Monday, February 12, 2001

1986 AVAC

I've spent some time over the course of the last year on several different Cobra pilots. I've showcased figures that were meant to be pilots, like the Aero and Strato Vipers, as well as figures that I have made into pilots, like the 91 Bat. What made the Joe line so memorable was the vehicles. The awesome detail and sheer size and volume of them made the line the most memorable toy line in history. While planes like the Night Raven and Rattler were impressive, they were dwarfed by the massive flagship playsets that Hasbro started to put in 1985. What began with the U.S.S. Flagg took a bold turn in 1986 when the featured playset belonged to the bad guys. The Cobra Terrordrome gave Cobra a fortress that was far superior to anything the Joes ever received. While it was a base, it also offered one very unique play feature: a rocket launching pad for a custom Cobra aircraft that was set in the dead center of the base. The pilot of this aircraft, and the only figure to be included with the Terrordrome, was the indefatigable AVAC.

The AVAC figure itself is very nice. He is a cool combination of black, red and silver. Frankly, he looks like he should be a member of the Crimson Guard. He has a sleek helmet and what looks like an armoured uniform. The overall presentation is very nice and is indicative of what Hasbro was creating during Joe's peak years. You really, though, can't appreciate this figure until you place him in the Firebat. I owned two Firebats long before I acquired an AVAC. The Firebat cockpit is very small and cramped and it is very difficult to find figures that fit into it without looking very uncomfortable. AVAC, though, is sculpted slightly smaller and fits into the cockpit very nicely. It is this attention to detail and care about playability that have always been the hallmark of the Joe line. (It is also why I'm not too keen on seeing the '95's and even many of the '94's get re released just yet. The line is still fledgling and producing the later figures, who have bulkier sculpts {see the 1995 Flint and the 1994 Blackstar for examples} would create an inconsistency. There would be figures available who would not fit into the newly released vehicles. This would be a large source of contention with the parents of the children this line needs to remain highly successful. Doing something like this that would upset that demographic would be very shortsighted and detrimental to the line's long term success. If the '94's or even the '95's are going to return as an assortment, they should either introduce them slowly, like 1 two pack in 5, or release them as a collectors set, much like the new Manimals. While I want to see the '95's come out some day, I wouldn't want them at the expense of the new line's success. Just something to think about.)

As the AVAC is a relative newcomer to my collection, I'm not yet sure of his use. He will, of course, find some time in the Firebat. That, however, will not be his exclusive duty. This guy has the look of something much cooler. As my Crimson Guard Immortal ranks are starting to grow, I see this guy as their future leader. He fits in with them and would make a great addition to their ranks. I'm torn, though, as I do like this guy as a pilot. I've often searched for cool, named Cobra pilots. I'm not fond of Wild Weasel and have always a figure that could fill his role and still look cool. I've morphed Cesspool into a Cobra pilot, as I have also done with the aforementioned Bat. I'm thinking the AVAC will ultimately end up solely in use as a Cobra fighter pilot. He really is too cool of a figure to be stuck in such a narrow role, but he fits into it so well, I'm finding it difficult to remove him from it. Someday, he may pilot my Rattler. This guy just really needs an open cockpit plane that allows you to see him at the helm. He really is a nice looking figure that just begs to be displayed. I somehow doubt that I will disappoint him.

AVACs have become rather tough to find. While he was originally only offered via the Terrordrome, AVAC was also available as a mail in figure for a while. This has increased his availability above that of figures such as Hardtop and Payload, but he is not nearly as ubiquitous as Keel Haul. He is, though, one of the rarest Cobra figures out there and his price in indicative of that. With his tough to find parachute pack and filecard, these guys will fetch over $30. A loose, incomplete specimen can still cost over $15. The maddening thing about this figure, though, is that he isn't easy to find. He is one of the few figures that you will really have a hard time acquiring in the standard, casual figure lot. When I was a kid, I did not know anyone who had this figure. That has translated into a tough figure to find for the modern collector. Oh, don't get me wrong, AVACs are out there, but they require a little bit of effort on the collector's part. I looked for one for a couple of months before I found an affordable way to acquire him. Now that I've got him, he is a very nice figure who will see some use in my collection. This is a figure, much like the Headhunter, that is well worth the search. Unlike most of the most recent figures for whom I've searched, this is a guy that I'm now happy to have in my collection. I think you will feel the same way about him as well.

AVACs are cool, but not so cool that I'd want to pay a lot for one. What's your opinion of this figure? Let me know.

1986 AVAC, 1985 Rattler, Strato Viper

1986 AVAC, Firebat, Mail Away, Techno Viper, 1987, Strato Viper, Crimson Guard Immortal, 1991, 1983 Cobra Trooper

1986 AVAC, Firebat, Mail Away, 1984 Wild Weasel, 2006 Viper Pit

1986 AVAC, Firebat, Mail Away, 1984 Wild Weasel, 1984 Rattler, Strato Viper
1986 Slipstream, AVAC, Firebat, Air Viper Advanced Corps, 1987 Chuckles, 1998 Ace, Chinese Exclusive Flint, Tiger Force Falcon

1986 Slipstream, AVAC, Firebat, Air Viper Advanced Corps, 1987 Chuckles, 1998 Ace, Chinese Exclusive Flint, Tiger Force Falcon

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