G.I. Joe: PAC RAT Machine Gun (Hasbro, 1983)

Falcon controls the Machine Gun PAC RAT

When G.I. Joe re-launched in the 3 3/4" scale in 1982, I thought they were the most amazing toys that I had ever seen!  The second wave added to the fun with more action figures, more vehicles, and more accessories!  Three of the smaller sets released in wave two were mobile weapons called "PAC RATs" (or Programmed Assault Computer Rapid All Terrain).  There was a Missile Launcher, a Flame Thrower, and a Machine Gun.  Your Joes could control these mobile weapons with tiny, hand-held remote controls.  For about the price of a new GI Joe figure, you could pick up one of these weapons and give your Joes some serious firepower!

A single PAC RAT Machine Gun could take out a platoon of Cobra Troops!

In 1982 and 1983, I wanted any toy I could get for the GI Joe line and the low price allowed me to add all three of the PAC RATs to my collection!  There were so many awesome GI Joe figures and vehicles at the time that I have to admit the PAC RATs didn't get the attention that would have received if they had arrived in my collection just before wave two hit the shelves, but they were cool and they did have a place on my carpeted battlefield.

The blueprints for my vintage Machine Gun PAC RAT from 1983

Today, I'm focusing on the Machine Gun PAC RAT.  I could have included all three here.  It seem like the three PAC RATs are typically lumped together any time they show up.  If I see a review, it's a review of all three.  When they first came out, they appeared in issue #19 of the GI Joe comic book and all three appeared at the same time.  In the Sunbow GI Joe cartoon, the PAC RATs rolled into battle in a single file line and were almost always shown together.  However, I thought it would be good to give the Machine Gun PAC RAT some attention separate from the others.

PAC RATs first appeared in GI Joe comic book #19

The Machine Gun PAC RAT had four barrels, all pointing in the same direction.  The two outer barrels were able to move up and down and all four could swivel right and left making it a great way to take out a large number enemy troops.  The body of this particular PAC RAT was mounted on a pivoting carriage over two pairs of wheels.  The front two wheels moved separately from the two back wheels allowing the PAC RAT to turn left and right.  I don't know if anyone else had this problem, but ever since I was a kid, when I would pick up this guy, at least one pair of wheels would fall off (if not both pair).  As with all of the PAC RATs, the Machine Gun PAC RAT could be programmed in advance or controlled by your Joes with a remote.  For the Machine Gun PAC RAT, the remote looked like some kind of off-brand video game controller from the 80s.

Each PAC RAT had a very different remote controller.

Unlike many vintage GI Joe pieces, the PAC RATs can be purchased even now for pretty cheap.  Because each one had numerous pieces which could break or become lost, many of the PAC RATs that I've seen for sale are incomplete, but the replacement parts seem to cost about half of what it would cost to buy a complete PAC RAT.  With that in mind, if you're thinking about adding one to your collection, it's probably worth paying a few extra dollars to buy one that's already complete rather that trying to pick up a few missing pieces.

Falcon was the best choice to control the Machine Gun because
he was the only figure that could hold the remote control!

Do you collect G.I. Joe figures?  If so, what do you think of the PAC RATs?  Which vehicle or accessory is your favorite?  Tell me below in the comments!

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