Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cobra Airborne Training

I recently picked up a pair of Retaliation Cobra Troopers for a custom project.  I was pretty impressed with the parachutes that were packed in with them and so I gave one to each of my kids.  Adam promptly put his chute on his 25th Python Crimson Guard, while Kate chose to use her DoCI Night Creeper.  Needless to say, a good time was had by all!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Iron Grenadier Unit Composition

Recently, some friends and I began throwing around ideas for new Iron Grenadier trooper classifications.  This led me to wonder what a standard Grenadier infantry company would look like.  This is what we came up with:

Company Command Element (3 men):
1x Company Commander (Captain)
1x Executive Officer (Lieutenant)
1x Company First Sergeant (First Sergeant)

1st Platoon (30 men):
1x Platoon Commander (Lieutenant)
1x Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant)
1x Combat Medic
27x Infantrymen (organized into 3 squads of 9 men; each squad consisting of one Sergeant commanding two 4-man teams)

2nd Platoon (30 men):
1x Platoon Commander (Lieutenant)
1x Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant)
1x Combat Medic
27x Infantrymen (organized into 3 squads of 9 men; each squad consisting of one Sergeant commanding two 4-man teams)

3rd Platoon (30 men):
1x Platoon Commander (Lieutenant)
1x Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant)
1x Combat Medic
27x Infantrymen (organized into 3 squads of 9 men; each squad consisting of one Sergeant commanding two 4-man teams)

Weapons Platoon (27 men):
1x Platoon Commander (Lieutenant)
1x Platoon Sergeant (Sergeant)
6x Heavy Machinegunners (Reapers)
6x Anti-Armor Specialists (Gravediggers)
6x Flame Weapons Specialists (Cremators)
7x Mortar Specialists

Note: When deployed, each platoon (1st, 2nd and 3rd) would receive a Fire Support Squad consisting of 2 Reapers, 2 Gravediggers and 2 Cremators. These squads would remain assigned to their respective platoons until the company concluded it's operation and returned to garrison.

Iron Grenadier (Infantryman) - The term 'regular infantry' hardly applies to the elite warriors that compose the Iron Grenadiers' conventional infantry units.  These battle-hardened veterans are recruited from around the world and are then equipped with the finest war fighting gear ever produced.  Each Grenadier wears a lightweight composite armor over his black uniform. This, combined with the signature 'sharkfin' helmet and Grenadier facemask protect the wearer from direct and indirect fire weapons, as well as a wide range of chemical-biological-radiological hazards.  Their standard weapon is the MARS-41A assault rifle, which fires a 10mm explosive-tipped, caseless, light armor-piercing round.  The weapon also features a 30mm pump-action grenade launcher.  Equipment belts vary depending upon the Grenadier's duties within his unit, but most Grenadiers will tend to carry six 30-round rifle magazines, three hand grenades, a utility pouch and a canteen. The ceremonial sword that is part of every Grenadier's garrison uniform is usually not carried during combat operations as a matter of practicality.

Iron Grenadier (Infantry Officer) - Infantry Officers are equipped much the same as other Infantrymen, with the notable exception of the helmet.  Officers commanding units of platoon size or greater are issued special helmets which allow them global communications.  This allows higher command at Castle Destro to communicate directly with battlefield commanders around the world.

Reaper (Heavy Machinegunner) - The life expectancy of a machine gunner in combat is normally measured in seconds. Despite this, the Reapers have an impressive survival record due largely to their sheer tenacity and refusal to accept defeat, or even slow down when wounded.  Reapers are equipped with the MARS-56A2 squad fire-support weapon, a 10mm general-purpose machine gun with an effective rage of up to 1500 meters.

Gravedigger (Anti-Armor Specialist) - Anyone with a rocket launcher, 15 minutes of training and a little luck is capable of taking out an armored vehicle. Gravediggers make anti-armor warfare an art form. They are specialists in all known anti-armor rocket and missile systems, as well as anti-tank mines and other more exotic means of defeating armor systems.

Cremator (Flame Weapons Specialist) - These are some of the nastiest individuals within the ranks of the Iron Grenadiers. The Cremator's primary weapon system is the MARS-240 Flame Unit, which is designed for close combat situations at the squad and fireteam level. The weapon uses a pressurized form of napalm which is ignited at the nozzle burner, and can be used to cover an area up to 25 meters. With a standard fuel reservoir good for up to 20 bursts, the flame-thrower is considered to be one of the most fierce weapons in the MARS armory. However, the fuel reservoir has a tendency to rupture violently when hit by shrapnel or from small arms fire.

The Trooper classifications listed above are those organic to the standard Iron Grenadier infantry company.  Depending upon the mission requirements, additional trooper classifications may be temporarily 'attached' to the company, to include:

Detonator (Demolitions Specialist)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yoda's Summer Vacation

If you've been around the blog for a while, you've probably seen me mention that my wife used to do customs, as well.  She stopped doing them before our 'site' was moved here from AOL Hometown, but I still have a lot of her old work so I thought it might be neat to show some of it off.

Of all the things she made, this Star Wars Cinema Scene is my favorite and to this day, it hangs on the wall in Our Basement Workshop.  It was made using the packaging from a 'Purchase of the Droids' cinema scene.  She called it 'Yoda's Summer Vacation'.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tutorial - Dyeing Figures & Parts

I've been asked about my technique for this so many times that I figured it was probably about time for me to put something together.  I strongly recommend this video by Ratfink.  It's the one I used when I was experimenting with dye for the first time.  So anyway, this is my feeble tutorial on how to dye figures and parts.

First, you should understand that dyeing is almost always going to be a precursor to painting, not a substitute for it.  Anyone who has painted a joint knows that once you move the joint, you almost always have paint that rubs off, revealing the original color of the plastic.  I have found dyeing to be a fantastic way to avoid having to paint joints.  The color I most often use is black because it works well in the shoulder, elbow and knee joints of a G.I. Joe figure.  No matter what color the rest of the figure is going to be, hints of black at the joints don't look nearly as out of place as say, red or white.  Also, you will find that the dye will work better on the softer plastic of heads, hands, feet, arms and lower legs.  It often works poorly on the harder plastic used for torsos and upper legs.  But that's okay - remember, you're going to be painting.  The dye is just going to reduce the amount required.

Next, you need to make sure you have all of the tools.  This may differ from one person to the next, but when I dye figures I use powdered RIT dye, an old saucepan and a strainer.  The dye can be purchased at most department stores for a dollar or two per box.  I bought the strainer at WalMart for about $5.  The saucepan was once my wife's, but after the first time I 'borrowed' it for dyeing stuff, she donated it to Our Basement Workshop.  Isn't she awesome?  I also have a ratty old towel that I keep on hand specifically for dyeing stuff. No matter how careful you are, you will make a mess.  I strongly recommend using something to cover any counter tops that you (or your significant other) don't want permanently discolored.  Also consider picking up some rubber gloves.  They will keep your hands from looking funny for the next several days.

Frequently, the dye will not seep all the way into the joints, so you need to help it along.  You'll want to prepare your parts for dyeing by moving all of the joints as far as they'll go in one direction.  In the photo, you'll see that all of the arms and legs have been repositioned with their joints exposed.  They will go into the dye just like this.  After they've been dyed, you'll reverse the joint all the way in the opposite direction and repeat.

So the next step is to get your dye ready.  I'm not going to re-type the directions on the package - you're capable of reading and following them for yourself.  The short story is that you'll mix the powdered dye with very hot water.  Some people will mix the dye with hot water from the tap, but don't do it on the stove top.  I have found that the hotter the dye, the better it penetrates the item you're dyeing.  Therefore, I keep the saucepan filled with dye on the burner and adjust the temperature so that it stays just below boiling.  I place the first figure or part into the strainer and lay carefully the strainer over the top of the saucepan so that the item is submerged.  As each item comes out of the dye, you'll want to lay it on the folded towel.  Better that the excess dye soaks into this than the counter tops.  Trust me on this - I've spent too much time scrubbing dye off the counter tops and some of it never came off.  This process is repeated/continued until all of the parts have been dyed. 

After the parts have been dyed, I recommend letting them sit for quite a while.  Not only will they be hot, but the dye will probably manage to seep inside the figure, so excessive handling will cause it to run out onto your fingers.  The photo to the right shows the results of dyeing the same parts in black.  Note that the torso on the second figure is a reddish color, rather than black.  Also, looking at the four pairs of Cobra Diver legs, you'll see that the upper legs are still mostly red.  Like I said, you will still be doing some painting, but now there is much less.

When all of the figures that these parts are intended for are complete, I'll post pics in this tutorial to show how they turned out.  If anyone has questions on the process, feel free to contact me or (even better) leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I'll answer it publicly so that others can benefit from the answer.

Happy customizing!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Captain Sledge (Iron Grenadier Officer)

This is my new Iron Grenadier, Captain Sledge.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tales from Castle Destro - The Characters

All of these characters are from my fan-fic blog, Tales from Castle Destro. It should be noted that while many of them are named for friends and members of the online G.I. Joe collector community, the characters themselves are entirely fictional.

Sergeant Sean Flaherty (Ferret)
Sean Flaherty is a U.S. Army veteran discharged after being wounded during combat operations in Iraq. He returns home to New York, but has difficulty readjusting to civilian life. He later joins the Iron Grenadiers and is serving as a Sergeant in Captain McLeod's DEMON platoon at the beginning of Volume I. When McLeod's unit is later expanded to company size, Flaherty is selected to take over McLeod's original platoon. This character was originally created as the protagonist for a single short story that eventually grew into Tales from Castle Destro. Although many characters are featured throughout, Tales is essentially Flaherty's story.

James McCullen Destro XXIV is the head of MARS (Military Armament Research System), a state-of-the-art weapons manufacturer. As a businessman, Destro is cutthroat and unyielding. He hires mercenaries to stir up conflict in dangerous regions, then provides high-tech arms to any side able to meet his price. Destro’s key characteristics are his sense of honor, a calm demeanor, and love for Cobra's second-in-command, the Baroness. He wears a beryllium steel mask, a tradition dating back to the English Civil War, when an ancestor of his was caught selling weapons to both sides. Forced to wear a steel mask for his crimes (neither side wanted to execute the ancestor because they still wanted the weapons he sold), the Destro clan has since turned it into a symbol of pride, passing it down from father to son for over 20 generations. Destro will sometimes enter battle himself, either as a member of Cobra Command, or against them if it's better for business. He respects the G.I. Joe Team for their combat skills, but detests them for wasting their skills to maintain peace.

Former head of Cobra's Intelligence Division, she now puts her considerable skills to work for Destro.

Metal Head
Metal-Head originally joined the Iron Grenadiers as an anti-tank specialist.  He also spent time working for Cobra, where he acted as a double-agent, spying on Cobra Commander for Destro.  During the Battle of Benzheen he went up against a group of G.I. Joe armored vehicles alone and on foot, armed with his advanced missile system.  Metal-Head gained the upper hand, but before the battle could be won, it was announced that Benzheen's Emir made a deal with Cobra, putting an end to hostilities.  Metal-Head then reported back to Castle Destro.  He remained in Destro's service, and rose to become one of the Iron Grenadiers most competent field commanders.

Scrap Iron
Scrap-Iron was originally a product designer for MARS, carrying out initial field testing on all new armor-piercing munitions and sub-munitions. His area of specialization is remote-launched, laser-guided, rocket-propelled piezo-electric fused anti-tank weapons. He spent considerable time working as a freelance contractor for Cobra before returning to MARS. Scrap-Iron is methodical and precise. Imperfection in any form repels him.
A distant cousin of the Destro clan and ruler of Darklonia. He briefly led the Iron Grenadiers, when Destro retired from frontline conflict for a time.
General Mayhem (Commander of Special Operation Forces)
A former Spetsnaz commander for the Soviet military, Mayhem now leads all Iron Grenadier special operations forces. His plans may seem chaotic and unorganized, but they usually come together to ensure victory

Colonel Masque (Director of Intelligence & Covert Operations)
Introduced in Volume I as one of Destro's most trusted Officers, Masque oversees all intelligence gathering and analysis, as well as all Iron Grenadier covert operations. He is a master magician, illusionist, hypnotist and alchemist. His brilliant use of real world chemistry and deadly weapons, combined with hypnotics and illusions, often has his enemies often wondering if he truly does supernatural powers. Even members if his own family are not completely convinced that he doesn't.  Masque has an odd love of puns and other wordplay, as is evidenced by his referring to his personal guard as "The Red Death".

Sergeant Major Alastair T. Duncan (Senior Non-Commissioned Officer)
More a title of respect than military rank, Sergeant Major Duncan is Destro's right-hand man and the Command Sergeant Major of Castle Destro.  Part Warrant Officer, part aide-de-camp, he isdirectly responsible to his commanding officer for all matters pertaining to the deployment, discipline and morale of the unit.  He enforces Destro's orders fairly, but firmly, and tolerates no dissent.  Originally Destro's trusted assistant, driver and bodyguard, he was selected to be the first of the Iron Grenadiers, accompanying Destro on the Grenadiers' first field operation.
Captain McLeod (Ferret) 
Introduced in Volume I as the commander of an elite DEMON platoon, McLeod is a good leader who understands and accepts that there are losses in combat, but also cares about his men and doesn’t want to squander their lives needlessly. He has been with the Iron Grenadiers for many years and has declined more than one promotion in order to remain with his beloved DEMONs. He sees something special in Flaherty and serves as a mentor to the younger man, grooming him for command.

Lieutenant 'Goggles' Head (Ferret) 
Introduced in Volume II, Goggles is the commander of 2nd Platoon in Captain McLeod's 1st DEMON Company. 2nd Platoon was instrumental in the testing of the prototypes for the DEMON II. His platoon is equipped with these lighter, faster tanks to provide a different capability within the standard DEMON company.

Lieutenant Eduardo (Ferret)
Introduced in Volume II as the commander of 3rd Platoon in Captain McLeod's 1st DEMON Company. 3rd Platoon specializes in cold weather operations and uses the Yeti variant of the DEMON. The platoon is often attached to the Iron Wolf Brigade.

Lieutenant 'Lethal' Fleming (Ferret)
(Photo Pending)
Introduced in Volume III as the new Executive Officer (XO) of the 1st DEMON Company.

Lieutenant 'Ruckus' Bright (Ferret)
(Photo Pending)
Introduced in Volume III as the new commander of the 1st DEMON Company's 1st Platoon.

Lieutenant 'Crosshair' Schueller (Ferret)
 (Photo Pending)
Introduced in Volume III as the new commander of the 1st DEMON Company's 2nd Platoon.

Lieutenant 'Pike' Greenoe (Ferret)
(Photo Pending)
Introduced in Volume III as the new commander of the 1st DEMON Company's 3rd Platoon.
Sergeant King (Ferret)
Introduced in Volume I as a DEMON Vehicle Commander in Captain McLeod's platoon.  Born in Chicago, King served four years as an infantryman in the U.S. Army and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  He found that he enjoyed the lifestyle, but felt that he was vastly underpaid for what he did.  He declined re-enlistment and soon joined the Iron Grenadiers.  His competitive nature allowed him to rise quickly through the ranks and he was sooner selected for training as a Ferret.  Hot-tempered, but exceedingly loyal, King carries a pair of tomahawks used for close combat.

Corporal Swami (Ferret)
No one is quite sure where Swami originally got his nickname, aside from the fact that he had it 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 paid him to "combat test" experimental vehicles. Usually, this meant driving as fast as possible, over unforgiving terrain... while shooting at people.  He was introduced in Volume I when he was assigned to Captain McLeod's platoon as a replacement for personnel lost in combat.

Sergeant Headman (Ferret)
Introduced in Volume I as a DEMON Vehicle Commander in Captain McLeod's platoon. He is the unit's practical joker, though his gags often leave the whole group shaking their heads in wonder.

Corporal Scroll (Ferret)
Assigned to Captain McLeod's platoon during Volume I, Corporal Scroll is a native of South Carolina and previously served as a tank crewman in the U.S. Marines.  He is an insomniac and, as a result, is known to have a somewhat quick temper.

Corporal Hunger (Ferret)
Introduced in Volume III, as a replacement for personnel lost in combat.  He is assigned as the driver for Flaherty's DEMON.

Badger (Ferret)
(Photo Pending)
Introduced in Volume IV, Badger is assigned as the crewman for Flaherty's DEMON.

Lieutenant Ylvisaker (Infantry Officer)
Lieutenant Ylvisaker was born in Minneapolis and later moved to Wisconsin with his family.  He was a champion fencer while majoring in cartography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  After college, he entered the Marine Corps and served as an Infantry Officer.  His background as a cartographer made him a valuable asset to mission planners at the battalion level.  Though he enjoyed his time as a Marine, he ultimately departed the service during one of the Pentagon's various 'force reduction' periods.  He checked out several private military corporations before deciding that MARS offered the best pay, benefits and retirement package.  He was introduced in Volume IV as the commander of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Sergeant Jennings (Infantryman)
Originally from Joliet, Illinois, Sergeant Jennings was a computer science student who went looking for adventure in his country's Armed Forces.  He got more than he bargained for, seeing significant action in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  After his discharge, he returned to school, finished his degree and began settling in to civilian life.  It wasn't long before the inactivity got to him and he went looking for something more exciting.  He found a home with the Iron Grenadiers.  He was introduced in Volume IV as the 3rd Platoon Sergeant, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.


Corporal Gundam (Combat Medic)
Introduced in Volume I, Corporal Gundam has been a grunt for all of his adult life, a servant to whomever he was employed by.  He possesses a strong team mentality and can be counted upon to get the job done, regardless of the situation. These traits were identified early in his career with the Iron Grenadiers and resulted in his being trained as a battlefield medic. Gundam is often assigned to deployed units, but is equally at home working in the Castle infirmary, aiding in the recovery of wounded comrades.  In Volume IV, Gundam is reassigned as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Corporal Oreo (Infantryman)
Introduced in Volume IV as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Corporal Tenime (Infantryman)
Introduced in Volume IV as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Corporal Vance (Infantryman)
Introduced in Volume IV as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Shogi (Infantryman)
Shogi was born in Columbus, Georgia and served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army, spending a significant amount of time at Fort Benning.  He's a skilled mechanic and is known to amuse his squadmates by telling the same stories over and over, thinking he's never told them before.  He was introduced in Volume IV as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Money (Infantryman)
Money was born in San Jose and moved around the United States quite a bit before finally joining the Navy at twenty-three.  He served as a SeaBee (Steelworker First Class).  He was SeaBee Combat Warfare qualified and an outstanding marksman; his nickname is in reference to the fact that he never misses.  He had planned on a career in the Navy until he was discharged for misconduct near the end of his second enlistment.  Not one to be discouraged, Money looked for an opportunity to parlay his skills into a better paycheck than Uncle Sam was offering.  He found it with the Iron Grenadiers.  Introduced in Volume IV as a member of 3rd Platoon, Company I, 3rd Battalion, 112 Brigade.

Sergeant Wingnut (Detonator)
Introduced in Volume I as a demolitions team leader.

Poptart (Detonator)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Sergeant Wingnut's demolitions team.

Teabag (Detonator)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Sergeant Wingnut's demolitions team. He was killed in action during operations in Sierra Muerte.

Tucker (Detonator)
 Tucker was born in New England and received no formal military training prior to joining the Iron Grenadiers.  In fact, his recruitment is somewhat of a mystery to most.  He has a short temper, is a heavy smoker, and a really good cook.  He is currently assigned as the third member of Sergeant Wingnut's Detonator and is hopeful that his luck lasts longer than the last two men who held the position. 
Reticle (Sniper / Spotter)
A sniper of extraordinary skill, Reticle’s only significant shortcoming is his quick temper. It was this that caused his untimely departure from the Australian Army’s Special Air Service Regiment (SASR). Fortunately, his longtime Spotter, Windage, was able to parlay their abilities into lucrative careers with the Iron Grenadiers.

Windage (Sniper / Spotter)
In terms of personality, he is the polar opposite of his sniper team partner, Reticle. The two have been together since Recruit Training at Blamey Barracks. He is the calming influence that helps to keep Reticle in line. Unfortunately for Windage, it doesn’t always work, and after one particular incident, he found himself unemployed alongside his longtime teammate. Since signing on with the Iron Grenadiers, Windage has worked tirelessly to keep his rambunctious friend in line.

Osok (Sniper)
There are many accomplished marksmen within the ranks of the Iron Grenadiers, but none compare to the pure killing machine that is Osok. He tends to be quiet and reserved, rarely speaking aside from the occasional unintelligible mumble. His quarters are located deep within the lowest levels of the Castle, where few others tread voluntarily. He receives his orders and goes forth, usually alone, to wreck absolute havoc on the enemies of Laird Destro. The first time General Voltar saw the custom painted reaper's grin on Osok's Grenadier mask, he told one of his subordinate Officers to have the man remove it. The Officer balked at the order and it was then that Voltar realized that even many of the Iron Grenadiers fear Osok. Not another word has ever been said about removing the paint from Osok's mask.  He was introduced in Volume I.
Aries (Highlander)
Introduced in Volume I as the commander of the Highlander Brigade, Aries is from somewhere in the Balkans, southeastern Europe. He comes from many generations of mountain warfare specialists. He was recruited by the Iron Grenadiers after he took out an entire squad of Iron Grenadiers during a raid on his town. His men say he is a hard man born for warfare.

Captain 'Ghost' Bowlby (Highlander)
A native of Winnipeg, Ghost served with distinction in the Canadian Forces until he was 'honorably released' on medical grounds, having been deemed unfit to perform his duties due to an undisclosed condition.  Despite this, he went on to find success as a mercenary, even clashing with the Iron Grenadiers on a few occasions.  His reputation, along with his English/Scottish ancestry, brought him to the attention of Laird Destro himself, who subsequently offered Ghost an opportunity to join the Iron Grenadiers. With the promise that resources would be devoted to curing his condition, Ghost accepted, and has been fiercely loyal to Destro and the Iron Grenadiers ever since, despite no cure having yet been provided to him.  Ghost was introduced in Volume I as the Commander of the Highlander Brigade's Company A. 

Sergeant Humpty (Highlander)
This U.S. Marine veteran is responsible for the training and deployment of the 60mm mortar crews assigned to Company A of the Highlander Brigade. An experienced forward observer, he sees to the pre-plotting of all defensive targets around the company's defensive perimeter. In combat, Sergeant Humpty normally accompanies the company commander into the fight to coordinate on-the-spot fire support, while leaving the actual supervision of the mortar crews Corporal Hobbit.  Introduced in Volume I. 
Corporal 'Hobbit' O'Mahoney (Highlander)
Prior to joining the Iron Grenadiers, Corporal O'Mahoney served in the U.S. Army, where he was deployed to Iraq. Later, his heavy weapons skills earned him a place amongst Destro's elite. Formerly a Sergeant, Hobbit was reduced in rank following an unfortunate and embarrassing incident in which he 'photo-bombed' the Baroness while assigned to her security detail during a public appearance.  Introduced in Volume I.

Corporal Darkseid (Highlander)
Introduced in Volume I as a heavy weapons specialist assigned to Captain Bowlby's Company A.

WarDog (Highlander)
Born and raised in the Southwest United States, WarDog joined the Army to get away from the desert environment. The Army subsequently rewarded him with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He successfully completed Ranger School and returned to his unit in time for another deployment to Iraq. After serving eight years, he decided it was time for a change, but couldn't stand the idea of a 'normal' life at home in the desert. He joined the Iron Grenadiers and volunteered for the Highlander Brigade after hearing stories about the Brigade's infamous commander, Ares. He was assigned as a Shock Trooper in Captain Bowlby's Company A. He received a special commendation from Colonel Masque and Laird Destro, after successfully completing an undercover assignment to expose an infiltrator within a new recruit class of Iron Grenadiers.  He was introduced in Volume II.
Android (Highlander)
Originally nicknamed 'Angry', he was introduced in Volume II, replacing Teabag as the third member of Sergeant Wingnut's Detonator team. He was wounded in Sierra Muerte, resulting in the loss of both arms. MARS surgeons were able to replace both arms with cybernetic limbs, earning him the new nickname, 'Android'. He quickly found that his new hands lacked the dexterity for explosives work and was reassigned as a heavy weapons specialist with Company A of the elite Highlander Brigade.

Fumbles (Highlander)
Introduced in Volume III as a Sniper assigned to Captain Bowlby's Company A.

Kung (Highlander)
Introduced in Volume III as a Shock Trooper assigned to Captain Bowlby's Company A.

Captain 'Colors' DelRio (Iron Wolf)
Growing up, Colors was an avid huntsman and an exceptional mechanic.  He joined the Army looking to do something new and somehow found himself stationed at the Northern Warfare Training Center (NWTC) in Black Rapids, Alaska.  This was quite a change of climate for the Lubbock, Texas native, but he quickly grew to love the environment.  Introduced in Volume I as the commander of Company D, Iron Wolf Brigade, Colors is far from the typical clean-cut look favored by most infantry Officers sporting a shaved head, goatee and numerous tattoos. However, his effectiveness in the field has quickly made him one of Destro's most reliable combat leaders.

Corporal Ozma (Iron Wolf)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Company D, Iron Wolf Brigade. Highly skilled in both climbing and demolitions.

Corporal Beutel (Iron Wolf)
Introduced in Volume III as a combat medic assigned to Company D, Iron Wolf Brigade.
Glumby (Iron Wolf)
Introduced in Volume III as a member of Company D, Iron Wolf Brigade.

Corporal Crimson (Dog Handler)
Introduced in Volume I as a K-9 specialist with extensive combat experience. When he is not deployed, he is also responsible for training new K-9 units for Castle security.

Corporal Bing (Wild Boar)
Introduced in Volume I, Bing was the highest ranking survivor among Wild Boars during the siege of Castle Destro. He rallied and led all Razorback units during the battle and was promoted to Sergeant following the cessation of hostilities.

Creeper (Jungle Operations)
While he is fully capable in any environment, Sergeant Creeper is a ghost in the jungle. He is considered by most to be the Iron Grenadiers' foremost authority on jungle combat. He was introduced in Volume I.

Sergeant Beckley (Troll)
Each Ogre APC is operated and maintained by a highly trained driver known as a Troll. These men are hard even by the Iron Grenadiers' standards. Each one is an experienced mechanic, capable of repairing just about anything found on the Ogre. They're also legendary amongst the IG for their stubbornness, ferocity and overwhelming will to succeed, so it's no surprise that a great many Trolls eventually move on to the IG command ranks. Sergeant Beckley was among the first Iron Grenadiers selected for the Ogre / Troll program. Little is known of his origins, but the commonly held story is that he was born in Glasgow and enlisted in the military at the youngest possible age to escape home. While serving, he developed a methamphetamine addiction and was subsequently dishonorably discharged. He was working as a taxi driver there to support his habit when General Mayhem accidentally discovered himIntroduced in Volume I. 

Corporal Mattox (Castle Guard)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Castle Destro's ceremonial guard, Corporal Mattox is the leader of His Laird's Cavalry.

Lieutenant Blaze (Combat Surgeon)
Introduced in Volume I, Lieutenant Blaze and his surgical team work hard to save the lives of wounded Grenadiers after they've been evacuated from the battelfield.

Colonel Nero (Annihilator)
Introduced in Volume I, Colonel Nero is the commander of an elite unit of Annihilator Officers who are tasked with Laird Destro’s more sensitive assignments.

Captain Starbuck (Annihilator)
Starbuck was introduced in Volume I as the second-in-command of Colonel Nero’s elite Annihilator unit.  He was born in Dallas, Texas and served in the United States Naval Special Warfare Command, specializing in Electronic Warfare and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).  After retiring, he found that he missed the lifestyle and jumped at the opportunity when the MARS recruiters found him.

Lieutenant Wert (Annihilator)
Served as a U.S. Marine attack helicopter pilot until he was court-martialed for disobeying direct orders to fire on an enemy supply depot. Wert was cleared of any wrongdoing when the investigation proved that the ‘depot’ was actually a village occupied by civilians. Disenchanted with his treatment in the affair, Wert resigned his commission and left the service. Disgruntled and looking for work, Wert was soon contacted by a MARS Industries recruiter and joined the Iron Grenadiers. He quickly earned a spot in the Annihilator program and is currently assigned as a member of Colonel Nero’s elite unit.  He was introduced in Volume I. 
Lieutenant "Robo" Wang (Annihilator)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Colonel Nero’s elite unit. The loss of his right arm on a mission in Sierra Muerte resulted in a cybernetic replacement - and the nickname "Robo".

Major Jett (Nullifier)
Introduced in Volume I as the commander of an Anti-Gravity Pod (AGP) Assault Squadron. Formerly the head of Laird Destro's Elite Guard.

Lieutenant Nirvana (Nullifier)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of an Anti-Gravity Pod (AGP) Assault Squadron, under Major Jett. Injuries sustained in combat resulted in the loss of his flight status. Currently serves as the head of Laird Destro's Elite Guard.

Captain 'Black Llama' Miller (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume I as the commander of Shock Trooper Special Detachment B - also known as the 'Death Dealers'. Known for his unique approach to problem solving and ability to operate outside normal parameters.

Sergeant Shock (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume I as the second-in-command of the 'Death Dealers' and one of the oldest Iron Grenadiers in active service.

Hung (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume I as the 'Death Dealers' heavy weapons specialist.

Reaper (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of the ‘Death Dealers’, Reaper is somewhat clumsy. He’s and expert marksman and is absolutely ferocious when fighting close-in, especially hand-to-hand. But he can barely manage to climb a flight of stairs without tripping and falling. He tends to be a joker and often has the rest of his squad cracking-up.

Corporal ‘Vader’ Isenhour (Shock Trooper) 
Introduced in Volume III, Vader is a former Cremator, who currently served as the ‘Death Dealers’ flame weapons specialist. He enjoys his job so much that he sometimes tends to overexert himself. The resulting raspy-sounding breathing from his facemask is what earned him his nickname.

Osgood (Shock Trooper) 

Introduced in Volume III, Osgood is the ‘Death Dealers’ designated marksman.  He was born in Concord, New Hampshire and served as a scout/sniper in the U.S. Marine Corps.  He is often described as one of those people that just naturally blend in and are overlooked.

Sergeant ‘Izzy’ Irizarry (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume III, Izzy is a former Detonator now assigned as the ‘Death Dealers’ demolitions specialist.

Wry (Shock Trooper)
Introduced in Volume III, Wry is the ‘Death Dealers’ breaching specialist.

Major 'Stone' Bunnell (TARGAT)
Introduced in Volume I as the commander of all TARGAT forces.

Captain Loc (TARGAT)
Introduced late in Volume I, Loc serves as Executive Officer to Major Stone. One of the most senior TARGAT Officers still alive.

Lieutenant Zex (TARGAT)
Introduced in Volume I, he served as an Annihilator before being selected for the TARGAT program.

Sergeant Vapor (TARGAT)
Introduced in Volume I as a TARGAT Training Sergeant. Oversees the initial training of all TARGAT selectees and is frequently assigned as a small unit leader for Special Operations.

Sergeant ShowTime (Undertow)
Introduced in Volume I as an Undertow fire team leader.

Vulcan (Undertow)
Prior to joining the Iron Grenadiers, Vulcan was a Kampfschwimmer (Combat Swimmer) in the German Navy's Verwendungsgruppe 3402 (Usage Group 3402).  Stealth comes naturally to him and he is often tasked with providing sniper overwatch for the rest of his team.  He tends to prefer colder temperatures, a fact that the rest of his team sometimes finds odd.  He also has a penchant for Russian women.  Vulcan was introduced in Volume I as a the second-in-command of Sergeant ShowTime's Undertow fire team.

Uman (Undertow)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Sergeant ShowTime's Undertow fire team, Uman has a special knack for sensing an ambush.  As such, he is often designated as the team's scout.  He doesn't discuss his past and tends to keep to himself when he's not in the field.

Werecat (Undertow)
Werecat comes from a military family, his father having been a Corporal in the Australian Army.  He grew up outside Gallipoli Barracks, raised on a healthy diet of army and football.  Always looking for a laugh, he is well known for his pranks and other mischief.  In fact, once he starts laughing he finds it very difficult to stop.  Werecat was introduced in Volume I as a member of the 'Death Dealers'.  Early in Volume II, he transfers into the Undertow program and earns a place on Sergeant ShowTime's fire team.

Cake (Undertow)
Cake grew up in Chicago and joined the U.S. Navy after high school.  Stationed at Great Lakes Naval Station, he excelled at his rate but found it to be less than challenging.  He opted for BUD/S and found his challenge in the SEALs.  He possesses a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Medieval weaponry and has occasionally been known to augment his combat load with some 'unusual' items.  Cake was introduced in Volume III as a member of Sergeant Blister's Undertow fire team and was later reassigned to Sergeant ShowTime's team.

Captain Thor (Iron Anvil)
Introduced in Volume I as the Commanding Officer of Iron Anvil Company C, Thor was born in Valdosta, Georgia and went to Auburn University.  Upon joining the Army, he completed Airborne School at Fort Benning and spent time in several different airborne units.  He joined the Iron Grenadiers after learning of the Iron Anvil program.  Apparently, the concept of paratroops that don't use parachutes appealed to the risk-taker in him.  His nickname is attributed both to his Norse ancestry and to the fearsome warhammer he wields on the battlefield.

Corporal Som (Iron Anvil)
Introduced in Volume I as a member of Captain Thor's Iron Anvil Company C.

Killer (Iron Anvil)
Born in Bonfield, Illinois, Killer was introduced in Volume I as a member of Captain Thor's Iron Anvil Company C.  He is a veteran Anvil specializing in anti-armor operations.  His stubbornness is almost legendary within his unit, as is is rather inappropriate humor.  He will do almost anything for a laugh.  His history of poorly-chosen jokes might not have prevented his further promotion thus far, but it certainly hasn't helped it along.

Weasel (Razor Pilot)
Introduced in Volume III as a Razor Gunship pilot, Weasel is one of the best pilots in the Iron Grenadier flight corps.  He is often selected to fly missions involving covert insertion or extraction.  When ever Laird Destro takes to the field, Weasel serves as his personal pilot.

Foolproof (Covert Operative)
Introduced in Volume I as the unofficial 'right hand' to Colonel Masque.  Frequently handles the Colonel's more sensitive or difficult assignments.

Misfit (Covert Operative)
Introduced in Volume I.  Reports directly to Colonel Masque. Frequently handles undercover assignments requiring infiltration or disguise.

Leored (Commando)
Introduced in Volume I, Leored’s family has been associated with Clan Destro for generations. A veteran commando, he is especially gifted in the art of covert infiltration - no target is too hard or too well-defended. He is often partnered with Huerta and the two are known to be among Colonel Masque's most trusted operatives. But whereas Huerta likes to blow things up, Leored is more meticulous; a scavenger of the scene, allowing Huerta to do his thing only after anything of potential value has been retrieved. Huerta and Leored are flip sides of the coin and Masque believes that to have chaos, you must also have order, fire must have water and success means the failure of the opponent.

Huerta (Commando)
Where Leored is known for his infiltration skills, Huerta is known for his destructive capabilities. Sometimes referred to as "The Barbarian" for his savage, no-holds-barred style of combat. He is frequently partnered with Leored and the two are a highly effective team. You can bet that when they’re around, trouble will followHe was introduced in Volume I.

Scythe (Iron Maiden)
Scythe was the first woman to be accepted within the ranks of the Iron Grenadiers. As such, she was once referred to as The Iron Maiden, but later changed her call sign to Scythe. It is generally believed that the Baroness adopted the name Iron Maidens for her personal cadre of operatives as a nod to Scythe's unofficial status as the senior female Grenadier.

Cutlass (Iron Maiden)
Cutlass and her brother Ghost are among Destro's most deadly operatives. She is one of the best sword fighters on the planet, a living phenomenon. Though she is a Champion fencer, she never particularly cared for trophies. Instead, her recognition comes when her opponent is lying in a pool of blood and she is still standing.

Banshee (Iron Maiden)
Introduced in Volume II, little is known about Banshee prior to her involvement with the Iron Grenadiers. It is believed that she was born in Paris and worked as a freelance assassin-for-hire, amassing a nearly perfect record over a ten year period. At some point, she was recruited by the Baroness to be one of the first in her “Iron Maiden” program. In Irish mythology, a banshee is a feminine spirit, usually seen as an omen of death and a messenger from the Otherworld. Banshee’s many targets could attest to the appropriateness of her code name – if any of them were still around to do so.

Natasha (Iron Maiden)
Introduced in Volume III, Natasha's natural talent with a rifle was discovered early on by military recruiters, who worked with the press to make her name and prowess become the talk of the Motherland - until she met the Baroness.

Lace (Iron Maiden)
Very little is known about Lace. She is believed to be highly skilled in disguise and is rumored to often serve as a body double for the Baroness. Her mere presence within this group indicates that she is not to be taken lightly.  She was introduced in Volume II.

Moira (Iron Maiden)
At present, little is known about Moira's background or specialties.  As with Lace, her inclusion in this group indicates an impressive skill set.  She was introduced in Volume III.

AGP (Anti-Gravity Pod) -  This is the Iron Grenadiers' main attack aircraft.  It is operated by a single pilot, known as a Nullifier, and carries the following armament:  (2) 'Big Hit' 106mm Recoilless Cannons and (4) STUNG (Silent-running Titanium Under-rader Negative Gravity) Missiles.  The AGP is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.  It doesn't absorb fire very well and has a generally poor energy consumption to performance ratio, but is remarkably fast, able to turn sharply and can stop almost immediately.  The AGP is able to hover in place for short periods of time to unload ordnance or wait in ambush for less maneuverable aircraft.

DEMON (Dual Elevating Multi-Ordnance Neutralizer) - This is the Iron Grenadiers' main battle tank.  It is operated by a three crew members, called Ferrets, and carries the following armament: (1) Roof-mounted Magnetic Array Triple-Lens Laser, (1) Infinity III Variable Energy Pivoting Triple Barrel Laser, (6) TRI-CAP (Triple Computer Assisted Anti-Aircraft/Anti-Personnel) Missiles and (1) Rear-facing defensive cannon. Side-mounted elevation arms combine with a sub frame chassis lift servomotor to raise or lower the vehicle depending upon a greater need for speed or stability at a given moment.

DEMON II - This is intended to be the Iron Grenadiers' next generation of main battle tank.  Externally, the vehicle appears to be almost identical to the HISS V.  This is because Destro used the Cobra-funded HISS V program to secretly develop the DEMON II.  It is operated by a reduced crew of two Ferrets, and carries (1) 20mm cannon and (3) anti-armor missiles.  Like its predecessor, the DEMON II is able to elevate the crew cab, but in this case it is done to achieve fire superiority.  Though it carries less firepower and has lighter armor, the DEMON II is significantly faster and more maneuverable than the DEMON. 

Despoiler - Originally designed as Destro's personal command aircraft, the Despoiler has seen wider use in recent years by Iron Grenadier commanders for aerial command and control functions.  It is a small single person aircraft armed with (2) 'Pursuer' Roof-mounted Terminal-homing Stinger-type Missiles and (2) 'Eliminator' Canopy-mounted 9mm Machine Guns.

Dominator - The Dominator was as much an engineering marvel as it was a failure. During the late 1980's, MARS Research and Development had managed to produce a working tank / helicopter hybrid. The very idea that a lumbering armored vehicle could unfold a main rotor and become an attack helicopter was so novel that MARS had sold thousands of them worldwide. It is operated by a crew of two and is armed with (1) Multi-shot Rapid-fire 3.5mm Missile Pod, (2) 20mm side-mounted miniguns, (2) dual track mounted repeating cannons and a chin-mounted Missile Launcher.  The problem with the Dominator was that in order to make it light enough to fly, its designers had sacrificed much in the way of armor. And while the vehicle did fly, it didn’t do so very quickly. The result was that in one mode, you had a lightly armored tank that was easier to kill than it should have been; while in the other mode you had an attack helicopter that was too slow-moving to evade anti-aircraft fire. Once its weaknesses had become painfully obvious, Destro mothballed the Iron Grenadiers’ entire fleet of Dominators.

Evader - This is Darklon's personal two-wheeled assault vehicle. It is armed with (2) 'Deluge-I' mini missiles and a pair of 'Rabid' Rapid Burst 20mm Repeating Cannons.

Ogre - This is an armored personnel carrier used to transport Iron Grenadiers into combat.  It's remarkably tough armor allows it to absorb a ridiculous amount of fire, while delivering combat loaded Grenadiers to the enemy's doorstep. It is armed with (2) side-mounted .50 caliber machine guns, (6) anti-personnel/material missiles fired from (2) independently-targeted launcher housings, and (2) multi-purpose, turret mounted 40mm Repeating Cannons.  It's troop bay can hold in excess of twelve fully loaded Grenadiers, plus a wide array of additional equipment.

Razor - This is a multi-purpose VTOL assault aircraft capable of delivering up to twelve combat-loaded Grenadiers to the battlefield. The Razor can also be used to deploy Iron Anvils from altitude or to insert TARGATs into low earth orbit.  It is highly maneuverable, capable of super-sonic flight and is armed with a chin-mounted 20mm chain gun and (2) air-to-ground missile launchers.

Razorback - This is a high-speed wheeled attack vehicle operated by a three-man crew. The driver, known as a Wild Boar, is also the vehicle commander. The remaining two crew members fulfill gunnery functions. It is armed with (8) QVX-902 'Short Blast' Surface-to-surface Strike Missiles and a bubble turret equipped with a dual Anti-Armor/Personnel Cannon.  The vehicle gains its name from it's ability to elevate the back portion of the vehicle, allowing the weapons to fire down at a foe.

Red Cap - This is a defensive vehicle that combined speed, maneuverability, stealth and massive firepower. It relies upon state-of-the-art concealment technology to remain hidden while utilizing an impressive array of detection and tracking equipment to find and fix its prey.  Castle Destro and other key MARS installations are protected by a hidden ring of Red Caps.

SKAR (Soldiers of Khaos, Anarchy & Ruin)

Iron Klaw 
(Photo Pending)
The leader of SKAR (Soldiers of Khaos, Anarchy, and Ruin).  He has a fascination and deep respect for Genghis Khan. Iron Klaw operates under the alias of Count von Rani, the ruler of a small Eastern European nation called Kalistan. Iron Klaw assassinated the real Count von Rani and took his place as Defense Minister of Kalistan.

Steel Raven 
Introduced in Volume III as Raven, a member of the Baroness’ Iron Maidens.  In a stunning betrayal, she later reveals herself to be Iron Klaw’s associate.

Inferno, whose real name is Kidwell Pyre, grew up as the son of a poor single mother who worked as a maid. He refers to weaponry as his "toys", and speaks in a hissing voice.

(Photo Pending)
A soldier who served in the American military, Wreckage was captured during a major military conflict and then experimented upon in an early attempt by Iron Klaw to create a super soldier. The experiments made Wreckage extremely strong and resilient, but prone to fits of rage.

(Photo Pending)
Rampage is an arms manufacturer who operates legitimate business fronts and black market deals. Rampage is SKAR's primary weapon supplier. However, he seeks to eliminate Iron Klaw and seize control of the organization.

SKAR Troopers
These elite troops form the backbone of Iron Klaw's organization, Soldier's of Khaos, Anarchy and Ruin. They are fiercely loyal to their leader.

Bone Splitter - SKAR's primary ground assault vehicle, the Bone Splitter is a 4x4 vehicle equipped with a pintle-mounted machinegun and a long-range missile launcher.