Modifying the GI Joe Jeep...
In 2002, Hasbro came out with a 1941 slat grill Jeep that was heads and shoulders above their usual toy quality. It was better in several ways than the competition's 21st Century example and I believe Hasbro saw a need to meet or exceed this new on the scene challenger. They made it in several versions, a desert tan, a standard OD Army Jeep that was weathered and another with the canvas top that was factory fresh clean. In the auction where I scored well, one lot had a canvas top version. My first instinct was to pass it on but I became kinda fond of it. It was 100% complete. I was particularly impressed with the look of the top and the dashboard which actually had recessed gauges with clear covers as well as nice, legible placards very much like the real deal. Not even my dragon Kubelwagens have authentic gauges like that. Since it had a few pluses, I accessed what it would take to modify it enough to at least represent more of a model and less of a toy.
The worst part of the jeep was the front end. Hasbro had to still keep in mind this was going to be a toy and installed a bulky reinforced chassis to hopefully save the Jeep from its first collision with a table leg that might break off the front bumper as I have it now.
Here's a picture of a stock example missing the tools which is usually how you find them along with missing the gas can, having the mirror broken off and the steering wheel mangled from cramming a figure in the driver's seat.. You can see part of the extra bracing under the grill for the front end that simply doesn't exist on a real Jeep. The seats were too light in color so I painted them a pale armor green like canvas ones I've seen. I easily buffed off the Army markings with 000 steel wool without effecting the plastic underneath.
Here's the bulky bracing I removed that doesn't exist on a Jeep.
All that bulky bracing served the dual purpose of hiding lack of proper detail of the steering rods and transmission. The steering rods were only a flat plastic strip. I had to modify the steering to at least represent it better since it would now be visible if not prominent. Same for the transmission which was only the bottom half. I cut off the rear wheel transmission which was also just the bottom half and not visible and flipped it over to make the missing top half of the front. Later I fashioned a representation of the front leaf springs and shock absorbers which again could be seen from certain angles but were not prominent. In no way were the faults "corrected" but I was successful in creating the illusion it was more a model than a toy. It's about all you can do with these without almost starting from scratch and spending a fortune on aftermarket accessories.
I had to dirty it up since it came spotless and shiny. Also the pioneer tool were just magically attached to the side of the jeep so I fashioned attachments and straps more like the real thing. Here it is out in bright sun with a super nice Soldier Story Marine. The leaf springs are barely visible and usually aren't noticed on a real example so I just represented the front halves for angles where they may be seen. Compare the transformation with the stock picture above.
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