So a while back, coupla years ago, I had a couple of the Defense of Cobra Island (DOCI) Alley Vipers that I got for cheap from Sinodolls on eBay that don’t come with any gear. None. Bare.
I tried to make the gear myself and had a… well, a real learning experience.
Welp, when I saw another one come up in auction for a penny, I grabbed him up and decided that I was going to try and do this thing proper. Make the equipment as near to the real thing as I could without casting it myself or getting parts from somewhere else and painting those.
I started by sanding off the shitty enamel paint from before. I tried to be kind to myself too, reminding that it was all I could find nearby and all I could afford, etc. but it was still a pain in the ass.
Not having much else to work with, I kept the base helmets and vests and sanded the fuck outta them. I had one extra vest I’d put on another figure as a placeholder until I got his proper vest and the helmet is off of Blowtorch as well (though it IS glued on). So I had enough for three… schweet!
Getting the helmet styled into the proper Alley Viper fit was the first step, and I used the Pursuit of Cobra (POC) Alley Viper as a template for the entire deal.
Here’s the old helmet with the old, crappy, visor, with his friends behind him. Wifeage once again came to the rescue with some of her acrylic nails, giving me the ones that were too big for her, and I’ll be goldarned but if you lay ’em tip-to-tip, like a clamshell, and set ’em up against the back of the helmet, it’s perfect!
I glued ’em on and sanded ’em to fit, then painted on Liquid Green Stuff (which is brilliant).
Helmets WIP, glued the fake nails on
I traced the POC AV’s visor and used it as a template for cutting out the new visors. That’s an old pill bottle from one of wife’s medications that I carved up into weird butterfly shapes.
Green stuff and sanding
I took a cheapshit rifle from a pack of G.I. No’s (True Heroes I think?) and sliced the barrel a few times, making nubs for the hinge of the visor. The exact same size as the drillbit that I have for my hand-powered hobby drill (Games Workshop again).
Visors fitted on
It takes a bit of working with ’em, using the heatgun to soften the plastic a bit and then lots of blowing on ’em to cool it down, but they fit real nice at the end of it.
And they stay up!
Using the thicker plastic from the cheapass rifle barrel was a better call than the metal pin from a thumbtack I used last time.
Alley Viper shield WIP
Next up was the shield, which I wanted to be strong so I cut up an old conditioner bottle.
Lesson here: cheap conditioner bottles have remarkably hard plastic.
Once again, I traced the POC AV’s shield and used that as a template for paper, then cardboard. I wasn’t sure how to make the “raised” areas of the shield, nor how to shape it, until I started using my actual brain. Then I cut the main shield in half, sanded a bit of a “round” to the top and bottom and glued it together at an angle.
Then I cut two pieces to double-layer the top and then again for the bottom.
Alley Viper shield WIP
I took a sword from the “100 Pieces Bulk Lot” auctions you get from Sinodolls as well (comes with about 6-10 of the swords from VVV Storm Shadow) and cut the grip off, then used the blade as a “brace” for the handle. LOTS of super glue and we rollin’.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – First coat of orange
Then I started painting shit orange, just to see how we go.
Now I used Photoshop to colourmatch the orange and blue from the DOCI AV to the shit I can get at Games Workshop in Freo (who’ve got a new manager that’s friggin’ awesome). When I FB msg’ed the shop, AwesomeMgrGuy got back to me with a big yes that they had both Dragonsnot Orange and Elfjizz Blue (kidding, Trollslayer Orange and Altdorf Guard Blue, or some shit like that). Legend.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – Orange w/white basecoats
Oh, that’s right. Last time I did this, Wifeage smartly suggested a white basecoat. DUMBASS, I forgot.
But then I remembered, so as to limit my dumbassery.
I basecoated the vests, helmets and visors, but the second and third shields were cut from an old Napisan bottle (laundry powder) which was MUCH softer and easier to work with. It’s white already, so I used a basecoat of hers for her nails as a primer and then got to painting.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – 3rd and 4th coats of orange.
And BANG, there you go. Some are only on one coat, but nearly everything got a primer coat plus 4-6 coats of orange.
Using an acrylic this time though, instead of enamel, meant that I only needed to wait 15-20 minutes between coats, as opposed to AN ENTIRE DAY like last time.
SO much sanding, sanding, sanding and cutting, cutting, cutting though, with those shields and those helmets/visors. I vowed that I wouldn’t touch a paintbrush until I had them just how I wanted them, with the right corners and edges and whatnot. Laborious, but glorious.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – Gettin’ my blue on
K, funny thing. I was cutting up the vests, from this guy:
As I managed to get a few of him for SUPER cheap too (and a Night Adder vest, same thing).
But yeah, I was cutting off the pouches from three separate vests for my beautiful new DOCI AV’s and forgot that I have three cats. When I came back in the morning, several pouches were missing off my work area. I scoured the floor with my li’l headlamp on and couldn’t find ’em for the life of me. I’m NOT going through a mound of catshit for a pouch the size of a kibblebit, but I was tempted.
I was sad though, I had to mismatch some pouches now because I wanted each vest to be interchangeable and none to be any different from the others.
So I forgot to take pictures for a while. During all the gluing and painting of the vests, really.
Then, when I remembered to take pictures, my SD card was gone because Wifeage needed to borrow it for her Canon Asskicker 450D because we had a kookaburra in the backyard.
Sittin’ in the ol’ gumtree…
LOVE living here.
So yeah, I got all the pouches glued on, with some borrowed from:
- Renegades Ripcord
- Agent Helix
- POC Firefly
The guns are from the Rise of Cobra (ROC) Elite Viper and the scopes are from Marauders (with some modding). The knives are 25th Ann. standard Joe issue and the batons are from various fodder here and there, though Renegades Law & Order, Renegades Cobra Trooper and POC AV all use them too.
With a couple of stickers from CobraStickers.com and some backpacks from G.I. No and I’m all set. Oh, and yeah I had to carve the knife scabbard off their forearms for their vest, so sacrifices were made, sadly.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – Boys gettin’ geared up.
Now some from my “new” photography studio! That’s right, I’m BIG TIME now baby. I cut up an old grey singlet and aimed both desklamps inward. Score.
Wifeage to the rescue again tho, she loaned me the tripod for my camera.
Alley Viper Gear WIP – Lookin’ good boys
Front and centre!
Just their vests, because that was the hardest part.
Pile O’ Gear – missing a backpack!
All their gear: 3 helmets, 3 vests, 3 shields (w/baton holder), 3 guns (w/removable scope), 2 backpacks (because I can’t find a shop that sells G.I. No’s down here and TRU is too far away.
Playing with camera settings
Hey, who’re yer friends?
Peek A BOO!
POC, DOCI, RET
Visors up (and mine stays up! Still excited!)
All up, there are some glaring differences from the factory stuff, shields edging and pouches and logos and whatnot, but overall I’m very, very pleased. I reckon they pass the “squint test” too, in that if you squint just right with them next to “real” Alley Viper’s gear, you can’t hardly tell the difference. Score.