Remember that scene in Rambo when he says, “To survive a war, you gotta become war?” Yeah, I am pretty Outback is the dictionary definition of that mantra, and he has now gotten his due in the G.I. Joe Classified line.
I know I have said it, but I will say it again: the G.I. Joe Classified Series is my favorite Hasbro line going right now, and it is definitely in the conversation for my favorite line overall as well. The figures are just so, so good, and we are starting to get inundated with deliveries – which is a good thing! The Target-exclusive Outback is certainly one of those figures that was hanging out there in pre-order purgatory for a long time, but he is shipping now, and the Joes just got a lot more rugged.
Well, he is shipping now, but that is after a year of waiting and countless pre-order date change approvals, so it certainly has not come easy. I was fortunate in that mine was not canceled by Target (I know there are others who were not so fortunate), but as these store exclusives continue, there are still some areas of improvement. Now, I am glad that an alternate look/team style like Tiger Force has become the exclusive (rather than iconic looks), but hopefully Hasbro will continue to work with their partners to make the ordering experience a bit less of a pain in the ass.
Okay, with that out of the way, I am not sure how else to put it but Tiger Force Outback is another amazing entry into an already amazing line. I am just completely smitten by the work that goes into this line, as well as the overall execution. There has been a lot of growth along the way, and there is still some work to do (the aforementioned shipping and getting the hips right), but that growth is indicative of the care and hard work being provided by those who are in charge of the line. Seriously, I would take Lenny, Emily, Tony, and crew as my dream team for just about any line at this point: they are doing great work.
So, Outback is another example in the long list of good figures, but also a leader in the growth. Like all the previous figures, the sculpting work and detail is absolutely gorgeous. Outback has one of the best (if not THE best) portraits of the line so far, and the expression and face lines show a knowledge and reverence of the character seldom equaled in action figure lines. Outback has some grizzledness (I made that word up) and “take no shit” about him, and you can see all of that just by looking at his face.
Unlike his more iconic version (coming next year), the Outback has lost his ginger locks for a more worn grey visage, so for me, that gets the imagination going. Is this an older version? Did his hair turn white because he has seen some shit in a particularly awful theater of war? Is this actually Outback’s dad? I don’t know yet, but the good thing is that you can make it whatever you want, and that is cool thing about getting a variation that has some significant differences from the standard version. I think this will actually end up being a lot of people’s favorite version of the character.
Outback also swaps out his white “SURVIVAL” shirt for an orange tee with tiger emblem. This ensures you know that he is all-in with the Tiger Force, or he really supports his former high school. Regardless, the tiger is indicative of the paint/printing overall on this figure, and it is pretty damned flawless. From the tiger, to the facial details, to the arm hair, the G.I. Joe team has this aspect of the figures hitting on all cylinders, and it just challenges other lines to catch up.
Stewart here joins some of the other recent figures in having “pinless” joint construction throughout, and while I am not as militant about every figure having that, it sure does look good when they do. Additionally, aside from having the pretty typical GIJCS articulation schema, I love there are butterfly shoulders here, and I hope we see that more going forward. The neck articulation is great as well, and he can hit that on-his-stomach-taking-aim pose perfectly and for a character like Outback, that is almost more important for him than other characters.
The articulation is the one spot where I have a nitpick with the actual figure, and that is in the hips. The silicone shock oil came out immediately for Outback, just like it does for most of the figures in this line due to them being slightly sticky. It is frustrating and I hope they are actively working to fix this engineering issue because poor movement/joint stress in one spot on otherwise flawless figures is a real bugaboo, because they are so close to being perfect. Let’s work on getting there and put this issue to bed. As I said, if you hit the hips with a bit of shock oil, it really makes a difference.
Back to the positives though: like all other figures in this line, Outback comes with a bevy of weapons and accessories, and a spot to store ALL of them. That last part might be a minor thing, but I sure do love that most of these figures can store their implements when not in use, and it keeps the extra accessory bin inventory down significantly. The knife, pistol, and flashlight(?) all holster in the proper spots, and the rifle and shovel can both be pegged to the sides of the backpack. This way, Outback has everything he needs even for the longest in-country missions, and he strikes me as a guy who is always prepared, no matter the situation.
It’s been a wait, but chalk this up to yet another fantastic figure joining the G.I. Joe Classified Series line. Tiger Force Outback is a real standout, and I am glad to have this version, while still looking forward to the standard version in 2023. He will be joined on the Tiger Force soon by Bazooka, Recondo, and Duke (with bike), but I would imagine there will be more characters announced for this sub team as we move into 2023. Hopefully you were able to get your pre-orders in (and all the way through) for this figure, but if not, keep watching your Target store, that is the only place he will be in-stores.