Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Presenting the Dungeon's GI Joe HAVOC (Heavy Articulated Vehicle Ordinance Carrier 118-HVH-1986-HAVOC-01).

Released in 1986, this HAVOC was actually a gift from my brother (Yay! Thanks bro :) ) to me and till today, it's still one of my favorite toys. Unfortunately Cross Country was thrown away by a relative who shall remain nameless since she's disowned anyway simply because she classified broken Joes waiting for repair as "Junk".

And it's still in excellent shape - save for the scratched up front canopy, broken rear thread mount and the missing firing stud on the turret.

The GI Joe HAVOC first piqued my interest after I saw it trump the Dreadnok Thunder Machine in issue 51 of Marvel's G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero series (Okay technically it was a draw but since the Thunder Machine got away... okay I suppose the Joes lost, but it's one of the more classic battles between the two armies). I've been in love with it ever since.

The HAVOC's blister card reads "This roving vehicular fortress is an extremely versatile machine with pivoting dual track system for the toughest terrain! It's part of the new modern army G.I. Joe collection of vehicles, weapons, figures and accessories. use it to help G.I. Joe defend democracy and battle his evil enemy - Cobra!"

The HAVOC's details included:
  • Four Lancer Bi-Pulse Guidance Missiles - facing the rear
  • Four "Repeater" 9mm Auto Load Machine guns - We can assume that the pair in the front are similar to the ones mounted on the back. The HAVOC's blue-prints actually do not identify what the two guns up front under the cab are. 
  • A 9-Liter, 900 HP Twin Turbo Diesel Engine
  • Two "Leveler" Dual Recoiless 75mm cannons - The HAVOC's main guns - mounted on a "soft rock" recoil compensation adjustment arms.
  • An Impact Resistant Tilt-Back Canopy
  • Track-sill Battle Platforms allowing for an additional eight GI Joe figures to ride the sides and rear of the HAVOC
  • And a Hovercraft powered by a "Blower" 110HP Direct Drive Engine and armed with a pair of 7.62mm computer synchronized machine guns. 
What's NOT to like about the GI JOE HAVOC?

Yeah, let's start with what's NOT to like about the HAVOC. Mostly because all I have to say is that it's really awesome to look at on the plus column.

The GI Joe HAVOC's biggest problem is that it has no basis in the real world. It's a total fantasy that any army would drive or use this. If you did have this in your army, you'd probably want to assign it to troops that you want to see die.


Let's start the fact that your pilot, co-pilot and gunner are all vulnerable to SMALL-ARMS fire - we're not even talking cannons here, we're talking anybody with a clear line of sight and a decently powered gun - impact resistant DOES NOT MEAN BULLETPROOF.

When my best friend (R.I.P.) and I were playing with it, we - for the sake of argument - assumed that the canopy was fitted with some space-age material that could sustain heavy fire (It shattered by the way when it went up against the Thunder Machine) and that the two cannons could be fired from within the cab.

We were both quite taken though by how cool elevating the cannons were and how the cab opened. It was all very space-age.

Which raises the next problem: Anybody notice that the cannons end not in gun ports but in what looks like radiator grills? Okay maybe those are just caps that raise before firing. The next problem is that they are 75mm cannons! Anybody ever watch Discovery Channel videos of Sherman Tanks firing on German Tanks in the European theater and stand in awe as the projectiles bounced off heavy German tank armor? Yeah those were 75mm cannons. The Americans only survived when these were swapped out for 76mm cannons - and they had numbers.

Happily this solves the cannons apparent lack of ammunition storage: the 75mm shells are relatively small and can be stored within the gun seat. But... wow! Talk about all bark and no bite! Not much of a bark either. More like a small woof!

Speaking of guns, the Leveler cannons on the HAVOC are relatively fixed. They do not track left or right. If you want to avoid being hit by it, just don't be dumb enough to drive straight at it (Got that Thrasher?)

Then there are the tank threads. Yes, they come with non-clogging epoxy armor to protect the interior mechanisms from mines, and other unfriendly fire, but they're relatively fat and clustered well beneath the HAVOC. Modern day tank bellies don't touch the ground. the space in between means that you have to get lucky sometimes to have a tank thread go over a mine. The HAVOC's chance of hitting something is exponentially higher. Further, it's thread base is narrow and it's weight rests on two small pivoting joints both at the relative center (front and back) of the HAVOC's mass. On sharp, fast turns - even at if it's maximum speed is only 40mph (Around 64kph according to the HAVOC's wiki) the 54 ton HAVOC would probably keel over or the mounting joints would break.

At a top speed of 40mph, it's actually a wonder why the jet-engine powered Thunder Machine was so hard pressed to get away from the HAVOC.

Up next is the Hovercraft. In issue # 51 of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, Sgt. Slaughter goes after the retreating Thunder Machine aboard the Hovercraft and it flies in the air like an airplane. Just like the HAVOC's main body, the Hovercraft looks awesome. But no way will this thing fly like an airplane. It's a Hovercraft! It's supposed to move by moving on a cushion of air. This thing doesn't even have a skirt.

The HAVOC's Hovercraft is also supposed to move by shifting it's propellers underneath from left to right. If that happened while it was flying  - or floating - gravity would take over and the suddenly unsupported side would plow into the ground.

The Hovercraft DOES however make the rear look more menacing. The HAVOC's strongest point is actually its rear, especially when the cowl is down so you can throw the Hovercraft's twin 7.62 machine guns' firepower into the mix - although you lose armor in the process and once you're done with the Lancers, that's it, run.

The last bad thing about the HAVOC is its troop carrying capabilities. Thanks to the aforementioned "Track-sill" battle platforms on the side, the HAVOC should be able to accommodate eight more GI Joes. Unfortunately, this means that four of those Joes would relatively be sitting on the Lancer missiles. NOBODY DOES THAT!!!!.

At best it can take four more Joes, two standing up front and another two standing up in back. If they're wiser, they'd realize that it'll be easier for them to sit on the Hovercraft shroud. Sadly the HAVOC comes with the old mounting studs for GI Joes which are too big for the modern Joes.

We should probably also mention that MOST new GI Joes cannot fit into the HAVOC. Barrel chested Joes like Bazooka and Roadblock cannot fit into the cab. You need a thinner Joe. Any Joe wearing a removable vest - like the Modern Beachhead, Hawk and Snake Eyes cannot sit in the command chair nor in the Hovercraft. Most Joes also cannot fit into the Hovercraft. Usually the shorter ones - females - are the ones that fit in there and as you can see, any Joe with a Ponytail will have some difficulty as well (Scarlett's head is to the side).

The last biggest letdown for the GI Joe HAVOC is that it's relatively common. HASBRO overbuilt the HAVOC so that now complete loose versions go only for as low as between PhP 1,000 to PhP 2,000 (Roughly US$ 23 to US$ 46) mostly on Ebay. You can probably assemble a complete one from individual parts being sold on-line for less.

What's TO LIKE about the GI JOE HAVOC?

IT'S SIMPLY AWESOME!!!! This is literally a Boy's Toy! Simply ignore how impractical it is and you can spend hours ramming in down Cobra's throat - both literally and figuratively. I know I've rammed a Thunder Machine several times.

All we need now is for HASBRO or someone else to come up with a modern version of the HAVOC. I'd replace the transparent cowl with armor of course, swap out the tank-threads for multiple spaced all-terrain wheels like the R.O.C.C., R.H.I.N.O. Iron Man Rolling Headquarters and Rolling Thunder all have. then I'd replace the gunner's seat with a rotating missile launcher and/or a higher caliber rapid cannon - some real artillery. Lastly I'd drop the Hovercraft for a mobile ATV or two off-road armed bikes.

I can SEE it now!

For even the HAVOC's TV commercial's theme song speaks of awesomeness. It opens with "Nothing can STOP the HAVOC! Nothing can ROCK the HAVOC!!!" Is that cool or what?


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