I absolutely love the fact that we got Tiger Force Outback before we got our standard deco Outback, both because it’s such a fun international variant, and it proves that nothing is really off the table when it comes to figures Hasbro might consider revisiting for the Classified line.
I’m really digging the fact that they’re focusing so strongly on Tiger Force and Python Patrol as this Target exclusive run– it makes a lot of sense. Folks who don’t care so much about repaints don’t have to track them down, and it allows Hasbro to re-invest tooling dollars in figure variations that make a lot of sense.
I will say, however, folks who are waiting for the standard deco of Outback are doing themselves a disservice– this figure is amazing. Check out my G.I. Joe: Classified Review page or access the review directly at the link below:
If you’d told me, even when the G.I. Joe: Classified line started, that we’d be seeing the UK exclusive deco of Outback before the regular ’87 release, I would have thought you were nuts. If you’d told me that Outback would actually be the first Tiger Force figure released in the Classified line, I would have said you were double nuts.
Yet here I am, with the figure in my hands, and I’m still having a hard time believing it. But believe me, I’m not complaining.
I’ve been around the online G.I. Joe community for a long time and can still remember the days when the UK Exclusive Tiger Force Outback was a strange fascination that domestic collectors barely knew about. Of course back then, many of us hardcore collectors sort of rolled our eyes at the silly “cat deco” on the t-shirt and the vibrant orange and blue color schemes the UK Tiger Force figures had.
I’d like to think as we’ve matured (ha, right) we’ve learned to appreciate those more esoteric color schemes, especially since Hasbro revisited them purposefully for a Toys “R” Us O-Ring 6 pack so many years back. Of course, as a Hit & Run fan, I have a real fascination for that era of UK goodness and seeing Outback get this early treatment is both exciting and hilarious at the same time.
Frankly — I absolutely love it, not just because of the orange shirt, but his unique white hair– he almost looks like a completely different character. Hasbro has really leaned into some of the more obscure aspects of G.I. Joe early in this iteration, and I’m here for it.
Of course, Hasbro did change things up a little bit. Instead of giving us the old school cat deco on the t-shirt, they did the Tiger Force logo, a new logo they whipped up just for the Classified line, it seems. Personally, I’m fine with that compromise, giving us the underlying color pallet of the UK version, but making it just a little bit more “on brand”.
Back in 1987, the original Outback was pretty revolutionary. Having a figure with both removable web gear and a removable leg-mounted flashlight was a rarity, and Outback had them both a good three decades before they did it in the 25th Anniversary.
His bulky sculpt and removable gear really set him apart from most of his ’87 peers and while the Classified version isn’t quite as distinct from a design perspective, the things it does, it does exceptionally well. I might even say it does them perfectly.
While it’s true that separate web gear and removable accessories aren’t such a novelty these days, I can still say with confidence that Outback achieves the look exceptionally well. The sculpting on Outback is fantastic. For a bearded dude in a t-shirt and camouflage pants, he looks amazing, with some really intricate work on his determined looking face sculpt and a series of different folds and textures throughout his makeshift uniform.
The size of the figure is really great, looking a bit bigger and larger than some of the other Joes, but still not quite as big as Gung Ho or Roadblock. He fits into his role perfectly well. The combination of orange on the t-shirt, the brown web gear and camouflage pants somehow manages to work amazingly well together, reminiscent of the UK original yet also looking new and exciting. The camouflage on his legs is nicely understated, a great blend of green and brown that mutes the colors a bit and offsets the brightness of the orange.
Along with the basics, it’s also the little things — the weathering in his hair that makes it look more real than just a blank wash of white– and the ARM HAIR. YES. THEY PAINTED HIS ARM HAIR. Pretty great detail work there.
Outback, from a design perspective, is legitimately one of my favorite figures in this line.
What else is there to say?
Even with the web gear and the leg straps on the figure, he maintains full range of fantastic motion, the joints moving smoothly and with terrific poseability. His ab crunch works even with the straps and I find myself able to get him in pretty much every single firing pose I can dream of.
Outback’s complement of accessories is yet another example of the near perfection this figure achieves. He comes with a lot of different accessories, but not too much. As Hasbro has managed to do with nearly every release, they’ve found ways to stash every item on the figure without anything left over. For a survival expert like Outback, this is no small task.
His fantastic backpack has two pegs, one for an awesome shovel that comes included, the other for the rifle, just in case you want to stash it away. His left leg strap holds his flashlight (which is still small enough for him to hold) with a spot on his left ankle for the knife. His rifle has a removable magazine and a great sling which can also be used to carry the weapon if you don’t want to put it on his backpack.
Lastly, Outback also comes with a great pistol– I’m not sure if it’s a specific type of pistol, but I love that he’s got a cloth wrap around it, a nice little touch that differentiates the weapon from others in the line.
In a world where Hasbro leans on re-used tooling for so many toys, I remain consistently impressed by how many new parts they cram into these figures. Each of these accessories is used here for the first time, as far as I’m aware, and the figure itself doesn’t feel “re-purposed”. Granted, we’ll be getting a standard deco Outback down the road, but I’m still really blown away.
Outback rose to near legendary status back in the 80s because of his revolutionary design elements and bulky sculpt. While the removable gear isn’t so landmark setting now as it was back then, this figure achieves those objectives magnificently well. His sculpting, his accessories, his paint deco– everything about this figure (including its source material) is executed to near perfect status.
If I could come up with any complaints, it would be with availability. Granted, while he was relatively easy to pre-order either on Target.com or Hasbro Pulse, distribution has been terrible. As it stands, he shipped to the UK a good several months ago, but currently has a release date of October on Target’s website with no clue when he might actually ship. That’s not Hasbro’s fault, but it is an unfortunate effect of this figure’s exclusivity.
G.I. Joe Classified Tiger Force Outback
With a great UK Exclusive inspiration, the perfect compliment of accessories, and an amazingly cool sculpt, Outback ticks every single box anyone could want. I’m sure some collectors would prefer the original deco, and I have no doubt that figure will rock as well, but I really dig this one, too.
– The sculpt is insanely cool
– Love the source material
– All those great accessories
– Target exclusivity and limited availability might provide a bit of frustration
Along with the different Action Force focused characters released as European exclusives, one of the more famous and popular branch of UK and Europe released figures were their Tiger Force themed versions. Outside the United States, the Tiger Force color pallet went a decidedly different direction, using oranges, blues, browns and greens rather than the more familiar yellows and blacks. Looking back on it, the orange and brown specifically makes a bit more sense given the whole Tiger Force motif, though the domestic released figures appeared to be paying homage to some real world military themes.
One of the most familiar of these repaints was Tiger Force Outback, who actually developed a whole new t-shirt deco featuring a great looking cat face that has really drawn lots of collector interest over the past several years. It makes sense for the Collectors Club to want to dip into this area of collector desires.
What’s really interesting about how the Collectors Club handled this was that they actually wrote Outback into this look and feel throughout their monthly comic. Making Outback a part of the Zombie Invasion convention set, they had him infected by Compound Z, and while he ultimately recovered, it ended up coloring his hair white (as the foreign version had white hair and a beard as well). Once that revelation appeared in the convention comic, it was pretty clear that this figure was in the works. So now that we have it, how does it measure up?
It measures up… pretty well, I suppose.
I love the concept, and I love that they revisited the UK Tiger Force Outback in a modern format, I just wish they had taken a few more chances with the build. I love the new head sculpt, it’s a great likeness and quite a bit better than the head we got for the 25th Anniversary. It’s fantastic, actually.
The torso is the same torso we got with the 25th Anniversary version, as are the legs, both of which are kind of a shame. I understand why the Club went that route, mostly for the leg-mounted flashlight and the tie back to the original, but at this point, parts developed in 2007 – 2008 look pretty out of date next to more modern sculpted figures. Not only that, but the COBRA Trooper legs tend to look bow-legged. The knee pin on my figure is actually barely holding together, which might color my opinion a little bit too much, but still, looking at Outback’s legs compared to legs sculpted and developed post 2010 is a pretty stark reminder of how far things have come. Thankfully, however, the Club does change out his arms with the more modern 30th Anniversary style short sleeves, which is a change that is very much appreciated, adding some better articulation and range of motion over the old school 25th Anniversary arms.
What the figure does excel at, however, is the deco. The cat face shirt pattern looks terrific, and the color matching of the figure is pretty spot on. He’s a vibrant, interesting looking entry into the FSS, I just wish they hadn’t been quite so faithful to the outdated original with their parts choices.
Tiger Force Outback comes with a different sort of webgear that is actually cool, because he can wear it around his shoulders without covering up the awesome cat face. He has a machine gun, large backpack and knife (again with the 25th Anniversary accessories, though. It looks woefully out of scale and out of date compared to newer items).
The accessories are pretty good and work well for the character, though don’t provide anything especially revolutionary.
Ever since his escape from Borovia, Outback has been one of my top tier characters in the Real American Hero mythos. He’s gotten a surprising amount of love throughout the modern era, but none of them have been quite perfect. The Tiger Force version improves most with a vastly improved head sculpt and great shirt deco, but the outdated build once again reduces the “wow” factor that the vintage figure provided.
FSS 4.0 Tiger Force Outback
Taking the European exclusive Tiger Force decos into a collector themed release is a great idea and the Club executes it fairly well. The paint scheme is good, but unfortunately it’s applied over a mediocre build circa 2008 which does it no favors. I applaud the Club for dipping their toes into more foreign exclusive waters, I just wish they would think a little more outside the box and not feel like they have to be quite so tied to the past, especially when the parts from that era don’t hold a candle to similar parts from post 2010.
Like with Tiger Force Outback, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club looked overseas for an idea on the deco for this particular figure, and I’m really glad they did. In a way, I’ve always preferred the look of the European Tiger Force exclusives over much of the domestic releases (and really loved the aesthetic of the Toys “R” Us set, which mimiced some of that look) and it’s cool to see those decos represented here, even if they don’t really closely match some of the domestic figures.
I found myself especially excited for Sneak Peek considering his recent (well, somewhat recent) run in the IDW G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comic, which had him coming back from the dead as a top secret undercover operative. Interestingly that storyline tied into a story bringing Darklon back as well, and now both of those characters are appearing in more familiar paint schemes in FSS 5.
Keeping our minds on Tiger Force Sneak Peek, the build is pretty straight forward, looking like more or less the Pursuit of COBRA Shock Trooper from neck to foot. While not unexpected, this kind of default build can get a little tiring after a while, especially when it sidesteps some of Sneak Peek’s more identifiable traits like his rolled up sleeves and knee-high boots. I know, I know, I consistently complain about dovetailing too closely to the vintage look, but in the case of Sneak Peek, it feels like they ignored some of the unique aspects that make him different, instead just giving us more of the same with the Poc Shock Trooper. I’m curious to know if their access to tooling libraries is getting more restrictive, as we’re starting to see more and more figures sharing more and more of the same parts.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the Shock Trooper parts, they have great sculpting and impressive articulation, and look suitably military, but I’m hoping they’re not becoming a crutch and restricting creativity, especially when parts do exist. Sci-Fi’s legs and 50th Anniversary Flint’s arms could both work for a Sneak Peek formula. Perhaps there were restrictions I’m not aware of, though.
Thankfully they appear to be under no restrictions with the color pallet, though, and do a great job with the orange and blue that’s become a trademark of the European Tiger Force clan. The look is great from that perspective, and I love the colorful nature of Sneak Peek. He’s a great looking figure in spite of the somewhat generic build.
Sneak Peek comes pretty well loaded with accessories. He’s got a removable helmet and Scrap Iron’s vest, along a newly sculpted and tooled periscope which looks pretty fantastic. He has his trusty M-16, binoculars, and a field radio, all of which mesh nicely with his specialty. It’s a pretty awesome selection of some great accessories that make the figure really pop.
As a character, Sneak Peek never did a whole lot for me until Hama inadvertently brought him back from the dead and added some more intriguing twists to the character. Since then, I’ve become much more of a Sneak Peek fan (even if it was a pseudo retcon on Hama’s part) and I’m glad to see him represented here as well as in the upcoming FSS 5. Plus, it’s about time we started filling out more of the 1987 roster, which was one of the more unique series in the line’s history.
Although the parts chosen here feel a little bit phoned in, the deco is great and they gave him a ton of awesome gear, so the end result is better than I might have suspected. A good note to end FSS 4 on.
FSS 4.0 Tiger Force Sneak Peel
I’ll always upvote more European exclusives, and thankfully Sneak Peek’s execution is a bit better than Outback’s. The paint deco manages to overshadow some of the blandness of the parts underneath, and the accessory compliment goes a long way towards making Sneak Peek truly great.
A short while ago, the G.I. Joe Collectors Club let slip that the Diamond release of their G.I. Joe vs. Cobra #7 comic would feature a subtle hint for next year’s Convention set. Over on the G.I. Joe Discussion Group on Facebook, John Stottman posted a quick picture from this comic, and it would appear the subtle hint may refer to… Tiger Force.
Granted, it’s not obvious, but taking a peek behind the Baroness, and you can clearly see a tiger pattern, which would certainly indicate one of G.I. Joe’s most popular sub teams.
The Club has been known to throw curve balls in the past, so this could be one, but they mentioned a hint, and there’s not much else different within the contents of the issue. With the Convention coming up in April, we have to think we’re going to start seeing reveals in the coming months.
If it is Tiger Force, any guesses so far? Obviously there are some key members of the classic team missing like Bazooka, Tripwire, and Roadblock (which were all planned for the 25th Anniversary line, but never made it to retail). Then there’s some obvious subjects like Lifeline or Recondo.
Personally? I’m hoping for some outside the box choices. An Ultimate Firefly repaint as Sabretooth would be awesome, as would some of the UK exclusive Action Force figures. Not to mention other figures from the 2002 – 2004 era. I’ll be watching GIJoeCon.com for sure.