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Tunnel Rat vs. Monkey Wrench

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
by yo go re

As part of the Rise of Cobra toyline, Wal*Mart had a series of three two-packs featuring new Joes and Cobras. Well, not entirely new - they were all "movie" versions of existing RAH characters, and all made from repainted parts. But still, new to the movieverse.

Tunnel Rat is an explosives and demolitions specialist with the GI Joe team. He is an expert at deactivating the dangerous devices that Cobra plants as part of their plan to release nanomite weapons upon the world.

This figure is a straight repaint of Resolute Tunnel Rat, so for all the pertinent info, we'll just direct you to that review. What you need to know is that this figure's color scheme is based on the 1988 Night Force figure. He's wearing a black shirt, grey pants, brown shoes and green gloves. His bandana, neckerchief, belt and holster are the same green, and his bandolier is now red with copper bullets. He's still carrying a pistol and a huge rifle, but gets a black backpack the previous version didn't have. The satchel of TNT is now lime green, as well.

So that's the old; let's talk new.

Monkey Wrench works as an explosives expert in the Dreadnock gang led by the Cobra mercenary Zartan. This mechanically gifted thug can craft devices capable of anything from minor damage to catastrophic destruction.

You'll remember how the 2002 Monkey Wrench had been given a complete redesign, sharing no visual similarities with his G1 progenitor. Well, in the true Generation 3 style, this figure is back to basics: it's the disreputable Welshman we first met in 1986, yanked 24 years into the future. Which might actually be good news for him: it may mean that, like Sarah Connor, he leap-frogged his own death (he's one of the characters to bite it in the comics - more people were killed there than on the cartoon, but it was still rare).

Monkey Wrench is a burly man in a vest, so no surprise he's built primarily from Gung-Ho's body - the forearms and handss are different. His pants are dark blue, but they don't look as heavily weathered (ie, patches and bandanas) as the original's. His vest is maroon, and he's got Major Bludd's dogtags. He has a Dreadnok tattoo on his left arm, matching the ones Torch and Ripper have. The grenades across his chest are a separate piece - a new one, I think. It's not the same one on POD Snake-Eyes.

The figure's head comes from Outback, which means this Wal*Mart-exclusive set is still the widest release the piece has ever seen. The hair is brown, which is a bit too dark: they probably worried about making it too close to Outback's wild shock of red. Sadly, he's not wearing sunglasses - the fact that they were all wearing shades was one small feature that made the individualistic Dreadnoks look like they belonged together. If you have an extra Baroness, you can steal them from her.

Beyond the strap of grenades, Monkey Wrench has a backpack, a black satchel, a heavy revolver that fits in the holster on his leg, and a copy of the Eel's harpoon gun - definitely not the "MARS Industries D57-A extreme environment tactical rifle" mentioned on the filecard. Why a harpoon gun? Because that's what the original had. It's hard to get the backpack to stay in place with the bandolier and the pouch both running across his back, but it can be done.

Each of these two-packs includes a Joe and Cobra logo sticker, as well as an Arashikage hexagram temporary tattoo. They also each follow the time-tested pattern of "one interesting character, one lame character." Although, if you didn't get Resolute Tunnel Rat, this one might still be worth it to you. And hey, fun trivia fact: the original Night Force TR also came in a store exclusive two-pack, so this release homages him in yet another way! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go make Monkey Wrench some glasses.

-- 03/26/10

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