Transformers and GI Joe go together like fish and chips.
The two Hasbro franchises have been intertwined ever since the early days, crossing over into each others’ comic adventures and regularly sitting alongside one another in the collections of many a child growing up in the day. There have also been many attempts to merge the two toy lines over the years, although arguably nothing quite like what you see here.
No, you are not being deceived – that really is a Transformers toy! If you didn’t know any better, it would be entirely possible to pick this thing up and believe it was just a standard GI Joe toy from a cursory glance, given that it presents pretty authentically in that regard.
Which I feel is a major part of the appeal of this new toy. Where previous GI Joe x Transformers crossovers have often taken existing toys and repainted them as fairly obvious homages in some way, Megatron here has been designed from the ground up as a true coming together of the two classic franchises in arguably the most extensive manner we’ve seen thus far. In many ways, it is *both* a Transformers toy and a GI Joe toy at its core.
For starters, take one look at that sublime vehicle mode! What makes this thing work so well is how closely it swings to the classic GI Joe HISS Tank design from 1983 to the point where I genuinely think this could be confused with the vintage toy. True, the front of the tank underneath the cockpit betrays the seamless finish, with Megatron’s grey feet being just a smidge too visible, but otherwise, this is pretty flawless.
It helps that it’s essentially the exact size and proportions of that classic release, which is an aspect of this design that’s been seriously overlooked by many when casually assessing it online. The aim of this new Collaborative venture is clearly to represent both GI Joe and Transformers equally. In that case, it’s hard not to see this aspect as an utter success, given it is quite literally a Joe figure that folds into a giant robot. It’s wonderful to behold.
Another exciting aspect is the inclusion of the mini-figure here, which, again, is entirely authentic to classic GI Joe. True, the vintage HISS Tank came with a Cobra driver toy, but in this case, the Baroness can be found inside the box! A timeless Joe villain, this is essentially a reissue of the vintage “O-ring” toy from 1984 and comes on her own bubble card inside the primary packaging here. It all feels like another way this release is a love letter to the early days of that franchise.
Seeing the two toys stand together in this form gives off major nostalgic vibes. I was never a Joe collector, but I always admired the toys from the sidelines, especially given the characters would regularly crossover into my favourite comic adventures. In many ways, this solution is perfect for me, as it scratches an itch I might not otherwise have been motivated to attend to and proves to be a lot of fun in the process!
The Baroness is incredibly detailed and features a nicely painted finish. There are all the usual articulation points for a vintage-style Joe figure, which makes her pleasingly poseable. She also comes with a small stand if you need help to get her balanced (although I haven’t) and the same backpack and rifle accessories she’s had since 1984.
The toy naturally retains the classic Joe 3.75-inch scale and consequently looks in great scale with the HISS Tank. GI Joe was all about amazing vehicles with outstanding compatibility and interaction for their human figures, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see it work well here.
Baroness can interact with Megatron in several ways in his vehicle form, not least by popping her snugly inside the detailed cockpit interior and closing the canopy. Having mini-drivers of some kind is a feature I often think has been underutilised in Transformers over the years, as it’s always a charm whenever it’s done well. This is one of the best examples I can think of.
Alternatively, Baroness can ride up top in the tank turret, which has the additional armament of a classic-style Megatron fusion cannon in a slight variance to the vintage HISS design. The turret can swivel around quite freely, adding a fair dose of play value.
All of this makes me think this is an exceptionally worthy new design that capably pays homage to an all-time fan-favourite design. Many critiques I’ve read of this thing miss just what a buzz it is to see a Joe vehicle recreated so slavishly in this way, all whilst knowing it can then unfold into a giant robot.
For me, though, the appeal only widens once you remember that the 1990 Action Masters line was a blatant attempt to recreate Transformers characters in the style and presentation of GI Joe mini-figures, including a similar scale and points of articulation. I’ve made no secret online of my love for Action Masters, so the prospect of new vehicles that can work with these vintage oddities somehow is just too tantalising for me!
And look, I’d be hard-pressed to tell you they’re a seamless fit. However, a peculiar but wonderful crossover appeal here allows my brain to easily paper over whatever cracks are present in practicality. The fact is that seeing Action Masters interacting with a reproduction of the franchise’s most infamous bad guy in larger-scale vehicle form is so much fun that I don’t really care if it’s not 100% perfect – it works more than well enough for me to have fun with!
Case in point, whilst Action Master Megatron is technically the right size to sit in the HISS cockpit, he’s also altogether too chunky to allow for the canopy to close once he’s in there. Sadly, there are very narrow slows for the legs to fit inside, and there’s simply no way he’s going in there entirely flush without the window remaining open. Still, he can do a cracking job at manning the revolving turret up top, and the whole thing looks impeccable when flanked by other classic Action Master vehicles!
There’s just something so exceptionally satisfying, even in a very niche sense, in thinking how the 1990 Megatron toy was the first example of the character being associated with a tank mode, and now here he is with two to choose from, one of which turns into a larger take on his own robot mode. I don’t know if this isn’t something that will mean as much to everyone out there, but it’s pressing some very specific buttons in terms of my collecting goals.
Yes, I’m already imagining a whole squadron of Collaborative GI Joe vehicles crewed by their Action Master counterparts! As excited as I was to see such crossover figures announced, this has unlocked a whole new area of potential that I cannot help but hope might continue apace.
After all, there are already rumours of an upcoming Soundwave figure which would turn into the GI Joe vehicle known as Thunder Machine. No part of me thinks this wouldn’t be a welcome accompaniment to what you see above.
Oh, and with the Autobots now getting in on the act, the possibilities are endless! If you can have scenes like this with just two GI Joe crossover toys, where could it end?
All of this means that HISS Tank Megatron is nothing shy of a marvel in this mode and fulfils some long-term wish fulfilment in many regards. Join us next time when we’ll see if that also carries over to robot mode!