Monday, 27 August 2018

#1028 Crimson Guard Officer, #1029 - Crimson Guard Trooper

#1028 - Crimson Guard Officer

#1029 - Crimson Guard Trooper

The Crimson Guard is probably my favorite Cobra troop. The 1986 Viper, Snow Serpent and Iron Grenadier are up there too, but the CG is the one that I dreamed of army building as a kid. Everything about the original figure is awesome, from the dark red uniform, the cool helmet, the ceremonial gold details and the rifle.

I have been hoping that Hasbro would release an ultimate vintage-accurate Crimson Guard, but that has not happened. The 25th was a decent start. However, the skinny legs, simian helmet and washed-out red hue weakened it. In the Retaliation Ultimate wave, we got a different version. The helmet and the red were improved. However, the lower legs and knees were changed for weaker ones.

I decided to combine both figures to attempt to improve them. My goal was make a figure that was heavily inspired by the vintage figure. Because I’m a bit crazy when it comes to army-building, I had enough parts to make 21 figures. I set them up in 4 rows of 5, that left one to transform into an officer. I simply added some silver paint to the face mask and some gold to the shoulder strap and voilĂ , Crimson Guard Officer.

Head, torso, arms, upper legs, backpack: Retaliation Crimson Guard
Lower Legs, belt, rifle: 25th Crimson Guard

Friday, 17 August 2018

#1024 Spirit, #1025 Doc, #1026 Cobra Commander and #1027 Stinger Driver

Playing catchup. Real life has kept me really busy lately, but I thought my blog was due for an update, so here are my four latest. Enjoy!

#1024 Spirit

Spirit made his way into my collection in 1984 for my birthday if I recall correctly. That same birthday, I also got the Silver Mirage Motorcycle and the Cobra Stinger. I recall that I played a lot with Freedom, but that Spirit got less attention. His skirt was bulky and I was not sure how to use him in my stories.

Although several modern era Spirit figures have been released over the last 10 years, none are truly ultimate in my opinion. For my version, I tried to stick close to the original figure for inspiration.

Head: BBTS Spirit with 25th Spirit pigtails
Torso, arms: Retaliation Kwinn
Legs,bracelet, sash and belt, backpack, gun and Freedom: 25th Spirit

#1025 Doc

A friend of mine gave me a couple of his Joes when he got tired of them when we were kids. That is how I ended up with Doc and Major Bludd. These were not figures that I would have bought with my allowance or put on a birthday wish list. Unfortunately, he did not take very good care of his toys. So, I had most of a Doc as a kid. The figure was intact, but worn and he gave me a chewed-up stretcher and a broken flare launcher. Doc did not get much use in my GI Joe play. His joints were so loose that he could not stand up, so he usually ended up being the first casualty in firefights. That way he could just lay there on the battlefield while the action happened all around him.

For my custom, I wanted to recreate the original toy as closely as possible. I went back and forth for the torso. At first, I thought about using the Kwinn torso, but looking at the original figure, Doc had more pockets and his collar was different so I modified a 50th Hit & Run torso. I think it looks more like the original now.

Head: Will Smith Men in Black
Torso, arms: 50th Hit & Run (modified)
Left thigh: 50th Cobra Officer
Right thigh and lower legs: DG Shipwreck
Helmet, flare launcher, stretcher: Vintage Doc

#1026 Cobra Commander (Cobra - The Early Years)

This figure was created for the 48-hour LBC (Lazy boy custom) contest during Custom Celebration XI (2018). I had been planning to make a business suit Cobra Commander for a while, but never got around to it. The contest gave me an opportunity to find the extra SDCC Destro I had stored away for this purpose.

The custom itself did not require painting. The only modification that was necessary was to modify the neck connection. To make the head fit, I filled the bottom of the hood with hot glue and placed it on the neck ball. While the glue was cooling I turned the head left and right gently to make sure it did not stay stuck. This created a fake neck socket that allows the head to be poseable, but also stay securely on the body.

Head: Retaliation Ultimate Cobra Commander
Everything else: SDCC Destro

#1027 Stinger Driver

I remember buying the Cobra Stinger with my birthday money in 1984. It was my first exposure to the VAMP mold. I have a pretty vivid memory of taking it out of the box and assembling it sitting on the living room floor. The Stinger Driver ended up in my collection that day. Sadly, like the Cobra Officer before him, he was relegated to secondary duty. He quickly became a floppy mess. I don’t know if he had a loose o-ring or he suffered from mold degradation, but I as much I loved the Stinger, I remember that the Driver got put in the HQ’s stockade and stayed there.

That said, with age and perspective, I have come to appreciate this figure. For my custom, I used a similar recipe as the SDCC Officer and changed the colors.

Head, torso, helmet: PoC Cobra Trooper
Upper arms: DG Cobra Commander
Legs: 25th Major Bludd
Harness: 25th Cobra Officer