don’t hit the fire button by accident, you can pretend it doesn’t exist.
The Jungle Cutter retailed between $20-25 originally, which is about what Hasbro was asking for their Star Wars ehicles in this same size class. It’s not bad, as this is a good sized toy. Nowadays you can still pick it up in that price range from online retailers, or if you hunt hard enough, a lot less. The sculpt is very well done and I really like the way the blades spin when you push it. It’s certainly a cool and unique vehicle and considering its scale, it offers up all sorts of possibilities for customization across other lines. I can easily see Cobra modifying one of these things for some evil scheme of deforestation.
[And that wraps up Indiana Jones week. Obviously, this has been only a small portion of the line and its toys. I will most certainly be revisiting it again in the future to look at some more, but I want to get a few odds and ends in over the weekend before the new week starts on Monday. -FF.]