The Tigers by Topper Toys

While officially called "The Tigers", they also went by a couple other names, Topper Tigers, Tiger Team or Topper's Tiger Team. They were manufactured by Deluxe Reading Corp, Elizabeth NJ, and sold under the brand Topper Toys. The Tigers was a short lived toy soldier released in 1966. The company went out of business in 1972. Just over half the size of the popular GI Joe, at 6 1/2 inches The Tigers packed a lot of fun in their small size. They were made of a flexible rubber body on a wire frame. Together they allowed the figure to be posed in almost any position and hold it. The right arm was hard plastic and spring loaded. By pulling the arm back until it locked, you could activate its unique feature by pressing a hidden button on the back. There were 8 different figures released, and each had its own special qualities and action. Along with the tigers, came a number of other toys and accessory packs. The main other toys were the "Tiger Tank", "Tiger Cannon and Wall" and "The Barracks". The tank had a wired remote control and shot small plastic projectiles. When hit correctly a soldier popped out of a hidden panel on the front to surrender. The Tiger Cannon and Wall also shot plastic projectiles. If the wall protecting the cannon was hit in the center, the wall would explode.

The Tigers hanging out at the barracks

So Lets Meet the Tigers. Click a link to see a picture
Tex - raises a rifle
Sarge - raises a pistol
Combat kid - throws a molotov cocktail
Pretty Boy - salutes
Big Ears - raises a walkie-talkie
The Rock - throws a grenade
Bugle Ben - brings a bugle to his lips
Machine Gun Mike - raises a submachine gun

A short picture story with The Tigers

The Accessories and Toys. Click a link to see a picture
Tiger Cannon and Wall - This is really cool. The whole cannon can raise and lower. A knob is provided to adjust the trajectory. The cannon also swings to aim. After loading the white plastic shell, you compress the cannon to be prepared to fire. The little metal tab is used to fire the shell. And can this baby fly. I've yet to find a place in my house where I don't hit the opposite wall hard and I have a room over 20 feet in length. The Wall is an exploding wall. The lower center section when hit triggers a mouse trap type device to send the pieces tumbling over. Not near as explosive as the shell, but fun none the less.
Exploded Wall
Trigger Mechanism armed
Trigger Mechanism sprung

The Barracks
- And of course the boys are going to need a place to hang out. Who ever heard of a platoon without a barracks. The Barracks was all printed cardboard. It came with bunk beds, trunks and shelves. Mine is not complete so there may have been more, but its the only one I ever came across.
Front View same image as above on page
Rear View

Tiger Tank - Sorry I've yet to aquire this little gem, so I only have a picture from The Tiger's literature. The tank had a remote control and also fired a projectile. It was similar but not the same as the Tiger Joe Tank also made by Deluxe Reading. The Tiger Tank had a different remote control and had a hatch on front where a man popped out to surrender if the tank was hit right. This also disabled the tank from running.

Accessory Packs - And of course you just had to but the extra uniform and weapons packs. I've aquired three different so far. I have no idea how many different ones there may be. I was confused at first by some of the loose weapons that I originally picked up with some of my Tiger figures. Since then I've become convinced that all the weapons and accessories made by Topper Toys for The Tigers are all the same shade of green and plastic type. There are other uniforms and weapons about the same size, but they are from a different toy line. The original uniforms have the same square snaps as found on vintage GI Joes by Hasbro. The camo pattern appears to also be identical.
Weapons and tools compared with knock offs
Uniform showing original snaps

The Literature that comes with teach Tiger is really a great to read. My family sat around the breakfast table while I read the description of each soldier for the first time. I remember a bit of coffee and orange juice being sprewed arcoss the table at times. Maybe I should have been less dramatic in my reading, but it certainly was fun.
Tex best shot in the west
Sarge doesn't know what fear means
Combat Kid the tough New York kid
Pretty Boy salutes and kills with those Harvard hands
Big Ears behind enemy lines and calling the strikes
The Rock throws a grenade straighter than anyone
Bugle Ben blows a charge that scare them all to surrender
Machine Gun Mike if his guns don't scare them, his face will

Literature Intro Page
The Closing Page

All photos Copy Right 2002 by Cary Hostrawser.
No use is permitted with expressed written permission of the owner.
email caryho at
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