Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Retro Toy Chest Day 10 - American Defense

''American Defense... the very name strikes terror into the hearts of the enemies of freedom! American Defense... the elite secret troop of specialized fighters in Defense of Freedom! American Defense... headed by the Super Eight Attack Squad... America's best Defense!'' - Taken from back of 1986 packaging.

American Defense was a line of 3 ¾’’ military toys sold exclusively at Kmart in the eighties. The line started with Galoob’s A-Team molds and Remco grew it from there. It was later produced by different companies and ended up in dollar stores and discount outlets. Similar to GI Joe, it included a wide variety of colorful characters. However, without a cartoon, comic or any marketing to back it up, the line rode GI Joe’s coattails for a while and then disappeared.

Tiger Claw by bucky

Oreobuilder and I have always talked behind the scenes about making customs of Remco figures, just never go around to doing many. He opened up a can of worms when he mentioned them for this project, and the first guy that came to mind was Tiger Claw. For Remco being what it was (a good knock off of Joe), Tiger Claw was one of those characters that really stuck out to me and one of the few I vividly remember from being a kid. I even remember buying him in KB around '91 (I think that was the year).

Head: random head with modified RoC Flash helmet
Torso: Zartan 50th
Arms: Dusty 50th
Legs: Snake Eyes 50th
Weapon: RoC Doctor

Top Flight by bucky

Once I made Tiger Claw, I started combing through my fodder looking for base figures for other Remco characters. One of the difficulties I faced was making them translate with Modern Era parts. I came to the conclusion some of them were going to have to be slightly re-imagined/tweaked to get them to work. Top Flight came about simply because everybody has more Blowtorch figures than they need. A little more difficult in the gear translation, I went with a piece of gear in my fodder box that I bought a couple of cons ago from Raginspoon. I'm not quite sure I got the look I wanted to get, but I don't plan on revisiting him anytime soon.

Head: VvV Helmet
Body: 50th Blowtorch
Vest: Raginspoon

Swamp Man by bucky

While researching I came across Swamp Man, which with the pictures I found looked to be an incredibly easy figure to do. Later on, I realized the picture I had was missing gear, so I cut up some gear to help with the look. The red was a pain to get to work with the flippers. A somewhat easier figure to make, and he ended up being one of my favorites.

Head: Unknown cast
Torso: Torpedo
Arms: 50th Cobra Commander
Legs: Upper: RoC Flash Lower: 50th Night Viper
Vest: Retaliation Cyber Ninja

Commando Hank by bucky

Commando Hank looked like a pretty awesome figure, and I wanted to make him. Looking at the original, he had web gear on, years before it became the norm for Joes. I strayed from the tank top look, in order to keep all the skin tone matching, so he apparently got some upgrades in the last 20 years. He was a fun figure to make, an easy trasnlation that fits right in with my Joes.

Head: 50th Dusty
Torso: 50th Dusty
Arms: 50th Dusty
Legs: RoC figure
Helmet: Retaliation Trooper
Goggles: 50th Dusty

Defender by Oreobuilder

As an unabashed fan of the Original 13 (Grunt is still my favorite Joe), little green army men and generic soldier toys, Defender struck a cord with me. In my opinion, every military toy line should have at least one "regular infantryman" type figure. For my custom, I tried to translate the major elements from the original figure into the modern era (the knee pads, the goggles, the shade of green and brown, etc)

Head: 25th Airborne
Torso, arms: Retaliation Kwinn
Upper legs: PoC Steel Brigade
Lower legs: Retaliation Firefly
Harness: Marauder
Helmet: BBI Elite

Flame by Oreobuilder

Flame was originally in a 2-pack with Defender. He feels like a knock-off of Barbecue, who has always been a favorite of mine. Initially, My custom had a hose going from the front tank to the gun. However, the hose was always in the way and limited poses that I could achieve for pics, so I scrapped it and replaced it with a Star Wars flamethrower.

Head: 25th Ripcord
Torso, arms: 25th Barbecue
Upper legs: Retaliation Airborne
Lower legs: Retaliation GI Joe Trooper
Helmet: 50th Eel
Weapon: Star Wars

Yeti by Oreobuilder

While doing research for this project and combing through dozens of pictures of American Defense toys, Yeti kept popping up. Slowly, I started thinking about how to translate him into Modern Era parts. Once I figured out the head, everything else fell into place. In fact, by using the Snow Serpent body with only a few color accents and keeping the Cobra logo on his shoulder, I imagine Yeti to be the equivalent of Skullbuster for the Range Vipers. In my Joeverse, he will become a rogue Snow Serpent/mercenary loner type. He patrols the tundra alone until Cobra Commander calls on him for special missions.

Head: Resolute Snake Eyes
Helmet: PoC Alley Viper
Hood: PoC Frostbite
Torso, arms, legs: 25th Snow Serpent
Harness and pouches: Marauder Task Force

Karate King by Oreobuilder

Karate King came about by accident. While doing research for American Defense, I noticed that with a few parts swaps and paint accents, 50th Renegades Storm Shadow could be converted to Karate King in just a few minutes, so I dove in.

Head: Star Wars Clone
Torso, arms, upper legs, strap: 50th Storm Shadow
Lower legs: Retaliation Storm Shadow

Collect Them All!

Next: Oreobuilder has customs that are "Small in Size, Big on Adventure"

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