Hello there! Today we’re going to take a look at two of Funskool’s repaints/remolds of the venerable GI Joe VAMP, which were both released in 2018. It’s possible that Funskool is still making these today, as well.
Update: 9/7/21: Rony informs me that Funskool has been making the MRF and Police Jeeps since the early 00s and that they’re releasing a black Army Jeep soon. See Tweet below.
Ostensibly, these both fall under the “Giggles” imprint, which is where Funskool releases its preschool and early childhood toys. Only one of the two VAMPs has any Giggles branding on its box, but eCommerce sites seem to list both of them as Giggles releases.
My friend Rony (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) sent me the Army Jeep (green one) and I bought the MRF Racing Jeep (red one) from eBay while prices were still reasonable (around $20 shipped). I did also order the Police Jeep (blue one), but it never showed up and the seller deleted their own account. So I possess neither the Police Jeep nor the money I spent on the Police Jeep. It’s sadly too expensive for me to even consider buying one now.
This post will be done in more of an image gallery/mini-review format. I didn’t want to write a full review, but I did want to share the toys with you. Also, I used my photo tent for these pictures, and I’m still not an expert with it. You’ll notice some of the background colors, saturation levels, and brightness levels are a bit inconsistent. So please forgive me. Regardless, I think the photos are good enough for you to get a good feel for the toys.
Let’s get to it.
Funskool MRF Racing Jeep
Here’s the marketing copy I found for the toy:
“Time for the cross country rally to start. Nothing can bear the MRF Racing Jeep. It even has a spare petrol tank and a spare removable wheel – so no breakdowns.“
The Funskool MRF Racing Jeep comes in a nice, but simple, box. You pull the top lid off and are left with a simple cardboard tray containing the toy. There are no instructions. My toy came pre-assembled with the stickers already applied. All I had to do was attach the steering wheel and gas cans.
Instead of featuring a gun or missile turret like various Hasbro VAMPs and Stingers, the top-rear of the vehicles houses a spare tire. Apparently it’s removeable, but I haven’t been able to pry it off.
Both the MRF Racing Jeep and the Army Jeep have four of these odd little metal brackets, which you can see in several of the photos here. I’m not sure what purpose they serve.
I’m not sure what ‘MRF’ stands for but, I do know that it has nothing to do with the slightly-problematic bit/plot point from Arrested Development that has not aged very well. The ‘R’ probably stands for racing, at least.
(Update 9/8/21: Thanks to Mike T. for letting me know that MRF stands for Madras Rubber Factory. You can find more in-depth info in his comment below.)
This is a great, sturdy toy. The axles are still metal and the wheels roll freely. The gas cans and steering wheel all stay where they’re supposed to. The plastic feels good. It also fits figures as well as any VAMP ever has.
The stickers are, of course, a little bit corny. And if they all come packaged like mine did, you’ll have to remove them yourself if you don’t like them.
The red and white color scheme, plus the racing logos means this is in no way a military vehicle. And I’m okay with that!
I love having a few “civilian” type vehicles in my GI Joe collection.
The Funskool MRF Racing Jeep makes a great vehicle for Corps! civilians, undercover GI Joe operatives, a vehicle that had to be commandeered on an operation, a Dreadnok vehicle, or just a racing jeep. I see a ton of uses for it, and I always have a good time including it in photos. It’s something totally different for a GI Joe collection.
Verdict: This is a really fun, well-made toy. If you balk at the stickers, the color, or its status as a non-military vehicle, you may not like it. I personally find it adds a ton of interest and a ton of possibilities to a GI Joe collection. It’s also a toy you can actually play with. If you can find it for a decent price, it’s Recommended.
Funskool Giggles Army Jeep
Here’s the marketing copy I found for the toy:
“Funskool army jeep is a fun way to keep your toddler engaged. Your child can drag the jeep along any surface and let it run non-stop. The vigorous free wheel movement and sound produced is sure to give them immense pleasure. The fun toy hones children’s motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. Playing with the toy jeep teaches them the difference in speed with pressure variation. It is a good way to keep active children busy.”
Much like the MRF Racing Jeep, the Funskool Giggles Army Jeep is meant for toddlers. So get off your high horse, pal. We’re all playing with dolls made for babies here.
The Funskool Giggles Army Jeep is rendered in a very nice dark green plastic. It’s different than the various releases of the VAMP, and honestly pretty different than any other GI Joe vehicle I can think of, but it’s a great color for an Army Jeep.
As with the MRF Racing Jeep, this Army includes a (theoretically removeable) spare tire instead of a mounted gun. It also comes with a steering wheel and gas cans, which come loose in the box.
I can’t find the message, but I have a hazy recollection of Rony telling me he put the vehicle together before he sent it. Neither vehicle I received had any shrink wrapping or tape to seal the boxes, so anything is possible.
For the average collector, the biggest sticking point with this one is going to be the stickers. They do detract from the toy’s “military realism,” but I love them. This is also a toy made for literal preschoolers.
I find the stickers make this into my favorite kind of Funskool release– one that’s a bit whimsical and strange, but is still a blast to play with, photograph, and integrate into a larger GI Joe collection. I personally love that the Giggles Army Jeep does something totally different than the billion VAMP releases we’ve been exposed to over the years.
As with the MRF Racing Jeep, this toy is sturdy. The plastic feels good and it rolls nicely. Minus the gas cans and steering wheel, I think you could actually give this to a toddler and not expect any problems.
It also fits figures just as well as any other VAMP release does.
I find this vehicle works very well with almost any ARAH-style GI Joe figure from almost any era. I love how it looks with Hasbro Clutch and Rock n Roll, and I love how it looks with actual Funskool figures, too. The bright red “Funskool” brand sticker might be the worst thing about it, but I find it funny enough that I don’t want to remove it.
This is a vehicle I often use in photos. It adds some interest beyond what a normal VAMP might, and the colors are subdued enough that they blend in with pretty much anything I want to do. It also tends to bring in a lot of “what the hell is this jeep?” comments, which are some of my favorite comments.
Verdict: I love this toy. It’s nicely done and it’s a little bit weird, which is my favorite combo. It’s up there as one of my all time favorite Funskool releases. It’s subtle enough to have some real utility in a GI Joe collection, but also possesses a level of whimsy that elevates it above other repaints. This seems to be the most expensive of the recent Giggles Jeeps, but if you can find one at a price you like it’s Highly Recommended.
Funskool VAMP Repaint Comparison Photos
Here are some fun comparison photos so you can see the two jeeps alongside one another, and what the Army Jeep looks like with a Hasbro release.
I only own a 25th Anniversary VAMP from Hasbro, but it will have to do. In farness to me, it’s a great toy that does everything the original does and works perfectly with ARAH figures. If you don’t have a VAMP, it’s a pretty good one to get even if you don’t collect Modern Era figures.
Thanks for reading!
I’m still bummed about never getting the blue Funskool VAMP, as I think it looks like a ton of fun and would be perfect for either DEF figures or Corps! police figures. Oh well.
Do you own any of these vehicles? If you don’t, are they something you’re interested in? How well do you think they integrate with a “serious” GI Joe collection? Let me know in the comments!