Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sgt Humpty (G.I. Joe Marine)

This is one of the simplest custom figures I've done, but it's also one of my favorites... for fairly obvious reasons. A while back, I did a Star Wars "self-custom" as part of a Casting Call over at FFURG. While working on that figure, I found a head that looked a lot like me. I resculpted the hairline a bit, added the mustache and it was almost perfect. After finishing that project, I removed the head from the figure and asked a fellow FFURG member to make a few copies of it (thanks a million, Ash). I now have six extra copies of that "Don" head. Those heads lying unused in my parts box was what led to this project...

I really liked the Rise of Cobra Jungle Assault Ripcord figure, with the exception of the color scheme. I thought the colors were too light and didn't really see them as "jungle" colors. My daughter and I solved this issue by dyeing the figure. We removed the original head, the pistol belt and the load-bearing vest (LBV) from the figure. Then we heated a mug of water in the microwave oven for about 3 minutes. Once it was more or less boiling, we dumped the water into a plastic container with 1/3 of a package of dark green RIT fabric dye. As soon as the dye was dissolved (about 10 seconds) we dropped in the figure and the boonie cover (hat) that came with it. We let it soak for about 10 minutes or so. Using gloves to keep the dye off our fingers, we occasionally repositioned the joints so that the dye got into all of them equally. We rinsed the figure in cold water and allowed it to air-dry. If you look closely in the photos, you can see that the G.I. Joe team insignia is still visible, but is now a subdued green.
Once it was dry, we added the LBV, the pistol belt and the backpack. The backpack appears to be an almost identical match to the old A.L.I.C.E. packs we carried when I was in the Marines. The LBV and pack were painted with a variety of greens to simulate the various shades found in green nylon web gear. The head was hollowed out with a Dremel so that it would fit the neck post. "My" skin was painted a fairly dark tan, so as to imply the tanned features common to troops who spend so much time outdoors. The hair on "my" head was painted dark brown, as was "my" mustache. "My" eyes were also painted brown. The assault rifle is from Marauder, Inc.

I'm something of a history nerd and I always loved the file cards that came with the Joes I had as a kid. So, I used the File Card Creator over at Joe Customs to create a file card for the character. Those who know me are aware that I served in the U.S. Marine Corps for a little over 9 years. I took my own military background and applied it to this character. In trying to remain humble (not to mention somewhat grounded in reality), I stuck strictly to the facts. The only deviation from this was the obvious fact that I am not a part of the G.I. Joe team! The quoted opinions on the bottom portion of the file card are taken from performance evaluations or other such documents. The nickname "Humpty" was actually given to me by another Sergeant that I served with during one of my stints as an instructor.

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