Friday, 30 March 2018

#1001 - Zap

Zap was one of my first Joes as a kid. He was purchased with birthday money along with Grunt, the MOBAT and the APC in the Fall of 1983. Truthfully, he was never one of my favorites since he was not in the cartoon very much.

I based my custom on his toy by using the same head as Grunt. He also follows the same basic recipe as the rest of my updated OG13 customs. For the color, I matched the original’s as closely as possible.

Head, hands: Marauder MTF
Torso: Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes
Arms, legs: DG Duke
Web gear: DG Duke
Weapon, Backpack: POC Steel Brigade
Helmet: Vintage Battle Gear
Collar: POC Steel Brigade

Monday, 26 March 2018

#1000 Short-Fuze

Well, this is it, my 1000th custom. It may not look like much, but since Short-Fuze was my first Joe figure that I got as a kid, I thought it would be an appropriate choice.

My first GI Joe figure was straight-arm Short-Fuze. I still remember buying him at Zayre’s department store in May 1983. My mother and grandmother brought my sister and I on a shopping trip across the border in the US. I was 6 at the time. We had spent the day going in and out of various stores and I remember buying (More accurately, my grandmother probably bought for me) some green army men figures and vehicles. Our visit to Zayre’s was our last stop before heading home. When I walked into the toy aisle, I remember vividly a complete end-cap filled with GI Joe figures. All the original 1982 line was there: Stalker, Grunt, Flash, Zap, etc. I spent what seemed like an eternity searching through the pegs to see all the figures. Since we needed to leave, I picked Short-Fuze since he had a visor and what seemed like a cool accessory and we were off.

Over the next few days, Short-Fuze got a lot of play. He fought against Darth Vader and the evil Empire. He drove the Adventure People’s Rescue Truck and Helicopter. He became friends with Luke Skywalker (before and unfortunate accident deprived Luke of his head). Fortunately, that Fall, I received some cash for my birthday and I was determined to add some more GI Joes to my collection. Lots more Joes followed and the rest is history.

The 25th anniversary version was lackluster in my opinion. It was fine for the time, but can be improved upon now. For my custom, I used his toy look as a reference for my custom rather than giving him his glasses like the comic. I have no memories of him from the comic. For me, Short-Fuze does not wear glasses simply because that is how I knew him growing up.

Torso: Paris Pursuit Snake Eyes
Head, arms, legs, web gear: DG Duke
Weapon: Vintage Short-Fuze
Helmet, visor: Vintage Battle Gear
Backpack: POC Steel Brigade
Collar: POC Steel Brigade

The next few reveals will be the rest of my updated Original 13.

Friday, 23 March 2018

#998: Hooded Cobra Commander & #999: Lowlight

Hooded Cobra Commander was my one and only Cobra Commander that I had as a kid. I never had any of the other versions. I remember seeing the insert for the mail away products as a kid. It must have been included with one of the vehicles that I got as a gift. I collected my flag points and begged my mom to write a check to send off for Cobra Commander and the MANTA. I stared at that insert for hours while waiting for the box to arrive. The 12-14 weeks was forever in kid time (that’s a long wait for an adult as well).

For my custom, I kept things simple. I mostly used Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander. That mold is not about to be replaced as the best version of the character any time soon. It is not a perfect representation of the vintage figure as it is missing the area to attach the gun on the back and has a few other minor details that don’t match up, but it is by far the best Cobra Commander we have gotten.

Lower arms: 25th Crimson Guard
Everything else: Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander

#999 - Low Light

I never had the original Lowlight figure back in the day. Truth be told, I did not have very many 1986 figures, I was already growing out of Joes that year. Still, I remember Lowlight from the Sunbow cartoon, especially the episode where he has nightmares. Also, Lowlight had a small role in one of the only issues of the Marvel comic that I had, #55. In that issue, a small team of Joes storm a Terrordrome to rescue Snake Eyes. Lowlight expertly snipes several Cobra troopers so the Joes can use their uniforms to infiltrate the base.

The PoC/50th Lowlight figure is solid and still holds up as an example of great sculpting, accessories and articulation. That said, I am remaking my customs collection to resemble their vintage versions as much as possible. The PoC figure's shoulder and knee pads no longer worked, so I swapped out some parts and built a new figure.

Head, vest, weapon, upper legs: 50th Lowlight
Torso, arms: PoC Steel Brigade
Lower legs: Retaliation Firefly
Backpack: RoC Elite Viper

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