By Past Nastification
Imagine taking the rough shape of a stealth bomber and squeezing it down to hold a crew of one. Add on a strange rotating “tail”. Now go crazy and deck it out with four cannons and six bombs/rockets. Congratulations, you’ve just made a Tigerhawk.
Introduced in a grey camouflage pattern and then a tan camouflage pattern, the Tigerhawk was the mini-attack jet of the new sculpt era. Unlike that era’s Thunderwing or Sky Sweeper (respectively based on the real world Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk), the Tigerhawk is based on the visions of someone’s hangovers.
Sometimes unrealistic vehicles are ridiculous; sometimes they’re meh; sometimes they’re simply fun. The Tigerhawk is a blast. The figures of the new sculpt era were so despised by many collectors that they simply ignored the vehicles out of hand. My fellow collectors, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Tigerhawk deserves some attention, even if it’s not the prettiest of babies.
The Tigerhawk looks quasi-realistic, much the same way the HAL or the Sharc did. It has enough real world reference points for anyone not asking for too much (like a canopy and wings) to pass for something that might fly if it were built. Flying 20 feet and crashing is still flying, for the purposes of toy inspiration.
It’s not the most graceful GI Joe aircraft, looking like the offspring of a diseased pigeon and a bullfrog with low self-esteem, but this adds to its squat ruggedness. It has a loveable ugliness, like the real world A-10. Where the Firebat design, another aircraft of roughly the same size class, went for speed and grace, the Tigerhawk design went for punch and durability. Details are on almost every surface. There are even two joysticks, maybe Hasbro’s way of saying sorry for all of the ARAH aircraft with no joysticks.
There are a few flaws. The Ace figure is a classic new sculpt mess, with stubby arms and a short torso- but it might be unfair to hold the figure’s flaws against the vehicle. There are ambiguously sculpted mini landing gear or skids on the bottom, which should have been folding landing gear. The rotating tail is frustrating because it spins much too freely and doesn’t lock into place. The aircraft also has a tendency to tip backwards when on the ground because it’s not balanced correctly.
A NS era vehicle that can be easily dismissed, the imaginative Tigerhawk is better than remembered.