2004 TRU Night Force Tunnel Rat

2004 TRU Night Force Tunnel Rat

I’ve never been a fan of the 2004 Night Force set. It’s really not bad in retrospect, but the figures are a poor match for the superior vintage Night Force colors. The 2003 Python Patrol set was a far better update to the vintage Python colors compared to this, but there are a few interesting figures in this set. Today I’ll have a look at Tunnel Rat, who I feel is neither the best or worst figure included.

This set passed me by at retail without my knowledge (or caring), and when I got into collecting older item’s a few years later, this set was still at the bottom of my priorities. In fact, I’ve only acquired two thirds of the set to date, mainly through lots and the like. My disinterest in the figures spurns from a simple reason: they’re bland. The colors and details are pretty good across the set, but at a glance all I see is black.

Such is the case with Tunnel Rat. The vintage Night Force Tunnel Rat had a strong palette of colors without being boring to look at. The 2004 figure on the other hand, has an excessively dark color scheme. There’s a lot of colors and details in this deco, and really it’s a well decorated figure. It’s just that the colors are so dark you can hardly appreciate that, which is a massive shame.

Speaking of details, one thing that drives me nuts about 2000‘s Joes moreso than pinheads, terrible parts and poor mold choices is the usage of the full GI Joe logo. For some reason this became of visual trope of figures from this era, and Tunnel Rat features it on his leg like all the other figures in the set. It’s especially jarring on this figure where dark, realistic colors are part of the appeal, and then you just have a massive toy brand logo running down his leg. I really hate that.

For accessories, he included Red Star’s AK47, and V1 Firefly’s backpack and walkie-talkie. It’s a pretty weird situation when a figure comes with good parts, but still doesn’t really have a good loadout. I pretty much always enjoy getting a spare Firefly walkie, but the backpack without his tool tray is pretty off-putting. All in all, these parts are good things to have in a parts bin, but for Tunnel Rat, they don’t suit the character.

So, overall this Tunnel Rat is an okay figure. There’s a few worse versions of Tunnel Rat, such as the Sonic Fighters repaint, but that doesn’t make this figure’s problems any better. Nowadays completionists will pay a lot for the sparse appearance of this figure “complete”, but as the parts are totally generic, I don’t recommend bothering with them. Partsless, you can get this guy for about $6 or $7, and depending upon how you view the colors, that isn’t a terrible price. Most of these 2000‘s TRU exclusives have become a lot harder find and a lot more expensive, but the Night Force set hasn’t appreciated in value quite as much.

Tunnel Rat gi joe Short Fuze Downtown 1989 2004 2003 Toys R Us Night Force Hasbro ARAH
Tunnel Rat gi joe Short Fuze Downtown 1989 2004 2003 Toys R Us Night Force Hasbro ARAH

2004 TRU Night Force Tunnel Rat Links:

Yo Joe

Forgotten Figures


Generals Joes

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3 Responses to 2004 TRU Night Force Tunnel Rat

  1. A-Man says:

    Yeah, the TRU Night Force guys are so-so. With the new NF look, it’s like they tried too hard. They had the plaid shirts and different camo pattern for the pants. There’s a lot of paint ops, a lot more than the 80’s Night Force figures, but like you say, the figures come across as bland. The lack of original accessories only contributes to that more.

    Not sure the team needed unit color patterns, all this does if divide old NF and new. Previously you could shoe-horn in figures into NF, like 2000’s Pathfinder and “Dustline” from the Night Rhino.

  2. Mike T. says:

    I don’t mind these guys. The logos are distractingly annoying. But, by 2004, you overlooked those if you got decent molds in decent colors. The figure’s upper half could be supplanted to someone else’s legs to great effect. I was fortunate to find a few loose ’88 NF Tunnel Rat accessories at a 2nd hand shop right around this figure’s release. So, the proper gun and satchel go a long way towards redeeming things like the legs.

  3. cyko9 says:

    The original Tunnel Rat is one of those figures that’s already pretty much “Night Force”. I consider even his ’88 Night Force figure inferior to his ’87 version. This set is okay, but the consistency dilutes the individual characters. Plus, it’s weird that Flint & Action Man both copied Tunnel Rat’s facepaint exactly.

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