Photos by ALRDesign
This is the coolest thing I've seen in awhile. Private First Class Rupert Valero is currently stationed at Khandahar, Afghanistan, and to fill his spare time, he builds toys out of recycled materials. They capture a wonderful mix of imagination, whimsy, and craftiness, and they rank way up there with awesome upcycled goods.
Valero loves robots and 6" articulating action figures, and so it's only natural that he started crafting them in his spare time. In an interview on Another Limited Rebellion (which we saw via Boing Boing), Valero states, "The use of found items is based on what is available to me out here. Slowly, I have amassed more resources like paint and hobby tools. Assemblage has really grown on me to the point I will continue to build from found items. It will be more difficult to find large quantities of items like bottle caps. Out here, you need to hydrate, so it's more readily available than say, back home."
He also states that building the figures has helped him to interact and connect with the local people, since toys are universal.
Some of the action figures are available for sale on Valero's Etsy store, but you can catch a bunch of photos of his rad creations on his Flickr stream. What he's built while in Afghanistan goes beyond just cool toys -- these are works of upcycled art. We love it!