1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank Gallery and Quick Review

Hi there. Today we’re doing another gallery post, but I’ll also provide some thoughts on the toy. We’re doing “childhood favorites” this month, which is mostly a thing I’m reserving for my main reviews on Thursdays. But we’ll make an exception for today’s Tuesday post. 

dragon-fortress-childhood-favorites-month

The Sonic Boom Tank, released in 1993 as part of GI Joe’s Street Fighter 2 sub-line, definitely counts as a childhood favorite. I didn’t own a ton of GI Joe vehicles as a kid. I did have some bigger pieces like the Crusader and Fort America, but only had a few small or medium sized vehicles. I got the Sonic Boom Tank in 1993 during a bout of chicken pox, and it became one of my most-used vehicles after that. It was really the most “traditional military” vehicle I had for GI Joe, so it kind of became the go-to vehicle for every mission. 

Before the SBT, I basically just had the Attack Cruiser, which I didn’t love even as a kid. The Crusader was obviously an amazing piece, but it wasn’t practical for ground missions. And, even though it saw a good amount of use, I couldn’t really wrap my head around Fort America as a kid. I was used to Transformers, which had convincing secondary/disguise modes, so a weird tank transforming into a nebulous Pile of Brown was a bit odd to me. That left the Sonic Boom Tank and, a little later on, the Mudbuster as my primary Joe vehicles for the last few years of the ARAH line. 

Let’s dive in and look at some pretty pictures.

The Sonic Boom Tank is a recolor of the Cobra Paralyzer from 1991. It was one of several vehicles in the Street Fighter 2 line, which were all repaints or retools of previous GI Joe vehicles. The SF2 line is notable for including drivers with its vehicles, which is something that became less common as the 1990s went on– though I will say that 1993 did provide a fair amount of pack-in drivers with its vehicles, as opposed to some other years.

In the photo with the pink background above, you can see all of the SBT’s various parts. It’s a fairly simple assembly process, but it still felt like putting a classic GI Joe vehicle together. This isn’t my childhood SBT– I bought this one boxed a few years ago. That relatively low-quality photo is the only one I have for all the unassembled parts, so it’s what you get to look at. The vehicle also comes with a sticker sheet (only some of which I applied. Not even I can suspend my disbelief enough to put a sticker that reads ‘Street Fighter 2’ on a military vehicle), instructions and blueprints, and two catalogs.

The box is pretty interesting, at least for the prototype Guile shown on the back who is just Road Pig. I think the artwork on the box is generally pretty nice, and it’s certainly eye-catching. I actually really like the “kneeling flexing Guile” artwork used for the figure callout.

The 1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank has several play features. And by several I mean three.

It has:

  • A firing spring loaded missile launcher with two extra projectiles
  • A main “Boom Boom” gun with recoiling action (press the lever on top back and it springs forward again)
  • Treads that can pivot into a raised position, if you want that for some reason

The driver’s compartment also opens up on a hinge, which reveals some nice details but isn’t strictly necessary if you want to stick a figure in there. You can just plop one in without opening anything.

Additionally, there are two foot pegs on the back running boards if you want to add a couple additional figures.

Speaking of figures, here’s Guile. He’s a repaint of the single carded 1993 Guile, done in brown to represent Player 2 and/or “Championship Edition” colors.

Guile is a composite of several older GI Joe figures. He uses Road Pig’s chest, 1991 Dusty’s arms, and 1986 Roadblock’s waist and legs.

You’ll notice the figure is different than the one depicted on the bag of the box, and the colors are different from what the primary artwork shows. I think it would have been cool to see the figure with the white or light tan camouflage shown on the box.

The figure you’re seeing here isn’t the bagged example that came with the tank. I haven’t opened that one. Instead, you’re seeing my childhood Guile that I got all the way back in 1993. He’s held up pretty well and still has his original o-ring, even.

Here’s how the tank looks with some figures on board.

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank Quick Review

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

Whether you like it or not, the Street Fighter 2 sub-line was officially part of GI Joe. This means that Guile and his Sonic Boom Tank are on the same team as Clutch and his VAMP. Fortunately, both Guile and the SBT are pretty easy to squeeze into the world of GI Joe. Guile is a military man, after all, and the Sonic Boom Tank is some form of military vehicle. It’s not like this is Blanka driving an ice cream truck. Which is a toy I would definitely buy, incidentally.

Some time ago, I was fortunate enough to contribute to one of HoodedCobraCommander788‘s YouTube videos. He reviewed the Paralyzer and I gave an overview of the Street Fighter 2 sub-line and did a small review of the SBT. That video is embedded below.

As I mentioned in the intro, the 1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank is a toy I got a ton of use out of as a kid. It was the only “military green” GI Joe vehicle I owned, so it was a natural fit for serious missions. It commonly took my favorite childhood figures like Eco Warriors Flint, Heavy Duty, Sonic Fighters Tunnel Rat, and Ninja Force Storm Shadow into battle.

Many later GI Joe vehicles had only a spring-loaded missile launcher for a weapon. I never liked that as a kid. Despite my eternal love for the 90-94 years of GI Joe figures, the vehicles often left much to be desired. There are some gems to be sure (Monster Blaster, Mobile Battle Bunker, Brawler, Armor Bot, Ghost Fighter X-16, etc.), but many of them kind of paled in comparison to the 80s vehicles. The Sonic Boom Tank is pretty good, though. It has both a powerful primary weapon system and a missile launcher. That was enough to make me love it.

I never once used the “raising tread” feature as a kid. I just did not care about it. These days, I kind of like having it as an option since it gives the tank a weird, futuristic look when it’s in raised position. I guess it might help with difficult terrain, too, as the tank has such low body clearance. So it’s not the worst feature, but it’s not one I ever needed.

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

I do find both the recoiling cannons and the missile launcher to be very fun, too. I like how the ‘extra’ missiles mount on the launcher, as it makes the weapon look like a full missile rack.

GI Joe fans probably have two primary problems with the Sonic Boom Tank– the “open cockpit” and all of the yellow parts. Open cockpits are a longstanding GI Joe tradition, though, and this one is no more egregious than the Wolverine. Coincidentally, this vehicle reminds me a bit of the Wolverine and I like to use Cover Girl as its primary driver.

I also like the yellow. I’ve seen plenty of people say that if you switched the SBT’s yellow parts with the Paralyzer’s dark green parts, you’d get at least one good vehicle. But I think it would make both vehicles worse. The Paralyzer’s brilliant orange looks really nice with those dark green accents, and I don’t think adding bright yellow would do it any favors. And, yes, the SBT could have used grey or black or silver for its hardware color, but I’m glad it didn’t. The yellow adds a really nice pop of color and just makes the vehicle visually interesting. I’ll take visual interest over “military realism” any day.

The toy’s sculpt is really nice, too. Hasbro did not skimp on the detail. There are no opening engine covers or anything like that, but every single millimeter of this toy is covered in fun little bumps, trenches, and protrusions. It’s very fun to look at.

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

Now, for Guile himself. In the strictest sense, this is a great GI Joe figure. He has those realistic military colors most people want, and he works as a solider, at least in a GI Joe sense. The head sculpt is kind of ridiculous, but because of his Fearsome Frown and not because of the hair. I’m not sure what Hasbro was thinking with the expression on his face. Guile is always depicted as a handsome American man with an outlandish hairdo. But this head sculpt makes him look like some criminal henchman you’d see at a scummy nightclub.

I do think a Sgt. Slaughter body would have worked better for Guile, but there were maybe some licensing issues that prevented that from happening. I’m not sure. What we got is good, though, and he can fit more seamlessly into a GI Joe collection than probably any other Street Fighter figure. Why Hasbro made Guile, an Air Force man, a tank driver is anyone’s guess. If they repainted a Storm Eagle or Liquidator for him to pilot, his hair would probably prevent the vehicle’s canopy from closing, though.

As a kid, I used Guile exclusively as a non-Joe military agent. He was either an officer or a high ranking enlisted man, either giving Hawk or Duke orders from the mainstream US military, providing additional training, or acting as a VIP that Cobra would either kill or capture. I never used him as the actual character Guile more than once or twice. When 1994 came around, he would sometimes lead a squad made up of two Action Soldiers and one Action Marine, who the Joe team would have to bail out or rescue.

I really liked having this Guile figure as a kid. He added a lot of depth to my GI Joe adventures, as he gave me someone outside of the Joe and Cobra ranks to work with.

1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

Overall, I recommend this vehicle. It pretty much uses the standard GI Joe green that 80s fans love. It’s got good weapons and fun features. It’s nicely sculpted and looks cool and dynamic. Guile is also a pretty nice figure, and I doubt even the most vehemently boring GI Joe fans would have too many negative things to say about him. I guess if you’re allergic to the color yellow you can skip this one, though.

For me, though, the 1993 Sonic Boom Tank has been an important part of my GI Joe world since 1993.

Closing Thoughts on the 1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank

Thanks for joining me!

What do you think of the Sonic Boom Tank? Do you enjoy the Street Fighter 2 sub-line? Let me know in the comments!

18 thoughts on “1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank Gallery and Quick Review

  1. Barry

    I know the 90s era gets alot of flak from the joe bros, and insome ways I agree but really, really, I just wish I could get ahold of whatever they were smoking back then. They had a certain quality that makes them unique, fun to play with and a weird factor thats outrageously creative. I mean who else but someone blazed as the sun would think of making a tank tip-toe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Barry!

      And this was all brainstormed in the days before designer strains and dispensaries, so those folks were just thinking all of this stuff up under the influence of Miller High Life and bricks of dirt weed.

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      1. Barry

        Nah. Thats what WE had in the 80s and 90s. You know these guys were given some powerful government experimental strains to help promote american idealism to is as kids. Probably had lsd in their tapwater too.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. animatedtako

    Gotta love how the box gives you a Sonic Boom tip and shows screenshots of Flash Kick, with the frames out of sequence too!

    It goes without saying that I love this thing, even if I never had it. I wanted it, but I settled for single card Guile in a story I’ll relate later. It’s kinda funny how the the yellow and green screams Guile, but they packed in the brown costume. Same thing with the Crimson Cruiser, they made vehicles perfectly color themed and then didn’t pack in the primary color costume! I can understand though, It would have felt weird for the single carded releases to be anything other than the closest approximation of their 1P colors.

    I remember reading about the oral history of the Street Fighter movie, and how allegedly Hasbro was begging them to change a scene to push “some toy tank” I always assumed it was the scene where Guile busts through the wall of Sagat’s underground fighting hideout with an armored vehicle, interrupting the only Street Fight that was going to occur in the movie. I wonder if it was the Sonic Boom tank they were referring to? Imagine a fully accurate Paralyzer on screen for five seconds. There’s no tank in the movie toy line though, so it always leaves me scratching my head.

    I loved hearing about how you used Guile! For a brief period he was the main field leader for my Joes until I got Duke later in the year. He remained at the forefront of fighting though, still wanting revenge against M. Bison. I got the Ghost Striker for Christmas the next year, and one of the first things I did with it was try and pose it out with some other vehicles and random stuff in my room to recreate Guile’s Street Fighter 2 stage and have fights in front of it.

    I got my regular green Guile on a trip to visit family in Pennsylvania, one of the only toys I could find in what I remember as a weird craft/thrift mall of some kind. I think I had forgotten to bring any toys on that trip, so being one of the only things to keep me occupied when I was alone I really fell in love with that toy and it hyper invigorated an interest in Street Fighter that before only really existed in me because it was new G.I.Joe toys in the pack-in catalog. After that I became absolutely obsessed, and it’s what really kicked the door to video games open for me. Street Fighter also super charged my interest in drawing, and my earliest animations were recreations of special moves. In a lot of ways, it’s probably fair to say this strange grumpy frankenstein of a figure set me on course for the career I have today. Kinda wild!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! I always appreciate your comments. And thanks for bearing with the delayed reply.

      I liked how the SF (and I think MK) packaging would give you some special moves and game tips. It was a nice little thing to include.

      I actually think having the figure stand out a bit from the tank is a good move. The brown still matches the green of the tank, but you can tell there’s a figure in there. If they used normal Guile, I feel like he’d blend in too much. Which might be good for the sake of realism, but I like it when I can look at a vehicle and pick out the driver. It’s just more fun.

      I had no idea about that scene in the SF movie (which is the best live action GI Joe movie, btw) but seeing a Paralyzer crash through a wall would have been so great. I also would have loved to see Sagat drive a repainted Snow Cat.

      Guile does make a good and logical squad leader, as he has both a Duke vibe and a Sgt. Slaughter vibe. I also love what you did with the Ghost Striker, that’s great. If I had a Ghost Striker (or even a Storm Eagle) now, I surely would have tried to stage a couple photos like that.

      It’s so awesome that a Guile GI Joe figure was your gateway into video games, and that got you into a career of designing games and making art. That is one of the best things I’ve read in recent memory. Thank you for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that IS cool! I did have access to a lot of vehicles through a friend, but only has a HISS II myself. This thing would have been perfect for me! Looks nice, light, and portable. Not many vehicles could make it with us to The Field (Beaver “park”, but it was mostly a field and a creek), but this probably would have easily made the rounds. We couldn’t easily clean off the battery powered vehicles, but this flat guy could have been blasted with the hose (not a lot of stickers made it, back then).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ERIC. Thanks for stopping by!

      This thing is insanely durable and I bet it would have no problem with the “park” at all. I definitely put it through its paces when I was a kid, and it survived its share of encounters with the garden hose, too. Mud was so much fun back then. Too bad they don’t make it any more.

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  4. generalliederkranz

    It’s great hearing how this fit into your childhood collection. Awesome that it was your only “army green” vehicle! I drew a line against the Street Fighter assortment when it came out, and to this day I don’t collect it. I consider my 82-94 run complete without any of the SF2 figures, whatever the guidebooks might say. It’s not that they were too neon or anything, just that they weren’t part of the storyline (which meant the comics for me) and I wasn’t creative enough to think of other ways to use them. And, I was the rare weirdo born in the early 80s who never got into video games, at all. So the SF2 theme didn’t appeal to me. But the Sonic Boom looks really cool in your pictures, and you show how it can fit well with the rest of the line!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks again for your patience, GL!

      I think it’s totally fair to not collect the SF line and still call your Joe collection complete. If I had everything but Night Force, for example, I’d call mine complete. It’s surprising when someone our age isn’t into video games at all, but that is totally fair and valid. We can’t all enjoy every single thing. I barely play any video games these days but loved them as a kid. I just have too much going on now to make time for them, usually.

      And thanks for the kind words!

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  5. I’ve had a hard time putting my finger on it, but I really dislike the yellow on this vehicle, but I also dislike the Paralyzer part-swap, too. I realized it’s not because I dislike the neon, but rather because of how much there is in one spot. If you compare it to something like the Brawler or even the Earthquake, the orange does a better job of highlighting some cool details on those, because it’s more spread out. Here, the yellow is all one big mass, oddly making it sort of boring on the bottom and gaudy on the top. It can’t be helped though, since that’s more a problem of the Paralyzer’s mold layout.

    Speaking of the colors, if the body were black instead of olive, it’d almost match up with the Action Force SAS. Could be an easy custom.

    In terms of the design, the Paralyzer is questionable, but certainly fun. It makes me think of some kind of odd, WWI-era communist tank. I wasn’t ever sure if it was anti-air or artillery, but I often used it as Cobra’s version of the Armadillo.

    I really love that Guile figure, and from the time I was a kid to now he’s been all sorts of things. Also, I never noticed that prototype on the back of the box. I don’t think the Road Pig head works, but seeing Sgt. Slaughter’s body used for someone else strikes me as very interesting. Also, him having a sculpted shirt, as to one that’s painted on, looks much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nekoman! I appreciate your patience, too.

      You’re totally right about both vehicles having each of their main colors clustered in one spot. I think spreading the color around would help them look even better, but I like how they look anyway. That would be an improvement, though.

      The Paralyzer does kind of have an amped-up early 1900s feel, I see where you’re coming from. At the very least it kind of has a “Weird War Tales” or maybe even “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow” feel to it, but filtered through the early 90s. Also, I tend to think of both the Paralyzer and SBT as just simple fast attack vehicles– but I think you could easily repurpose one into a tracked AA weapon.

      And yeah the sculpted tank top is miles better. And using the Sarge body would have differentiated him more from Road Pig, Blanka, and Liu Kang.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A-Man

    One of the plus sides of Street Fighter 2 was the vehicles came with figures, at a time when Hasbro had been skimping out on pack-ins (well, more so true of 1991-1992). It made getting repainted items more fun. Too bad the Street Fighter movie rides didn’t all include figures.

    My only real beefs with SF2 were the ninja force style figures, for the usual reasons (can’t disassemble, some reduced articulation) and the bit higher price tag. SF2 figs were $5 and the basic Joe and Ninja Force figs were $3.29 at the time. Did SF2 fit with GI JOE’s universe? I didn’t care. Just happy to have more 3 3/4″ figures out there. I often wondered why Hasbro didn’t make their past “flops” like COPS, Air Raiders, etc in 3 3/4″ o-ring format. (The obvious answer is they were meant to compete with rival companies’ larger or smaller scaled lines, not themselves, which is why Mattel’s Secret Wars wasn’t done MOTU style.)

    Guile was an ugly faced dude. The 1993 Hasbro catalog mock-ups used Bullet-Proof’s head (white face!) on Sgt. Slaughter’s body, all repainted from production figures most likely. I suspect Slaughter’s upper body mold was in South America?

    Side note, I never played the SF2 arcade game until after the toys were released. I stink at fighting games, trying to remember moves. My fav arcade fighting game was Marvel Superheroes war of something. IT was at the dollar theater my family and I used to go to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I agree. I appreciate the SF and MK vehicles even more now because they come with drivers. As a kid, most oy my vehicles didn’t have drivers (I think I maybe only ever had Payload, Dogfight, and Hot Seat) so I didn’t really notice. But now getting even a repainted figure with an old vehicle is a treat. It helps that the SF driver variants are generally very fun, too.

      I didn’t realize the SF toys were priced higher, but I guess that’s the licensing tax or whatever. I didn’t have too many of them as a kid. I had quite a few MK figures though, so I wonder if those also cost more. I just do not remember.

      It makes sense that the Sarge would be in South America. I could also see it being a contract or licensing thing.

      I really liked all of the Marvel fighting games as a kid. I also sucked (and still suck) at fighting games, but they’re fun. This one pizza parlor in town had one called TIME KILLERS (or something) that was ridiculously violent and gory, and the fighters came from different time periods. I’m surprised they allowed that game in a restaurant.

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      1. A-Man

        Mortal Kombat figures were $5, too. Probably one reason why I didn’t get many (I eventually got most of them used over the years). Or more because I was distracted by Star Trek or something and didn’t have much money to spend.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I really want one of these. Been looking for a while, but haven’t pulled the trigger. It looks like it would be a perfect companion to the Monster Blaster APC. The design seems more Cobra. But, that’s heavily a function of my introduction to it being as a Cobra weapon.

    The Paralyzer was a pretty good mold. For a while in the comic, they replaced Hiss Tanks as Cobra’s primary vehicular weapon. But, the original version doesn’t really mesh with any figure colors. So, it’s kind of tough to use.

    This is definitely a vehicle that needed a 2000’s repaint. Hasbro probably had it available. One in more standard Cobra colors would have brought a ton of new respect to the mold. But, that didn’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mike! And thanks for your patience.

      I found this one about two years ago for $30, new in box. Joe prices sucked then, too, so I thought that was a good deal. I hope it’s still available for that price, because I think a boxed small Joe vehicle is easily worth $30 these days. AND it comes with a driver!

      Yeah, the Paralyzer is hard to match figures to. From what I’ve seen it looks okay with Desert Scorpions. I think it would really shine if you paired it with some neon green figures, though, like HEAT Viper v2. Bright orange and green just seem to go together. I need to track down a Paralyzer. Maybe I’ll find one when you find a Sonic Boom Tank.

      Seeing this tank in blue and black would have been great. But Hasbro pretty much ignored all 90s vehicles (other than the Barracuda) in the Repaint Era.

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