Peril in Paradise Dial-Tone
As I’ve talked about before, there are always one or two figures that turn out to be kind of lame in large figure sets. Honestly, this was a review I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write for the Peril in Paradise con set. I really like Dial Tone and I like that he joined Tiger Force, but the version the GIJCC put out for this set is still really weak. He is legitimately better than the membership incentive figure from a few years ago, but he’s still got some pretty bad problems and that makes it really hard for me to like him. Don’t worry, the Peril in Paradise reviews will get better, but I figure it’s best to get the bad figures out of the way first, so that means we start with Tiger Force Dial Tone.
Dial Tone first joined Tiger Force during the Joe Vs. Cobra relaunch and I was a huge fan of that. While I wasn’t wild about the European-inspired color scheme, I liked finally having my own version of Dial Tone. It was a smart move for the GIJCC to grab Dial Tone for this set, if nothing else to further offset the cost of tooling up his new head a few years ago. Unfortunately, this figure still shares way too many bad parts with the first Dial Tone the GIJCC put out. The only changed parts are his legs, which come from Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper. The legs themselves are a massive improvement over the Gung-Ho legs he originally had, but the legs don’t seat well into Dial Tone’s hips. His hips aren’t quite as loose as Footloose’s, but they’re still not great and for some reason I find it a bit more frustrating here with Dial Tone than I did on Footloose. The rest of the figure’s parts are shared with the first modern Dial Tone. That means he’s using Buzzer’s torso, complete with floating shoulder pad and Airborne’s arms with their funky wrists. These were bad choices the first time the GIJCC made them and they’re still bad five years later. Thanks to the digital mock up, I knew going in that Dial Tone would use these parts, but knowing it in advance doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Once again, I don’t see why they couldn’t have used the parts they did for the Special Missions Brazil Dial Tone for this figure. That figure was a little off model, but it was a solid figure. Perfect world, I really wish the GIJCC would have come up with something totally different. Honestly, as I’ve been looking at this figure more and more lately, it bugs me that Dial Tone only got a slight redesign, meaning it’s very similar to an inferior figure I already have from the GIJCC. Sure, the different legs help make him look better, but it’s still pretty much the same Dial Tone I got in 2010 and have grown less enamored with over the years. The saving grace is that Tiger Force Dial Tone still has the same great head that the GIJCC designed for him. It is a legitimately good piece, it’s just a shame that it’s still sitting on top of a very weak figure.
The GIJCC bringing in Tiger Force Dial Tone wasn’t without controversy. The GIJCC decided to pull his color scheme away from the blue and orange European style Tiger Force figures and used more browns and yellows. Personally, I’m fine with that. I loved the Joe Vs. Cobra Tiger Force set, but the one thing I hated about it was that all those Tiger Force figures didn’t really fit with my original Tiger Force guys because their colors were just so different. Plus, I’ve never really understood the appeal of the international Tiger Force color scheme anyway. Considering how often some Joe fans decry brightly colored figures, I don’t know why European Tiger Force figures get a pass. If Hasbro proper had released the original Tiger Force figures in orange and bright blue, I’m pretty sure people would hate them, but because they’re international versions, a bad color scheme is okay? That’s never made sense to me. Personal rant about European Tiger Force aside, Dial Tone looks okay in this different Tiger Force color scheme, but he’s still not perfect. Up top, Tiger Force Dial Tone uses the traditional yellow and brown Tiger Force look. Most of his torso is yellow with black tiger stripes, but the collar and arms are brown. That look reinforces the vest look Dial Tone has traditionally had. The cavalry logo on his left arm is shifted to yellow so it stands out against the brown. It’s actually not a bad look, it just doesn’t mesh that well with his legs. From the waist down, Tiger Force Dial Tone uses a lot of black. It’s just not a color I associate with Tiger Force outside of the stripes and really, it winds up making him look a little too different from the rest of the group. All the other Tiger Force figures in the set used some combination of yellow, brown and green. Some of them only used two of the three colors, but they all share similar colors and none of them had as much black on them as Dial Tone does. The black pants don’t work with the yellow and brown shirt and vest combination and don’t really work well with the rest of the Tiger Force figures. Tiger Force Dial Tone does have tiger striped kneepads, but the paint work is a little weak and it leaves them looking more like they have a yellow zigzag on them than actual tiger stripes. The brown boots look nice as well, but the paint is applied somewhat thickly on them and it leaves them looking a bit plastic-y. The paint work on Tiger Force Dial Tone’s head is solid and it does reinforce my comment about the first version of Dial Tone. With the lighter skin tone, Tiger Force Dial Tone’s mustache stands out a bit better than his standard edition counterpart. This version of Dial Tone actually looks like Dial Tone at a quick glance. I just wish he fit in a little bit better with the rest of his team.
Though I’m a bit disappointed with the construction and paint work on the figure, Tiger Force Dial Tone’s gear is great, even if it’s stuff we’ve seen quite a few times before. Tiger Force Dial Tone’s primary weapon is the standard Dial Tone rifle. Just because we’ve seen it before doesn’t mean it’s not a great choice, plus I think it looks pretty sharp in black. Tiger Force Dial Tone also has the great communication backpack the GIJCC tooled up for their original version of Dial Tone. Once again, it’s a good piece and I find myself digging it in black. Rounding out his gear, Tiger Force Dial Tone has the briefcase that we first saw with Resolute Destro. This is a nice addition to Dial Tone’s gear load. Not only does it give him a cool modern computer, but it also gives him one more weapon, the MP5 secreted inside it. His gear isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it’s all Dial Tone appropriate and I do like getting these pieces in colors we haven’t seen before.
I was so hoping that the Shock Trooper legs were going to help Tiger Force Dial Tone transcend the rest of the weak parts he used. Unfortunately, that really wasn’t the case. The legs not fitting the torso just make Tiger Force Dial Tone awkward in a different way. Add in the fact that his color scheme, while better than the one that the figure this one is based on used, doesn’t really tie him in too well with the rest of his team and you have a Dial Tone figure that’s kind of a man without a country. His look really doesn’t mesh with many of the other Tiger Force figures, but it’s not on model enough that I can replace my other Dial Tone. Not every figure out of a con set is going to be a winner, but I just wish it didn’t feel like I was getting a rehashed version of something I already got from the GIJCC and didn’t really like the first time around. I know I’m probably in the minority here, but I think Tiger Force Dial Tone was probably a bad choice from the beginning. I’d rather have seen Tiger Force Roadblock, using the Resolute mold as a base, get the attention because then (if you count the souvenir Felino figure as Tiger Force Dusty rather than the international figure he’s intended to be) the entire original Tiger Force team would have modern versions. I think Tiger Force Dial Tone is just a miss kind of across the board and that’s a shame because I really do like Dial Tone as a character. It’s just a shame both of the modern versions I have of him miss the mark so badly.