Produced by Hasbro | Released 2010 [Cancelled] Re-Released 2011
Tiger Claw ATVs prowl the jungle for MARS Industries labs that are developing more menacing uses for their nanomite technology. The ATVs chew through the wild terrain with their five-speed 850cc engine and optiflex suspension. Armed with an MG-80 120mm mortar, they can take on any Cobra troopers lurking in the shadows!
Leatherneck is a Marine who served as a Drill Sergeant and Gunnery Sergeant before joining the GI Joe team. As tough and unyielding as granite, he takes on anything - extreme environments, Cobra troopers - with the determination to keep fighting until he completes his mission.
Cancelled and Re-Released?
The Tiger Claw (with Leatherneck) was part of the third Wave of Alpha Class vehicles produced to tie-in with the Rise of Cobra movie line. However, as sales had not gone as expected, a number of retailers no longer wished to carry the line and - as a result of this - Hasbro was left with a number of finished toys no store would carry. Similar to Wave 3 Deluxe Action Figures, these toys eventually found their way to the discount outlet stores, with both Ross Dress for Less and Gabriel Bros. carrying these vehicle-figure sets.
This packaging was used across the Alpha Wave vehicles in one form or another and it works pretty well. The vehicle and figure within are nicely displayed and are kept in-place relatively well.
One point I must draw attention to is the box artwork. The left side panel features a weirdly composited picture of Leatherneck in a ''fantasy situation'' so utterly awful that it must be seen to be believed.
It's like something from a Terry Gilliam's Monty Python's Flying Circus animations...!
Let's begin with the packaged figure, Leatherneck.
Joe collectors will immediately recognise the head - it's the same as used by Gung Ho, with a new paint job. Whilst I have no problems with kitbashed bodies, having two characters with the same head is just weird. It wouldn't have been so bad if they'd painted his moustache a different colour or applied camouflage paint to his face but it just seems very odd when you see the two side-by-side. I think I may use Dusty's spare head to solve that problem...
The rest of the figure is pulled from a few sources, according to YoJoe.com. It's not an issue though and Hasbro has done a good job of creatively re-using the parts together in such a way as to produce a new figure.
There's a lot going on with the sculpt - his bandolier has a number of grenades attached to it and a small pouch on his belt, plus a thigh-holster and various other pouches/pockets really add a lot of detail to what could have been a pretty simplistic-looking figure. In a hangover from his torso's origins, he's also wearing a skull and crossbones belt buckle, which I think is kind of cool.
I'm not a fan of the figure's hands, though. They look quite pudgy and don't quite fit as snuggly as they should into his shirt sleeves.
Articulation is pretty solid on the whole, although his feet joints lack any form of tilt joint (they can only swivel) and the bandolier can be a little cumbersome at times. Everything else is good though and his head/neck joint seems especially mobile, allowing for a variety of tilts and angles.
Paint is cleanly applied and features a muted olive green and brown camo pattern that's incredibly subtle and works remarkably well. It may not be visible on these photos but in real life it looks great and works very well.
Details such as grenades and his facial features are also cleanly applied. As I say, I'd have liked to see him with a different colour for his hair to differentiate him from Gung Ho but what we have works fine.
Tiger Claw ATV
The Tiger Claw ATV is a four-wheeled, off-road vehicle capable of carrying two - a rider plus pillion passenger.
The vehicle - on the whole - looks great. Unlike the VAMP there are no mis-coloured parts to spoil the realistic look of the toy and - yellow-tipped missile aside - everything's rendered in a nice mix of greens and black.
The vehicle's front wheels are sprung on a suspension rig that works superbly, with each wheel capable of vertical motion. The construction feels pretty solid and it's certainly a toy you can easily play with without worrying about it breaking. There are removable parts, certainly (the front roll bar and mortar) but they're solidly connected and it takes a concerted effort to remove them.
One slight oddity is that the handlebars/control column and the front wheels are not connected. Both can be rotated but they do so independently. It seems a little strange and I at first thought my Tiger Claw was damaged in some way (it's not.)
Getting Leatherneck to sit on the vehicle takes a little effort, but that's more to do with the limits of the figure's poseability rather than a problem with the vehicle itself. However, I found that when I tried to pose him holding both handlebars, this caused him to sit-up from the seat so the best compromise I found was to place one hand on the handlebars and keep the other free. That way he can sit on the seat and grip the controls. Note that you also have to sit him with his legs fairly widely splayed to accommodate the front mudguards/wheel arches but it's nothing you can't work around.
As previously mentioned, the mortar is removable. It's a great piece of design, as the mortar features fold-down supports that allow it to be used when not attached to the Tiger Claw. When re-attached to the Tiger Claw the mortar can be rotated fairly freely, although if Leatherneck is at the controls he does block it from achieving a full 360 degrees of rotation.
Movement is good, with the vehicle's rubber-tired wheels moving well and - as mentioned - it feels very robust and sturdy. I could see kids enjoying taking this out in the wild and - missile and Leatherneck's weaponry aside - there's nothing you could really lose during play.
The Tiger Claw doesn't feature any painted parts but does come with some pre-applied stickers, plus a sheet of transfers you can apply yourself, should you so wish. However, the plastics used look fine, with a nice palette of greens and black being predominant (and quite effective.)
Leatherneck comes with a pistol and assault rifle, both of which are cast from a rather cheap-looking grey plastic. It's a shame, as they do actually bring the look and quality of the figure down a little but on the plus side most collectors will have spare weapons in their collections they can use as replacements.
Leatherneck does not come with a base.
The Tiger Claw ATV comes with a sticker sheet and instructions, plus - as mentioned - a removable mortar and yellow missile. The mortar actually fires the missile and works pretty well. It can also be removed and used as a separate weapon thanks to the fold-down supports/legs.
Leatherneck is a good figure let-down by the reuse of Gung Ho's head. With a different head sculpt he'd have been great, so it's just too bad Hasbro didn't do a little more to make him a unique character. But let's face it, you're not going to be buying this pack for Leatherneck - the Tiger Claw ATV is the star here.
For me, the VAMP is the highlight of the Bravo Class vehicles. This is the VAMP of the Rise of Cobra Alpha Class vehicles: it looks great, is well-constructed and is a lot of fun to play with. What's so great about it is that everything works well. It's difficult to find fault with it. OK, so the rider/driver takes a little jiggling to get into a good sitting position and the disconnected handlebars/column thing is a little weird but these are only minor points and the vehicle excels in every other area.
I like that it looks great yet feels solid. It's not one of those toys that explodes into pieces when you touch it but at the same time, despite being robust and feeling solid there's enough going on visually to make it a worthy addition to your display case.
And to add a final little bit of icing to the cake, the Tiger Claw ATV with Leatherneck is just $8.99 at Ross Dress for Less. So for not much more than you'd pay for a single carded figure you can pick up a pretty good figure with an excellent vehicle. If that hasn't sold you on it, I don't know what will.