Review by Chris Chung & Fred Meyer
Pics by Fred Meyer
G.I. Joe Collector's Club Figure Subscription Service 4.0
Tiger Force Advanced Recon - Code name: Sneak Peek
The G.I. Joe team is much like a really good Swiss Army knife; a knife renowned for always making the right tool for the job easily accessible. Throughout the original run of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero the team’s roster grew to massive proportions, filled with specialists for every occasion, every circumstance. In 1987, the G.I. Joe team was introduced to its first “Advanced Recon” specialist—a young man from Bangor, ME. whose signature piece of equipment was a giant periscope. Sneak Peek appeared twice in the vintage U.S. line: his debut in 1987 and a second appearance as part of the Night Force team just a year later. As with many lesser known Joes, this might have been the end for Owen King had it not been for the European release of two exclusiveTiger Force figures in 1990. It’s this final version that the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club chose to honor as part of the fourth roster of their Figure Subscription Service. Is he a worth inclusion to a modern generation 3 ARAH collection? Read on and find out what two long-time Joe fans think of this latest striped figure!
I gotta be honest with ‘ya Freddie; I would have preferred the other two versions of Sneak Peek to the Tiger Force one; even though the Night Force version was the most tactical and my personal fave. Not necessarily the case for the vintage figures, but TF has not translated well outside of nostalgia into the modern format; as we’ve detailed on the TF con set reviews which I assume we’ll post in the near future once we get the vehicles photographed.
I’m not going to disagree with Chris on this. Of all of the versions of Sneak Peek that could have been made, this one is the lowest on my priority list. I loved the Nocturnal Fire convention set from a few years ago and would have loved to have seen Sneak Peek released to compliment that set of Joes. Of course, I’m not the guy who always says he’s not a fan of Tiger Force so there’s that too.
Sneak Peek is built from:
Sneak Peek is based on a Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes torso, with limbs from the Cobra Shock Trooper, and a recycled Airborne head. The combination is fairly lackluster and not very accurate to the vintage figure.
First off: Fred, man, I gotta say, I’m quite sick of seeing this confounded head! Seven different characters have used this, and that’s a sin: Airborne. Hit & Run. Rollbar. Kickstart. Footloose. Grunt. Freefall. At the very least, it’s a well-sculpted head unlike that other bad penny that shows up each year; the PoC Dusty noggin’, but c’mon everyone got their money’s worth multiple times over on this tooling so it’s high time to be retired.
In the words of Master Yoda from Star Wars: Episode 2—“begun, the Clone Wars have.” I share your sentiment about the reuse of the head, but, in all honesty, I wonder how many people are actually going to display this figure w/o his helmet. The vintage 1987 version was one of those figures with the perma-helmet sculpt. With that in mind, I don’t think I could pick Sneak Peek’s noggin out of a line-up w/o his head gear. W/o a real mass market push to get real dollars behind this line multiple reuses of head sculpts are the reality of G.I. Joe these days. (Either that or it’s all a very clever homage to 1982. Yeah, that’s got to be it!) I used Mouse’s head for my NF Sneak Peek custom, but maybe Paramount owns that portrait as part of the film rights. (?)
Then we come to the arms. Instead of using the Resolute Duke arms that more closely match the original aesthetic, we get the highly overused Shock Trooper arms that are a bit too short, and have the poorly sculpted ‘J’ grip hands making holding a weapon difficult at best even with the hinged wrists.
The next issue I have are the legs. Umm hello? Not even close. Sneak Peek had knee-high snake boots that the 25 th Viper could have easily provided, but instead the Shock Trooper legs were used as a seemingly lazy shortcut. Why?!
Fred, my fig’s legs are also very loose and wobbly at the T-bar. Does yours have the same issue?
This was the first thing I noticed when I took Specialist King out of the package and tried to photograph him w/o a stand. His hip joints are loose. Crazy loose—so much so that until I talked to you I just assumed that I got a bad figure in the mail and was planning on calling the Club the next day. However, from both Chris’ comments and some replies on the JBL Facebook page, this seems to be a more common phenomenon than is acceptable at this price point. I’ll forgive the occasional reuse of a head sculpt but I can’t forgive sloppy parts construction and QC issues like this. A little dab of super glue in the leg holes and around the T-bar will tighten up the legs sufficiently when it dries. (When the glue hardens it will act as friction for the interior of the joint.) But you gotta move the legs around for about 15 minutes so they don’t get permanently glued down.
Moving on, his vest he has is from the 25th Scrap-Iron, and it’s not even remotely close to what Sneak Peek wore. Not. Even. Close. In fact, from what was reported at the JoeCon, the FSS 5 version may have a newly tooled vest. I hope so, because this doesn’t cut it.
As for his deco, that isn’t accurate either. The orange and black is fine on the vest, but the deco should have also covered his groin to give the illusion that he was still wearing his armored padding. The vintage version also had light blue pants that almost looked like they were stone-washed. That pale, faded hue worked better to complement the orange than the dark blue the Club uses. So instead of looking sort’a weird but cool like the vintage one, he looks like a d-bag hipster wearing a 60’s inspired Mod tiger sweater vest with blue jeans.
(Another issue with the deco is an astonishingly poor paint application on his hair. Wow, it’s like the ChiCom factories are now using toddler labor with biggie-brushes.)
And thus concludes another episode of “Fashion with Chris!” Tune in next time when we’ll examine the many wardrobe choices of the Most Dangerous Man Alive—Cobra Commander!
Here’s a preview: stirrup stretch pants; once a staple of nearly every woman’s wardrobe in the 80’s, went out of style in the mid 90’s. But how do they translate now, when worn by a man who also happens to be a super-villain? Chic or Freak? Stay tuned!
In all seriousness, I don’t own a vintage Tiger Force Sneak Peek so I’m just going to take your word for it. I’m not as bothered by the uniform build as Chris is but that’s because I’m still oddly fascinated by the color scheme used for this character. Seriously—there’s just a whole lot going on there. It’s almost distracting!
Sneak Peek comes with the following accessories:
Sneak Peek’s long gun is a 30 year old antiquated rifle design. Sure, it’s true to the version we still used in the mid 80’s, but a modernized SOPMOD M4 would have been a better choice to make him look less dated.
Yes, but remember—there’s a school of thought in our fandom that is “1980’s or Bust.” I too wouldn’t have minded a more updated rifle but I guess the logic is that if we want something different we can swap it out ourselves. The rifle is vintage accurate after all.
Speaking of looking dated, in the 80’s (and even depicted in the 1996 action film The Rock), military and law enforcement periscopes were large and bulky, and usually tripod mounted.
In the 20 years since then, miniaturization and next-gen materials have made them smaller and more compact. Because of this, I would not have minded if he came with a more modern and smaller take on the optics, but I will also freely admit his iconic periscope is what made his character. Case in point: Professor Meyer, wasn’t it in the DDP comic when Scarlett callously referred to him as “Periscope guy” instead of his codename?
Actually, yes it was. It always seemed a very a callous dismissal of a fallen comrade. (I’ll never forget his heroic death (“death”) in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero vol 1 #113 and the story of how Dusty carried his deceased friend’s remains back to the base. Seriously… that was the kind of story-telling that set Hama’s original run apart from every other “toy comic” out at the time.)
With that said, because the optic is so iconic, I don’t have any issues with being included here. (Plus the Club updated it, so that was a nice touch.)
I love to discuss potential ways to update classic characters with my friends in the community. As such, I’d postulated repurposing (gah, I hate that term!) Sneak Peek as a drone operator but when it comes down to it, the periscope really IS his signature item. To take it away would be like taking away Zap’s rocket launcher or Rock-‘n-Roll’s machine guns. The Club did a nice job on the newly tooled periscope. It’s molded in a softer plastic than the original and mine was ever-so-slightly warped when it came out of the package but it was nothing a quick bath in some hot water couldn’t fix. I could insert a joke here, but I’ll take the high road and won’t.
A helmet, radio, dickie, and binocs finish off his kit. Collectors should take note the radio’s antenna is removable and it comes off very easily. It would be a good idea to glue it on if you don’t want to accidently lose it.
Ironically enough I glued mine within the first half hour that he was off of the card! I never had an issue with the antenna when it was issued with either of the Low-Light releases but for some reason poor Sneak Peek’s popped right off. A quick dab of glue however and now it isn’t going ANYWHERE!
Finally I’d like to mention the card art. I’m not keen on the face, because it looks like Sneak Peek is overweight---or he’s been eating too much salt and he has facial edema. But I will say it’s worlds better than that bizarre 80’s card art that had real-life Owen King’s adolescent face placed on an adult body.
And now I’ll never look at the original figure the same way again. Thanks for that!
Unfortunately there’s a lot not to like about this figure. But my single largest gripe? It was a foreign exclusive the Club made before any domestic U.S. versions; and one more ‘Tiger Facre’ figure being shoved down our throats. We already had two TF con sets (albeit one being O-ring) and two prior TF members in FSS, so we don’t need any more valuable slots taken up by this subteam---not when there are more subteams and several dozen other characters than still haven’t been touched in any modern format. To add further delineation, the deco doesn’t match any of the convention Tiger Force colors, so these guys stick out like a sore thumb. Or more aptly put, everyone else sticks out like a sore thumb. The U.K. TF team actually got it right with the orange and black coloration, and it looks good even if not tactical. We just got Crayola colors lifted from MOTU Battle Cat… Rawwr!
Because he was so disappointing and inaccurate, I can’t recommend this figure to anyone except completionists or TF fans.
Is Sneak Peek a worthwhile addition to an ARAH generation 3 Joe collection? From a form standpoint, I find Sneak Peek oddly appealing. It’s true that his color scheme is about as tactical as neon green Monster Energy drink t-shirt but I’ve come to find that design continues to grow on me the longer I own him. So does nail fungus, but you don’t let that continue to grow unless you’re a weirdo. Yes, the oranges on each body part are slightly different shades but the overall ludicrous nature of his deco just might be his greatest strength. From a function standpoint, however, I’m pretty disappointed with the build used by the GIJCC. The figure’s legs are crazy loose and he has a hard time achieving a two-handed pose with his rifle. Still, at the end of the day I’m going to say that Tiger Force fans are going to want to snag him to round out their roster while more military-minded fans can skip this version and hold off for the more traditional version coming next year. Of course, that’s just this Joe fan’s opinion.
The Bottom Line: Sneak Peek is a decent-looking homage to a classic figure with some construction issues. Fiscally-conscious collectors might want to hold off for the FSS 5 version instead.
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