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By Thomas Wheeler

When Hasbro unveiled an officially-licensed HUMVEE for the G.I.Joe 3-3/4" collection at the G.I.Joe Convention at Walt Disney World, the reaction was one of great enthusiasm. Here was an authentic-looking Humvee, done in a very impressive woodland camo, and it was specifically designed for the G.I.Joe Team to use! I recently reviewed this Jungle Strike Humvee, giving it deservedly very high marks. So -- what could be cooler than a G.I.Joe Humvee?

How about another G.I.Joe Humvee? How about a DESERT HUMVEE with such authentic colors and markings that the thing looks like it rolled right out of Desert Storm by way of CNN or the History Channel? Yeah, that'd be cool!

Ask, and ye shall receive...

Turning up at the very tail end of 2004, just barely in time to make it under the Christmas trees of what surely would be any number of delighted kids (and collectors), was the G.I.JOE DESERT HUMVEE.

Hasbro doing something like this was so obvious that I'm surprised they didn't mention it at the Convention. Maybe they did. I might've missed that seminar.

As cool as the Jungle Humvee is, the Desert Humvee might be just a shade cooler (and yes, I am aware of the colossal irony of using words like "shade" and "cooler" in regards to a desert vehicle that has seen use in some of the most overheated and unforgiving landscapes on the face of the planet).

Most of us who have seen military Humvees have seen them in footage from Desert Storm and other combat episodes in similar parts of the world. We're used to seeing a plain tan Humvee, with that black triangle shape on the side (what IS that, anyway -- anybody know?). It was Desert Storm where we first saw the Humvee, so the desert version is the "first impression" that it made on most of us. We're not as used to seeing one in the green-and-brown camouflage of a woodland camo pattern -- not to take anything away from that vehicle.

But it's the desert version we're used to, and this is now the desert version we've got, with the G.I.JOE DESERT HUMVEE. It's superbly well-made, and obviously has all of the same features of its toy predecessor. All of the doors open, the hood opens, the back opens in two places, and the lifting hood is actually on these moving pistons, and there's a rack in the back that the extra guns can snap securely into, so you're not going to lose any accessories.

The DESERT HUMVEE comes with a newer-style DUKE figure. Really, it's the body mold for ROLLBAR, which was the figure that came with the Jungle Humvee, but like the vehicle, it's been done in desert colors this time, and it's been given a Duke head. To Hasbro's credit, it's an excellent head sculpt, and they even remembered that Duke is supposed to have blue eyes.

Duke's file card is the same one he's had for a while, but it's a decent one, so I present it here:


File Name: Hauser, Conrad S. Primary Military Specialty: Infantry Secondary Military Specialty: Intelligence Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

The calm and determined battlefield commander of the G.I.JOE Team us always out in front, leading by example, never asking a team member to do a job he wouldn't do himself. His experience and coolness under fire bolsters morale and gives the G.I.Joe Team a firm anchor to hold onto even in the worst situations. Offered a battlefield commission, he turned down the chance to be an officer because he felt it would distance himself from his troops. A hard charger, but understanding and fair, he believes in his heart that decency, honor, and freedom must always prevail over malevolence, deceit, and tyranny, no matter what the cost. He hopes to defeat the latest Cobra threat - human-animal hybrids - by building advanced combat systems that are linked closely to their human operators.

"We're the good guys and they're the bad guys. The job of the good guys is to put the bad guys out of business."

The figure doesn't mean a lot to me, since I don't collect these particular Joes. And of course the vehicle will work with any 3-3/4" G.I.Joe figures. But whatever your figure preference, I most definitely give my highest recommendation to the G.I.JOE DESERT HUMVEE! This may be the most authentically-military official G.I.Joe vehicle of all time!