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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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!

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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…?

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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.

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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!

 

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

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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?

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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.”

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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

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

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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)

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

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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)

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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:

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“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)

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Wayne Faucher Reveals First Pics of His Custom 1:6th Scale “Adventure Team Commando ATW”

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Ready for Bipedal Battle Action— Wayne Faucher’s custom ATW is a threatening, elevated platform for some serious AT firepower. (Photo: WFT)

You all know the drill. Every 6 months or so, customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, shows up here in the pages of The Joe Report to share some pics of his latest creative foray into 1:6 scale imaginative excellence. Today, he debuts pics of his new “Adventure Team Commando ATW,” a wondrous creation he upgraded from one of those Star Wars “Assault Walker” toys you’ve probably seen (and passed by) at Walmart many times. However great his efforts, Wayne is never one to toot his own horn, and describes this particular 1:6 custom project in an almost blasé manner, stating:
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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“Just a bit of weekend fun here. Here’s the Adventure Team Commando ATW. This is a straight up repaint of a Star Wars Assault Walker (currently available on clearance at Walmart for $15). I really tried to find something to customize here, but when something is already this cool, there’s not much to do!

It’s colored it in the Adventure Team Commando Armored Division orange cammo I had already established with my Troublemaker last year. Along with my ATXO, it makes a welcome addition to my AT Commando line. And the price is unbeatable. The whole concept of the AT Commando is set in the early 70’s and $15 is about what this item would have cost back then! So, continuing the ‘What if Hasbro had decided to extend the military line INTO the Adventure Team run,” here then, is the ATW. Enjoy! —Wayne Faucher

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Look For This Box— Here’s what the toy package looks like. At first glance, you may think you’re only buying one of those barely poseable storm trooper figures, but upon further study, you see that you’re also getting the walker shown in the battle scene. TOO COOL! (Photo: Hasbro) Click to enlarge.

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One careful stroke at a time— Wayne proves you can still paint your toys the old-fashioned way—with a brush—and get GREAT results. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.

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Powerful Decals— As a professional artist, Wayne’s skills enable him to increase his custom’s realism while simultaneously keeping the ’70s AT “toy-like quality” he enjoys. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.

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Powerful Profile— From the side, you can see that Wayne went to great trouble to ensure certain details were painted with the appropriate colors. (Photo: WTF)

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Box ’em up REAL good!— As Wayne has proven time and time again, even though Hasbro has given up on GIjOE’s beloved “Adventure Team,” there’s nothing stopping its fans from making their own custom boxes for custom AT figures. So…let’s all get busy! (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

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Back off, Bad Guys— There’s a new sheriff in town. And his name is “Adventure Team Commando!” (Thanks to “Wild” Wayne Faucher.) (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

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Gettin’ SERIOUS— Wayne’s AT Commando force continues to grow. (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Once again, Wayne has officially BLOWN OUR MINDS here at The Joe Report, and we’d like to thank him sincerely for sharing these pics and for inspiring countless 1:6 customizers around the world. Absolutely SUPERB work, Wayne. If you’d like to contact Wayne, please leave a comment here with any kudos and/or questions. Thanks!

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James DeSimone Make Guest Appearance on A&E’s “Storage Wars” As a G.I. JOE “Super Collector”

Bottom Line: In this 2-minute clip from an episode of the A&E program, Storage Wars, one of the show’s contestants(?) purchases a storage locker for $750, then discovers it contains a 1985 GIjOE USS Flagg aircraft carrier. She then takes it over to James DeSimone for his professional, expert estimation of its value. There are some quick, fleeting views of the assembled ship, plus a few shots of James’ RAH figures placed atop its deck and arranged around it for maximum display effect (making this an official “Joe Sighting”). The Flagg’s box is included as well, but it appears to be pretty banged up. Was this particular Flagg worth what James declares? YOU be the judge. Enjoy!

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“Dr. Strange” Movie 1st Official Trailer Released

Bottom Line: Ol’ Doc Strange is one of our favorite Marvel characters, simply for the fact that he’s so, well—STRANGE. The story possibilities with a character like this, one that utilizes MAGIC over super-powers in Marvel’s ever-expanding movie “universe,” are practically limitless. Add to that, the undeniable acting prowess of its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, and you have what appears to be a sure-fire SMASH at the box office. The film’s first official trailer (shown above)—will blow your mind!

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John Kolb, Retired U.S. Marine Corps Helicopter Pilot, Making 1:6 Scale Collectible “Minirounds”

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Miniature Metal Munitions Master— Retired USMC Captain, John Kolb (shown here in his workshop), holds up a piece of aluminum he’s begun shaving and shaping down into what will ultimately become one of his exclusive “miniround” miniature artillery shell collectibles. (Photo: John Kolb) Click to enlarge.

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Pop-a-Top (or not)— John’s “Mini M107” is available in two versions, standard or bottle opener. (Photo: John Kolb)

1:6 Scalers are all about realistic detail. In that regard, you won’t find more realistically detailed 1:6 scale ordnance for your GIjOE’s artillery pieces than those currently being created and sold by former USMC helicopter pilot, John Kolb. We stumbled across John’s outstanding work on the internet recently and were absolutely floored by what we had discovered—highly accurate, all-metal, perfectly detailed, 1:6 scale miniature (non-functioning) replicas of U.S. military artillery ordnance. OOHrah!

Judging by the closeup photos on John’s “Minirounds” website (see HERE), Kolb has achieved the highest possible level of realism and quality at 1:6 scale. Much like fellow 1:6 scale artist/artisan, Jonathan DeGuzman (see HERE), Kolb is also working with real metals, carefully handcrafting each and every item in his own workshop, all by hand. In the following interview, exclusive to readers of The Joe Report, John kindly “reveals all” regarding his exciting new line of “Miniround” products. Enjoy!


TJR: Hi John! Thanks so much for taking time out to discuss your work today. Please tell us all about “Minirounds,” what you do there, and how you came upon the idea to create miniature metal ordnance collectibles in 1:6 (and other) scales.

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“Minirounds is a micro company; just me actually; specializing in the replica ordnance market. I recently retired in March of 2015 from the Marine Corps where I flew CH53E/D helicopters as an Officer and worked as an electronics technician as an Enlisted man. I knew that I didn’t want to fly when I transitioned and had a few career options to choose from—one of them being research and product development and the other, dentistry.”

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Preparing to Lift a Humvee— Before John Kolb began creating 1:6 scale ordnance collectibles, he piloted CH53E/D “Super Stallion” helicopters like this one for the United States Marine Corps. Thank you so much for all of your service, John. OOHrah! Semper Fi! (Photo: DOD) Click to enlarge.

TJR: R&D and Dentistry? Those both sound like challenging and lucrative career options. So what made you decide to create a military miniatures and collectibles business instead?

“It actually all hinged on a long conversation with my wife (who is a physician). She asked one very important question, ‘Do you have a burning desire to be a dentist?’ I replied, ‘No. Not really, but it’s a good profession that pays well.’ She then asked, ‘Okay, what do you have a passion for?’ I explained this concept of product development and selling a variety of widgets. She replied, ‘Great, let’s do that!’, and that was the genesis of a significant career shift.”

TJR: Very cool! It’s wonderful that you have your wife’s full support. So, how did you get started?

“After browsing countless online forums and trying to figure out how to do ‘this,” I soon realized that I needed to purchase some modeling software (Solidworks) and machines (Haas). I called Solidworks and was very impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to help Vets out.  They actually gave me a student version for just $150.00 because I was a veteran. Great company!”

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Get Down! Those papers on your desk wouldn’t dare fly or “blow away” when being held down by a paperweight as impressive as THIS! Kolb’s larger (non-1:6 scale) products are still miniatures (approximately 12″ tall), but their larger size makes them a superb (and attention-getting) collectible for any former artilleryman or militaria collector. Out-STANDING! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: How did you make your decisions regarding those machines, equipment, etc.?

“I really liked what I had read about Haas CNC machines from a variety of users, so before transitioning my savings into these machines, I chose to pay them a visit.  I intentionally underdressed and feigned a level of naivety. I showed up for one of their demo days at their manufacturing plant in Oxnard, CA.  From the time I walked into the door, I was treated like I had just purchased a $250,000.00 machine, even though I was just a visitor.  I was sold on the company and since that visit, I’ve purchased a TL2 lathe and TMP-2 mill.  Once again, they are a great AMERICAN Company.”

TJR: How about ideas? What made you think of making miniature artillery rounds?

“At my final duty assignment, I sat next to an Artillery Officer.  He knew that had a lathe and asked if I could replicate a 155mm Howitzer round.  I said sure, as long as I had either a blueprint or an actual round to model.  He tracked one down for me and as they say, ‘the rest is history.’ It has been an interesting journey, both challenging and the most rewarding profession that I’ve had to date.”  

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This is 1:6 scale! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: Could you walk us through the process of making one of your 1:6 scale munitions?

“Sure! First, the projectile body starts as 12-foot billet of aluminum that is cut down to a 4.1-inch slug.  The first cycle cuts the bottom profile, then drills and taps a 3/8-inch x 16 TPI hole.   Next, the front profile is cut and the hole for the fuse is drilled.

The copper rotating band is turned to the correct outside diameter followed by the gas ring groove and it is cut to length.  Next, the fuze is cut from a solid billet of aluminum.  The profile is turned, followed by a grooving cycle to give the back of the fuze its shape. 

The copper ring is then joined to the body, masked and then painted. Next, the masking tape is removed and the bottle opener body is joined to the projectile body.  The fuze is epoxied into place and the graphics are printed (view our production video below).”

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Real Metal is Unmistakable— This super closeup of one of John’s minirounds reveals the real copper ring section. Absolutely stunning realism! (Photo: John Kolb)

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Miniature Metal Masterpiece— John even creates tiny screw-in, screw-out detonator fuse tips, or ogives, for each of his excellent “minirounds.” Great for your GIjOE EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) squad! (Photo: John Kolb)

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Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em— John also offers a 1:6 scale version of the 155H Smoke Projectile. On a real-life battlefield, these babies are great for creating huge volumes of smoke, providing visual cover for the movement of advancing troops. This 1:6 scale version…will look good in your diorama. Hey, it’s non-functional! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: Wow. Your work is mind-boggling. All the steps required and the level of detail you achieve—your products are clearly the best of the best. How about custom work? Are your designs customizable in any way, or are they all set in stone, so to speak?

“I’ve made modifications of the original bottle opener design to accommodate the model industry for different applications.  I try my best never to say no, because you never know where the next day will take you. If there is anything you need, please contact us and I’ll do my best to make it happen. Semper Fi!”
John Kolb, Minirounds

Bottom Line: John Kolb’s new “Minirounds” have clearly raised the bar of 1:6 scale achievement as high as it could ever possibly go. Many of his products may be too large for use in GIjOE-sized dioramas, but his smallest, the shells shown in this article and their bottle-opener counterparts, would make absolutely fan-TASTIC additions to any artillery or ammo dump diorama. At $20 a pop, the price, as they say, is right.

Also, our sincerest thanks go out to Capt. Kolb for his service to our country and for his contributions to the 1:6 scale collecting and customizing hobby. It’s our considered opinion that no collection or display of GIjOE or Action Man artillery soldiers (or Marines) would be complete without at least 1 or 2 of John’s miniature masterpieces completing the scene. We highly recommend that you pay John a visit at his website and contact him personally with any questions regarding his fine products. Go, John! Go, Minirounds! 

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Reality in Miniature Doesn’t Come Cheap— The price list on Kolb’s “Minirounds” website proves you’re getting what you pay for; handcrafted, all-metal, highly detailed, professionally created (non-functional) replicas of U.S. military ordnance at various scales. GIjOE fans will be most interested in the 1:6 scale “Mini-Mini M107” and the “Mini-Mini M110A2,” costing $20 and $25 each, respectively. You can even get them made as bottle openers. Out-STANDING! (Photo: John Kolb) Click to enlarge.

 

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Celebrating 50 Years———Action Man’s “Day 7” Will Fill Upshire Village Hall With Fans, April 10, 2016

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Go, ACTION MAN!— It’s been 50 years and counting for fans of Palitoy’s most famous 1:6 scale action figure. Will YOU be at “Day 7?” (Poster Design & Production:  Robert Wisdom) Click to enlarge.

Have you ever dreamed that you could afford to live in both the U.S. and the U.K? If so, you could simply drive over to the Upshire Village Hall tomorrow and attend Action Man Day 7, a UK event determined to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of everyone’s favorite 1:6 scale action hero. According to the show’s official Facebook page:

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Palitoy’s Bob Brechin is slated to appear at the Action Man Day 7 show in Upshire. (Photo: Tony Roberts)

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This is the BIG one! Action Man’s introduction to the UK was 50 years ago this year. Come to the biggest and best Action Man Show. Bob Brechin (Action Man designer for Pailtoy) is special guest of honour. Stalls selling vintage Action Man, GI Joe, Geyperman, Action Team, Dragon in Dreams etc. Refreshments available. Entry £2.50 and under 16s free. Special Limited Edition Commemorative Poster available on the day £2. For more information or to book a stall: danthecoat@hotmail.co.uk

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Quaint, Charming, and Filled With Vintage Toys— That’s how you might describe the Upshire Village Hall during Action Man Day 7 in the UK, April 10, 2016. Drool… (Photo: Upshire Village Hall)

Bottom Line: Blimey! There’s a lot of fans in America and elsewhere around the world who wish they could attend this event. Sadly, until someone invents a Star Trek transporter device, we’ll have to content ourselves with wishful thinking, from afar. Have a great time, lads. Go, ACTION MAN!

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It’s So Ugly, It’s GREAT!———John Barton Creates New Dead-Eyed “Zombie” Action Man Sculpture

John Barton's outstanding "Zombie Edition" Action Man sculpture, was (sadly) produced only as a VERY limited-edition—of 1. (Photo: John Barton)

Creepy In-Action Man— John Barton’s outstanding “Zombie-Edition” Action Man sculpture, was (sadly) produced in a VERY limited-edition—(just this ONE). Boooo!!!! (Photo: John Barton)

It’s may seem a tad late for a Halloween-related story, but we felt we HAD to share this particularly “gruesome” art news with you here today, nonetheless. It concerns everyone’s favorite Action Man sculptor, John Barton, of the UK, who had sent in some photos of his latest work back in October (yes, we’ve been busy), hoping that we would share them with the rest of the 1:6 scale collecting world (our belated pleasure, Mr. B!). We were both shocked and delighted by his latest bizarre take on UK’s favorite hero; this time, as a truly one-of-a-kind, “Zombie-Edition” Action Man. After all the laughter and exclamations of praise had subsided in the newsroom, we gathered around the conference table and read Barton’s descriptive letter aloud, revealing the following:

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Artist John Barton (UK) poses with two of his previous creations. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

 

“Further to the Man Of Action sculptures I’d produced earlier in 2015 (for which you very kindly provided coverage), I have produced something even more unique. In the spirit of the ‘witching season,’ I wondered, what would an eagle-eyed, zombie-edition Action Man have looked like? In my eBay listing, I described this piece as mixed-media kitsch, retro-POP; a unique wall-sculpture inspired by the iconic Action Man action figure. Measuring 185mm wide (7¼”)
, 260mm high (10¼”), 
170mm deep (6¾”) it’s almost life-size! 

This piece is a one-off and no others will be made. Hand-cast from resin, with exposed inset skull top, jaw, teeth and cheek bone (where a scar would normally be) with repositionable eyes. The eyes can be adjusted so that they look in any direction. Upturned zombie stare, fixed dead ahead, or cross-eyed – it’s up to you.

The sculpture is hand-painted and includes an internal hanging loop, so it’s ready for display. This is a unique take on what the iconic Action Man Eagle-Eyes head could have looked like if a Zombie-Edition had been produced in the 1970s/80s.” —John Barton, UK

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Take a BITE Outta THIS— The ghoulish green skin color, the missing chunks of flesh, the exposed jaw and teeth, and the discoloration of the hair are all DEAD-ON. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

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Anatomically Correct Action Man— This closeup reveals more details including the detailed teeth, jaw bone and realistic cracking along the skull. Superb! (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: A ghoulishly GREAT masterpiece. Thanks for sharing your latest art project with us, John. It’s good to know that even after he dies, our beloved Action Man will continue to “live on” as one of the Walking Dead! Hey, we know where he can get some free brains… They don’t seem to needing—or using—them over at Hasbro or Palitoy these days. Bwa-ha-HA!!!

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