Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baroness (Iron Grenadier Intelligence Chief)

When I collected Joes as a kid, it always annoyed me that Hasbro didn't make a Baroness figure in Iron Grenadier colors. I figured that after Destro and the Baroness parted ways with Cobra, she'd adopt an outfit that complemented the black, gold and red of the IG forces. Here is my interpretation of the Baroness as the Chief of Intelligence for the IG forces...

Parts: Entire figure (RoC Attack on the Pit Baroness), Shoulder Armor (RoC Pit Commando), Submachinegun (RoC Paris Pursuit Baroness), Holster & Ammunition Pouch (bbi Elite Forces figures).

Supplies: X-acto Knife, super glue, paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: I was inspired by the custom figures posted by several other members at
In the spirit of keeping things simple, I decided to use the Attack on the Pit Baroness for this project. My decision was aided by the ridiculously low clearance prices on this figure. The shoulder armor was cut from the flak vest of an RoC Pit Commando figure and then superglued in place. I had to be careful in order to keep the glue from getting into the shoulder joints. Once the armor was added, it was on to the paint. I went with simple red and gold hightlights that made her look as though she'd fit in with the other IG personnel. Once the paint was dry, she received a light application of Testors Dull-Cote (except for the head as I didn't want to dull the glasses or the hair).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Zarana (Dreadnok)

This is the second Zarana figure I've done. It's not that I didn't like my first version, because I still do. But I wanted to do a classic version of the character that would fit in better with my other Dreadnoks. In scouting around for fodder ideas, I stumbled upon the Zarana and Zandar kits made by Mad Joe Customizer. I picked up both while he had them on sale and got right to work...

Parts: Head, Upper Torso & Lower Torso (Mad Joe Customizer's Zarana Kit), Arms (25th Anniversary Zartan), Gloves (25th Anniversary Comic Pack Scarlett), Upper Legs (RoC Tunnel Rat), Knees & Lower Legs (25th Anniversary Cobra Viper), Backpack (ARAH Zarana), Weapon (ARAH Zarana).

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

References: Photographs of the vintage ARAH Zarana figure.

The kit by Mad Joe provides you with the upper torso, the lower torso and a choice of two heads, one with really tall punk-a-billy hair and the other with a hairstyle closer to the classic look. Because these parts are mass-produced, I needed to do some minor sanding and filling with the Super Sculpey (which happened to match the color of the plastic almost perfectly). A few of the parts needed to be painted prior to assembly due to the difficulty of getting a brush into some of the tighter areas later. Once the paint was dry, I applied a bit of Testors Dull-Cote and then assembled everything. The hardest thing for me has always been painting the eyes on a figure and this one was no exception! I had to start over three times after epeatedly screwing up the eyelashes, but I'm happy with the final results. I ended up painting with the tip of my X-acto knife. The backpack (thanks, Joel!) was modified to fit the newer style of backpack hole. I simply cut off the older style peg and replaced it with a short piece of Plastrux rod (thanks, Gene!). I then painted the sculpted details on the backpack (the fact that they never did this in the ARAH line always bothered me). I gave her the same wicked-looking cutting tool that the ARAH figure came with (thanks, Paul!). A little more Dull-Cote after all was complete and she was ready to join my other Dreadnoks! Seriously, I cannot say enough about the kit I used to make this figure. If you're a fan of Zarana or the Dreadnoks, this kit is a must!

Blizzard (G.I. Joe Arctic Attack Soldier)

This is another figure that I made for my son, Adam. He needed someone to fight the RoC Ice-Viper he recently picked up!

Parts: Head (Garvin Dreis from the Star Wars Scramble on Yavin Battle Pack), Body (RoC Arctic Threat Shipwreck), Uzi Submachinegun, Helmet, Skis &, Backpack (ARAH Blizzard), Goggles (25th Anniversary Para-Viper), Snowshoes & Ice Cleats (RoC Arctic Threat Shipwreck).

Supplies: Super Sculpey, X-acto Knife, super glue, paintbrushes, Testors paint and Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None

The only real change to the original figure was swapping the head and trimming the hood. The head required a little bit of Super Sculpey inside so that it would fit the neck post properly. The hood was trimmed down using the X-acto knife. I wanted to keep the hood, it just needed to be a bit smaller so that the helmet would fit properly. Once that was done, I set about making the vintage accessories compatible. I trimmed the existing peg from the backpack and replaced it with a little length of plastrux rod so that it would fit the back hole on the figure. I have not yet been brave enough to try modifying the foot pegs on the skis. They would need significant modification to fit the figure's feet. It is possible to do so, but the skis would no longer attach to the backpack to make a nifty E&E (escape and evasion) sled. I may address the skis again, at some point. The goggles were cut and glued to the helmet. The barrel, front sight and handgrip of the Uzi were painted black. The rest of the weapon is sculpted to look like it was wrapped in white cloth for camouflage purposes, so I left it white. I also have the white pistol that came with the vintage Blizzard figure, but lacking a working holster that it would fit into, I decided to leave it out for now. Last, but not least, the entire figure was given a light application of Testors Dull-Cote to seal the paint and reduce glare.

Cobra Sniper Officer

This was another army-builder created from spare parts. I'd still like to do an Elite Viper sniper-variant with a cool name, but for now this blueshirt Officer will have to suffice...

Parts: Body (25th Anniversary Cobra Officer), Tactical Vest (RoC Sgt Stone), Dragunov Sniper Rifle (25th Anniversary Cobra Trooper).

Supplies: Super Sculpey, super glue, paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: Photographs of a Dragunov Sniper Rifle.

Much like my Pyro-Viper figure, this guy started out as a Cobra Trooper with no weapons or webgear, so I dug around in my parts box and came up with something I liked. The tacticla vest fit well, but it was kind of bland, so I made some ammunition pouch casts (using Super Sculpey and some push molds I had created for a project several months back) and super glued them to the vest. The whole vest was then painted flat black. The Dragunov sniper rifle was painted according to a couple of photograhs I found on the Internet (why guess what it should look like when you can be precise?). Once the paint was dry, I gave him a light application of Testors Dull-Cote to seal the paint and reduce glare.

Pyro-Viper (Cobra Flamethrower Trooper)

This was essentially a project inspired by my desire to grow my Cobra ranks and use up surplus parts I had lying around. I'm not sure if Cobra ever had a flamethrower specialist before, but I figured since I had the Charbroil parts left over from my H.E.A.T. Viper figure, I might as well give them one!

Parts: Head (25th Anniversary Comic Pack Hawk), Helmet (RoC Pit Commando), Body (25th Anniversary Cobra Bazooka Trooper), Flamethrower, fuel tanks, torso armor and waist armor (RoC Charbroil).

Supplies: RIT fabric dye, paintbrushes, Testors paints, Testors Dull-Cote.

Reference: None.

I had a group of three Cobra Bazooka Troopers that I got in a trade, all of them without heads and webgear. So I decided to try dyeing them a darker blue to match the rest of the Cobra blueshirt forces. The torsos turned out really well, but the arms (being of softer, more absorbant plastic) turned very, very dark blue. So they sat for a while... until I decided to use them anyway and explain away the darker uniform sleeves as being some type of elite troopers. As I had stated earlier, I had all of the flamethrower equipment and the Pit Commando (Steel Brigade) helmet in my parts box, so I put them to good use. I went with a red and blue color scheme and then applied a light coating of Testors Dull-Cote to seal the paint.