1989 Muskrat (Night Force)

1989 Muskrat (Night Force)

Collectors really suck the fun out of things, don’t we? The Night Force is one of those subjects: It’s an undeniably cool sub-team, but seeing mass produced children’s toys hit upwards of $200 makes one call so much into question. Are they that rare? Are they that cool? Are they that much better than the normal versions that are barely worth 10% of that? The hype around them makes it hard to really form an objective opinion on the toys, regardless of it’s good or bad.

Muskrat here could be chalked up to one of the more mid-tier Night Force entries. The original ‘88 Muskrat was already an especially strong figure, and this recolor doesn’t change that very much. A major positive is that he now features an extra color, where V1 Muskrat was entirely green with some black details, Night Force Muskrat now has black pants that contrast with his blue vest and various olive details. The olive and black colors are pretty standard fare for the Night-Force, but the dark blue was a more unusual choice, only appearing on Muskrat and Charbroil from the same year. It looks a little Cobra-esque to me, but I like it; it makes the group more interesting for the addition. Also, for whatever it’s worth it’s almost the same color later seen on Battle Corps Muskrat (who I hate).

I think the added color makes him a tiny bit better than V1 Muskrat. Despite that, the difference in quality is negligible, and were it not for the fact that I got this one in a nifty lot, I’d probably never pursue him. He doesn’t really do anything that a normal Muskrat doesn’t already look good enough doing, and I really don’t have a compulsive desire to own everything Night Force like I might feel for Tiger Force or Python Patrol. That’s not to say anything bad about this figure, but he just seems kind of interchangeable with a normal figure, compared to the more theme-heavy sub-teams. I’ve sometimes wondered if Night Force was meant to stand on it’s own a little less, given their limited nature as TRU exclusives and the fact there was barely enough figures to fully crew some of their vehicles.

An oddity about these figures I’ve encountered is that they always have either super-tight joints or broken leg-pins. My Muskrat has a dead knee and Crazylegs had two, but my Tunnel Rat is so tight I get scared posing him. The plastic on the figures feels solid, so it’s not like the Slaughter’s Marauders stuff, it’s just like the plastic tolerances themselves were off. Or maybe I’ve just not been lucky with the four or so figures I own, you guys tell me.

Muskrat includes a Benelli Super 90 shotgun (Some folks call it an M3 or M4, but the M3 wasn’t even produced until ’89.), a machete and a boogie board just like the original, just now all in black. The original had a baby-blue machete, so it’s a bit of an upgrade, though these parts showed up in a lot of places in black. Numerous ‘93 and ‘94 figures had similar accessories, so this one’s not really unique for that. The boogie board is unique, but also not really something I find much value in having, since I never use the green one either.

So the last Night Force Muskrat, with all of his parts, went at auction for $204… Incomplete figures trend between $70 and $50, with the boogie board being the hard part to come by (makes ya wonder about all those machetes and shotguns). The part I find bewildering, is the sort of vacant reasoning for why you’d pay that much for this figure. He’s cool, but for $200 wouldn’t you want an exotic foreign figure, or maybe some odd mail-away? A squad of rarer army-builders? A convention figure? Even with current pricing, there’s a lot of more interesting items you could chase in that price bracket than the Night Force repaint of a relative no-name. The world wonders.

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1989 Muskrat (Night Force) Links:

Forgotten Figures

Half the Battle

3D Joes

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4 Responses to 1989 Muskrat (Night Force)

  1. HitandRun says:

    I totally agree with you on this one. Night Force is the coolest sub-team to me in terms of the figures, however the price point in collecting NF figures made me decide that they were not a must have. When I was heavy into my most recent era of ARAH collecting and would come across a LOT of several figures with a NF figure as one of the figures I would do my best to win the auction knowing that I could flip the NF figure for a fairly significant ROI.

    As for NF Muskrat he’s a really cool looking figure, I like the color scheme but then again as you stated his original design was pretty spot on. To pay $200+ dollars for a single figure is something I can’t wrap my mind around. I will say I do regret not acquiring NF figures back in the mid-2000s when the prices were still reasonable during my first dive back into ARAH.

    I haven’t scoured EBAY in the past 6 or so months but as you stated it seems that NF still remains a popular and out of my budget subteam to collect. This seems to be consistent over the past 6 years or so.

  2. A-Man says:

    There used to be a lot of Toy R Us. And they stocked the shelves. So these cannot be too rare. Though, they are still US releases only, I think even Canada didn’t get them. That’s part of the mystique. They aren’t exactly 12 of the most popular characters, with Falcon and Tunnel Rat and Outback being the most fan liked of the line-up character-wise.

    Sky Patrol had new heads were visually more interesting that most of Night Force, but don’t get as much hype.

    No, I wouldn’t pay $200.

  3. Dak Knomadd says:

    Without looking it up, my recollection is that Muskrat was the least improved of any Night Force edition figures. The only viable use I see for this is to put the black pants on the original’s torso to get the best of both, without paint. That usage is definitely cost prohibitive AF at a tiny fraction of the price.

  4. Mike T. says:

    This was one of the few NF figures I owned. But, he got sold in the purge. I’ve wanted to use him once or twice. But, in each case, the 1988 figure worked just as well. And, that’s the biggest indictment of the figure. He’s great if you have him. But, you don’t need him since the ’88 is just as good. And, at 10x the price of the ’88, it becomes a no-brainer to just go with the original figure.

    The skyrocketing prices of the lower production run figures is weird. It seems that pricing has changed from linear to exponential due to rarity…except when it doesn’t for later run figures. But, NF figures used to be really common to see in childhood collections. It was just that everyone had either 2 or 4 of them rather than an entire set. So, yeah, there’s more of them out there than people realize. But, that doesn’t bother people overpaying for common Funskool, Stardusters or the Tin Platoons.

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