Tiger Force Outback (1991)
If you asked me before I started this blog what one Joe figure was my favorite, I’d have thought a bit, then eventually would have gone for the usual; ’85 Snake Eyes, ’84 Storm Shadow or Firefly, etc. Now that I’m looking across the years as part of this crazy blog thing, I’d most likely have a really hard time deciding. In fact, it might even change from week to week.
I’ll admit it; I never knew about the European Tiger Force figures before I happened upon the great Mike’s Forgotten Figures site back in the early 2000’s. When I first saw them, Outback immediately struck me as the coolest of the bunch. I think I was already predisposed to like him, since the original Outback was and remains one of my absolute favorites. The Tiger Force version put such an unexpected twist on the character’s design, it was hard for me to resist its allure.
How could such a simple and striking figure design become even more so? With just a few changes in color scheme, and of course the addition of a tiger’s face. When I looked this figure over again, I wondered why his hair color changed from red to white. I like to think that we’re dealing with a simple color reversal. The original–red hair with white shirt. Tiger Force–white hair with orange shirt. Maybe I’m grasping at straws, or there’s an issue of the comic that I missed in which Outback bleached his hair. Maybe he saw a ghost. I don’t know. And I don’t care. Sometimes it all comes down to one simple fact–it just looks cool. If we could track down the Euro line’s designers, they’d probably say the same thing about their design choices.
Some may say that I’m only seeing the attraction of rarity here, and that I wouldn’t like it as much if it had been a US release. I don’t buy that, because this isn’t the kitschy hodge-podge of a Cobra de Aco, it’s a solid design. Besides, there are plenty of domestic releases that hit me in the same way. There are some Joe figures that you like but just can’t put your finger on why. It’s something that I think strikes all Joe fans at one point, and it speaks volumes about the talent that was involved in the design of the original line.
PS: Yeah I know some of his gear is from the original and he’s got a broken crotch. Just relax, this isn’t a museum.