When GI Joe comics returned in 2001, a lot of changes had taken place. One of the most unexpected was that the Dreadnoks had gone from a small bunch of thugs to an international biker gang, with chapters all over the world. By necessity, they'd inducted a lot more members, but that didn't mean the old guard weren't still kicking around.
Monkey Wrench joined a group of local thugs and anarchists for whom he built explosive devices. He enjoyed the challenge of crafting finely tuned mechanisms and liked to be there when they were detonated, to admire the results of all his hard work. By age 16, he was a pariah in his hometown and bored with the limited opportunities for his particular skill. He headed to London's East End, where he developed rudeness and crude anti-social behavior to levels unheard of in the western hemisphere. He moved around, always finding groups in need of someone who can make things go bang. Eventually, his wanderings brought him to Australia and the Dreadnok criminal gang, who were delighted with his explosives expertise and thoroughly at home with his bad attitude.
Monkey Wrench was one of the Dreadnoks introduced in 1986, when their ranks really began to swell. He was also one of the last to look like a real biker, rather than a Mad Max-style road warrior. Jeans, vest, scraggly hair... all that. When he was released 20 years later as one of the Direct To Consumer figures,
he'd undergone a complete redesign. He still looks like a dirty biker, but he doesn't look the same as the old figure.
Below the neck, the figure uses the same sculpt as Burn Out, his fellow Dreadnok from the SpyTroops line, but he's been repainted so they don't really look too similar. Of course, it also helps that he's wearing a full-length brown leather coat: an accessory that's unique to this figure. The coat's got a rough, cracked texture, and some slashes and bullet holes on the back. There's a red Dreadnok logo on the back, as well. There are even two big pockets! This is a heck of an extra.
Beneath the coat, Monkey Wrench is wearing thick, reinforced boots, pale blue jeans, metal kneepads, and a belt with a few grenades attached to it. His torn white shirt has "Dreadnok 4 Life" on it, and he's wrapped barbed wire around his chest (though the packaging art shows it as chains). His arms are wrapped up in bandages - maybe he cut himself putting on his barbed wire? To pack a better punch, he has three spikes woven into the wrapping over his left knuckles. Evil bastard!
Monkey Wrench looks even scruffier here than he did on his original toy, if such a thing is possible. His hair is reddish brown, befitting a Welshman [his filecard says he was born in Rhyl --ed.], and he still has his mirrored glasses, though now they're pushed up on his head. His beard is thick and unkempt, and there are a few random braids in his long hair: one falling straight down behind each ear, and another pair that are tied together in the center of his head. Despite having long hair, his articulation isn't blocked at all.
If you don't count the coat,
Monkey Wrench has three accessories: a blade that's somewhere between a big dagger and a short sword, and two shotguns. They're all detailed about as well as any accessories of recent vintage. But remember how his coat had two pockets? He can store his weapons in there. It's actually a pretty clever bit of playability, and suits the Dreadnok mentality. Got two shotguns to tote around and don't want to be hassled by the pigs? Stash 'em under your coat!
All the early Dreadnoks had joke file names: Monkey Wrench's real name is Bill Winkie, which makes him a sly reference to Wee Willie Winkie, the famous nursery rhyme. Of course, he's from North Wales while the poem is Scottish, but those two aren't so different, are they? This Monkey Wrench may not look much like the original figure, but he's still a good Dreadnok, and isn't that enough? We can always use more people for Zartan to push around. Give him your own made up name, and set him free to cause havoc on your toy shelf.