Latest TS118 Project includes mind-blowing Iron Grenadier Army!

I always love getting these emails in my inbox.  As many of you know by now, there is a strong G.I. Joe fan presence in the Philippines and they make themselves known during various mall shows and toy conventions when they take out all the stops and display their amazing collections and diorama talents.  May 21-22, there was one of these shows at Robinson’s Place Manila Mall (in the Philippines) in celebration of TAGCOM 2011, organized by Hobbiworx and PinoyToyKolektors (PTK).

As we’ve come to expect TS118 was there in force, displaying an awesome Iron Grenadier army, complete with Castle Destro diorama!  Check out the details and the image gallery below, I think you’ll love it as much as I do.  If you like what you see, definitely check out the TS118 Forums or the TS118 Blog to stay tuned in to what they’re doing next.

– Inspired by Castle Destro in GI Joe #21 (1984) – Silent Interlude

– Main theme is Destro and his Iron Grenadier army in his Castle stronghold

– Displayed last weekend May 21-22, 2011 at the Robinson’s Place Manila Mall (Philippines) in celebration of TAGCOM 2011, organized by Hobbiworx and PinoyToyKolektors (PTK).

– Brought to you by the same team that came up with O: Shock and Awe, O: Killzone, O: Forced Entry, O: Gothic Serpent, O: Sidewinder Verde, O: Grayia Seize-r, O: Ivory Blanket, O: Snake Rising …the Philippines only local 3 3/4 (1:18) Joe online community..TS118

– Used space was only 6 feet by 5 feet (2 tables)

– This diorama changes display twice per day (total of 4 set-ups over the weekend). This style is the first of its kind in the Philippines for action figures (regardless of scale). We dubbed it as a “dynamic modular diorama” or DMD. In this case, it is called Dynamic Modular Destro-rama.

– Took 5 weekends of preparation and actual dio-work to complete (figures/structures/vehicles). Mostly done on Saturdays only.

– Collaboration done by at least 15 members (builders, pledgers/financiers, consultants, etc.).

– The Castle itself is more than 6 feet tall when mounted on a table top, and features a castle keep, a main hall and underground sections.

– Featured GI Joe customs in 25A body constructions (The Plague, Voltar, Metalhead, Mistress Armada, Alexander Destro, General Mayhem, among others) plus hidden mickeys (Deadpool/Udon Taskmaster, etc).

Holy Crap! Amazing diorama alert!

Yeah, I don’t even think I can really say anything that does justice to this Cobra Command Center of bad-assedness.

Really, it rocks.  There’s blood and everything.

Check it out at, and in some of the mirrored images below.  Absolutely insanely cool.  Lots more images available at the site itself:

TS118 Sidewinder Project – The Modular Diorama

Word has been passed along to me from my buddies over at TS118 of an incredible looking new project called “Sidewinder”, designed as a modular diorama!  Check out the awesome details by clicking on the “Read the Rest of this Entry” link below!  This thing looks amazing.

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Darkness Falls Update – More Dio-Story Set Pics

So the construction on my diorama sets for Darkness Falls have been continuing on, even if I haven’t said much about it recently.  I had three fairly elaborate sets to build, and I think they’re pretty much squared away.  I need to add some trimming to the throne room, but the foundations are all set.  The three sets are as follows:

  • COBRA Foyer

Basically a large cavernous room the focus of a pretty major shoot out.  The last element I really needed were sandbags, and as I should have expected, Marauder, Inc. came through!  They carry some great PTE sand bags that I used for the set, though I did clean them out of all their stock.  I need to pick up a few more once they get more in.

  • COBRA Tech Center

This was pretty straight forward, thanks to Joe Amaro’s fantastic G.I. Joe Base templates.  Some foamcore, some print cartridges, glue sticks, and I was able to cobble together a pretty effective COBRA tech center.  Tried to make it appear as if it was an underground room, though it didn’t come out quite as good as I’d hoped.  Still, I think it’ll be workable.

  • COBRA Throne Room

Anyone notice a theme here?  :shifty:  The throne room is fairly obvious in purpose, I’d think.  I know it doesn’t look like much now, but I plan on adding some neat accessories to hopefully spice it up a bit.  Once that’s done, I think I feel good enough about these to lock ’em up until I’m ready to shoot in them next year.  Check out the pics below!

G.I. Joe: The Rise of COBRA mini dio-story by yours truly

Warning – This is gonna get long.  If you just want to check out the latest project, click here.

Without a shadow of a doubt the most asked question I get is “when are you going to do more dio-stories?”.  And well, at least, for the moment, I’ve got an answer, though it might be one that ticks off some folks.

Ever since I began my Dio-Story adventures way back in 2002, it was because I was inspired.  The new Real American Hero Collection figures did it for me back then, sparking me into my massive review archive and monstrous dio-story universe that has spanned 7 years, hundreds of characters, and lots of obnoxious special effects (not to mention many an oversized blade of grass representing mysterious “jungles” in different parts of the world…  :shifty: ).  But, as the years roll on and real life takes its place amongst my hobbies, time grew shorter, and for me to tell the types of stories I wanted to tell, well…it was going to take a lot more time and a LOT more effort than I was putting in.

But I stand before you, still determined to finish what I started.  However, this little project is NOT a continuation of what I started.  Confused yet?  Check out the “Read the Full Story” link to…well…read the full story.

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GIJCC Newsletter Dio-Story sneak peek

I’ve talked a bit on here before (though definitely not enough) about my buddy Capolan.  Without him, I wouldn’t hesitate to say, my dio-stories probably would have never gotten to the point they are now.  He is a wizard with foamcore at small scales and can actually build things that I cannot even think about.  Everything from the materials, the glue application and the detail work he has down to a science, and with foamcore he can generate things that feel like they were pushed through a factory.  Designed for looking good, but built to “play with” they are awesome backdrops for my dio-stories, which is why I continue to use him to this day.

His latest masterpiece is something that will be featured pretty heavily in my next G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club newsletter dio-story, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to do a few little preview shots for your viewing pleasure.  Check out the images below for some shots of the action that will be taking place in the July issue!

But of course this wouldn’t have even been possible without Capolan’s fantastic work on the office and research lab portion of the set.  Check out some images in better light below:

Cap’s work always amazes.  I know most of my recent work has been in the Collectors’ Club newsletter, and I hope members are enjoying what they’re reading.  I promise that I am still hacking away at my main universe as well (which will also feature this set heavily).

Vote for the next Sideshow Environment piece!

Sideshow Collectibles is holding a fan vote to gauge interest for another environment diorama to follow up the Recon at Waypoint 12 w/ Timber.   Choices include a COBRA Throne Room, COBRA-La, or the USS Flagg.  Zoinks!

Click here to check it out and cast your vote!

Don’t forget, if you want to pre-order the Recon at Waypoint 12 set, click the banner below!

Recon at Waypoint 12 with Timer - 12-inch Environment

Thanks to sinchicken of the JBL Forums for the news.

Making of a Dio-Story Part 3: The Speech Balloons

You know, I was considering skipping this one entirely, just to tick off Mike, but I know a lot of people have been wondering about this, so I figure in spite of my desire to tweak him, I’d help other folks out.  ;)

I’m going to cover a few different ways to produce the desired speech balloons, using a few easier ways to do it first, and then finishing off with my own personal way.  Some of these methods require specific software, though some of it is easily attainable.  To demonstrate the Speech Bubble Creation methods, I’m going to use an image that I am planning on putting into a review coming up shortly.  I’ll try each method and let you determine which one works best.

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The Making of a Dio-Story: The Poll

I won’t pretend to be a great writer (or even a good one), I know my own limits, after all.  But something I can admit to at least being somewhat effective in is presentation.  Even if my story or plot is somewhat weak (by my own admission) I can usually zap it up a little bit with some loud colors, big explosions and fancy special effects to supplement the story.  In a perfect world, I would be an expert story crafter, but I honestly don’t feel like I am, so if I can “pretty things up” to overcome those shortcomings, I’m all for it.  Because I tend to use some more elaborate special effects, I’m often asked how I do certain things or accomplish certain tasks.  I really only have one answer all-encompassing answer:  Lots of time, lots of “on the job learning” and almost ten years of experience at this point.

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