Ah, Tiger Force. If ever there was a motley-colored organization in the history of GIJoe it’s Tiger Force. For some reason, someone at Hasbro thought that dressing people in garish orange colors and tiger stripes meant that you were equipped for jungle warfare. Add in the fact that the color scheme has changed over time and you get a sub-group with no unifying factors. Now, from this initial rant you’d think that I hate the Tiger Force figures but the truth is that this set isn’t all that bad.
Wow. That’s really all I can say about this figure is “wow”. Not so much “wow = fantastic” as much as “wow = WTF?” My fiancé and I recently had a discussion about Alpine and whether he was African-American or Hispanic. I said the former but she said the cartoon indicated the latter. Either way, neither of us was prepared for the Tiger Force Alpine. Normally this is where I would talk about the color scheme of the uniform, etc and how it fit into the particular theme group or into the line as a whole. Unfortunately I have yet to get over Alpine’s skin tone. Seriously, Hasbro, what happened here? Was he attacked by vampires? Did Alpine fall into vat of leeches? Is he suffering from anemia? Since when was Alpine ORANGE?!!! The only rationalization I can come up with for this color scheme is that Alpine is part of Tim Burton’s remake of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”. Why? I’ve only ever seen this skin color on an oompa loompa. Honestly, I can’t look at this figure without hearing that song over and over in my head:
“Oompa Loompa, dooba dee doo? Alpine, what did they do to you?”
Recoiling from my shock and horror at his skin tone, the rest of this figure isn’t bad if this is any indication of where Tiger Force is headed. Gone is the garish orange and yellow (except for poor Mr. Pine’s skin!); instead we have green tiger stripes adorning the team gear. This works for me as Tiger Force was always meant to be a jungle unit and this pattern works well as jungle camouflage. It certainly beats the heck out of my convention exclusive Beachhead!
I admit it—I like Crosshairs. Since Lowlight seems to be a copyright that has escaped Hasbro I’ve taken to Don Fardie as the new team sniper. His first release is part of what some fans consider to be the best wave of Joes to date in the relaunch. His mold is nicely detailed, realistic, and still a bit stylized. In other words, he’s a figure that seems to please just about everyone! When I heard we were getting our third release of this same mold I was dubious. After all, the first version was great and the Night Force version was a logical color scheme for a sniper. However, upon opening the box from GIJoeHQ.com I realized I’d found my definitive Crosshairs.
As is the case with Alpine’s uniform, the Joe team sniper has no trace of orange or yellow in his attire. Instead, the Tiger Force designation seems to come from the green stripes that cross his uniform as part of his camo pattern. This works—especially for a sniper and seems to me to be much more effective than the ghillie suits that were packaged with the Spy Troops figures. Perhaps the best aspect of this figure is found on his face. I always thought it was odd that the Night Force version didn’t have any sort of face paint applied. After all, if you’re a sniper clad in all black and your face is nice and pale you’ve just made yourself a target. This version of Crosshairs has the “tiger striping” applied to his face as well and it makes him all the more believable. While the face paint isn’t as intense at the applications found in the Night Force two-pack, it works and adds another level of realism to this figure.
Overall this two pack is a hit-or-miss situation. Alpine, while wearing a cool new set of threads, looks ridiculous in his exsanguinated condition. Crosshairs, however, is the best version of this figure put out to date. My advice: grab the two pack. Gut Alpine for his gear which you can then give to the Wave 2 single pack figure and toss the figure in the custom parts bin. Take Crosshairs and replace the previous versions with the TF version. You won’t be sorry you did!