Monday, 19 March 2018

#997 - Barbecue

I remember seeing Barbecue for the first time in the old Marvel comic issue 41. It was one of a handful of issues that I had as a kid. It is still one of my favorites. In it, the Joes attack Cobra Island to kick Cobra out before it gets recognized as sovereign territory. Barbecue plays a small but memorable (at least to a kid) role. He uses his fireman’s axe to smash the glass canopy on a HISS tank and take out the driver.

For my custom, I knew I needed to re-use the 25th torso and accessories, but looked at surrounding it with better parts. I kept the upper arms as they are well detailed, have good articulation (with a little trimming) and have the logo on the shoulder that I wanted to keep. After that, I tried to pick modern parts that had similar characteristics to achieve the vintage look. I went back and forth for the head. And finally settled on dremeling the vintage one. I have never been satisfied with the 25th version. Finally, I have a version of Barbecue that reflects the vintage version well and is not a Snow Job repaint.

Head: Vintage Barbecue
Torso, upper arms, accessories: 25th Barbecue
Lower arms: Retaliation GI Joe Trooper
Upper legs: 50th Outback
Lower legs: 50th HEAT Viper

Thursday, 15 March 2018

#995 - Sparks and #996 - Greenshirts

Sparks made only a handful of appearances in the Sunbow cartoon (a total of 4, I believe), never got a vintage ARAH figure and never got a modern era figure and yet he is a character that most GI Joe fans know. I had forgotten about him until I re-watched the original mini-series. Since then, I have wanted to make a good custom of the character. I have made a couple of versions prior to this one, however, they all suffered from some flaws (lack of the right parts mostly) and have all ended up dismantled. With this custom, I hope to make my definitive version.

Head, torso: 50th Falcon
Arms: 25th Cobra Flint
Legs: RoC Zartan
Helmet, head gear, Marauder MTF
Backpack: Vintage Battle Pack Lifeline
Web gear: DG Snake Eyes

#996 – GI Joe Trooper (Sunbow)

When I was a kid, I had only a handful of GI joe comics. For me, GI Joe was about the toys and the Sunbow cartoon. The Green Shirt troopers were ubiquitous on the show and so GI Joe having generic soldiers to swell their ranks was a perfectly normal thing to me growing up. It wasn't until I read the entire original comic series as an adult that I realized that Green Shirts were not in every version of the story.

The 25th Green Shirts were a valiant effort at the time, but I find them lacking now. Pretty much every part of them has a better sculpted and articulated counterpart now. For my custom, the only thing that I kept from the original figures is the web gear. However, I wanted them to look like the cartoon, so I avoided parts that had too much detail, pouches and armor.

Head: DG Duke
Torso. Legs: ROC Pit Commando
Upper arms: 25th Rock & Roll
Lower arms: Roc Zartan

Sunday, 11 March 2018

#994 - Shipwreck

Shipwreck, like barbecue and Snake Eyes v2 arrived in my collection in Christmas 1985. I remember putting him on my wish list that year because I thought he had cool accessories like the hooks and rope and Polly. He was a pretty important character in the Sunbow series, so I knew him from that as well. Also, he played a small role in one of the only comics I had, issue 41, where the Joes try to kick Cobra off an island before it gets official recognition. Shipwreck was pretty bad-ass in that issue. Among other things, he took out a HISS' threads with his hooks.

The second 5-pack version of Shipwreck that came out during the 25th line is still pretty good I believe. It is as close to a vintage accurate version that we are likely going to get, so I started there. I painted the belt and shoes black, repainted the cap, hair and beard to sharpen the lines, swapped the lower arms for less scrawny ones and added the hook on the belt to attach the line. I like when my modern toys have the same features as my vintage ones.

Lower arms: 25th Shipwreck (comic)
Hands: 25th Cobra Flint
Belt hook: Marauder MTF
Everything else: 25th Shipwreck (2nd 5-pack)

Saturday, 10 March 2018

#993 - Ripcord

I never had Ripcord when I was a kid. However, one of my best friends did. We played GI Joes together often and we had different Joes, so we got to see different figures. I played with his Joes so often, that in a way, it’s almost like all those characters were part of my collection.

I had previously made a Ripcord custom for a buddy of mine, so I started with that recipe. He wanted a more modern take whereas I’m going for a more vintage look. In this case, it was a simple matter of using the Attack on Cobra Island Altitude parachute gear to complete the look.

Head: 25th Red Star
Torso, arms, upper legs: Retaliation GI Joe Trooper
Lower legs: Retaliation Data Viper
Helmet: Retaliation Airborne
Parachute harness: AOCI Altitude

Thursday, 8 March 2018

#992 - Snow Job

#992 - Snow Job

My first memory of Snow Job comes from the comic book, he, along with a bunch of 1983 Joes, is introduced in issue 11. That issue was one of the few that I had as kid and it shaped my interest in GI Joe. That issue made me want to add Snow Job as well as Airborne to my ranks. At the same time, I remember the ’83 catalog. I stared at it with all the new stuff included in it for hours. I also have a memory of shopping at Miracle Mart (a large department store that no longer exists) with my mom and seeing Snow Job on store pegs. That’s when I decided I wanted the figure for Christmas and my mom had it put aside on layaway (back when stores still did that kind of thing). That year, I got the figure as well as the Polar Battle Bear, the HQ, the Wolverine and a few other figures. It was by far my most bountiful Christmas GI Joe-wise.

We got a pretty decent Snow Job figure during the 25th anniversary. I was quite ready to keep that version in my collection if I couldn’t build a better one. Still, I played with parts to see what I could come up with. The MTF head instantly gives the figure some added personality. Surprisingly, I ended up using very few 25th parts to pull this custom off and I’m very happy with the result.

Head, goggles, Marauder MTF
Torso, upper arms: PoC Frostbite
Lower arms: Retaliation Data-Viper
Legs: Retaliation Colton
Hood, skirt, accessories: 25th Snow Job
Scarf: AVAC cast
Harness: RoC Dusty



Tuesday, 6 March 2018

#991 - Cover Girl

I still remember Christmas of 1983. Santa brought me a ton of new Joes that year including the Wolverine and Cover Girl. I played quite a bit with the Wolverine. However, Cover Girl was never a favorite of mine. She did not show up in the comics or the cartoon very often, so I did not get attached to her character. She got relegated to base duty, often manning the computer console at the HQ. I basically used her as filler.

As an adult, I came to better appreciate the character, so I thought it was time for her to get an ultimate version.

Head, hands: Marauder MTF
Torso, lower legs: ROC Cover Girl
Upper arms: 50th Shooter
Lower arms: ROC Scarlett
Upper legs: ROC Helix

Monday, 5 March 2018

To a 1000 and Beyond!

With the announcement that Hasbro is out of the GI Joe business for at least the next two years, I have been taking a good long look at my collecting and customs. I have been sorting fodder, clearing older stuff out, bringing newer stuff in and re-evaluating my collection in general. My goal has always been to have modern era figures of most of the GI Joe and Cobra characters from 1982-86 and a few select ones from '87 and after. Since the start of the 25th anniversary, I have mostly met that goal. However, looking at my display shelves, I realize that my collection is uneven.

I have a mix of Hasbro official figures, some that I have slightly modified and full on customs. Some of the Hasbro figures like Airtight, Firefly and Lifeline are top-notch in sculpting and articulation. Others, like Duke, Flint and the Original 13 are less so. By the same token, some of my customs are recent and built with the very best available parts while others date back almost ten years and are due to be updated.

Also, I did a quick custom count and realized that I'm passed the 900 mark, way passed it. So, for fun and to reach and pass that milestone, I have made customs of all my childhood favorites. My goal is to bring all these characters up to modern standards of sculpting and articulation by using modern parts as much as possible. Basically, I want to upgrade my customs collection from 25th style to 50th style figures.

So, for the next little while, I’ll be posting new customs from a variety of themes until I reach and surpass 1000 customs!

To kick things off, I started with a figure that we have gotten multiple times in the last 10 years, yet we still don’t have a definitive version of – Duke.

#990 - Duke

After acquiring a few of the 1983 figures, I was hooked on GI Joe. When the 1984 catalog showed up, I spotted the figures that I wanted to add to my ranks. At the top of the list were Duke and Storm Shadow. I remember finding Duke at a local pharmacy/drug store. Back then, Joes were sold everywhere. Storm Shadow proved elusive, but I found Duke quickly. He got a lot of play. He had fun accessories and a realistic military uniform so he remained one of my favorites for a long time.

Of course, we have gotten a lot of official Duke figures over the years. Unfortunately, none of those versions qualify as an ultimate Duke in my opinion. With GI Joe on hiatus, I thought that now would be a good time to fix that, so I made my own. I based my custom on the original toy and tried to remain as faithful to it as possible. I borrowed some cues from bucky's excellent custom as well like the bandolier modifications and the legs.

Head: 50th Duke
Torso: Retaliation Kwinn
Arms: 50th Flint
Legs: 50th Gung Ho
Bandolier: 25th Duke modified with added pouch and 25th Viper grenade
Helmet: Vintage Battle Pack