Project: No Joe!
The Corps, American Defense, Sgt Rock, Bronze Bombers, US Forces, Ninja Strike Force, Commando Force, there were several 3.75’’ toy lines that competed with GI Joe in the 80s and 90s. We all had at least one figure like that in our childhood collections. Most of us have had that feeling of disappointment when we ask for GI Joes for our birthday only to open a Corps figure given to us by a well-meaning Grandparent.
Bucky and Oreobuilder have been talking about making customs based on these lines ever since they started their first Resurgence project in 2014. They opened that can of worms with last year’s ‘’Retro Toy Chest II’’ project when the whole PHX gang made some customs based on these characters. That gave the team the momentum to continue with their project. This time, HypnoHustler joins the squad! He has demonstrated his love for these lines by making several kick-butt customs of various Remco figures. They’ll revisit a couple of those customs as well as show off a bunch of new ones.
The first step was to scour the web for good reference pictures. That is easier said than done. There are a few sites that have character lists with pictures, but none are exhaustive, so the PHX Customs Team were always finding figures that were not on one site or another. They started by making a master list of all the characters we could find. They then each picked their favorites and went from there.
Over the next two weeks, they’ll show off what they came up with. With that, we present Retro Toy Chest 3-Project: No Joe! Enjoy and happy Custom Celebration XII! Bucky, DanoftheDead, Dusty79 and Oreobuilder, with Special Guest Star Hypno Hustler!
Read on to check out Day 9 of the Event, then join us after the break for discussion already in progress on the Cobra Island Forums!
Day 9: American Defense from Remco
”American Defense… the very name strikes terror into the hearts of the enemies of freedom! American Defense… the elite secret troop of specialized fighters in Defense of Freedom! American Defense… headed by the Super Eight Attack Squad… America’s best Defense!” – Taken from back of 1986 packaging.
American Defense was a line of 3 ¾’’ military toys sold exclusively at Kmart in the eighties. The line started with Galoob’s A-Team molds and Remco grew it from there. It was later produced by different companies and ended up in dollar stores and discount outlets. Similar to GI Joe, it included a wide variety of colorful characters. However, without a cartoon, comic or any marketing to back it up, the line rode GI Joe’s coattails for a while and then disappeared.
American Defense Colonel Striker by bucky
Another Remco figure from the sub line “Deseert Patrol”, Colonel Striker is an odd visual. When you look at the art on the back of the packages, he appears to have some rolled up sleeves, where as the actual figure has some out of place straight black arms coming from under his button up shirt. Not sure what the deal was with that, but it makes for an interesting visual. I translated the look as best I could, and am pleased with the results I got.
Duke head with Sculpted hair
Snake Eyes forearms
Lt. Falcon bbts legs
American Defense Wolfman by HypnoHustler
Wolfman is precisely that. Part of the S.I.T. subline the original figure had a head with two faces, one of which was usually hidden under his helmet. This allowed him to “transform” into a werewolf, much like Man-E-Faces from He-Man. I have a soft spot for a good gimmick, and I’ve been doing a lot of work lately with interchangeable parts, so Wolfman jumped out to me as a chance to explore that further. His filecard is pure cheesy goodness, even stating that he “makes the SIT team’s fight for freedom RUFF RUFF RUFF.” How they managed to avoid a SIT pun I have no idea.
Heads: Man of Steel Zod and Wolverine Orgins Sabretooth, modded
Torso and upper arms: 25th Viper
Lower arms: RoC Hawk and Clone Wars Chewbacca
Legs: 25th Dusty
Ninja Strike Force Samurai Hero by Oreobuilder
Remco produced many different lines using the same molds during the ’80s and ’90s. One of the more obscure was Ninja Strike Force. The whole line consisted of only 6 figures. Samurai Hero was interesting to make as a custom as it was another way of using the Budo head. I changed the build a little from the original. The biggest change was the boots. I went with ninja style wrapping instead of jackboots. I felt it worked better for this figure. Also, I added the arms bands and hand wrapping as well. I figure this can be Samurai Hero’s training look rather than his battle outfit.
Head: Retaliation Budo
Torso, upper arms: PoC Zartan
Lower arms: 30th Gnaw
Hands: Resolute Storm Shadow
Legs: DG Storm Shadow