2009 Convention Dio - Article 5: Custom Vehicles

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Making the G.I Joe Arctic Fox

One of the most talked about custom vehicles in the award-winning JoeCustoms diorama from the 2009 G.I. Joe Collector Club Convention was the lightup Arctic Fox created by Soulgem. Here is his story on the creation of this vehicle.

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The initial jungle dio project was supposed to be RAH, and I was looking forward to making both figures and vehicles. Sadly, when the original idea fell through, it was decided that the new concept was to be in 25th. I have no 25th fodder and saw vehicles as the only way I could participate. I'm not entirely sure, but I think we had around a month from deciding on the snow dio, to the convention.
I've had my old, broken Desert Fox lying around primed and ready for use for a long time, and I figured this was the perfect moment. First I played with the idea that it could have working lights, swiveling radar and motorized wheels. I ended up with only the lights, but up until the very end, I had plans of a radar that could be raised up over the roll bars.
The first thing I did was to make the floor even, so I cut out the turret mount, and added a floor made from an ice cream box. To keep the floor in place, I made a framework, using tape, parts-tree, greenstuff and glue. Pretty, don't you think?
The Desert Fox may have big wheels, but they would have a hard time in the snow, unless it was completely hard packed. So at one point, I almost switched out the rear wheels with treads from a Snow Cat. Actually a perfect fit, but I didn't want to sacrifice my Snow Cat, and I also wanted to maintain the playability of the rolling wheels.
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I'm not sure where the Action Force stickers came from, but they made sense, seeing as the Arctic Fox came from Norway :) The other stickers are from UK Action Force Cobra vehicles, and the Arctic Fox actually has a speedometer. Very useful.

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The leds proved to be a real challenge, and I had to ask for advice from my father. I'll not share the details of this process, because honestly, I have no clue what we did. There is a switch that should be visible in some of the pictures, and there's a battery pack of 2xAA under the vehicle.
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The soft goods were made a bit too large at first, but when I dowsed it in glue to fit the frame, it shrunk more than I had expected. I added velcro straps at the doors and in the back. I let my sister paint the camo.
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Finally, instead of a radar, I added a computer console and two tiny LCD screens from digital cameras. They really had no purpose, as no one would ever notice them. The idea was that the Arctic Fox was a mobile command center for the Joes when they were on an arctic mission.
I think the Arctic Fox came out pretty good. It has tons of play value, and looks the part. The color is maybe a bit too simple, and looking back at it, I think I should have added a third color, maybe blue to match the camo.
The lights were perfect: the blue were ridiculously bright, and the yellow were a bit duller. Why? I have no idea, maybe because the yellow ones were bigger? Or had higher resistance?

Displaying the G.I. Joe Arctic Fox

I was extremely nervous bringing the Arctic Fox into the US. You see, it's made of plastic, contains wires, tape and batteries, and looks extremely home-made. I was honestly scared that my baggage would get taken and I would get to know airport security personally. How ironic it would be to hide a bomb inside a G.I. Joe vehicle! :D

Eventually I came clean with customs, and told them I was going to a toy convention, and that I carried a home-made toy. I didn't get arrested, and both me and the Arctic Fox made it all the way to Kansas City.

Displaying the Arctic Fox was pretty straight forward. The 25th sculpt figures didn't match 100%, but close enough. I can't remember who ended up driving it. Improvised custom Arctic Skidmark? Frozen Skidmark?

We placed it with its front against the cave with the Snakes. I'm not sure if anyone noticed it, and it was certainly only one little piece in a massive gathering of awesomeness. After all, every part of that table was custom made.

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After the first day on display, the batteries were dead. I forgot to turn the switch off. It was no deal to switch batteries, but I panicked at first, thinking it had short circuited, and that the electronics were completely dead.

When the con was over, as planned, I had absolutely no room for the Arctic Fox in my suitcase, and it had made peace with this being a one way trip. The others talked about auctioning off some of the dio pieces, and for that purpose, my vehicle would have been perfect. But as we stood there dismantling the dio, some kids came by with their mother. I stopped them and asked if they wanted a car, and I gave them the Arctic Fox. The mother asked me if I was serious, and was obviously thankful. She told her kids to say thank you as well. They seemed excited, but they would probably be just as excited over a regular Joe vehicle. I showed them where the switch was and how to change batteries, and sent them off with my home made bomb.

For more pictures of Soulgem's Arctic Fox, check out the picture gallery.

To view more pictures of the award-winning JoeCustoms Diorama, check out the picture gallery.

Also, check out a YouTube videoYouTube video of the diorama taken by Sinchicken.

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