September 21, 2011 | By More

The original VAMP is probably one of my favorite action figure vehicles. As one of the original vehicles in the line, it served as the workhorse land vehicle for the GI Joe team for a long time. But just as the recent versions of the figures have been update to reflect modern combat gear, it was time for the VAMP to get a model upgrade.

I’m guessing this version of the VAMP is based loosely on a number of sources. The original VAMP can be seen in there. However, it also appears to be influence by both the Humvee and the vehicles destined to replace it.  In short it looks like a modern combat SUV.

I have to say this version of the VAMP looks considerably more stout than the vintage one. It also has more of a practical feel to it. There are mounts all over for gear, which is a really nice touch.

The interior is fairly spacious for a Joe vehicle. It seats four. And not seats four in a useless backseat in a sports car kind of way. There actually is room here for four figures. The instrument panel is fairly detailed. Mrs. Nerd was impressed by the fact that the driver even appears to have a cup holder. I’m wondering if the are specific items intended for the square bins in the middle column, though.

The steering wheel turns and the gear shift is molded from black.

The bottoms of the door opening have a mounting hole. It’d be cool to see a gun mount that would fit this. Right bellow that are diamond plate running boards with foot pegs.

Under the back door are some decals that you get to customize. The included decal sheet has two of every letter and number, as well as dashes and slashes. They’re a bit tricky to get on and lined up, as the mount has a slight bump out to it. Yes, the ones I used mean something for me. It’s not a toy related or GI Joe significant.

The back of this version is probably the largest departure from the original. Instead of a gun mounted on a deck, this version gets a manned machine gun turret. The turret rotates on a disc stand in the bed, and is composed of a 5 pieces. I have couple of small complaints here. The first being the tilt pivot for the gun doesn’t seem to be molded quite right. When you tilt the gun, it also tilts to one side. At least on mine it does. My second small issue is the gun seems a little high. The handles are at almost head level for the gun which seems like it would be hard to use.

The back of the vehicle also pays homage to the original VAMP with a rack with two removable gas cans. These pretty much look like a standard gas can. There’s a decals that go over the textured area that just don’t seem to want to set flat.

There’s a tow hook here as well. Maybe we’ll see some revamped towable accesories at some point.

The little checkerboard square you see on the bumper is a decal. However, it’s not listed on the decal sheet anywhere. I put it there since it seemed like a logical place for a step to be identified.

The back also has a place for mounting the spare tire. All of the tires are fairly loose, it isn’t wobbly when it rolls, though. I would imagine that would be a cool feature to be able to change tires for a kid.

On a side note, the tires are the only main things that didn’t come assembled. The body and under carriage are already put together. The small grenade pods on the sides have to be pushed in and the machine gun emplacement put together, none of which is difficult.

There are a couple of more accessories back here, as well. On the wall between the gun and passenger compartment are hooks for a sledge hammer and shovel. The hammer is a direct reuse of the one from the Cobra Shock Trooper. I’d guess the shovel was reused from somewhere, as well. It’s nice to see something that could have been an unusable molded detail included as a usable accessory.

One other small accessory is a 50 cal machine gun. It has a mount one the bottom to allow it be placed in several places on the vehicle.

To make this even more kid friendly, a missile firing gun is also included. Without the projectile in it, it looks like some sort of energy weapon, it even has a laser warning decal for the top of it. It and the machine gun can fit in either of the front two locations or the turret.


The front of the vehicle is outfitted with a which and claw. The opens and closes manually and is attached to a string. The string is wound up by rotating the wheel on the hood of the VAMP. Pretty neat little working system. However, it would have been cooler if the claw was either smaller, or stored underneath.

Speaking of underneath, there is a bit of suspension to this version of the vehicle. It’s not four wheel independent, but it does have some give to it.

On the front end I really wish there had been some clear lens or paint on the headlights. (As also pointed out be Craig from the Fwooshcast on a recent episode of the What’s On Joe Mind? Podcast.) A little silver on the mirrors would have added just the a bit more realistic detail.

Speaking of detail, there are a ton of decals for this bad boy. I think they are numbered in the seventies on the instructions. It took a good couple hours for me to get them on this bad boy. And when I was done? Mrs. Nerd came by and said it looked like a lot of effort without much to show. Most are subtle and small. Personally, I think they amp up the realism, though.


I hadn’t intended on getting this. However, at a price point of $20 with a figure (reviewed here), I really couldn’t resist. And I wasn’t disappointed. The value for the dollar is high here, and I’m actually surprised it isn’t up in the $30 range.

Considering that it between seats and foot pegs you can load this baby up with 9 figures, that’s a pretty impressive. Throw in some great details and a modern updated look, this is a great update to the vintage VAMP.

Engineernerd Score: 98/100



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  1. Errex says:

    That’s a very cool vehicle. I like the detail and the construction. and even the driver figure looks really cool.

  2. Ken says:

    Just picked this up and it awesome!
    hawks cup from the PIT fits right in the holder still wondering what goes in the square holes.

  3. Engineernerd says:

    I almost wonder if the squares are there to support a future roof modification.

    Thanks for the feed back on the cup holder! That’s pretty cool. I’m tempted to make some little Starbucks cups for it.

  4. Nik says:

    The peg holes on the sides hold the backpacks for lots of the Joes. Put some gear hanging off, and a pack of rpg rockets to fill it out. Looped some satchels over the grenade racks. Great vehicle.