GI Joe

GI Joe Customizations and Kit Bashes

Blue Man Group

For years I've wanted to create a Blue Man custom. For most of that time, I was missing only a good black sweater that would work. It had to look like the Blue Man black top. Finally, with the release of the Tactical Advisor with black sweater, the last remaining piece of the puzzle was in place.

I used a CC Recruit-head GI Joe (no hairline, sort of stunned look - perfect!) and used a pair of "Foreign Soldier" hands. I used the Tactical Advisor sweater, and a pair of black pants with similar fabric. The shoes are currently Captain Action Green Hornet/Kato shoes, but I may change those to less shiny shoes. I painted the head with craft paint, which will peel off easily if harrassed. But these figures are for display, not play, so this paint will do.

Ideally, I want three of these, but each sweater will cost the price of a Tactical Advisor, so it may take a while.

Doc Savage

This is a custom I've had in the works for some time now. The only thing left to do is flock the hair in a Doc-Savage-like widow's peak. The jodhpur pants, boots and holster are from the Hasbro Japanese Foreign Soldier. The shirt is a Ken shirt torn up. The belt is a Han Solo belt I think. When you think of it, Hasbro could pound out a Doc Savage figure with very little effort. They have all the pieces... they just need the license.

My New Modern AT

Here, the Tech Adventurer poses with the new Sea Adventurer, next to a bust of medieval armor. The Tech Adventurer deals in high-tech knowledge. The new Sea Adventurer enhances his traditional outfit of jeans and jean-shirt with a rugged outer jacket. While both are seen posing with guns left over from the Joe/Cobra war of the 1980s, they are also equipped with shoulder holsters. The Tech Adventurer has gone for the vintage style revolver, the new Sea Adventurer prefers the Walther P38.

My New AT Members

Tech Adventurer, and New Sea Adventurer

Tech Adventurer is the newest of the Adventure Team. He works the internet, the communications channels, and satellite web. No, he has no glasses. Modern Tech Adventurers use contact lenses.

The figure is the new Black Spider Rendezvous Kung Fu Grip Man of Action with a Sarah Foster Original sweater in Velma orange.

The New Sea Adventurer is wearing a new take on the original Sea Adventurer outfit. Jeans, and a jean shirt, and a brown LL Bean-like jacket. He carries a Walther P38.

His hair has been bleached towards red-brown.

Both are carrying Cobra-issue automatic rifles.


My Repro Adventure Team

This is my new Adventure Team. I put these together from various sources. Mostly the dog tags are from new modern AT sets. Boots are repro from various sets. Some of the holsters came from Spy Island sets, some from the GI Joe club "Fix Me Up" kits. From the left:

My Adventure Team Commander's New Ride

This is Formative International (Soldiers of the World) new "Follow Me" Jeep. It's bright Adventure Team yellow, and quite nice! It comes with a roll-bar-like frame with canvas cover also in yellow. In this picture it is retracted. I added the fire extinguisher, and I'll probably add more to it later.

The Commander is wearing a jacket from Construction Jack Carpenter figure. It is the nicest, most useful jacket I've seen since Ike's trenchcoat. Many uses, casual, and beautifully constructed.


This figure is a skeleton model from the book/model "The Bones Book/Book and Skeleton", ISBN: 0894808605. It is an excellent set that comes with a hinged skeleton model complete with display stand and domed tube cover. Quite nice.

On October 30, 2002, my office had a part and I brought in all of my monsters and aliens for display for the kids who would show up. So while I was setting this skeleton up, I was rummaging through a parts box and found both the Star Wars Emperor's robe as well as the scythe from a WWF 12" figure. The kitbash came together rather quickly, and with no planning at all. Pure serendipity.

The stand is the McFarlane King Kong stand. I taped a stick on the crossbar so the skeleton's back-clip could be used to stand him. Normally the back-clip is used to keep the rib-cage together, and keep him on his own display stand.

Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver

Click the pic to find a step-by-step guide to constructing your own Sonic Screwdriver.

Doctor Who Scarf

In "Doctor Who: Redemption", the Doctor puts on a scarf. This was intended as an homage to, not a replication of, the famed scarf worn by Tom Baker during his run as the Doctor.

Well, I wasn't exactly satisfied with that scarf. So I kept looking for good material to make a better scarf. I even had my mother working on the project. After all, she's no slouch with the knitting needles!

But then I found a cool striped placemat at Pier One Imports. I showed it to a co-worker of mine, and asked her how much trouble it would be to make a scarf out of it. She grabbed the fabric and said "You'll have it tomorrow." Well, it was nearing the weekend, so on Monday, she handed me this:

(Click to see a large photo of this great scarf!)

She even did some research and found that there was frill at the ends of the scarves, and one was 23 feet long, so she sewed two lengths together to give me this really long one. I still have a half-dozen others, but about half the length. Thanks, Jeanette!!!


The Shadow - Packaged

The Shadow, Packaged.

I put my Shadow custom in a package and gave it to a friend. Click the above images for larger versions. Or click the title to take you to my Shadow page.

TARDIS Project

Here is the TARDIS Construction Project. I'm planning to create a photo story based on a Doctor Who episode, and he needs his TARDIS.

Click the picture to see my progress on the project.

See the Console as it comes together.

See the Daleks being created.

Snake Eyes

The Power Team Navy Seal Tag Team set inspired me to do this Snake Eyes custom.

Here, SnakeEyes is just about complete. He is built on a Double Duty Super-Articulated GI Joe body with painted hands. He is wearing a Power Team lycra body suit with hood, though the hood has been tucked under his bullet-proof vest. His vest and knee and elbow pads are from the new GI Joe SWAT set. The boots are from the 21st Century Mountain Rescue set. The katana is from a Max Steel cheap figure. Nice sword!

The vest is festooned with the pouches and hand-binding strips from the GI Joe SWAT set. The balaclava is Firefly's, and covers all of SnakeEye's head except for his face. But then his face is covered by a GI Joe face-mask and goggle combination that is similar to the Action Man Parachuter's face gear. This one came in a carded set, though I forget which one. The gun is not the typical Uzi he's known for, but that's just because I couldn't find it for the shoot.

Crap! I rolled Snake Eyes!

AT HQ Boardroom

Click the picture to see the final result!

No, this isn't the real Adventure Team Headquarters, just a quick version I put together on my tabletop. The real one should be larger, have a different floor, and have more in it. This was just a test shot for a shoot I'm preparing this coming week, which will finish a photo story I shot most of back in June. Then I was going to shoot the office stuff on September 11, but after seeing the news that day, I was in no mood for frivolous activities. And I've been so busy since that I am only now getting my act together to finish that story.

Anyway, this is just a test shot, with flash. I think the table is too crowded, or too small. I was hoping it would work out a little better.

The table sits atop two cylinders painted matte black. Atop the cylinders is a large AT logo each. Then a sheet of 1/4" glass sits atop that.

The croissants and coffee set are from my daughter's Barbie stuff. The smaller chairs and the computers are from a Barbie computer room set. The MSV chairs are here, you can only see one. It has the white doll-stand base, but will be black when done. The file cabinet is available in stores. In the back is a black column with a bust of some Greek or Roman goddess. Real metal. The gramaphone (a nice piece) is actually a chintzy old Christmas Tree ornament I bought in the late 80s. (I also have a Singer sewing machine... but not really any place to use it.)

Samurai Warrior Custom

This is the Japanese Soldier GI Joe wearing the Captain Li Shang outfit, with Captain Action shoes. He's also wearing the new Max Steel Samurai Warrior breastplate. He's wielding the new Max Steel katana from the same set. I just thought the breastplate and sword looked nice enough to do a quick custom.

Quick Handcuff Conversion

The only hand-cuffs I could find for GI Joe were the ones that came with last year's SWAT Battle Gear set. It's a rehashed Hall of Fame piece, and is used for Action Man, too, I think. Recently, the GI Joe Police Officer came out, with cuffs that were smaller, and were connected with actual metal chain, which is much nicer.

So I looked at my stiff, ugly handcuffs, with the straight, inflexible, ugly plastic chain, and had a quick thought. I was about to toss out this keychain, when it struck me... I took an X-Acto knife to the cuffs, cut the plastic chain at the first nub, then smoothed it out. Then I drilled small holes into the nubs, and with pliers, opened the O rings on either end of the chain, and then clamped them back together.

Done. Real hand-cuffs. Still a bit oversized, but soooooo much nicer than the old HOF cuffs.

Custom Base for MSV Chairs

Recently, Frank May posted a great tip on the Sandbox ( regarding chair bases for the GI Joe MSV chairs. Here's pictorial instructions for how to achieve the same effect. Please have a look.

Click picture to see how it's done.

AT Jet Backpack

The tech boys at Adventure Team R&D have been busy! Hot on the heels of their unveiling of the AT Ginger, they now reveal their new AT Jet Backpack, reminiscent of the glory days of the Action Packs such as the Turbo Copter, Rocket Pack, and Flying Rescue. See how Joe Techs adapted a Buzz Lightyear Space Hopper into a new, efficient, and versatile Adventure Team flying transport.

The entire project took less than an hour to complete to this point, but there is more I would like to do. See the step-by-step instructions:

Click pic to see the conversion process.

The AT Ginger

Recently, GI Joe technicians and inventors unveiled the newest personal transport for the Adventure Team motor pool.

Unveil AT Ginger

Please click the picture to unveil the AT Ginger.

Revisiting The Mummy's Tomb

I believe the finest of the original Adventure Team sets was the Mummy's Tomb set. Here's a picture of my updated version, using pieces from various toys I've collected over the past year. The showpiece is a customized Kettenkrad, a tracked German WWII vehicle.

I have created a page to honor this wonderfully imaginative set. Click the picture to go there.

The Shadow

I have always been a fan of "The Shadow", the pulp hero from the early part of the last century. I recently bought a CD Comics Millennium Edition reprint of The Shadow, No. 1 from 1973, and realized I could do a great Joe custom.

The Shadow

I've made a whole page about this custom. Click the picture to go there.

Violinist Max

Max Plays the Violin!

The most recent Barbie Accessory pack includes some great stuff, including a small flute, a water bottle, an art clip-board, paint brushes, a sun visor, a trumpet, and other cool stuff. But the showpiece is this violin.

Max is wearing some kind of mission pants, with pocket flaps, but they're hard to see. He's wearing the shirt and vest combo, as well as the waiter's jacket from Son of Dracula. The violin is very nice! Although the bow string was a loop of clear nylon fishing line. I removed it and replaced it with band-type dental floss, which is much more like violin bow string.

Steamer Trunk

A great accessory package is the Soldiers of the World footlocker set, known to me as the steamer trunk set. It comes with one steamer trunk/footlocker, with internal tray, a pair of boots, and a pair of pants and shirt in military green. The trunk itself is green.

So I painted it to match a steamer trunk I own, and I designed and printed my own wallpaper on sticky-paper to cover the interior, to make it resemble a trunk my grandfather kept some of his treasures in. I didn't cover the bottom part of the trunk, because then the tray wouldn't fit, but this works very well.

Here, the Commander is opening and looking into his trunk.

Steamer Trunk Closed Steamer Trunk Open Steamer Trunk With Tray

This trunk, which is molded in military green plastic, has great detail. I simply painted the trim Testors Gold, which is perfect, and if it goes on a little sloppy, it just makes it look used. Then the blue is Testors Blue. That color tends to be uneven if not stirred very ver well, so some parts of this trunk are darker than others, but chalk that one up to experience.

Fisher-Knit Sweater

Here's my AT Commander wearing a custom-knit sweater. My mother knitted some clothing for my daughter's Barbie, and I liked one of the sweaters. So I asked her to knit another one in ivory. One a pull-over, and one a cardigan. Within a week, a package arrived at my door, containing two sweaters and one touque.

Fisher-Knit Sweater

Here's the pull-over. It works surprisingly well. A little bulky, but it works. Right now, the left-side of his neck is open, for me to sew, depending on the neck-size I need. Later, when I add buttons to the cardigan, I'll post pics of that one too.

Kubelwagen Conversion

When Toys R Us put their 21st Century Kubelwagens down to $30.00, but didn't go through the trouble of actually telling anyone or anything, I lucked out. Someone had called my attention to it. At $60.00, I thought the Kubelwagen was too rich for my blood, but at $30, it was a must-have.

Stock Gray Kubelwagen

Of course, I'm a fan of the GI Joe Adventure Team, and right away, my plan for this vehicle was to paint it yellow, with red highlights.

So I went to work in Photoshop and mocked up what a yellow Kubelwagen would look like.

I thought that the gray paint would act as a primer, so I neglected to prime the body first. I disassembled the car down to its component parts, and went to work. This was made easy by the intelligently-engineered toy's appropriate use of screws and panels. Only a few pieces were glued in-place, and except for one, they all came apart admirably.

The results, while good looking from a distance, were disappointing to me because of several factors:

However, I was pleased with several things:

But you can judge for yourself.

Kubel on my desk
Shot of the Kubel, loaded with the modern AT Joes, on my desk at work. The AT Logo on the spare hub was hand-painted.

AT Kubelwagen in the Motor Pool
Shot of the Kubel, outside my office, lined up with other AT Vehicles for a photo shoot.

If I were to do another one, I would prime first, and make sure I sprayed indoors, but in a garage or something. That's a drawback to not knowing many people with garages, and living in an apartment. But I may have a place I can do this not too far away, so you never know. I may do it again.


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