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.