Tunnel Rat (2004 Desert Patrol Squad)

The venerable vintage Tunnel Rat mold has seen release numerous times since its debut in 1987. It’s been Night Force (twice), a Sonic Fighter, Tiger Force (in Europe), a comic pack, and has even had a Funskool repaint. In 2004, it showed up again in a desert themed Toys R Us exclusive multi-pack. Each figure in the set was adorned with a camo pattern based the “chocolate chip” desert camo pattern, which came to prominence during the first Gulf War. Naturally, the look is not an exact match for the real thing, in fact the colors are quite vibrant for what should be dull desert camo. But hey, it’s GI Joe. No big deal. On a side note, this same style of paint scheme was planned for two figures that would have been included with an unproduced desert repaint of the Joe HQ in the 2000’s.

The figure is camouflaged only from the waist down. Maybe the Joe team found some surplus pants from the discontinued Desert Storm pattern. Either way, he’s got some nice pants. This mold also didn’t have the bloused tucked into the boots style that’s usually so prominent in the Joe line. As such it looks to me like he’s just wearing some crazy slacks.

The weapon complement was kind of random in the Toys R Us packs from the 2000’s, and its not totally clear which weapon belongs to which figure. At any rate, Tunnel Rat doesn’t include any of his original accessories, which is a shame.


  • Tunnel Rat is a classic figure and a great character. It’s nice to know that Hasbro kept the mold safe unlike other, less fortunate cases. The orange plastic used for skin colors since the 2000’s have not improved things, however.

  • One of my favorite vintage figures. Tunnel Rat v1 is dressed up like a veteran grunt, what with his un-snappy uniform, bandolier, and that trademark bandanna. He has that Sgt. Elias-look in him. Footloose looks like a parade ground green grunt when put beside Tunnel Rat.

    This version just shows how realistic Hasbro can be. US Marines and Army troops in Iraq and Afghanistan also wear a mix of woodland pattern and desert camos (though the tri-color one, not choco chip).

  • I’ve always been a big fan of Tunnel Rat, both the character and the figure. However, this particular one leaves me cold. the colors don’t mesh, and his skin tone is off.

  • The agave color of the figure would actually work in the desert, especially after a nice rain. The original set shown at the convention had the Ambush figure in full desert camo, just like Stalker. But, it wasn’t to be. I think the Stalker figure is probably one of the best ARAH style figures ever released, vintage or post vintage. But, the rest of the set is pretty poor.

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