Lampreys (1990 Sonic Fighters)

In the 90’s, I frequented the Half Price Store as part of my regular action figure hunting rounds. The store was a sort of close-out seller, much like Big Lots. Back in the early to mid 90’s, they regularly closed out Hasbro and other toy makers’ stock from the previous year. I can still picture the large deep bins holding pack after pack of GI Joe, Toy Biz Marvel and Ninja Turtle figures. The Joe sub-groups of the day (including copious numbers of Sonic Fighters) seemed to be the most plentiful, and I kick myself for not army building the Sonic Viper.

The Lampreys’ MOS was changed somewhat for the Sonic Fighters release. Instead of just hydrofoil pilots and Eels, they’re now amphibious assault troopers. They’re also armed with lasers that can fuse enemy weapons and seal hatches on watercraft. At least some effort was spent on modifying the figure’s purpose along with its look.

I like the new orange color for the troops, as it differentiates them from their pilot brethren. The new color scheme makes the figure look more like a water based trooper as well. I always thought the original silver version looked too much like an astronaut. As far as accessories, the huge backpack was the first thing to get chucked into the parts bin. It’s too bad that the technology of the time didn’t allow the Sonic Fighters’ sound backpacks to be smaller, as they were interestingly designed and well detailed. Shrink them down, and they could be quite cool accessories.

Along with the sound backpack, which looked like a communications station, the figure was well stocked with weapons. Though only one of the rifles looks like a laser-firing weapon, I can’t complain about a vintage figure being equipped with four weapons. Funny, considering this was a few years before the time of the inclusion of entire arsenals via weapons trees.


  • I’m a big fan of the Sonic Fighters. Why Hasbro ever went from those huge, but removable sound backpacks to the pretty large, but a pain in the ass to remove talking backpacks is absolutely beyond me. I liked the colors of the ’90 figures of this subteam, but they didn’t look all that different from their original incarnations. The ’91 was awesome with excellent versions of Zap, Major Bludd, and Psyche Out. The accessories were super nifty that year too (Road Pig’s double-barreled rifle, Falcon’s machine gun with the stock that fit around his arm as well as the copter backpack).

  • This guy ended up as the gunner/co pilot/errand-boy for my original Lamprey figure. I dug the Sonic Fighters (especially Dodger and the Viper).

    Plus it was a good way to re-release figures if you hadn’t got them. The colours were pretty damn good all round.

    Plus there is never anything bad about having excess weapons.

  • Sonic Fighters are becoming pricey nowadays. Wish I’d picked them up back in the day as well.

    This version of Lamprey would have made for a great army builder. His colors compliment the equally awesome Incinerators very nicely.

    • I can remember when the Sonics were a dime a dozen. I’d like to pick up some extra backpacks to repaint as dio set pieces

      • The backpacks are the saving grace of buying Sonic Fighters complete. Same 4 sounds, but some of them, including Lampreys’, are great work stations. Road Pig has one of the best, but it’s neon green! Ugh.

  • I remember about the first Sonic Fighters were the 1991 figures on the back of the package. Guides constantly place the Sonic Fighters as part of the 1990 series…wrong. They were early 1991 releases, as evidenced by the back of their cards. That they were found before 1991 began is irrelevant.

    Dreadnoks were available at SEARS before 1985, but are part of the 1985 series. Same with the Bridge Layer.

    2 waves of Battle Corps came out in fall of 1992, but Battle Corps is considers to have begun as part of the 1993 line.

  • I’m surprised that for this version of the figure, they didn’t even re-release him with the V1 figure’s machine gun.

  • I recently bought the Sonic Lamprey and Viper sealed at the flea market for 15 and 20 dollars respectivly. I decided to open the figures, so to prevent the batteries from further corroding and ruining the sonic backpack. I did this with Overkill also. Two of those three sealed figures had battery meltdown. I also have a still unopened Spanish carded Sonic Fighters Falcon that still lights up and makes noise, but I’m wondering if I should open that one too. Will the Joe community will come to a concensus about opening these things before the batteries inside ruin them?

  • Pingback: Joe A Day » Lamprey (2009)

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