Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 5

     So here we are in the final stages of this Terrordrome Renovation project and I’m still running into a few surprises, stage 5 was wrought with ups and downs. This time around my efforts were focused on the cleaning and the reconstruction of the once elaborate G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center. After referencing a few images on YoJoe.com to get the feel of how it was assembled I realized this Joe base came loaded with a smattering of cool features. Though not the largest of the playsets this one-sided G.I. Joe equivalent of the Majeno Line came equipped with two garage bays, one with a lift to “repair” vehicles, a secure holding cell for captured Cobra operatives, artillery, gun, and lookout turrets at the front, a computer and communications console, and storage for all the random guns and equipment the Joes accumulated with each new recruit. With so many cool interactive features the Headquarters Command Center would certainly have been a busy place, despite its smaller size.

How the Headquarters Command Center appeared in the G.I. Joe cartoon.

     Unfortunately as I began examining the parts I had I quickly realized this HQCC was not all there. I suspected as much a few weeks ago when I took a few minutes to sort through the parts that went with the Headquarters and only found two rows of jail bars for the holding cell. At the time I hoped maybe there were only two walls of bars and the other two were just the prefab walls that were already there. That was not the case however. I also knew I did not have the large artillery placement that jutted out from the front of the fortress which was a shame because that is a cool and prominent feature of the set.

     Before the assembly could begin the walls and various sections of the command center needed a good washing. As I remember the parts for the HQCC laying toward the bottom of the large box of toys and as such they were, appropriately enough, the base of operations for the mice that were squatting there. As you will see in the pictures below there was no doubt this stuff needed a good scrubbing. For this task I put down the toothbrush, done now with the finer detailing of the vehicles, and picked up a larger flat scrub brush which I used to clean the grime away from these flat, wide surfaces. Several of the panels and wall sections were small enough that I could just soak them in the large bowl I’ve been using to clean these toys, but the floor, front, and vehicle bays had to be washed in the basin under the faucet.

     Sadly once the Headquarters Command Center was all clean, dried, and reassembled I realized just how incomplete it was. A shell of it’s former self this HQCC is, as I suspected, without a proper holding cell, missing a whole section of prison bars and the cool pivoting cell door. Although the console for the communications center is intact and in really good shape the twin chairs that were posted in front of it are MIA. There are also a few small dividing wall pieces missing, along with the storage bins and covers that fit in the back of the playset. As I mentioned before the heavy gun is missing from the front of the building but worse then that, there is an entire section missing that fits in behind the front barricade of the building. It wasn’t until I started putting it all together and returned to my reference photos that I realized there was a large empty space toward the front of the Headquarters. This section would have consisted of a small staircase that lead to an elevated floor that had searchlights and a gun turret overlooking the wall and would have lead to the big main gun. Next to the stairs was a housing for a generator. To make matters worse still I actually have the small gun turret, the searchlight, the generator, and the cover for it but that entire section they accessorize is gone.

     There were some good things to come from this however, all was not lost. First of all the HQCC is still pretty cool. The garage bay lift is just one of those cool toy features that are just fun. The console has some great stickers showing Scarlett and a seemingly bored Cobra Commander, and if nothing else it simply provides an appropriate place to store my Joes. Secondly while I was once again exploring YoJoe.com I unraveled the mystery of one of the vehicle accessories that had been puzzling me. There is a carriage-type trailer that looks like a big wooden crate that can attach to the hitch of other vehicles and which opens up to reveal a radar dish inside, I’ve mentioned it in past posts and was unsure exactly what it was. Well thanks to the miracle of the internet I now know that it is called the Coastal Defender and it is a deployable land air/sea defense platform and best of all it turned out that I had all the other parts that went along with it, solving several mysteries in one! Finally, as I was sorting out the HQCC components I came across the sheet of decals which I had spied when I first sorted through the old toys. The stickers were completely unused and had Cobra markings. I quickly went to the random pages of instructions that had been floating around with the toys and discovered that those stickers were for the decoration of the Firebat, the Terrordromes resident launching fighter jet. I had a bit of fun applying the stickers, and though the sheet had been pretty warped the stickers went on without a problem and so now the Terrordrome is that much closer to being 100% intact.

     So although the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center might not be completely viable it’s still half-way decent and it was a blast to put it all together. The revelation about the Coastal Defender was great and my excitement level about the Terrordrome is now off the charts. Completely guessing, I’d say the Terrordrome is probably 97% intact. The only things that I know are missing for sure are a set up gun caps for the small lower guns, but we’ll see, that’s up next!  Take a gander at the pics below, and as always click them to see the much larger versions.

Looks like G.I. Joe could use a house keeper.

 

The main floor section of HQCC pictured with the Firebat decals.

 

A closeup shot of the communications console and it's awesome stickers.

 

The fully assembled Headquarters Command Center, at least what's left of it.

 

Ain't no party like an HQCC party, cause an HQCC party don't stop!

 

You'll notice the large bare section to the left, there's something missing . . . .

 

"This just in, someone stole our chairs!"

 

The vamp gets worked over on the lift.

 

The undeployed Coastal Defender with Wet Suit and Deep Six.

 

What?!? Who designed this thing, Optimus Prime?? (Cause it transforms . . . . )

 

That is all!

Terrordrome Renovation 2011: Stage 2

Well I’ve gotten a strong start with this G.I. Joe project that I’ve undertaken.  I’ve gotten everything down in my basement now and (mostly) sorted out.  Thanks to the resources at YOJOE.COM I was able to determine what all I’ve got on my hands, and whether or not I’ve got all the required bits and pieces needed to fully get these things back together.  Here’s a quick list of the major items I’ll be working on.

The Terrordrome – This of course is the big one, it has the most parts, it’s the biggest and it will take me the longest to get cleaned up I’m saving this one for last.

G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center– After taking a look at yojoe.com I think I might actually be missing a few parts for this, it looks like I’m missing some jail bar sections for the brig, which is a shame cause that’s the coolest part!

MOBAT– A big ol’ tank for the Joes, it was actually motorized and battery powered but the battery cover is missing.  I think there might be a hatch cover missing as well, but regardless this thing looks cool and is in good shape.

VAMP– A typical combat jeep for the Joes.  This is one of those toys I remember a lot of people having as a kid.  Nearly complete just missing the pivot for the rear turret!

HAL (x2)- There are actually two of these things they are big artillery guns that can be hooked up to other vehicles and towed into battle.

APC– The big daddy.  A troop transport.  Every toy group had one of these back in the day, the vehicle that held a ton of figures and could double as a type of carrying case.  Good stuff mostly intact only missing the top gun.

Dragonfly– Another G.I. Joe classic, this was Wild Bill’s helicopter.  Unfortunately this one has been marked with a “BR” on my list, meaning Beyond Repair.  The blades are snapped off, the rotor is bent, the cockpit cover is missing and the landing skids are gone.

F.A.N.G– Looks like Cobra won’t have much luck in the air either.  The F.A.N.G is a small Cobra helicopter, but this one is also marked BR, the blades and rotor are missing, and the cockpit cover is MIA.  Not in bad shape otherwise . . .

H.I.S.S.- The iconic Cobra armored vehicle.  It looks like a Jawa sandcrawler with guns mounted to the top.  This is also not in good shape, but not hopeless.  The cockpit cover is missing, and the guns for the turret are gone but I have a plan to perhaps improvise some guns.  We’ll see.

Rattler– This one is BR also unfortunately.  This was one of the coolest Cobra planes.  Bent wings that could rotate for a vertical takeoff.  All I have of this one however is it’s shell, everything that could come off of this one is gone and nowhere to be found.

Bridge Layer– One of the coolest Joe vehicles I never knew existed.  It’s an armored treaded vehicle that has a big folded bridge section resting over it and which can extend to unfold the bridge out in front of it to make a field crossing, pretty rad and mostly intact.

Eliminator– This is an ominous sounding Joe vehicle from the Battle Force 2000 fleet of vehicles.  Apparently there were six different vehicles in the Battle Force 2000 group which could be taken apart and reformed as the Future Fortress, a base for the Joes.  There are three of the Battle Force vehicles in this collection and they are 100% intact!

Marauder– An armored three wheeled motorcycle with removable gun platform.  Part of the Battle Force 2000 group.

Sky Sweeper– A mobile radar and anti-aircraft platform with a deployable guard post.  Part of the Battle Force 2000 group.

D.E.M.O.N.- One of the craziest vehicles in the collection, this one is of course on the Cobra side, specifically it is part of Destro’s Iron Grenadiers.  It has two sets of treads, an offset cockpit, surface to air rockets, golden guns mounted all over the thing, and the treads can come together elevating the vehicle in the air!  Zany.

Swampfire– Another one for the Cobras.  This one is a small aquatic helicopter with floater skids and a forward mounted gun.  This vehicle belonged to the Dreadnoks.  It is in great shape and 100% intact.

Stellar Stiletto– Although this sounds like the name for some kind of drag club, this is actually a Cobra vehicle.  A slender rocket ship, this vehicle is actually also complete and in great shape.

As I’ve been looking these things over during my initial inspections I’m finding quite a bit of evidence of the mice that once made their home among these toys.  Aside from their general filth, the mice apparently enjoyed gnawing on some of the plastic parts.  As I’ve been cleaning them I find more and more chewed sections or whittled down parts.  It’s pretty entertaining really to see where they have chewed, and it’s not like I was ever planning on trying to sell these things or anything, so it all adds a bit of character for whatever kids play with these next!

Crystal Ball was severely mauled by the mice

 

This chair from the Terrordrome also incurred the wrath of mice

I’ve had to make a few repairs so far but nothing major just some quick gluing.  There was a guard tower with a few cracks in one of its legs which were easily repaired.  Also sadly some of the figures have fallen apart as G.I. Joes tend to do.  The rubber band rots inside those things and then they’re done for.  Unfortunately it just so happened to be two of the coolest Cobra figures that were among the boxes.  Xamot (yes I looked it up to see which twin it was exactly) and the Iron Grenadier driver for Destro’s D.E.M.O.N.  I’ve glued their asses to their torsos but their legs will either have to be glued or just remain loose.  Either way both of them will permanently be in a seat for the rest of their days, which is a shame, Tamox and Xamot were two of the few Cobra high command I never had as a kid, oh well Xamot will at least be able to man one of the many computer stations in the Terrordrome when it’s done.

Xamot and the D.E.M.O.N. driver will never walk again.

So now I’ve finished all the washing of the small weapons and removable base parts.  The figures that were still in one piece also got a thorough washing.  All that remains are the many vehicles and the large bases, which won’t be as quick as it sounds.  However I have gotten a good start, and the first of the vehicles have been scrubbed down and reassembled.  Here’s what I’ve got so far, take a look.

The Swampfire before it's cleaning, not bad.

The Swampfire after its cleaning, and fully assembled.

Cobra's H.I.S.S. was pretty grimy

The H.I.S.S. is now clean but not very effective without any of its weaponry.

The G.I. Joe VAMP in need of washing.

A clean VAMP. Though I have the gun for the VAMP there's no pivot for it, so I laid a gurney across the back.

The Sky Sweeper was pretty much together when I found it. Here it is cleaned up and all together.

The APC was pretty gross when I found it.

The APC cleaned and loaded up.

Cleaned and put together. You can see here that the turret is missing and toward the back there is a section where the mice chewed on the plastic top.

 

So for the most part a pretty successful start to this little project, five of the vehicles done, all the small parts cleaned, and all the figures washed.  There are still several more vehicles to go and the big bases.  Like I said before the Joe base shouldn’t be too difficult it just consists of a floor and several flat wall sections, but the Terrordrome looms on the horizon still . . . . 

That is all!

Terrordrome Renovation 2011

Well what an interesting day I’ve had, through a series of serendipitous events I have all new blog fodder directly related to my last blog post about He-Man and my childhood toys in general.  After posting the previous blog I went to run some errands, one of which was picking something up from my cousin’s house.  When I got there I found both my cousin and her husband doing some hardcore spring cleaning, pulling things out of their garage and shed and tossing anything that was taking up too much room.  After chit chatting with my cousin-in-law for a bit he snaps his fingers and tells me he has some stuff I might be interested in, some of his old toys, namely some old G.I. Joe stuff including “The Cobra headquarters.”

“What?!? The Terrordrome??” I asked agast.  To my delight he climbed up into the rafters of his shed and handed down a couple of huge boxes which we promptly cut open and started sorting through.  As promised the first thing we pull out is the one and only enormous Terrordrome, from my initial inspections the Cobra base seemed to be completely intact, a great find.  As we continued to look through the boxes we pulled out tanks, jeeps, planes, choppers, artillery, various Joes and Cobra goons, but then we started pulling out flat wall and floor pieces, ramps, more walls, and various other building type pieces until I realized we were looking at the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center!  Hotchi Motchi!  Double rainbow!  Although it wasn’t as assembled as the Terrordrome the Joe HQ also seemed to have all its parts at the ready for reassembly.  Most the vehicles weren’t as lucky when it came to completeness, they clearly had seen some action, most of it full of heavy fighting. 

The only downside to all of this is that the huge boxes that were storing the toys had also been home to some rodents at one time, with plenty of evidence for the rodent residency in among the Real American Heroes.  My cousin-in-law tells me it’s all mine if I want it, he wants to get rid of the stuff and clear things out, and would probably just wind up tossing it all eventually.  He of course knows this stuff is right up my alley, and I was more than happy to take it off his hands.  He has two daughters, neither of which seems that interested in the ongoing battle between G.I. Joe and Cobra, so I packed up the goods and hauled them back home to unload and inspect them in my garage.  Among the cool things I found, were three awesome G1 Transformers in great shape and an original Boba Fett figure, which I of course already have but a great find nonetheless. 

I of course had a few G.I. Joes growing up, you’d be hard pressed to find a guy in my age range who didn’t, but they were never one of my main toy universes.  I however loved the cartoon but because I never sought out any of the vehicles or accessories for the Joes and Cobras in my possession they didn’t ever see much action aside from cameos in my Ninja Turtle adventures or in some quick skirmishes in my backyard where inevitably one of their comrades would be buried.  That’s not to say I didn’t think the toys were cool, I particularly liked all things Cobra especially the B.A.T.S, the Cobra vehicles, and Cobra Commander himself.  I however was content with what I had, and though I might have swooned over some of my friends cool G.I. Joe swag, it never went beyond envious stares and a few hours of letting my lonely figures mingle with the better equipped platoons.  The toys I now have in my garage are items of childhood mythology, only whispered about, and once thought to be only speculation.  I have spied these treasures however and I am going to restore them to their former glory.   

Now what all this means for me, and you loyal readers (ha ha!), is that I have a new ongoing project to tend to which I am calling Terrordrome Renovation 2011!  A project that will consist first and foremost of a thorough cleaning of everything to remove the grime and gunk from its storage in the rafters.  I’ve already started with this project by gathering up all the small arms, missiles, helmets, backpacks, and other miscellaneous accessories I found and gave them a good scrubbing with a tooth brush, a dunk in a bleach/water mix, and a good rinse.  I scrubbed the Transformers with the tooth brush as well, skipped the bleach with them, gave them a good rinse and dried them well.  Normally I wouldn’t be so anal with this type of thing, I’d just swiffer them off and be done with it, but there is some real ghastly stuff on some of the parts and when it comes to cleaning off things that have lived with mice, I don’t fuck around.

So here is my two part strategy as of now, first the cleaning.  Dust, wash, and sterilize every part.  It will be fairly easy with the vehicles and larger stuff but the small parts from the bases are gonna be time consuming, like I said it’s an ongoing project.  Second, the restoration.  Putting all the parts together with the correct vehicles and bases they go with.  Luckily I do have the instructions for the Terrordrome which should help, but pretty much everything else will have to be referenced from the internet in order to put it all together.  I will be posting my progress here and showing pictures of the fully restored goodness.  Some folks restore historic cars or polish antiques I plan on restoring a few historic toys.  Long story short I will be in my basement playing with old toys if anyone needs me and if anyone wants to lend a hand come on over and grab an old tooth brush and lets clean up Cobra!

That is all! 

One of Destro's vehicles along with a pile of parts.

 

The vehicles in the acquired collection, some in bad shape

 

Slag, Astrotrain, and Hook the newest additions to my small Transformers collection

 

Parts for the G.I. Joe Headquarters Command Center, it's no USS Flagg but it's still pretty rad!

 

What I've cleaned so far, some G.I. Joe weapons and accessories.

 

Behold the Terrordrome in disarray

 

Cobra Commander says hello from the Terrordrome