2014 WOLF

Hasbro didn’t do much for Vintage construction collectors in the modern era. From 2007 on, the number of releases in the classic construction were pretty minimal, and by the dawning of the 2010s, they became non existent. Though, while there weren’t any figures being made (which was eased by Factory Customs), Hasbro did tend to slip in some pretty decent vehicles, that often times were quite compatible with vintage figures. By 2014, when it was established that G.I. Joe was for the most part, dead at retail, Hasbro actually put out a couple of vehicles that were damn close to being reissues of 80s releases. One of those was the COBRA WOLF I’m not really a fan of arctic figures and vehicles. I never have been, because it’s a pretty restricted environment, that is a pain to recreate in non-winter months, and not a lot of fun to be in, during the actual winter. Still, that’s never stopped Hasbro from making numerous high quality arctic pieces. One of the best ones is definitely the WOLF

1987 was a strange year for vehicles, as it was one of the only years that G.I. Joe and COBRA were even for releases. 1986 was the beginning of a shift in the Joe team’s motor pool becoming less grounded in reality. On one hand it made for some real fun toys, on the other they were definitely not the same as the Mauler or the VAMP. With COBRA, they’d always had some fairly outlandish vehicles, and in 1987 there stuff was weird, but not all that much weirder than it’d ever been. To be perfectly honest, the WOLF was no stranger than the HISS, a vehicle it obviously took some design cues from.

The WOLF features a fairly COBRAesque design. The twin guns and glass canopies harken back to the HISS. It’s also not a COBRA vehicle if it doesn’t feature LOTS OF RED MISSILES. However, unlike most COBRA armor, this one shows a little restraint and has the missile rack be hidden when not elevated (a fun play feature). It also has a pair of ski torpedos, which I have to say, are a better take on the concept than the ones included with the Snowcat. It’s nice for a COBRA vehicle to not be undergunned.

One of the nicest things about the WOLF is the shape of it. It’s got a nice sloping design, and the elevated rear of the vehicle looks pretty sharp. The twin glass canopies are cool, and it’s a nice change of pace from the driver and passenger style cockpits that had been the case with most vehicles. Of course, on my sample, the rear canopy is damn tight I can’t even get it open (and it developed a nice stress crack in storage), not sure if that was the case on the vintage version, or just shrinking plastic in the last 6 years. Oh well, I managed to fix it by shaving a slight bit of the front tabs.

This version of the WOLF, didn’t feature too many modifications, like some Modern Era vehicles did. It’s for the most part the same as the vintage vehicle, with changes to the foot pegs on the side skis. However, that change isn’t even too damning, because they left the pegs on the side of the actual WOLF, vintage sized. So you can work a way to have figures of both era hanging off the side. It’s not really a big deal to me, because I’ve never been a huge fan of figures on running boards. Honestly, I was mainly glad they didn’t change any of the cockpit area, because when they do that, it often makes the vintage figures not fit correctly.

The WOLF is a nice vehicle, and the fact that Hasbro had the mold for the entire repaint era, and didn’t bother doing anything with it, is a shame. The new sculpt era featured some of the worst designed and even worse looking vehicles, and I think we all would’ve benefitted from Hasbro not pissing away the budget on horrific things like that pick up truck with running board machine guns, or that boxy looking Humvee that launched a manned flying pod, but didn’t have doors that opened, and just doing things like repainting the WOLF.

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5 Responses to 2014 WOLF

  1. Mike T. says:

    My only hope for the Retro collection is that it gives Hasbro a chance to release vehicles like this again. It used to be that most vehicles weren’t worth the price of shipping. But, that’s changed. So, a chance to buy something pretty close to vintage even at collector targeted, marked up prices is more palatable than buying vintage. Sadly, the first three choices for vehicles were uninspired. (Though, at least the Hiss made sense.) But, even anniversary release era vehicles have gotten stupid in terms of pricing, so maybe we’ll get lucky on a release or two since the molds are probably still around.

    As a kid, I loved the Wolf because it was so much better than the Snow Cat. It was rare for Cobra to have the superior vehicle. I had to create an entire Arctic world, though, to be able to use it enough. As a toy, it’s excellent as it has tons of play features and is properly armed. I can’t tell you how many times the Joes were able to kill just one of the operators only to have the 2nd be able to continue the attack. The Ice Viper worked well in it, too.

  2. The WOLF is awesome. It’s the epitome of the GI Joe idea of arctic fighting, which maybe isn’t realistic but compelling. The cockpits remind me of an attack helicopter, and with that and the jet engines it seems like the WOFL is intended to be more as a ground-based attack helicopter than a tank–high-tech, armed with long-range weapons, depending on evasiveness and countermeasures more than on heavy armor to survive, and probably requiring frequent returns to base to refuel. I also admire that they kept up the ski missile idea from the Snow Cat, which again might be an unrealistic idea, but it’s cool and it’s consistent. I really get the feeling that from 83 to 87, all the arctic figures and vehicles were designed to work together and complement each other, within a unique vision of what deep arctic warfare would look like. Maybe you could argue this continued through 1991.

    It’s an interesting point that the WOLF is inspired by the HISS. And it looks great with the Rip-Its!

  3. A-Man says:

    I passed on this. I was also annoyed the VAMP MK 2 in vintage colors was the con exclusive or something. (And paired off against the NIght Landing?). Part of the reason is, yes, arctic vehicles are limiting. The Wolf was easily the best of vintage ARAH’s Cobra snow rides, though curiously they were all essentially large snow mobile, or Arctic dedicated if you will. I can assume it relies on speed to take out superiorly armored opponents.

    The asymmetry works on the Wolf, as compared to say, Destro’s Dominator.

    Don’t try to remove the engine cover, from what I recall it really wasn’t made to be taken off.

    Vehicle holds 12 figures…ten crowded on running boards/skis. Oh, the other odd feature, the tracks fold in for pure ski mode….why?

  4. Great review and beautiful photos, RTG!

    It’s kind of cool how the Wolf was available to (and appeals to) multiple generations of GI Joe fans. The OG crowd had the original (if they hadn’t aged out already or ragequit when Sci-Fi was released in 1986), my generation had the mail away, and the youngest generation had this version.

    I got my Wolf a couple years ago in a local lot of almost all 1990-92 figures and vehicles. Oddly, it appears to be the original and not the mail away, though. But that’s according to YoJoe. And we know YoJoe is never wrong about anything.

    I kinda want to track this version down so I can have a squadron of two Wolves and one Ice Snake. Lord knows I have enough snow-themed factory customs to fill out another vehicle.

  5. mwnekoman says:

    I had just acquired a cheap ’87 WOLF around the time this one was announced, so I passed on this release. In hindsight, I wish I had gone after more of the 50th vehicles, especially some of the nifty repaints they put out then.

    I think because of it’s asymmetry, I find the WOLF hard to photograph. It’s also hard to show figures doing much besides walking or riding alongside it. Still, it looks really nice in wider shots, especially ones that show off it’s unique geometry so well, like these photos.

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