The Power of Packaging: Tiger Shark

I’m a sucker for the Tiger Force vehicle repaints. Combine tiger stripes and the famous Flying Tigers teeth regalia and you’ve got instant cool as far as I’m concerned. 

There’s been discussion about the original product paintings being painted over, but I wonder if such was the case here. I have a pic of the Water Mocassin that I believe was taken at the JoeCon Hasbro tour, so it looks to me like the original survived. The characters are all in the same position as in the Tiger Force art, but elements of the boat itself are different. Anyone out there know the story on this one? 


Water Moccasin


  • I just laid these over each other in photoshop (with some skew and rotation to make them line up) and the water and waves are the same. This leads me to believe the rest was painted over. Whether it was painted over a print or the original painting, who knows? Since you’ve seen the original water moccasin art firsthand at the Con, it would have to be the former.

  • I find it interesting that this is the only Tiger Force box art with non Tiger Force characters. Spearhead has a visor, too. I wonder if these two were last minute subs for the cancelled Ripcord and Sabretooth since the rest of the TF characters appear on the other vehicles. Or, they just ran out of TF characters and included these guys.

    The original figure artwork was painted over for Tiger Force. So, it would make sense that the vehicle art was, too. But, with vehicles, supposedly, being the profitable product, maybe they were able to make a copy and use that whereas the figure art simply couldn’t afford that cost.

    • I saw a design sketch of Spearhead that featured a visor, which was probably cost-out. Maybe the Tiger Shark was one of the earlier paintings to be commissioned. The black fan housing is neat, too – breaks up all the red in the back. And Anon’s comment about Bazooka wearing Copperhead’s pants made me laugh!

  • ”Famous Flying Tiger regalia looks perfect, only on any type of aircraft.”The Tiger Force Tiger Shark is only a cheap copy of the original 1984 Cobra Water Mocassin.”

  • They took copies of the art and painted over that. Its the cheaper, easier option thus retaining the original artwork.

  • I guess the artist chose those characters as using only Tiger force figures for the picture would have been harder to do as all the yellow would have clashed.

  • I think the answer is “painted over” (hopefully just a copy of the original though). I say this because it looks like Bazooka is wearing Copperhead’s pants. Maybe they were in a hurry & just thought they’d leave that part of the picture alone. Spearhead’s inclusion makes sense though, what with Max being a cat….

    • Bazooka’s pants seem to suggest that, but look closely there’s details on the boat itself that are different. (look at the fan rudders!) Maybe more toy accurate? But why bother is it’s just painted over? And how could they do that and miss Bazooka’s pants?

  • Rob, seems like you’ve got an unofficial “SHARC Week(end)” happening…

  • I’ve never liked the idea of Cobra and Joe trading vehicles….

  • I love it, Tiger Force forever!

  • Dreadnok: Spirit

    Cobra Commander has always looked out of place to me on that Mocassin.

  • There are really are a lot of detail differences between the Moccasin and Tiger Shark!

    Was the Moccasin’s package painted up before final product was done?

    Compare this to the ’84 Stinger box with no shovel. A change or two before the final design, an earlier rendering or painting used for packaging?

    Was the “actual product may vary” tag ever on packages?

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