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.
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.
1993 GI Joe Sonic Boom Tank Gallery
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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!