G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary Cobra Rattler By Whitewolf
: Jay Cochran - 2008.03.23
This week's TNI Cool Custom is of 3 3/4" G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary "Cobra Rattler
" vehicle by Whitewolf.
Here is how Whitewolf describes the making of it:
The plane that I'm using for the new Rattler is the TRU Elite Operations A-10A Thunderbolt II (shameless plug--->>TRU $29.99). I've also heard a few people say that another store carries this aircraft under its "store brand" name too. What actually inspired me to do this project is the cover of the comic that came in the Destro/Breaker comic pack. It clearly shows the Rattlers flying overhead to be A-10As, not the original VTOL design (and missing the rear gunner station). Maybe Cobra upgraded (or downgraded, depending how you look at it) its air force with these more conventional planes instead of the hybridized stuff that MARS was supplying. Of course we all know that this is just the artist's "revisioning" of the original comic cover, but still...good custom fodder that's nearly in the correct scale for the figures! The wingspan on this sucker is enormous!
Items you will need:
*1 TRU Elite Operations A-10A Thunderbolt II; 2 if you wish to match the current weapon loadout ($29.99)
*2 cans of Krylon Fusion Patriotic Blue Paint (about $5.00 per can)
*1 can of Krylon Fusion Satin Black Paint
*X-acto Blade set (about $15.00 for a set or $5.00 for single blade)
*1 tube of Advanced Formula Krazy Glue (about $2.00 per tube)
*1 roll of Professional Painter's Tape (purple or blue color, about $3.00 per roll)
*1 sheet of professional Reproduction Decals (the source of these G.I. Joe and Cobra decals is Ruben Jimenez from Mexico. PM me for his email address)
*1 Phillips-head Screwdriver
The first step is to take the plane out of the box; leave the missiles and weapon mounts in the packaging for now. Once the plane is out of the box, begin disassembling it by removing all screws from the bottom. Seperate the top of the plane from the bottom, then turn the top of the plane upside down so that you are now looking at the "inside" of the hull. Remove the screws that hold the engine assembly to the top of the upper hull. Set the engine assembly aside. Remove the nosecone; set aside. Remove both tail rudders and set aside. Disassemble both landing gear housings and remove wheel assemblies; set these parts aside. Also remove the back part of the canopy and set it aside. Remove the cockpit control panel and set aside, then remove the front landing gear and remove the wheel from the panel. Pop the seat out by tugging forward with light force. Careful that you don't break the seat itself, but its okay if you break the mounting post the seat sits on. This is what the Krazy Glue will be used for later.
Second step is to prep the aircraft parts for painting. This is a no-brainer, but I have to say it anyway...make sure you are working in a WELL VENTILATED AREA! Clean all aircraft parts before painting. The Krylon cans say to quickly wipe down all new surfaces with paint thinner, but I didn't have to do so. I simply cleaned off all parts with a dry dust cloth used for cleaning eyeglasses.
Krylon Fusion paint is a paint specifically formulated to molecularly bond with plastics. This is going to be the closest thing to "toy industry standard" paint you can get without lead in it. The beauty of this paint is that it dries within 15 minutes, and you can handle the painted item within 1 hour. Other paints usually take much longer. Fusion paint cures after 7 days, becoming completely chip-resistant...something that even model paints don't usually boast. Wait the full week for the paint to cure before applying decals.
Tape the outside and inside of the front canopy and around the black dome of the right landing gear housing, making sure there are absolutely no exposed areas. Double-check to make sure the tape is securely attached to the plastic. This is why I didn't use any kind of paint thinner, as the residue would counteract the tape's adhesive.
At this point, you are ready to paint the main body of the aircraft. Spray the upper hull (the part with the wings) in even, sweeping motions. Hold the can about 10 to 12 inches from the hull to avoid dripping. Make sure you also get the sides of the wings and the wing tips. Once you have applied an even coat, allow this to dry for about 15 to 30 minutes. Afterward, the paint will still be slightly tacky, but not enough to leave fingerprints. Turn the hull over and apply a coat to the bottom, making sure you coat the missile hardpoints and the interior of the hull. Allow this entire upper hull piece to dry, as you are done with it for now. Once dry, remove all tape.
Next, paint the bottom hull, just as you did the upper hull...making sure you paint inside as well. Painting the interior of the aircraft gives it a much more uniform appearance once you have reassembled it. Set this aside and allow to dry. The major paint job is pretty much done. All that's left is painting both sides of each tail rudder, the landing gear housings, and the weapons mounts that are still in the box. Go ahead and remove the multimissile mounts now and clean these like you did the main body. Paint both rudders/aerilons, the landing gear housings and the missile mounts, making sure you tape over the black part of the right gear housing. Once these have been painted, allow to dry.
Now tape around the outer edges of the engines up to the panel lines (front and back). Completely cover the turboprops and the thrusters with tape. Paint the exposed areas blue, first painting the top/sides...allowing them to dry, then turn it over and paint the bottom, including the parts that are not going to be seen once its reassembled. Once this part is dry, remove the tape and set aside.
Paint both sides of the front landing gear panel, allow to dry and then set aside...
Once the upper hull is completely dry (I waited 24 hours before doing this part), tape up the upper hull just past the rear of the cockpit, leaving the space exposed between the panel lines along the front of the nose...again making sure you completely cover the front canopy. Paint this area black.
Remove all tape and set aside to let dry. Now take the gray nosecone, clean it and paint it black inside and out. Allow this to dry.
You are now done with the repaint...I cannot stress this enough: let all parts dry COMPLETELY for at least 24 hours before reassembling!
I used an X-acto blade to cut out the sides of the seat and the fronts of the armrests. This leaves the back of the seat, the bottom and the upper armrests. The spaces under the armrests will serve as empty areas where Wild Weasel's hip holsters will lock into. To place the figure into the seat, you will have to slide him in at an angle, one leg at a time, but once seated, he will not move. BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHILE USING X-ACTO BLADES! I cannot be held responsible for missing appendages.
Once everything is completely dry, reassemble the landing gear and gear housings to the wings. Reattach the engine assembly to the upper hull. Reassemble the front landing gear hull panel to the wheel. Glue the seat back into place, along with the control panel and the front landing gear. Reassemble the bottom hull to the upper hull. Reattach the rudders/aerilons to the rear of the plane. Place the multi-missile mounts anywhere you wish under the wings.
So far, so good...the hard stuff is done. Your Rattler only needs its Cobra decals.
Ruben Jimenez has the best vintage G.I. Joe decals available. They are done with a kind of ink that does not rub off at all...and honestly are better than ANYTHING Hasbro ever released with its original RAH line of vehicles. Refer to my photos of the Rattler 2008 for placement, or refer to Yojoe.com's Vehicle Reference list for the original Rattler's instruction sheet to see approximately where they should go. The decals that Ruben supplies are NOT die-cut, so your X-acto blade or a good pair of sharp scissors will serve you well here...
Cut them carefully and apply them according to whichever resource you choose.
if you would like to submit your own custom figure(s) to be displayed on TNI, and be sure to check out our Custom Forum
section, where you can talk and show off your work among other customizers.
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