Finally! Here we are with the first Vehicle Profile and it’s been a tough learning experience from the beginning. Sounds simple enough right? clean up and restore a dusty GI Joe vehicle that’s approximately 28 years old. How hard could that be? Well, it’s been a fun challenge. Just to refresh your memory, here are some “before” pics of the specimen, a 1985 Awestriker vehicle:
As you can see, visually the AweStriker was in pretty bad form but the toy itself was in pretty good condition. Besides the chewed up antenna, I mean. I began by carefully taking the whole thing apart- no easy task since there are many small tabs hidden underneath the chassis that need to be opened. Next, I removed all the decals and scrubbed the entire vehicle down with “Unstick-it” which is essentially a Goo Gone type spray on foam. It does an awesome job getting dirt, grime, and adhesives off with little work. This sounds easy enough but after I disassembled the vehicle, there were multiple parts that had to be cleaned individually. I then soaked it in warm water and mild soap dish for about an hour. I grabbed my handy soft bristled tooth brush and scrubbed away. With that done, I put the vehicle away and went straight to CobraStickers.com and ordered a replacement decal sheet and began scouring Ebay for replacement antenna.
Once the sheet arrived, I immediately went back to work on the Awestriker and just as fast screwed it up. In my excitement, I didn’t take the necessary precautions and ended up getting finger prints all over the decals. Lesson learned. Back to Cobrastickers.com for another sheet. When the new sheet arrived, I had two sizes of tweezers and latex gloves at the ready! Meanwhile, the antenna I purchased on Ebay arrived, and although they were described as “MINT”, the lower part of both antenna had white stress areas, so a repaint was in order. With all elements in order and on standby, it was finally time to put this thing together! I re-assembled the vehicle, wiped it down with 303, applied decals, buffed it one last time and….
All in all, this whole project took a few weeks to complete as I worked on the vehicle only on the weekends or as time allowed. I’m really glad I took my time with this and didn’t rush anything. Although it’s a small vehicle, I wanted to do this toy justice and didn’t want to skip or trim any restoration steps whatsoever and ultimately- I’m pretty proud of the end result.
I have to stress that I did make mistakes along the way and these mistakes were invaluable in learning what NOT to do, so if you’re restoring a toy, GI Joe or any other toy for that matter, don’t be discouraged. Now, on to the next project!