G.I. Joe Spy Troops Exclusives - Tiger Force 6-Pack (Toys "R" Us)

Tiger Force as a concept was one that didn't really do it for me as a kid. I was always obsessed with G.I. Joe even as a youngster, and really didn't see the need to buy the same figures over again just because they had a slightly different paint scheme. Yet somehow I ended up with all of the Tiger Force figures from my youth, and the same theory really holds true to me today. I'm not crazy about the repaint craze, yet I'm still drawn to buy them. I think it's a sickness, really... :)

That being said, I was looking forward to this set...looking very much forward, in fact. The old sculpt exclusives always promise to be interesting, and Hasbro's nod to the fans was more than blatantly obvious in this particular set.

The packaging proudly proclaims the Tiger Force set as a 20th Anniversary Set, which is pretty cool. It has the old school Tiger Force logo, but besides that, everything in this set is brand spanking new. As new as Hasbro might make it, though, they thought enough to cram in some old faces and some cool acknowledgements to those of us who have been around the Joe universe for a while. Read on to see exactly what I'm referring to...

Just for argument's sake, I'm taking the liberty of calling Stalker the default Tiger Force leader. Although it doesn't say so on his filecard or anywhere on the packaging, it only makes sense to me due to his rank and his long-time service to the Joe team.

He's represented here in a mold that I can only describe as...odd. The Talking Battle Commander Stalker was an okay version of the character back in the day, but his facial expression takes some getting used to. The detail on the mold is pretty nice, though, don't get me wrong. I like the straps, the grenades, and the explosives strapped around his left calf. All very nice touches. And I LOVE that little pistol strapped to the inside of his right wrist.

.All very, very cool. They were all about equipment in this mold, and Stalker has it in spades. So, all in all, besides that weird look on his face, this mold is definitely a nice one...it shows that Hasbro really started to push the envelope with their detailing as the 90's came around.

Now for the colors...let's get this out of the way right now. These colors are NOT realistic. I don't think I could ever in good conscience use this figure in a jungle setting. Even a deaf, dumb, and blind Toxo-Zombie could see him coming a mile away. But as a display piece, or as a commemerative piece, I really enjoy this figure. Nice vibrant colors, cool Tiger theme...a very visually appealing figure! He really stands out in the crowd and looks cool for what he is...a figure to display. The golden guns definitely leave a little something to be desired, but as a display piece, this figure is really pretty nice. Sorry, but you'll probably never see him in a Dio-Story, but it's a figure I will enjoy, anyway.

And we have Dial Tone next...you heard me talking about a nice little nod to the fans, I think you're seeing an example of it with this figure.

The American release Tiger Force figures were all pretty strict in their color schemes. Browns, greens, and yellows were the obvious prevelant colors, with some other variations thrown in. But when Europe got their hands on the Tiger Force line...they added some more color! Blue was almost a staple of the European Tiger Force figures. The blue colors on those figures (see Hit & Run and Psyche Out in pictures at the bottom of the page...) really made the figures interesting. While they didn't stick with the Tiger Force motif quite as much, they did make for some really great figures.

Another thing the European figures brought to the table was a more authentic Tiger design. Bright orange colors with realistic black tiger stripes were visible on all of their TF figures, something that was missing from the US versions. Dial Tone has both of these qualities, and I see him as a very obvious homage to the popular European Tiger Force subset, which is fine with me. The popular and long lasting Dial Tone mold works with these colors, and like Stalker, I don't expect to use this figure much, but he looks really neat and really stands out in a crowd.

The mixture of the blue and orange/black tiger pattern is amazingly appealing, and I really will never know how Hasbro Europe came up with the idea, but it works wonders there, and it works wonders for this figure. Dial Tone comes out quite cool in this scheme, and as a display figure he is a pretty nice one.

Agent Jinx is next in line...also known as Jinx. I'll try to refrain from the obvious comparison to Battle Cat of He-Man fame, and just stick to the review...

This figure is pretty neat. I do like the Jinx mold, although I like it more as Vypra than I do as Jinx. The mold is a simple ninja-esque uniform, but it works well on both characters. I'm not too sure how well Jinx would fit in in a jungle warfare environ-ment, especially with those shoes and no guns, but again, I really don't think these figures were meant for play value. Jinx is an interesting addition, although nothing spectacular to really note about her. The green is okay, but a little bland...the yellow/orange stripes are somewhat interesting, but not really flashy. All in all, with an only okay mold, and a somewhat blah color scheme, this figure is probably the dud of the set.

This next figure has also got to be another homage to a European Tiger Force figure, if you ask me. The Tiger Force Outback is one really sought after by collectors, and it's the last European Tiger Force figure that I REALLY want (anyone got one?? :) ), and I believe this figure was meant to be modeled after him. Personally, I prefer the European version. :)

Brawler kind of looks odd compared to the other figures in the set. While everyone else is bright and vibrant in color, his colors are kind of muted and dulled. His orange shirt is more of a subtle tan...his green pants are a very muted shade of green, and the gray camo really makes things not stand out. But the mold is really cool. I've always loved Salvo's mold, and it works for this figure, just not really in the way intended.

Where the Tiger Force Outback was bright, colorful and really exciting, this figure is kind of toned down, mild and a little dull. On the plus side, this is a figure I probably could use in a regular environment, however he really appears kind of out of place in this set. His own name blazened across his chest is another odd point, and I'm really not sure why Hasbro painted camo over his machine gun belts on his pants rather than just paint them a different color. It would have made a world of difference!

It is pretty obvious to me, though, that this figure underwent numerous running changes. I really think it was meant to be Outback at first (what with the red hair and all...) but was forced to be changed at the last minute. As a result, the figure looks a little cobbled together and not quite as cool as he could be. Don't get me wrong, I love the tiger pattern on his shirt! The mold is terrific, and Brawler looks large and imposing, but he doesn't really fit in here. He may end up in a Dio-Story at some point, but as a member of the Tiger Force set, his future is uncertain.

Ah, Wreckage...without a doubt the most obvious homage to the G.I. Joe days of lore.

Back in the day (for those of you who actually may not know...) Hasbro was supposed to release a few more Tiger Force figures. A Ripcord, a Wild Bill, and a little guy named Sabretooth. Sabretooth would have been destined to be the most kicking member of Tiger Force ever...with the Firefly mold and an interesting array of colors, he could only have been insanely popular, yet the Marvel Comics character of the same name would make it not so. And thus, Sabretooth vanished, never to be seen again.

Until now...and, uh, now he's called Wreckage. :) But is he as cool now as he could have been then?

Yeah, Wreckage is pretty darn sweet. The Firefly mold lends itself well to Covert Ops Joe and Cobra characters. The case holds true here. Wreckage is the Tiger Force demolitions expert and a great looking one at that!

Firefly's mold is classic, plain and simple, and while somewhat overused since 1998 (well, if you call 4 times overused...) it still is a very nice mold. The skimask and quilted turtleneck...the cris-crossing straps with pouches and grenades...all hallmarks of a moment of Hasbro greatness, now transferred to Wreckage, taking up where the ill-fated Sabretooth left off.

Wreckage is decked out in full black with yellow belts and tiger stripes, and even though his camo is yellow, it just looks cool on this guy. The way the yellow and black mesh, it gives off a really cool Tiger-Stripe camouflage design and I like it a lot. Realistic? No. Still cool as heck? Yup. Even with the oddly colored mask (some sort of gray/green shade) the figure comes together exremely nicely, and as an all-purpose figure, this one is my pick of the set. Dial Tone is a close second, and Stalker is right on his heels, but overall, Wreckage is definitely my pick, for overall figure, for character, accessories, and heck, even file card! Wreckage is a winner, definitely.

So all in all, you're probably wondering what I think?

I'd say the set is definitely worth the $20.00, especially if you're a diehard old school fan. There are some neat tips of the hat to the fans, some very nicely colored figures and they are all presented VERY nicely in the package as well! For the first time that I can remember, I hesitated when opening the box, just because they looked so nice the way they were done.

Now, if you're a military purist and into strict realism, you may want to avoid this very colorful set, but for those of us old-time fans and those interested in some pretty cool looking display pieces, definitely head to Toys R Us.Com, and buy yourself a set!

For some more team pictures and other pics, head on down...

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