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For as long as there have been stompers, there have been stomper clones. While they tend to enjoy limited success, it's hard to argue with the fact that the original stomper competitor, LJN's Rough Riders, were the toughest competition they ever had. Just like stomper, they diversified over the years and had playsets, but also went that extra step of branching in to pop culture. With tie-ins to pop culture hits like the A-Team, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider, The Dukes [of Hazzard], Smokey and the Bandit, Airwolf, Dune and Pole Position.


I still have my A-Team playset!

When Rough Riders went from on/off to 3 speeds, this was called Tri-Ex. They also had Water Divers than ran underwater. They even swiped the wheelie action from Stomper. I tend to forgot that the Rough Riders conical hubcaps allowed them to drive on their sides.

They even had a line of military vehicles. It was called Marines at first and then it was called O.M.N.I. Force with OMNI standing for Official Military Night Invaders. Since the Marine Corp name is trademarked, I'm guessing they got creative and came up with the OMNI name to replace it. Both lineups consist of the same 6 vehicles: Invader Command Jeep (6431), NX Missle Launcher (6432), N-70 Assault Tank (6433), Tank Gunner Attack Truck (6434), Mobile Radar Tracker (6436) and Ground Commando Half Track (6437). The biggest difference was the change from camoflage coloring to a straight green color. Well that and the name change on the graphics of the vehicles. Omni also added a helicopter (6447) that was just a green version of the grey A-Team helicopter that could pick up and release a vehicle.
 

I can't say I remember them, but LJN made Rough Riders Switch Force where you "press the secret switch" and it becomes a battle vehicle. I want to say it seems like it's trying to compete with M.A.S.K. but it's funny that they rip off the transformers tagline and go with "more than they appear to be!"

The people who owned most of LJN also bought Matchbox and eventually merged the companies. This parent company started selling LJN toys under the Matchbox name in Europe. This would explain the backstory of Retromash posting this 1984 matchbox catalog here where pages and 54-58 are dedicted to rough riders. This was a British catalog so it adds some credence to this development. It also explains why the packaging was printed in English/French/German. Plus, of the handful of images I've found, most have European price tags on them. The only problem is how this jives with other stories about the history of LJN but I'm not going to worry about that here.

Note: Retromash has some Rough Riders photos at this link
 
 

The funny thing about having matchbox branding is that eventually Matchbox Power Scouts Adventure System would come to be in 2008 and then fade away after 2009. They came in both 4x4 (6 models that came with winches + at least 2 construction vehicles + 3 military vehicles) and 6x6 versions (4 models). The 4x4 was single speed while the 6x6 had two speeds and working lights. Both were powered by a lone AA battery. The 4x4s are basically the same size as Defiants. The winch could be mounted in the front or the back. I don't love the tap on and off feature, but the removable tires are appreciated. There were at least 5 power scout courses you could purchase as well. Most of the playsets came with a (monorail) that the power scouts could follow thanks to two guide rails on the bottom of the vehicles.
 
 

2010 saw Defiants come on the market, I gave them their own seperate page here
 
 
 

Are Stomper-like vehicles completely dead in the modern era?


Mindscope Products Neon Glow Twister Track (circa 2012)

When Tinco was putting out the last batch of official stompers, they also released a Safari Park playset made with their "Stomper Speedy" lineup. The playset included tracks you put together and two speedy stompers - The speedies only had one speed ("high") and did not claim to be 4x4s. They only had two designs, each design coming in 3 different prints. I never had a speedy one myself, but from the pictures I see, the wheels look very similar to a glowing track set we got for Christmas 2012. See, you can still buy a product that is often billed as "Magic Tracks", "Glow Race", "Glow Trax", etc. Basically it's a stomper sized, one speed vehicle that has black light LEDs on the front and back. As the cars drive the tracks, the tracks begin to light up. [note: we also have a Dino inspired track kit with a similar but non-glowing vehicle in it]
 


 

 

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