1989 Tiger Sting

1989 Tiger Sting

GI Joe Tiger Force Tiger Sting Duke Flint VAMP 1989 Python Patrol Hasbro

Tiger Force vehicles! The Tiger Force vehicle colors are cool and iconic, I love them. I think at one point this used to be a cool alternative opinion that made you different from the crowd, but now everyone loves everything that’s been lathered in bright colors and reminds them of the good times prior to the turn of the century… Which means I can’t be cool just for liking toy jeeps and aircraft in tiger colors anymore.

The Tiger Sting is a repaint of the VAMP Mark II, just in the colorful Tiger Force team colors. I find it interesting that it’s a repaint of the VAMP and not the Cobra Stinger, seeing as how Tiger Force and Python Patrol did a lot of faction swapping; the “Sting” in the name would also make more sense as a Stinger repaint. Maybe there was a miscommunication at the factory? Either way, it’s the requisite repaint of what is probably GI Joe’s most iconic and popular vehicle, so it does the job regardless of what the thinking was behind it.

Speaking of the parts it uses, the domestic release on the Tiger Sting uses a mixture of ‘82 VAMP and VAMP Mark II parts, namely, it uses the upper hull of the original VAMP that doesn’t feature a lot of sculpted details. Later in the UK and a few other European countries, it was released using the upper hull of the VAMP Mark II, with the little shovel and tarp on the hood. I assume the smooth body was used to help the tiger-face decals adhere, so the different parts might negatively impact that.

For me this one’s another childhood item that came from my brother’s collection, not something that I ever picked out for myself. Part of the reason I think GI Joe vehicles really went down in quality towards the end of the line, comes from the fact that most of the vehicles I liked as a kid were repaints of older 80‘s items like the Tiger Sting. The childhood armory featured mostly vehicles released between ‘90 and ‘94. For the most part, my focus was put on the Tiger Sting, the Lynx and the Sky Sharc, whereas I don’t remember ever having much fascination with the Badger, just as one example. A lot of the older vehicles seemed more compact and easy to play with, compared to monstrosities like the Attack Cruiser.

I don’t find the Tiger Force vehicle colors to be all that unrealistic, at least not by GI Joe’s standards of fluorescent grenades, android soldiers and whatever the HISS Driver is supposed to be. During the Korean War, there was a kinda famous M46 Patton painted up with a big goofy tiger face in the front, and at least half of the tank was bright yellow. I remember seeing the thing a long time ago, but now I can’t find anything decent documenting it, at least at a glance. Realism aside, I like the colors because they look nice. The Tiger Force color-scheme is distinct and stands out immediately. With the Tiger Sting here, I really love the way that it’s colors contrast so much against green tones you see around your yard or parks in the Summer, it’s really nice in photos.

Complete Tiger Stings can run around $80, but any small defect can bring that price down to around $50 to $40. Finding one with all of the missiles, the steering wheel, gas cans and no damage to the doors can be some work. I take the liberty of assuming they didn’t make as many of these as they did VAMPs and VAMP Mark II’s, so that probably also affects the pricing. Personally, I think this one’s worth the premium, as it does feel like one of the only Tiger Force vehicles you really need.

GI Joe Tiger Force Tiger Sting Duke Flint VAMP 1989 Python Patrol HasbroGI Joe Tiger Force Tiger Sting Duke Flint VAMP 1989 Python Patrol HasbroGI Joe Tiger Force Tiger Sting Duke Flint VAMP 1989 Python Patrol HasbroGI Joe Tiger Force Tiger Sting Duke Flint VAMP 1989 Python Patrol Hasbro

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One Response to 1989 Tiger Sting

  1. A-Man says:

    The Tiger Stings released domestically in the USA were made in Brazil, like the Tiger Fly. The Brazilian Vamp MK2, the Blindado De Assalto, used the VAMP (1982) mold variation with the shovel hood, often found in the Sears VAMP & HAL set (1984). The Brazil VAMP, Jipe De Ataque, did not use the shovel hood. So what we had with the Tiger Sting was a mix of those.

    Hasbro themselves apparently had the Stinger molds at the time, I think, because they were still making them for mail away and recent Action Force relaunch. There was a Vamp MK2 mail away around this time, too. I can’t recall where those were made, I just know I sent off for one and months later got a refund because they were out of stock…permanently, it seems. But years later there was the Street Fighter movie Street Striker repaint…so…

    Tiger Sting was pretty good. The lack of guns means no red guns. Red missiles I can accept, red guns on a Joe ride less so. Funny that. I mean Cobra likes red guns a lot.

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