Peril in Paradise Tiger Force Recondo
I’ve always had kind of a strange relationship with Recondo. I didn’t know about the character as a kid, but once I met him in the comics when I was in high school, I was hooked. The only Recondo I had in high school was the SpyTroops version that, while a good figure, really looked nothing like him. I was very excited to get a vintage-styled Recondo in the Assault on Cobra Island set. However, that Recondo was plagued by some pretty bad part choices [(cough, cough) Duke arms (cough, cough)] and while the Pursuit of Cobra Recondo was a neat figure, but like the SpyTroops version, he really didn’t look that much like Recondo either. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised the GIJCC tapped Recondo for inclusion in the Peril In Paradise con set. Recondo was in Tiger Force back in the day, but he was a vehicle driver and truthfully, I never really liked the color scheme that particular Recondo had. Plus, the only reason Recondo showed up as a vehicle driver was become the Wild Bill mold was lost somewhere in South America at the time and Recondo’s look was kind of close to Wild Bill’s and Hasbro just kind of went “Eh, close enough…” However, even before having to fill in for the AWOL Wild Bill, Recondo was apparently supposed to join Tiger Force the next year alongside Sabretooth and Ripcord. The GIJCC made an interesting choice to reference what was supposed to be Recondo’s original color scheme, and while it may not be everyone’s ideal look for Tiger Force Recondo, I dig it and I’m pretty glad that I finally have a vintage-inspired Recondo that looks good.
Recondo’s original look was pretty basic and worked well for a jungle fighter. However, when Hasbro recreated it in the Assault on Cobra Island seven pack, they made some pretty bad choices. As far as I can tell, the GIJCC used almost all the same parts as that first Recondo, but switched out his terrible arms for some great ones and that really saves the figure. The main body of the figure comes from 25th Anniversary Dusty. The very basic military look works well for Recondo, even if it’s not a perfect recreation of his vintage look. The legs are a basic pair of military pants with the cuffs tucked into the boots. I’ve said before I like when Joes deviate from the military norms, but I like seeing Recondo with the tucked in boots because it makes a lot of sense for a jungle fighter to do that. The legs have good range of motion and I think they’re a great pair of basic legs. The upper body looks like a basic BDU shirt, though there are some strange construction issues that affect this particular version. The belt piece, which normally fits perfectly, fits very loosely on Tiger Force Recondo and there’s some sort of mismatch between Recondo’s waist and upper body. The fit is incredibly loose and it means that Recondo not only has the mid-torso joint, but he can also turn at his waist just above the belt piece. It’s an odd flaw that I’ve literally never seen with any other modern Joe and I don’t know why it’s happening here with Recondo since these parts were all used together before. Odd construction issues aside, though, the torso works very well for Recondo. To bring him a little closer in line to the vintage figure, Tiger Force Recondo also gets a removable shoulder holster. The fit on this piece is a little odd. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that if you want tohave Recondo wearing his backpack, you have to tweak the shoulder holster a bit so the backpack hole is clear. The right shoulder strap just rides a little high and close to his neck and the look is just a little off because of it. Rather than use the combination of Dusty and Duke arms that the Assault on Cobra Island version used, the GIJCC wisely switched out his arms with GIJCC Footloose. The rolled up sleeves look great and the anatomy of his bare lower arms looks natural. The GIJCC Footloose arms bring his arms much closer to the vintage version that what Hasbro did and they’re superior pieces that look better and have more articulation. This was a great call on the GIJCC’s part. Up top, Recondo shares his head with the Assault on Cobra Island version. I think Recondo’s head sculpt was probably the best one in the Assault on Cobra Island set, so I’m glad the GIJCC used it here. It captures Recondo’s vintage look excellently and it’s nice to see it used again here. It’s kind of amazing how switching out a figure’s arms can improve a figure as much as this one did. Assault on Cobra Island Recondo was a surprisingly solid figure, but those Duke arms just created so many problems that it made him weaker than he should have been and this figure avoids those problems.
Of course, it seems anymore that the GIJCC can’t do anything without raising controversy. In this case, the controversy is focused on Recondo’s color scheme. Rather than use the colors Recondo had in 1988 when he came with the Tiger Fly, the GIJCC went back to the Hasbro archives and used the color scheme he was going to have when he was going to be released as a carded figure instead of filling in as the pilot of the Tiger Fly. Personally, I really like these different colors. I always thought the vintage Tiger Force Recondo was the odd man out in the vintage Tiger Force so I’m happy that the modern Tiger Force Recondo doesn’t look out of place alongside the rest of his teammates. Many people also felt that Recondo’s color scheme was too similar to Flint’s and that was a problem, but I think Tiger Force Flint’s look was probably the best of the original Tiger Force figures, so I’m perfectly fine with Recondo and Flint sharing a similar look. Recondo has dark green pants and a brown shirt with black tiger stripes. The look really worked well for Flint and I think it’s great on Recondo. After all, he’s the team’s premiere jungle fighter and I think this look works well for someone who spends most of their time fighting in the jungle. There’s a little bit of lighter brown on the figure’s belt and shoulder holster that help make him look a little more interesting. The flesh tones are consistent between his arms and head, likely because they’re both molded out of flesh tone plastic rather than painted that way. I know a lot of people don’t like that the GIJCC didn’t go with the vintage Tiger Force Recondo’s color scheme, but dark blue, yellow and green looked out of place in 1988 and I think they’d still look out of place now. I applaud the GIJCC for thinking outside of the box with Tiger Force Recondo and referencing the look Hasbro wanted to give him before they needed to shift him over to the Tiger Fly since Wild Bill’s mold was lost somewhere in the jungles of South America at the time.
Tiger Force Recondo doesn’t come with a lot of gear, but I really like what the GIJCC did here, for the most part. Tiger Force was a team of jungle fighters, so to make Recondo stand out, the GIJCC’s filecard also made Recondo the team’s “Designated Marksman.” That means Recondo is the best shot on the team so he’ll engage enemy troops at a longer range to extend the reach of an infantry combat team. To aid in that job, Tiger Force Recondo has the same rifle that Pursuit of Cobra Recondo came with. For some reason, some people were also randomly pissed about this change. Don’t get me wrong, I like the vintage Recondo rifle, but the modern wrapped rifle is a better piece and I think fits a bit better with this Recondo. It’s a piece we’ve seen before, but it’s still a very nice modern rifle and it look at home in Recondo’s hands. Recondo uses the same backpack the Assault on Cobra Island version had and I like that backpack a lot. It’s a larger piece, which makes sense considering how much time Recondo spends in the field, but it’s not so big that I think it would get in Recondo’s way while he’s trekking through the jungle. Of course, Recondo’s look isn’t complete without the slouch hat. It’s the same piece that came with the Assault on Cobra Island version, which means it fits his head nicely and the upturned side, which he would do so he could use his rifle, also means that like Flint, Recondo is a lefty. I didn’t think about that when I was gearing him up, so the pictures have him holding his rifle in his off hand, but I have since switched that since that’s how a lefthanded person would wear the slouch hat so they could shoot. The only accessory I’m not wild about is the crazy mabele knife that they gave Recondo. This piece originally came with Shadow Tracker and it works well for him, but it just doesn’t fit with Recondo in my mind. I wish the GIJCC had just given him a basic machete. I think it would have made more sense for hacking through the jungle and the mabele is a pretty wicked-looking knife. The Joes shouldn’t carry something that looks that evil.
I know there was a lot of controversy surrounding this particular version of Recondo, however, I think it’s all a bit blown out of proportion. Yes, the look Recondo has is different, but it’s A) still based on something from the brand’s history [in this case, the same images that gave us Wreckage/Sgt. Sabre Tooth] and B) it actually means Recondo looks like he belongs in Tiger Force. Recondo has always been a jungle fighter, but the vintage Tiger Force version really didn’t look the part. The modern Tiger Force Recondo is well-designed figure and his colors look like they belong on someone who spends most of his time fighting in the jungle. It’s a better look than his 1988 version and considering we don’t have a Tiger Fly for him to sit behind the control stick of, I don’t mind that the GIJCC went a different way. Plus, this look also makes me like the vintage Recondo look a bit more. It doesn’t look terribly out of place next to non-Tiger Force figures, but he also looks at home with the rest of his team. The gear is decent and it fits with Recondo for the most part. I also like that the GIJCC went as far as expanding Recondo’s specialty in the filecard to make him more important to a team of jungle fighters. Recondo being an excellent marksman makes sense because it’s always been established that he spends a lot of time alone out in the field. While Recondo may bring some rations, he’s going to rely heavily on on-site procurement for food and that means if he doesn’t become a good shot, he’s not going to eat. All in all, this may not be the Recondo that everyone expected, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad figure. If you look at Tiger Force Recondo with an open mind, you’ll find plenty of good stuff to see here.