Monday, November 3, 2008

Tiger Fail, Duke Arms, and a Review Coming Soon


The GI Joe franchise has seen plenty of subgroups, some much more stupid than others. Battle Force 2000, Python Patrol, Ninja Force, etc. One that really stands out is Tiger Force. For some reason, some people seem to have a lot of love for Tiger Force (maybe just fond childhood memories). Having no emotional connection to Tiger Force, I can see it for what it really was - a poorly thought-out cashgrab which resulted in ugly figures and hideous vehicles loosely tied together by a semblance of a story.

Here's the idea behind Tiger Force: repaint figures and vehicles in tiger-stripe camo. Not have a solid idea of what they're supposed to blend in with, so throw in some jungle green as well as desert yellows (effectively preventing blending in with either environment). Hell, toss in some arctic character and vehicle too. Not have a solid idea of what the unit is or does, just a vague idea of their mission on the filecards. A mission which would be severely hindered by the characters' and vehicles' colours. Oh, and rather than simply repaint vehicles in tiger camo, colour the vehicles LIKE tigers. Yellows, eyes, plenty of stripes.

It doesn't annoy me that Tiger Force was just a line of repaints. What annoys me is that Tiger Force was a line of crap repaints centered around a bad name and a half-assed storyline. Night Force was also a line of repaints, only it didn't suck. The night-ops colour schemes actually looked good. (Granted, the glow-in-the-dark gimmick kind of defeats the purpose of sneaking around at night, but still.)

According to Tiger Force Leader Flint's filecard, the unit goes behind enemy lines with captured Cobra vehicles. Really? Really. Here's an idea: if you're trying to go behind enemy lines in enemy vehicles, DON'T REPAINT THEM. Dress up like Cobras and cruise in undetected. You'd think Cobra would know that there are no Rattlers coloured like tigers in their air fleet.

The toy line could have consisted of rereleased vehicles (maybe with remoulded parts or new accessories) and a figure. The figure would be a Cobra body with a removable helmet. Under the helmet is a familiar Joe's mug. That could have been interesting: "Cobra HISS with Flint in Cobra Officer Disguise" or "Cobra Rattler with Roadblock in Cobra Viper Disguise." Something like that, only less lame. Less lame but better than the fail that is Tiger Force.

Tiger Force, unfortunately, did not die with the 80s. It managed to find its way into the 25th Anniversary collection, but at least it's back with good intentions. To explain what I mean, please allow me to rant a bit further.

Don't get me wrong, I can't thank Hasbro enough for making the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line. To say I'm grateful is an understatement. The whole line is aimed at collectors and grown-up fans, because, hey, what the crap do kids know about GI Joe? Thanks Hasbro, and keep the Joes coming! That being said, the line's not without its flaws.

I can't blame Hasbro for recycling parts. It keeps costs down, and part recycling's an integral part of Joe history. But one part I can't forgive them for recycling (and won't forgive them for making in the first place) is the Duke Epic Fail Arm (trademark pending).

The "duke arm" is not only undeserving of capitalization but incapable of bending and the wrist cut is very visible and weak. These crap arms were made for the Duke figure. Duke is the character I hate the most. Hands-down, no-contest. Duke blows. That bastard grin, the all-American-boy blond-eye-blue-eyes, the being a jackass in the comic, the overall propaganda feel of the character... you get the idea.

I enjoy that Duke was cursed with those smegawful arms, but what pisses me off is that those bastard arms stain some of my favourite characters. Even Rock N Roll and Clutch! Unforgivable. The arms don't even look like those characters' '82 arms. In '82, they had short sleeves, or at very least sleeves rolled up to the biceps. Not long sleeves rolled up to their forearms. So not only are the arms not functional, they aren't even accurate.

Among the affected figures is Flint, the beret-wearing lovable braggart. Poor ol' Flint was cursed with Duke's arms, but now, Hasbro's finally seems to be trying to phase out the Fail Arms. They're re-releasing some affected characters with better arms: Shipwreck's, modified.

Flint was lucky enough to be cured of his Fail Arms, but Hasbro couldn't just re-release him with the new arms single-carded. Well, they could of, but instead they decided to recolour the new fixed-arm Flint into his Tiger Force colours. He's not the only Tiger Force character to return. Duke's also been recoloured into his Tiger Force uniform. They didn't really fix his Duke Arms since... well, he's Duke. Rock N Roll's getting rereleased in a Comic Pack with better arms and, you guessed it, he's got black tiger stripes on his legs.

Anyway, why all this talk about Tiger Force? I'm going to be reviewing the 25th Tiger Force Flint figure soon, so I figured I'd get all I had to say about Tiger Force out of the way before I wrote the review, or this whole post would end up as the introduction to my review.

Check back soon to find out what I think of a figure you already have or passed on Waves ago!

- Tiger Force is made of fail
- Duke Arms blow, kudos to Hasbro for canning them
- Review of 25th Tiger Force Flint coming soon

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