Intro: Action League Now: How to Make Stinky Diver
Throughout the 1990's, Nickelodeon was the mecca of kids' programming. In 1996, Kablam, one of the network's most memorable shows, hit the airwaves. The show was a sort of sketch comedy show with sketches of different animation styles - stop motion, animation, even live action. One of those sketches forever changed the way us kids looked at toys: Action League Now.
I personally have always wanted a set of these toys, but not being satisfied with the Burger King releases, I've been doing some research on how to make my own set. And now I'll pass on some of this information to you fellow 90's kids out there, by showing you how to make Stinky Diver.
Step 1: Base Figure
First off, you'll need a base figure to start from. In this case, you'll need a 1994 GI Joe Shipwreck. Make sure it has most of its accessories, namely the scuba mask, flippers, spear gun, and at least one dart.
Step 2: Scuba Mask
Grab the scuba mask accessory and cut off the "air tubes." You can use scissors or an Exacto knife, I just used scissors. Then put it back on his head except backwards, so that the "face" is in the back and the "headstrap" is in the front. Get a hot glue gun - or if you're like me, spend 10 minutes looking for it in the garage before finding out that it and the glue sticks are right there on the kitchen table - and hot glue the mask in place. (Glue it in the back, where the glue won't be too visible.)
Step 3: Preparation
Now it's time to prepare the Shipwreck figure for customizing. Shipwreck is a regular 3 3/4" GI Joe, and like all the others, is held together with small screws. Take a thin screwdriver and take out all three screws - one in the back of the torso, and one on the inside of each upper leg.
NOTE: Later on you'll be putting this figure back together, so be sure to save all the parts that come off, including the three screws, the leg hook, and the rubber O-ring.
Step 4: Preparing to Paint
Before you paint, you'll need to know what parts need to change from black to orange. Find a reference picture online or use pictures from this Instructable, and use them to figure out what parts to paint. (I used a screengrab from an episode I found online, and drew a very crude diagram of which parts to paint.) You'll need to paint the thick black strap on the chest, the gloves, the lower leg bands, and the flippers.
Now you know which parts need paint, so pick out those pieces and wash them with soap and an old toothbrush. This will remove any dirt or grease (mold release from the factory) that may be on there. As you're not painting the other parts, you don't need to wash them.
Step 5: Paint, Varnish
Now it's time to paint. You could use good-quality model paints (Testors, etc.), but as I couldn't find any in my area and didn't want to buy them online, I used craft store acrylics. To get the right color, I used Americana paints; the formula I used was a few squirts of Tangelo Orange and a couple drops of Calico Red.
Start off with a few thinned-down basecoats. Mix a little bit of water in with the paint, then paint on a few layers. If the first one doesn't look very good, just remember you're painting over it anyway. After about three or four base layers, mix up a new batch of paint and put on one or two layers.
At this point, the paint may look chalky. Not to worry, for the next step is to add the varnish. I used DecoArt DuraClear Satin varnish. Unlike the paints, you don't need to add a thin basecoat or do multiple coats. All you need is to brush on one or two coats over the painted areas.
Step 6: Re-Assemble
Now comes the time to see all your handiwork come together. Start with the legs - put the lower leg into the two halves of the upper leg, put in the leg hook, and screw the legs in place - then put the O-ring on the hook and thread it through the groin piece. The back half of the torso should have a peg in the middle where the screw goes through - hook the O-ring onto that peg, put in the arms (I hold it flat and "hook" the pegs into the holes), put on the front half, then slip the head in (I put in one peg first, then push the other in) and put on the back screw. Phew. Oh, and don't forget to put the flippers back onto the feet.
And there you have it: Stinky Diver, a former navy commando with an attitude as bad as his odor.