''Fearlessly, the mighty U.S. 369th Infantry led the nation's greatest Black Army into battle. They fought in WWI and WWII and they never lost. There have been no warriors their equal until today! Today, we have the Bronze Bombers™! Today they defend the country against P.S.B. enemy squad. These highly skilled combatants stand for justice and they never lose!" – From 1988 card back
The Bronze Bombers was a short-lived toy line produced by Olmec. Two "waves" were produced. The first one, released in 1988, consisted of a dozen different figures and 2 small vehicles. The figures had similar molds to Galoob's A-Team figures from the early '80s and were of lesser quality. In 1997, Olmec acquired several GI Joe molds from Hasbro and produced a 12 figure boxset consisting of recolored vehicle drivers like Motor-Viper, Skidmark, Darklon and Strato-Viper. A year later, Olmec filled for bankrupcy and Bronze Bombers line disappeared.
Roughshot by Oreobuilder
I was not back into Joes when Olmec released their Bronze Bombers multipack in 1997. Apparently, it flew off store shelves and it's easy to see why. All of the figures in the pack make excellent additions to the ARAH Joe ranks and great custom fodder for easy head swaps.
For this project, I looked at all the figures in the pack as candidates for customs. I picked Roughshot because of the color scheme, but made a few changes. First, I added some bronze accents that were not on the original figure. These accents are included in all my current and future Bronze Bombers customs as a way of tying them all together. Second, I added a pilot helmet to define a specialty for the character. Down the road, I may look at giving him a plane or a helicopter to pilot, but I'm liking the jetpack for now. Now that I've dipped my toes in this team, I am planning to make the rest in the future.
Head, helmet: Renegades Ripcord
Torso, arms, legs, vest: RoC Strato-Viper
Shaka Johnson by Oreobuilder
After looking at the 1997 Bronze Bombers for inspiration, I discovered that the line existed as far back as 1988 (thank you YoJoe for being a constant source of inspiration). This earlier line included figures that were a bit more generic (that had less flair) than the 1997 ones, but are interesting in an Original 13 sort of way.
For Johnson, I really like the green and yellow color scheme. It sets him apart from the other figures in the line while still keeping the military roots. I used mostly 25th parts to convey the retro feel of the figure.
Head: RoC Heavy Duty
Beret: Marauder Task Force
Torso, upper arms: 25th Duke
Lower arms: 25th Airborne
Upper legs: 25th Firefly
Lower legs: 25th Snake Eyes
Mapman Jackson by Oreobuilder
Head: RoC Ripcord
Helmet: AVAC cast
Torso: 30th Falcon
Upper arms: 25th Duke
Lower arms: DG Duke
Upper legs: 25th Cobra Commander
Lower legs: 25th Major Bludd
Collect them all!
Next: from Oreobuilder: "Pitted against the galaxy's fiercest foe, you either win or the world loses" and "You'll never have to stand in line to play [...] again!"