Now, in the comics, the Joes had "The Pit", an underground five-story headquarters that served them well for many years. But it simply isn't feasible to create a truly effective headquarters - in a toy line -- for a toy line whose members number in the hundreds. Something like that would be larger than the Aircraft Carrier.
Toywise, G.I. Joe has always fared best when its headquarters have tended to be known as "Command Centers", and they've been on wheels. 1987's Mobile Command Center was actually a superb piece of work. Although the thing looked like a less fantasy-inspired version of the Star Wars Jawa Sandcrawler, it was on wheels, and opened up into a three-story command center that was, if not all that plausible from a real-world standpoint, then certainly workable from a toy standpoint, and included a generous amount of hardware and equipment for the Joes to use in whatever trouble spot the M.C.C. happened to drive into. And the holding cell for Cobras was hardly the largest room on the thing. If anything, it was little more than a slot with barely enough room for a captured Cobra to stand up in. Which, if you think about it, is about all terrorists deserve.
The modern-day successor to the M.C.C. is most certainly the R.O.C.C., the Rolling Operation Command Center. This was one of a handful of vehicles offered through Hasbro's online toy store, and has received almost universally positive reviews.
You know, it's amazing. Not just the vehicle. But just when you think that Hasbro's really pretty much given up, along comes something like the ROCC, and it's practically the 1980's all over again, when anything you pulled out of a box marked G.I. Joe was virtually assured of providing tons of fun and adventure, and was just as assured of being a high-quality, imaginative product.
The ROCC is just such a vehicle.
For starters, it's huge, especially for a toy vehicle these days. About the only line that can get away with this big of a product anymore is Power Rangers. The ROCC is nearly two feet in length, eight inches wide, and not counting the turret and antenna, is over 6 inches in height. That's pretty big these days.
Then there's the amount of attention to detail in this vehicle. The windshield actually has transparent plastic windows in it. So does the turret. I can name any number of vehicles from the original G.I. Joe line that lacked these.
The overall look of the vehicle is fantastic. I was a little concerned, looking at the package illustration and the photograph on the back of the box. These seemed to show a vehicle that had been given an overspray of dirtying paint. Fortunately, the vehicle inside the box has no evidence of this whatsoever. The ROCC is molded in a dark metallic grey, with dark brown trim and some features, and black tires. There is no evidence of any sort of dirtying or weathering whatsoever.
The vehicle conveys a somewhat futuristic image, but also a sense of ruggedness. It fits in amazingly well with the image of the G.I. Joe Team as a group of soldiers, but ones that are a little more high-tech than what we usually see on the nightly news. There's just enough of an element of the fantastic in the ROCC's overall design without tipping the scales too far away from something that, in theory, could exist in real-life to some degree.
You want capabilities, special features, moving parts? The ROCC has them like few G.I. Joe vehicles I have ever encountered. Let's start with the front section. The windshield of the cab opens forward, and there's three seats right there for the Joes to use. One nice thing about G.I. Joe vehicles from 2002-present. Most of them will accommodate any 3-3/4" G.I. Joes. There's a missile rack in the back of the front section that raises up, revealing a firing center with a couple of more seats in the main cab. There's a rack of eight missiles in the turret, that can be fired with a spring-loaded mechanism, two at a time, from a series of four orange buttons that otherwise blend in very nicely with the vehicle, and visually could probably be passed off as a series of lights.
Now let's consider the larger rear section of the ROCC. Detached from the cab, there are two legs on the underside that can be moved down to level the vehicle. There's a single man turret in the top of the section, that rotates, but can also be lifted up, swung around, slid down to the other end of the vehicle, and repositioned in a new turret housing.
The entire section opens up to reveal where the ROCC gets the "Command Center" part of its name. A side panel opens up and then the entire upper portion of the section folds back to reveal not only a nicely equipped command center, but quite a few other features, as well!
The command center, although somewhat small, is nonetheless designed to look very decently functional. There are four seats, one very distinct intended as a command chair, and a series of nearby computer monitors. Two additional side panels fold down, to allow a small vehicle to drive up onto a maintenance bay, that includes a robotic arm.
Most impressive is the fact that the rear wall of this "folded-out" mode, the section which was formerly the top of the section, has now become a launch gantry for a small scout plane. Looking very modern and stealthy, there's a nice black plane mounted here, ready for launch. The plane is fairly simple in its construction. It has no moving parts except its cockpit canopy, but the overall design of it is very nicely done, and it's an impressive addition to the overall vehicle. The jet is mounted on a sliding peg that can travel up the launch tower, giving the illusion of a lift-off within the vehicle, and then of course, it can be removed for its own "flight".
There's also a small one man "elevator" in this section, as well as a couple of levels along the way for Joes to stand on. On the whole, the rear section of the ROCC has elements of both the Mobile Command Center and the Defiant Space Vehicle Launch Complex in its design, and is a very respectful nod to both of those legendary vehicles.
Of additional note inside the rear section of the ROCC are the painted details. Various hoses, cables, and floor sections have all been very neatly painted. Then there's the labels for the entire vehicle. I have always enjoyed in the past putting the labels on G.I. Joe vehicles myself. I am a perfectionist when it comes to this sort of thing. However, I have to say that whoever placed the labels for the ROCC, did a very good job. They fit well and look cool, adding to the overall impressive appearance of the vehicle.
Honestly, I can see why the ROCC has gotten such good reviews. This vehicle would have been an impressive addition to the G.I. Joe line twenty years ago. These days, it's that much more impressive.
The ROCC does come with a newsculpt figure, its driver, named LONG RANGE. And therein lies a tale in itself as a result of recent events in the G.I. Joe universe.
This is not the same Long Range character as came with the Thunderclap vehicle in 1989. And, really, it's not the first time a code-name has been reused, so that doesn't bother me.
The ROCC is a heavily-featured vehicle in the G.I. JOE SIGMA 6 animated series. That's probably because, according to any number of very reliable reports I've read, the current animated series didn't start out as Sigma 6. It was intended to be based on what would have been the 2005 line of 3-3/4" figures and vehicles, before those plans were scrapped and/or altered for reasons I won't get into here, but which also led to the development of Sigma 6.
Now, Sigma 6 is an 8" line. A ROCC to scale with those figures would be impossible to market today. Consider the size of the one for the 3-3/4" figures. Now, double it and then some. You'd be looking at a vehicle that's over four feet in length, about a foot-and-a-half across, and over a foot in height. Good luck selling that to Wal-Mart. Don't even get me started on the probable price tag if it had all the features of its smaller cousin. This is doubtless why Hasbro has created the 2.5" Sigma 6 line. Fortunately, we got the ROCC before that happened. The 2.5" line is controversial enough among both 3-3/4" and Sigma 6 fans as it is without relegating something this cool into that mess.
But let's discuss the Long Range figure. How much does he resemble his Sigma 6 counterpart? Well, quite a bit. He's obviously not wearing a "Sigma Suit", nor does he have a big overcoat. However, he does have the ponytail in the back, and given the course of the animated series, I think it's fair to say that this Long Range figure is supposed to be the same individual as the Sigma 6 Long Range.
Long Range's file card reads as follows:
File Name: Garcia, Alejandro
Primary Military Specialty: Transportation Expert
Secondary Military Specialty: Infantry
Birthplace: Monterrey, Mexico
Long Range faces each situation with calm determination. He has read every major philosopher from Aristotle to Zeno and studied every battle from Antietam to Zusmarshausen. He applies the wisdom of the centuries to the present problem, accompanied by a full blast from an M-60 when he really wants to get his point across. As the driver for the G.I. Joe Team's new mobile base, he doesn't let anything come between him and his objective. Once he's in motion, nothing stops him. He'll go over, under, around, or through whatever is in his way, but he will not, under any circumstances, be stopped by it. "As Diogenes said, 'Stay a little out of my sun,'" Long Range said as he drives straight over a battalion of mutant androids, leaving crushed silicon chips and twisted metal in his wake.
"Aristotle said that law is order, and good law is good order. I intend to make COBRA learn what good law and order is. If they have to learn it the hard way, so be it."
Born in Mexico, huh? Hope he entered the country legally.
However, the nation of origin does once again link this Long Range to his Sigma 6 counterpart, who has been known to use some Spanish exclamations in his speech.
And I'd be stunned if Larry Hama didn't write this file card. I don't know anyone else who would bother to throw Aristotle and Diogenes onto an action figure's file card, and I don't know of much of anyone who would even know what Zusmarshausen is!
The figure, for a newsculpt, isn't too bad, although most newsculpts are pretty unremarkable. The headsculpt is a nice design, the padded vest well-detailed, and it's nice that Hasbro thought enough to paint the dogtag. And it's not hand-painted, either. The figure has grey camouflage trousers, and his most distinctive point is probably his fancy belt with the double holsters and pistols (not removable).
The vehicle has its own origin story, printed on the back of the box, and largely in keeping with the early episodes of Sigma 6 which were produced before anyone knew there was going to be a Sigma 6. It reads:
"In their quest for world domination, COBRA forces have destroyed G.I. Joe headquarters! The G.I. Joe team heads out to do battle in the R.O.C.C., their top-secret Rolling Operations Command Center. This awesome vehicle is a massive superpower on wheels, and has a mobile command base hidden inside. It's outfitted witgh a multi-missile launcher, a high-tech jet with its own launching bay, and a cab that separates from the base to become a heavy-duty fighting rig. Advanced holographic technology allows the team to camouflage the R.O.C.C. As a harmless-looking trailer truck or motor home as it moves from mission to mission. Inside the R.O.C.C., the team pursues Cobra with enhanced satellite and digitized tracking systems and all the technology of a large-scale headquarters, as they heat up their weapons for the next battle to stop Cobra!"
Need it be said the R.O.C.C. vehicle does not include any actual holographic camouflage technology, although after reading that sentence I did have this weird mental image from the TV show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition", as the design team for that show does travel around from town to town in a large motor home. So, is that thing pulling up arriving to build me a new house, or is my neighbor a Crimson Guard!?
On the whole, the ROCC is everything a longtime, knowledgeable G.I. Joe collector wants to see in a G.I. Joe vehicle. It looks cool, it's very well-made, it has tons of capabilities and features, and I can't see a single problem with any aspect of its design or construction.
The G.I. JOE ROCC gets my highest possible recommendation! You don't
want your G.I. Joe collection to be without this amazing vehicle!