G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary Tunnel Rat (G.I. Joe: Renegades)
Thanks in large part to the awesome voice acting abilities of Matthew Yang King, Tunnel Rat was one of the most popular characters in the G.I. Joe: Renegades animated series. He had a total lack of military aesthetic and every other word was a sarcastic wise crack, yet somehow, the fans seemed to latch onto him, and he really became a popular element of the animated series. He pulled just the right elements of the classic Tunnel Rat from G.I. Joe: The Movie in 1987 and thankfully forgot any of the total off-the-wall nature of the Sigma 6 version.
But really, one had to wonder just how Hasbro could possibly translate Tunnel Rat's very unique animated appearance into an effective toy. The answer? Just like this.
This Tunnel Rat figure is the perfect bridge between animated exaggeration, real world design, and a military style. It's quite obvious this Tunnel Rat figure is not a by the books military operative, but really, when it comes to G.I. Joe, who is? At least he's not wearing a football jersey.
The figure appears to borrow the torso and arms from existing tooling, but the head and from the waist down are all new, and it couldn't have been done any other way. I've had this figure for a number of days now, and I still cannot help but just stare in wonder at how the designers were able to perfectly integrate the flipped-down overalls into an effective figure. But they certainly did it.
Now I'm one of the few fans out there who would have loved to have seen truly animated action figures to go along with the G.I. Joe: Renegades cartoon, but with a figure like this, Hasbro has taken the animated feel and perfectly blended it with the real world sculpting of the G.I. Joe toyline into a figure that works as a nice, natural progression of the Tunnel Rat character, yet is also an absolute tie-in to the unfortunately short-lived G.I. Joe: Renegades animated series.
One unfortunate thing...Hasbro didn't think to make the figure any shorter than any others. One of Tunnel Rat's unique characteristics is his "sparkplug" personality. He's an aggressive, sarcastic, wise cracking character, made only funnier because of his smaller stature. This figure is actually taller than Renegades Duke, which is a bit of a shame. I understand making the figure shorter is a tough call, and the 25th Anniversary version ended up looking a little silly when they tried to accomplish that, but when standing in display, Tunnel Rat's tallness is a bit jarring.
I love this figure because of that. He is a clear and distinct departure from earlier versions of the Tunnel Rat figure, yet sitll has that very unique look and feel that we've grown used to with Nicky Lee. The sculpting of this figure is fantastic, from the aforementioned turned down overalls, to the baggy pants, and the new head sculpt. He has an impressive amount of articulation, even if the overalls do restrict some hip movement slightly. Also, unfortunately Hasbro did not include the improved wrist articulation either, which is a real shame. Over the past year or so, we've grown so used to that, it's now an official step back if we don't get it, especially in the main retail line. Understandable with the 7-packs, but not so much the main line.
Color wise he's got a lot of grays and tans, but it works nicely and is a great representation of the color scheme from G.I. Joe: Renegades.
Wow...now as for Tunnel Rat's accessories. He's got a LOT of them. Unfortunately, none of them are new, and most of them just have to float around, with nowhere to be carried on the figure itself, but it's still impressive to see this sheer number of different accessories coming with the figure.
The bomb disposal robot (initially released with the GIJCC Longarm and the Rise of Cobra Outpost Defender) is a cool addition, even if he never used it in the show. He's got a simple scarf, the webgear and backpack from G.I. Joe: Resolute Snake Eyes, the pan and hot stove from PoC Snow Job, and tools from the Comic Pack Firefly. Of course he also has the heavy machine gun and bipod that the original 25th Anniversary Tunnel Rat came with as well.
Hasbro really pulled all sorts of gear from all different arenas of recent Joe releases, which is neat, and the included gear makes sense for Tunnel Rat's specialty in the animated series, but I do wish we had seen a bit more newness.
It's obvious throughout Wave 3 especially that continued cost reductions did sacrifice some of the different aspects of the line we were hoping to see. Tunnel Rat does seem relatively unchanged from previous pictures, but he might be about the only one. Aesthetically this figure is fantastic. He's a perfect marraige between the Renegades version and the real world design, but a lack of new weapons and slightly reduced articulation does drop him down.
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