Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


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!



Please feel free to leave a comment!

Re-using set pieces

The styrofoam packing that I used in these pictures turned out to be very versatile. I repositioned it and grabbed an odd assortment of toys to see how it worked out.

Here's a picture of one of my big Joes, Crosshair, getting ready to reach out and "touch" someone.

Here's a Quake action figure breaking through, ready to kick some ass!

A SHADO mobile driving through wreckage.

An MS-18 Kampfer mobile suit ready to bust some heads. This is my all-time favorite mobile suit. Awesomeness!

Not something you want to see as you turn around! This is the best Alien figure that Kenner put out during it's Alien/Predator figure run. Simple, yet effective.

The evil Duke clone, Hauser, congratulates his troops on a job well done.

I like being able to reuse these styro set pieces. I need to find some more and leave some undamaged and have more for damaged walls. Fun stuff! If you spray paint it, depending on the paint, it may dissolve some of the styro. I used cheap flat black spray paint - 98 cents per can - I'm talking cheap!

I'm going to be posting some more pictures of "stuff" using my styro set pieces on in the next few days. You can see all my submissions here.