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!