Monday, November 30, 2009

Short-Fuze (G.I. Joe Mortarman)

I've said before that Short-Fuze was never one of my childhood favorites, but I grew to appreciate him after serving as a Mortarman in the USMC. Here is Short-Fuze decked out in RoC-style uniform...

Parts: Entire figure (RoC Pit Commando), Helmet (RoC Pit Commando), Body Armor (RoC Pit Commando), 60mm Mortar (vintage Short-Fuze), M4 Rifle (Marauder, Inc.), Kneepads (bbi Elite Force).

Supplies: X-acto knife, Super Sculpey, paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None.

The Pit Commando is a nearly perfect base for just about any character. In this case, I trimmed the kneepads from a bbi Elite Force figure, hollowed them out a bit and then super glued them to the knees (he still has full articulation and full range of motion). The elbow pads were already present. I painted both the knee and elbow pads black, along with the sculpted plastic buckles that hold the groin armor to the vest. If I am able to get my hands on an extra UBP Short-Fuze head, I will probably replace this one. But for now, the Pit Commando head will suffice. I used some Super Sculpey to add his glasses. After curing the Sculpey in a mug of boiling water, I painted the glasses. I also painted the hair so that it is the same as all previous versions of the character. Finally, I could not call him finished without improving the sad excuse for a mortar that he's been lugging around since 1982. The mortar was modified a bit and is painted to resemble (as closely as possible) the M224 60mm mortar that we used in the Corps. In the photos, the legs ar folded up and wrapped with the spread cable. They can be still be folded out to set the mortar up in firing position. I added the M4 Rifle because it stands to reason that a special mission force like the Joe team will not be carrying that much mortar ammunition in their packs (that stuff is pretty darn heavy). Once he fires it all up, he'd switch to the rifle and jump right in with the other team members!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Zarana (Dreadnok)

As a kid, I was never a big fan of the Dreadnoks. In fact, I kind of disliked them. Lately, however, they have held a new appeal for me and I've started to build my own little gang of them. In keeping with the recent trend of "reinventing" classic characters (or at least giving them fancy new outfits), this is my take on Zarana. Part blue jeans and biker leather, part high tech assassin. All around bad-ass hottie.

NOTE: For wildly accurate classic versions of Zarana, Mad Joe and Novascream (along with many, many others) have done some really top notch work. I think at some point, I'll want to try to recreate the masterful jobs they've done with theirs.

Parts: Agent Helix (entire figure), Shotgun (Bench Press).

Supplies: Paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: Various... and at the same time, none!

After deciding that I wanted to use the Helix/Dialtone head for Zarana, I spent several hours mixing and matching parts, trying to get the effect I was looking for. Eventually, I realized that I couldn't do any better than unsing the entire Agent Helix figure.

I painted the legs with a light blue to simulate faded jeans. I liked the knee pads and boots, so I left them as they were. Although I was originally looking for an upper body that show
ed more skin, I liked this one for it's utter practicality. I went with a plain grey shirt under what looks like leather body armor. Won't stop a bullet, but it'll give her the edge in any kind of hand-to-hand engagement. The pink hair was a no-brainer. You can only change so much, right? The shotgun was a nod to Zarana's very first comic appearance (she was carrying the same type when she surprised the Cobra hierarchy at Zartan's swamp hideout).

Lady Jaye (G.I. Joe Covert Operations Specialist)

I seem to be getting a lot of mileage out of the RoC Cover Girl figure, but it really is a great base for female customs! Next up is Lady Jaye in her RoC outfit.

Parts: Head (cast of DVD pack Lady Jaye), Body (RoC Cover Girl), Pistol (Marauder, Inc.), Belt & Holster (DVD pack Lady Jaye), Spears & Backpack (DVD pack Lady Jaye), Knife (bbi Elite Force).

Supplies: Dremel, X-acto knife, Super Sculpey, paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None.

Yet another head swap... I'd be ashamed of my lack of creativity, if it weren't for the fact that I'm really happy with the way these characters keep turning out! Nothing tricky about this one. I took a cast of Lady Jaye's head (thanks, Ash) and Dremelled it out to fit the post on the Cover Girl body. Because a couple of nasty air bubbles decided to beseige her nose and lips, I had to do a wee bit of sculpting before painting. I added a knife to her right boot (similar to the original LJ outfit) and then equipped her with all of Lady Jaye's gear. A bit of Dull-Cote and she was done!

Rock N Roll (G.I. Joe Machine Gunner)

Many of the classic G.I. Joe and Cobra characters have gotten a new look for the Rise of Cobra and/or Pursuit of Cobra lines. For the most part, I think this is a good thing. It's not like each character would have had only one outfit, right? Things would change from time to time and from one environment to the next. My one real objection is the few cases like Bench Press. What an excellent figure! But, did they need to steal Rock & Roll's file name and biography for him? Couldn't they have just said "this is Rock & Roll as he appears in the RoC/PoC lines". Anyway, I decided not to get worked up about it. Instead, I just repainted Bench Press' hair and beard the correct color and rename him as... you guessed it: Rock & Roll!

Cobra Hydro Sled

This was actually my Cobra Hydro Sled, purchased with my hard-earned allowance, way back in 1986. When I rescued it from my mother's attic last summer, it was in pretty sorry shape, having barely survived infinite backyard battles. Aside from the expected wear and tear, the cannon / speargun attachment, which is needed to hold the forward armor in place, was long gone. The decals were mostly gone. One of the mounting pylons was broken off and stuck inside the corresponding torpedo.

So, I began by reattaching the torpedo mounting pylon with the aid of a little super glue. worked like a charm and the torpedo is still removeable. The bigger problem was what to do about a main weapon system. Fortunately, there were various vehicular weapons found in the same attic storage box. I trimmed and modified the minigun from the RAM sidecar (ironically, the only piece I still have from the RAM) and super glued it in place. When it came time to repaint, I kept a lot of the original paint scheme, but tried to spice it up a bit, too. The sled was given a liberal application of Testors Dull-Cote.

My son and daughter allowed me to borrow these three Cobra divers for the photos. After the photos were taken, the kids were delighted to receive the Hydro Sled as the latest custom donation to their ever-growing G.I. Joe collection.

Cobra H.I.S.S. Tank

This is the second HISS tank I've done (see the first one here) and it is a project that has been underway for a couple of months. My son had a red HISS tank from the Target Ultimate Battle Pack. After he saw the Crimson Sabotage version, he liked the way the drive covers were painted red. Who am I to deny him?

So I ended up spray painting the entire tank a much more vivid (bloody) red. The black areas were done with Testors flat black. The treads and drive wheels were drybrushed with Testors aluminum to give them a worn look. I also hollowed out the barrels on the cannons using my trusty Dremel.

Adam likes things red, and he apparently likes them shiny, as well. When I asked him to choose between Dull-Cote and Gloss-Cote, he didn't even hesitate to say GLOSS! The decals came from Rick at the 334th Joe Company. They cost me $3 with the shipping included. All in all, I think the whole thing turned out pretty well, and Adam is ecstatic about it!