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CUSTOM REVIEW: G.I.JOE "STING"
By Thomas Wheeler

If Sgt. Slaughter can join the G.I.Joe Team, why can't other professional wrestlers? That was pretty much my thinking when it came to creating this figure, which came together as much as from having the right parts as anything else.

If you've paid any attention to professional wrestling for at least ten years, then you know the name STING. His real name is Steve Borden, and he was one of the major players in the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling, or WCW. I keep hoping that one of these days he'll turn up in the WWE, at least for a guest shot or two.

Sting's best known "look", at least to more reent fans, would likely be his "Crow" appearance. Much like that movie/comics character, Sting painted his face white, with black details around the eyes and mouth, wore black tights with a huge white scorpion on them, advertising his trademark finishing hold, the "Scorpion Deathlock", and he often wore a long black trenchcoat. There was actually a very superb 9" action figure of this version of Sting, produced by Toy Biz, some years ago.

But there was an earlier Sting, a more flamboyent and literally more colorful one, that had short-cropped, spiky blonde hair, and who tended to paint the upper portion of his face in a wide range of colors and patterns, often matching his equally wide color range of tights.

It was this version of Sting that I decided to customize as a G.I.Joe figure. Mostly because I knew I had the parts to do it with.

The body would be, for all intents and purposes, Road Pig's. While perhaps bulkier than the real-life Sting, it had the needed look. However, I would actually incorpoate two different versions of the Road Pig body for the final result -- the Super Sonic Fighters Road Pig, and the Street Fighter Movie version of Zangief, the big Russian wrestler whose movie figure used the Road Pig body (which was an immense improvement over the previous Zangief figure, which had used parts of Gnawgahyde and -- very strangely -- a Cobra B.A.T.)

I wanted the Sting figure to be fairly colorful. So I combined the red Zangief leg halves with the blue Road Pig leg halves to make Sting look like he had partially striped tights.The bright green trim on Road Pig's boots were a nice touch, too, even if Sting wasn't known for quite such imposing footwear. The upper body was purely Zangief. The Super Sonic Fighters Road Pig was downright orange, for one thing. For another, I wanted to match the skin tone with the head I wanted to use, and it also came from the Street Fighter Movie figures.

The head of Sting would come from a Guile figure. In the case of the movie figures, that meant a head that sort of looked like actor Jean- Claude Van Damme. Now, I'm not saying that Steve Borden and Jean-Claude Van Damme look that much alike. I'm not sure how either one of them would take to that comparison, and I don't need either one of them mad at me. What I'm saying is that the Hasbro head sculpt of Jean-Claude-as-Guile was close enough to Sting that I found it acceptable -- especially after I got through with the paint job.

Until he went with his "Crow" look, Sting's face paint never had any real consistent pattern, as long as it covered the top portion of his face. Generally, Sting left the area around his nose and mouth mostly unpainted. So really, I could come up with whatever design I wanted to, within reason. Since the primary colors of the outfit I'd put together were red, dark blue, and bright green, those were the same colors that I used on the figure's face. The end result? Someone else to help train the troops, and a fairly decent likeness of a well-known professional wrestler.

I had to come up with something of a file card for the character, and it reads as follows:

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STING - G.I.Joe Physical Trainer Real Name: Borden, Steve

The man called Sting was recruited onto the G.I.Joe Team by fellow professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter. The Sarge has always believed that physical training on an obstacle course full of inanimate objects isn't anywhere near as effective as going up against a living, breathing opponent -- just like you're going to do on the battlefield! Sting was more than happy to take some time out of his busy schedule to help train American's finest troops. His wild moves and vicious holds are sure to keep the Joes on their toes, who really don't quite know what to make of this man in the colorful tights and fancy face-paint! If the Joes can get past Sting, then they're that much more ready for whatever COBRA throws their way!

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I have no idea if the real-life Sting knows about G.I.Joe, or would appreciate or be offended by this figure. I would hope he'd understand that I meant it as a cool tribute to someone who I enjoyed watching in the wrestling ring. And I hope you've enjoyed this Custom Review!