Head - Pathfinder (modified)
Arms - Flint
Torso - Skidmark
Waist - Hardball
Legs - Spearhead

Backpack - Recoil
M16 assault rifle with M203 grenade launcher and bayonet - Recoil (reproduction, sling added)
Norinco Type 56-2 assault rifle - Snow Serpent v8 (sling added)
M1911A1 pistol - Beach Head v5 (reproduction)
KA-BAR combat knife (serrated edge) - Duke v16 (reproduction)

When working on Joe customs, I often think about how a figure or set of figures might have fit in the ARAH toyline, assuming it had continued in all its glory through the years. So with the idea of the Snake-Eaters - a team of long-range reconnaissance Joes - I wanted to find a way to make them unique from other subteams. These guys are some of the baddest of the bad. They don't need reinforcements, they don't need resupply. They will stay until the job is done, no matter where it is or how long it takes. It's a small team made up of only six Joes in order to mirror the roles in the US Special Forces (officer, intelligence, communications, engineer, medic and weapons), so they could have been a box set. Maybe they would have been a set of limited-run deluxe figures, intended for the collectors among the fans.

But how to make deluxe ARAH Joes isn't obvious, since among 1980s action figures, GI Joe were already the deluxe versions, having the best articulation and the best accessories. Three things are used to make them special: wrist articulation added to each figure, putting as much detail as possible into the painting, and really focusing on the accessories. Each of the Snake-Eaters would come with an alternate weapon, to represent the fact that being out in the field for so long, they might have to begin relying on captured ammunition at some point, or even captured weapons. Since several early Cobras used Soviet weapons, that seemed to be the best route. The choice of their main weapons was also guided by the scale of the weapons, making sure to get them as close to 1/18 scale as possible - no oversized weapons here. And the weapons assigned to them were made with efficiency of ammunition in mind. The only ammo the team would have to carry into the field would be 5.56x45mm NATO and .45 ACP (plus some shotgun shells for one of them).

Since accessories are such an important part of the Snake-Eaters, I actually finished all of the accessories before starting work on the figures. Often accessories are something of an afterthought, but not in this case. And to make the accessories really deluxe, each rifle received a sling using aluminum wire and black hockey tape.

Recoil was an obvious choice for the Snake-Eaters, given his LRRP specialty. And since his original figure's pack had a radio, he became the communications sergeant. His M16 accessory is actually slightly undersized, so assume it has a shortened barrel and is more a carbine than assault rifle. The enemy weapon (from 2008 Snow Serpent v8) isn't quite right for an AK-47, it looks more like a Norinco Type 56-2, which is an AK clone, and the accessory is to scale. Pathfinder's head was modified by sanding down the cheeks because the original Recoil head has quite a narrow face.

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