1982 M.O.B.A.T.

The MOBAT is likely the worst tank in the entire G.I. Joe line. It’s too undersized to be realistic, it’s too big and bulky to be fun to play with, it’s barely able to fit a single figure and if you turn the thing on it’s really goddamn loud!!

I’m probably the only person who actually likes the MOBAT, I’m basing this on how little I’ve ever seen it used in dios or even on display in people’s collections. I can’t fault anyone for not liking it, I’m not even sure why I like it, but I do.

I’ve already mentioned that I spent a lot of time as a kid playing with the MOBAT in a manner in which I used it to run over Lando Calrissian and Adventure People figures, because as a kid I probably had too many psychopathic play themes. I was also the only person I knew who actually had  one, so that probably made me like it more than I should’ve. Later on I used to use the MOBAT as the middle and slowest part of a G.I. Joe convoy, that would be attacked. The guys at the front would be left with the agonizing decision of going back to save Steeler, or letting him fend for himself. The tail of the convoy was always Barbecue and Tripwire in the Silver Mirage, and nobody ever thought of trying to save those guys. Not sure why that scenario sticks out to me, but I vividly remember always killing off those two.

Nowadays, I still like the MOBAT, because when it comes to dioramas it’s got far more uses than I initially gave it credit for. The tank is pretty much a solid brick of plastic, which isn’t good for being a fun toy, it’s a great background piece as it’s got such a stereotypical tank appearance, there’s no guessing as to what the hell it is, and unlike a VAMP or AWE Striker, it doesn’t have a lot of daylight showing through it, and that allows a lot of hiding of out of scale stuff going on in the background.

Construction wise, the 1982 MOBAT is definitely the best version I’ve come across, as there were some alterations to the mold. The 1998 version doesn’t have the control sticks in the turret, like the ’82, and even worse, the tow-hook was removed. However I’m unsure if that’s the case with the modern error versions, or the Cobra versions, but I’m sure anything after 2000 is likely missing them too.


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4 Responses to 1982 M.O.B.A.T.

  1. A-Man says:

    I supposed I liked it back in 1982-1983. Both my brother and I had one. A bogey wheel broke off mine. The problem is the motorized feature, this baby doesn’t move without batteries. After awhile the motorized feature becomes too boring and who wants to buy more batteries instead of like, new toys? That and as you mention, it holds one figure in the turret…thus, the figure-vehicle interaction is lacking.

    I think they molded the MOBAT using 1/35 scale model kit parts, and it obviously shows. This is not just a smaller tank; it’s underscaled looking. The vehicle really needed an upsizing do-over during 25th, instead they recolored the 1998 version.

    • mwnekoman says:

      I’ve thought that before too, about it looking 1/35 scale. Many of the sculpted details are ridiculous once you start to inspect them, especially the undersized tools and hatches. Personally I’ve wondered if the toy was meant to be more like the Mauler, but was scaled down to make the price cheaper? They cut a lot of odd corners in 1982.

      Great post RTG. I have a love/hate relationship with the MOBAT for pretty much all of the reasons you named here. I think the main attraction to me is just how iconic the vehicle is. It, the RAM and VAMP are almost as memorable as the actual 1982 characters and feel inseparable from those early figures. With that said, the MOBAT’s probably the weakest toy of the whole lot.

      Another subtle thing I quite like about it is the rubber treads and weight it has from it’s motor. As an aesthetic, it makes the toy feel more tank-like in a way almost no other GI Joe vehicle really does.

      • atticagazette says:

        You guys are both right about the detailing being waaaay underscale. Honestly, I’ve thought about (but never bothered to attempt) a custom where there’s a Mauler body with the MOBAT turret.

  2. I really enjoyed this post, especially the part about how it’s useful for dioramas.
    I also kinda have a weird relationship with the MOBAT. I have the 25th Anniversary version (which I guess is a repaint of the 98 version, according to my pal Nekoman), which for some reason I didn’t sell off with the rest of my Modern Era collection in 2011 or 2012 or whenever. I have no idea why I kept it, but I did.
    It only holds one figure (and, as you said, barely holds one figure) and it doesn’t DO anything without batteries in it. So I’ve always thought it was kind of lame.
    But I find myself looking at it all the time. I even have it on display now, with a kitbashed 2001 Duke in the turret. I like picking it up and holding it. And, after reading this post and these comments, I think I understand my feelings towards it a little bit more.
    It’s not a great toy– but it is a great GI Joe icon. It’s something I’ll probably always come back to. And I think I’m going to try for a good photo with it here soon, with this as inspiration.

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