The GI Joe AWE Striker is an unbelievable 32 years old! Starscream’s Toast looks at this iconic vehicle.
The GI Joe AWE Striker is a vehicle that most toy collectors have seen at one point or another as it seemed to be everywhere GI Joe or Action Force was – cartoons, toy isles, adverts in comics, it seemed to be THE vehicle.
The GI Joe AWE Striker was based on the Chenowth Racing Products Inc M1040/41 Fast Attack Vehicle which came into US army service in 1982 for use by the 9th Infantry Division but didn’t see use until 1991’s Operation Desert Storm in Kuwait. Light and very fast, these FAVs were able to reach speeds of 80 mph and were fitted with a .50 calibre M2 Browning or 40 mm grenade launcher and an interchangeable weapon fitted to the passenger gunners’s side which would be either an M60, an M240 or an M249. The original plan was to use a recoiless rifle or TOW anti tank weapon but the TOW broke Army rules requiring a three man operating team while the recoiless rifle’s recoil would cause the lightweight vehicle to flip over. FAVs would be replaced by Humvees.
Anyhoo, the GI Joe AWE Striker was released in 1985 for $5.99 and is still a very decent toy 32 years on, thanks to being a basic snap together kit like many Joe vehicles. The box boasted a ‘detailed removable engine’ which was pretty detailed but cast totally in black plastic so wasn’t exactly the big deal it sounded like. The roll cage has a ’10 round 70 mm launcher’ mounted on it which looks suspiciously like a TOW launcher but would be half the diameter as TOWs are 152 mm so it’s a nice case of using a suitable aesthetic over accuracy while the passenger machine gun has been replaced by a camera. The vehicle driver Crankcase was also included.
The AWE Striker could fit two seated figures and a further two could stand on the running boards either side of the seats, the wheels have working suspension and is overall a beautifully detailed vehicle. It’s no surprise that Hasbro reused the mold a total of ten different times, although that is probably milking it even by Hasbro standards. The original 1985 came with either ‘United States’ stickers, US flags and GI Joe logo on the running boards and 70 mm launcher (missing on the one pictured) or Action Force and related logos in Europe. As it was sold between 1985 and 1987 it wasn’t until 1992 that a second release came, this time as part of the GI Joe Eco warriors line where it was renamed the Eco Striker and recoloured in blue with yellow rollcage, featuring a water pistol instead of the 70 mm launcher.
In 1995 Hasbro used the mold for the Stargate action figures which tied into the movie of the same name but this time it featured a desert colour scheme, a new mounted cannon and was named All-Terrain Cruiser.
The next use was back in the GI Joe line in 2001 when the AWE Striker was released in its original mold but all in black and packaged with Pathfinder rather than Crankcase.
A new gun and new driver in the form of Dial-Tone came with the snow camouflage AWE Striker released in 2003. In 2008 there were two releases – the original version was reissued with an updated Crankcase figure as a Target exclusive and a general release desert coloured deco with Leatherneck. In 2010 the AWE Stiker was released in black with sand coloured roll cage with Night Fox as part of the GI Joe: Pursuit of Cobra line. 2012 saw the Striker renamed as the Ninja Commando 4×4 with Snake Eyes as the driver and a grappling hook cannon on the roll cage which looked pretty ridiculous, as was the huge I Ching sticker that adorned the front. Finally in 2014 the Ninja Commando 4×4 was repainted into the Eco Striker colours and released as an International GI Joe Convention exclusive E.C.O. Striker.