Monkeywrench (2009)

Sometimes parts reuse just doesn’t turn out as well as expected. As a former action figure customizer, I can appreciate having a vision for a base figure and thinking that vision will be borne out in the end. I’ve also had experiences in which the limitations of the base figure couldn’t be overcome, and the final figure didn’t match what I had in my head. I see the same situation in Monkeywrench.

The bulk of this figure is made up of the 25th anniversary Gung-Ho, a figure that in my opinion is one of, if not the weakest modern version of the character. On a positive note, the Tomax/Xamot arms were a decent choice, and much improved over the Gung-Ho arms. The added Dreadnoks tattoo is also a great touch. The Outback head is also a nice approximation of the Dreadnoks’ explosives expert. I think that last sentence distills my feelings about the figure: most everything about it is an approximation of the character it’s trying to portray, from the vest to the grenades belt and even to the harpoon gun.

Perhaps I’m also down on this figure due to the gear that he’s encumbered with. Not only is he wearing a vest and dog tags, but he’s also got a grenade belt and an explosives satchel. Piling all of this stuff on him looks a bit ridiculous, and it all just doesn’t quite seem to fit. All in all, a noble effort considering there are no new parts to this figure, but for me, a disappointment.

One last thing: I was able to stock up on a few Monkeywrenches as the two-pack was plentiful at my local Walmart stores, and the Outback head sculpt provided the impetus for me to attempt a few Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos customs in Joe scale (the man had so many costume changes–I could’t resist!)


  • Where’s the pitchfork gun thingy? He’s no monkey wrench without that crazy weapon!

  • I’m actually planning to right the wrongs with this figure. So far, I’ve taken out the legs, lower arms, head, and gear, and I’m going to replace the lower arms with those of the Comic Pack Shipwreck (once I remove the tattoo on the right arm) and the hands of an extra Swamp Skier Zartan. The vest will be from the Indiana Jones Mutt Williams figure (painted maroon), the legs (except the upper left leg) will come from an extra Comic Pack Torch (with a couple of things replaced), and the head will be….well, something different.

  • I’m really conflicted on this guy. I loved Monkeywrench and was glad to see he got SOME attention in the modern era (which didn’t happen for a lot of my favorites) but at the same time, he’s just enough off across the board (head sculpt, gear and legs especially–sorry, I also really hate the Gung-Ho legs for some reason) that I still can’t decide how much l really like him. He’s a bit overloaded (though it’s minimized a little if you can hang the satchel just on one shoulder and I never used the backpack) and he loses some of the punch without his original gear. However, I do have to admit, I like seeing them dip back into their DTC tooling for that grenade bandolier. I think had he not had it (or they’d used the only other bandolier with a grenade on it–Duke’s) he really would have been worse off.

  • That head falls real short of anyone beyond Outback or Chuck Norris ’cause it ain’t Monkeywrench. The DTC version looked more like a grizzled wrestler but at least his shades were still there and there wasn’t a headband in sight.

    Come to think of it, Outback does resemble Chuck Norris and this figure is further proof to the fact. Heck, it probably makes for better Chuck custom fodder than anything else.

  • Where’s the sunglasses??

  • They were so generous with new accessories in the Rise of Cobra line that not making a new head for Monkeywrench seem inexcusible.

  • I would love to see the Karate Kommandos custom.

  • Slayer Design Studios did a terrific head sculpt a while back. I bought one and painted it up, put it on, job done. Get rid of the satchel charge bag and arm him with the classic figures Harpoon Gun and he looks a billion times better – I didn’t bother painting his legs to match the lighter blue of the original, not added sculpted ties round his legs or patches on his jeans, it ruins the durability of a toy like this for one thing with all those moving parts scraping the paint when customising…Much pleased I made some changes and a shame Hasbro didn’t issue the figure with a new head sculpt and his classic weapon. If you buy this guy, source the Slayer Design version of his head, improves it by miles.

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