SHIPWRECK v.18 (2013)
Hooray! My first wave 2 Figure Subscription Service package arrived in the mail today. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a quick recap. Last year the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club offered their first ever subscription figure program. Club members could opt into paying a lump sum amount for 13 exclusive figures. The identities of 12 of the figures were revealed in advance. They were shipped out 2 at a time over the course of 6 months. On the 6th month the 13th mystery figure was included. I was very pleased with the 2012 FSS. It was a little late getting started but once the ball got rolling the figures arrived on time every month and for the most part the quality of the figures was top notch. Even certain figures that I wasn’t that excited about ended up impressing me. Signing up for the 2013 FSS was a no-brainer.
The club announced the 2013 line-up back in April and I wrote a preview post with my thoughts on all of the character choices. There were some great choices but overall I didn’t think the second year line-up was quite as strong as the first. Skullbuster and Widescope were two of the new figures that I was most looking forward to. The two figures that I was least looking forward to were Tiger Force versions of Shipwreck and Airtight, and of course, those were the first two to arrive.
What the FSS does best is fill holes in the modern Joe collection that Hasbro is unlikely to remedy themselves. Big Boa and Topside were fine examples of that from wave 1. Those are the kinds of figures I want. What I don’t particularly need are figures of characters I already own in a change of clothes.
Tiger Force is a Joe sub-team that was first introduced in 1988. The team consisted of older figures repainted with a tiger stripe deco. There wasn’t much consistency to the Tiger Force uniforms other than the stripes. Some had striped pants while others had striped shirts. Their uniforms ranged from green to yellow to brown to black. I didn’t really understand the point of Tiger Force. Sure it was a way to sell kids repainted toys they already had but at least similar concepts like Night Force made sense. 10 Tiger Force figures were released in 1988 and neither Shipwreck or Airtight were amongst them. Hasbro didn’t revisit Tiger Force beyond that first year.
However, the Estrela toy company operating out of Brazil produced a few additional Tiger Force characters. In 1991 they released a Tiger Force Shipwreck named “Marujo” which means sailor and a Tiger Force Airtight named “Ar Puro” which means Pure Air. Those figures became highly sought after items for some collectors. Not me.
Through the FSS and their convention sets the Club has been doing a great job of giving fans new versions of highly sought after foreign repaints. Cobra De Aco and Cobra Mortal are fine examples. Both of them were basically just foreign Snake Eyes repaints back in the day but both of them are viewed as unique characters. The fact that the Club dubbed these guys Tiger Force Shipwreck and Airtight made them less desirable to me because they weren’t unique characters. I already have Shipwreck and Airtight figures. Had the Club named these guys Marujo and Ar Puro and changed up the info on their file cards, maybe painted Shipwreck’s beard black, then I could view them as individuals and that would make them much more desirable.
I’ll review Airtight in my next post so for now I’ll focus on Shipwreck. The first new sculpt Shipwreck was released in 2007. I don’t mind that figure but it’s not without its flaws. His head is pretty small and his forearms are comically oversized, drawing comparisons to Popeye. They released an improved version of Shipwreck in his iconic sailor suit in a 2009 5-pack which I did not puchase. Earlier this year Hasbro released a Shipwreck in a cap and sweater which was cool but Shipwreck needs his sailor outfit in my opinion. This Tiger Force Shipwreck is almost a straight repaint of the 2009 version. The only noticeable difference I see in the parts used is this figure has long sleeves while the 2009 Shipwreck had short sleeves. Since I never had the 2009 Shipwreck this sculpt is new to me. While I’ve been fine with my 2007 Shipwreck as my main display figure of the character, now that I see the two sculpts together I can clearly see that the ’09 version was superior, the proportions are much more realistic.
Besides the nice sculpt, this figure also has a nice paint job. The black and yellow isn’t nearly as garish as the 1988 Tiger Force outfits. I actually think it looks pretty cool. I don’t have very many yellow characters on my Joe shelf so TF Shipwreck stands out in the crowd. He also comes with some great accessories. He’s got a pistol that can be holstered on his leg, a speargun, a machine gun, a satchel and a hook. Best of all is his sidekick, Polly the parrot. My 2007 Polly has her wings tucked in and she’s rather dull looking. This version (which is the same as was included with the 2009 Shipwreck) has her wings spread wide and is much more dynamic; and much more recognizable as a bird. The satchel has two small, barely noticeable, nubs on the shoulder where Polly can be attached. Having Polly on Shipwreck’s shoulder is much better than the wrist mounted Pollys of the past.
The club has done it once again. They won me over on a toy I wasn’t looking forward to at all. This figure looks great. If I had the 2009 Shipwreck I don’t think I’d appreciate as much but that’s neither here nor there. During the course of this review I’ve decided that I will not regard this figure as a Shipwreck repaint despite what his display stand says. In my Joe-verse he shall be Marujo the Brazilian sailor, an ally of G.I. Joe. 7 out of 10.