Sunday, November 21, 2010

G.I. Joe Steel Marauder versus the Avatar AMP Suit

The Dungeon received a request last week to compare the Avatar AMP Suit against the G.I. Joe Steel Marauder, so here it is.

First the bad news, the Avatar AMP Suit in my possession is a variant of the one more commonly found in the market or on E-bay. This particular variant does not bear the shoulder-slung GAU-90 30 mm machine gun. Instead it bears an optional slashing blade - as seen in the film.

So if you see this particular packaging and want the AMP suit with its machine gun, don't buy this.The package describes the AMP suit as a"Refinement of a military exeskeleton first used on Earth in the early 20th century and aapted during wars spanning the decades. Sealed models for toxic environments were developed and, with the colonozation of the Moon and Mars, pressurized versions with full life-support systems were employed in great numbers. Highly nimble, AMP suits are in constant operation on Pandora"

It fits one 3 3.4 inch figure comfortably. The Joe - or Avatar action figure - simply slides into a slot that's built between the upper and lower torsos of the AMP suit leaving the upper torso of the action figure visible in the cockpit. The detacheable windshield closes and seals down from there.

If you've seen the movie then you know that the controls of the AMP suit are designed to mimic the actions of the user, so unlike the Steel Marauder which is Mechanized Armor, the AMP suit is a true augmentation suit - hence the name. Personally I feel that the design is less military inspired and more utilitarian. The cockpit is huge and - again as seen in the movie - vunerable to attack (from the front and from behind - look at that rear windshield that just begs for a sniper bullet). All this suit lacks is a bull's-eye. However the huge cockpit allows for better and more refined control of the arms and legs - both for going forward and for moving back. It's slightly reminiscent of the fork-lift suits from the Aliens movie franchise.  Armed, I see the AMP suit as a fast moving long-ranged fighter. Not really something I would use for close combat. Even at range, it would be quite easy to target the cockpit, so survival lies in movement.

The AMP suit's arms are even more flexible than the Steel Marauder's because of the additional articulation from the elbows and wrist areas. Unfortunately, the hands are locked in position and do not open or close. When not sheathed on the right side, the blade can be wedged into place in the left hand of the AMP suit.

Another plus to the AMP suit is the inclusion of articulated knees (The Steel Marauder has knees but they're locked in place) and "feet". However the hips only allow for forward and back movement and do not twist in or out - which the Marauder can do. The hips also easily snap off when you apply pressure to the legs - including the simple pressure of moving the legs forward and back.

One of the great features of the AMP suit is the paint job/decals which give the AMP suit a realistic, weathered, iron shod feel. However this detail is sadly missing inside the cock-pit which, while moulded, is very spartan, empty and uninspiring. If you can, take the time to paint it. Conversely, the Marauder has a HUD display on its cockpit as well as a plethora of decals to enhance the look of the armor. It does not however have the weathered look of the AMP suit - though experienced modellers can easily create that.

So which would I ride into combat or bet on? I'm still with the Steel Marauder. Its laid back canopy reduces the possibility of direct hits (even deflection of attacks) - even if it technically has the same problem as the AMP suit.

The Marauder is also equipped with two machine guns in its forward snout. Fighting this close will just result in machine gun fire cracking the AMP suit's forward cockpit.

Even if a huge blade seems like such a threat at short range, a blad in this case would be a wound, not necessarily a fatal blow.

The AMP suit was never released in huge retail stores here in the Philippines, but it is available in Ebay and, occassionally, in Greenhills where it retails between PhP 1.900 to PhP 2,200.

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