Soldiers of the Underworld

These are some 12" GI Joe customizations... Most were in pretty bad shape, so I said "what the heck!" It began as an attempt to recreate my long-lost childhood collection, and since I couldn't afford to pay $250 for a stock Hasbro German soldier, I decided to try making my own... At first, I tried to adapt the existing uniforms that I had, and eventually I had to bite the bullet and (gulp) learn to sew. As part of this effort, I got my first experience in sculpting, using FIMO to do the medals and a few accessories. While it was fun doing the research for these guys, I ended up taking a "Comics/Hollywood" approach, simply because it was fun (and easier)... Hmmmmm... I only had two Joes when I was a kid-- where did all these other guys come from???

Soldiers of the Underworld: Failure at Nuremburg, "Da Debbil Made Me Do It..."

Ok, Debbil-woman started life as a kind of "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS", (below) and eventually grew (flapping-action!) wings, a pair of horns and a tail. She looked pretty cool in a uniform too, back when she actually had eyeballs...

An ooooold picture... Debbil-woman's first uniform. Later, she got a more realistic leather cap & Greatcoat over a more traditional style uniform. Many headswaps later, "Patch" became the fraulein shown below (with a wig, without the moustache, body reconstruction & a total repaint!)

Soldiers of Hollywood: The medals, belt buckles, canteen & ammo pouches are made of FIMO, a very stiff polymer clay. Some "embroidered" decorations were created on computer, reduced, laserprinted & touched up with acrylic paint. The straps for the belts & harnesses were made of scrap vinyl, using bent guitar wire to form the D-clips and buckles. The potato mashers were made from the rollers in audio cassettes with wooden handles whittled from the dowels that they give you with those pre-fabricated bookshelves. (Sorry, the end-caps do not screw on.)

More Soldiers of Hollywood: Most of the heads were taken from the recent "Hall of Fame" line, and only needed a little bit of "weathering". This means giving them "five o'clock shadows" by brushing on shaved pastel chalk powder. I noticed that "Grunt" made a very good "Vic Morrow", and the guy behind him is a "Luke Perry" from "Beverly Hills 90210". A few other heads were sanded down & puttied up a bit and painted with acrylic. Obviously, the female figures needed the most work, and their bodies were extensively shaved & puttied to redistribute "the good stuff" (heh, heh).

Fun with Forced Perspective: Okay, this isn't entirely convincing because of the shadows and the fact that I've got the 1:35 scale Tiger sitting on top of an n-scale building. It would be great to build an in-scale tank, but I've never had the real estate to devote to such an endeavor. In fact, I'm kind of limited in my photography options here-- I don't have very many wide open spaces as it is!

I actually found a reasonably priced Hasbro Nihongo-Jo outfit, and all I had to do was make his belt, gun, and a few other things. It sort of looks like what it should look like... In my opinion, the Hollywood Germans had the snazziest outfits though...

Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM