1990 Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat

1990 Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat

Tunnel Rat’s a good figure who’s also been the recipient of a number of good repaints. After the figure debuted in ‘87, it went on to get a repaint for the Night Force, Sonic Fighters, a Funskool release, another Night Force release, Desert Patrol, and finally a comic pack figure. Each of these repaints are pretty decent, though the Sonic Fighters one is one I’ve had since my childhood, so I felt like looking at it recently.

A few of the Sonic Fighters repaints are some really solid releases that are arguably better than their original counterparts. Falcon and Law, for example, are very high quality repaints. Tunnel Rat on the other hand, isn’t particularly interesting or special. You swap his green shirt for a maroon one, and his black pants for drab khakis, It’s not actually a terrible color-scheme per say, just not really useful or interesting like some of the others.

The problem with Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat, is that he’s simply not the best at anything. If you want a realistic looking figure, the original is by far the best. If you want a bright and interesting looking toy, the Funskool version is better for that. Which leaves us with this version, which doesn’t have much of a niche. In it’s own right, this is an alright looking figure, but would I recommend it over one of his other repaints? Probably not.

Some decent parts were included in this release, though nothing earth shattering. While the oversized Sonic Fighters backpacks are generally maligned items, I think Tunnel Rat’s is kind of cool- it features a sculpted on ammo box with more feeds for his LMG, so at least the details match up nicely. You also get his classic LMG, an ’87 Cobra Commander gun, a Knockdown gun, and a mortar from the ‘85 Snow Serpent. I have a hard time associating this mortar with anything besides a Snow Serpent, though it’s a nice bonus either way.

The noobie filled Joe market has this guy going for about $20 complete. Like a lot of 90‘s figures, he does have a lot of parts to look out for, and I’m not sure the production numbers on these Sonic Fighters were all that high (probably in the ballpark of Python Patrol and Tiger Force, thought that’s just a guess). I expect once the economy improves, a lot of nostalgia hipsters will outgrow toys again and go off to go buy cars and fishing equipment. For now however, this guy goes for more than he’s worth.

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1990 Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat Links:

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4 Responses to 1990 Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat

  1. A-Man says:

    As far as comparable to Python Patrol in numbers, the Sonic Fighters got European releases and Python Patrol didn’t. How ever that factors. Python Patrol had larger cases, though, most likely, than deluxe figures would.

    I recall Sonic Fighters hanging around a grocery store for sometime back in 1991-92. (Yes, they are listed as 1990, but they were a late release that didn’t saturate until 1991) I didn’t get any more than one of each because at $6 they were twice the cost of standard figures.

    Tunnel Rat was a Hama favorite (based on his likeness!) so this was way to get the character years after the other two releases were discontinued. I mean the selection for sonic fighters seemed a bit random. Viper and T-Rat had already gotten repaints. Law without his dog? A BF-2000-less Dodger not all that different? Not-quite Night Force Dialtone. Lamprey was the most inspired.

    Somehow the red shirt makes him more…90’s.

  2. Mike T. says:

    I think you nailed it with this figure. He’s not bad, maybe even good. But, he’s probably the worst Tunnel Rat figure until that terrible comic pack version in 2005. He really offers nothing that you can’t get with other figures.

    I’d have bought this figure had I seen it at retail just to get a version of Tunnel Rat’s rifle. But, I don’t even own one of these today. There’s enough other Tunnel Rat’s to easily ignore this guy.

    The Sonic figures are one of the unheralded subsets in the line. All the figures are good. The colors are fine and the extra gear was great. But, you can also argue that none are better than their original versions and are, somewhat, unnecessary.

  3. I was too young to get the original Tunnel Rat at retail, but I did get the 88 Night Force version and then this one. I always liked the NF one better as a figure, although he was somewhat less useful once I’d lost his flashlights and broken his TNT satchel (expensive childhood mistakes!). Once I got the original at a flea market he was the main version for the rest of my childhood. But recently the Sonic version has grown on me. The tone of the pants has some interesting depth to it, beyond the ordinary khaki, and I like the look of the silver patch on the maroon shirt. It fits well with the large number of 90-92 figures that aren’t outright neon, but are still interestingly colored, not just khaki and olive drab.

    I do wish Hasbro had been more thoughtful with the Sonic Fighter accessories. It’s nice that Sonic Tunnel Rat included his original machine gun, but what about a flashlight, a Colt .45, or a submachine gun? That would’ve given him some useful options within his original specialty. The weapons he did come with were useful to me as a kid who hadn’t bought much before ’89 at retail, but they didn’t really fit Tunnel Rat.

  4. R.T.G. says:

    I really like this figure. The colours are muted, and kind of bizarre, but at the same time very pleasing. Overall I think most of the Sonic repaints are pretty solid (Rock ‘N Roll is pretty bogus, though.) and work together quite well.

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