Sunday, June 20, 2021

Crossover Time: Vintage Custom Rebel Fleet Trooper

OK readers, from time to time I overlap on the hobby front so bear with me. I just finished this custom Rebel Fleet Trooper from the vintage Star Wars figure range and since it involves modelling and painting I feel OK posting it here as well as on my vintage Star Wars toy blog. Awaaaaay we go then...


I've got a bit of a soft spot for "custom" vintage figures - you know, those figures that Kenner never made but you would've loved to play with, instead of being stuck with dreck like Prune Face or FX-7. One of the prime examples of this is the iconic Rebel Fleet Trooper (as I call him; he's also known as the Rebel Trooper or Alderaan Consular Guard/Security).

The recipe for this figure is simplicity itself: a vintage Han Trenchcoat body and a POTF2 Rebel Trooper head. That's it! I'll take you through the conversion next, but I have to give props to Trash Compactor Custom Figures who posted this great video.

Anyway, you start with a Han Trenchcoat (left) and Rebel Fleet Trooper (right), Don't worry about the condition of the Han Trench - the beatier the better, as he'll just have his head cut off and be repainted anyway. 

The first thing to do is get a cup of boiling water and immerse the figures. This will soften the plastic and allow you to remove the parts you need to swap.

First of all, gently pull off Han Trench's head, and remove the Rebel Fleet Trooper's helmet. It's held on with glue that softens in the boiling water.

Next, take a sharp X-Acto blade and cut off the Trooper's head. You'll be able to stretch his neck a bit when the plastic is soft. Make sure the bottom of the neck is level by just trimming where necessary. 

The next step is to drill a hole in the bottom of the Trooper's neck to allow it to fit on the peg on the Han Trench body. A pin vice or Dremel will do the trick here.

Once the hole is opened in the Trooper head, just push it onto the peg in the Han Trench body. It might take a bit of tweaking to make sure the hole is the right size - but keep test-fitting, and make sure not to make the hole too big. You should be able to turn the head on the peg. 

At this point, all that's left to do is paint the figure! I use acrylic paints for availability, water-solubility, and ease of cleanup. For the Trooper I mixed a custom blue colour for the shirt, used Games Workshop Mournfang Brown for the belts and Rakarth Flesh for the pants, and painted the buckles with Mithril Silver. The boots and vest were left in their original colour, just touched up where necessary with craft black. Leave the helmet till the painting is done, then push-fit it back on the head.

I bought a reproduction Bespin Blaster for the Trooper, but drilled a hole in the grip just so it won't be mistaken for an original.

Here's my custom lineup - from left to right - Corellian pilot BoShek, Grand Moff Tarkin, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Garindan/Long Snoot, and the easiest of all, Biggs Darklighter. I took the opportunity to get some weapons for the rest of the group too -once again, impossible to mistake for originals as they're the wrong colour :-)

Anyway, that's a bit of fun for an afternoon... I especially have to thank my friend KM who supplied the POTF2 Rebel Fleet Trooper for the swap. Thanks man!


MFraser said...

That's some delicate surgery! Nice work!

Greg B said...

Great work dude - and fun to see all the thinking and energy that goes into this "vintage custom" approach to these toys!

Curt said...

Very cool mod, Dallas! I didn't know drilling out a blaster for phony recognition was 'a thing'.

Dallas said...

Fakes are so good nowadays that if you don't do "something" to differentiate them, they'll eventually be passed off as real and fool someone. That's why the light grey weapons are so handy - neither the Imperial blaster nor the Smuggler blaster were ever made in grey during the vintage years.

DaveV said...

Great work, Dallas! Glad to see the Fleets getting some love.

MFraser said...

So does that mean I have to drill a hole in all those HH models I found floating off tortuga?