Thursday, June 2, 2011

REVIEW: GI Joe Rise of Cobra Desert Rockslide ATAV with Dusty

Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010 [Cancelled] Re-Released 2011

Desert Rockslide All-Terrain Attack Vehicles (ATAVs) patrol the desert, looking for Cobra Troopers who dare to approach the GI Joe Pit Headquarters. These ultralight ATAVs cruise over dunes and rocky desert ground with IDW-4 fron and rear-suspension and an 860cc liquid-cooled engine. If intruders get too close, the ATAV's head toward them, missiles armed and ready to fire.

Dusty is a desert survival specialist on the GI Joe team. He is an expert in how to survive extreme temperatures, lack of water and the many other hazards that threaten anyone who ventures into the inhospitable desert areas. He makes sure the team is fully prepared as missions take them to arid regions in search of Cobra.

Packaging Shots

Dusty and the Desert Rockslide ATAV come from the Wave 3 Alpha Vehicles line, originally intended for a regular release but cancelled due to a lack of orders from the already-overstocked retailers. The toys were subsequently released overseas and - of late - in overstock outlets, such as Ross Dress for Less and Gabriel Brothers.

Dusty is a pretty decent toy, overall, especially for a ''bundled'' figure. His fatigues look cool and are nicely sculpted, with some good fold details and pockets, pouches and boot-strapping all adding a lot to the figure's look. Whilst it's a fairly mundane-looking uniform, it does what it does well and there's certainly a nice baggy look to it, especially around the cuffs and boot edges.

The basic figure comes with harness/webbing/straps already in-place. In isolation they seem a little strange, like there should be a shoulder holster attached but when you slot-in the backpack (see Extras below) they work really well as straps for that accessory.

Dusty features a removable helmet with goggles (more on that below.) The head sculpt beneath is OK for what it is but the paint app (see below) does it few favours.

Articulation is fine. Thankfully Hasbro decided against the longer style of jacket for Dusty, which would have meant including the coat tail ''belt'' accessory, as seen on some earlier Dusty releases and on figures such as Ice Storm. Although that accessory can add a lot of visual interest to the figures, it can also inhibit movement and given the seating position within the Rockslide, it's to the figure's favour that this was not included. 

Unfortunately the figure's baggy-pants sculpt does restrict knee movement a little and his gaiters do restrict his ankle articulation rather extensively.

Paintwork is paradoxically excellent and awful. The uniform's detailing is superb, with a digital/block-style of modern camo patterned across the various pieces and it looks great. It's cleanly applied and looks very realistic. Details such as his belt and the straps on his helmet are also neat and again, look great. It's when you come to the figure's face though that the paintwork becomes a let-down. Dusty features disruptive stripe lines across his face and - whilst the concept is an interesting one - the execution is poor, thanks to the way the camo covers his eyes and stops under his nose. It looks like he's been to the face painting booth at the County Fair and asked to be made-up as a friendly tiger. If you have the Pursuit of Cobra Dusty or Zartan, you could use the spare head to replace this one, something I certainly intend doing.

Desert Rockslide ATAV
So how does the Rockslide ATAV fare?

Overall it's not a bad vehicle, but I don't think it's up to the same standard as the Polar Sharc or Tiger Claw ATV. It's not that it suffers in the looks department or is very poorly manufactured. It's simply lumbered with a couple of design flaws that let it down somewhat.

Initially it's a little difficult to figure out what's going on with the vehicle, until you open the canopy cover. Within you'll find a seat and handlebars and it's easy enough to get Dusty to sit here and grip the controls. Unfortunately though, should you seat him within wearing his backpack, you'll find the canopy cover will not close. There's not really enough space within the cockpit to hold the backpack either, so you'll have to make a decision on how you want to display the pair: Dusty can sit within without the backpack or stand beside it with his pack in-place.

The second issue is that the Rockslide has all the vehicular properties of a house brick. There's a single wheel on the underside of the rear-mounted tracks to aid motion and... that's it. Give it a push and it will slide, sure, but I can say the same thing about the box it came in. 

I'm also not a fan of the way the top of the canopy cover is cast from clear plastic but the front section uses opaque plastic. This wouldn't be so bad if the colours were a closer match but as you can see in the above shot, they're not. The canopy's camouflage sections also appear to be in a slightly different tone of plastic to the main body and the camouflage pattern is more sharply defined. It's not a major thing but you do notice it.

The Rockslide ATAV has some pretty cool play features. There are twin, front-mounted missile launchers that will actually project the rather brightly-coloured missiles. And although this blue does appear to stand-out from the rest of the vehicle, Hasbro has tried to integrate it a little by adding blue fins to the smaller (cast-on) missiles, which is a nice touch.

The twin skis at the front are move-able and pivot from side to side. There's not a huge range of movement here but it's nice to see some moving parts. (And in case you were wondering, the Desert Rockslide is a re-paint of the previously-released Arctic Rockslide, hence the skis.) The rear-mounted tracks can also be pivoted, presumably to help the Rockslide drive over hostile terrain. Or do stoppies to impress chicks.

The basic sculpt is pretty good, on the whole. There are some nice details such as rivets along the panels, the track unit is visually engaging thanks to a lot of detailing within and the weapon-pods/skis look cool.

Overall it's not a bad vehicle and there are some nice touches, such as the front-mounted machine guns, the canopy cover action (which is very nicely engineered) and the look of the vehicle is quite cool. It's just a shame there are a few minor issues that stop it from being awesome.

Dusty comes with a removable harness, pop-in backpack, helmet (with removable goggles) and an assault rifle with detachable bi-pod.

On the whole the accessories are good. The helmet is a nice, snug fit and the goggles are particularly good, as you can leave them on his helmet or reposition them to cover his eyes (something I'd advise doing, as it helps mask his tiger face paint.)

The rifle is, sadly, cast from a very toy-ish grey plastic. It's not bad and the grade of plastic is fine in itself, but it does look a little out of place with Dusty's realistic camouflage.

The Rockslide ATAV comes with two missiles, transfers and an instruction sheet.

Final Thoughts
There's not a massive amount wrong with the Desert Rockslide ATAV or the included Dusty, but they both just lack that little special something.

Dusty's sculpt is neat, the camouflage is great and the figure is nicely painted - except for his face. But if you can get past that he's a pretty cool figure. Similarly the Rockslide looks good (on the whole), has a couple of cool firing missiles, has a great sculpt with a lot of details yet fails utterly as a vehicle. I'm sure most kids playing with it won't really notice that, as they'll be more likely to be pushing it along in-hand and collectors will be displaying it in-place, but if you're looking for something you can freewheel across the room at your attacking Cobra hordes, then look elsewhere, as this isn't it.

I wouldn't pay the full RRP for this toy - $15 is just too much. But at the $9 I found it for, I was more than happy to shell out and I'm sure you would be, too. For that price, it's a good little pack. It's just the Tiger Claw and Polar Sharc are also at that same price-point and I found them to be more fun.

If you're able to get this and the other vehicles from this Wave at a discount price then do so. You won't be disappointed. If you're forced to choose, then the Tiger Claw and Polar Sharc have the edge and I'd go with them before this toy. That's not to say this one is especially bad - it's just not as good as the other two - and there's still a lot of fun to be had with this toy.


Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB

Desert Rockslide ATAV
Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB+

Final ScoreB+
Image Gallery


  1. Seems like a average set trying hard to be a above average one and failing.

  2. It's not a bad set really - it's just the other two from this Wave I've Reviewed set the bar quite high and this doesn't quite measure up. But for $9 it's a pretty neat set - it's just the other two are better.


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