Recipes: I was a devout Captain Action fanboy when he first appeared in the 60s. CA’s squinty facial expression reminded me of Roy Rogers, my favorite TV cowboy back in the day. Strangely, Roy Rogers was not one of the archetypal likenesses CA was licensed to assume, but the Lone Ranger was. Even though most of CA’s superhero personas were hilariously off-model, they were my first superhero toys, nonetheless.
In terms of the figure itself, CA had a far more realistic (and heroic) physique, and his flexible vinyl fingers could actually hold his accessories, unlike my “hard hands” GIJoes. (I have never understood why early Joes had their hands frozen into such bizarre and ineffective gestures.) In fact GIJoe was redesigned not too long after CA came on the scene. Joe sacrificed some articulation for a less robotic-looking base figure, and acquired new Kung-Fu Grip hands, whose fingers could at least wrap around sidearms.
Recent attempts have been made to reactivate the Captain Action toy franchise as a mass-market line. The most recent featured the comic book incarnations of several Marvel characters. The “redesigned” CA base figure associated with this line no longer reminded me of Roy Rogers, but still featured the exaggerated simian forearms that had been an anatomical signature of CA since day one. This anomaly had even bothered me a child. Worse still, this new CA’s neck was now noticeably too short, his waist was a bit high, and his legs a bit long.
But those Silver Age Marvel costumes were so sweet. The best ever made, IMO. I determined to work around the many limitations inherent in this line, and kitbash these guys into looking as good as they could.
I had to obtain and even customize action figure stand for every one of these figures. Their soft vinyl, left = right boots (how 19th Century) and slightly wobbly leg joints proved unreliable for unassisted standing. To avoid any potential, problematic interactions between these vinyl boots and the plastic stand platforms, I covered the bases with green felt.
My next priority was replacing the CA base figure. Sounds simple, right? After all, there must be a dozen sixth scale figure manufacturers out there these days. However, CA’s costumes refused to fit 99% of the more modern figures I had laying around, largely due to the lycra material used only stretching in one direction.
In the end I decided I could effectively modify the worst elements of the new CA base figure. The line was already flagging at TRU, so spare CA figures were available at reduced prices. I shortened every CA forearm be removing a .025” cross-section above the wrist, but was able save & reglue all the CA wrist joints. Many of the CA base figures were sprayed with Dull-Cote to knock down the prominent plastic shine. Strangely, perhaps, the Captain America costume would not fit the CA body well at all! The star on his chest was stretched severely! Fortunately, the Captain America uniform was a far better fit on a Dragon figure. I also had to reposition the wings on Cap’s head. I had to replace the necks & heads on most of the remaining CA base figures, with the exception of Iron Man. His mask obscured CA’s short neck somewhat. When the yellow faceplate is removed the CA face is revealed, so I painted on a pencil thin mustache. The result looked enough like Tony Stark to me. I also added some lenses here & there. I wanted to replace his “hip pods” but have yet to locate the appropriately shaped substitute.
By a similar token, the character masks that came with most of these CA costume sets were laughably unusable! The resulting masked noggins appeared far too large, and made these guys look like babyfied, bobble-head dolls, at best. In all fairness, the Iron Man mask wasn’t as badly out of proportion, nor was Spider-Man’s or the Wolverine’s masks. (I also kitbashed Spidey & Wolfy from this Marvel Captain Action line, but did not display them here.)
I did manage to (miraculously, IMO) re-use parts of both the critical Captain America & Hawkeye CA masks, by removing the lower, lantern-jawed, half of each face. The visible eyes are those painted on the masks. As a happy accident, both Captain America & Hawkeye have removable masks, like the Iron Man figure, and actually resemble Steve & Clint alter egos.
Thor & Loki’s masks, heads & necks were beyond saving! I did manage to use Thor’s helmet (after removing several tiers of feathers up top), but again miraculously, found a discarded Orlando Bloom Legolas head, which already had some long blond hair, whose skintone matched the base figure’s exactly. I added some Milliput hair, remade the CA hammer accessory, and painted these additions (as well as repainting Thor’s boot cuffs.
Loki’s neck & head (Lamont Cranston’s likeness, with painted brows & beard) were originally from a sixth-scale Shadow set. I removed Loki’s goofy CA mask face from his yellow hood. I also felt compelled to enhance Loki’s regal demeanor with a yellow, high-collared cape (from an old 8” Vision figure), some yellow cordage, a yellow sash, emerald ring, and sword/scabbard belt set.