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.

12 comments

  • I think the white hair and beard really does it for me. There are no domestic Joes like him. The original Outback is one of my top 5 figures ever from the RAH line and this variant is just as sweet. Easily the best of any foreign releases in my book

  • He certainly does have that rugged outback look, and the tiger t-shirt is a nice touch. Who cares about the crotch, they can’t all be in pristine condition!

  • This is one figure that still eludes me! I love him for the same unexplained reasons as you do. You scored major points dropping Mike T’s forgotten figures. It seems nowadays it’s Mike T’s forgotten web site and that’s a shame. I loved it and read it all the time back then and it sparked my interest in foreign Joe figures. Hopefully this cool blog will teach the new crop of Joe fan’s about their history. You can tell by the sour reaction to the GIJCC offerings that they never studied up on TNT, Quarrel, and the rest of the cool foreign figures we’ve been waiting for since reading about them on Mike T’s site way back then! Great job on giving these ”forgotten figures” some exposure again and bringing that entertaining learning resource back to the community! Thanks!

  • It’s Outback’s dad, Grayback!

    My only nitpick with this one, the regular camo seems wrong for Tiger Force, should be stripes. That’s the whole team’s theme.

    Though, it could be said this figure wouldn’t look at good with tiger striped pants.

  • Mike T’s website was one of my favorites for the longest time. I loved the write ups and the pictures. you’ve done a magnificent job carrying on the tradition, and sharing some cool gems out of the line.
    Being an international figure, This is one Outback I don’t have, which is a shame because it is a pretty awesome looking toy. I don’t necessarily like it for Tiger Force, but its still awesome!

    • Thanks for the kind words. I could never match Mike’s in depth views of some of the figures, but it is nice to dig up some of the gems and duds that have been released since the 2000’s.

  • If there were even a modicum of a chance that I could paint that tiger face, I would totally want to do a modern custom of this figure. I have never been much of a Tiger Force fan, but his look is different enough from them that I think he looks above and beyond any other TF deco character.

  • Fun colorful figure without being obnoxiously tacky…like many of the 90’s figures.

  • With a shirt as rad as that, who needs a crotch?!

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