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CJESIM: Custom “First Sergeant” Kit

“Didn’t you read my green sheet? I’m a man of action!”

If you are a GI Joe fan, you don’t need me to tell you that these have been rough days. Hasbro just ain’t feeling it. And unfortunately,  even if they were, we are losing the Joe’s last real outpost in retail, though it’s been years since branded product got any love, even there.

But, as I’ve said before, all is not lost. Even now, there are brave folks who are willing to put serious effort into keeping the heroes of the Joe-verse in our collections. It takes effort, and it takes some money, but I think the results are well worth it.

CJESIM are some damn talented people I’m proud to call friends. You’ve seen their awesome ninjas, but if you haven’t checked in with them this year, you might not know what a massive surge in product they have undertaken. I’m hoping this will be the first of many CJ kits I can review this year, but man, if there was ever one to kick off with, it’s gotta be this one.

Even if you have just a passing familiarity with the franchise, you know this guy. The classic first shirt, Sgt Conrad “Duke” Hauser, has been a regular fixture since about 25 issues in on the comic, and pretty much day one of the cartoon. His original look has become an iconic one, with the old khaki shirt and OD pants comprising most people’s first thought when you bring up the character. To build this figure, you will need one Mezco One:12 Collective PX Commander Rogers, and of course one kit from CJESIM.

The kit will give you the shirt, pants, and the turtleneck, which is sleeveless to cut down on bulk. To put him together,  you just need a little heat to pop off the boots, and a seam ripper to remove the uniform. Then you just put him back together, using the factory head (which bears a strong resemblance to the cartoon Duke) and web gear to finish it up.

If you want to add a little more to him, I have become very fond of using the NECA Uncharted Nathan Drake’s mag pouches and holster. The leather matches the harness perfectly. And since that harness is magnetic, you can slap a magnet on any pouch you want to make it a pack.

The quality of these soft goods is top notch, no question there. If you’re going to use an expensive figure for a base, you damn well better do it right. And that’s really what CJESIM does best. You will get quality.  It’s worth the wait and worth the price. And since these are made to order, and to fit this specific base body, it’s going to work. So much of customizing is trial and error, and you basically get to skip that whole part and just jump to results. The stitching is solid, the pockets look great, and it fits the figure just like it came in the box with it.

When we talk 6″ Joes, I have said many times that I really just need the Sideshow ones scaled down. With the current limbo the license is in, that feels further away all the time. But I am willing to put in the work. I’m willing to put in the coin. And I haven’t stopped playing with this figure all weekend. If this is as close as I can get, then I think I’m still coming out ahead of the game.

Sound like something you want to take on? Pop on over to And start making a new budget to better reflect your new priorities.

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