I got the idea for this figure from two sources. (1) I saw a clip of Headline News early during the invasion of Afghanistan and who local Afghani fighters were teaching US soldiers how to fire weapons while right horses in the mountains. (2) I watched part of "Lawrence of Arabia" around the same time.
No mods were made to the figure. Just a recombination of existing parts. I didn't want to put a strap on such a large gun, so I took the backpack peg from a backpack, and cut off a little over half of it. I then glues it to the side of the gun. Why more Joe guns were released this way, I'll never know. I think that it works great and the peg doesn't stick out and look "weird" on the gun.