Custom Arctic Adventurer

Custom Arctic AdventurerCustoms have been a fascination of mine within toy collecting for some time. The first time I can remember customizing a toy myself was back in the 80s, when I asked my mother to make a set of arctic clothes for my ’82 Snake Eyes and ’83 Stalker. I had been so smitten with issue 2 of the Marvel comic (and the coloring book based on it) that I wanted to recreate the unique cold weather gear the Joe team wore in that issue. It’s interesting to look back now and realize that I had put cloth outfits on the small Joe line, having little knowledge at the time of the history of the toys and their beginnings as costumed action figures. During the Marvel Toy Biz heyday, I created quite a few customs, and even had a little web site.

I’ve lately returned to collecting a few 12 inch GI Joes, mainly reissues (for the sake of finances) and have been intrigued by the world of custom large scale Joes. There’s a lot of material available, from parted out Hasbro sets, to producers like Cotswold, and small operations like Project ARE. I’d been planning some custom Adventure Team sets when I happened upon this figure in an auction.

The base is a reissue Land Adventurer with the Collectors Club Arctic Adventurer uniform set (jacket, pants, boots, holster and rifle). The set was further detailed by adding a backpack, (presumably from a 40th anniversary set), white cartridge belt, cap, goggles, pick axe and snow shoes (most likely from a modern set). The white rifle features some nicely detailed camouflage patterning.

I’m amazed by what’s possible with a little kitbashing at this scale, and look forward to tricking out some of my other Adventure Team members soon. It certainly seems to be a less intensive effort than working with tiny bits of Sculpey and layer upon layer of thin acrylic paint.

20150326_224020Custom Arctic AdventurerCustom Arctic Adventurer


  • I don’t know what it is about Arctic uniforms, but they’ll make any figure look better. Most time I can’t be bothered with 12-inch figures, but this one caught my eye. It’s only flaw is the comically large zipper. I can imagine this guy trying to get dressed fast and having to pause and use both hands to pull that thing up. Otherwise great though!

  • This guy is well outfitted and looks great! I’m a little jealous of the 12″ scale for these possibilities.

  • That’s always been my favorite part of my 12″ GI Joe collection – being able to easily customize them. I’m over the original body style of the big Joe and have collected the Super-Articulated modern body for most of my customs. Always cool to see some love for the big troops!

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