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Outback

GI Joe Classified Series
by yo go re

No rules, just right!

Outback Steakhouse is an Australian steakhouse restaurant. Although beef and steak items make up a good portion of the menu, the concept offers a variety of chicken, ribs, seafood, and pasta dishes. The Company's strategy is to differentiate its restaurants by emphasizing consistently high-quality food and service, generous portions at moderate prices and a casual atmosphere suggestive of the Australian Outback.

Look, if Hasbro can't be arsed to provide any info about their characters, why should we do it for them? A "Survivalist" from Wyoming may not have anything to do with America's third-favorite Weird Ethnic Stereotype eatery, but then, a restaurant founded in a Tampa, FL, strip mall doesn't have anything to do with Australia, either, but it still shares a name. Anyway, my point is: Outback Steakhouse, send us some gift cards. These ads ain't free.

Outback was introduced in 1987, so he didn't appear in the cartoon at all; and thus, when I first read a comic that had him in it, I thought he was just Snow Job without his parka on. It made sense to my smooth baby brain: red hair, full beard, they both spend all their time alone in the wilderness... same guy! [This keen observation brought to you by "Firefly is Gray Storm Shadow, Inc.", a subsidiary of Dumbass Industries. --ed.]

Unlike a lot of the other characters who abandonned any semblence of an interesting design in favor of running like scared rabbits back to the original, Outback looking like an oversized copy of his 1987 figure makes sense: how many different ways can you really do "guy wearing a T-shirt and pants"? Heck, it probably counts as an update that his pants now have molded kneepads, and that he's got holsters strapped to his legs. His shirt says "SURVIVAL," which is an acronym standing for "Sizzling porterhouse steaks, Uluru prawn salad, Roo-sized mushroom bites, Victoria filet mignon, Ice cold VB on tap, Vegemite mac-and-cheese fries, Alice Springs chicken skewers, and Let's start with a Bloomin Onion for the table." (That's nine you own us now, Outback.)

This release is technically a repaint, because Target is basically the only store giving the Classified Series any support, so they get lots of exclusives; interesting ones, not just the same thing on a larger card, Walmart. Last year they had a whole set of Tiger Force figures, and Outback made the cut. Him wearing an orange shirt makes sense, but why was his hair turned white? I realize from a toy standpoint it's just "make the shirt hair-colored and make the hair shirt-colored," but as a guy? Was he scared by a tiger? Anyway, I passed on that one hoping for a regular version down the line, and my patience was rewarded! This one has a bright red skintone to make him look sunburnt, but such a strong color just makes the usual problem of the joints not matching even more evident than usual.

The figure's web gear cannot be removed, but it's soft PVC, so it doesn't impede the articulation. Like the other figures, he's got swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, double-hinged knees, swivel thighs, hips that are a balljoint mounted on a hinge, balljointed waist, hinged chest, swivel/hinge wrists, double-hinged elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, pectoral hinges, hinged and balljointed neck, and a balljointead head. His stats (Environmental Specialist 3, Light Weapons 2, Jungle Combat 3, Desert Combat 3) are slightly different from the Tiger Force version: that one had the same incorrect symbol as the BAT, but it's been corrected for this release.

Outback's accessories include a giant tan backpack with all sorts of pockets on it, a small black shovel that can plug onto either side, a black submachine gun with a tan strap and a removable magazine, a large knife to fit in the sheath on his boot, a pistol with tape wrapped around the grip, and a flashlight that stows on his left leg. Most of those are updates from the original figure, though the pistol and shovel are new inclusions, and the knife used to be simply a molded part of the sculpt.

Overpriced casual dining may be on its way out (the only way any cheeseburger is worth $13 is if it's garnished with a $10 bill on the side), but if you're looking for a place where friends or coworkers could get together after work, Outback is still offering consistently high quality food and delivering a warm, welcoming environment in a casual atmosphere that couldn't be more transporting - it's like you're right there in the Australian Outback! That seize-the-day mindset reflects in all we they do - especially in our their menu. (MONEY PLEASE!) This Outback is a fine toy, and looks better than the Tiger Force "pre-paint" did, but you really only need one of him, not both. So take your pick.

-- 07/21/23


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