Monday, December 29, 2008

Joelanta 2009 - May 17th, 2009

Five months until Joelanta 2009!
Here are a few pictures of some of the great custom work featured at Joelanta 2008.

Incredible work!

The local collector's club always sets up a huge diorama. The 2008 dio was very cool!

I can't wait to see what's being cooked up for this year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Monster Blaster APC

Despite the lime green parts, the Monster Blaster APC is really a cool vehicle - really!

I've been going through my few remaining "classic" Joe vehicles and fixing or cleaning them up. I've always liked the style of the APC, but really didn't like the lime green parts.

I had some dark metallic spray paint left over from a home project and tried it on the forward gun and liked the result. So I pulled off all the lime green parts, except for the rear gun mounts - couldn't get them off. Repainted them all and I think the APC has a new lease on life!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Doc has been Rescued!

While the other Joes celebrate Doc's freedom, Doc wonders about his new action feature - Easily Removable Arms!

The arms do look much better than the dreaded Duke arms, they do tend to pop off quite easily.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Open or Not to Open...

Doc finally rescued!

I ordered this guy on July 2nd, the check finally cleared on November 12 and he finally arrived today! I was sure that the check was lost in the mail, gone forever. So now I've got the 2nd version of the mail-away Doc, the one with the non-Duke arms. Is this one more valuable? Do I open or save?

Some of the Joes debate on whether Doc should be rescued from his plastic prison. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Troops of Doom - 100th Episode!

"100 episodes of
Troops of Doom!
The men cheered,
the women fainted,
the children waved
multi-colored flags!"

Troops of Doom is one of my absolute favorite websites!
It's funny, innovative, clever, well-photographed, and just plain awesome.
You've never seen toys behave like this before!

Go there... now... right now! Go!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Treasure Hunter!

Joe discovers some interesting treasures...
On a recent trip abroad, Joe has come back with an interesting find, the mysterious White Tiger Sword, long thought of as lost forever in the sands of time.

Well, not really. It's actually the White Tiger sword from the White Power Ranger from many. many years ago. Like most boys growing up in the 90's, my son loved Power Rangers. He had some of the cool stuff, the White Tiger Zord and all the other Zords from that time period - don't remember the year. This is about the only thing left - everything else was probably sold way too cheaply at yard sales - dang!

While the Power Rangers were around 8" and far from 1/6th scale, this sword works great as a relic discovered by G.I. Joe. I did some dry-brushing with tan paint to give it a little aged feel.
Not of an archaeological nature, this was a recent find at Joelanta 2008. I found a 12" Duke figure wearing this jacket. He didn't have any hands, just wearing the GI Joe Club exclusive jacket from the 2004 Convention. Only $5.00 for Duke and the jacket - not bad!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

G.I. Joe Body Styles - 1992-1993


Well, not exactly - I guess they are wearing flesh colored briefs!

The rebirth of the 12" GI Joe owes its existence to one specially created figure - the exclusive Target Duke in 1992. It's probable that there could have been another triggering factor, but why conjecture with "What ifs?"

These first two body styles are representations of the evolution of the GI Joe body style of the early 1990's. The one on the left is the Hall of Fame Snake Eyes (or at least the type of body used for SE), one of the follow up figures to the Target Duke. It's only slightly improved from Duke; the chest is more muscular and the hands can now actually hold something. (They used a New Kids on the Block body for Duke - poor guy!)

The one on the left is the body style used for the 30th Anniversary Collection; a wonderful attempt by Hasbro - for its time period - to bring back memories of the original G.I. Joe. They were packaged with repro gear and boxes similar to the originals. An improvement over the HOF body, but not by much. There was now a mid-bicep swivel, wrist swivels and a waist joint - getting better, Hasbro!

This next step in evolution was actually frustrating to me - these body styles were introduced in the Action Man and 12" Starting Line-Up line. These were a huge improvement - but they were not used for G.I. Joe! The bodies were made entirely of hard plastic - no more rubber arms and legs. There was improved shoulder, bicep and elbow articulation and the legs now had knee and foot joints. Not great by the modern Hasbro super-articulated body, but still pretty dang good!

So, as a Joe collector, I was frustrated! I wanted the 30th Joe head on that new body! Fortunately, the 12" SLU figures - specifically Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth - bombed at retail. Post Christmas that year, they went to clearance and I had bodies for my Joes. I had discovered that the heads could easily be swapped by the boil & pop method. Worked then - still works today! The 30th body and the SLU body had the same neck posts, so I created a small army of better articulated G.I. Joes.

The guy on the right had another boil & pop addition - his hands! Through trial and error, I discovered that the hands could be switched as well with boil & pop. The 30th/SLU guys had some big hands! These hands came from the Star Wars Luke Skywalker & Han Solo Hoth figures - both came with crappy HOF style bodies, but the uniforms were excellent!

The final picture is my 30th style G.I. Joe outfitted in Hoth gear.

I think Hasbro never took the route of the SLU body for G.I. Joe because they were developing the body that would become known as the Classic Collection body, eventually evolving into my all-time favorite G.I. Joe body style - the super-articulated body!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unwelcome relative

Do you have that family member that just doesn't seem to fit in? Same thing with G.I. Joe.

Here, an assortment of G.I. Joes from years past gather together to see how the WHALE project is going along. Unfortunately, the unloved cousin shows up, much to everyone's horror and dismay.

"Go home, you 'five-points-of-articulation' freak!"

Poor Lt. Stone - the Rodney Dangerfield of G.I. Joe - "no respect, no respect at all."

The Boil & Pop Method!

What do you do when you want to switch an interesting head sculpt to a Hasbro body?

Boil Them!

That's right, boil them rascals! Well, not exactly. Don't dunk the bodies in active boiling water - don't want their legs or clothing catching fire! Just get a small pot of water up to a good rolling boil, turn off the heat, dunk the guys headfirst into the hot water and walk away for a few minutes.

Once you come back, the heads will be very soft and pliable. Handle with care! They're hot! Duh! I use a kitchen towel to handle and carefully pull the heads off. Then it's just a matter of pushing and twisting to get the right head on the right body. You may need to bring the water up to a boil again if the heads start cooling off before you can get it remounted.

Be careful, though! I'm not to blame if you scald yourself with the hot water!

The above picture shows an extra Wild Bill figure and a 21st Century Toys figure prepping for a head change. I wanted to use the 21st head on the Hasbro body for this guy below.

The Killer WHALE pilot, Cutter, now joins the ranks of my 12" versions of the little Joes!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The WHALE Restoration Project

Part Two!

The project has been slowly moving along. Just squeezing in a few minutes here and there. I made one attempt to patch the vertical fins from the rotors with thin pieces of plastic, but the Gorilla Glue didn't bond to either of the plastics!

Here's a shot of the interior of the cockpit. This thing was full of dust and dirt. I wound up just taking the whole thing to the kitchen sink and just washing it all out. Works for me!

Shipwreck stands in the cleaned out crew compartment, ready to get the WHALE back on the high seas!

Almost there! I've been repainting a few bits and pieces that I "customized" with a black Sharpie marker many years ago. Sharpie markers were a great customizing tool way back then! I've painted the ends of the cannons and the machine guns, and the fan blades. I've also just used a healthy spot of Super Glue on the broken vertical fins. I glued one side, let it dry and cure for a couple days, then on to the other side. Looks like it will hold. It won't be able to hold up to much rough handling, but this is a display piece now.

Getting close to being finished - stay tuned!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Killer Whale Restoration Project

What a mess!

I finally pulled my Killer Whale out of storage and this is what it looked like. Yeuch!! It's in a sad state of disrepair. Coated in dust and dirt, machine gun mounts and one of the cannons removed and the fans in an unknown state.

After opening the crew compartment, I was fortunate enough to find most of the missing pieces of the Whale. Missile racks, starboard side cannon, machine gun mounts, depth charges, and all the pieces of the fan assemblies. Plus some bonuses - one Annihilator and two Mega-Vipers with dry-rotted o-rings and three figure stands. The Mega-Vipers are great molds with hideous paint jobs!

The fan assemblies are in real rough shape. Three of the vertical rudders have broken apart and two are missing the bottom pegs that support the bottom cross-bars. I think I've got a plan to salvage the vertical fans.

At this point, I reassembled the bulk of the Whale (not the fan assemblies yet) and took a soft bristled paint brush and dusted the poor Whale off. It cleaned up pretty good! I've got my GI Joe troopers from the Toys R Us exclusive Firefly vs Troopers set manning the Whale for now. Decent set - more on that in a later post.

The 25th troops look to work well with the Whale. I think I can safely say that the Killer Whale is my #1 favorite GI Joe vehicle. It's just simple and awesome. I'd love to see Hasbro re-release it. I won't hold my breath, though!

So here is my plan for repairing the vertical fins - I've used painter's tape to line them up and hold them together. I need to get some sheet plastic and cut some small strips to go across the connection points, glue them down and paint them.

Stay tuned for more updates! Hope to get the fans restored and clean up the body much more extensively.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An American Creed

I Do Not Choose to Be a Common Man

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security.

I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole.

I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, “This I have done.”

By Dean Alfange

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Power Team Elite: Airborne Infantryman Review

Power Team Elite figures are cool! Well, mostly...

In general, I think that the PTE figures are great affordable GI Joe-type figures in an otherwise 1/6th scale barren world. There are other manufacturers out there making 1/6th scale figures, but they are way out of range for the average consumer. With the economic situation as it is, I don't think many people will be investing in $100.00+ figures. I don't care how much I like the GI Joe Real American Heroes characters or how cool Sideshow's Snake Eyes and Cobra Commander look, I can't justify laying out that kind of cash for those guys and any subsequent GI Joe characters that Sideshow makes!

Plus, it's a damn shame that Hasbro is out of the 12" GI Joe business. Oh wait, there's the new 12" $15.96 molded-shirt excuses for GI Joes. No thanks. I'll stick with my collection of Habsro super-articulated bodied customs. Hey Hasbro! Bring back the SA body for GI JOE!!

Big Lots, Dollar General and Toy Liquidators are the only stores in the area that carry PTE figures and usually only during Christmas - no not X-Mas - CHRISTMAS!!! They are the only reason I visit these stores, especially Big Lots and Dollar General. Last year, the PTE guys were at $9.00; they've gone up to $10.00 this year.

Last year, I noticed the Airborne Infantryman figure at Big Lots. Accessories are somewhat blah, but the uniform really struck me. It's a MARPAT camo pattern! Very cool - a modern camo pattern at an affordable price. The accessories are standard PTE, designed for play and not extreme detailing. I bought 3 of these guys last year, primarily for the uniforms.

The rifle is nicely detailed. The clip in the gun is non-removable and that's just fine with me. The level of detailing is pretty decent and the gun is very sturdy, being made of tough plastic. The goggles are excellent - soft clear plastic with a painted frame. The ammo packs and the grenades are nicely detailed and the grenades fit snugly into the pouches on the sides of the ammo packs. The camel-pack is well detailed and fits good on the troop. The monocular that fits on the helmet is okay, kind of flops around too much. The extra stuff that snaps on the rifle - the grenade launcher and the site are less than desirable. I think I just tossed them. The boots are standard PTE, nothing special.

Here he is fully loaded and just wearing his uniform. My biggest problems with the PTE figures revolve around three issues. The first is the size - these guys are just too tall for my collection, they tower over any GI Joe. Yeah, I know, we are all different heights, but I like the uniform height of my troops. The second is the articulation. Granted these guys have better articulation than even the Hasbro super-articulated body, but the elbows and knees just move to really weird poses. The third is the head sculpts. Some are just plain strange and goofy - again, some of us are just plain strange and goofy, but I'm more partial to the Hasbro head sculpts. I did use four of the PTE head sculpts in my collection, this one featured here in this post, this guy, this guy, and this guy. I haven't quite decided how I'm using the troop in this review.

The best part of these guys is the MARPAT uniform. I was excited to get these uniforms on my troops. Here's one of my GI Joe's outfitted in the PTE MARPAT and assorted Hasbro gear. I created the look of this guy, but couldn't figure out who he might become or what kind of specialty he might have. I turned that decision over to the crew at and the result turned out to be High-Tower.

(So that's where that other set of leg armor is... sorry, just random thoughts...)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Joelanta 2009 - May 17th, 2009

I'll be there, will you?

A Recent Basement Find...

For all the years that I have known my brother-in-law, he has always talked about the G.I. Joe's that he had as a kid. I never saw anything until about a year ago. I was finally able to see evidence! There, buried in a battered footlocker, was a talking astronaut! No boots, only wearing his silver suit.

He was a bit dirty but he cleaned up nicely. No noticeable hair rubs either!

One crack along the back of the left arm and very minor stress cracks around the knees, otherwise still in great condition! Still talks clearly as well!

While this guy does not belong to me, I'm sort of "hanging on to him." Why not, the poor guy has been in a box for 30+ years! He needs to get some air and visit some new friends.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

HOW TO: Customizing a PTE head to fit a Hasbro body

Here we have your basic G.I. Joe, right? Nope, it's actually a Power Team Elite head remounted on a Hasbro Super-Articulated body. I saw this head sculpt on a PTE troop and wished there was some way to make it work for a Hasbro body.

A basic side-by-side comparison of a G.I Joe and a PTE figure. The PTE Guys are much taller and, for the most part, have some odd head sculpts.

Basic differences between the Hasbro and PTE neck mount.

A side view of the two styles of heads - totally incompatible! Or so I thought!

Under the neck post of a Hasbro body is a post very similar to the PTE neck post. I discovered this quite by accident when the neck post of one of my Hasbro SA bodies basically crumbled. It just broke apart! My thoughts? "Great, a useless piece of plastic." I actually tried mounting the PTE head directly into the Hasbro neck, but the PTE neck length is HUGE and the head just sort of flops around. Inside the broken neck post was the key to the switch -a thick rubber washer.

The washer/o-ring/gasket/whatever on the left is from an SA neck post, the thinner is from a standard Hasbro body.

Still fits nicely on the Hasbro neck post. Hmmmmmm.....

How do I get this... work with the Hasbro washer and neck post. The diameter of the washer is just a little less than the diameter of the neck of the PTE head. So let's try this...

The boxcutter! Nice and sharp! Please handle with care! I'm not responsible for your sliced bloody fingers!

Here's an overhead shot of the PTE neck; I had to get below the molded connection area.

A quick careful slice and I'm through the neck! The blade has to be sharp to get a clean cut. It's advisable to cut low and then potentially trim a little off. You can't add length after the cut!

Here's an overhead shot of the neck and the washer. The next step is to simply work the washer down into the neck. Just carefully pushing and squeezing will get it into the neck.

Keep working it into the neck until it is flush with the end of the cut.

Now it's even, time to mount it to the Hasbro neck post!

Still a little too tall, the neck cut is showing. Simply pull off the head and push the washer farther down into the neck. This is where it will depend on the length of the neck and how you see the head mounted on the neck post.

The neck looks pretty good at this point. There's a great range of motion with this conversion except if you make your troop look skyward!

Not good, not good at all! I'm an "outfit and pose" sort of collector. None of my troops are going to be subject to rough play, so once he's in uniform, he's looking pretty good!

An excellent PTE head sculpt on the excellent Hasbro Super-Articulated body! It should work for nearly any PTE head, with the biggest problem being the actual size of the head. Some of the PTE heads are way too big for the Hasbro body. Don't do it... just don't!

Here's another of my Hasbro/PTE head swaps.

I've updated my blog with another quick post about two more PTE figures that went under the knife. Stop by for a look!



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