Friday, August 31, 2012

Pathfinder (Jungle Assault Specialist)

I've never had a lot of love for Pathfinder as he was introduced after I stopped collecting Joes.  My little brother had him and I vaguely recall him only because he was released with one of the most ridiculous accessories ever - the giant weedeater.  Otherwise, the design was pretty good.  So my Jungle Assault Specialist gets a simple machete and an assault rifle.  Oh, and I substituted OD green for the turquoise used in his original camouflage pattern.  Lately, a lot of my customs have been aimed at being as 'paint-free' as possible, to keep joint rub to a minimum.  This is a perfect example of this trend.  The only paint on this guy is the head, the vest and the camouflage pattern on his trousers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

More Combat Photography

I threw together a small 'urban battlefield' scene today and wanted to take some pics.  It would probably look a little better if I had bothered to do anything with the lighting, but I was feeling kinda lazy by the time I finished the diorama...

 A Gravedigger anti-armor assaultman awaits orders.

 A Grenadier Officer issues orders to his Sergeants.

 Cremators are flame weapon troopers attached to infantry platoons during combat.

Hunting the enemy.

 Infantry Officers are often equipped with special helmets which allow them to communicate with higher command back in Scotland, no matter where they are in the world.

Captain Flaherty and Sergeant King make their way through the rubble after dismounting their DEMONs.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

COIL Elite Guardsman

The Crimson Guard High Command is fond of saying that no one ever leaves the fold alive.  But this is not exactly true.  Myles Pollack, previously known as Fred XXVII, received wounds in a firefight against G.I. Joe operatives that left him with light facial scarring.  Because he no longer looked exactly like the other Fred-series Crimson Guardsmen, he was dismissed from the Guard and reassigned to menial labor duties within Cobra.  When the COIL broke free from Cobra and struck out on their own, Pollack became the only CG to leave Cobra and join them.  Once the Paoli brothers discovered his defection, they began sending men to locate and kill Pollack.  The result thus far has been several dead Crimson Guardsmen.

This was an idea that popped into my head as soon as I saw the black Dollar General Cobra Commander figure. The entire job took me about 30 minutes from start to finish.  Thanks to COIL Club member Don Neal for the figure!

Fast Draw (Mobile Missile Specialist)

This was a simple and fun custom to do. Basically, it's a PoC Blowtorch figure dyed black and then painted with a paint scheme resembling the original Fast Draw figure.  The helmeted head and rocket equipment all came from the vintage figure.  As is sometimes the case with dyed figures, the black dye kept bleeding through the paint and I had to touch up the paint a few times.  There is still a little bit of 'bleed through', but I decided that I kind of liked the look (battle-weathered), so I left it as is.  Additionally, I dry-brushed a little bit of metallic colors to simulate paint wear on the suit's heat-resistant protective plates.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tomahawk Assault Transport Helicopter

I never owned a Tomahawk as a kid.  It was one of the few items I would really have loved, but just never managed to save up enough allowance for.  So while completing my Dragonfly restoration, I started accumulating the parts for this project.  I've actually had them all for a little while now, but the backlog of other projects has kept me from diving into it until now.  Like the Dragonfly, I wanted to pack as much 'real world' detail in as I could manage, so I knew it wouldn't be a matter of slapping new decals on and calling it 'done'.

Day One (08/12/2012) - The entire helo was disassembled and the decals were stripped off.  A fellow customizer suggested that I use WD-40 to soften up the crusty old adhesive residue.  I had used Goo Gone for this in the past, and it worked far better than the WD-40 did in this case - however, the Goo Gone tended to strip away the factory paint and I really didn't want to have to fix it afterward.  So WD-40 and elbow grease was the name of the game.  It took a while, but eventually it got the job done.  Once I was satisfied with the adhesive removal, I washed every single piece in warm water using Dawn dishwashing liquid to scrub them clean.  This entire process took a few hours, so when I was done, I laid out all of the parts to dry overnight and called it a day.

Day Two (08/13/2012) - Today I spent a while Googling images of the interior of military troops transport helicopters to augment the memories I had of a few hundred flights I took in the Marines.  It turns out that not very much has changed in the twelve years since I left active duty.  The interior of every modern helo I looked at was light grey, so I spray painted the insides of the engine covers and the two fuselage halves with a light primer grey. Not only is this more accurate to real military helos, but the lighter color should help to make the interior details far more visible.

As long as I was spray painting, I took the detachable engine pieces and spray painted them a metallic gunmetal color.  It's not too different from their original color, but now they look metallic, rather than grey plastic.  I taped off the tail ramp and sprayed the deck surfaces with this color, as well.

Day Three (08/14/2012) - I taped off the areas around the sculpted engine panels on the fuselage halves and spray painted them black.  Once dry, I gave them a light shot of the metallic gunmetal.  While they were drying, I move on to detailing the deck plate.  The seat covers were painted flat black in accordance with my reference photos.  I added the cockpit decal along with some extras.  I did the same thing for the troop bay, painting the sculpted details and adding some extra decals.

My next step was improving the weapons package on this thing.  I love that they included door guns with this, but they looked like some sort of weird lasers, so I chopped them off and kept the mounts.  A little work with the X-acto knife and the mounts were able to support an M-2 .50 caliber machinegun on the port side and a Mk-19 40mm machinegun on the starboard side.  Not only are these both real world weapon systems, but they are a significant upgrade to what we started with.

Day Four (08/18/2012) - Today, I added a little more detail to the interior - especially the cockpit.  It's a little hard to get a decent camera angle that will show the cockpit instrument panel, so you'll have to take my word for it.

I also started adding the ordnance.  I decided to spruce up the larger white missiles with some yellow striping, a painted fuse tip and a small decal so that they bore a reasonable resemblance to the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile.

The smaller grey bombs are being repainted in a 'standard' HE paint scheme - olive drab with yellow markings and silver fuses.  I hope to have those done by tomorrow.

Day Five (08/19/2012) - I finished up the bombs when I got home from work this morning.  Once they were added to the wing pylons, all I had left was a bit of weathering.  I used steel paint to touch up anywhere that the camo had been scratched off by the original owner.  This was done for two reasons; first, to simulate the normal wear and tear that all military equipment experiences and second, because it was easier than paint-matching the original color!  I used a butane lighter to carefully darken the areas around the engine exhaust. This is a trick I picked up years ago while customizing Star Wars vehicles. It simulates the carbon build-up around the exhaust ports reasonably well and can be wiped away with a wet paper towel if you decide you don't like it.  Once the helo was finished, I just needed to add the pilot, Lift Ticket, and the co-pilot, Glenda.

When I have some time, I will find a good spot outdoors and do some 'combat photography' with the Tomahawk.  This project was a lot of fun. I hope you dig it!