Sunday, October 4, 2009

Short-Fuze (G.I. Joe Mortarman)

Although he was never one of my favorites as a child, I eventually came to appreciate Short-Fuze after the USMC decided to make me a mortarman. This version was done for an upcoming desert diorama (hopefully, by the time the entire diorama is finished, I'll have come up with a better background than the one I used for this picture).

Parts: Head (UBP Short-Fuze), Body (UBP Steeler), Body Armor (ROC Pit Commando), Helmet (UBP Short-Fuze), Visor (Comic Pack G.I. Joe Hawk), Knife (UBP Short-Fuze), M9 Pistol (UBP Steeler), Holster (UBP Steeler), Thigh Pouch (bbi Elite Force), M224 Mortar (UBP Short-Fuze).

Supplies: X-acto knife, super glue, Dremel, paintbrushes, Polly Scale paints, Testors paints and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None.

The base figure was not really modified in any significant way. I popped off the Steeler head and replaced it with the Short-Fuze head. Then, I repainted all of the black areas (straps, boots, holster, gloves, etc) using a slightly different color than his uniform. The body armor was trimmed to fit better and then the side flaps were glued shut so that they appeared as if they were fastened with velcro. The face was painted a darker flesh color, to appear lightly sun and windburned. I painted the appropriate parts of his pistol gunmetal. Finally, the entire figure was given a light coating of Testors Dull-Cote.

The mortar was a project all in itself. The version that has come with Short-Fuze since 1982 is weirdly inaccurate for reasons that I won't bore you with (remember, this was my primary weapon system in the Corps and even 10 years after getting out, I can still talk all day about it). I cut the barrel off about midpoint, flipped it around and glued it back on. This way, the bipod (called an M170, for those keeping track) extends from the midpoint of the tube, allowing for higher-angled fire. The baseplate (which is called an M8) was bent to sit flat on the ground and then painted OD green. The cannon (M225) was painted gunmetal. The appropriate parts of the bipod was then painted gunmetal, flat black and OD green. I created discarded ammunition tubes by cutting some wooden dowel and then painting them black (these simulate the cardboard tubes that the rounds are packed into for shipping). Once Short-Fuze and his mortar were placed into the diorama, these ammo tubes were scattered around as if they'd been discarded during firing. The cleaning staff (commonly referred to as a "donkey dick") was made from a small piece of metal rod with tape wrapped around the end. The bristles on these brushes were copper colored, so I painted them that color and then applied a lot of back to simulate the carbon that Short-Fuze is trying to swab out of the barrel.

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