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Tunnel Rat

GI Joe Renegades
by yo go re

The technology to give toys a smell has existed for years. Thankfully, this one doesn't use it.

Tunnel Rat is a street-wise infiltration expert. He has a small, wiry build and can get into tight spaces like air ducts and sewers. He is also right at home in dark places like subway tunnels. Because he knows many natural healing rememdies, he ends up becoming the group's medic whenever someone gets hurt.

Tunnel Rat was never the most popular Joe, but he took a star turn in Renegades. Matthew Yang King voiced him as a sarcastic little guy, and it was great. It all fit with what we knew about him before, but took it further. He really was the breakout star of the show, and since it's ended, you can't even read him in a comic without hearing that distinctive voice in your head. Tunnel Rat is no longer just a gimmick and a famous face, he's an actual character, and that's never a small feat!

Speaking of famous faces, this figure doesn't have one. You know that the original Tunnel Rat was based on Larry Hama, while this one looks like nobody. It doesn't even look like the cartoon, because instead of doing "animated" figures, Hasbro opted to untoon the characters, thus allowing them to better integrate with existing collections.

Nicky shares his torso with Duke, but everything below the waist is new - it would have to be, because there is no other adequate way to create his pants. See, Tunnel Rat wears tan overalls that he folds over at the waist, and there's certainly no one else who dresses similarly enough to allow for a repaint. You can tell they're looking forward, though, because while Tunnel Rat the character is shorter than everyone else, Tunnel Rat the action figure is full-sized; he's even taller than Duke, so clearly Hasbro plans to get more use out of these legs in the future. Don't want to limit them to shorties, right?

Of course, if you're putting the figures on display, you can always have Tunnel Rat kneeling or crawling around in the dirt to hide his height. The figure has a balljointed head, injection molded shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists (yeah, they stepped back from the swivel/hinge wrists - probably because of the cost of his pants), balljointed torso and hips, double-hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles. Nicely, the folded-over coveralls don't really limit the range of his hips at all.

Another reason they may have skipped the superfluous wrist joints? The sheer "Pursuit of Cobra"-style avalanche of accessories he comes with. They're all reused, but there really are a lot of them, and some you probably haven't seen before. We start with a silver snub-nose revolver and an M-60 with scope, taken from Resolute Tunnel Rat. He has POC Snow Job's camp stove and phone, the VAMP's entrenching tool, Dialtone's laptop, a really neat multitool, and a heavy-duty flashlight (probably from a Firefly I don't have). [You forgot to mention his new scarf and Snake-Eyes' harness/backpack --ed.]

He also has a bomb-disposal robot, which was previously only available as a JoeCon exclusive, and in one of the rare Rise of Cobra Walmart battle sets. It has six rolling wheels, a hinged claw arm on one end and two antennae in the back. He never used anything like it on the cartoon, but so what? It's a cool accessory and suits Tunnel Rat's primary military specialty (explosive ordnance disposal). There's impressive detailing on both the top of underside of the drone, so this is a top-notch accessory.

Renegades was an awesome cartoon, and it would have been really nice if Hasbro had managed to get these figures to stores while it still, you know, "existed," because seeing a toy this cool might have drawn more viewers to the source material. Tunnel Rat really is great, other than being too tall, but that one flaw is no reason to skip him.

-- 03/02/12

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