Head: J&R Grunt head, casted with ball joint
Torso/Waist: 2000 Duke
Arms: Big Bear
Thighs: 2000 Law
Feet: 82 Grunt

Grunt was my first GI Joe. I got him in 1982 at the age of five, on the way home from saying goodbye to my father who was leaving for basic training. We stopped at TG&Y and I saw a wall full of military themed action figures I had never heard of. Like every other child of the early 80s, I was heavily into Star Wars and had a large collection. My mom told me a little bit about the old GI Joe toys, and I had to have one to join the adventures with Han and Spock (I had a Spock figure from Star Trek TMP, and these two were the heroes of my collection.) I chose Grunt because his card art just leapt off of the package, making him seem like the hero of the team. At first, I actually thought he WAS GI Joe, and integrated him into the collection as such.

I wasn't disappointed. The figure immediately distinguished itself out of the package due to its superior articulation, and led me to wanting more figures to join the adventures. When I started getting the comics, and especially when the toon came out, my collecting focus completely shifted, abandoning Star Wars altogether and focusing solely on GI Joe.

This custom was my second take on Grunt. My first version used the 91 "shouting" head with the flat top, primarily because I wanted Grunt with beefier, post 85 parts with a ball jointed head. While I used these same legs and arms, I used 2000 Dusty's torso and waist, and painted the entire figure OD Green with brown webgear to match the original figure, since my original Grunt was long broken, lost, replaced, and broken again. I found myself nostalgically missing the original Grunt. Especially his head. I liked that he had a receding hairline and had very non-symmetrical features. The 91 head just wasn't a good update. At first, I retrofitted an original head with a ball joint, and decided to go for an updated look with the figure, beginning my project of recreating the O13 figures that shared Grunt's chest with 2000 Duke torsos for a modernized look. Later, when J&R customs was open, they offered cast heads of swivel neck heads from 82-84 that had been updated with ball joints. I pounced on several of them, including Grunt, which became, along with a woodland camo paintjob, the finishing touch on this figure.

This guy is central to my customs. He stands proudly among my O13 customs, and frequently joins the rest of the Joe team on missions on other shelves. He still represents to me the essence of GI Joe... the everyman soldier, not a pumped up adonis superhuman action hero, just a guy who answered the call when his homeland was threatened by Cobra.

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