Head - Tunnel Rat v2
Arms - Tunnel Rat
Torso, waist, legs - Crankcase

Backpack - Alpine (modified)
M16 assault rifle with starlight sight - Frostbite (stock/grip shortened, eyepiece drilled out, sling added)
AKM assault rifle - Marauder Inc. (sling added)
Axe, sledge hammer - Marauder Inc.
Entrenching tool - VAMP (Pursuit of Cobra)
Survival knife - Falcon
Flashlight - Tunnel Rat v2
Radio - unknown

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.

Frostbite's M16 is an awesome accessory due mostly to the starlight sight, which resembles an AN/PVS-4 sight. But it's about 17% too long for true 1/18 scale. However, when you compare it to a Marauder Inc. M16, the proportions are actually pretty good other than the stock, so most of the excess length is just in the stock. I trimmed that down, as well as the grip and the magazine a bit so it fits in with the Marauder accessory. Then I painted the end of the sight, and drilled out the eyepiece end.

The big thing about this figure is of course the backpack and tools. The pack has a hole drilled in one side for the radio's peg to fit in, and two hoops added to the other to hold the sledge hammer, while the axe fits naturally in the existing gap at the top of the pack, and the entrenching tool also fits nicely in the slot on the back.

To teach, improve, share, entertain and showcase the work of the customizing community.