Customizing Indiana Jones Figures

This is a recent hobby of mine, that is, to customise all-new figures of characters from the Indiana Jones movie series, by working on the existing Indiana Jones figures released by Hasbro. I was inspired by an Indiana Jones discussion board in which its members, rather than wait for Hasbro to come up with new figures, created those of their very own and showcased their Indy customs which remarkably took after their onscreen appearances. I figured that I can also do the same, and in addition, at that time the Indiana Jones figures were on clearance sale and it was possible for me to acquire many of them relatively cheaply for use as custom fodder.
Here’s a recap: my opened Indiana Jones figures
Apart from using Indy figures for my customization hobby, I can also use Star Wars figures as well as G. I. Joe figures as they are all of 3 3/4″ size. And it so happens that all three toy ranges are produced by Hasbro, which means that the parts from each figure range are nearly compatible with each other. Sometimes, the actors in Indiana Jones movies also protrayed certain Star Wars characters, and therefore it is possible to create their respective Indiana Jones characters with remarkable likeness since their Star Wars figures are the closest thing that comes to an official sculpt of the actors. All it needs is a bit of modification, a bit of transplanting and maybe a little bit of sculpting and painting, and an all-new Indy figure is created.
Some of the tools I use for my customization hobby.
Clockwise from left: A dremel, epoxy glue, arcrylic paint, paint brushes, penknife, tweezers, toothpicks, needles, and face mask.
I have learnt many new skills when it comes to customising figures. for example: boiling the figures in hot water to soften the figures so that it is easier to remove and reattach the limbs and torso, gluing parts together or sculpting new parts using epoxy glue, dremeling to make minute sanding or other modifications, as well as painting with acrylic paint. Some logistics also come into play when I have to decide on which parts of a particular figure to use for which other figures, just so that I can maximise the use of the figure that I am taking apart. I also learnt some new terminology such as “custom fodder” (parts to use for customising figures), “WIP” (work in progress), a “recipe” (a list of the parts of which figures was used in a custom). Some customs are easy to make (simple swaping of heads or other parts), while the more fun ones to do are those involving piecing together of parts from several figures, and many complicated steps of dremeling, sculpting, and painting.
These are my completed Indy customs so far. Several more are in progress or being planned.
Whenever I work on a custom, it gives me a great satisfying feeling as I am putting my artistic skills and my creativity to good use, especially so when they coincide with my favourite topic of Indiana Jones. Personally, I feel as though I am giving life to my new creations, giving the other Indiana Jones characters a chance to exist as a figure.
For many Indiana Jones fans, creating these unproduced figures has taken on a special significance. Hasbro had initially planned to release another new wave of Indy figures, but instead that was canceled, with Hasbro claiming that the sales of Indy figures were too poor to justify releasing new figures. What really happened was that many department stores had stockpiled a lot of Indy figures hoping to make a selling with the release of the recent Indiana Jones movie. However, the latest Indy movie was not as awesome as people had expected and therefore many of the first two waves of Indy figures remained unsold. As such, the orders for the next two waves were low, leading Hasbro to conclude that sales were poor. This was a ludicrious conclusion as next two waves of figures were of more interesting characters such that, had they also been released in the same large numbers, perhaps the demand would have remained high enough to justify continued production.
The unreleased Indiana Jones wave 5 figures. Hey Hasbro, I’m still waiting.
So, since no new Indiana Jones figures are upcoming anytime soon, fans like me would be customising their own figures, in particular those of the above unreleased five, plus any other Indy characters still yet to receive their own figures. And I would be showcasing my awesome Indy customs right here on my blog, starting with this one: Indiana Jones in German soldier disguise, with his very own rocket-propelled grenade !
As the Nazis transported the Ark of the Covenant, Indy threatens to blow up the Ark unless Marion is released.
However, the archaeologist within Indy also wants to see what is inside the Ark, so Indy gives up on the idea.
Head and weapon – RPG Indiana Jones (“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”)
Rest of the body – From the German soldier with greener uniform in the German Soldiers deluxe set (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”)
I needed to paint Indy’s hair from grey to dark brown so as to make him look younger, and added a little bit of bloodstain above Indy’s left eye. The ammo pouches on the German soldier needed some rearranging, and the extra pouches were cut out. In fact, this custom was relatively easy to make.
Indy in German soldier disguise is one of the five canceled Hasbro Indy figures.
For the RPG, I altered the RPG that came with RPG Indy, by cutting out the unwanted parts and gluing on extra pieces of plastic, and painting the weapon flat black. It is still not an exact match with the canceled RPG (refer to above pic), but I felt that it was near enough.
 The RPG: original (top), and final (bottom)
[UPDATE – 17 August 2013: I’ve revisited the figure to make some changes.]
The original figure (left), and the revisited figure (right). I have repainted the belt pouches to dark green, and the belt buckle to metal colour, to better match the actual onscreen appearance.

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