Friday, 24 February 2017

Retro Toy Chest Day 5 - Contra & Double Dragon

''In 2633, two armed Elite Marine Commandos "Contra" named Bill Rizer and Lance Bean are sent on a mission to neutralize a terrorist organization called Red Falcon that is secretly planning to take over the entire world and it is up to this two man army to put an end to this madness once and for all.'' – From

Contra is a 1987 run and gun action game developed and published by Konami and was the first game in a series released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). For the North American release, the publisher made a couple of changes. The characters were renamed Mad Dog and Scorpion and the year in the game was changed to 1987.

Mad Dog and Scorpion by Oreobuilder

In the original game, the two characters were nearly identical on the screen except for the hair and pants color. Over the course of the franchise, their looks evolved as technology progressed. For my customs, I tried to incorporate elements from a few different games while keeping them steeped in ‘80s action hero looks.

Bill "Mad Dog" Rizer
Head: PoC Duke
Torso: Resolute Storm Shadow (Comic Pack)
Arms: 50th Dusty
Legs: 50th Firefly

Lance "Scorpion" Bean
Head, upper arms: Marauder Spirit
Torso, lower arms: Resolute Snake Eyes
Legs: 25th Beachhead

''Double Dragon is the story of Billy and Jimmy Lee, twin brothers who learned to fight on the cold, tough streets of their city. Their expert knowledge of the martial arts, combined with their street-smarts, has made them both formidable fighting machines.
But now Billy is faced with his greatest challenge: his girlfriend, Marian, has been kidnapped by the Black Warriors, the savage street gang of the mysterious Shadow Boss! Using whatever weapons come to hand - knives, whips, bats, rocks, oil drums, even dynamite - Billy must pursue the gang through the slums, factories, and wooded outskirts of the city to reach the hideout for his final confrontation with the Shadow Boss...his brother Jimmy''
– From Original Double Dragon packaging

Double Dragon is a 1987 beat ‘em up game developed by Technos Japan and was released as an arcade game. It was released for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1988.

Billy and Jimmy Lee by Oreobuilder

One of my friends had the Double Dragon cartridge for the NES and I remember playing the game with him when I was a kid. In the original arcade game, the two characters were nearly identical on the screen except for the hair and pants color. Over the course of the franchise, their looks evolved as technology progressed. For my customs, I tried to incorporate elements from a few different games while keeping them steeped in ‘80s looks. Since they are twin brothers, I used the same recipe for both.

Billy Lee
Head: Animal Planet
Torso, upper arms: RoC Snake Eyes
Lower arms: 25th Storm Shadow
Legs: Roc Neo Viper

Jimmy Lee
Head: Star Wars Kenobi
Torso, upper arms: RoC Snake Eyes
Lower arms: 25th Storm Shadow
Legs: Roc Neo Viper

Next: Oreobuilder has ''The World's Toughest Troops at his Command!"

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Retro Toy Chest Day 4 - Bronze Bombers

''Fearlessly, the mighty U.S. 369th Infantry led the nation's greatest Black Army into battle. They fought in WWI and WWII and they never lost. There have been no warriors their equal until today! Today, we have the Bronze Bombers™! Today they defend the country against P.S.B. enemy squad. These highly skilled combatants stand for justice and they never lose!" – From 1988 card back

The Bronze Bombers was a short-lived toy line produced by Olmec. Two "waves" were produced. The first one, released in 1988, consisted of a dozen different figures and 2 small vehicles. The figures had similar molds to Galoob's A-Team figures from the early '80s and were of lesser quality. In 1997, Olmec acquired several GI Joe molds from Hasbro and produced a 12 figure boxset consisting of recolored vehicle drivers like Motor-Viper, Skidmark, Darklon and Strato-Viper. A year later, Olmec filled for bankrupcy and Bronze Bombers line disappeared.

Roughshot by Oreobuilder

I was not back into Joes when Olmec released their Bronze Bombers multipack in 1997. Apparently, it flew off store shelves and it's easy to see why. All of the figures in the pack make excellent additions to the ARAH Joe ranks and great custom fodder for easy head swaps.

For this project, I looked at all the figures in the pack as candidates for customs. I picked Roughshot because of the color scheme, but made a few changes. First, I added some bronze accents that were not on the original figure. These accents are included in all my current and future Bronze Bombers customs as a way of tying them all together. Second, I added a pilot helmet to define a specialty for the character. Down the road, I may look at giving him a plane or a helicopter to pilot, but I'm liking the jetpack for now. Now that I've dipped my toes in this team, I am planning to make the rest in the future.

Head, helmet: Renegades Ripcord
Torso, arms, legs, vest: RoC Strato-Viper

Shaka Johnson by Oreobuilder

After looking at the 1997 Bronze Bombers for inspiration, I discovered that the line existed as far back as 1988 (thank you YoJoe for being a constant source of inspiration). This earlier line included figures that were a bit more generic (that had less flair) than the 1997 ones, but are interesting in an Original 13 sort of way.

For Johnson, I really like the green and yellow color scheme. It sets him apart from the other figures in the line while still keeping the military roots. I used mostly 25th parts to convey the retro feel of the figure.

Head: RoC Heavy Duty
Beret: Marauder Task Force
Torso, upper arms: 25th Duke
Lower arms: 25th Airborne
Upper legs: 25th Firefly
Lower legs: 25th Snake Eyes

Mapman Jackson by Oreobuilder

Mapman Jackson was the last of three Bronze Bombers that I built for this project. Like Shaka Johnson, he has an Original 13 feel, but is different from the others because of his boots, his canopy helmet and the snazzy orange camoflage on his uniform.

Head: RoC Ripcord
Helmet: AVAC cast
Torso: 30th Falcon
Upper arms: 25th Duke
Lower arms: DG Duke
Upper legs: 25th Cobra Commander
Lower legs: 25th Major Bludd

Collect them all! 

Next: from Oreobuilder: "Pitted against the galaxy's fiercest foe, you either win or the world loses" and "You'll never have to stand in line to play [...] again!"

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Retro Toy Chest Day 3 - Zelda and Batman

"The series centers on Link, the playable character and chief protagonist. Link is often given the task of rescuing Princess Zelda and the kingdom of Hyrule from Ganon, who is the principal antagonist of the series; however, other settings and antagonists have appeared in several titles. The games' plots commonly involve a relic known as the Triforce, a set of three omnipotent golden triangles.’’ – Synopsis from

The Legend of Zelda is a series of videogames that debuted in 1986 and, along with a few other iconic titles (Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, etc) helped put the original Nintendo Entertainment System on the map.

Ganondorf by Dusty79

From the desk of Dusty79:
I have always loved the videogame The Legend of Zelda. I have made several Link customs and this is just building on that earlier work. Battling against Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time on N64 when I got a bit older brought back great memories of the original Nintendo game from when I was a kid.

Head: World of Nintendo Ganondorf
Torso, Arms, Lower Legs, and Cape: Thor
Upper Legs: 25th Destro 

"The Dark Knight Returns was a 1986 four-issue comic book miniseries starring Batman, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson, and published by DC Comics. The Dark Knight Returns tells an alternative story of Bruce Wayne, who at 55 years old returns from retirement to fight crime and faces opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government. The story introduces Carrie Kelley as the new Robin and culminates with a confrontation against Superman."

Batman by bucky

From the desk of bucky:
For being one of the better Batman stories ever told, I honestly never read Dark Knight returns until sometime in high school. Maybe around 95-96? I was able to pick up a new trade copy at a comic store that was closing. I was aware of it's popularity, but in the 80's/90's, the emphasis was the art for me, not so much the story. I always had looked at the Frank Miller art as kinda hokey, and the style of it had always made me pass on this story. So I was not expecting much, but sitting down and reading this on a winter's night, I was blown away. I thought it was a fantastic story, and the art, though hit and miss at times, fit the story so well.

The custom itself was one of my more difficult translations I have come across, as there is a fine line in making a Joe sized custom and trying to stay true to Miller's art. I intentionally went with larger hands and feet to try to capture some of the look.

Head: Angry Nomad's Cast
Torso: RoC heavy Duty
Arms: Roc Heavy Duty Upper/Road Pig Lowers, gloves sculpted
Legs: Wild Bill Upper/RoC Destro lower (with some sculpted boot)
Belt: Vortious Cast
Cape: Batman figure

Next: Oreobuilder calls on soldiers that claim that ''They Stand for Justice and They Never Lose!''