After weeks and weeks of searching I stumbled upon my next review at a random trip to get a Spanish dictionary. It seems my Walmart has finally decided to stock the new exclusive GI Joe Rise of Cobra 2 packs. These are only available at Walmart and I managed to snag them all. Over the course of the next week or so I hope to get in a review of every one of these sets. However it’s the Monkeywrench and Tunnel Rat set that I’ll be reviewing today.

Tunnel Rat saw a release earlier this year in one of the last sets of comic packs, under the new Resolute series. Monkeywrench has never been released before in the Generation 3 or GI Joe 25th style. Neither of these figures are painted in a way to be “movie” figures, so these are essentially two releases of modern vintage design figures snuck into the Rise of Cobra style. How do they stack up?

This is the first two packs in the Rise of Cobra line so I wasn’t sure how they’d do the packages on them. As it turns out they’ve made them relatively simple and it keeps with the design aesthetic of the rest of the Rise of Cobra movie figures. There is a Joe logo below Tunnel Rat and a Cobra logo below Monkeywrench. This is a nice little touch that adds to the package to let kids know that you’re getting one good guy and one badguy.

The package also contains a large Arashikage sigil on the side to indicate the free temporary tattoo inside with that symbol. The actual package itself is basically just a larger version of the single card so you can open it up and reseal it just the same as the regular cards. The Arashikage symbol takes the place of the character art, which makes sense since this pack contains two figures.

But don’t worry if you’re a fan of the realistic style artwork you get that on the file card which are included on the back. The file cards follow the same formula and it’s clear that they were modeling Tunnel Rat off of Larry Hama. Which naturally is appropriate.

I’ve went over the articulation on the Rise of Cobra style Joes enough that you should know what it is by now. Nothing is any different on these figures than any of the previous guys. All of the Walmart figures are repaints and Frankenjoes so nothing is really new.

Tunnel Rat has some hindrance in his neck ball joint because of the scarf that he wears around his neck. You can pop the head off and remove the scarf to increase his articulation if you’d like. I’m content with the limited movement, but it does interfere a bit with one of his guns. More on that in the accessories section.

Still all of the articulation is good and nothing seems to be missing. I think the GI Joe level of articulation is just about right for this scale. I can’t think of anything that could really improve them, but your mileage may vary.

I’ll start with Monkeywrench since he’s like the most wanted figures out of all these sets. Monkeywrench came along in 1986 and stayed around in production until 1988. As a result I had several Monkeywrenches as a kid. A lot of figures from that era I ended up with doubles and duplicates because of relatives who were thoughtful enough to buy me GI Joes but not thoughtful enough to find out what guys I had and didn’t. My Joe wars contained lots of Monkeywrench, Croc Master and Dr. Mindbender… It’s just how it was!

Needless to say I know what Monkeywrench is supposed to look like. This definitely looks like Monkeywrench, but he’s not perfect. For starters the head comes from Outback. Honestly, if I didn’t tell you that you might not have noticed right off. I know over at Hisstank’s forums it took people a while to come to that realization. That means Hasbro did a good job with the repaint. Unfortunately he still really needs his shades. If he had sunglasses this reuse would be perfect.

You can click any of these pictures to see them in full size without the comics.

Thankfully there are some easy options you can do to fix this. If you have the Rise of Cobra Baroness, you can steal her shades and put them on Monkeywrench. If you don’t like that look, you can give him some of the “goggle” glasses that come with Firefly. Neither of those solutions are perfect, but if you repainted the shades and trimmed a bit off of Baroness’ glasses it’d be a very workable solution that even the most inept customizer could manage.

The rest of Monkeywrench’s body is quite well done. He has a cool Dreadnok tattoo on his arm and the body looks very good. It’s cobbled together from other parts, but that doesn’t ever bother me as long as the effect is proper. This is a very good rendition of the character.

In regards to Tunnel Rat, this figure appears to be the exact same as his previous release just repainted. The first release was an homage to the original release of Tunnel Rat and this one is a rework of the second version of Tunnel Rat. The Night Force Tunnel Rat was the default Tunnel Rat for many people because he didn’t have any of that unsightly camouflage paint on his face. The same will likely be true here.

Tunnel Rat isn’t a very exciting figure unless you are a big fan of the character. Tunnel Rat has only seen a handful of releases through the years but this one is probably one of his best. Monkey Wrench on the other hand has only seen one other release which was actually a cool new take on the character.

The price on this pack made me feel a bit of sticker shock, so it’s thankful that these guys come loaded with plenty of accessories. Each figure has several accessories and the pack itself includes some bonus stuff. You get a GI Joe sticker and a Cobra Sticker. I don’t care for the new Joe logo as much, but I’m totally slapping that Cobra sticker on an AT-AT. Also included is a Arashikage tattoo. This is great if you want to have one of those tattoos but don’t want to be such a nerd that you’re stuck with it for life. You guys at home with the Arashikage tattoos, you’re not cool. As a kid I would have loved this tattoo, BTW.

Poor Tunnel Rat, between his neck not being able to bend properly and his nearly racist eyes he looks a bit like Mr. Magoo. It makes you wonder if he’s really the best equipped guy to be using that high powered rifle and scope setup.

Tunnel Rat ends up with the most stuff, as he’s got his big gun, a really detailed revolver that fits into his holster perfectly as well as a TNT satchel. Plus he comes with a backpack and his scarf, gunbelt and holster are all removable. Talk about value!

Monkeywrench isn’t quite as loaded down but he still has a fair amount of gear. Monkeywrench includes a harpoon gun that is quite different to his original goofy three pronged harpoon gun that came with the Original Monkeywrench but it’s a close enough tribute.

He also includes a man purse of his own, a removable gun on his leg (the original figure had the gun but it wasn’t removable) as well as a cool backpack. Interesting note on his backpack is that it’s not hollow like the other backpacks. His vest and grenade belt is also removable, so you can recreate the origin of Monkeywrench by having him earn his stripes by blowing everyone else up!

Additional Notes:
As kids we used to all have a favorite Dreadnok. I was never one of those guys who hated the Dreadnoks, I quite liked them. Why wouldn’t Cobra have some ruthless bikers in their employ? Monkeywrench feels very much to me like the 4th Dreadnok. Zartan’s brother and sister while Dreadnoks, never felt official. Monkeywrench is an important part of the Dreadnok foursome in my view and he was my cousin’s favorite Dreadnok. Poor Ripper, he was no one’s favorite in my circle of friends as a kid.

Buzzer was always my favorite Dreadnok but the 25th version was such a misshapen mess that I might just make Monkeywrench into my new favorite… Probably not, but he’s still cool.

Right at $14 felt like a punch in the gut to me. Unfortunately these are Walmart exclusives so that’s the price you’ll be forced to pay. Walmart never has sales hardly on anything, so this is likely to be as good as it gets. Depending on how you look at it, the value may differ. This pack includes one full repaint that was pretty rare and one “new” figure. Most of the Rise of Cobra figures run close to $8 so technically this is cheaper than buying two single cards. However, if you look at it from the perspective that before the ROC stuff hit Comic 2 Packs cost $10-$12 and included a comic book, you’re more likely to feel the pinch.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Tattoo, Stickers, 2 Satchels, Two Pistols, Large Gun, Harpoon Gun, Stands
Value – 7
Overall – 7.5 out of 10

This one just barely makes it in at 7.5 and there’s a reason for that. If GI Joes had always been as expensive as they are now, then this would be ranked higher. However I’m still pretty used to paying considerable less for about the same amount of stuff. Since these figures are more or loess holdovers from the 25th Anniversary line, I feel like I have to grade them as if they should be priced accordingly.

All in all it’s a pretty good value and this pack is definitely a recommended buy for 25th collectors even those who aren’t collecting the new Rise of Cobra stuff.

7 Responses to GI Joe ROC: Monkeywrench & Tunnel Rat 2 Pack

  • Nightmare says:

    Lol, I still don’t see what’s racist about the eyes, they’re no worse than Brock’s eyes form the Pokemon Cartoons.

    Also, Monkeywrench is based on Chuck Norris, right?

  • Michael says:

    If I had not given up GI Joe 25th, I’d likely have wanted the Monkeywrench.

    I would not consider the eyes racist either. Brock even less so as he was animated by individuals in Japan to look that way.

  • To be fair, I didn’t say it was racists, I said it was nearly racist. He has Mr. Magoo eyes, which isn’t exactly the most flattering depiction of an Asian character.

  • Anonymous says:

    Without knowing anything about this, is Monkeywrench really based off Chuck Norris–cause I was totally thinking that as I was reading the review. And I was gonna say that in one of the pictures, Tunnel Rat kind of looks like Popeye. Big muscles, squinty eyes.

    Alas, we didn’t even get the Spanish dictionary, but did get the GI Joes. Such is life.

    – Beth, the GF

  • Kyle says:

    I didn’t realize these packs were out already. I saw the target exclusive packs the other day, but haven’t seen anything new at wally.

  • EDC says:

    finally! outback was not shipped to australia, so this one which will be, is gonna become braddock from Chuck ‘s missing in action thrillogy.

  • updatedude says:

    Oh goodie, set’s out? Need to track it down, and yes, only for Chuck Norris (who is secretly Bob Vila).

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