1:6 Scale Baseball Caps and Related Sports Gear Revisited———Outfitting Your G.I. Joe For Game Day

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Vending Machine NFL Caps for GIjOE— These NFL team logo caps look great on any 1:6 scale action figure. Minor paint overspray can be easily touched up. (Photo: Bryan Mays) Click to enlarge.

baseballcaps2

Play Ball! This closeup reveals the 1:6 scale MLB batting helmets produced by Rawlings—perfect for 12-inch GIjOEs. Go, RANGERS! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

If you’ve been with us since 2012, then you may recall that the first-ever article published HERE on The Joe Report was a short account regarding the discovery of a 30-piece set of 1:6 scale MLB baseball batting helmets at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Champaign, Illinois. Manufactured by Rawlings, the tiny helmets (see at right) proved to be a huge hit with GIjOE kitbashers (and sports fans), and the article itself helped us to “kick off” the collaborative and informative nature of this beloved online blogazine.

Today, another faithful follower and “eagle-eyed TJR field reporter” helps us revisit that self-same first topic, reminding us of both past and present 1:6 scale sports headgear and jerseys, including some new hats that he found recently—in a vending machine. According to Bryan Mays:
“I love The Joe Report and how creative all the folks out there are, as well as all the great GIjOE history your blog has uncovered. Your TJR ‘Christmas List’ article a few years back (see HERE) really got me hooked, especially when I saw that photo of a GIjOE holding a toddler’s corn-popper Christmas ornament made by Hallmark. Right then, I knew that Joe Report readers were my kind of people! I wanted to drop you a line and see if you or your readers knew of any NFL gear (or even MLB or NHL for that matter) that would fit our 1/6th scale buddies. I am passing along what little I’ve learned on this subject as well, which admittedly, isn’t too much, but here we go:
GE DIGITAL CAMERA

What Team Does YOUR Joe Support? Outfit your GIjOE sports fan with one of these new 1:6 scale NFL team caps found both in vending machines and websites online. Their quality may not be perfect, but with a little touch-up paint, the will be! (Photo: Bryan Mays) Click to enlarge.

A few years back, I bought several hats out of a vending machine that do fit 1:6 scale GIjOEs (see above). They are still available online (HERE) as ‘Premium Football Caps Vending Capsules.’ The hats themselves sometimes have a bit of paint overspray, but they were only $1 from that vending machine, so no biggie.
photobyimgur

Have it YOUR Way— These nifty 1:6 scale football player jerseys were distributed by Burger King a few years ago and can still be found numerous places online. Take care when putting these on your GIjOE however, as those neckholes can be very tight. (Photo: IMGUR) Click to enlarge.

I also found that those Burger King NFL jerseys from about a decade ago (see above) do not work easily with 1:6 GIjOEs—at least not without some modification. Right out of the bag, their neckholes are simply not large enough to fit over Joe’s noggin. You’ll need to either enlarge the neckhole by stitching and sewing, or remove and reinstall Joe’s head in order to get the jersey to go on the figure.
madlids

Higher Quality, But Untested— Have you tried these caps on a GIjOE? If so, we’d love to hear from you. They look GREAT! (Photo NFL store)

I’ve haven’t had time to test those the new NFL MadLids football team ballcaps (see at right), but they’re starting to hit Target stores now and look to be very detailed, even including a little New Era logo. I also haven’t tried any of those Upper Deck mini jersey offerings, neither NHL nor MLB. It is possible they will have the same (tight) neck issues as those Burger King ones. I’d be interested in hearing if any other Joeheads have tried them and/or if they know of any other ballcaps or sports jerseys that work well with 12″ GIjOEs. 
upperdeckminijersey

How Great is THIS? Imagine all the action figures you could outfit with these great NFL “Mini Jerseys.” We’re not sure when they came out, or if they’re still available, but hopefully, they’ll easily fit onto GIjOE without any major modification. It’d be a shame to have to alter them. Of course, if you can yank off and replace your Joe’s head, then any tight neckhole problem is moot. If you know more about this exciting line, please write in. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks! (Photo: Upper Deck)

Happy holidays to all, and thanks again for putting out such a great site, Mark! I hope my article is enough on-topic to be of interest/help to you and to the rest of the 1:6 scale community that loyally follows The Joe Report.” Sincerely—Bryan Mays
Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Bryan Mays for his generous contributions to this article. We had not heard of (or seen) many of the items described above. It looks like its time for us to start searching the ‘net (and our local stores) again. Happy Hunting!
Tagged , ,

G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Announces It Will Sell 50th Anniversary Action Man Figures in the U.S.

skipatrolactionman

Hit the Slopes! Loaded down with skiing gear and weaponry, this 50th Action Man Ski Patrol soldier looks ready to face any foe. This is just one of six AM commemorative figures available NOW for pre-order at the GIjOE Collector’s Club. (Photo: GIJCC)

In an emailed press release received today from the GIjOE Collector’s Club, members were notified that the UK’s much anticipated 50th Anniversary Action Man (12″) figures will indeed be offered for sale on this side of the Atlantic. However, the club advises fans to begin queuing up sooner rather than later and place their pre-orders NOW at the club’s online store found HERE.

It would also behoove buyers to pay special attention to the specific ordering instructions (and ominous warnings) which are posted alongside each product’s description, stating:

malecomment

“PLEASE DO NOT ADD ANY IN-STOCK PRODUCT TO THIS ORDER, ONLY PRE-ORDERED ITEMS. IF IN-STOCK PIECES ARE ADDED, YOUR ORDER WILL BE CANCELLED!! The Action Soldier & Action Footballer will ship together in mid December. The Marine Paratrooper, British Infantryman, Frogman & Army Ski Patrol will ship later around the first part of January. If you place an order for all six figures on the same order, your order WILL NOT SHIP UNTIL JANUARY.” —GIjOE Collector’s Club

ski-patrolpng

You’ll Get!— While no final packaging photos are yet available, the club’s webstore does offer “carded” pics of all the items that come with each figure. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: For many collectors, these figures will look very similar to other GIjOE and AM re-releases we’ve seen in the past, but the unique 50th Anniversary occasion coupled with the increasingly rare opportunities to buy NEW “product” should make for quite a run on these exclusive 12″ figures. Packaging pics aren’t available (yet), but each figure is accompanied by photos of its respective uniform pieces, weapons, gear and equipment. Go, Action Man!

Tagged , , ,

How To Create Realistic 1:6 Scale Rifle Slings For Use With Most Weapons———in 9 Easy Steps!

exclusivebanner

sling6

1:6 Sling Perfection— This closeup of John B.’s Vietnam-era custom rifle sling reveals it is absolutely perfect in terms of color and detail. Learn how to create your own 1:6 slings in the photo-article provided below. (Photo: John B.)

We LOVE when our faithful readers do all the work for us. Today, intrepid TJR Field Reporter”John B.” provides the following step-by-step guide for creating your own 1:6 scale rifle slings. It is an out-STANDING and simple 9-step procedure that we recommend you print out and save for future reference. As for now…Please clear off your workstation and get ready to have some FUN. Heeeere’s… John B!

malecomment

“I wasn’t too happy with the slings that came with a number of the 21stC 1:6 Vietnam-era weapons, so I devised a way to make my own using colored cloth book binding repair tape and wire. I added some light weathering, which I think gives the tape a great canvas look, much more realistic than what originally came with the toys. I used my first new sling for a ’70s Vietnam-era weapon, but with some minor modifications, this procedure could be utilized to make slings for modern-day weapons, World War II, World War I, etc. This might be an old trick (that I just happened to reinvent), but if not, here are the pictures I took to help walk you through it. It’s really quite easy. Enjoy! —John B.

sling1

Written and photographed by John B. Click to enlarge.

sling2

Written and photographed by John B. Click to enlarge.

sling3

Written and photographed by John B. Click to enlarge.

sling4

Written and photographed by John B. Click to enlarge.

sling5

Written and photographed by John B. Click to enlarge.

sling7

Details Make the Difference— As this closeup of John B.’s custom Vietnam-era 101st AB MSG reveals, it’s the DETAILS that really help make the figure. Our eyes are instantly drawn in to those tiny, weathered patches, his amazingly realistic face sculpt, and yes, that beautiful little custom rifle sling. GREAT work, John! (Photo: John B.)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Mr. John B. and to all of the other generous, helpful (and very talented) customizers, reporters, and contributors to The Joe Report. You guys & gals are the best! If you have any questions about this tutorial, please contact John directly via email HERE. Thanks!

Tagged ,

Fan-Created G.I. Joe Ephemera———Picking Up Where Collector’s Club Leaves Off, James Kavanaugh Jr. Heads Up a Talented Team of Graphics Experts to Produce Exclusive Posters, Cards, and Boxes To Be Given Away Every Year at JoeCon———For FREE!

jameskavanaugh

Utilizing Vintage Design to Promote RAH GIJoes— At first glance, you’d think this professionally created mini-poster is one of the original product brochures produced by Hasbro back in 1964 to promote its new line of 12″ GIjOE action figures and accessory sets. But you’d be wrong, my friend. In actuality, this masterpiece depicts GIjOEs of the more modern-era (3.75″) RAH variety. Produced by a team of graphics professionals spearheaded by James Kavanaugh Jr., this limited-edition (300) fan-produced poster is a superb example of how far some die-hard fans will go to further expand upon and refine GIjOE’s “universe.” (Framing by Sam Sears. Photo by: James Kavanaugh) Click to enlarge.

jameskavanaughjrc

Incognito Imagineer?— Apparently a man of many faces and talents, James Kavanaugh is also the chief designer of some of the world’s greatest GIjOE “faux ephemera.” (Photo: James Kavanaugh)

Bumping Into a Graphics Guru— When we first met James Kavanaugh Jr. at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL, he was surrounded by about a dozen wide-eyed fans. They were all eager to get a closer look at James’ offering of expertly created GIjOE fan-graphics; including such nifty items as mini-posters and 3.75″ mini-boxes. Surprised by the professional quality of the items arrayed on his tables, we were sure they would be priced accordingly (i.e. expensive) and were stunned when he informed us that they were actually being given away to JoeCon 2015 attendees—for FREE!

If you know anything about the high costs of producing and printing quality graphic projects (and we do), then you’ll know we’re talking about some serious money here. For example, individual copies of James’ RAH posters could easily range upwards of $30 apiece (if outputted with high-end plotters or printers). Such JoeCon “freebies” can actually be very expensive to make (and very valuable to collect).

Clearly, this segment of GIjOE fandom isn’t a cheap corner of the “sandbox” to play around in. The large amount of time required to produce such quality pieces can ring up a hefty tab, and we were eager to learn what sort of “madness” drives Kavanaugh in this regard. Thankfully, he kindly assented to the following exclusive interview—for faithful readers of—The Joe Report!


exclusivebanner

TJR: Thanks for speaking with us today, James. As fellow graphic designers and “brothers-in-arms” in the visual and communication arts profession, we’d love to hear the story behind your amazing GIjOE print projects; especially that stunning RAH mini-poster (shown at top).

jameskavanaughjrb

With a Wink and a Nod—GIjOE fan, collector and graphics expert, James Kavanaugh Jr. continues to produce and distribute GIjOE graphics at each JoeCon—for FREE! (Photo: James Kavanaugh Jr.)

malecomment

“The poster is a long answer to a short question. I pigeonhole myself as a RAH (Real American Hero) collector and since the 2005 convention, I’ve been making and handing out free custom file cards and package card backs.

They were originally designed to supplement the GIjOE club’s membership figures because the club was only providing a quick bio on the back of each membership card.”

TJR: What a excellent idea! And you still give all these cards and posters away for FREE?

“Yes, that’s right. Every year I make 300 for JoeCon and an extra (exclusive) 100 for the awards dinner as a token of my appreciation to all the wonderful people I’ve met at the shows.”

TJR: That’s very generous. You have some serious “Joe Karma” coming your way. Do you work on these projects all alone, or do you enlist the aid of other talented Joeheads?

garygodsoe

GIjOE Fan and Expert, Gary Godsoe (Photo: Gary Godsoe)

“Gary Godsoe is my right-hand man in these projects, and Ace Allgood was my go-to guy for reference photos, accuracy, and overall expert vintage opinion. I’ve also utilized the amazing skills of John Jett, Troy McKee, Andrew Hall and Todd Weinzeirl.”

TJR: That sounds like an “A-Team” of GIjOE experts. Are you a big fan of both the RAH and 12″ GIjOEs?

“Honestly, I was born in 1977 and grew up in an almost childless neighborhood with no older relatives, so  I knew nothing about 12” GI Joe. I assumed that he was just Barbie’s ‘Army boyfriend.’  And sadly, certain aspects of the 12” figure as a whole are simply lost on me. Nonetheless, I wanted to work backwards and explore GIjOE’s 12” history by undoing the RAH line. 

It began one day when I was thinking about the TV series ‘Gotham.’ I assessed that the show took the core of the Batman story, pulled it apart, and reassembled its disparate pieces into a new configuration. That made me wonder, what if the RAH line had been released back in 1982 with a more 12” style approach?”

jamesposter1

Giving Proper Credit— Contributors to each of Kavanaugh’s projects receive official credit bylines such as those listed in the corner of Jame’s RAH poster. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Where did you take the project from there?

“Over time, the project evolved into various interpretations of the RAH portion of the GIjOE hobby, each a reflection of the current time. For example, in 2009, I inducted Bullet-Man into the ‘Crappy Figure Brigade.’ And in 2010, I did a Ted Williams card back for the love-to-hate-to-love subgroup of fans that support, shall we say, the more ‘unique’ G.I. Joes ever produced.”

jamesposter5

Packaging Fans Take Note— The classic GIjOE designs from the 1960s hold up VERY well today, as this closeup of James Kavanaugh’s poster clearly reveals. Hello, Hasbro? Are you seeing this? Here’s a great way to bring all GIjOE fans together under one “visual umbrella.” (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What did you decide to produce for GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary?

“For the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe, I wanted to do something more dynamic and more in tune with the roots of G.I. Joe, not a RAH ‘off-year,’ so I developed the 4-inch boxes. They were designed to assume the role of a vintage package for the modern visage of G.I. Joe. They were also designed to emulate the vintage packaging as closely as possible, while fully selling the more ‘realistic’ aspects of the RAH.”

jamesposter3

Realistic Detail on Every Panel— The attention to detail on Kavanaugh’s projects is stunning; UPC codes, fine print, choke warnings, it’s all there. Look closely at this GIjOE “Infantry” box— there are even pictures of its related uniform and accessory sets depicted on the side panels at barely 1″ high. Get out your magnifying glass, because you’ll need it to read it! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: You’ve made mini-boxes, posters, and even authored books on RAH GIjOEs. But your new poster seems to be targeting fans of the vintage 12″ GIJOEs. What inspired the change?

jameskavanaughjrbytree-bot

Debonair Author— James Kavanaugh Jr., renowned RAH GIjOE expert and “Human Chameleon,” demonstrated yet another of his handsome and distinctive “looks” while discussing his new book, “Rank & File, a Guide to 4″ GIjOE Action Figures,” at a convention held in the UK. (Photo: Tree-Bot)

“I wanted to do something a bit more abstract in relation to my previous work and also do something for a wider audience than RAH collectors. My RAH research showed me that, in many ways, early RAH was still thought of in terms of small 12” figures with names and an enemy.  This poster gave the RAH figures height, removed the names and gave them the interchangeable dynamic that was left behind in the transition. My goal was to also simulate a marketing approach to ‘higher ups’ so that the viewer feels like they’re looking at a conceptual pitch.”

rankfilejoeguide

Collect ‘Em All— Kavanaugh’s wide variety of GIjOE-related creations have become a new collecting segment all of their own and it’s easy to see why. The cover of his new book, Rank & File, utilizes design inspired by the ’80s RAH comics. Get your copy HERE today!

TJR: Your poster is a superb demonstration of how Hasbro could have brought fans of both eras together by appealing to the heart-strings of older collectors while reviving vintage packaging design. What did your A-Team of experts think of your unique retro-poster concept?

“The early idea was difficult for me to convey, I had a hard time articulating my thoughts to my core consultants. They kept simplifying it as a 12” Grunt (like the figure in the 1994 Hall of Fame). The base figure is the Action Soldier male, not ‘Grunt’ as the RAH guys know him. The vintage RAH art is familiar to RAH collectors and was used to help accentuate the packaging while guiding the viewer to its hybrid conclusions.

I then divided the 82-84 line into Basic and Deluxe package options and used almost the exact character themes given to us in those respected years. I stripped away the unique shades of green that each RAH character is typically assigned (ex. Zap was light green while Grand Slam was dark olive) and tried to create as many reusable plastic parts a possible.

Customizable variations of the core product were also paramount.  The human essence of both lines was diversity so I wanted to assume the base figure was ‘available’ in various hair colors and skin colors.  But to take it a step further, the consumer could mix and match figures with outfits as they choose.”

jamesposter4

A Face All Fans Can Love— Whatever the scale, GIjOE’s “first face” was an iconic design that continues to resonate strongly with collectors worldwide. (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What else should fans (of both eras) know about the content depicted in your poster?

“The versatility of the 12” line was there for the consumer to choose. So showcasing the iconic vintage 12” head was paramount in order to drive home the idea that this concept was 12”.  John Jett was the artist that nailed the various looks. The verbiage used in the poster derives heavily from the vintage RAH catalogs, and the fictitious Asst. #’s are based on the original Asst. numbers used in the original 1982 products (the ‘H’ is fake in all the numbers and the ’15’ is just the convention year).  My projects always have Easter Eggs in them.”

jamesposter2

Gutsy, Not Glamorous— Kavanaugh’s poster also features a GIJane action figure. Never meant to be a “pin-up” girl, the various depictions of Jane depict determined looking, capable fighting women instead. Out-STANDING! (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Tell us about that GIJane figure. She’s a great addition to the poster!

“The real ‘twist’ with this poster’s concept was the inclusion of a female soldier. This fictitious, femme-fatale figure would’ve been sold separately—but equally—with the male. This led me to make the female look more in sync with the male figure, while still retaining female features. I will apologize beforehand when I say the female nurse isn’t the most attractive female action figure representation (in my opinion). Thus, John Jett was tasked with developing a more striking female. But hey, don’t get me wrong, she’s not posing for a glamour shot.  She’s here fight for freedom!

She’s obviously (to RAH guys) an abstract notion of Lady Jaye. However, the reason why I gave her a javelin thrower is not for RAH accuracy. I would’ve been inclined to give her a rifle like her male counterpart (though I’m sure some market research would’ve resulted in girls wanting some sort of ‘non-rifle’ weapon) but it hit me that GI Joe reflects contemporary pop culture and Hunger Games is a huge hit right now. The female star is called Katniss and fights with a bow and arrow. Of course, a traditional bow and arrow would’ve looked awkward compared to the male’s rifle, but a javelin shooter bridges that military gap and still gives girls the sort of heroine they’d want.”

katniss

A GIJane With a Bow— Katniss from The Hunger Games inspired and impacted Kavanaugh’s depiction of the GIJane action figure shown on his poster. However, the movie character’s bow-n-arrow had to go and was replaced with a rocket-propelled “javelin” (instead of a rifle). (Photo: Lion’s Gate)

I asked John to produce a woman that looked like she means business, yet wouldn’t scare away female consumers.  The goal was for her to have an assertive demeanor. Then, females could utilize the basic accessories like the male, yet have their own exciting ‘looks’ that filled all roles.”

jamesposter6

Words to Live By— Real American Heroes need real mottos to steel their nerves in battle. The copy on James’ poster reminds kids and adults to fight the good fight—with GIjOE! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Any closing thoughts on this poster and/or your reasons for creating it?

I believe vintage GI jOE could use as much attention as possible and I just wanted to do my part. Hopefully, this poster showed commonalities between both lines and illustrates how, with some minor changes, Hasbro could’ve painted a totally different picture of the brand’s landscape. With the proverbial product ‘well’ running dry or at least tapering off, maybe collectors who prefer one line over the other will decide to cross over into new territory so to speak, and further round-out their own perspective of the hobby.”

James Kavanaugh Jr.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to James “the Chameleon” Kavanaugh Jr. for all of his generous contributions to the GIjOE collecting hobby and to this article. You can reach James on Facebook HERE and find his books on Amazon HERE. Go (or Yo), JAMES!

 

Tagged , , ,

September 11, 2001 Attacks———15 Years Ago Today

alextaka911photo

Alex Taka created this superb 1:6 scale diorama photo recreating the presentation of the WTC flag by members of the NYFD. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Alex Taka)

911flag

Remember the Fallen— The 9/11 “Flag of Honor” hangs outside the HQ of The Joe Report today.

Bottom Line: We will never forget.

U.S. Army Paratrooper Who Modeled For Photos in 1962-63 Believes the Images Taken of Him Were Used To Create the Iconic Headsculpt of G.I. Joe

philiverson3

Well, Hello Joe! At first glance, Phil Iverson’s resemblance to the original (1964) GIjOE headsculpt seems obvious—even strikingly so. It should be no surprise to learn that the former US Army paratrooper firmly believes the iconic action figure’s “first face” was based on photographs taken of him in 1962-63 by a representative of Hasbro. As fans well know, theories have long postulated that the original GIjOE’s face was an almagam of various Medal of Honor winners—not based on the likeness of any one individual. Unfortunately, the head’s sculptor (subcontracted by Hasbro) provided inconclusive comments about the use of reference photographs before passing away in 1996. (Photo: Courtesy of Phil Iverson)

Did a Signed Contract Enable Hasbro to Legally Recreate Soldier’s Visage in 1:6 Scale?

gijoe2

There Was Something About His Face— As kids, we all knew IMMEDIATELY that GIjOE was a tough, good-looking dude, and that his sublimely heroic countenance was perfect for untold adventures of imagination. With or without that facial hair, GijOE was definitely ‘da man. HOOah! Go, JOE! (Photo: Sears Roebuck & Co.)

For over 5 decades now, GIjOE fans and collectors around the world have been asking the same question: Did some unknown individual’s face serve as reference (or inspiration) for the original ’64 GIjOE headsculpt? Or, was Joe’s famous noggin (as many still believe) actually a magnificent mélange of various Medal of Honor winners? Depending on how one views the newly uncovered facts, photos, and first-person account of former U.S. Army soldier, Phil Iverson, the truth may now be a little more…


plau·si·ble

ˈplôzəb(ə)l/
adjective

 1. (of an argument or statement) seeming reasonable or probable. “a plausible explanation”


When PFC Phil Iverson was first told by an unknown U.S. Army sergeant (in 1962-63) to report to HQ and have his picture taken in khaki uniform and cap, he replied, “Yes, Sergeant!” PFC Iverson’s photographic mission seemed simple enough, but unbeknownst to the 21-year-old paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division, he was (possibly) being tasked to be an artist’s model who’d provide reference for a sculptor creating the most popular toy soldier face ever—G.I. Joe.

philcomparison4

The Likeness is VERY Close— As these side-by-side closeups help confirm, it seems quite likely that freelance sculptor Phil Kraczkowski utilized the reference photos he (or a Hasbro rep) had taken of Phil Iverson. Even GIJOE’s iconic facial scar was placed on the same cheek (right-hand side). Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not! (1:6 scale paratrooper cap patch courtesy Patches of Pride.) Click to enlarge.

exclusivebannerAn Exclusive Interview With the Man Who May Be the “Original Face” of GIjOE—Phil Iverson

In the following exclusive interview, Phil Iverson relates exactly how he was photographed and why he believes his 21-year-old face was ultimately utilized as visual reference/guidance material by sculptor, Phil Karaczkowski, during the latter’s creation of the iconic, 1964 G.I. Joe headsculpt.

malecomment

philiversontoday

Senior Citizen Joe— Phil Iverson (76), is considered by many to be the model used for the “original face of GIjOE.” He’s shown as he appears in 2016. If  you’ve ever wondered what GIjOE would look like as a senior citizen…here you go! (Photo: Phil Iverson)

“I enlisted in the service in 1961, went through basic training, MP school, and was sent to Fort Campbell, KY, to go through paratrooper jump school with the 101st Airborne. Sometime in 1962-63, a sergeant I had never seen before came into our barracks and told me to put on my uniform and double-time it over to the headquarters building to get my picture taken. 

So… I went over to HQ and up to an empty 2nd floor office that was not being used. I remember it had a reception counter in front and empty office space in the back. I went in and there was a man sitting next to a camera. I don’t know who he was, but he had black hair and looked to be about in his 30s.”

(The man Phil refers to here was most likely Hasbro’s Don Levine or the largely unsung sculptor of the original ’64 GIjOE head, Phil Karaczkowski. For more information on Mr. Karaczkowki and his hugely important role in GIjOE’s early history, please watch the video clip provided below. —Ed.)

“He looked me up and down for a moment and said (pointing), ‘You have to sign that release, right over there.’ He was referring to a form he’d placed on the left side of the counter. So I did as he said,. I went over to it—and I signed it. What it said, I have idea. I didn’t read it. In the Army, you’re trained to do what you’re told. 

As I was signing the form, I laughed and said, ‘Sure! I’ll sign. Nobody will ever want to use MY picture.’ That seemed to get his attention and he gave me sort of a double-take, you know, like he suddenly had a much greater interest in me.

He said ‘Stand right there’ and I did. I remember I was standing in front of a plain backdrop. He took a couple of pictures, front and side stuff, you know, and that was that. I walked out without any further comment from either of us.”

philk1

The Artistic Genius Behind GIjOE— Freelance sculptor, Phil Karaczkowski, was the largely unheralded creator of the iconic, world-famous 1964 GIjOE headsculpt, receiving only $600 for the assignment. Here, he stands next to some life-sized examples of his work, bronze busts of other famous Americans. Was THIS the man who took reference photos of Phil Iverson back in 1962-63? (Screenshot taken from a video produced by DoubleACS TV, Attleboro Access Cable System, Inc.) Click to enlarge.

“The next day, while I was sitting on my bunk relaxing in the barracks, another sergeant (that I’d also never seen before) came in and said, ‘Here’s a copy of one of those pictures they took of you yesterday.’ I took it, said, ‘Thanks,’ and he left. The next time I went home on leave, I gave the photo to my parents.

Well, I didn’t see that photo again until 2002. My mother had just passed away and we were going through her belongings. When I saw the photo again, I thought to myself, ‘Boy, that sure looks like GIjOE!’ A lot of other people I’ve shown it to also agree that it was probably used for GIjOE, but I don’t have a copy of the release I signed or any other definitive proof.

I am reminded of another occasion, long ago, just a little after 1964. I had gone to a birthday party for some kid, and at the party he received a new GIjOE. Everybody was standing around looking at it, because it was a new thing at that time, you know…and they were all saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute, Phil. That’s YOU!‘ 

iverson8

A Real GIjOE On Duty— The only other photo Phil Iverson owns from his time in the Army is this rather dramatically lit nighttime image taken while on guard duty at the entry gates of the base. It confirms Iverson’s PFC rank and position as a Military Police (MP) officer and 101st Airborne Division paratrooper (see 101st AD helmet emblem and basic jump wings pinned above left pocket). The mystery is, Phil has no recollection of when this photo was taken by the Army (understandable, since he was on duty at the time), nor of how it came to be in his possession. Cue the Twilight Zone music! (Photo: Phil Iverson)

By this time in Phil’s story, our curiosity was well piqued. We began to dig deeper for more facts:

johnmichlig3

Author-GIjOE historian, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

TJR: Most fans believe the definitive history of GIjOE was detailed in a book authored by John Michlig entitled, GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action. After checking through its pages, we were unable to locate any mention of you, or of any reference photographs being taken (of anyone) for use in creating the original 1964 GIjOE headsculpt.

“No. Well, that’s probably because he (Michlig) wrote that book before he knew anything about me, my story, or the pictures. But with GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary approaching, I looked Michlig up on the computer and found his website and phone number. I thought, ‘What the heck?’ and I called him. I told him that I thought my picture was used for the ’64 headsculpt of GIjOE and he seemed kinda bored, sorta like he didn’t believe me. 

I told him I also had a facial scar—on my right cheek. That fact seemed to pique his interest. Then I asked him to take a look at my photos on Facebook. He did, and while he was looking, I could hear him in the background going, ‘Whoa!’ Finally, he said, ‘Send me ALL the stuff you’ve got! I did, and he called me back later to say, ‘Oh yeah. That picture of you was definitely used somehow for GIjOE.'”

derryldepriestFB

Derryl DePriest. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

TJR: Interesting! Has anyone else in the GIJOE pantheon agreed with your supposition?

“Well, I called the GIjOE Club a few years ago. They agreed totally that the picture had to have been used in some way for GIjOE. But they also advised, ‘Let’s keep this confidential.’ Then I called and spoke with Hasbro’s Derryl DePriest. He was also very nice, but mostly noncommittal, and only said, ‘We don’t have any information that goes back that far.’ That’s about all I have right now.”

TJR: Okay, so while many people agree there’s a strong resemblance and a high likelihood that the photos taken of you were used by Hasbro or Phil Kraczkowski, there’s still no definitive written or oral proof (other than yours) to attest to that fact. No contracts. No testimonials. Nada. Did you ever consult a lawyer about this matter?

“Yes. A lawyer I consulted asked me if there was any kind of heading on the release form I signed and I told him no; not that I knew of, or remembered seeing. I read about Stan Weston in the California Daily News. He’s in his 80s now, and I understand he’s still trying to recoup some copyright possession of GIjOE (see The Joe Report’s coverage of that story HERE). But I have no goals or ambition to gain financial benefits from Hasbro. They’ve made about a billion dollars on GIjOE, but I’ll never see any of it. I’d just like to get this historical information out there. I’m sure most fans and collectors have never heard about these early model photos before.”

philk2

Comfortable Working at Any Scale— GIjOE’s sculptor, Phil Kraczkowski, working in his studio. (Screenshot taken from a video produced by DoubleACS TV, Attleboro Access Cable System, Inc.)

TJR: Did you ever try to reach the actual sculptor of that first GIjOE head, Phil Kraczkowski?

“Yes, I did. But he had already died and his girlfriend has sold off everything he had. His records are all gone now. I know this, because I also talked to his nephew.”

TJR: That’s a shame. Tell me, do you remember how you got your own facial scar?

“Oh yeah. I was in 8th grade. They were making a ball field in the back of the grade school. We got a bunch of people together and they gave us all shovels. I was standing there and this kid picked up a shovel of dirt, swung it and hit me right in the cheek. I had to have about 20 stitches! After 50+ years, you’ve got to look really close to see that scar now, but I still have a Selective Service card (from 1958) that says ‘Identifying Marks: Scar on right cheek.’ HA!”

iversoncard

You May Fire When You Are Ready, Gridley!— Indeed, like the famous US Navy quote, a few years later, Phil Gridley Iverson would indeed be firing weapons for his country—but not for the Navy. Iverson enlisted in the U.S. Army instead. Intriguingly, his 1958 selective service registration card already mentioned the defining physical characteristic of any true GIjOE, his “scar on right cheek.” Coincidental? Yes. Fascinating? OH, YES! (Photo: Phil Iverson) Click to enlarge.

boyslifegijoe

That Famous Scar— You can’t miss it on this page in a 2014 issue of Boy’s Life magazine. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

TJR: Very interesting. And actually, that little card is yet another tiny bit of evidence supporting your story. Of course, we all remember Don Levine’s account regarding the addition of a scar and reverse thumbnail to the original GIjOE. It was done so that Hasbro’s new action figure would have unusual physical characteristics that would help strengthen its copyright protection.

“Yes, that’s right. And the scar is visible in the photo (of me) that I believe Hasbro and/or Kraczkowski used. If you look at that photo and then at a ’64 GIjOE—they’re identical. Funny thing, I have another photo of me, taken by the Army, where it’s obvious that they chose to airbrush-out the scar. But to me and to everyone else I’ve ever shown this material to, the conclusion remains obvious. They all say the same thing. That original GIJOE ’64 headsculpt—is ME!”

TJR: Your theory seems to be, at the LEAST, quite plausible. And it does appear that you were unwittingly immortalized in plastic. Whether or not any of it was Kraczkowski or Hasbro’s intent remains to be determined. What have you been doing since those bygone days?

“Well, I was in the Army for 3 years. I’m as patriotic as anybody who’ll ever walk the face of the Earth, but I didn’t want to go to Vietnam. So… after I got out of the service, I first went to work in a steel mill, then two years in a police department, then on to Commonwealth Edison electric utility for 30 years, and finally to a grocery store where I worked as a maintainance man for 14 years. I retired at 70 and am now 76. Oh! And I just had a heart-attack.”

TJR: Oh, No!

“Yeah, I’m afraid so. And I’ve lost 30 lbs since then. I got some stents and then I had to go to rehab at the local hospital. When I was there, they interviewed me and asked if anything interesting had happened to me in my life. I told them about GIjOE. The next day, everybody at the hospital knew about it. The nurses said their kids and some adults with GIjOEs wanted to bring them in for me to sign!”

Phil Iverson, Manteno, IL

joebook17

GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action (Photo: Chronicle Books)

Does Iverson’s theory about Hasbro sending someone to Fort Campbell, KY to take reference photographs for a new GIjOE action figure ring true to you? Well, there’s a lot of established precedent to back up his account. Many of Hasbro’s subcontracted artists, such as the famous Sam Petrucci and Larry Selman, were well-known for taking numerous resource photographs in preparation for their GIjOE-related art projects. It’s easy to conceive then, that Iverson’s mysterious “dark haired, 30-something” photographer was indeed Phil Kraczkowski. Sadly, the sculptor passed away in 1996 and didn’t mention taking (or using) reference photographs in John Michlig’s book:

malecomment

“People ask where my ideas come from. I say ‘from living so long.’ I’ve observed an awful lot of people, and I draw from that. In the case of GI Joe, I never sketched anything and I couldn’t use myself as a model because I’m not that handsome. Like a lot of the things I’ve sculpted, GI Joe came from within…Does GI Joe look a bit like John Kennedy? I’d done the Kennedy medal in 1961 and other full busts of him preceding the GI Joe project., so maybe the resemblance got in there subconsciously. I was thinking of a composite of people I know.”

Phil Kraczkowski, as quoted from John Michlig’s book, GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action

Bottom Line: The truth is out there…and probably rests somewhere in the middle. The idea that Kraczkowski created GIjOE’s 1964 headsculpt completely from his own imagination is certainly conceivable and believable. But taking reference photographs has been and will always remain a tried and true practice that commercial artists rely upon when facing impending project deadlines.

Whether or not Karaczkowski mentions the use of reference photos in Michlig’s book, Iverson’s interpretation of the events that occurred at Fort Campbell in 1962-63 fit perfectly within GIjOE’s early timeline. And SOME civilian clearly took reference photographs of Iverson and other soldiers on that day 50+ years ago. We have the physical proof staring back at us from Phil’s photo.

Nevertheless, pending any further clarification, conclusions drawn by anyone regarding the photographer’s actual intended purpose or use of his images remains (for now) mere speculation. Hopefully, someone out there will see this article and write in with further insight or intel. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Phil Iverson for his generous contributions to this article.

UK Division of eBay Releases “The Battle of the Red Claw;” a New Commercial Starring 1:6 Scale (Vintage 1960s) British Army Action Man Figure

actionmanspot4

Retired From Heroism?— What happens to Action Man when you store him away in the attic? According to this screenshot from a clever new eBay UK commercial, such forgotten heroes don aprons, catch up on ironing, listen to sad songs on the radio and…sip coffee. <sigh> (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

In yet another sterling example of a corporation mining the worldwide, nostalgic appeal of vintage 12-inch action figures, eBay’s savvy marketing arm recently released an online commercial touting the “local” use of its UK site (HERE) by “enlisting the service” of Britain’s favorite 1:6 scale soldier—Action Man (AM). Fortunately for all AM fans, the new commercial is actually an extended-length mini-adventure. It unspools at a full 1 minute and 42 seconds long, and features fanciful, expertly executed, stop-motion animation that creatively brings to life the story of a British Army AM soldier who’s now facing an uncertain future—stored away in his owner’s attic.

actionmanspot2

The Adventure That Never Was— But could be…if only some child or adult would come along and “create it” in his or her imagination. (Really now kids, would that be so hard? Just put down your dang cellphones and PLAY again!) This screenshot reveals a jigsaw puzzle based on a non-existent “Battle of the Red Claw” AM adventure set. Despite being a fantasy product, AM fans will delight in noting that eBay UK went to the trouble (and expense) to (re)create a box that perfectly emulates the original artwork styles utilized on ’70s AM packaging. Out-STANDING job! (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

actionmanspot3

Coolest Bad Guy That Never Existed Until eBay Made Him Up— The “Red Claw” as depicted in eBay UK’s new commercial is not a lady in red spandex. Rather, he’s an expertly made, custom Action Man figure with a unique, chrome-domed, scar-eyed, headsculpt and a superbly detailed metal claw for a hand. OUCH! Where do we buy one? Collectors will want to know! (Photo: eBay UK) Click to enlarge.

redclaw

Not the Same Red Claw— The only other “Red Claw” we’re aware of is the scarlet tights-wearing femme fatale from the animated Batman TV series. (Art: DawidARTe)

If you’ll recall, Pixar’s Toy Story III told us a similar story, whereupon, after years of happy childhood play, toys are routinely sold off, donated, and/or relegated by their clueless owners (adults) to long-term storage in boxes, basements and attics. EBay’s answer to this sad scenario, is (of course) that Britishers should sell their old toys and collectibles on the “local” UK version of the eBay website. That way, items such as the spot’s forgotten AM figure will easily find new and loving homes, and that their 1:6 scale adventures will continue on, well into the future. Plus, eBay gets a percentage, ‘natch!

Bottom Line: EBay’s latest spot directly targets the growing use of non-fee (i.e. FREE) community-centric “local” sites such as Craigslist UK. Sites such as Craigslist UK continue to take an ever-bigger bite out of eBay’s market dominance (and financial bottom line). The well-established use of GIjOE and/or Action Man figures to promote other companies’ products and services remains a sound business practice—and for Hasbro/Palitoy, thanks to their hefty licensing fees—a very lucrative one. Imagine selling thin air for millions of dollars or pounds. Yeah, it’s like that.

It’s undeniable too, that the combined emotional “heft” of the fond memories held by so many Action Man fans and collectors remains very strong. Common-sense dictates then, that tugging at all of those collective heartstrings (through advertisements such as this one) is bound to open up a fair amount of wallets—or so eBay hopes. Regardless, we know you’ll love this commercial. So…Watch. Rewind. And then watch it again. Go, ACTION MAN!

Tagged , ,

Stunner! Rare (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” Action Figures Discovered in Gift Shop of the National Museum of the USAF, Near Wright-Patterson AFB

rosie4

Bravery and Beauty— Valor Inc.’s outstanding (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” action figure had (and still has) a fantastic headsculpt that collectors continue to clamor for, 14 years after its debut. Likewise, Rosie’s denim coveralls, perfectly painted and detailed “Higgin’s Boats” helmet, rivet welder’s mask and superbly fitted headscarf were ALL excellent detail items not available with any other figure. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Unsold, NMIB, 12-inch (1:6 scale) “Rosies” Reappear at Retail—14 Years After Initial Release

We had just finished touring the four massive buildings of the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio and were headed towards the exit (via the museum’s strategically located gift shop, ‘natch), when what did our weary eyes behold? Nothing but a shiny stack of NMIB (2002-vintage) “Rosie the Riveter” 12″ action figures. Holy Recovered Treasures!

rosie1

Let Me Out, Big Boy!— This beautiful (2002) “Rosie the Riveter” action figure by Valor, Inc., has never been removed from its minty-fresh window-display box. But c’mon guys and gals… FREE HER NOW. Those B-17s won’t build themselves. USA! USA! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

You may recall that these 12″ scarlet-scarfed heroines were originally produced waaaay back in 2002 by the now-defunct toy manufacturer “Valor, USA Inc.,” as part of an exclusive fund-raising figure line created to benefit the DDay Museum (later renamed the National WWII Museum) down in New Orleans, LA. Apparently however, an undetermined number of these “homefront heroines” went unsold and were later resold and shipped up to the national USAF museum near Dayton, Ohio—ultimately to reappear for sale once again (at full retail) over 14+ years later. What the…?

rosie2

Raising Money With Rosie— The back of Rosie’s box still bears the original logo of the DDay Museum which stood to benefit from the sale of all ” Americans of Valor” figures. The front of the package confirmed that fact, proudly stating: “A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item will be donated to the National D-Day Museum.” Those days of financial contribution to the DDay Museum may be over now, but sales of these newly discovered NOS (new old stock) Rosie figures will continue to benefit the National Museum of the USAF—another outstanding organization! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

If you’re curious, the “full retail price” for a Rosie the Riveter figure at the USAF museum rings up at exactly $30 + tax. And while we were there, the figures were placed proudly atop the pinnacle of a multi-level table full of other Rosie souvenirs. I didn’t count the remaining figures, but my best “guesstimate” is about 6-8 visible figures up on the table and about another case down below.

rosie3

Details to Spare— As this closeup reveals, Rosie’s scarf is a perfect, snug fit, and her helmet sports absolutely superb Higgin’s Boats graphics. You GO, girl! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: As of yesterday (Monday, August 15th, 2016) there was still a very high “pyramid of pulchritude” for 1:6 Rosie fans to purchase. Remember, admission to the USAF museum is FREE, so if you can make a quick trip (up, down, over) to the Dayton area, take a moment to stop in at the USAF museum, enjoy all of its wonderful aircraft displays and pick up an increasingly rare Rosie the Riveter action figure. As Rosie would say—We Can Do It!

 

Tagged , , , ,

G.I. Joe Adventurer Stars in New TV Commercial For Subaru Motors’ “Levorg” (Yes, That’s a Car)

subarujoe8

Return to the Sandbox— In a scene that should be all too familiar to GIjOE fans and collectors around the world, Subaru’s Adventurer Joe keeps his binocs trained on his owner’s family (and their dog) while playing in a sandbox in a park, somewhere in Australia. Do YOU remember cleaning sand out of your Joe’s hair and all his uniforms? Oh, yeah. We KNOW you do! (Photo: Subaru)

Mining Our Emotions—Once again, nostalgic GIjOE fans have (somehow ) found their way into the creative boardrooms of Subaru’s advertising agency and inserted their (and our!) favorite 1:6 scale action hero toy into a new TV commercial. Using a trite (but serviceable) tagline, “Do Something Out of the Box,” the creators of this new spot clearly hope Joe’s worldwide appeal will help them “move some iron” off of Subaru’s lots during the 2016-2017 sales season. Will Joe’s mission succeed?

subarujoe9

New “Singing” Land Adventurer— The real star of the Subaru spot isn’t the car. It’s GIjOE! He first appears in his custom (gray?) “Land Adventurer” box—and he’s singing! Wha..? We knew Joe could “speak” and bark out commands, but sing? That’s something his legions of fans have never seen him do before. Out-STANDING. He could win American Idol—if only it were for toys! (Photo: Subaru)

In this latest, most INCREDIBLE of “Joe Sightings,” a vintage 1970s Adventurer GIjOE appears redressed in multiple uniforms and iterations to provide both comedic relief and emotional gravitas to a much larger inanimate object—the 2017 Subaru “Levorg.” Yes, that what’s it’s called. And no, we don’t know why. We looked up Levorg (so you wouldn’t have to) and learned that it’s a nonsense word which (according to Subaru) is “a portmanteau of 3 words, LEgacy, reVOlution, and touRinG.”

subarujoe10

Nice ROUND Tones, Joe— As the camera zooms in, viewers are treated to some wonderful CGI demonstrating Joe’s new-found singing prowess is largely due to his surprising ability to make nice, round mouth shapes. The special-effects utilized in this spot are VERY well-executed. (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe12

Silvery Shades— As the family goes for a ride to the park, Joe continues singing while looking out a window, sporting custom mirrored shades. Now you can call him “Joe Cool!” (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe3

Let’s Get it On— Arriving at the park, Joe jumps out of the car, determined to complete his mission to have FUN with his beloved family. Yes, that’s a Subaru behind him (yay). (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe4

Joe Remebers How to PLAY— The kid has nothing on GIjOE, who expertly shows him how to use the famous Adventure Team zip line. Look out BELOWWWW! (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe5

He’s a Lumberjack and He’s OK— He sleeps all night and he works all day. Go, JOE! (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe6

Hai KARATE— Joe prepares to face off against his giant nemesis…the family dog! (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe7

Ride ’em Cowboy— Having tamed the wild beast with his Karate, Joe trains the canine behemoth in the wild and wooly ways of western “dogback” riding. Yee-HAW! (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe2

Spooky Spelunker— Joe also explores a mysterious cavern. Look out for guano, Joe! (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe1

No Shirt, No Problem— Joe ends the commercial taking a spin around the park’s pond on his yellow jet ski. VRROOMMM!!! Remember, this is a CAR commercial. (Photo: Subaru)

subarujoe11

Confused? Angry?— This closeup shows another great use of CGI, giving Joe a fiercely determined (and/or puzzled) expression. Imagine all the exciting adventures Joe could enjoy if he was regularly provided with expert animation assistance such as this. WOW! (Photo: Subaru)

Bottom Line: You’d think that if Subaru was going to build an entire ad campaign around the use of GIjOEs, they’d at least try to have the car’s name tie-in somehow (i.e. “Hero” or “Adventurer,” or…well, ANYTHING but “Levorg”). But no matter, longtime Joeheads “get” why it’s a solid strategy to connect a ’70s Land Adventurer with Subaru. According to Born Licensing director, David Born:

malecomment

“G.I. Joe adds a great deal of value to the campaign on a number of levels, it creates a sense of nostalgia amongst their target demographic, tapping into the existing positive feelings consumers have about the brand. It also makes the campaign more likely to be talked about, shared and related to by their target audience.” —David Born, Born Licensing

And of course, if Hasbro had it’s corporate head on straight, buyers of Subaru vehicles would also receive a FREE Land Adventurer GIjOE with every purchase. Hoo-YEAH! But, will they? Sadly, no. That’s just another missed (and to us—obvious) product tie-in opportunity that Hasbro is missing out on. Imagine all the fun little Johnny or Jane could have playing with a new Joe in the backseat of their new Levorg during a real-life drive to the park—just like on TV! (See Commercial Below)

Tagged , ,

Rare 1966 G.I. Joe Sea Sled “Salt Water” Instruction Sheet Variant Discovered

seasledsheet1

Dust to Dust— This unusual 2-color variation of the vintage (1966) GIjOE Sea Sled instruction sheet is now clearly showing its age. The left side has been eaten away (yikes!) by tiny insect bite holes and yellowing is overtaking what was once bright, white paper. Regardless, this fragile, folded page remains an exciting find for any fan and/or collector of GIjOE “ephemera.” Its belated addition of red type and graphics describing solutions to dealing with salt water damage, lost pontoon gaskets and escaping air from a scuba diver’s “pant legs,” make it very desirable and collectible. Original versions had none of this material, and intermediate versions had only a hand-applied stamp referring to those pesky pant legs (see at bottom). This third version was likely written, revised and then reprinted after early consumer feedback (and complaints?) made the additions necessary. In this condition, the ancient instruction sheet (50 years old!) now looks and feels like a treasure map— to GIjOE’s past! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

It Pays to Search Your Collection Now and Then

I’d received a customer request recently asking for an original (or reprint) of a vintage 1966 GIjOE Sea Sled instruction sheet. I didn’t think I had such a thing, but I promised him that I’d look into the matter and search through my personal GIjOE collection to see what (if anything) I could find. If nothing else, perhaps I could scan or photograph my precious framed copy and send him a photo?

seasled2

Lost at Sea— What would happen if you placed your Sea Sled out in the ocean? Say goodbye to your Scuba Joe, that’s what! The sled’s anemic, battery-powered motor would have no chance of keeping up with oceanic tides and/or wave pressures. Your 1:6 watercraft would be gone in seconds, probably never to be seen again. BUT…if you were so foolhardy as to have attempted such a voyage, at least your trusty “salt water” variation of the Sea Sled’s instruction sheet would’ve reminded you what to do when you got home. Yes, that’s right—WASH IT! As this closeup reveals, the so-called “saltwater” version of the 1966 instructions included (newly inserted) red type in a bold box. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

After sifting through piles (and piles!) of my miscellaneous GIjOE “ephemera” collection (i.e. paper goods such as flyers, ads, instruction sheets, etc.), I finally came across the sadly decaying, fragile page you see photographed above. Now over 50 years old(!), this forlorn instruction sheet has clearly not been well cared for. Numerous insect (or mice?) bites have eaten away at one side, splits and tears run along its fold lines, and just holding it in my hands made me feel it was falling apart.

seasledsheet3

Was Joe Cutting the Cheese?— This red addition to the rare “salt water” variation instruction sheet reminded its owner to allow air to escape from the scuba diver’s “pant legs.” Just what was going on under those frogman wetsuits? HA. Perhaps children complained they were having trouble getting Joe to sink down in their pools or bathtubs. Otherwise…P-U! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

seasledsheet5

Stamp Me Sea Worthy— This super-tight closeup of my framed (non-saltwater) instruction sheet shows that the only red type added to this earlier version clearly came from a hand-applied rubber stamp pad, most likely pressed on AFTER the page had been printed. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: I do own a second vintage Sea Sled instruction sheet that was lovingly framed and preserved under glass long ago in near-mint condition. Sadly, it lacks most of the “red” text additions apparently added to later saltwater versions. This unusual variation has been in my basement stacks for years, but I only really acknowledged and studied it closely today. Hmm… I wonder if my customer would prefer a photo of a (bug-eaten but rare) saltwater variation or a nearly perfect (but more common) specimen? Which version would YOU be most interested in seeing?

Tagged ,