Sunday, August 23, 2009
G.I. Joe customized as MW2's Ghost
Combining my hobbies whenever I can doubles the fun for me. As a gamer, I'm looking forward to Modern Warfare 2. I also collect and customize 1/6-scale G.I. Joes.
When I saw the mock-up of MW2 character Ghost that Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling posted, I knew I had to create a G.I. Joe version of the character. I love the subtle, spooky camo skull pattern on his balaclava, and I figured I could paint it.
Hasbro recently renewed the 12-inch G.I. Joes, leading up to the current wave of G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra toys. In the wave prior to the ROC toys, there were two Joes with balaclavas: Beachhead and Shockblast.
The new generation of 1/6 heads are an improvement, with heavy rubber molds that hold good sculpts while still being durable for rough play. But Hasbro is also cutting corners, and instead of cloth shirts, most of them now have molded clothes on the upper bodies. I hate these molded upper bodies; they look cheap, and the articulation has less range of motion.
For Ghost, I used the molded balaclava heads of Beachhead and Shockblast. But Beachhead has a molded commando sweater, and Shockblast has a molded flak vest. I transplanted the heads onto bodies from a Duke and a Dusty, both of which have only molded T-shirts and look better wearing shirts. (Transplanting heads is an ugly but necessary chore for customizing. I won't go into the gruesome details here.)
Painting only required three colors: flat black, flat tan and flat dark tan. Water-based acrylics work best on plastic G.I. Joes, I find. I repainted Beachhead's green head to black, and gave Shockblast's black balaclava a bit of flat black to take the sheen off.
Using a fine brush, I painted the subtle skull cheekbones, jaw and teeth. I used the lighter tan to highlight the cheekbones.
Next, to assemble the uniform: Hasbro recycles G.I. Joe weapons and accessories year after year, so I scavenged some other toys for their gear. The Oakley glasses were a problem, because the ones I had were clear instead of tinted. Some glossy black paint took care of that. I put Oakleys on the Beachhead version and modern combat goggles on the Shockblast version.
The black jacket comes from a $1 action figure clothing set from Dollar Tree, believe it or not. It's actually from a firefighter outfit, with a bright yellow stripe removed. I bought a whole bunch of these sets because they work well for customizing.
The end result is pretty good, I think. I like the eyes of the Beachhead sculpt better, so that's my favorite of the two.
It just goes to show you how it would be possible to make a special Call of Duty series of G.I. Joes if Hasbro and Activision and Infinity Ward cut a licensing deal. I made these guys with a few dabs of paint, off-the-shelf accessories from other G.I. Joes and a shirt that literally cost a few cents.
Adding to my COD theme, I was dabbling with a blue paint marker recently and painted a G.I. Joe's M16A4 with a blue tiger paint scheme. Now it looks like Dusty is good at head-shots!
Now I need to find a good head sculpt with a Mohawk so I can make a Soap MacTavish character ...