Custom Weapons

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Sometimes, a mediocre G.I. Joe figure can be made a fan-favorite simply because of its accessories. The same is true of customs. With so many great weapons in the Joe line and 1/18 scale, there's a lot to choose from when making a custom character. But if you want to give your figure some extra pizzazz, custom accessories are a great way to go.

Contents

Tools to help

  • X-acto Knife
  • Hobby saw
  • Super Glue
  • Elmer's Glue (PVA / white glue)
  • Pins or stiff wire
  • Small drill/dremel
  • Spray Sealant
  • Vice Grip Pliers
  • Nail polish remover or any other paint remover
  • Q-tips
Tools of the trade


The Process

I'm going to illustrate how to customize a gun, blasters specifically, but the same directions could also be applied to backpacks and other accessories. Sometimes just seeing what parts from which weapons you want to combine will be enough. In other instances a sketch or a photo reference may be helpful to find exactly what you are looking for.

Original Battle Star Galactica blaster
Buck Rogers blaster


Parts

An alternate clip, the removal or addition of a scope, or a shoulder strap can make a boring gun look really unique. Parts are easy to come by - just find the one you want to add and cut it off of the donor gun with your xacto knife or a hobby saw. If going to scrap the donor, cut off a larger section than is needed. This will help in the next step or it can be sanded down if necessary.

Pinning or Tongue and Groove

To make the join more secure, the join can be pinned together using a small piece of wire (such as a paper clip or pin or neeedle). Start by drilling a small hole in one of the pieces. The size and depth will vary depending on the parts, and may not be possible for many weapons.

Alternatively, you can do the tongue and groove joint, well more of a mortise and tenon joint, but essentially you create a hole or notch in the body of the main weapon large enough to fit a piece of the new part. Once glued together it will be strong enough to hold up to rough play.

Test fit parts

There is a lot of trial and errror during this phase. You will need to test fit parts together at this point so you get an idea of the final product. That might mean tacking things together with a dab of glue or drilling holes/notches deeper to fit parts better.

Test the pin fits in the hole - it should be snug, but not too loose or too much of a struggle to fit. Take the pin out and insert a second, shorter, length of metal then test position the piece. By pressing the parts together you should have a mark so you will know where to drill the second hole. Put a small drop of super glue on the end of the pin and fix it in the hole. Once dry repeat for the other side, holding the pieces together tightly until dry.

Glue

If you are not using a pin on the new part, don't be too concerned if it's not positioned exactly straight right off the bat. Give the glue a few minutes to get tacky, and you'll be able to fix the clip into any position you want. After that, it's often good idea to apply an additional dab of super glue around the seams (and depending on the size of your weapon, filling any gaps with milliput or similar compounds).

Painting

Since you've gone through all the trouble to customize the weapon, go the extra mile and paint some of the details that Hasbro molded into the weapon, (when applicable).

If you are painting something that's been sealed with Elmer's glue, the paint has a tendency to get crack marks in it, (at least with acrylics). To avoid this, simply spray a coat of paint sealant over the piece. After that, the paint will coat just fine. Look in the Detailing section for ways to bring the most out of your new weapon.

And that's it! Now you've got a cool custom weapon that's never been seen on any G.I. Joe figure before.

Other Tips

  • Practice - If you make one custom weapon, chance are you will have two 'scrap' donors. Use those as a source of parts to hone your technique or try new ones out.
  • Start simple - Don't try to turn a pistol into a sniper rifle as your first accessory custom. A few simple clip or scope changes will help you familiarize yourself with the process so that you are able to take on more complex projects later on.
  • Be just as careful handling a custom weapon as you would be with a custom figure.
  • Be careful adding stocks - Because of the way most figures hold their guns, there is a lot of pressure put on the stock. This usually results in the breakage of the weapon. If you want your figures to hold their weapons realistically, be aware that a custom stock may need repairing from time to time.
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