While I really like Spirit's portrayal as a smart, stoic individual with a keen knowledge of the natural world in the G.I. JOE: A Real American Hero comic book series written by Larry Hama, his portrayal in the 80's cartoon as a mystic "other" with a bad stereotypical Native American accent annoyed me. So I always had mixed feelings about the character. And when he was released in the 25th Anniversary line in 2008, the figure was abysmal. It looked as if they had run out of money to paint his details. Freedom, his eagle companion was a plain brown and worst of all, Spirit's head-sculpt and deco made him look like an 80-year-old Johnny Cash impersonator. (See pic for comparison below.)
So as you can see, Spirit needed an overhaul. First, I added washes to his clothes and gear to bring out the sculpted details. Then, I went to town on the gear painting his grenades, trinkets, clips, handles, and even the buttons on his pouches. I painted the gun barrel and scope and detailed the "arrows" in the removable clips. I gave Freedom a wash and then dry brushed his feathers to bring out all the details.
Finally, I replaced his head with a Slayer Design Studios head that was a better likeness of Spirit and had more Native American-like features. The hair braids were a particular challenge as the head was cast in a fairly rigid plastic. And even after heating and shaping the braids around the gear, the one on the right still stuck out very unnaturally. I carefully cut the braid mid-length and repositioned it using some sculpting material so that it laid closer to his chest and followed the contours of his gear. I then painted the head matching the skin tone of the arms.
I hope you dig him. If you do, follow me on Twitter or follow this blog at the link on the right so you don't miss out. Until next time, I remain The Insidious One.