Vincent: ...you know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
Vincent: It's the little differences. I mean, they got the same $#!t over there that we got here, but it's just – it's just there it's a little different.
This is the first of what will be a semi-regular feature where I show examples of how simple parts swaps and/or very little effort can dramatically improve the appearance of your favorite action figures. Because as Vincent explains to Jules in the movie Pulp Fiction, those little differences can make life so much cooler.
Being the first in this series, I thought I'd start at the top of the G.I. JOE chain of command with General Joseph "G.I. JOE" Colton and General Hawk.
This figure uses the body and gear from the "Hawk" Toys R Us exclusive "Command Figure 3 Pack" and the head from a Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi figure. I specifically chose this Obi-Wan head because he has a slightly disheveled hairdo and featured an open mouth that looks as if he's barking orders like every good General should. Also, for the most part, Star Wars heads are a good fit on the G.I. JOE 25th Anniversary style bodies but in this case, I drizzled a little hot glue around the inside edge of the neck cavity so it fit a little more snugly. (Note: If you use hot glue to do this, DO NOT let the hot glue cool while the head is on the neck post. If you do, you will not be able to move the head and it could break the neck post when you try to move it.) For the final touch and as an homage to the original 1960s G.I. JOE 12 inch figure, I painted a battle-scar on his right cheek.
This version of "General Hawk is combination of the single carded version and the cartoon styled 5 pack. The single card had a lot of great body detail but the belt and shoulder holster were gray instead of black and while the 5 pack version had a black belt and shoulder holster, the fur collar was brown and his name wasn't printed on his jacket. So I unscrewed one of the legs on both figures and let the bodies sit in hot water to make the belts flexible and easier to remove. The hot water also softened the glue holding the epaulets in place on the shoulders and after a minute or two and a little pulling with a pair of small pliers, the epaulets came off and I was able to put the shoulder holster and belt on the single carded body. After he was cool and dry, I positioned the shoulder holster and added a tiny dab of super glue to the holes in the shoulders to reattach the epaulets. I re-attached the legs and used the helmet from the 5 pack which has more paint detail than the single carded version.