1990 Sonic Fighters Dial Tone

The Sonic Fighters repaints are very interesting, as they’re either incredibly solid figures that might not be an improvement over the original, but are just as good and more often than not, are kinda sorta environmentally specific. The other Sonic Fighters are usually bright, and sort of obnoxious, and if not bright, poorly coloured none the less. It’s one of those things that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, because it’s strange that a bright orange Lamprey and a blue, black and grey Dial Tone can exist in the same assortment.

The Sonic Fighters are what I find to be the most interesting set of repaints that Hasbro did. The lack of a unifying theme, allowed for interesting takes on some fairly solid molds to come forth. Dial Tone, Law and Tunnel Rat, all received new and interesting colour schemes. The worst of the Sonic Fighter Joes, is likely Dodger, and that figure isn’t even all that bad, it just can’t compete with the others. The 1991 series were given the “Super Sonic Fighters” moniker, and feature some new figures, as opposed to just repaints. The ’91s are a little more obnoxious, but some are still good. Much like Night Force I tend to view both series as one subteam.


Dial Tone is one of those figures I’ve never really paid much attention to. I’m not really sure why, but I think it’s probably due to the fact that I’ve had most of his figures but they’ve often disappeared into the ether of trades or purges without me ever noticing. I’m not really sure why he’s one of those figures, but whatever, better Dial Tone than someone like Rock ‘N Roll.

This version of Dial Tone is probably the most appealing one to me. The black, grey and blue work well, without being too urban specific. It’s a darker scheme than the ’86 version, but I feel it works better, as there’s less colour co-ordination for the sake of it, which lead to the 86’s boots and kneepads matching the odd green of his sweater vest. This version shares most of the paint masks, which is always nice to see, as it doesn’t miss anything the original had.

It’s a good sculpt, as it’s got the military vibes of the early Joe line, but isn’t entirely rooted in them. Dial Tone also lucked out, in not being thrown into the 1986 shared design scheme, that befell a number of 1986 Figures. If you look at them, Roadblock, Cross Country, and Low Light all share some pretty consistent design tropes. It’s one of those things that is neat, but probably could’ve been handled a lot better. The best part of Dial Tone’s design is that his trappings are where the military aspect come from. The beret and the bandoliers are what give him the appearance of classic military, which allows the rest of the sculpt to deviate, without it being considered unrealistic.

The Sonic Fighters all came with a lot of weapons. Dial Tone received his original gun, this time done up in black, as well as a couple other oddities. The BF2000 guy pistol is whatever, and the black Charbroil flame thrower is good for someone needing to complete a Night Force figure. The real winner is the black Hardball grenade launcher. It’s big and dumb, but looks cool! Funnily enough, the original Hardball launcher is still a pretty good colour match for this Dial Tone. Sadly Sonic Fighters were based on the noise making backpack gimmick, so his original communications pack is nowhere to be found. The v1 works, but it would’ve been nice if it was a darker shade of grey.

Dial Tone’s character is one of that is solely conceived by that episode of the cartoon where Dial Tone gets fired and is shown living on skid row eating beans cold outta the can. That’s pretty much what Dial Tone is to me, a guy who’s probably amongst the lowest Joes, when it would come to rating performance. He’s still an above average soldier, just the worst of the best of the best.

Overall, I think this is probably the nicest Dial Tone repaint. The Mission to Brazil one might be better, but I’ve never owned it. This one is a little more down to earth than the original, nor as odd as some of the repaint era versions.



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8 Responses to 1990 Sonic Fighters Dial Tone

  1. Those colour schemes are very good! I had them most of them, but could never find Dail-tone however.

  2. Mike T. says:

    I love Dial Tone. But, this is the one I always forget. Part of that is I never had a really nicely conditioned one. But, also, the 1986 is among my favorite figures and the 2002 BJ’s version is damn nice, too. So, I never had occasion to spend time with this figure. He is nice, though.

    The Sonic figs are weird. Some repaints are just great. Others, less so. But, in general, it’s a pretty solid group of figures.

  3. A-Man says:

    Nah, the Mission Brazil one isn’t better only scarcer. The upper body colors work but they gave him red pants, which odd for its day. They also gave him black hair, which they’d do again in the 2000’s.

    Around this time is where good vs evil colors get more confused. Look at Sonic Fighters Dial-Tone compared to Interrogator. How are these guys not on the same team? Meanwhile Vipers are gold and brown and Lamprey (which I like a lot) is orange, like he works with Alley-Vipers or something.

  4. generalliederkranz says:

    This was my first Dial-Tone as a kid and I played with him a lot. It wasn’t until later that I realized there was an earlier version. I remember being confused by the file card because it refers back to his long time on the team. I had a lot of fun with him, and I preferred the SMG as his weapon even before I realized it was “originally” his. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking Dodger is the least distinguished of the bunch–I thought I was just biased because he’s the only one I didn’t have as a child.

    I really, really want to like the BJ’s Dial-Tone, but I can’t quite get past the weird paint masks. The teal vest doesn’t match the green upper arms so either he’s a walking MC Escher painting, or else he’s wearing 3 layers in a bizarre order.

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