1988 Tiger Force Tripwire aka The Skoog aka Cat Skoog– today on The Dragon Fortress!
He dropped out of high school and got kicked out of a monastery. He’s an explosives expert. He’s a total Klutzy Karl.
And today, this Klutzy Karl shows off his Kitty-Kat Makeover.
Let’s cut the blue wire!
A Teamup and a Very Special Review
As you know, The Dragon Fortress is dedicated to toys from the 1990s. As you can also tell from the title, today’s review subject comes from the 1980s.
But, it was inevitable that I had a Cheat Day. In fact, I always knew I’d look at a few toys from the late 80s and early 00s on the blog, since they were a big part of my childhood, too.
My friend RTG of Attica Gazette asked me to do another crossover review, and I happily said yes. I’ve known him for 10 years, and he’s always been one of my favorite people and best friends in the GI Joe community. He’s also probably the best GI Joe photographer in the world.
When RTG told me Mike T of Forgotten Figures was participating as well, I definitely couldn’t say no. Mike and I have teamed up before, but that’s an opportunity I’ll never turn down. I’ve been reading and loving Forgotten Figures for almost 18 years now, and the way he writes about GI Joe can’t be beat. He gets the essence of the characters, building a world around them, and telling a compelling story. He’s also a hell of a photographer.
With that, the first Dragon Fortress Cheat Day was born.
You can find Mike T’s 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire review at Forgotten Figures.
You can find RTG’s 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire review at Attica Gazette.
I Had No Connection to 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire
I’ve never had a connection to Tiger Force. The same goes for Night Force, Python Patrol, and Slaughter’s Marauders. I love the 90s GI Joe sub teams like Ninja Force, DEF, Star Brigade, and Eco Warriors– but those came out when I was growing up, so I had that connection to them.
The most vivid memory I have of Tiger Force from my childhood came from a 1988 or 1989 GI Joe catalog. The catalog was at my father’s house, and possibly came with either Hardball or Spearhead, which were two of my earliest GI Joe figures.
I stared at that catalog for hours, and Tiger Force was a big reason for that. The bright yellow, black, and white color schemes for vehicles like the Tiger Rat were mesmerizing. I also remember looking at Flint and Roadblock, two characters I liked from the cartoon, but two characters who weren’t represented in my collection until much later.
So, Tiger Force came too early for me as a kid. As an adult GI Joe fan, I’ve never been especially interested in it or the other 1980s sub teams for one simple reason– they’re repaints.
As a collector now, I’d much rather find a character I don’t have instead of buying an expensive variant of a character I already own.
Tiger Force and Night Force are popular with collectors, though, and I often felt left out when hashtags such as #TigerForceFriday came up on Twitter and Instagram, because I couldn’t participate.
Last spring, as I got heavily into GI Joe again, I tracked down a Tiger Force Jinx early on. She’s one of my favorite figures in the ARAH style. But, even though she was the only one I had, I wasn’t really looking for more Tiger Force figures.
Then, as this story often goes, I found a lot on eBay. That lot contained a very nice Dodger with his microphone, a figure I’ve wanted since childhood. The lot also contained a Strato Viper wearing an Astro Viper jetpack. That, to me, was worth the $30 asking price right there. But the lot also contained Sea Slug, Wet-Suit v1, and three Tiger Force figures– Dusty, Recondo, and Tripwire.
When the box arrived at my house, I was surprised to see that all of the figures came with accessories, as well. Their gear wasn’t pictured in the auction, so it was a pretty exciting moment for me when I opened that package.
Suddenly, I had three complete 80s Tiger Force figures in very nice (almost new) shape. Dusty’s crotch was broken, but it almost always is. And that gave me a lot more options for #TigerForceFriday. I soon purchased a Tiger Force Stalker, and had a pretty good team put together.
My friend RTG of Attica Gazette, seeing my newfound enthusiasm for these handful of Tiger Force figures, suggested we both review the 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire at the same time. He also suggested we get Mike T of Forgotten Figures involved.
That sounded like a great idea to me, even though this Tripwire isn’t a 90s figure. But I am looking at him through fresh eyes, and have no nostalgia associated with the toy. I didn’t even know Tripwire (let alone Tiger Force Tripwire) existed until the early 2000s. That, coupled with my general disinterest in Tiger Force, means I had no preconceived notions before getting the figure.
1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire Review
Though I didn’t know who Tripwire was as a child, I’ve always liked him as an adult. I enjoyed his few comic book appearances, and get a kick out of his filecard. I also quite liked the 25th Anniversary version of Tripwire, and got a lot of use out of the figure before I sold most of my modern era GI Joe collection.
Earlier this year, RTG sent me a care package with an original 1983 Tripwire, a Shockwave, a tan Clutch, and a few other goodies. I immediately tracked down Tripwire’s accessories and started incorporating the figure into photos.
Sure, Tripwire can seem a bit boring. His outfit is plain and utilitarian. He doesn’t come with any weapons. He never had a big, heroic presence in any GI Joe media. Next to Snake Eyes, Stalker, Gung Ho, and Scarlett, he’s downright vanilla.
But that’s what’s great about him. As a character, he is unassuming. He does a non-glamorous, thankless job. He finds mines and disables explosives, which is something a special forces team needs, especially when they’re dealing with an organization like Cobra.
On top of that, he’s got personality. Some people may say he just has one personality trait, which is that he’s clumsy. To me, though, it goes deeper than that. He’s clumsy until he has to do his job, and then he’s the best in the business. You can’t be sure he won’t trip over a stray extension cord, but you know he can defuse any bomb Cobra can throw at him.
But, as a clumsy person, I know that Tripwire is always clumsy. There’s no off switch. That just means that Tripwire cares about his job so much, and he was so committed to getting it right and saving lives, that he worked extra hard to overcome his clumsiness in those situations. There’s nothing supernatural about it– he just put in the hours, and he’s passionate about what he does. If that’s not a heroic trait, then I don’t know what is.
So, here’s 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire:
The sculpt itself is basic and unassuming. He’s a guy wearing a jumpsuit, some body armor, boots, gloves, and a helmet with some goggles. The helmet doesn’t come off. He doesn’t look badass, tactical, or really cool in any way. There’s a single pistol holstered on his leg, which might be the only hint he might belong on a team like GI Joe.
Here’s his gear:
Tripwire comes with an intricately-sculpted mine detector with a cord that plugs into his backpack, a backpack with a hole for the detector’s cord and a recessed cavity, and three landmines that fit into the backpack’s recessed cavity.
While other figures at the time came with cool and exotic weapons and gear, Tripwire kept it simple. He doesn’t even come with a gun.
Here’s Tripwire All Geared Up:
Without his gear, Tripwire is as basic as it gets. With his gear, he’s no longer basic. The gear is fantastic– he can find landmines, as well as plant them. Everything fits together perfectly. He looks very nice with his mine detector and backpack in place. But, you could still argue he’s a mundane figure even with his gear.
To me, though, a figure and character like Tripwire helps tell a story. He fleshes out the world of GI Joe. He’s not a perfect, barrel chested sergeant who knows 13 languages and can fire two M16s at once. But, he is a dedicated soldier who fills a very necessary role on any team, and brings some real color into the Joe mythos.
Speaking of color, that’s where this Tiger Force deco comes in. Most every Tiger Force figure has a totally different color scheme, and they usually don’t look like a cohesive unit together. But the colors are generally interesting, if unrealistic.
The orange and black Tiger pattern on Tripwire’s body armor looks great. It’s vibrant, and really elevates the figure from the first version’s more sober greens and greys. He also wears a brown jumpsuit, green helmet with black goggles, green gloves, a green belt, and grey boots. It’s a pretty nice color scheme, and it’s much more eye-popping than the original Tripwire.
I love figures that look interesting. That’s why I embrace the neon elements of GI Joe. I really like the 1983 Tripwire figure, and that one is much more realistic. But Tiger Force Tripwire is a bold little weirdo, and I love him for that. He’s by no means a “realistic jungle trooper,” but that was never a big priority for Tiger Force anyway. Let’s be honest about that.
Overall, I’m very pleased to own this figure. He didn’t convert me into a Tiger Force fanatic, and I don’t feel the need to complete the sub team anytime soon. He did, however, convert me into a Tiger Force Tripwire fanatic. And that’s a job well done.
Verdict: Tripwire is a classic GI Joe figure and character who fills a necessary role on the team. But, as far as his character and specialty go, he’s the opposite of flashy and memorable. But, the 1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire is a much bolder version of the character. With this figure, you can own a more exciting Tripwire without paying a king’s ransom for either the Listen N Fun or Funskool versions. If you need a more realistic Tripwire, skip this one and go for the 83 version. But if you want a more fun, party-ready Tripwire, this is the way to go. Highly Recommended.
- Tiger Force Tripwire at 3DJoes
- Tiger Force Tripwire at Joe A Day
- Tiger Force Tripwire at The Viper Pit
- Tiger Force Tripwire at YoJoe
1988 GI Joe Tiger Force Tripwire – Closing Thoughts
I don’t hate the 80s. I actually love every era of GI Joe, including Sigma 6.
I’m also grateful to be involved in this crossover with Mike and RTG, so thanks again to them.
I’ve been slowly working on another Exosquad review. I’m reviewing one of the biggest items in the line, so photography has been a challenge. But hopefully it’s worth the wait!
If you feel like I’m taking too much time in between posts, you can always follow and chat with me on Instagram.
I’m also declaring May 29th International Tiger Force Tripwire Day. Thanks for reading!