G.I. Joe (Marvel) #45
I am not exactly a prolific customizer, but when I saw that the next group project was comic packs I had to do it. The comic packs are my favorite Hasbro product of the last year. They are a testament to what Hasbro can do and have been giving me figures that I have wanted for a long time (Original Joes in comic gear, General Flagg, a decent Hawk head, and Kwinn, among others). I chose issue #45 mainly because I have been wanting to make a Professor Appel figure and Zartan in Ninja Infiltrator disguise for a while now. Realizing that the two of them appeared in the same issue sealed the deal.

Early in his career as a mercenary Zartan was approached by a mysterious agent and hired to assassinate a young ninja. Zartan infiltrated the ninja clan using his skills in impersonation and the misguided trust of the clan's swordsmith. The latest sound amplifiction equipment enabled the shapeshifter to "hear through walls" to locate and kill the person he believed was the target. Little did he know that his actions would change the course of many lives and haunt him for years to come.

Zartan only appears like this in 2 panels, but I have actually been planning a customs of him this way for several years. This project just gave me the motivation to do it. I had originally planned to glue Zartan's hood on a Storm Shadow head and use the face from the Zartan head as a mask, but that didn't work and I think the Storm Shadow mask is much cooler and makes more sense. The bow also turned out somewhat serendipitously. I had no idea what to do and thought about leaving it with no dish but the idea for the Psyche Out dish just came to me (and now I need another to complete my Psyche Out). I spent a lot of time on this figure. It was pretty difficult to get the head to work because of the stupid action feature, and he is still a little odd looking when you take the cape off. The accessories, though, took the most time. Dremeling out the Storm Shadow head for the mask and making the bow right took a lot of time. This is the figure I am the happiest with, though, so it was worth it.


Professor Appel was a brilliant and distinguished scientist. He was also a high ranking member of Cobra's Crimson Guard. Appel nearly killed Duke and Lady Jaye when they raided his residence and he later masterminded the creation of Cobra Island. But when Appel found that his daughter was missing and the Joes were the ones trying to find her, his loyalties to Cobra Commander were put to the test.

This was another custom that I had in mind for a long time. It took the release of the TRU 6 packs to convince me that it was okay to "customize" any CG figure. This is almost an LBC. I dremeled off Crystal Ball's mustache and sanded down the symbol on the arm, but then all I did was paint the hair on a simple head swap. I chose not to repaint the figure because I do not have the ability or patience to recreate the symbol and I hate it when Hasbro paints gloved hands to look like skin so I decided to take some artistic license. In the end I realized that I could have made a more comic accurate figure, but this was the figure that I wanted to have for myself. What I am most proud of is that Professor Appel proves that there is a good use for Duke v20 (kind of) and Crystal Ball.


Ripcord is one man who you do not want to mess with. His assignments regularly include being dropped into hostile territory by himself with no means of communication or extraction. He fights his way out. When a Dreadnok kidnapped his girlfriend, Candy, Ripcord reached the breaking point. Disobeying orders he launched a one man assault on Cobra Island in an effort to find Candy, willing to single handedly take on the entire Cobra organization.

This is the only figure that I did start to finish specifically for this project. The original Ripcord was a great figure but you had to keep his gear on. I am very happy with the way the parts worked to keep the feel of the original figure but improve on the tiny feet, ugly head, and plain shirt. This figure wound up a tad inaccurate because the base color of the paint did not turn out to be quite the color I expected. My intentions were for the figure to be olive, which he was in the comic and was the original color of all the parts. Once the paint dried, however, I realized two things. One, the color was off, and two, I liked it better. The greyish hue seems much more "paratrooper" to me, so I left it that color. His original gear with the addition of a knife worked great.


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