Review and photos by Patrick Robinson
One of the first vehicles released for the Real American Hero line in 1982, the Vamp has seen a couple updates and re-uses in its 25 years of service.
This version just may be the best yet.
Released with driver " Double Clutch" (who is listed on his included filecard and stand as " Clutch"), the current version is an extremely well thought-out update.
Same basic shell, of course, but some very nice new features. The gas cans and steering wheel are more detailed, the cannons are sturdier and less likely to bend and fray like the older ones did, and best of all, the hood actually opens to reveal the engine! As you can see in the pictures, the shovel on the fender, originally molded as a solid piece into earlier models, is detachable so Clutch can dig his latrines wherever necessary. The sleeping bag or tent roll, however you want to call it, also detaches from the hood so Clutch has someplace to sleep, hopefully upwind of the latrine. OK, so the sleeping bag doesn't actually unroll, but hey, it's a toy, you can call it however you want to.
You'll also note that the headlights and taillights, while they don't light up, are no longer stickers but reflective plastic, and if they catch the light the right way, give a much nicer effect that the original stickers did.
Flip the Vamp over, as Clutch has a tendency to do in rolling desert landscapes, and you see a lot of fine detailing put into the bottom of the vehicle, like bolt heads where the front winch would be, and general weathering on the rest of the bottom.
In all, the vehicle is a familiar face with lots of well-done plastic surgery.
Clutch himself is a lean, mean, driving machine, modeled along the lines of his original figure but with some very nice additions. The outer vest unclips, is completely removable, and looks good. A knife sheath and an ankle holster round out the improvements to the sculpt. Like the Steeler figure, the helmet doesn't quite cover his ears, but that's forgivable.
The arm articulation on the figure lends itself well to gripping the steering wheel, although the grip seems to loosen quickly so he has trouble holding weapons.
However, the design appears to have been geared toward actually letting Clutch drive, instead of resting his hands wherever they happened to land, and it works very well when he's driving.
So if you haven't broken down and picked up a Vamp yet, this would be a great version to get!
Double Clutch (v3)
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More action shots:
Additional Image from the collection of: Phillip Donnelly
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