Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Action Figure Review: Tunnel Rat from G.I. Joe: Classified Series by Hasbro

   Lately Hasbro has absolutely been releasing some of my favorite vintage Joes into the Classified Series: Low-Light, Shockwave, Chuckles, General Hawk, and now Tunnel Rat. 1986-1988 were my prime G.I. Joe buying years as a kid and when I first got into the lines, so my childhood favorites tend to come from those years. Tunnel Rat was another top tier favorite for me. I loved his outfit and just his general vibe. His flashlight holding backpack and oversized weapon were favorites, too. Based on the likeness of Larry Hama, the vintage Tunnel Rat was an impressive figure and Hasbro has translated him into the Classified Series nicely. I've always liked Tunnel Rat and even cosplayed the Sigma 6 version of Tunnel Rat at HeroesCon one time (maybe HeroesCon 2013 or 2014?). Ready for a look at the G.I. Joe team's E.O.D. and Combat Engineer? Then join me after the break...

The Facts:

Height: 6 inches

Articulation: Swivel/ hinge ankles, boot swivels, double hinged knees, swivel thighs, ball jointed drop down hips, ball jointed waist, mid-torso hinge, butterfly pecs, swivel/hinge shoulders, bicep swivels, double hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, ball jointed neck base, and a barbell jointed head.

Accessories: Backpack, 2 flashlights, knife, sheathe, night vision goggles, hip pouch, bandanna, satchel, holster, revolver, ammo belt, machine gun, and box magazine.

Non-Scalper Price: $25 dollars

The Positives:

* Tunnel Rat looks very similar to his vintage figure with mostly updates in his gear. His pants look a bit more modern, however, and he's sporting some tactical kneepads and fingerless gloves with pronounced knuckle ridges. Maybe useful for a fight in close quarters, eh? He's wearing lots of gear and stuff that can be easily removed if you need him to be sleeker for a mission. He's not a big guy which actually fits the description of the real Tunnel Rats in the Vietnam era; they tended to be guys of smaller stature who could easily fit into the complex tunnel systems of the Vietcong. He's sporting some camo paint on his face and arms and is sporting a grey bandanna tied around his neck. All stuff that probably helps him stay just a bit more concealed when the need arises. 

* It's not a perfect likeness but I can definitely see the Larry Hama inspiration in the sculpt. Tunnel Rat looks to be a rather young guy with a steely, focused gaze. He's wearing a bandanna and his face is covered with stripes of face print. It's a great portrait of Sgt. Nicky Lee. 

* There's so much cool stuff here. First of all, I love the Tunnel Rat patch on his left shoulder. It definitely resembles many of the Tunnel Rat patches you can find images of, though it's lacking the Latin motto of this unique group: Non Gratum Anus Rodentum. Tunnel Rat is also sporting a grenade and a Joe-Pro on the strap of his shoulder holster. 

* He's also sporting a satchel, presumably filled with explosive charges. It's definitely smaller than the large backpack he carries, so he can take it with him when he needs to downsize to fit through particularly small spaces. I did check and this is not reused from the Indiana Jones Adventure Series figures, at least not from one of the Indys I have.

* The articulation is excellent. While TR is toting lots of gear and pouches, it's easy to take it all off if you need him to slip into some truly tight places.  Everything is sturdy, the joints have a great range of motion, particularly his arms, and he looks awesome crawling, sneaking, shooting, or doing whatever it is you need him to do. 

* Tunnel Rat is wearing some very heavy duty pants that ought to serve him well when he's creeping and crawling through wherever he needs to be. He also has some good, sturdy kneepads and a removable pouch on his right hip to carry some extra supplies.

* Tunnel Rat has some serious four lens night vision goggles and they look incredible. He is definitely not going to be caught off guard when exploring some subterranean layer! I love those green lenses.

* Revolvers were popular with the real tunnel rats during the Vietnam War and Tunnel Rat is equipped with one. A suppressor would have been extra hear as suppressors were used on some .38 Specials since you don't want be blinded or go deaf when crawling through enemy tunnels. This revolver looks incredible. It's a gorgeous accessory.

* The revolver fits nicely into the holster strapped across Tunnel Rat's chest, where it's sitting at the ready.

* The real Tunnel Rats typically used pistols because it's hard to crawl through tiny spaces with a rifle, but the vintage Tunnel Rat figure did come with an M60 with a thermal scope. The Classified Series figure comes with a newer model, maybe something like an M60E6. It's a nice looking weapon and I imagine that Tunnel Rat does use it to help secure defensive positions for the team, accessing places the enemy wouldn't think about someone appearing from. 

* Not only is the box magazine removable but the built-in bipod also folds up. 

* That's a cool knife, isn't it? When you're in close quarters you need something sharp when stuff gets rough. Tunnel Rat's knife is pretty cool looking and looks very, very sharp.

* It slides right into the handy sheathe on his left thigh, too.

* The vintage Tunnel Rat had one of the largest backpacks in the vintage line. That sucker was huge! While he may not use this for truly crawling through tiny tunnels like the actual tunnel rats did in Vietnam, in exploring underground passages and such I imagine TR needs a lot of gear and brings it with him. Maybe he uses this pack and the gear in it as his mobile basecamp. It looks nice and has lots of sculpted pockets and straps.

* I usually did a pretty god job of keeping up with accessories as a kid but my vintage Tunnel Rat's two small flashlights disappeared. The Classified Series flashlights are quite similar to the vintage pieces though they have painted the lenses green (green lenses are excellent for night use as you can pick up more colors and they don't scare animals). The details on the flashlight are really impressive, too. Especially on such a small piece.

* The flashlights can fit into two ports on the top of the backpack, helping Tunnel Rat keep his tunnels lit.

* Tunnel Rat also comes with a belt of ammunition for his M60. This is something the vintage figure had, too, though here it is a removable piece.

The Negatives: 

*He looks a bit busy wearing it and it's definitely oversized for him. Tunnel Rat is smaller and more slender than most other Classified Series figures and the belt tends to slip off his shoulder quite easily. 

* Tunnel Rat's sleeves, shoulders, and shirt are all different colors. I wonder why Hasbro has trouble matching plastic colors like this?
   Tunnel Rat definitely captures everything I love about the vintage figure and just expands on it wonderfully. I love this guy so much! Yeah, there are a few small flaws, but nothing that really robs me of my enjoyment of the figure. And the impressive stuff like the excellent M60, the flashlights, night vision goggles, and an amazing headsculpt? They all impress. Tunnel Rat is an Epic figure and I'm even looking forward to the Night Force variant coming out. I had both Tunnel Rats as a kid and the red highlights on this new one just rock. Tunnel Rat; I'm proud of you, guy!

If you're looking for more of Tunnel Rat, I did review the G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 Tunnel Rat w/ Demolition Gear at JoeBattleLines back in 2006. 

For more G.I. Joe: Classified Series reviews check out the following:


  1. Solid update. Always liked vintage Tunnel Rat myself as a cool figure and his face being based on the Joe God that is Larry Hama. And this is a really nice Classified version.

    1. Tunnel Rat's accessories, both vintage and here, are just top notch. He's a really cool character.

  2. Agreed. Hasbro is picking some of the best figures to do Classified style. Tunnel Rat was the last figure I purchased. Even though I was a too cool for toys teenager at the time, his character and design, and accessories, made me a kid again, and I bought him and beachhead. I did wonder why a tunnel rat carried such a large weapon. The removable flashlights were also awesome.

    1. Yeah, the M60 styled gun is huge. I always assumed he also explored caves and such and set up firing positions where a machine gun was useful.


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