Tiger Force Duke

TigerDuke

The Tiger Force sub team was Hasbro’s first foray into mass retail repaints. Prior to that it’d either been vehicle drivers or Mission To Brazil. Looking at Tiger Force’s character selection, the figures who happened to be major players in the cartoon, which was on in reruns, tended to get the least garish color schemes. Not only was it a cheap and easy way to re-use molds, it also helped provide classic characters who hadn’t been available in years, yet were still major in the Joe media.

Duke is one of those figures, he’s also the only Tiger Force figure that had changes to his construction, as he is now outfitted with the 82 COBRA waist, and Hit and Run’s arms. Duke had originally been quite the Frankenstein, so the fact some of his parts were missing isn’t all that surprising. Hasbro however went quite far to ensure the pieces used were a close facsimile of the original figure.

I’ve always liked Duke. His figure was strong, and that cocky smile gave him an air of confidence, not every figure had. This and his “Man Of Action” portrayal, always gave him some form of recklessness, to me. He’s confident enough to make a low percentage play, but good enough at his job that he usually gets results. However when he fails, it’s usually in a spectacular fashion. I guess I always looked at him as sorta being like Captain Kirk.

DukeTFDuke

The Tiger Force figure is decently coloured, yet different enough from the original to be a different look for our favourite man of action. The pants are quite a strange shade of peach, but combined with the green shirt, they actually work pretty well. It also beats the hell out of bright yellow highlights! Duke however suffers from one fatal flaw, and that is the fact he was painted up with brown hair. Most of the Tiger Force hair colouring changes were iffy to begin with, but Duke has the worst change of all. What actually kills the figure, and I hadn’t noticed this until I’d had a conversation with my favourite G.I. Joe Photographer; Plastic Battles was that Duke’s teeth aren’t painted. That’s what makes his face seem so off to me.

If you’ve got a spare Tiger Force Duke, one thing you should try to do is place a version 1 head on the body. It’s an easy fix, and it goes a LONG way in improving the overall look of the figure. Sometimes you don’t realize how much certain looks are integral to the character. DukeTigerForce

 

 

 

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

Great Moments

That logo is factory.

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1989 COBRA Devastator

The 1989 Battlefield Robots are things I don’t remember seeing anywhere online, even when they were available from Funskool. Hell, Yo Joe! still uses catalog images for their pages in the archives. They look to be the late 80s equivalent of the PAC/RATS or Battlefield Accessories- The lowest price point vehicles available. There were two for the G.I. Joe team; The Radar Rat and the Tri-Blaster, as well as two for COBRA; The Hovercraft and the Devastator.

Why they’re called “Battlefield Robots” I have no idea, they all have a place for an operator, so it’s not like the PAC/RAT. Seems like a marketing ploy that wasn’t really thought out or finalized, but was copyrighted so might as well use it!

Devastator

I picked up a Devastator at an antique mall, for $6. It’s antenna and two missiles were broken, but it was $6 and I’ve never seen one in person. For what it is, it’s actually not too bad. It’s a tad out there design-wise, but it’s still better than some of the stuff you’d be seeing in the 1990s. It also happens to have relevant COBRA colouring, the grey isn’t a perfect match for the SNAKE or CLAW, it’s still close, and an actual COBRA color. The crimson parts are nice too, since Crimson is a COBRA color, and since 1983 COBRA’s armaments have tended to be “LOTS OF RED MISSILES”.

While it’s a decently colored vehicle, it does have some pretty iffy design flaws. The seat is done so in a way that the figure’s feet just kind of hang there underneath. It’s straight up some Bedrock shit. Usually I can forgive things like that for practicablity, but you can’t even keep the legs upwards to hide it. Though a neat thing, is Hasbro decided to make both COBRA Battlefield Robots share parts, they did the same for the G.I. Joe ones as well.  Goes to show there was still some ingenuity left even by 1989.

If you find a Devastator cheap, get it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get one, but it’s a relatively small vehicle with a decent design, surprisingly classic colours, and it’s different enough to break-up the sameness a lot of COBRA vehicles tend to have.

 

Devastator 2

 

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One of the nameless, faceless legions of COBRA Command

The Enemy#1.JPG

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B.A.T.tle In The Sand

A COBRA Guardsmen tells his men to prepare the B.A.T.’s.

Ready The BATsReady The BATS 2Let's Get Out Of Here

With the B.A.T.’s heading out to destroy, the remaining COBRA agents can escape with their lives.

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Great Moments In G.I. Joe History

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1985 Snake Eyes

I doubt there is a better example of a character’s portrayal in the various G.I. Joe media making a figure popular, than that of the 1985 Snake Eyes. This is a figure that has ALWAYS been an expensive and sought after figure, and yet it is still very rarely seen in fan content.

I’ve always been surprised at how little use Snake Eyes version 2 sees in dios and photographs, especially considering that iconic looks and popularity has been the basis for fan generated content for like 20 years. Then I remembered, this figure isn’t really that good.

If you look at the figure, all seems to be well. He’s got some fairly cool and well sculpted details like his visor, the combat knife on his leg and he’s also received the “Guys, it’s 1985, we all need to wear two belts” memo that a lot of the ’85 figures seemed to have. The colouring is a perfect update to the character, as he’s still the dark shadow man. Once you get the figure in hand, though, something is off. There’s got to be a structural flaw somewhere as he’s just a figure that doesn’t pose well. Much like Recondo, he looks cool, but that’s about it.

Snake Eyes received the same ’82 Uzi, which is a nice touch as it ties the character back  to the first version, and shows a continuity within the line. He also has a bad ass scimitar and a backpack that can hold it. I always liked how his sword wasn’t a ninja sword like Quick Kick or Storm Shadow, it was different and combined with his visor always kind of made him seem like a Knight, to me. He also came with a wolf. I don’t like Timber, I never was big on most animal figures, other than Junkyard, I always found them kind of hokey, and to me Timber was the hokiest. Nowadays the animals are decent for props in photos, but Timber’s so goddamn expensive I’m not going to seek one out.

It’s a shame how this figure doesn’t really live up to either it’s design or the portrayal it had in both the cartoon and comic books. Especially since, this is a design that was Snake Eyes at G.I. Joe’s absolute peak, so it’s been ingrained as THE Snake Eyes. This is a figure where the mold hinders it, so while it would’ve probably had a really good paint in 1997, it’d still just be a figure that was “just there”. We’d also probably have seen 3-4 bland and derivative repaints of this same mold, without even anything as dramatic as the Kid Rhino ’83 Snake Eyes.

 


 

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