Friday, October 13, 2017

Building A Better 28mm HISS Tank

When I was a kid, the COBRA High Speed Sentry Tank or H.I.S.S. Tank was one of my favourite G.I. JOE vehicles. Maybe because it was black or that it held 4 figures (two on the step on the back) or maybe because it just looked cool. I don't know. I loved it.

Actually, in retrospect, the fact that it was also one of the first COBRA vehicles I owned probably helped. It got played with constantly to face off against the armour of my Joe forces but it definitely went beyond that though because it was a mainstay of my COBRA forces. The fact that the HISS tank was used as the premier COBRA vehicle in countless issues of the comics probably helped too.

Regardless, I knew that if I was going to make a COBRA themed force in 28mm, I knew I would need a HISS Tank... or two... I always wanted a second one as a kid so I could recreate the night fight from issue #16 of the original comic. Anyway, after several good Google searches, I discovered that there was an alternative to the Shapeways 3D printed HISS that was not only significantly cheaper than the printed one but was also made from smooth plastic (no graininess). This kit is also an almost perfect match size wise to the 3D printed one. You can find it on Amazon HERE.

 Seeing the price I may have gone a little off the deep end and ordered a few... OK... I ordered 8 of them. I may have a HISS tank problem! lol

This is what comes in the box:

I love that it not only comes with miniature versions of the stickers that went on the original kit but it also comes with a miniature of the vehicle blueprints that the original JOE vehicles came with. These little touches made the kid in me very happy.

Now, this "mini HISS" does have a few problems that the original kit also had that would look funny on a 28mm tabletop. First of all, the tank has no clearance whatsoever. Its hull basically rubs on the ground. I fixed that by cutting the front hull plate considerably back and covering the giant vents and gap between hull pieces with a piece of white plasticard. I wanted the hull to stick out slightly from the tracks to help differentiate the different front parts of the tank.

I also filled in the large gap in its nose with green stuff.

Next up, I cut the hull on the back on the vehicle to match the front. In the process I lost the cool trailer hitch but I think it looks way better. I also used a hobby knife to smooth the old lines and gaps between pieces.

I also placed a thin piece of plasticard along the hull above the passenger step to cover up one of the worst gaps on the kit. You can see this below.

I then glued down the canopy for easier painting and increased durability. I also used the flat of my hobby blade to trim the excess flash off the nose and the side of the guns. Seen below.

Some of you will notice that there is one key difference between the "mini HISS" and the full sized original. Its guns. The cannons on the mini are almost as thick as the full sized HISS's gun barrels. They are huge because the mini has LED lights and speakers build in so that when you press the red button on the top, the guns light up and the tank makes a gun noise. I was going to cut these off but, in the end, I just liked the idea of having those features would just be too cool to trim off.

The last thing that I did was to add a gunner to the cupola. I used the bodies from Warlord Games Japanese Infantry and arms from various Warlord plastic kits.

Next up I definitely need to add stowage to a few HISS's to differentiate them and perhaps make a command tank or two using spare heads. I am thinking a HISS with Cobra Commander and possibly another with Destro in the gunner's nest could be cool.

'Til next time!