Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tinker (G.I. Joe Vehicle Design Engineer)

This is my entry for the Mission Prospect Custom Contest Part II at Custom Figure Wars.


Code Name:


File Name:

Walker, Kristina K.



Primary Military Specialty:

Motor Transport

Secondary Military Specialty:

Computer-Aided Design


New Orleans, Louisiana


GS-12 (DoD Civilian Employee)

Tinker was recruited right out of MIT and had no military experience prior to joining the G.I. Joe team. Her ability to design combat systems in her head made her one of the few “exceptional” individuals to be considered for such a move. She underwent the basic orientation course (which the most seasoned of combat veterans would find difficult to say the least) and made it through on sheer guts.

Tinker has always enjoyed trying new things. While in school, she saw an advertisement for one of those robotic combat contests in which the designers attempt to dismantle each other’s creations by remote control and thought it would be “fun” to give it a shot. She left all of her competition in smoldering piles and one of the weapon systems she designed for that contest is still classified by the Pentagon. It was pure coincidence that an unidentified member of the Joe team was in attendance and submitted her name for review immediately after returning to the Pit. Tinker now spends her days dreaming up new and better ways to enhance the offensive and defensive capabilities of the Joes’ vehicle fleet.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Iron Grenadier Mortar Section

I've been toying with the idea of these guys for quite a while and only recently decided on a final plan for them. This is one of the Iron Grenadiers 60mm Mortar Section. Each mortar team consists of a gunner and an assistant gunner. The section leader computes a forward unit's call-for-fire into firing data which is communicated to each mortar team. He also functions as a forward observer, if necessary. After receiving the firing data, the gunner places it on his mortar's sight unit and prepares the weapon for firing. The assistant gunner prepares the ammunition and loads the weapon upon command.

And here they are "in action"...

Outside Prypyat, Sgt Humpty's 60mm Mortar Section prepares to fire in support of Darklon's men...

The gunners quickly check the deflection and elevation data on their gun sights, while the assistant gunners prepare the required number of rounds and remove the safety wires...

The assistant gunners "half-load" their first rounds and at their section leader's command, both mortar crews fire 4 rounds of High Explosive at Cobra troops over 3 kilometers away...

After expending their designated 4 rounds, both gunners signal "rounds complete" to Sgt Humpty, who passes the report by radio to Darklon.

Darklon responds that the fire mission was successful in disrupting the ambush and his men are now holding against the Cobra troops. Sgt Humpty gives the command "displace", letting his crews know to break down the mortars and prepare to move out quickly.

Sgt Humpty leads his section to a pre-designated rally point, where they will meet up with additional Grenadier forces and await their next fire mission.

Annihilator v2 (Iron Grenadier Heli-Assault Trooper)

When I first started army-building Iron Grenadiers, many of the custom figures I created were closely based on the original versions from the late 1980's. Since then, my tastes have evolved somewhat and I'm looking to give my forces a modern upgrade. During July, I introduced my Iron Grenadier Highlanders and earlier this month I debuted my new TARGAT's. Now I give you my upgraded versions of Destro's Elite Helicopter-Assault Troops, the Annihilators...

Parts: Head (25th Anniversary Para-Viper), Helmet (RoC Aqua-Viper Officer), Body (RoC Air Viper v3 or RoC Air Viper v5), Torso Armor, Submachinegun & Heli-pack (25th Anniversary Specialist Trakker).

The Annihilator in the red flightsuit is the unit commander. The idea of giving the Officers different colored flightsuits originally came from my having a lot of trouble acquiring as many as I wanted of the other version. As of this posting, I've only finished off the three in the photos, but I have enough parts on-hand or pending through trades to knock out at least two more trooper versions.

As ridiculously simple as this recipe is, doesn't it kinda make you wish Hasbro would throw these guys together and give us a carded version at retail?

Edit 06/15/2012: Followers of my fan-fic blog, Tales from Castle Destro recognize the first four Annihilators as characters from those stories - Colonel Nero, Captain Starbuck, Lieutenant Wang and Lieutenant Wert.  During one story, the group is deployed to the jungle country of Sierra Muerte, during which time they adopt a more tactically sound uniform.  This figure is the only one of these I've made and it could honestly be any of the four existing characters.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scrap Iron (Iron Grenadier Weapons Designer)

Back in 1984, Scrap Iron's original filecard indicated that before joining Cobra he'd been a weapons designer for Destro's M.A.R.S. Corporation. So, I decided to add him to my Iron Grenadier forces. The entire figure is a RoC Scrap Iron, that I repainted to suit my tastes.

Detonator (Iron Grenadier Demolitions Specialist)

This character was created by HissTank RPG Gamemaster cobralalalala! as part of the next game scenario. I decided to make a custom of the character so that I could include him in photos I planned to take for the upcoming game.

Parts: Head (Resolute Duke v30), Goggles (RoC Red Fang Ninja) Body (PoC H.I.S.S. Tank Driver), Lower legs (25th Anniversary Destro v21), Belt (25th Anniversary Cobra Commander v28), Shoulder Pauldron (25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier v6), Backpack (PoC Duke v42), M41A Pulse Rifle (Marauder Gun Runners).

Iron Grenadier (Combat Surgeon)

This is the third in a series of Iron Grenadier support troops. This one is a Combat Surgeon. All Iron Grenadier combat troops have secondary training in first aid, but the Combat Surgeon has the primary responsibility of maximizing the unit's combat efficiency by keeping fingers on the triggers. Unlike most military medics, Iron Grenadier Combat Surgeons are recruited from the medical profession and then given combat training.

Parts: Head (25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier Officer), Body & Webgear (RoC M.A.R.S. Trooper), Holstered Pistol (RoC Cobra Eel), Various Pouches (bbi Elite Force).

Iron Grenadier (Machinegunner)

This is a simple re-paint of the 25th Anniversary Iron Grenadier. I also re-equipped him as a machinegunner.

Swami (Iron Grenadier Vehicle Specialist)

No one is quite sure where Swami originally got his codename, aside from the fact that it was a nickname he had long before joining the Iron Grenadiers. It is rumored that he had once planned a teaching career - until he punched his professor in her wrinkled old face. The Swami eventually found a home with the Iron Grenadiers, where Laird Destro pays him to "combat test" experimental vehicles. Usually, this means that he gets to drive as fast as possible, over unforgiving terrain... While shooting at people.

Parts: Head (RoC Duke), Body (RoC Bench Press), Holstered Pistol (PoC Hawk), M41A Pulse Rifle (Marauder Gun Runners).

This character is loosely based on HissTank member and fellow Iron Grenadier xSwamiJayx. The head was resculpted a bit to try and capture his likeness. I think it's reasonably close, but I'm not much of a sculptor so that's going to have to do.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Navy SEAL's of the G.I. Joe Team

I've been asked several times about a group photo, so here they are!

Left to Right:
Harpoon, Tracker, Depth Charge, The Chin, Torpedo, Wet-Suit, Wet Down, Mariner and Night Fox.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Chin (Navy SEAL)

Every team needs a leader. For some time now, I've been working on assembling a G.I. Joe sub-team of Navy SEALs. Lots of collectors have done this and they have used a wide variety of characters for their team leaders. I decided to create my own. About a year ago, I obtained a cast of the Army of Darkness Ash head as an unexpected "extra" in a trade. A pretty good likeness of the actor, Bruce Campbell. As soon as I saw it, I knew what I was going to eventually use it for. You see, my wife and I are both big fans of USA's show Burn Notice, in which Bruce Campbell plays Sam Axe - a semi washed-up, former SEAL who is the friend of the show's main character. Axe is portrayed as wise-cracking, hard-drinking and irreverent, yet an extremely competent warrior when he needs to be. For his codename, I used "The Chin", which is a nickname given not only to the character in the show, but also to the actor in real-life.

Parts: Head (Army of Darkness Ash), Entire figure, Fins, Dive Knife & Silenced Pistol (RoC Deep Six), Webgear (PoC Jungle Assault Duke), Dive Mask and Air Pack (RoC Wet-Suit), Assault Rifle (Marauder Gun Runners.

Zane (Dreadnok)

This is a figure that was created by CFW members TallDrkHansom, Veronica Mars and myself. TallDrkHansom created the story behind the character and then we each contributed to the construction of the figure (I provided the weapons and the paint job). The character was central to story behind the Mission Prospect Custom Contest over at We hope you enjoy it!

Harpoon (Navy SEAL)

Harpoon was released in 1996 as part of the G.I. Joe Extreme series. In my opinion, all of those figures were utterly horrible, but the line did provide another SEAL character for my squad. Harpoon was suggested to me by Topside, a fellow member at All he needed was a very serious makeover.

Parts: Head (Star Wars Luke Skywalker), Entire figure, Dive Knives & Fins (RoC Wet-Suit), M-249 SAW (PoC Jungle Assault Duke), Mask & Airpack (RoC Deep Six).

Friday, August 5, 2011

T.A.R.G.A.T. v2 (Iron Grenadier Rapid Deployment Trooper),

Next up in my campaign to modernize my Iron Grenadiers are the Trans-Atmospheric Global Assault Troopers (T.A.R.G.A.T.). Several others have made T.A.R.G.A.T. figures using the same figure as a base - in fact, the figure hadn't even been released when artistic re-colorings started appearing on This is my own spin on that idea. The photos show my four completed TARGAT's boarding an Iron Grenadier Razor Gunship, which will deliver them to a low orbit where they will await target instructions and a deployment order.

Parts: Entire figure (PoC Skydive), Jet-pack (RoC General Hawk v4), IG decals (CobraStickers).

I tried something new with these guys - at least, new for me. I have dyed figures or figure parts in the past and I've had pretty good results with it.

Softer plastics (like those used in the arms and lower legs) definitely absorb the dye much better than harder plastics (like those used in torsos and upper legs). What I tried to do here was to dye the figure as a way of minimizing the amount of paint I'd eventually need to use. I wanted the figure and the vest/webgear to be black, so I dropped those parts into a bowl of black RIT dye. While, they were soaking, I made sure to move the joints around. If you don't do this, you'll find that the dye did not get into the joints and the original color will show when you move the joint. Once the figures had soaked for what I decided was a reasonable amount of time, I pulled them out and rinsed them in cold water. You need to be careful to make sure you get all the water out of the joints and internal spaces. Otherwise, it will seep out later - perhaps while you're painting. The results of the dye were better than I'd hoped - all of the areas that had been green on the figure were now black, and the areas that had been painted grey to depict armor, were now a very dark reddish (not sure how that happened, but up close, it looks like the color of dried blood).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rock Vipers (Cobra Mountain Troopers)

When I first saw the Pursuit of Cobra Rock Vipers, I wasn't very excited - in fact, I had planned to pass on the figure entirely. To be honest, it was the head that threw me off. I just hate it when Hasbro gets all lazy and throws a random masked head on a figure that would otherwise be outstanding (e.g. Sandstorm, Night Fox, Skydive, etc.). But then, I saw the custom headsculpt created by member and fellow Iron Grenadier Eduardimus Prime and I was sold! I ordered two heads from Ed and picked up a couple of Rock Vipers.

Parts: Head (Custom sculpt by EduardimusPrime), Everything else (PoC Rock Viper).