I got into G.I. Joe in its 3rd year, so while I hadn’t missed the VAMP (or the VAMP 2) at retail, other “basic” vehicles were vying for my attention and dollars — the Snow Cat, the A.W.E. Striker. But the VAMP is such a visible part of the first ten episodes of the animated show that I always wanted one. And even though my family wasn’t connected to military culture I knew from magazines and history that the iconic military Jeep was, well, iconic. So I always wanted G.I. Joe’s Jeep to be a part of my toy play. (Our agents of Cobra had their Stingers — the VAMP repainted in black — and I did finally get a bright yellow VAMP in the form of the Tiger Sting, but not until G.I. Joe’s 8th year. Don’t feel bad for me, though, my Joes did well with the Snow Cat and A.W.E. Striker.)
Wayne Luther was part of the R&D team that brought back G.I. Joe at the 3.75-inch size in 1982. He designed the vehicles. His drawings are stunning. Each vehicle was depicted from multiple angles, with details for exploded views, parts, and mechanisms. We’re often focused on character art in G.I. Joe, but to see a Wayne Luther vehicle drawing is to really understand the brand. Half the line was vehicles!
I only have two images for what turned into the VAMP, and even with the loss of detail that comes from old photocopies (or copies of copies!), you can see precision, care, and passion here.
What did the VAMP mean to you?