About HQ icebreaker

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This is a very random bunch of thoughts based from my collecting of GIJOE: A real American hero figures and vehicles. Contained here are memories, experiences, recent thoughts, completely random thoughts, and other random things on top of that. While one company has made, and makes, our shared interests, we all add into that interest with our own creativity. You, the reader, will find many, many, excellent sites among the links to see what other GIJoe fans are doing, hit them up! For GIJOE stuff that is more random in topic, you'll find it here.

3.18.2017

Bulletproof

Bulletproof is back.   He's been back here for a couple months but still hasn't gotten my classic proper G.I.Joe imagination world of a collection introduction yet.   Even though my toys aren't getting and haven't gotten that  real "back in the day play" intensity for a long time, something that I liked to do at a point in life (that seems so long ago) was to have a sort of introduction battle for any new incoming toy.    Before that new figure got tossed into one of my evolving cardboard storage boxes or plastic drawer set ups, I would have a little welcome battle and would usually do that while setting up a little simple background-less diorama on whatever shelf was there.   Back when 35mm point and shoot film was the option, I might have taken a picture but more than likely not.    I stopped doing this when I was buying a little more in the mid-to-late 2000's and as I think about it more I spent more time sorting and digging through a lot of stuff, not even really setting anything out.   

I am going to try and start doing this again so I don't just feel like I'm buying stuff just to buy stuff.   Maybe I can bring back a little of that pointless made up fun from back in the day.


So way back then, until that "welcome to the storage box with the rest of the collection" battle I would keep that new figure set up on a shelf separate.   Bulletproof has been in that holding pattern for the last couple months.   Waiting to join my 28-member team as the replacement for one of them.

This is my second Bulletproof figure now.  The first one was sold away maybe in late 2011 but maybe as late as a final big sell in 2012.   Bulletproof was a part of one of my top favored made up sub-teams in my collection and was always always in the running for my final collection team picks.  And I didn't really have Bulletproof that long to begin with being added only a couple years before.

Some of the reason on why Bulletproof was cut was due to the file card giving him a high rank of O-4.   That was in the highest 10 ranks given to other figures in my collection.   Excluding pilots and astronauts, Bulletproof is not much farther below Hawk, Keel Haul, and Flagg (Battle Corps).  Sure Fire and Col. Courage are also in this area.     I wanted a well-rounded out rank and file and with only 28 G.I.Joes the officer level felt like it has to be very light compared to the rest.

Some of the reasons I was leaning to keep Bulletproof was more for that "other" source of recruitment for the G.I.Joe team.  Beyond just the armed services, Bulletproof is indicated to be a Federal Marshall and experience with the D.E.A. and was leader of the new D.E.F..  But that "other" source of recruitment was filled with Shockwave's Detroit S.W.A.T. background (as well as an "enlisted" rank on the file card) and I found aspects of other figures I wanted to include in my 28-member collection to rule out having two somewhat more similar figure character backgrounds .





As much as I really dug my security force and could have just kept that group of figures, I wanted to steer clear of having any one "sub team" or theme stand out or have matching uniforms.   Like, 21 figures would look unique, but seven having Tiger Force shirts would make them stand out more, rather than blend into a small highly trained special mission force.    D.E.F. figures are each fairly distinct, however,  and as much as I really like this "sub team" I wanted D.E.F. Cutter to represent the Coast Guard.   So, in some sense, it was a case of a D.E.F. figure vs. D.E.F. affiliated figure inclusion that swayed my decision to axe Bulletproof in my final collection trimming picks.

Another very strong aspect of the character/ figure of Bulletproof is his "vehicle specialty," the AH-74 Desert Apache.  Sure, any G.I.Joe *could* fly the Skystriker, but I wanted some basis or some real tidbit of information that would make something seem more real in my collection.   Another helicopter pilot in my collection is always a useful thing, especially if the figure has an excellent overall uniform that doesn't keep them looking like a pilot   (version 1 Ace, for example.)

So all-in-all, Bulletproof was always in that spot to keep as I was cutting all that stuff years ago, but ultimately cut.

But I think I might have made a mistake of keeping a character/ figure of strong familiarity where I think I might challenge my getting older imagination.  Bulletproof is still, in this A Real American Hero toy,  combined with Marvel comic appearances, a solid-based blank slate.   Not just a blank slate character, but one with a strong origin (more or less) that really wants that user-imagination to add more on top of.   So, that's part of why Bulletproof is back, to challenge imagination and even maybe lead my pretend team in this real modern world;  not just represent an '80's-'90's cross-section against  Cobra, but make this team very real modern.



And the figure is just plain interesting to me, always has been, like all of 4 D.E.F. figures.

Consider that in '92, there was more playful coloring, but the D.E.F. labeled figures did not have it.  In '92 and later, figure sizes were getting a little more beefy looking, but here Bulletproof doesn't seem far removed from a GI.Joe style that is almost 10 years older.  (this short fuze, with the exception of a custom testing Scrap-iron, may be the only swivel-head figure left in my possession)   Not pictured, but even the rifle and backpack that Bulletproof comes with could easily fit in style with the more delicately detailed '84 and '85 accessories than with the larger 1990 accessories for instance.




  

Certain details that listed out the accessories with fun names are gone.



That Member of the Patnership for a Drug-Free America is interesting, there may be toys doing stuff like this now, but what are they?




This mark-down to $.90 I just dig, no sticker, just someone wanting it out.   Do you think $.90 cents was the "break-even" point for whatever store sold this?   











Another side note for my reason for wanting this carded was to see what battle stand cavity the D.E.F. figure might have originally come with.    Some likely consider a battle stand just a battle stand.   I couldn't find the answer online, but years ago I sorted out my battle stands with cavity numbers.   Not that it was any matter but I was wondering if on the trivial side of things when I got a loose figure with a battle stand that was "complete" if the battle stand was THE battle stand that was originally included.
This is what was in this package, no cavity number. 










Helmet variations. I like removable helmets and I think this was from a Street Fighter Guile figure.





Bulletproofs teammate Shockwave's helmet.   (should I switch my teams Shockwave '88 for the '92 D.E.F.?)





Last of the greenshirt helmets that didn't make it into a sell-off box.


1.21.2017

Headhunters

I should have wrote more things down.   I kept rather good track and information on my G.I.Joe collection at times over the years and I even made a few notebook pages of a summary of all the older lists and things I had of my collection back around 2011-2012.    

I thought this week would be a good time to put in a line in my collection notes on some new additions and then realized I didn't write in a couple of additions on a couple figures.   Big deal?  Not really, but it does kind of bug me not knowing where I got something from.    I may have something in the small stack of notes that might give me a clue to jolt my memory but that is a project for later right now.

Being the new additions are Evil Headhunters I took a look back at how long it took for me to get to this point (which will still look like a small collection to many, and it is, likely not an impressive thing to most).

Way, way, back in the day, when the entire D.E.F. lineup was on retail pegs and we had relocated to a bigger city that had these, these figures were in a deluxe price range for me.   I can't recall exact prices, but I sort of remember for only one or two dollars more being able to buy a small vehicle; the Fang II and Piranha being examples.    I found better value in the vehicles than spending almost twice the price on a figure to basically get a light-up spring-fire launcher.   Sky Patrol, Sonic Fighters, and Eco-Warriors appealed to me in the same way.  More "deluxe" accessories that I didn't want to pay more for.    Unless they were gifts or the Eco-Warriors which were discounted when Children's Palace was closing (and that's all they had left), many of the larger carded figures I never got.

It wasn't until August 20th, 1995 that I got my first Headhunter anything.    I wrote that date down at that time as I had a small notebook that I jotted down things like this.   My first Headhunter anything was a Headhunter Stormtrooper flea market find.   It came with this rifle:



Ultimately I sold that Headhunter Stormtrooper and a second Stormtrooper (purchased via ebay sometime before April 2010) to a store sometime in 2010-2012.   I thought these would be harder to get more of and around these years I was able to get the 2008 G.I.Joe Convention set.   It was kind of a numbers thing, too, where an instant squad of six Stormtroopers outnumbered the other two and in order to simplify any army, the original two Stormtroopers were ruled out.   Looking back at this decision now, I wish I had gone the other direction.

Another  Headhunter-based figure was a 1993 Gristle that came from the 2005 G.I.Joe convention.
At some point I traded online for a Headman figure.  I still have that one, but pictured below, I bought a much nicer Headman from an online store.   I also bought one of these Headhunters pictured below in January of 2009 from that same store.
The other two Headhunters I can't recall where I got them.   One likely a trade from maybe sometime maybe '07-'08, .... really not sure.





The 2008 Headhunter Convention set for me was really a great announcement.  At this point in real life I was not really buying much of anything, toys were not a priority, but this set I sent for purchase maybe before all the reveals were made.   I was one of the first 100 purchases or whatever it was and got a pin.  

It wasn't long before I was just not all that happy with the convention Headhunter set.   I would have been super happy with this set being released in classic colors.  The "arsenic" coloring didn't hold the value that the classic Headhunter colors had for me.    The Convention Headhunter Stormtroopers had Rock Viper legs, too.   For a pricey figure they felt a little like those comic pack franken-figures to me.  In hand they looked fine but these were two distinct molds that just didn't feel like a good combined match to me.   I loved that RPK-style rifle that they came with but to ebay they went when I was trimming down on the collection:
 
 SOLD!


 The Headhunter B.A.T.s were awesome.   Without the Headhunter Convention logo, I would have kept these and would have liked more.   Sad part is I can't remember if and where I traded or sold them now.   You're thinking because of a logo you didn't want them?!   It was much more due to simplifying everything, too.  All B.A.T.s went out the door when I slimmed my collection down.   Cobra cut back to the basics.   For the logo, I really wished the club didn't slap a Cobra logo on everything.   In my mind I want the Headhunters to be their own faction.  

With only two Headhunter "Guards" in the convention set and the large logo plastered on their once fairly refined looking jacket, combined with me favoring the classic original Headhunter figures coloring heavily,  these two figures were sold to a store in August of 2011.   So, think about it, I had two or three classic Headhunters and two "Guards," I wish I had pictures but they really clashed.   Not the rigid disicplined paramilitary army look I had in my mind for my future Headhunter army.

Gristle was actually a harder choice for me.   Original or Convention?   The head on the original was my preferred of the two, but the yellow on the '93 Gristle clashed more with the uniformed look of the 1992 Headhunter.   So I went with the more muted Convention Gristle as the keeper.   Sadly, there is a crack on the inside of one of the thumbs, I hope it doesn't grow.   I thought a more modern, softer plastic would have had a better durability.  Likely just this copy.


 

Of course,  I had the GvC Headman figure, which was my first Headman figure, so technically kind of my second Headhunter figure(s)....     This Headman did get some display time.   As I think about it now, I am considering making a G.I.Joe roster change at the HQ, to do so, the reasoning and method behind doing so might lie in the relationship outlined on this Headman's file card.   And if I do so, it would fit my overall collections premise of including overall A.R.A.H. years in representation.

I never thought I would have used something from the GvC years as a basis for imagination.

 
With a purchase of more Headhunters in January 2017, after what, 20 some years it is starting to take shape.    Even with a small collection I'm hanging on for the long haul, what's the hurry, right?



 Characterization.

The file cards are where I base almost every bit of imagination on a figure/ character from.  From there it is the Marvel comic.  The cartoons in any form are fun, but usually not a strong source of inspiration for me.

The Headhunters to me are their own group.   A fairly fresh group that in many ways appear to have zero ties to Cobra.  That's something I find appealing.  Another threatening faction to break up the G.I.Joe vs. Cobra angle.  Sure, Destro broke off, but.... sadly I think 1984 pulled him back in the early 2000's.

With few vehicles in my collection, transportation for these guys is something I would like to figure out.   What do you think would make a good transport for these guys?





The short double-barrel shotgun and a character in black with bit of shoulder armor.   Who comes to mind?  

Right?









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Headman at JMM's comics homepage.

Joe-a-day Headhunters 1992
 
G.I. Joe vs. Cobra - Headman

1.15.2017

A night near the entry port...


"Alright!   After all these years it is happening!   This is it, let's get in there and make sure our assets are secure!!"




 "Looks perfect!   Couldn't have worked out better!"





"After all his successful work out there I was hoping to tell him that thread of intel he passed us was wrong.   This is a whole other level of trouble...."


Headhunters in Marvel.











 

 










                                   (Ike and Mike join Cutter and Bulletproof to save Mutt but....)







1.09.2017

Cobra Rifle Range and first new thing this year


 Not sure when or how I got the Rifle Range here.  Likely I used store credit when I sold other toys to a certain store.    Not a heavily used item.   Since bagging and boxing up my rather small collection back in 2012 for preparation on moving to the current HQ shell* the Rifle Range has been something I've been planning on sending out the door.    Anyone interested, missing one original rifle?

Digging through my small box of bad guys I realized how little I've done with them for the last few years.  Something else is incoming so I was just playing around today being excited for it and set up a little picture. 

Down in a sub-level of some unknown location that contains a Cobra weapons supply, Big Boa is instructing some Vipers on their shooting skills.




My first 2017 new thing is a Fang II.   This mostly not assembled win still had parts on the parts trees.   But with some disappointment the "complete" Fang II was missing the gun turret part.  It wasn't in the auction picture, either, but I don't think the seller knew it was missing.  I think this may be a case of the part missing from whomever purchased it from the store originally back in the day, a part was missing, and it was returned.  (why some parts were still on the tree).  Still a pretty nice Fang II otherwise.     Anyone have an extra gun turret?



 



Looks like Cobra is going to be donating their weapon supply today....     


12.10.2016

H.I.S.S. custom DTC HISS

 




 The Cobra H.I.S.S. tank, version without a number, has been out for over 11 years (wow, right?).   I was able to get a second "DTC" H.I.S.S.  maybe a little over a year ago and I was originally aiming to make this particular model my Cobra forces main armored fighting vehicle, or start army building this one.    I've talked about how I got to that decision years ago.    If you have followed along here it is obvious I haven't gotten too far on army building these.   The HQ shell and "Junior Joes" take up a lot of time.

With that second DTC H.I.S.S., I started thinking more about the little things I didn't like about it.  And to further add disappointment, I speculate that the hinges on the lift up side doors are going to be more commonly found cracked, a potential thing to look for on loose examples even just handled by old people like me:





But onward on upward.   Scrap Iron lurks around in the basement of the HQ and isn't deterred by the scary green colored cement block walls, poor lighting, slight dampness, and giant daddy long legs.   Scrap Iron always liked the Paralyzer tanks weapon system and the platform that moved it.  Scrap Iron was confident a Paralyzer would always trounce the old H.I.S.S..

Scrap Iron also recognized the strong design of the "DTC" H.I.S.S., but was very unhappy with the weapons systems supplied by the original manufacturer.   
A fairly simple mechanical swap, with an untold amount of "black box" fire control electronics, targeting systems, advanced radar, as well as all-around munitions upgrades has satisfied Scrap Irons desire for a highly mobile sentry system.     Not just a tank, but a mobile infantry battle system.


  
The paralyzer twin concussion cannon system with recoil reducing design improves long range accuracy and allows multiple types of shells to be loaded with quick push-button selection.     The auto-loaded cannons can further be reloaded by crewman from the interior of the vehicle for a long salvo of firepower.

An auto gatling cannon can provide a long sustained rain of fire against ground and air targets with pinpoint accuracy via targeting system, an almost impenetrable air defense weapon.
Three anti-armor rockets further enhance offensive and defensive capabilities.


 Drivers access through the forward step brush guard, which is also an infantry rocket screen.


While a single driver can operate the weapon systems, the optimal arrangement is a commander and a gunner who can control the weapons systems from a battle station inside.    In the event of the driver enclosed cockpit being destroyed, the interior battle stations can assume all driving functions.


The H.I.S.S. mobile infantry fighting system seats 4 Vipers internally with plenty of room for gear.   A fifth standing position with a lowering periscope style control can lower to allow direct manual control of the paralyzer weapon system.


Extra cargo and towing capability is achieved with a rear flip-down platform.



The old H.I.S.S. is outgunned and outnumbered.



The paralyzer weapon system has a full 360* of  action and an unprecedented angle range of attack.


Strong elevation angles allow the paralyzer twin gun to replace the need for long range field artillery with computer aided GPS accuracy.



The H.I.S.S. can raise the sides and be dug in to the ground to create an infantry forward bunker.


Internally controlled, close range cannon further deter getting close.



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I still want to take this farther overall.   I would like a more detailed interior but I am holding off until I get some better material.   I would also like to rework the rear with a maybe a hatch door.  Again, it comes to better material and equipment maybe in the future.

Some of the thought process in pictures follow.   
The "DTC" tank has a nice form, I think it really feels like it could have came out of the same factory as a 1983 H.I.S.S..   I really dislike the weapons the "DTC" tank was given, in particular I find the snap-in positions hindering on the rocket launchers.  

Here is a simple turret swap, not exact, but just to see if it would be more fun with this.





The parts just sitting on top.


Overall lowered into the body.





Multiple ways that were explored to attach the turret to it was fully playable.



A "top frame" piece would have allowed more detail to be added to the interior cavity of the paralyzer turret.



Multiple  interior space configurations were explored.   The "DTC" tank has a large amount of interior space once everything inside is stripped out.



Interior gunner chairs were considered, slots would have been cut into the side panels.



A fold down rear hatch that would have allowed a rear gunner to place a gun a pivot point....



Exploring cheaper material to attach the turret that was still sturdy enough to allow play....



Ultimately, switched the attachment plate to the interior, shaved the paralyzer turret...



It sat like this for most of this year.    I got frustrated with not having certain tools and materials, and lack of some other materials in my area, didn't want to end up online ordering something that might not work or leaves me with way too many extras....



The side tank detail pieces come off really easy.    I was considering adding something that would emulate the two giant missiles on the H.I.S.S. II to sort of create a tank lineage look.  
Ultimately, for this round, I decided against the bristling with weapons, as well as keeping the overall tank profile slim/ narrow.


Lots of space for potential figure arrangements inside this H.I.S.S.



Again, kind of thinking along the lines of the H.I.S.S. II with the notion of a troop compartment.



Simply fill in the back body?



Exploring a slide-out tray potential.....


 Slide-out troop tray.....



 Drilling once after much consideration....




Another consideration was a "drop down" side that would deploy more weapons.   With the hinge work and attachment points, and the loss of interior space to storing the weapons, I gave up.    I think a lot more body work would have come from this.


Testing weapon sight line if the weapon was mounted here for the "flip-down" reveal....


I tried using plastics that I could safely cut inside the HQ shell and I had hoped to have a little more headroom so a gunner could man the turret from the inside.   In the end, for this round, I'm sticking with the metal plate for the strength as well as the smoother all around sliding that it allows the turret to accomplish.   One thicker piece of plastic tended to warp and any tightening to address this resulted in a turret that was too hard to move.
This metal is good, and perhaps when I have a chance at tools that can cut nice safe holes, I'll add one in here.



Exploring the interior space....



Best use of interior spaces....




The original interior piece.    It is okay.   Maybe it was built for more modern figures, for o-ring guys I'm left hanging over the floor.   Having the "DTC" H.I.S.S. original turret hanging inside did not add anything to the tank for me.

Again, a cut after a lot of consideration....


Contemplating new inserts for the rear compartment....



The internal arrangement that I ended up going with.   Adding a control bank behind the drivers seat.   Also, Scrap Iron is standing where I wanted the gunner spot to be.   If I could have gotten a hole cut just under the paralyzer turrent and some sort of harness or holding spot for the figure, this could have been fun....


An earlier front brush guard/ step ladder.    I did not want to keep the original "DTC" guns on the chin, they felt placed too low to be much better than gut shot or upper thigh against figures, and even as potential infantry weapons, their handles are too thick for my comfort of thumb safety.
As a brush guard it can be damaged and will at least slow any direct front blasts, and perhaps deflect stuff outward toward the treads....