I’m still pretty exhausted from the past weekend’s activities but I really need to get them down for posterity. And to show you pics of course. So I am holding off sleep to give you the important news. Which I’ll make properly rambly in any event, but still, it’s worth holding out on sleep to note properly.
This past weekend, you see, I took the opportunity to go down to Toronto for the 6th Annual Canadian Action Figure Expo. Seemingly hosted by a lot of the usual TFCon suspects, it seemed like a good reason to get out of the city for a break. Now I’d never been to the Expo before, but experienced a bit of what I thought it would be like with the newly-added second day of TFCon, where the show was expanded to include other toy lines.
I collect other toy lines. Such is my cross to bear.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun to see what I could gather up. Of course, I attended this event like I do any other event - with a mental checklist only. Which doesn’t help when it comes to getting parts but isn’t bad in terms of eye-candy (which of course has implications for the pocket book, but no surprise there). Admittedly, there was another draw too. I must confess that an appearance by Sergeant Slaughter, former WWF wrestling champion, current WWE ambassador and past pitchman for G.I.Joe, was the icing on the cake. As a kid, I use to watch WWF and Grand Pre wrestling with my grandfather, so I got to know all the superstars of the day. So I have a healthy dose of nostalgia there too. And I actually own the original mail-away Sergeant Slaughter figure (although could I find it for the show?… not on your life…)
So I chance to blend my love of toys (or as my grandfather use to call them, “dolls”), with our past shared interest in lazy Saturday afternoon watching wrestling was too rich to pass up.
I’ll get into more about the Expo (what I call the good, the bad and the dumb) in the coming days. But let’s talk about Sarge. He was basically running a Q&A session from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then signing autographs afterward. The Q&A was quite good. He’s a really affable fellow and quite interesting with his various stories from his wrestling days and his days as a Joe. And of course, it’s always appropriate to have the last question prompted by Cobra Commander. Later, I waited in what was a very efficient autograph line to dutifully get my item autographed (in my case, the Warthog, the big amphibious vehicle which he piloted in the late 1980s in the toy line) and then back in line for a picture with the Sarge.
While I think having a picture of little me and big him together would have looked cool too, how could I turn down his generous offer of his signature move, the Cobra Clutch?
But then, I had a surprise for him.
At heart, I am a big fan boy. By big, I mean massive. So I am going to Toronto for a toy show and the big push over-the-top in terms of rationale is to meet Sarge. Of course, I have to bring something with me as a gift. The adult in me cringes even admitting this, and yet I cannot help but think it was appropriate to undertake such a last minute project as an adult in appreciation for bridging my toy world with my grandfather’s wrestling world. Something appropriate….
And that’s when I decided to create the Sargeant Slaughter munny.
That I have to wait until the night before I leave to have this realization, while trying to find something for the autograph line meant that the effort did not leave a lot to error. I wasn’t bringing a close to final piece. As with Botcon 2009, I was once again embarking on a project that I would kick myself for not finishing but which might end up impossible to do in the time frame allowed. So I am still a little surprised how (relatively speaking) easily it all came together.
Before I left Ottawa, I grabbed a pre-dyed black 4″ munny and quickly spray painting the flesh parts, I wrapped up the required paint colours, necessary line art for the original mail-in edition (which is also very much his pro-wrestling attire) and accessories, and took it all with me to work on into the wee hours of Saturday morning in my hotel room. Time meant I couldn’t do a fancy box, but having the idea worked out at home meant I could whip up more than just a figure. I was able to use a standard 4″ munny cowbow hat, with the edges removed and replaced with an epoxy brim, for Sarge’s ubiquitous stetson. His staff was an altered pinwheel handle. And rather than paint on the trademark glass, I used the 4″ versions to complete the look. The rest was standard line art and paint applications, except for the whistle which is added with epoxy.
Given the advantage of a dyed body and the spray-painted fleshtone, Sarge Munny came together reasonably easy (with the exception of the hat, which took more effort because I lacked wax paper and a solid plan for working it out in advance) and I’m very happy with the overall effect. In the end, I went with a cartoony look for his face because, well, I’m better at that look than I am at hyper-realism. And I put the GIJoe logo on his back, as opposed to his leg, for space advantages.
So after he released me (you don’t escape the Cobra clutch; the Sarge lets you go…) I mentioned I had something for him and brought out the munny. I really wish I’d had more forethought to tell him the story about papa and I watching wrestling together or even explaining about the popularity of vinyl toys. But I did get out enough to say it was to thank him for coming and could I get a picture.
He was gracious to oblige.
Part of the reasoning to get this post up and printed was in case Sarge checked the site. I did put one of my remaining first-run cards in the box. And I didn’t want to take the chance that he might skip by without seeing a more detailed history. But in the end, even if the munny ends up in one of his boxes of souvenirs that I’m sure he’s picked up at events over the past quarter century, it made all the effort worth it. Thanks Sarge!