derwiduhudar:Monument to last Japanese wolf.Wolves in Japan...


Monument to last Japanese wolf.
Wolves in Japan...

Monument to last Japanese wolf.
Wolves in Japan became extinct during the Meiji restoration period, an extermination known as ōkami no kujo. The wolf was deemed a threat to ranching which the Meiji government promoted at the time, and targeted via a bounty system and a direct chemical extermination campaign inspired by the similar contemporary American campaign. The last Japanese wolf was a male killed on the 23 January 1905 near Washikaguchi (now called Higashi Yoshiro) Honshū Wolf monument in Nara Prefecture, Japan. This monument inscribed with a haiku was erected in the village of Higashi-Yoshino. The haiku by Toshio Mihashi says:
“I walk
With that wolf
That is no more.”


G.I. Joe Customs : That's Just Prime

I've seen some discussion of whether or not to prime figures before painting. I come down on the side of priming. It provides a uniform surface for better paint coverage, and more importantly for me, it helps fight paint rub. As a painter, I've complained about paint rub before (canvas doesn't have joints) and priming has cut my rub down (painted surfaces interact better than painted on unpainted surfaces). Also, it shows what areas are going to be a pain for rub (Airtight shoulders, I'm looking at you) and covers sculpted details so they look even. As a plus, a white primed surface will help colors look brighter (If you've had trouble with yellow, try it) and a black primed surface will help add depth to metallic colors.

So let's talk some of the primers I've tried:  

Armory Primer : Armory has a bad reputation in some circles for producing a rough surface, especially Armory Black. Armory Black, in my experience, is very susceptible to humidity. I've had good results on very dry days, but in any less than ideal conditions it leaves a tiny sooty grit on the surface. I've had spotty coverage from Armory White, but no problems with Armory Grey. 

The secondary on my Astro-Viper WIP is painted with Armory Grey.

Board to Pieces : During one of Citadels' changes, their black primer was replaced by what was pretty much black spraypaint. The local hobby shop replaced it with Board to Pieces Black.

I had no luck with it, and bad coverage. By the time it dried, it tended to run to any crevices, leaving raised surfaces uncovered. It's the only primer I've had rub off from handling.

Tamiya Fine Surface Primer : This was my go to when I was building gunpla. Good, even coverage. The secondary on my Payload WIP is painted with Fine Surface White.


Model Master Acryl Primer (brushable) : I like a brushable primer to touch up areas I missed with spray prime, or to color a small area it would be a pain to mask off. Also, when the weather isn't right, it's my backup. If I have to go back and sand down an area of paint rub, I'll brush some on the sanded area. Absolutely essential.

Rustoleum Automobile Primer : Years of having various hobby shops around means I usually pick up specialist gear instead of going to hardware stores. However, some folks don't have that luxury. I was reading a painting and prep guide from a Star Wars customizer, and he used Rustoleum as the base (spraying Krylon Fusion over it).

I tried it out, and it had good results. Even coverage, with a slight texture (again, probably due to humidity. However, it can be wet-sanded, so that's not such an issue.)

Mr. Surfacer 1000 (brushable) : I wanted to give Mr. Surfacer a shot for priming, due to it's gap filling properties (For those breaking apart Joe torsos, you know what I'm getting at. Usually, I use superglue sprinkled with baking soda for gap-filling, then sand the hell out of it).

My only warning is since it's lacquer, it'll attack (some) paints, so it should be used during prep, and not for touch up.

Army Painter (Alien Purple) : So, here's some good shit. Take the adherence of primer, and add color. Designed for 28mm hobbyists, it comes in a good selection of colors. I waited until Alien ('nid) Purple came out, because there's a lot of purple in Cobra. The entirety of my painting on the HEAT Viper was masking then spraying, all in one go.

I got mine from Sci-Fi Genre, but there's a store finder on their website.
Krylon Fusion (Safety Orange) : I've heard Fusion is best for vehicles, and not much for figures. I'll try it out on figures eventually (it seemed okay in Hawkeye's tutorial...), but man is it good on vehicles. It took about three light coats for total coverage, just watch for the rotor in the pop-up platform (don't paint the plug. It'll shred off as you rotate it. Otherwise it's pretty chip-proof.)

Here's my version of the Septic Tank, inspired my Aloysha's Septic Drone and the NJCC Hazard HISS. I have to find a good fluorescent yellow for the weapons. I tried masking them for a safety yellow/black, and it looked ghastly. Not in a good way.


G.I. Joe Customs: Custom Con 31 wrap-up

So with Custom Con 31 over, I can post my latest batch. I decided that since I've got the most problem with putting out "finished" customs ("Art is never finished, only abandoned"), putting a deadline on myself would help. So, I put these guys together in a little over a week.

I expect somebody will have a problem with me bashing together the Heroic Commandos and the Commandos in Action, but the truth of it is I've been wanting (and had parts sorted for) customs of the Argentine figures since the 2009 convention set came out. I was pretty much going to use the same recipes (but with Firefly legs), until recently I saw M_renegade's Manleh and realized I could use the PoC Cobra blueshirt base. I was at a loss for opponents (Mortal? Invasors?), so I looked to my workbench and realized there were a couple of figures who had foreign releases. So pure laziness wins the day.

Heroic Commandos in Action!

 HEAT-Viper (Estilhaço) : Ever since Airtight came out, there's been a parade of ideas of who he could be (I'll get to a few of mine eventually). Viper6 of Hisstank convinced me he could be a HEAT-Viper.

My changes are the Zombie-Viper webgear (Pipe-bombs! Duke Nukem would be proud.) and the Charbroil helmet, cut-down.

I may enclose the helmet some more, and add that mess of cables the ARAH version had.

Recipe: Airtight body, Charbroil head, Zombie-Viper harness.
 Manleh :Originally, he came with a parachute (which would have made him an insta-buy when I was a kid), in the convention set he had a JUMP pack, so that's what I went with. I keep thinking I should add some yellow to his webbing.

Recipe : Cobra Trooper body, Stalker head.
 Redmack : I went with the Jungle Duke webgear, since his webbing was green originally. I swapped out Tunnel Rat's machine gun, since he originally came with Rock n' Roll's MG.

Recipe : Cobra Trooper body, Duke head
 Shimik :When I was putting together the first version, I used the same torso, with the same arm & leg combo the club used. Since I had a spare Ripcord, I figured his arms would work better. I'm not too hot on the Rock n' Roll bandoliers, so when I realized he used a SMG, I went with Beachhead's vest. The card art had camouflage pants, so I went with that.

Recipe : Snake-eyes torso, Ripcord arms, Ripcord head, Shock Trooper legs
 Topson : If I had a Benchpress head, I might have gone with that. The camouflage is three tone instead of two tone because I thought it was too contrasting in my first go. Maybe I can make a Firefly some day and get it right.

Recipe : Cobra Trooper body, Kickstart head
Voltar / Voltar : I know the Brazilian release is more purple (usually a selling point for me), but I was set on using the HISS driver body (pretty standard).

The helmet was Dremmeled from the original figure, which was a first for me. One more rite of passage as a customizer.

Recipe :  HISS Driver body, Iron Grenadier lower arms, legs and sword belt, Clutch head, Voltar helmet.


GI joe customs : Eco-assortment

I've had some variation of this post in draft for almost a month now. It's been one of those busy times where nothing much comes of it, so I'll just scatter this to the winds and move on to the next batch (post-Custom Con, fingers crossed.)

Biosefera :Wanted to do some of the foreign repaints, and went with a similar recipe to my Sneak Peek. Switched out Wraith lower legs, and decided a closed visor would work better for an Eco-Trooper.
 Eco-Warriors Flint : Not sure to use my spare Sci-fi for Heat-Viper v2, Raio Verde, or Eco-Flint. I do like the Airtight gear, and think it might work for Red Torches or a Dragonsky. Tried out some Viper boots. Might go with a SM Falcon head if I make him Flint.
Jungle-Viper : Thought the Tron head would work for Jungle-Viper or Heat-Viper v2. Had a couple Kickstarts to try it out on.
Pathfinder : I've gone back and forth on Pathfinder recipes. I knew I'd want to use the Lifeline head once I got a spare, but I had originally thought of the Shipwreck/Storm Rider after seeing the club's Topside. Now that I've got the vest, I think I might go to a Tunnel Rat (since the torso is covered) and the waist is so thick compared to the Duke legs. But I want to use those Duke legs, for the boss camo. Argh.
 Skull Squad Trooper : In one of the con sets, they decided Major Bludd could use some dudes to boss around. That sounds like a plan.

Thought the Neo-Viper bodies were close to the Avalanche body from the Con set. Probably paint the right shoulder armor silver, so it's a little closer.

Normally the bandoliers don't work for me (it's understandable for guys like Rock n' Roll who have a Hog to operate), but I'd believe it on guys working for Bludd.
Skull Squad Viper : Originally, I was going to make a Sonic Viper, then I saw a Micro-Heroes style sig of Skull Squad, and they had some Vipers done up in Major Bludd's colors.

Made a Viper recipe from some spare Shock Trooper, Storm Shadow and Duke parts. Vest from Kickstart, head from Python Viper (spare still needs some work.)
Sludge-Viper : Mucking my way through the Eco-Warriors/Toxo-troops, and strangely, the most recent guy is the most complete.

Shock Trooper torso to improve the fit of the Firefly harness, rest from Hazard Viper, head from Air Viper Commando. A little pin-vice action to fit the hose.
Steel Brigade : I'm thinking of having him be across between the Gold head SB, and the SB Commander.

Shock Trooper, Firefly torso (so the neck post would reach over the Cobra Commander jacket collar).

 Rock n' Roll : Most Rock n' Rolls I see use Thor or Hogun heads, and are totally diesel. I want a Rock n' Roll that's a more regular looking dude that doesn't look like he bench-presses cars.

Sculpted some hair on a Renegades Tunnel Rat head, tried to pattern it on the Sideshow Rock n Roll alternate head.

 Sneak Peek : And here's the reason I've got a spare Sci-Fi (well, trade fodder is another reason.) Once I had a Sci-Fi in hand, I realized I could use those boots for Sneak, here. Swapped in some Ren Firefly upper legs, and once I paint those knees and slap some more black on him, he'll be good.


G.I. Joe customs : Spring Break!

It's been about three months since my last incomprehensible ramblings, and about a week since I've had to provide tech support (Whoo! Spring Break! Everybody pull down your pants and riot!)

Between talk of doubling our iPad deployment, adding a new lab, seizing control of the school newspaper offices and a ground war in Asia our ARD install, I've barely been able to wrap my head around my last After Effects project, much less get much done on the Joe front.

Add in Wave 4 finally hitting in decent numbers (ask me about army-building Airtights...) and for that matter having to go 30 miles afield to get a Zombie-Viper and I was chomping at the bit to get some WIP fleshed out, and maybe even begin painting again.

Destro : I'm a big fan of Destro. Not only is he a suave motherfucker with a personal army, he's the guy who brought wrist-rockets to a gun fight. Cobra has a wide assortment of weaselly schemers and brutes, but Destro is the guy who can build a Weather Dominator and stomp you into a crack.

I wanted to use a Night Adder to make Destro v10/ Crime Boss Destro, but thought it just looked too plain. So I took a spare Destro, hollowed out his gauntlets, drilled a small hole to mount his collar and added a res Destro head. I'm going to switch the holster to the left, because why use your wrist-rocket hand to draw a pistol?
Law & Order : I may still paint those sleeves red, but what bugged me was the leg holster. You can see the holstered revolver on the jacket, but right below that was a leg holster. Maybe somebody can give me an OPERATORS OPERATORS OPERATORS explanation for carrying both your main and your backup an inch from each other, but it bugged me.

I just switched with SB Delta legs.
Skullbuster : I like guys who are the toughest "*", due to my love of hyperbole. The Range-Vipers are kind of like weaponized hobos (says the guy who always polices the bodies/ scavenges the ammo), but Skullbuster is the most famous reindeer of all. Or something. Imagine Cobra recruited Bear Grylls.

I actually plan on casting the skull-head, since I think it would make a good replacement for the skull-brain helmets.

Recipe: Firefly arms and torso, Dusty legs, Stalker and Tunnel Rat gear, Cobra Commander head.
Topside : Since the Club FSS seems to be dosed with Compound Z at the moment, I thought I'd try and whip up a Topside.

Ren. Cobra trooper with Shock Trooper legs, greenshirt head. May loose the floatation vest and paint the armor texture orange.
Wild Weasel : I just added Shock trooper goggles in place of the visor. No big whoop.
Outback : Man, those oddly proportioned legs on the 25th bugged me. I picked up a spare Tunnel Rat since I thought his colors matched Crankcase. When I looked at his shirt, I thought "Survival"

Tunnel Rat with Stalker lower legs and gear. Need to dig up my dry transfer sheets.
Static Line : Part of the fun of new versions of old guys means getting to make the repaints.  Thanks to Strato-Viper, Nitro/Motor-Viper, Slipstream, Skydive and Lift-Ticket, most of Sky Patrol is a new head and a paintjob away.

Whither Static-Line? There's no modern-era Backstop, except for LeeMarvin80's custom (where I took the charbroil armor from).

Used a res. Cobra Trooper, with ren. Ripcord's legs and head. A little off-white on the waist and forearms and I'm golden.

Toxo-Viper v2/ Toxo-Zombie : I know, my reputation as the Byronic Man is in jeopardy if I enjoy something popular (and despite my dismissal of Zombie movies as a socially acceptable vent for the desire to kill everyone around you. I actually like Return of the Living Dead though, since I think it's one the most realistic depictions of Something Really Bad No-one is Prepared For. C.A.T. loved to talk about it when we had duty together.)

Anyway, I tried to figure out a base that would do double duty. Dusty/Ren. Trooper torso, Air-Viper Commando/Swamp Viper limbs, switched for Zombie-Viper parts as necessary. I think for the Toxo-Zombies I'll keep the light purple since their outfits are sorta bleached out from the Plasmatox. If you could see the back, it would have Airtight's blue tank on it.


G.I. Joe customs : EoS core dump

Now the semester is over, I can finally relax and muck around again. (No twelve hour days! No console.logs! No Flex licensing SystemFlippers and SIGSEGV errors!) Wave 3 just hit, and Wave 4 is on it's heels.

(Insert Daffy Duck's "Mine, all mine" speech here)
Not pictured, another trooper and techno-viper. Fortunately for my Army-building self, the only other collector in the area seems to be a One-of-Each guy.

Hey, how about that trailer?

Chock full of ninjas and Vipers. Cobra White House.
So eager to get a Jinx, and I'm hoping the Amazon Roadblock is a '86 tribute.

Everybody is a WIP. I hardly have the presence of mind / temperature to prime right now.

 Cobra de Aco / Steel Cobra : I made a Steel Cobra before, with a Flash body and Snake-Eyes head, all classic stylee. Then I went looking through GeneralJoes Mission Brazil review, and saw the picture of him with some B.A.T.s, and thought back to KrushViper's Cobra de Aco, as well as my plan to use the RoC Flash as a base, and had a spare Cobra Commander torso, and he came together.

The hardest part will be color-matching that yellow on the torso.

Recipe : Cobra Commander torso, Cobra Commander head, Flash arms, BAT legs.
 Frag Viper : Once I saw the Firefly torso (and the bit about his Predator helmet being a 360 degree sensing device), I thought about the Frag-Vipers. I just needed some arms with a good range, and some fairly baggy pants (the Jungle Duke legs seemed too thin with the torso.)

Recipe : Firefly head and torso, Firefly arms, Shock trooper legs, Duke/Stalker webgear.
 Guillotine : I originally went with a Lamprey, but it didn't seem as buff as he's depicted (Why, he's almost as big as MAJOR BARRAGE). I can't do the spine-sword with a straight face, but I need something for the belt.

Honestly, I'm down with Cobra-La, but that mall Goth pig-sticker leaves me cold.

Recipe : Copperhead torso and upper arms, Nemesis Immortal lower arms, Terra-Viper hands, Heavy Duty legs.
 HEAT Viper : I've seen two HEAT Viper concepts I've liked, Sgt. Humpty's and Ratfink's. A local preponderance of Charbroils pointed me towards the former.

I've still got to work out a helmet, and I think the Ripcord gear works as battle rattle (I'd rather keep my ammo on my hips instead of my boots...)

Recipe : Charbroil, Cobra Commander head, Ripcord gear.
Heli-Viper : I've been planning for this guy ever since I picked up the Snow Serpent Officer from the Ice Cutter.

Recipe :  Techno-Viper arms and torso, Snow Serpent Officer head, Copperhead legs, Jungle-Viper gear
 Ice Viper : The WOLF was a favorite vehicle of mine as a kid, and I got a spare Arctic HISS Driver in a trade, so it seemed an easy custom. But, I didn't like the usual Duke bandolier, and saw another customizer use Firefly's demo vest. (Which I intend to use for my eventual Avalanche as well.)

Recipe : Arctic Hiss Driver , Frostbite hands, Firefly vest, Cobra Trooper head
 Night-Vipers : A while ago, I traded for some Shock Troopers to make blueshirts from. Now that they've been in a few replenishment waves, blueshirts are dead common (and I never got enough Wv3 Snake-eyes to finish the project...), I've retasked these guys as Night-Vipers.

I still have to modify the pegs on the Jungle-Viper scopes to get them to fit the Wild Weasel helmet,  and I've got to get a couple more RoC Snake-eyes belts (the dagger across the chest.)

Recipe : Shock Trooper torso and arms, Jungle Viper gear and upper legs, Snake-Eyes lower legs, Wild Weasel/Cyber-Viper heads.
 Night Vulture : The Glider pilots were some real weirdos, so I doubt even the club will touch them. Still need something for that upper torso.

Recipe : Para-Viper, Alley-Viper lower arms and legs, Snake-Eyes head 
 Pathfinder : I picked up a spare Doom Rider on clearance, once I realized he had glasses and a black shirt, and might work for Pathfinder. Later I decided the Jungle Duke camo would look decent, and thought the Wild Bill hat would make him a little more Col. Kilgore.

Probably swap out the lower arms, since those black swivels never look right. 
 Python Trooper : I've been kitting out Python Patrol / Mission Brazil themed figures, since the 2011 Convention set is a distant fantasy (and I disagree with the recipes, as you'll see once I put up my Leatherneck.) PLus it gives me an excuse to make "PoC" versions. I'll have to use the older web-gear if I make more than two of these guys.

Recipe : Steel Brigade Delta torso and arms, Snake-Eyes legs
 SAW Vipers : So Zartan v3 was made out of SAW Viper parts, and one of the first SAW Viper customs I saw repainted a Zartan v13. So when I saw the Cyber Viper, I thought back to the Python Saw Viper. A couple spare Duke heads, and the newer Beachhead vest (from Double Clutch in this case.)

Recipe : Cyber-Viper, Wild Bill helmet, Beachhead vest
 Shipwreck : Revisiting my old LBC with a Steel Brigade torso and some Renegades Duke legs. I'm a big fan of that Spy Troops/VvV/Devils Due look, and I thought it would work in his old colors. Also, Recondo holster. 
 Sneak Peek : Swapped out that chunky Pit Commando vest for one from Renegades Ripcord.
 Spirit : Once I saw the Steel Brigade running change, I thought of my old Spirit project. Still not 100% on the Billy Sole head, and I may trim some of the gear for shinier, PoC/30th versions. Still have to put a knife in for the holster slot.

Changes : Steel Brigade torso and upper arms, Steel Brigade legs and knee-caps
 Steeler : Stalker, Snake-Eyes, and Hawk got some new version love, and I wasn't a fan of 25th's James Garner looking version. I had a version with Wild Bill's torso, but modern tankers wear more of a jumpsuit. Not a 100% on a head.

Recipe : Steel Brigade Delta torso, Skydive legs, Steel Brigade vest

 Stretcher : For an Olympic weight-lifter, Stretcher looked kind of scrawny. And I had a different idea for Hardball than the usual RoC Repeater swap.

Recipe : Recondo torso and upper arms, Repeater head and lower arms, Tomahawk legs, Alley-Viper helmet.
 Vector : I mostly remember Laser-Vipers from the GI Joe arcade game, but one popped up in Cobra's Emo Spec-Ops unit. I guess he spins all the Joy Division tracks.

That backpack is pieced together from Duke's backpack and two barrels from Jungle-Viper anti-material rifles.

Recipe : Star-Viper, Lamprey upper legs, Barbeque lower legs
Wide Scope : I picked up an Air Raid with those legs in mind for a Wide Scope, and once I get a spare Law&Order, he'll have a Lamont. I'll probably whip up a 30th looking Shockwave to go with him.

Recipe : Shock Trooper torso, arms and head, Air Raid legs, Beachhead vest.


G.I. Joe customs: Space is the place (to punch Destro in the face)

Finally pulling myself into corporeal form after weeks of twelve hour days and most of my department flitting off to conferences this last week. The hardest part was one of the kids deciding to set the audio to Dubstep one day (the latest incarnation of the shitty music kids listen to because the adults hate it). Not to say I'm an adult, but frankly, I lurve Tokyo-style Speedcore, but I wouldn't expect other people to, or put it on at work.

Speaking of hating music, Rory doesn't read this, so I can put on some Sun-Ra:

(I know, but I like the chorus on Nuclear War more. )

Astro-Viper (wip) :  The Cobranaut holds a special place for me. On Spring Break that year, I saw one on the peg at Eckerd Drugs. I had stopped collecting GI Joes after the movie, but the thought of a Cobra Astronaut hit my sweet spot. I didn't buy another Joe until the 1997 Cobra Command Team.

 The leg armor is vaguely remembered from an Ares article on combat astronauts for Top Secret.

Recipe : Charbroil torso, MARS Trooper legs, Astro-Viper helmet, Skydive and Dusty webgear. BACC backpack as placeholder.
Black Dragon Ninja : I picked up the Ninja Battles pack on sale years ago, and liked the techno-ninja look of the Black Dragon Ninja (which comes from painting a dragon on an Iron Grenadier's chest...)

Like I said, the Temple Snakes eyes is a great bundle of parts.

Recipe : Iron Grenadier torso, Temple Snake Eyes limbs, Alley-Viper head, CS Snake-Eyes belt, Destro scarf.
Countdown (wip) : Whereas Payload is a more realistic looking astronaut (at least, he looks like he'd fit in Alien), Countdown looks more Flash Gordon. And that's alright by me.

I'd like to turn up an original Countdown helmet, which is a sweet piece of work.

Recipe : Duke torso, RA Duke limbs, Ace helmet, Durge backpack.
Dice : I've been looking a Dice customs trying to decide on a decent secondary, and these two persuaded me the Storm Shadow/Red Ninja harness was the way to go.

edit : I'm not the only one thinking that harness.
Iron Grenadier Trainer Roddy Piper (wip) :  I watched a lot of Wrasslin as a kid, (also Rock n' Wrestling) and I earnestly want to thank whoever decided the Rowdy One was Sgt. Slaughter's opposite number and working for Destro.

I've got to finish dremelling out the space for the neckball,  so his head should set a little further down. I went the opposite of Sgt. Humpty, and used the IG legs.

Recipe : Temple Snake-eyes torso, Snake-eyes arms, IG legs, Cobra Commander jacket, Build n' Brawl Roddy Piper head.
Iron Grenadier (wip) : When the 25th IGs came out, I couldn't get behind the Battle Armor CC body. I cannot for the life of me find out who did it, but someone made a custom using the Reactive Armor body, and that's what got me.

I'm using the Tavor TAR-21, which the IGs used in the Spy Troops/Valor vs. Venom era. I may paint some more red patches on it.

Recipe : Reactive Armor torso and arms, Iron Grenadier legs, gear and head.
Overkill : Cyborg who wants to destroy organic life? How could I not like this guy? Watched the VvV movie, where GI Joe fight werewolves (again), and came away digging Overkill more than in Sigma 6.

I have to credit General Hawk for the head (I've got to dryrush it a little, since he's looking a little Mr. Beef.) I took a little nail polish remover to the black part of the RoC CC torso. Badab Black and Chestnut wash, cleaned up with Isoprophyl alcohol.

Recipe : RoC Cobra Commander torso and head, Wraith legs and upper arms, BAT lower arms, Resolute CC helmet.
Payload (wip) : Never having the Defiant as a kid, I only remember him from the Marvel appearances (so I was surprised to find out he was white as a toy.)

I've seen JpnX's Astronaut, and I liked the Snow Serpent legs. Mostly, it's a matter of finding a use for the Skydive gear. I've got to work up the snuff to cut off that re-breather.

Recipe : Arctic Snake-Eyes arms and torso, Snow Serpent legs, Skydive secondary, Ace helmet.

Skymate (wip) : The glider pilots are obscure dudes, and therefore at the top of my to do list.

I'm not sure what to do about the hat/headgear, except not make it hot pink.

Recipe : Mutt arms and torso, Thunderblast legs, Breaker head, Cobra officer webgear.