Conversion to (Predator) Dutch Schaefer Model

Commando model kit (left) converted to Dutch Schaefer (right)

Last Updated: April 6, 2018 ...

  • New - completed with all photos and text


In 2015, I bought a resin model kit of Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix from the 1985 movie 'Commando'. I got it with the intention of converting it to Arnold as Dutch Schaefer from the 1987 'Predator' movie, in time for the 30th anniversary of that movie. I started it in early 2017, but never completed it until 2018.

The basic form was there, though some details like pants, knife and sheath, belt, etc. were not quite the same. The intent was NOT to try to make this a "movie-accurate" model, but to be a representation of the character. For example, in the movie, he never acutally wielded a machete; one of his troops did.

Modifications included:

  • The machine gun from the 'Commando' movie was changed to be the M16A1 Rifle with attached M203 Grenade Launcher; thus the belts of bullets held in the left hand were not used.
  • Dutch's vest was added;
  • the machete was added to his left hand;
  • the base from the Commando model was not used, so the Dutch model needed plexiglass discs under it's feet to keep it stable.

I found reference pictures from the web (see below), for the vest, the rifle and for the camouflage pattern on his pants.

The Rifle

As with other modeling projects, when I told my buddy Tom Sosenko what I was going to do, he noted that the gun form 'Commando' was not the right one for the 'Predator' movie. So I gave Tom the arm with the gun, and he modified it (see photos below) by cutting-off the end, and milling from black plastic, the proper end for the M16A1 Rifle with attached M203 Grenade Launcher, as well as a handle for the top of the gun. Tom also ground down the stock, and body to the proper dimensions .


Top: original rifle; Bottom: new rifle

Adding the Vest

I could have left the model "bare chested", but decided it would be more interesting if he had the "utility vest" that Dutch wore in the latter part of the movie, at the point where he had stripped-off his shirt and had only the vest on. Also, my version is after Dutch had already used all of his grenades against the Predator, when it was hiding up in the trees.

The photos below show the vest made from epoxy putty before I added the pouches and grenade rings. Note that I added two straps that are shown in "unstrapped" positions. I could never quite find a reference photo showing me how the vest was held in closed position, so I took "artistic license" and assumed they would look something like what I did. Also shown in the photos are the templates I created from light card stock. These templates were used to lay over the "sheet" of epoxy putty (before the putty totally hardened) so I could cut-out the various pieces I needed to form the vest.

Vest, front and back views

Adding the Machete

The Commando model had a machete that was meant to be stuck into the base of that model. I knew in the 'Predator' movie, that a machete was used by one of the other soldiers to clear a path through the jungle, so using it in the model wasn't "totally incorrect". Since in this model I am not having Dutch's left hand hold the belts of bullets (that are used for the Commando model), that hand and it's position seemed to be "out-of-place". So I decided to put the machete in that hand. However, I had to cut the thumb off, and form it around the machete's handle. Then I had to use epoxy putty to attach the thumb back to the hand, and fill the gap caused by repositioning the thumb (see photos below).

Left Arm, before machete, and after machete

Completed Model

To complete the model, since the epoxy putty was "lumpy", some putty work had to be done to fill gaps in the vest, as well as to smooth out flat sections of the vest. Then the model was primed with Krylon White Primer.

Assembled, vest puttied; primed

The painting completed the model. Key painting points are:

  • it was tough for me to get a flesh tone I liked. At first it was "too orangey" to me, but then I added more red and white, and it started to get too pink.
  • I had to figure out what sort of pattern to use for the camouflage. I got to the point where I painted it in random patterns.
  • I dry-brushed the smudged "eye-black" that he had on both sides of his face. I may have "over-did" it a bit on his left cheek, and it looks "too smudged" ?

Below are photos of the completed model.