While I typically prefer more realistic looks for the Joes themselves (not so much for Cobra) sometimes something crazy a line and becomes a different kind of cool. Outback is the best example of that. The European exclusive Tiger Force Outback, with his bright orange shirt, looks like old man Chuck Norris on Steroids.
After I did the regular outback look from the upcoming Marvel Legends old man Hawkeye, (Which you can see here) I had to go and do the Tiger Force version! 2 in fact!
The actual European tiger force version had brown camo, but that didn’t look right for some reason, neither did the gray boots, but that got me thinking and a great contrasting color to orange came to mind. I also used a blue camo head band when I cosplayed at Tiger Force Outback at a Joe con.
Next up I’ll be heading back to the world of Valaverse for another Steel Brigade recolor.
G.I.Joe’s Snake-Eyes hit the pegs in 1982. While the rest of the Joes, save Scarlet, were sporting some Olive Drab, Snake-Eyes wasn’t sporting deco at all. The mute, with the muted colors, sparked young imaginations both because of his fascinating file card that would go on to play out in comics, and his physical form which stuck out both among the Joes, and most typical good guys.
Snake-Eyes would undergo a lot of changes and interpretations over the years, and even rather quickly as the line grow. Before his famous knight visor v2 look, Sunbow turned him blueish purple.
The comics turned him into a ninja. In one particular famous story, “The Silent Interlude” it wasn’t just SE that was mute, but the entire issue was without word bubbles. That wasn’t the intent however, it was due to a lack of time to get the issue to press.
I entered into the online hobby around the year 2000, and there was a rumor that Snake-Eyes himself was impacted by a similar issue, but rather than time, it was cost. Numerous online users said, the real story with SE, was simply that they cut his deco to cut cost. As evidence the pointed to a 1983 sticker sheet. After hearing from the late G.I.Joe Historian Gary Goggles that originally many of the 013 (original 13 Joes) were going to be more unique, I had to track down a copy of that sticker sheet myself.
Looking at the sticker sheet we can see that the Polar Battle Bear was blue instead of white. So that might explain the blue/gray on Snake-Eyes. It’s worth noting he has bare hands, just like the cartoon. His shirt and harness was much more in line with the rest of the Joes.
I was so enamored with the design, that among my first ever digital recolors was The Loyal Subjects version of this design:
I wasn’t the only one. Matthew created a fairly famous custom based on the image named Mayor. You can check him out here. Matthew, and his twin brother Chad are among the rare Joe fans I have met in person outside of cons, and are pillars of the joecustoms community.
We do know that some 013 were intended to have some differences. Including some having unique heads. Although I need to find a new audio host, you can still see the images from our interview about “Baby Face” Breaker with my friend Jonathan Robinson here.
But what about SE? I’m aware what the high profile toy documentary “The Toys That Made Us” has said, but long before they were a thing, I went straight to the source and I asked Kirk Bozigian. His answer? SE was always supposed to be inspired by the S.A.S. and in black. The color scheme from the sticker was likely just used to brighten him up. You know how hard it is to make an all black sticker look cool? to children? The clad in all black anti-hero wasn’t nearly as popular of a trope yet, and certainly not on Saturday morning cartoon.
I looked at some of my Joe related notes, and past Pms, with Kirk, and couldn’t find when/where he confirmed this. It may have been in person, I’ll presure that further. That said, Even if it wasn’t his original intended look, I still love it.
With the background info out of the way, based on that little sticker in 1983, I took Fred Azcon’s Digital sculpt for the G.I.Joe Classified line, as well as a commando style head from the Pursuit of Cobra Line, and gave him the sticker sheet treatment.
I chose to leave the blue/gray simply grey, and to keep the gloves. I used this as an excuse to keep the Uzi gray, as I regularly had light grey weapons in my Joes hands as a kid, I don’t even know where I got them. I also accidentatly stumbled on the light brown w/ dark brown Arashikage logo combination and fell in love with it. The vest in brown, reminds me of Stormshadow’s DDP Solo Series look in a weird way, which might give me a future idea since I’m playing with adding new head sculpts to these.