Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 6 (Terrordrome Sponge Bath)

Well the day has finally arrived, my G.I. Joe cleaning and restoration project has at last reached the final stage, that’s right the Cobra Terrordrome has been completely renovated and restored to its former glory! I knew that cleaning up the Terrordrome would be a considerable undertaking, but it proved to be more difficult than I imagined. Just by looking at the thing I could see it was a filthy mess, the compartments around the base of the Cobra headquarters and the circular command center at the top seemingly served as a great nesting ground for the rodents that made their home within the large cardboard box that stored the Terrordrome and the other Joe toys. Dust, debris, and blotchy brown mouse stains covered every part of the Drome of Terror. The real problem however wasn’t with how dirty the thing was, it was how huge it is! Originally I had planned to take the whole thing outside with a bucket of soapy water and the garden hose and clean it in my backyard. I nixed that plan however when the weather refused to cooperate and after about the third week in a row of rain my impatients and curiosity got the best of me and I decided to do what I could in the basin sink in my basement. Thankfully it worked out, but I had to do some serious wrestling with several of the wide, unwieldy sections of the Terrordrome in order to get them thoroughly cleaned.

Starting out I first completely disassembled the base, removing every wall panel and accessory that was still attached. After that I just made a few twisting maneuvers and was able to separate the top of the Terrordrome from the launch silo and the base. I was hesitant to take it apart completely; worried that it would be a pain in my ass to put back together. As I said earlier my first thought was that I would be able to just haul it outside and wash it down without having to completely break it down. Thankfully the base is designed in a fairly foolproof manner that makes it more or less impossible to put together wrong. The only concern was a few accessories that could be attached in various positions depending on your aesthetic.

Once the whole thing was taken apart the cleaning began. I started with the smallest parts first, the pie shaped retracting silo covers and the wall and door sections. Then came the dark blue ramparts that attach to the top of the base emblazoned with the Cobra insignia, they are actually some of my favorite features of the base. The large main turrets were cleaned in my initial wave of cleaning when I took care of all the loose guns and parts that were floating around in the bottom of the box, but the smaller rear turrets and the outer bay doors of the Terrordrome were taken care of this round.

Then it came down to the biggest sections, the top and the base. The top wasn’t too bad, after the cobra insignia ramparts were removed it was far more streamlined and fit easier into the basin sink, it was just a matter of turning it like a wheel and flipping it around in order to get it all cleaned. I abandoned most of my brushes which had served as my cleaning implements in previous stages, and took up a sponge that would be easier to work into the nooks and crannies of the Terrordrome’s varied layers. I suppose you could say I literally gave the Terrordrome a sponge bath.

That last part of the base, was the bottom with the launch silo still attached, together it barely fit into the sink enough to clean it. I had to wedge it in at an angle turning the faucet to one side leaving just enough room to be able to turn the water on and off and reach down to a small bucket of soap and water. It took a good twenty minutes to scrub that sucker down, twisting, pulling, shifting, lifting, and reaching around it in order to make sure it was spotless when I was done with it.

After that workout I decided to just leave it all out to dry and come back to assemble it later. When it finally came time to put the Terrordrome back together I was pleasantly surprised, as I said before it was fairly foolproof to reassemble. When it came to the minor details I was fortunate to have some of the original instruction sheets as well as the packaging images to refer to in order to figure it out.

Now that it is all cleaned up and reassembled it is a glorious sight to behold. The Terrordrome is a thing of beauty! They simply don’t make toys like this anymore, or else kids just aren’t interested in these kinds of things nowadays. This Terrordrome in particular is in great condition! Considering how much evidence there was of mouse activity within the Terrordrome itself there really wasn’t that much damage from the mice, not as much as there was with some of the other stuff. There are only few incidents of them chewing on the plastic parts, one of the turret seats have been gnawed on and a wall section has a few nibbles taken from it. The only other problems with it are minor ones, a few stickers in the wrong place, and two of the gun caps are MIA. With those few exceptions the Terrordrome is in surprisingly pristine condition and in fine working order.

But enough of me going on about the thing, take a look for yourself! Below are the pictures of the last of my cleaning efforts (click on the images for a larger version), but fear not this does not mean you won’t be seeing these G.I. Joe and Cobra toys again! I have been pondering what to do with these treasures and I have a few ideas in mind for a photography project that would make use of this stuff. In fact, there might be a clue within the pictures below as to what that project might be . . . . .

The base of the Terrordrome after being diasassembled

The various doors and walls of the Terrordrome

The top of the Terrordrome with Cobra insignia ramparts still attached

The base and launch silo in the sink mid-cleaning

Terrordrome in the process of being reassembled

It is complete! A fully assembled Terrordrome!

A shot from above, a chair for every computer terminal, and a computer terminal for every chair

Finally Cobra can get back to work terrorizing the world and the forces of G.I. Joe

There are three garage bays with deployable refueling stations

There are two smaller rear turrets that can swing out to fire on enemy forces, also pictured the launch lever for the silo

A prison cell for captured G.I. Joe forces, let's see them get past that "laser" gate!

The common area/ party room/ storage. This is where they have company birthday parties.

A closeup of one of the main turrets

That is all . . . . for now . . . .

Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 4

      Things are moving right along with this little G.I. Joe project I’ve undertaken.  This stage of the cleaning was marked by the last of the vehicles being spruced up, which leaves only the Headquarters Command Center and the Terrordrome itself still to be worked on.  This may have also been the most complicated the restoration process has been thus far.  There wasn’t anything too difficult, but up until now the main effort on my part has just been to scrub these things down and search through the loose pieces I had to see what accessories went with which vehicles.  This time however I dabbled a bit more in the actual restoration of some of these toys. 
 
     First of all I was able to completely repair the two figures I thought were completely out of commission, Xamot and the D.E.M.O.N Driver.  Just as I was about to glue the figures legs on in order to at least make use of them in vehicles or the various bases I happened to come across a small screw driver I had which was the perfect size to undo the figures tiny screws.  This was a breakthrough and meant it would give me the opportunity to perform some . . . . surgery.  Xamot suffered from the most common G.I. Joe ailment, a blown o-ring.  The small rubber band that connects his torso to his pelvis and legs snapped causing him to fall apart but leaving him otherwise in good shape.  The D.E.M.O.N. Driver actually had a broken leg hook.  The small metal piece that attached to the legs and which hooked onto the o-ring was corroded and somehow broke.  Long story short both figures were saved by cannibalizing parts from other Joes.  There were several random figure parts and broken characters floating around in the bottom of the box where these toys were stored, from those loose and busted parts I was able to find a new leg hook for the D.E.M.O.N. Driver.  The o-ring for Xamot was a little harder to find considering that rubber can degrade pretty quickly, the only o-rings I was able to find from the random parts were shriveled up and brittle.  That component had to come from a Duke repaint which was nearly identical to another I had so I took him apart and extracted his fresh rubber band, I figured it was a worthy sacrifice to make.
   
     Next I attempted to move a few decals around on the D.E.M.O.N. itself which has some very cool stickers decorating it.  One in particular is an image of Destro’s head in gold with his name printed in gold letters underneath, which is just great.  I don’t think you can see it in any of the pictures below but when I examined the D.E.M.O.N. the sticker was in a completely wrong place where it could not be fully appreciated.  After giving the zany vehicle a good cleaning I ran the sticker under some hot water and was able to pull it off with no problem.  I tried to flatten it out as best I could and applied a latex based adhesive to it that dries clear which I figured would be similar to the original type of adhesive on the decal.  Because the sticker was folded and bent from where it was originally placed it doesn’t lay perfectly flat on the front of the vehicle but it’s worth it.  I just really like the idea of villains being cocky enough to plaster their faces and names across their fleet of war machines, especially Cobra, who are not known for their stellar victories.   Anywho the real challenge with all of this is yet to come however in the form of the two bases which will require major cleaning, some complex assembly, and minor detail restorations.  The G.I. Joe Headquarters shouldn’t be too troublesome to clean since it’s completely disassembled into flat plastic walls.  The Terrordrome though, is much larger, and short of taking the Cobra base apart it will have to be cleaned either in my garage or outside and hosed off.  That however requires for some decent weather, instead of the 40 degrees and rain we’ve had for the past month!
 
Finally as a last little tid bit I’ve identified all of the characters and compiled a list of figures that I have now, both from my previous collection and those acquired from this new cache of toys, check it out.  Following that it’s the before and after shots of the last four vehicles and the rest of the random items that were in need of some cleaning.  
 
Cobra:
Headman, Voltar, Cobra Commander (several versions), Destro, Firefly, Stormshadow, Baroness, Serpentor, Major Bludd, Zartan, Dr. Mindbender, Crystal Ball, Scrap Iron, A.V.A.C., Laser Viper, Cobra Officer, Air Viper, Star Viper, Shadow Viper, Fast Blast Viper, Rock Viper, Paraviper, Xamot, and Ferret (D.E.M.O.N. Driver)
 
G.I. Joe:
Gung Ho, Torpedo, Duke, Wild Bill, Big Bear, Deep Six, Mutt, Big Ben, Shockwave, Clutch, Crankcase, Major Storm, Road Block, Mercer, Airborne, General Tomahawk, Rock n Roll, Snow Job, Snake Eyes, Path Finder, Wet Suit, Scarlett, Surefire, Zap, Doc, Low-Light, Salvo, Ambush, Sneak Peek, Crossfire     
 
 

A fully repaired Xamot!

 

The mobat tank fairly clean but not in great shape. Broken canon and missing wheels.

The mobat cleaned up with Major Storm.

 

Disassembled bridge layer. The bridge portions were pretty gross underneath, something was living in them . . . .

 

The cleaned up bridge layer in undeployed mode. Still missing are the side guns.

 

The bridge layer fully deployed with the vamp making a cameo. Clutch, Mutt, and Doc pictured.

 

 

Destro's D.E.M.O.N. missing a few parts and dusty.

 

The D.E.M.O.N. cleaned up and the missing parts found and replaced.

 

D.E.M.O.N. in its elevated position, showing off the various moving parts. Iron Grenadiers Ferret (D.E.M.O.N. Driver), Destro, and Voltar in the cockpit.

 

The Terrordromes attack ship, firbat, in need of some thorough cleaning!

 

The firebat all cleaned up and the missiles attached. Firebat pilot A.V.A.C. at the controls.

 

Wind-up motorized accessories and a random unknown gun that were among the vehicles and other toys

 
 
That is all!