Tiger Paw (1988)

The Ferret is for my money one of the coolest and  most iconic low price Joe vehicles of the 80s. Heck, I think it’s also one of the overall most memorable toys of the era. What better embodies a ride for action figures of the decade than a four wheeler? Add on machine guns and missiles and you’ve got a fun little toy for the ages. Paint it in a white/brown/yellow gradient and add Flying Tiger-esque markings and the package reaches new heights. The Tiger Force vehicles are so vibrantly colored that no one will mistake them for an attempt by Hasbro at portraying military realism. For some, this period is where the the 1980s GI Joe jumped the shark–or the Tiger, if you will. I appreciate the inherent toy-ness of it, bright red accessories and all. The fact that the Tiger Force vehicle color schemes are more uniform than the figures is a bonus.

The concept of the Joe team refitting captured Cobra equipment is a novel one. It also allowed Hasbro to save some bucks on tooling by going back to the well with older releases. Say what you will about the Tiger Force color scheme, the mold choice was very smart. The same process went on with the next year’s Cobra Python Patrol vehicles. Someday I’ll get around to covering the beauty of the Cobra Conquest jet.


  • My stance on Tiger Force and subsequent repaint sub-teams has softened over the years. The Ferret was always awesome even though I’ve yet to own one. (I was probably saving up for one of the mid-size vehicles instead.)

    Anyway, Slaughter’s Marauders offered three rides which did pique my interest, especially the Equalizer. The vehicle repaints have since won me over slowly and steady as an adult collector. So far, I’ve snagged a boxed Tiger Cat and I imagine that stuff like the Tiger Paw will eventually join my collection.

  • I just noticed for the first time- look at the missiles- they have dual warheads. How do they achieve propulsion when they fire? There are no engine wash nozzles on them! Maybe they’re supposed to be like mines that simply drop onto the road for a pursuing vehicle to hopefully run over them and explode?

  • I’m a supporter of these teams as it gave collectors a chance to pick up earlier characters they missed.

    At one point last year, i became obsessed with the tiger force colour scheme and repainted a few not-Joe [but simmilar] vehicles in those colours. Why some may ask?

    Because if painting 1/35th model tanks for a living has taught me anything its that there only so many times i can paint olive green Shermans before getting bored.

  • Tiger force was about 1/6 of my vehicle motor pool overall at one point. Back in the day, having about 12 vehicles in total. Tiger Cat was the main tank, the big land bruiser, for many years.

    Tiger paw is pretty cool. Today, with my current focus, the Ferret is a vehicle I have in mind to make a core of my Cobra Forces. If this actually happens….., we’ll see….

  • I thought the purpose of the repaint lines was to give kids the opportunity to buy classic figures they might see in the cartoon (which seems to have been in reruns during the 87-88 season at least) that were before their time or they didn’t have a chance to pick up and might now want (well, except Roadblock, who was on sale every year from 1984-89). Original Duke was before my time. In 1988, that’s how I got Duke. Also had Tripwire (who I had never seen before), and Dusty (whom I didn’t get because other figures took priority). Python Patrol looked sharp and some of those molds hadn’t been seen since 1984 or 85, which, to a kid was half or more of a lifetime ago (have to remember the subjective perception of time. As one gets older, time tends to perceptibly speed up. 1 year as a kid in grade school takes an eternity while to an adult a year is, well, a year. Sometimes it goes by at a normal pace, sometimes it speeds by).

    The Tiger color/stripes motif didn’t look very military realistic, but to a kid, it looked cool (I’m still of the opinion the Detroit Tigers need to add a solid color alternate uniform with tiger stripes on the sides/back). It looked badass/intimidating in a way. Imagine if a country’s army didn’t care about camouflage colors, confident in their armor & arsenal, and rolled/flew into battle painted up like an aggressive apex predator? Might have a psychological effect, projecting an air of fierceness and danger.

  • Oh yeah. I also heard part of Tiger Force was to pad out the line, trying to take up more space on store shelves to combat TMNT though TMNT debuted in June 1988. Not sure when Tiger Force came out, but obviously even if it came out, say, in Sept 1988, it had to have been planned since before that June.

  • @Little Boa
    I heard Tiger force came out in ’88 [a year after the movie] in an attempt to introduce new fans to old character and also offer them a chance to pick them up again. I also heard Duke was featured prominantly in the line as an attempt to dismiss his “death” in the movie.

  • If that’s true, why a minor character like Tripwire? Why a new pilot named Sky Striker? Where was Shipwreck?

  • you put the missiles the wrong way around. True, the back of the Tiger Paw box did the same, but its wrong, if you look at the Cobra Feret artwork, box back and blueprints, they have the thicker, rounder warhead facing forwards, the thinner end faces the rear. The box art for the Tiger Paw also has the warheads as per the Feret’s artwork too.

    Anyone ever seen the European Tiger Paw box with ‘ACTION FORCE’ logo and Tiger Force Psyche Out driving, with Tiger Force Outback riding pillion? They were done for the German market apparently. Odd though, as in the UK / rest of the European Union (we had tri-lingual box backs by then, detailing the features) we simply had the US box art but with ‘G.I.JOE – THE ACTION FORCE’ branding…By 1991, the rest of Europe was re-branding as ‘G.I.JOE’ in some form, except Germany. One of the reasons the box art was amended for the German market was that Tiger Force Lifeline, Dusty and Roadblock weren’t released there, in the UK, we didn’t get TF Bazooka or Dusty but they still appeared on our box art…

    In a sense, you have to commend the person working in Hasbro’s German Marketing Department as he or she realised that if certain figures were not in their domestic market, box art should only utilise characters that were available to kids at the time…

  • I love it! I have 2 of them!

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