Earlier this year, Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles contacted me to put together a new set. The idea would be to make a new SCUBA set with a black neoprene suit, flippers, mask, air tank and sea sled. Greg would have the suit and flippers made, and wanted to use the backlog of orange SCUBA hoses he had in stock.
The ask was to reuse the Sea Sled from the Catastrophe in the Gulf set we had done in 2021. Reprint the Sea Sled in orange and black to complement the black suit and orange hoses.
But he also wanted a new air tank, unlike the one I made for the Gulf set. And he sent me some images of existing high-tech SCUBA tanks to prod me.
I ended up making one that both fit the original ideas, as well as complemented the Sea Sled, so the two together looked like a cohesive set.
(Scout is helping)
The Catastrophe in the Gulf Sea Sled was using an existing third-part battery-operated motor, very similar to some original GI Joe gear. Back in the 1960s and 1970s many toy used motors much like this, attached to boats, submarines, and even GI Joe sets. So it was fitting.
However, for the new set, Greg didn’t want to add a blue motor, so I came up with the idea of a spear gun, slung in its place, fitting to the very same peg that was already modeled into the Sea Sled.
(Early version shown before I figured out the spring trigger.)
This Spear Gun would have to be large enough to house a spring, a firing mechanism, and to fit spears. I came up with a pretty cool design using the springs I had previously used for the detonator for the Spy Island set. To make that work I had to make side slots to fit the spear in so it would fire properly, and to do that I had to add fins to the sides of these spears. The fins are what the spring pushes against. Without them, it would not have been possible. But since fins would naturally help guide a missile through water, it seemed fitting. Unique design, probably not seen before.
I made two spear heads, one an explosive tip, and one a missile tip. I have a few other designs in the wings I can use for expansion sets or new sets if I want.
The mask was a challenge. I was going to go with the same mask I had used for the Gulf set but that one was an “innie”, it had holes to fit paracord. This one had to be an “outie” to fit into the existing hoses. And also, the original face breather had paddles on the side to fit into the thick blue head cover. It was clear early on that the new black suits were not as thick, and that would not work, so Greg asked for a full face mask, and it was a bit of a daunting task. It took a while to design and get working, and in that scale, it really should be printed in resin on my resin printers, which can only operate from May to October, as I have to print in an unheated garage.
So it took a while, but I eventually designed a face mask that is quite modern and quite nice if I do say so myself. I modeled a slot all around the eye opening to fit a clear plastic visor. And since it was a 3D model, I was able to take the shape of that slot, separate it out, and straighten it (since it was modeled on a curve) and then use that line image to move to a vector program to create a file to cut on my Cricut desktop cutter. I bought some light filter plastic film and cut out the mask visors.
Snapping them in place was a bit challenging, but once they got into place they fit perfectly.
I found some small gauge elastic (harder than you’d think) and epoxy-cemented them into place for a nice fit.
I have to say it is a pretty impressive set as a whole. It came together perfectly and the elements all look like they belong.
Some have compared the set to James Bond or original Adventure Team, and I ain’t mad about that. Clearly Adventure Team is my main inspiration, but in this case Bond came to mind. And while the inspiration is visible, these are entirely my own design.
When I was done I created a version of the set in red and black (with red visor) and it will go with my Spy Island set as a further addition. A one-off for me.
Skunkworks YouTube channel reviewed this set. Check it out.