Dial Tone’s reveal gave us our first clue that perhaps the Collectors Club wasn’t going to just be diving back into the 80s to give us our Tiger Force inspiration…and it made me hopeful that this set might be a bit more interesting than I originally thought.
As I mentioned with Wreckage, Tiger Force was reconceived in 2003 as a Toys “R” Us multi pack, pulling inspiration from classic domestic Tiger Force as well as the much more exciting blue and orange International deco. Dial Tone was included in that multi-pack and was the beneficiary of some awesome updated colors. Going whole hog into the great blue and orange UK Tiger Force color scheme, Dial Tone was one of the most appealing figures in that Toys “R” Us set, and while the Collectors Club certainly seemed to be using that figure for inspiration, they stuck with the yellow and black, and unfortunately missed the boat considerably, at least in my opinion.
The convention Dial Tone retains none of the striking flair of the Toys “R” Us set, borrowing its sense of style, but none of its color, much to its detriment.
Dial Tone here uses the same torso (with permanently affixed Buzzer webgear minus the skull buckle) and arms as the annual exclusive from several years ago. He does have some bulked up legs that add some mass to the figure, but essentially bears a striking resemblance to the same annual exclusive we got in mailboxes back then. I’m not a big fan of the torso and webgear choice, but I actually don’t mind the Airborne arms, they remain probably some of the best arms produced in the 25th Anniversary era, and the thicker legs keep the figure looking at least relatively modern.
However, Dial Tone struggles mightily when it comes to color scheme. The Collectors Club used the Toys “R” Us version as a template, but swapped the colors to more resemble the vintage style, and the brown is significantly duller than the blue original, and the yellow simply is not as striking or appealing as the orange was in 2003. I understand the Club’s desire to make the figure blend in more with the vintage aesthetic, but in this case I think Dial Tone suffers for this decision and the end result is a boring mish-mash of color and design elements.
Combine this with the kneepads, which are trying to go for tiger stripe but end up just going zig-zag, and the figure just doesn’t do it for me. The Club managed to take a colorful and pleasant 2003 figure and turn it into a somewhat bland and generic 2015 Convention exclusive.
Dial Tone has his familiar communication backpack, this time in black, as well as his machine gun. Adding to that, he now comes with the familiar metal briefcase with folding computer screen and removable submachine gun that the Club has used quite frequently in recent years. This time around the case is done in a nice olive drab green, matching the Tiger Force aesthetics.
I understand what the Collectors Club was trying to do, and I’m glad they looked for inspiration in other places than just the 80s rendition of Tiger Force. Unfortunately, Dial Tone’s design just didn’t translate well here, either in a conversion to modern parts, or with the deco changes. The result is a figure that just doesn’t look good, and ends up really standing out in a crowd.
What was once an obscure character has now had three Collectors Club releases in the past few years, and this may be the least inspiring of the bunch. Using the Toys “R” Us 6 Pack as a template, but with none of the European color flair, Dial Tone lands with a bit of a thud. The older parts look out of place, and his paint applications are a bit non-sensical, especially the kneepads which just did not translate the tiger stripes all that well.