Pin THIS! Tiny 1:6 Scale Clothespins for G.I. Joe

How small can we go? At (almost) 1:6 scale, you can fit quite a lot of these tiny clothespins in your hand. They're made of real wood and metal. They really work. And they look GREAT! Available in many arts-n-crafts stores including Michaels and Hobby Lobby. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

How small can we go? At (almost) 1:6 scale, you can fit quite a lot of these tiny clothespins in just one hand. And yes, they’re made of real wood, real metal, and they really work. And they look GREAT! Available now in many arts-n-crafts stores including Michaels and Hobby Lobby. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Another quick heads-up for all you customizers of 1:6 scale dioramas out there. Intrepid TJR Field Reporter, James Long, wrote in to us today with some interesting intel and pics of, well, a rather ordinary household item. But what makes this particular “sighting” of interest to us (of course), is that the items in question are in 1:6 scale. And as we all know, customizers of 1:6 scale don’t care WHAT an item is; if it’s in 1:6 scale—we’re DEFINITELY interested!

In this closeup of the product recently found in Michael's, you can see that you'll receive 6 full-sized clothespins (give those to your children) as well as

In this closeup of the product Long found recently in Michael’s, you can see that you’ll receive 6 full-sized “glittery” clothespins (give those away to your kids) and 24 of the miniature (no glitter) versions in black, purple, orange and OD green. Keep those for your “Laundry Adventurer!” (Photo: James Long)

As you can tell by looking at these pictures, in this specific case, the items in question are—hold onto something—tiny wooden clothespins! Yes, we’re about to enter the exciting world of GIjOE doing his weekly laundry. What? You didn’t think his clothes washed themselves, did you? Perhaps if we called Joe a “Laundry Adventurer” or labeled his next mission “The Search for the Lost Socks,” it’d help make this product announcement a little more exciting. According to Long:

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“My wife and I were at Michael’s yesterday, and we spotted something that might make a good addition to your next article on 1:6 scale items and be useful as props for Joe dioramas—clothes pins! Okay, they’re actually just slightly larger than 1:6 scale, but they’re close enough that most people won’t complain. They come with some larger clothespins that aren’t of much use for Joe, but for $1.99 on clearance, I wasn’t going to argue!

It’s a Michael’s exclusive item (according to the back of the packaging) and as you can see in the attached photo (shown below, ed.), they work quite well. Yes, even GIjOE now has the drudgery of doing his laundry. Enjoy!” —James Long

James Long's "Laundry Adventurer" pins up some of his laundry at AT headquarters using his new clothespins. Go, JOE! What a hero! (Photo: James Long)

How’s it Hanging, Joe? James Long’s AT “Laundry Adventurer” pins up some of his laundry recently using the new clothespins Long found at Michaels. What a hero! (Photo: James Long)

Bottom Line: In the photo shown above, Joe’s new miniature clothespins appear to be in accurate 1:6 scale. And the fact that they’re not made of stiff (pink) plastic and that they’re fully functional makes them even more appealing to 1:6 scalers and diorama builders who wish to recreate this exciting…uh…dangerous(?)…looking scene. Anyway, Happy Hunting!

Joe prepares his new EOD robot for use in searching suspicious cars and packages. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

Joe’s EOD robot. (Photo: Sean Huxter) Click to enlarge.

WIN A FREE E.O.D ROBOT!

Here’s How: In this exciting TJR “Bonus Contest,” be the first person to guess EXACTLY how many of the 1:6 scale clothespins are being held in the hand in the photo at the top of this article and you’ll win the FREE 1:6 scale EOD Robot shown at right (GIjOE figure not included).

To enter, simply leave a comment to this article, here on The Joe Report, and when the first correct answer appears, we’ll announce the winner. Please limit yourself to one entry per day. If you don’t hear from us via email, feel free to try again the next day until a winner is named.

International fans are also welcome to participate. The (1) prize will be shipped to the (1) lucky winner completely free of charge. Best of luck to all. Ready? Go!!!!!!

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Cool Flea Market Find: Breyer’s “Molly the Mule”

It's easy to imagine Joe or Johnny West getting into a heated tug-of-war with a decidedly defiant

Joe tries to calm Molly down— It’s easy to imagine Joe (or Johnny West) getting into a heated tug-of-war with a decidedly defiant “Molly the Mule” from Breyer. Imagine the possibilities! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The original

This closeup of another original “Molly the Mule” shows it came in a basic brown and black color scheme. Excellent paint job! (Photo: kismetkennel)

Get UP, Girl! Just a quick heads up to notify you about a cool scale animal discovery made this past weekend at the 3rd Sunday flea market located in Bloomington, IL. As fans of 1:6 scale already know, Breyer horses, despite all of their wonderful qualities, are a tad undersized for most of our purposes at 1:6 scale. They’re actually typically sculpted at about 1:10 scale or so, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. Occasionally, the company puts out creations that can easily “blur the line” of acceptability between the two scale universes and look perfectly appropriate when posed alongside GIjOEs or Johnny West figures. For example—“Molly the Mule!”

This wonderfully painted blond version of Molly was recently spied over on ebay. (Photo: ebay)

This wonderfully painted blond version of Molly was recently spied over on ebay. (Photo: ebay)

Molly is a superbly sculpted and uniquely posed, “balking” beast of burden. It requires very little imagination to accept her use at 1:6 scale. If you don’t know much about mules or donkeys, you should know they come in a wide range of sizes (and colors) and are used for a variety of tasks. The smaller breeds were—and still are—used to pull children’s wagons and serve as canyon and/or mountain-climbing pack animals. Medium-sized mules (like ol’ Molly, here) are most often seen pulling fruit-n-vegetable vendor’s carts or farm plows. The largest mule breeds are typically harnessed together into teams for pulling heavily laden wagons. To me, Molly seems like a dead-ringer for those medium-sized breeds. That makes her appropriate for use in a wide variety of dioramas, all the way from the Old West to WWII European villages. YES!

This spotted version was found for sale online, still in its original box. Superb! (Photo: ebay)

This spotted version of “Molly” was found for sale online in its original box.  (Photo: ebay)

Bottom Line: My slightly nicked Molly the Mule will require a little TLC, but once restored, she will be a wonderful addition to my growing collection of diorama-ready animals. I only paid $5 at the flea market for her, but when I later researched Molly online, I found you can still pick up new ones on ebay and elsewhere for between $25 and $200 (depending on its year and version). Molly was apparently very popular, because she’s been remade in many different colors and patterns. You’ll have a wide choice depending on your preferences (and budget). I can’t wait to touch up my own brown-n-black Molly and add some real leather reins and rigging to her as well. Happy Hunting!

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Marvel Comics Inker and Master 1:6 Customizer, Wayne Faucher, Sells 1-of-a-Kind Custom G.I. Joe Adventure Team “Commando” on Ebay for $325!

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Wayne Faucher, renowned inker for Marvel Comics, created this superb 1:6 scale “Adventure Team Commando” custom GIjOE, and quickly found an eager buyer for it on ebay, where it sold for $325. (Graphics: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

This closeup of Faucher's custom AT

This closeup of Faucher’s custom AT “Commando” reveals top-notch quality and attention to detail. (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

We saw this listing on ebay recently and had to report on the outstanding opportunity it had afforded to fans of famed Marvel Comics inker, Wayne Faucher. It wasn’t for one of the artist’s inked masterpieces, but rather, for one of his most renowned 1:6 custom creations—the “Adventure Team Commando.” According to ebay:

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“Not long ago, DC/Marvel artist and avid 1/6 collector, Wayne Faucher, created the Adventure Team Commando line for his own personal collection. He wondered what GIjOE might have looked like if Hasbro had decided to maintain and extend Joe’s military theme through the Adventure Team era. This was the second member of that fantasy Team: The “Tough Guy” Black Ops Adventure Team Commando. He’s the guy the rest of the Adventurers seldom mention. Mysterious and lethal, his missions are shrouded in a world of top-secret darkness.”

The custom box created by Wayne Faucher also represents the top-level of customizing quality. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

The custom box created by Wayne Faucher also demonstrates his mastery of top-level customizing quality. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

WOWEE-WOW-WOW! What a cool back-story and description. It’s truly a shame Hasbro won’t put even HALF the effort (as demonstrated in Faucher’s customs) into creating new 12-inch GIjOEs. If they even came CLOSE to such excellent concepts, they’d have had no trouble selling them out to rabid collectors in a matter of days. The auction’s description goes on to say:

“In addition to the fully equipped figure, this set also comes with a custom coffin box (designed and built by Wayne Faucher), an original pencil sketch on a certificate of authenticity (drawn and signed by Mr. Faucher) and an 11×17 Adventure Team Commando print. This is the second in a series of AT Commando characters and a one-of-a-kind art piece. Depending on how well received this piece is, he may do more. Or not. This could be your only opportunity to obtain a duplicate of a custom directly from his collection.”

The COA, the 11

All For One Money: The winner of the auction received a hand-drawn and autographed COA, an 11″ x 17″ print, and the figure with a custom coffin box as shown above. WOW! (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Faucher's amazing AT

Faucher’s amazing AT “Commando” prepares to send some serious lead downrange in this closeup taken by the creator. BRRRRRAPPPP!!!! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

SO EXCITING! We can only keep our fingers crossed that Wayne believes the selling price of this set ($325) to be “well received” and that he might consider creating MANY more just like it. The description concluded thusly:

“This figure is a perfect amalgam of vintage GIjOE militaria and Adventure Team fantasy. He comes fully loaded with a vintage style Hasbro grease gun, 2 grenade launchers (vintage style and modern), Lebel pistol (with shoulder holster) a knuckle-knife and a custom dyed vintage style Backpack. He’s dressed in a vintage style Hasbro AT jumpsuit (custom dyed), black beret (with custom AT flash), black ammo belt with canteen and cover, and a custom death’s-head armband.  He also features knee/elbow pads, gloved hands, custom boots, micro AT dog tag, and aviator sunglasses. All Hasbro pieces (including the figure )are from the 40th Anniversary GIjOE or Action Man lines.”

Wayne Faucher poses in his home studio recently with a couple of his custom figures.

Wayne Faucher takes a moment in his studio to pose with a couple of his superb 1:6 scale custom figures. (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We originally showed Faucher’s superb AT Commando figure in an article published back in 2013 (see HERE). His life in comics has clearly given him keen creative insights that dovetail neatly and professionally into the realm of action figure customization. Now, some two years later, the dream of owning one of his 1:6 masterpieces has become a dream come true for one anonymous and VERY fortunate collector. It’s exciting too, to know that customizers like Faucher continue to push the GIjOE evolution envelope in this manner. Fantastic work, Wayne!

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Heads Up, Action Man Fans———2 Upcoming Shows To Take Place (Within 1 Week of Each Other) in 2 Village Halls (Only 2 Hours Distant) in the UK!

Action Man—Is HERE! Fans of all things Action Man gather 'round a dealer's table to search for 1:6 scale treasure during last year's VAME 4 toy show in the UK. (Photo: vame.freeforums.net)

Action Man—Is HERE! Fans of all things Action Man browse dealer tables at last year’s VAME 4 show in the UK. VAME 5, will be held on D-Day, June 6, 2015. BE THERE! (Photo: vame.freeforums.net)

Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Michael Acton)

Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and VAME Meet 5 organizer (Photo: Michael Acton)

Short 2-Hour Drive on the M1 Enables UK’s Action Man Fans to Gather at 2 Big Shows

Surely, Action Man fans living in the UK must realize how lucky they are whenever they glance at this year’s toy show calendar and see what’s coming up for them in the next 4-5 weeks: TWO big shows are being held at TWO separate village halls, only a short, 2-hour drive apart!

Because of greater distances and higher costs here in the United States, attending multiple shows each year is much more difficult for fans, both logistically and financially. It’d be a dream come true (for fans in the U.S.) to have to only drive 2 hours to attend such great events.

Fortunately for fans in the UK, they’ll be able to attend BOTH the Action Man Day 5 event scheduled for May 31st in the Village Hall in North Weald; then (only a week later) take a leisurely 2-hour jaunt up the M1 to the equally popular VAME Meet 5 being held in the Quorn Village Hall in Leicestershire (see map below).

A short drive up or down the M1 enables Action Man fans to easily gather at TWO big shows. WOW! (Map: Google Maps) Click to enlarge.

Would YOU drive 2 hours to see Action Man? Heck, yeah! A short drive up or down the M1 enables UK Action Man fans to easily gather at TWO big shows in 2015. WOW! (Map: Google Maps) Click to enlarge.

We asked VAME Meet 5 representative, Michael Acton (see his photo above the map), if he had any more intel on the upcoming show being held in Leicestershire and he kindly replied:

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Bob Brechin

Palitoy Chief Designer Bob Brechin holds up a vintage Action Man he’d just autographed for a fan. Brechin worked at Palitoy between 1967-1984, primarily on the Action Man and Star Wars lines. (Photo: Sierra1)

“It’s being held on 6th June 2015, in Quorn (near Loughborough), in Leicestershire UK. It is just a few miles from Palitoy’s main base in Coalville. There is more detail on the VAME website HERE if you’re interested. The show is more of a social event than the usual commercial toy fairs and is shaping up to be the biggest yet. It is actually the longest-running Action Man event left in the UK now, having been held every year since 2011!

This year, we expect to have several of the original Action Man/Palitoy design team reunited, including Chief Designer Bob Brechin (above), with the Leicestershire museum service bringing local material on the history of Palitoy, a jaw-dropping display of ultra-rare carded pieces recently discovered (and heading to auction soon), plus the regular Action Man displays by VAME members of rare pieces, customs and (of course) lots of vintage Action Man (and GIjOE) to buy and trade.

There will also be a BBC TV crew filming (for part of a documentary on Palitoy) as well and we will be taking the opportunity to discuss plans to mark the 50th Anniversary of Action Man’s UK launch, which comes up in 2016. This is all subject to confirmation nearer showtime, so please check our website for the latest show intel. It’s shaping up to be the best one yet!” —Michael Acton

The official poster for VAME Meet 5 is cleverly patterned after a vintage AM accessory card.

The official poster for VAME Meet 5 is cleverly patterned after a vintage AM accessory card. With FREE admission and FREE parking, how could you NOT attend? (Graphic: Michael Acton) Click to enlarge.

Quorn Village Hall, UK (Photo: Google Maps)

The Quorn Village Hall will be the site of VAME Meet 5, on June 6, 2015. (Photo: Google Maps)

One week prior to VAME Meet 5, Action Man fans will also gather northeast of London on May 31st for Action Man Day 5, in North Weald, Essex. Non-UK readers of The Joe Report are already familiar with that show (see our coverage of last year’s event HERE) and are rightfully envious of all the enjoyable activity we’ll miss. Organizer Daniel Smart had this to say about VAME Meet 5:

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Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

“With many thanks to Clive (Clivvers) for his outstanding skills on this fantastic poster (see below), I am pleased to announce that Action Man Day 5 is now to be held on 31st May, 2015. Start saving your pennies, because this is the biggest and BEST one in the country and already we are nearly fully booked with all the regulars and a few new sellers. Be there or be elsewhere wishing you were there. All welcome, as usual. Entrance at 9.00AM. Kiddies are FREE!” —Daniel Smart

Action Man Day 5 Official Poster (Designed by Clivvers 2015)

Action Man Day 5 Official Poster (Designed by Clivvers 2015) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: It’s wonderful to see that the spirit of Action Man collecting is alive and well in the UK. And it’s equally wonderful to learn that two big shows will be conveniently located within reasonable driving distance for all of the fans who wish to attend. Best of luck, mates! Go, Action Man!

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Top Hasbro Executive, Derryl DePriest, Responds to Criticisms From Fans & Collectors of 12-Inch G.I. Joes: “A Market is Definitely Being Ignored”

Hasbro Global Brand Manager, Derryl DePriest, in his trademark Hawaiian shirt and neon tennis shoes, during an exclusive interview with The Joe Report at this month's JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro VP of Global Brand Management, Derryl DePriest, during an exclusive interview conducted recently with The Joe Report at this month’s JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“You know, the reports you put out (in The Joe Report), I have to say—I read them—and I have to bite my lip. Unfortunately, it’s not reflective of what the industry’s put out.”

Thomas Durbin of Champaign, IL, demonstrates his interpretation of the Adventure Team Commander at JoeCon 2015 with a marvelous handmade cosplay costume. Durbin remarked,

12-Inch Fandom Runs Deep with Thomas Durbin of Champaign, IL, who demonstrates what many fans enjoyed doing at JoeCon 2015—portraying their favorite 12″ GIjOE characters with handmade cosplay costumes. Durbin told us, “The hardest thing was enlarging the uniform buttons to be at the right scale.” Durbin certainly bears a striking resemblance to a kung-fu gripped Adventure Team Commander. FAN-tastic job, Thomas! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro Exec is Clearly Listening—But (Respectfully) Disagrees With the Views of Many 12-Inch Fans

I sat down with a very congenial and upbeat Derryl DePriest on the afternoon of April 11, 2015, with the primary purpose of catching up with one of the most famous GIjOE collectors in the world. For those who may not know, DePriest is the Vice-President of Global Brand Management at Hasbro and the author of one of the most famous books ever written on vintage 12-inch GIjOE collecting entitled, “The Collectible GIjOE—An Official Guide To His Action-Packed World.”

Derryl’s fame as an author and lofty position in the toy industry aside, I was more interested in learning about DePriest the man. In fact, my idea of interviewing him had only occurred to me one day before, when I’d seen him walking around at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. I’d met Derryl previously (at JoeCon 2009 in Kansas City), but only long enough to shake his hand and thank him for all his work on behalf of GIjOE. Now, six years later, I was curious to discover what else had been happening in his life.

As a result, when we faced each other in the dealer room/exhibit hall at JoeCon 2015, I told him I had no prepared questions and no particular subject in mind (to discuss) other than himself. Derryl quickly suggested an alternative to a typical Q&A interview, stating, “Let’s just have a conversation” instead. We agreed, turned on the tape recorder and jumped right in. Interestingly and unbeknownst to either of us, our conversation would quickly veer into a very sensitive subject area: Hasbro’s current treatment (and/or lack thereof) regarding (that’s right, you guessed it)—the 12″ GIjOE line. Here then, is our conversation:

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The Collectible GIjOE (Photo: Courage Books)

The Collectible GIjOE by Derryl DePriest (Photo: Courage Books)

INCLUDES 11 NEW & EXCLUSIVE
PICS TAKEN AT JOECON 2015

TJR: So… Could you tell us about the book you’ve written and your interest in GIjOEs?

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“I published The Collectible GIjOE in 1998. That was a dream come true; to be able to write a GIjOE book. I’ve collected 12-inch GIjOEs pretty much my whole life. It’d been my favorite toy when I was a kid and I had to put them away when I was in college; but I’ve never stopped buying them or ‘curating’ a collection. When I as kid, I had about 75 to 100 GIjOEs.”

TJR: Wow. When I was a kid, I had like 6.

“Well, I don’t want to misrepresent it; I didn’t come from a wealthy family by any means. Instead, I came from a family where we had a regular stand at a flea market, and my parents routinely bought and sold things on the weekends. I also have two younger brothers who love GIjOE. So we took our meager allowance every weekend and were running around the flea market buying toys.”

This full-sized truck sported bold, colorful GIjOE graphics at JoeCon 2015. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This full-sized extended-cab truck sported a multi-colored custom paint-job with bold GIjOE-inspired logos and graphics. It was also on display at JoeCon 2015. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

It must be St. Patrick's Day! DePriest poses for a photo for his Facebook page. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

A Lot to Smile About— DePriest posed for this recent “profile pic” over on his Facebook page. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

TJR: How old are you now and where are you from originally? Where did you grow up?

“I’m 50. So I was born in 1965. I’m from San Diego and grew up in a family that had a very entrepreneurial spirit for buying things and then selling them at a profit. That’s pretty much what my family did.”

TJR: San Diego? So are you from a Navy family?

“No. Dad worked for McDonnell Douglas as a liaison engineer with some of the armed forces manufacturers down there. Anyway, I do have fond memories… Every time a new GIjOE or a set came out that we had to have for Christmas, my brothers and I would look through the Sears catalogs. We had three different colors of pens and each of us would circle what we wanted. I remember when the Mobile Support Vehicle came out and the Headquarters came out. All three of us had drawn BIG circles around them. Under the Christmas tree that year, we got THREE of each toy, because we couldn’t share, we were all jealous of each other.”

Unofficial GIjOE

Unofficial GIjOE “Rabblerouser,” Rick Pell, stands outside Hasbro’s Worldwide Headquarters building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island where DePriest works. In 2014, Pell formed the “50 Years of GIjOE” fan group on Facebook as a place for fans to vent their frustrations re: Hasbro’s current indifference towards 12-inch GIjOE collectors. (Photo: Rick Pell)

TJR: Do you live in Pawtucket, RI, now?

“Yup. After my book came out in ’98, I was contacted by Hasbro. They were closing their Cincinnati office and hiring a new team in Pawtucket. Many of the great folks who’d worked in Cincinnati didn’t want to leave Cincinnati, so what came open was the Director of Marketing for GIjOE. I’d interviewed in Kenner before and I’d really set my sights on joining Hasbro. For years, I’d decided that was really my ‘dream job.’

In 2001, I interviewed with the folks back in Pawtucket, including Alan Hassenfeld, the President of Hasbro (son of company founder, Merrill Hassenfeld). A few days later they offered me the job and I told my wife we were moving to Pawtucket. I had joined Hasbro as the director—heading up GIjOE!”

That's right. All that fantastic 40th Anniversary swag you now hold so near and dear in your collection, you owe to the hard work of Derryl DePriest. (Logo: Hasbro)

All those great 40th Anniversary products you now hold near and dear in your collection were spearheaded by Derryl DePriest. (Logo: Hasbro)

TJR: What were your first GIjOE projects at Hasbro?

“I was in charge of GIjOE from 2001 to 2004. So I brought back the 40th Anniversary Joes and really helped amplify our 12″ GIjOE line. The resurgence in 12″ GIjOE had really started before that, with the ‘Classic Collection,’ as done by the Cincinnati team. In fits and starts, that Hasbro team had reissued the classics; after John Michlig had helped bring back the true vintage GIjOE with his book and the ‘Masterpiece Collection.’ But I had felt that we really hadn’t done justice to the original vintage roots of GIjOE, so I conceived the 40th Anniversary Collection (a series of vintage reproduction figure sets with window boxed accessories); and with OUR team, executed that and brought it out. The great lament I would have is that we didn’t get to some of the more exotic and rare and desirable sets. But it is what it is. I’m glad we were able to get out the 24 that we did. Thankfully, the (GIjOE Collector’s) club finished up the Green Beret and Air Force Dress sets for us. We just couldn’t get them to retail.

Many collectors of 12-inch GIjOE would reasonably argue that the 40th Anniversary line has been DePriest's greatest work to date for GIjOE. Unfortunately, this line was discontinued...in 1994!

Collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs could reasonably argue that the 40th Anniversary line was Derryl DePriest’s greatest contribution to GIjOE fandom. Unfortunately, that line of magnificent figure/uniform sets would be discontinued in 2004. And sadly, fans may never see their likes again. (Photo: ebay)

TJR: I LOVED the 40th Anniversary line! I really hated to see it end. What did you do next?

“Well, ultimately, 12-inch GIjOE wound down and then it was OUT. So I made a decision to go over to the Star Wars team in 2004.”

The Future of 12-Inch GIjOEs— With Hasbro unlikely to create new products for fans of 1:6 scale Joes, the club has picked up the ball and announced new figures coming in 2015-16, including 2 more of their superb

The Future of 12-Inch GIjOEs— With Hasbro no longer creating 12-inch GIjOEs, fans listened with rapt attention during a panel discussion at JoeCon 2015 as the club announced it will produce 4 new 1:6 scale figures for 2015-16, including 2 more of their superb “Lost Talkers” series. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro and the GIjCC might as well be burning fistfuls of $100 bills. By not selling 1:6 GIjOE products anymore, t

Which is it? Fans believe this graphic represents all the money Hasbro is losing by not selling new 12-inch GIjOE products to them; while Hasbro most certainly views the same image as representing all the money they’d LOSE manufacturing such items for a “niche” market segment. (Photo: Getty)

TJR: What do you say to all the 12-inch GIjOE fans and collectors out there who are still hurting from Hasbro’s lack of any 50th celebrationand yet, their wallets remain WIDE open, ready and eager to buy more Hasbro 12″ GIjOEs? It seems like a sizable market is being overlooked—or even ignored.

“A market is definitely being ignored. 

Hasbro is a big company with shareholders. We can’t make everything that we want to. We have to put our design resources where they’re going to be most productive. Unfortunately, the economy of scale of GIjOE—especially 12-inch GIjOE—doesn’t make it (creating new 12″ GIjOEs) a viable proposition for us.

In 1994, when there was a 30th Anniversary of GIjOE underway, that was a much different time in GIjOE collecting, where there was a much bigger base of active collectors. Ten years later, when we did the 40th Anniversary line, we launched that with the anticipation that we would re-engage a lot of fans, and initially, we thought we were. 

But the reality is, even at the time when we had the 40th Anniversary line out there, the 12-inch Joes were finding a much bigger audience to kids than they were for fans. It was still a very much kid-driven line, but we were doing ‘fan-product.’ 

But…the sales tapered off. And what they showed Hasbro senior management is that the 12-inch business really was a very niche business in the world of boy’s toys. So… We had to shut it down. Sales didn’t sustain it. And I’d say 10 years later, the situation really hasn’t changed. 12-inch collecting has a small but passionate fan group (base), but it’s not significant enough for Hasbro to devote design resources to putting fan-targeted product back out there.”

New 12-inch GIjOE product, like the AA

12-Inch GIjOE Sans Hasbro— The creation of new 12-inch GIjOE products (such as this AA “Fantastic Freefall” repro figure for sale at JoeCon 2015) is left to the auspices of non-Hasbro companies including the GIjOE Collector’s Club, Sideshow, Hot Toys, and Cotswold Collectibles. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

At this point in our conversation, the sober realization that Hasbro would no longer be making 12″ GIjOEs, once widely considered to be the “World’s #1 Toy,” left both of us feeling clearly saddened. We paused for a brief moment, lost in thought, watching convention goers pass by our table, before Derryl tried to put a positive spin on this depressing 12-inch forecast, by saying:

The future of 12-inch figures at Hasbro include this

The future of “12-inch” at Hasbro includes more products such as this “Titan Series” figure of Thor, featuring a whopping 5-points of articulation. But don’t worry, ol’ Thor won’t need to bend his elbows, waist or knees to sell briskly from stores (or Goodwill bins). (Photo: Amazon) Click to enlarge.

“What we HAVE shown…is that there actually is a very big market for 12-inch figures. They’re not the kind of figures that fans want to see, but there’s been a 12-inch business ‘renaissance’ of sorts with our Titan series of figures from Marvel and Star Wars. These are the figures with 5 points of articulation at very consumable price points. They’ve become a VERY big part of our business globally.”

TJR: Okay, let me stop you right there. You know those (5-point figures) are widely panned and derided by everyone out there, right?

“No. That is not true.

TJR: That’s NOT true?!

“They’re widely derided by fans who want ARTICULATED figures.”

Show us what'cha GOT! Another cosplayer shows off her stuff at JoeCon 2015. For her and other fans of 3 3/4

Show us what’cha GOT! Another cosplayer shows off her stuff at JoeCon 2015. Fortunately for her and other fans of 3 3/4″ GIjOEs, there’s a great deal of new Hasbro product coming in 2015. Lucky girl! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

sandboxlogoTJR: Right. I’m talking about all the posts I’ve read on places like the Trenches. I’m talking about the Sandbox. I’m talking about ALL of the 12-inch fan groups over on Facebook, where collectors go to discuss what’s currently being offered.

“Those are…I want to say this in the politest way possible…The days of a 12-inch, adult collector fan base being a significant part of our audience are unfortunately behind us. We had the opportunity 10 years ago to make product for that market—and we did! We made wave after wave of 40th Anniversary products. The market was NOT there, compared to any other business at Hasbro. I made a very valiant effort to launch and float that line as a viable business, and ultimately it did not pan out.

smtrench2What I’m trying to say here is, because there are fans who have the money and means and want to buy product, it doesn’t mean it’s a business that Hasbro should be doing. Quite honestly, Hasbro has finite resources, and we have to deploy them where they’re going to give us the greatest return on that investment for the company.”

Another WILD RIDE was parked in the main exhibit hall of JoeCon 2015, this one sporting twin machine guns and armor plating. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This 1:1 scale COBRA assault vehicle was parked in the main exhibit hall during JoeCon 2015. It featured a full rollcage, twin belt-fed machine guns and armor plating. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

There's room at the top— If you've got the money, that is. The

12″ GIjOE Excellence— The “Retaliation” GIjOE figures created by Hot Toys were undeniably excellent in every conceivable way. Their only drawback? They’re $200+ EACH. (Photo: Hot Toys) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Have you given any thought to maybe creating an off-shoot company or license someone else to release regular offerings to 12-inch GIjOE fans, i.e. those fans that Hasbro no longer considers to be financially viable?

“The GIjOE Club exists to do those kind of things. They’ve managed the collecting business for 15 years now, or longer. They’ve managed conventions and they’ve seen it all. The GIjOE club knows the size of that audience. Unfortunately, what the club has seen over that time is a steady erosion of active collectors in the 12-inch hobby. 

Sideshow and Hot Toys have also made a number of 12-inch figures (see HERE) from us, under license, for the past few years. They were absolutely unbelievable. So in a way, we did exactly as you said. We DID license out 12-inch GIjOE. Unfortunately, even Sideshow’s tapered off. No one (else) has knocked down our door to license 12-inch…the business just isn’t big enough.”

Willing to Wait— GIjOE fans of all scales are steadfast and VERY patient when it comes to their collecting passions. Here, fans line up and wait to enter the dealer/exhibit hall at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Willing to Wait— GIjOE fans (of all scales) are steadfast and patient when it comes to satisfying their collecting needs. Here, fans wait to enter the dealer hall at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Sharp eyes could find some stunning vintage Joe gear at the show. If we have to tell you how RARE these two sets are, you should just move on. The construction set even still has its ORIGINAL 1960's price tag!

“Blades” of a Bygone Era— The production of carded uniform/equipment sets that were “sold separately” is, according to DePriest: “an antiquated model” unlikely to return. Does that make these two even MORE valuable? (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: We hear all the time from GIjOE fans who wonder why Hasbro can’t simply return to a smaller, more targeted version of their original “razors and blades” concept. They’re not asking for another big 40th Anniversary-style product push, only some occasional new 1:6 scale uniforms or equipment that hasn’t been produced before. Has that approach ever been (re)considered?

“The retail model in today’s landscape doesn’t work that way at all. Retail is a real-estate play. We have to be productive and turn in the space that we aggressively maintain with our retailers. The common comment we get is the ‘razors and blades’ model. That is a 30-40 year old model that is not tenable today. It doesn’t work. It’s not the way other competitive products are sold. In practically any line out there, the FIGURES are the things that sell and are highly consumed. Accessory sets languish and are quickly eliminated from any line, not just GIjOE. The ‘razors-n-blades’ model is an antiquated model that doesn’t represent the way consumers purchase today.

Thanks to the hospitality and welcoming beauty of

Thanks to the hospitality and beauty of “Springfield Welcoming Committee” members, Scarlett Conn (l) and Sara Detrick (r), fans attending JoeCon 2015 were warmly greeted—with FREE cupcakes! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Does THIS Jog Your Memory? This is one of the 2011 GIjOEs DePriest quizzed me on. Of course, I remember them now, AND that in actuality, I DID purchase at 3 or 4 of them. (Photo: ebay)

Does This Picture Jog Your Memory? This is one of the 2011 GIjOEs DePriest was quizzing me about at JoeCon. At the time, I couldn’t place what he was referring to, but I remember them now, And in actuality, I DID purchase 3 or 4 from this line. (Photo: ebay)

(At this point, Derryl decided to turn the tables and began asking ME a few pointed questions):

“When was the last time we had a 12-inch GIjOE line at retail? Do you remember that? Did you pick up the figures we did in 2011 when we came out with a series of 5 or 6 different 12-inch military figures at retail?” 

(Caught off-guard, I couldn’t recall which figures he was referring to specifically, so I just shook my head.)

“You probably don’t remember that. That just gives you an example. People will make figures and people don’t show up to buy them. That’s why we’re not (making them anymore). In 2011…we brought back some new configurations of 12-inch figures. We publicized them throughout the Joe community, but the 12-inch figures were the weakest sellers we had in the entire line. Nobody showed up to get ’em. We had almost no pickup or response from the fans.”

Hasbro's Last Stand For 12-Inch GIjOEs came back in 2011 with figures such as this Army Paratrooper. Many items were rehashed from previous sets and sales were lackluster at best. (Photo: ebay)

Hasbro’s “Last Stand” For 12-Inch GIjOEs was taken back in 2011 with the introduction of 5 or 6 low-priced figures featuring (yet) another paratrooper. Most of this Joe’s gear was rehashed from previous sets, and overall, quality seemed noticeably down. Sales were (predictably) lackluster. (Photo: Amazon)

(Still unsure what 12-inch Joes he was referring to, I replied):

The 2011 line of 12-inch GIjOEs were featured on this issue of the GIjOE Collector's Club newsletter. The pattern in this Marine's camo ACU uniform was one of the few highlights for fans. Did YOU buy this one? (Photo: GIJCC)

The 2011 line of 12-inch GIjOEs were featured in this issue of the GIjOE Collector’s Club newsletter. The ACU camo pattern in this Marine’suniform was one of the few highlights for fans. (Photo: GIJCC)

TJR: Well, is it perhaps that 12-inch collectors are a little more discerning and demanding now, and that they felt the 2011 figures weren’t worthy somehow?

“I don’t know, you tell me! You didn’t buy ’em! I’m not here to do a post-mortem on that line, but what that line suggested was that kids were not—at the time—into 12-inch figures and the fan base wasn’t enough to sustain that business.

My long answer to a short question is… As passionate as the 12-inch fans are—and I’m one of them, because my story’s built on 12-inch, I came to Hasbro to take over the GIjOE line, I have launched many lines internally—it’s (unfortunately) a small but passionate business; not big enough to sustain. 

Our focus now is Joe-Cobra. That’s not to say Joe-Cobra couldn’t be 12-inch, but the days of a kind of generic GIjOE and razor/blades phenomenon or Timeless Collection stuff are in the past.”

joecon2015girls2

JoeCon 2015’s “Cobra Girls” were decidedly taller than their 3.75″ counterparts. Will 12-inch fans ever see such figures become part of GIjOE’s 1:6 future? Only Derryl knows! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Wow. Well, we’ve covered quite a lot today, haven’t we? Let’s finish by talking about you again. Do you still have a GIjOE collection? Do you have a “Joe room” at your home? Do you have display cases or is everything stored away in tubs?

“Yes, to all of that.

I’ve got every GIjOE figure ever made!

Some are on display and some are not because of space limitations. You can see in my book exactly what my collection comprises. That’s the story and essence of my collection. Since that time, I’ve acquired a lot of packaged GIjOEs. That’s what I’m interested in now; adding really nice, packaged examples to my collection.

My goal someday is to have every single packaged figure, vehicle and accessory set.” 

TJR: Is there a possible second book in the offing then?

“No. Unfortunately, while I’m at Hasbro, I can’t write any more books.”

TJR: Okay then, do you ever leave comments on GIjOE fan forums or other online fan sites?

“No. We don’t participate in social media, either. And I don’t care. It’s never been about celebrity for me. It’s about trying to bring out the things that fans are most passionate about.”

TJR: Well, your heart’s definitely in the right place! Thank you so much for all your time.

“My pleasure. Thanks, Mark!”

It's Never Been About Celebrity—

“It’s Never Been About Celebrity”— DePriest, looks out at the JoeCon 2015 crowd, reflecting upon the fact that he’s helped make so much of what they enjoy collecting—a REALITY. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Derryl for his generosity and contributions to this article. It’s always fascinating to hear directly “from the top” whenever discussing the past, present or future of Hasbro’s most marvelous creation. If you’d like to see and hear more from Derryl DePriest on this topic, we highly recommend you watch the following VIDEO. Enjoy! Go, Derryl! And GO, JOE! 

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The World’s First G.I. Joe———Unique Arts’ All-Metal Wind-Ups Predated Hasbro Toy Line———By 20 Years!

gijoejouncingjeepralphltomlinson

Not Quite “Eagle-Eyes”— But pretty cool-looking, nonetheless. This super-closeup of the first toy to EVER bear the name “G.I. Joe” reveals he wasn’t a plastic action figure made in Japan, but actually a pressed metal tin-toy manufactured in the U.S. toward the end of WWII; surprisingly—by a toy company legally designated as the “G.I. Joe Corporation.” (Photo: Ralph L. Tomlinson)

jouncingjeepbox1

Repro Boxes (such as the one shown above) for “G.I. Joe and His Jouncing Jeep” are expensive—almost as much as the toy itself! (Photo: ToyTent)

Does YOUR GIjOE Collection Start at the Very Beginning—Way Back in 1944?

The first-ever GIjOE toys didn’t fight Nazis or spandex-clad terrorist bad guys named “Cobra.” Rather, they drove odd, tractor-shaped Jeeps around in random, drunken circles, bumping into anything and everything in their paths. OR… they carried around (for whatever reason) suitcases full of puppies(!) as they briskly walked across the floor. It’s hardly the sort of “Capture Hill 79″ action we’re used to, but that’s the way it was—back in 1944. Feeling confused? Don’t worry. If you’ve never heard of the “G.I. Joe and His Jouncing Jeep” toy before, renowned toy collector, Ralph L. Tomlinson (now deceased), one of the nation’s premier experts, described it as:

Ralph L. Tomlinson, Renowned toy collector. (Photo: Tomlinson family)

Ralph L. Tomlinson, Renowned toy collector. (Photo: Tomlinson family)

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“This lithographed tin wind-up toy was manufactured by Unique Art Manufacturing Company under license from the G.I. Joe Corporation. It features a spring-action mechanism that can be activated with a key.

The toy then comically jerks back and forth while the soldier is propelled forward, making his helmet fall over his eyes. This is one example of how many toy companies tried to capitalize on the United States patriotic mood after WWII.”

Driving a

Hold on Tight, Joe! Driving a “Jeep” that looks suspiciously like a tractor, the first-EVER G.I. Joe-branded toy was a cute little soldier doing his darndest to keep a “jet propelled” Jeep traveling at “supersonic speed” safely on the road. The toy’s pressed-tin construction, with bright litho painted graphics, assures that even 70 years after its construction—it still looks GREAT! (Photo: GunShyCC)

The G.I. Joe you never knew existed— G.I. Joe and

“Search for the Little Puppies” In this closeup of a GIjOE you probably never knew existed, Joe carries two baskets(?) full of forlorn looking puppies, complete with sad, hangdog expressions and bandaged noggins. Were they casualties of war? Poor Little Puppies! (Photo: ebay)

But Wait—There’s More. MUCH More…

The more we dig into the obscure origins of GIjOE, the more intriguing his history becomes. For example, while we’d known for many years that there was some old tin-toy called “G.I. Joe and His Jouncing Jeep” (see above), we’d never really given it much thought until now. D’oh! What a mistake. Yes, he’s pretty silly looking. The toy was targeted at very young children (3-5) as a pressed metal wind-up, and it didn’t seem to have much of a place in our modern GIjOE collections. In fact, other than winding him up and watching him go, there isn’t much else you can do with these earliest GIjOEs. But hold on there just a minute…

Thankfully, our intrepid TJR Field Reporter, Keith Davis, came across one of these gems of GIjOEs past in an Ohio antique store recently and wrote in to remind us of the importance of these very unique toys (by “Unique Arts”)—especially to collectors of all things GIjOE. An adamant Davis reminded us that there was indeed MUCH more to this old toy than we had imagined. And after providing some superb photos of his discovery, he urged us to delve even deeper into its past. We did. And here’s what we learned:

FIRST, we had no idea that these GIjOEs predated Hasbro’s “movable fighting man” by over 20 years. To be honest, their brightly colored litho graphics reminded us of post-war toys made in Japan, so we had mentally pegged them at around 1960 or so. How wrong we were! G.I. Joe and His Jouncing Jeep were first created and sold back in 1944.

SECOND (and even more surprising) was when we learned that these early GIjOEs were manufactured not just by Unique Art Mfg., but by a toy company called—wait for it—the “G.I. Joe Corporation.” Whoa!

THIRD and most important: It turns out that there was more than one variation of these 1944 G.I. Joe metal toys, thereby turning them into a legitimate toy LINE (albeit a very short one, consisting of only 2 products). The second figure was a wind-up walker (no vehicle) who’s taken it upon himself to rescue stray K-9 puppies. Yes, you read that right. Remember, these toys were targeted to very young children. So shooting and killing “bad guys” simply wasn’t on their radar yet (even in 1944).

On the flip side— G.I. Joe's Jeep is boldly described as having

On the Flip-Side— G.I. Joe’s Jouncing Jeep is boldly lettered with “Watch Joe Go” and as having “Atomic Brakes;” fully a YEAR before the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb. (Photo: GunShyCC)

We asked Davis if he could describe the condition of the Jouncing Jeep (the exact one shown in the photo above) that he’d found at that antique mall in Ohio and he kindly replied:

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“One of the big rear wheels keeps partly slipping off the drive axle, because the factory (at the time of manufacture) failed to crimp the axle’s outside end to keep the wheel from going over the end, and that makes the wheel very floppy.”
As seen from the front, the toy is clearly labeled

Instead of Being a “5-Star” Jeep, the first-ever GIjOE only rated a 3-Star version. Nevertheless, as seen from the front, this toy was clearly and boldly labeled “G.I. JOE,” making it a “must-have” for collectors. (Photo: GunShyCC)

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“The rest is in rather good, but NOT Perfect condition, probably because it wasn’t run very much due to that factory failure. Someone may have the skills to carefully crimp that axle and flare it back out as it should have been, but in the purist sense, this is the way THIS unit was from day one.”
THERE'S the payoff— On the back-end of the Jeep, the manufacturer and manufacturing date are clearly written. How COOL! (Photo: GunShyCC)

THERE’S the Payoff— On the back-end of the Jeep, the manufacturer and manufacturing date are clearly shown. How COOL! (Photo: GunShyCC)

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“Look closely at my photos, and you’ll see that there’s some wear and tear on this toy. There is a small amount of rust in some places as well, so keep that in mind when comparing these on the open market.” —Keith “GunShyCC” Davis
Bottom View of the

Bottom View of “G.I. Joe and his Jouncing Jeep” (Photo: Grand Old Toys)

An original Jouncing Jeep box, over 70 years old, has sharp, clear graphics and still makes an AWESOME display. (Photo: Grand Old Toys)

An Original Jouncing Jeep Box— Although it’s over 70 years old, this box still has sharp, clear graphics and would make an AWESOME display piece in any GIjOE collection. (Photo: Grand Old Toys)

The top panel view of the superb repro box by Toy Tent. (Photo: Toy Tent)

The top panel view of the superb repro box by Toy Tent. (Photo: Toy Tent)

The box for

This repro box for “G.I. Joe and K-9 Pups” is rather plain by comparison to the Jouncing Jeep version. (Photo: Toy Tent)

Bottom Line: These are cool GIjOE-related toys, especially if you can find ’em with their original boxes (or afford some reproductions). Our sincerest thanks to Keith Davis and Ralph L. Tomlinson for educating us on this largely unknown and earliest aspect of GIjOE history. Remember… shop around for the best prices and compare conditions carefully before you buy. It’ll save you a headache later. If you’d like to see these early GIjOE toys in action, we suggest take a look at these two cool videos (shown below). Enjoy!

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Why It Was So Great to be a Kid———Back in 1967!

nas·cent
ˈnāsənt,ˈnasənt/ adjective
1. (especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.

Bottom Line: If you were a kid during GIjOE’s earliest, nascent days of the 1960s and ’70s, then we’re probably preaching to the choir. But if you didn’t come along until much later, you may not realize what you missed (so sad). If so, we highly recommend one of the most fond memories many of us adult Joeheads have: the “Capture Hill 79″ GIjOE contest. Even if you lived through this early period of Joe history, we recommend you watch the TV commercial again, because when you do, it’ll all come back and your day will be MADE. So…Watch it. Know it. Remember it. Capture Hill 79!

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Brian Savage Becomes De Facto Leader of 12-Inch G.I. Joe Production For the Foreseeable Future

Leading the Way— GIjOE Club Founder and President, Brian Savage, currently has more years under his belt as a producer of 12-inch GIjOE action figures than practically anyone. With Hasbro turning its back on the 12-inch line, Savage now finds himself the leading coordinator and producer of official 1:6 scale GIjOE figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Leading the Way for 12-Inch Fans— With Hasbro abandoning 12-inch GIjOEs, GIjOE Collector’s Club Founder and CEO, Brian Savage, has become the main producer of officially-licensed 1:6 scale GIjOEs, with 4 new figures (3 announced at JoeCon) slated for a 2015-16 release. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

joecon2015logoAs Hasbro Bows Out, Longtime Leader of the GIjOE Collector’s Club Announces Production of (at Least) 4 More Officially Licensed 12-Inch GIjOE Action Figures

With multiple IDs dangling from his back pocket and an ever-present walkie-talkie clipped to his famous blue jean shorts, the GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) founder and leader, Brian Savage, looked every bit the “Field Commander” of GIjOE fandom he’d become. At this particular moment during 2015’s JoeCon (a hugely successful GIjOE convention Savage recently orchestrated in Springfield, IL), he found himself in a hallway, encircled by about a dozen 12-inch fans who were peppering him with all sorts of GIjOE and club-related questions.

Although Savage had just completed an hour-long GIJCC panel discussion in the main ballroom, these fans had remained behind with the realization that they were being given a rare opportunity to speak directly to the man who helms the longtime Ft. Worth, TX-based business that will oversee production of new 12-inch (1:6 scale) GIjOEs into the foreseeable future. Fortunately, Brian’s answers were plainspoken and specific. After almost 30 minutes of the energetic back-n-forth, his rapt audience thanked him for “all that he’s done for the hobby” and Savage thanked them in return for their continued support of the club’s efforts. Below are some quotes from that hallway Q&A:

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, CEO and EIC, Fun Publications, Inc. (Photo: GIJCC)

On the Club’s 2 New Upcoming (12-inch) GIjOE Lost Talkers:

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“On the 12-inch side…we had started this ‘Lost Talker’ series a few years ago. We did the Talking Action Soldier and the Talking Marine…in the old days, when these were made…around ’67, they only had 8 talking phrases. We found out that in the archive, there were actually 10 recorded by the original voice actors that were not included. What we did with these figures was, we went back…and were able to add all 10 phrases. So not only were they reproduction Talkers as they had been, but they had 2 phrases that had never been heard, not newly recorded phrases, but original, vintage ’60s recorded phrases that were—LOST.”

Talking Sailor GIjOE (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Sailor (Photo: Vectis)

“We’re going to continue this series…they may hit late this year (2015), depending on production. We’re going to do a Lost Talker Action Sailor…and then we’ll round out this whole series by doing the Lost Talker Action Pilot; which will have 10 phrases rather than 8; 2 that have never been heard before.”

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

“We go in and add additional art to the insert to show what the new phrases are. It’s kind of a nice reproduction item with a little bit of a ‘plus’ to it. 

So, even if you already have these as vintage items in your collection, you’ll get something that you didn’t have before. And then that will round out our ‘Lost Talker’ series.”

On the Return of Mike Power, the Atomic Man, as the Club’s 12″ Exclusive for 2016:

So Far Away! Sorry about this grainy pic, but we were  seated pretty far back in the crowd during this presentation. Regardless, we hope you can make out the fact that Mike now has TWO atomic legs, and an all-new

(Mock-up photo: GIJCC)

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“He’s going to be a good lookin’ dude. We’re not reusing his old namby-pamby head. We’re doing a totally new sculpt. We didn’t like the unnamed, ‘other company’s’ male pseudo-fashion figure that Mike Power always seemed to look a little bit like (That would be Barbie’s Ken, ed.). And we’re actually going to put an LED into his eye, which will work with the dog-tag when you pull it. Please don’t point this at any aircraft. Federal authorities will come visit you. We showed a photo of a mock-up and a sketch of the all-new headsculpt we’re having done in the panel discussion. There’ll also be a uniform set called ‘Field Mission Alpha’ that you’ll be able to purchase separately.

A sketch of an all-new head sculpt for the GIjOE Collector's Club upcoming recreation of the Mike Power GIjOE action figure. (Photo: Jerry Gonzalas)

Here’s Looking at YOU, Mike Power #2— Savage revealed a sketch of an all-new headsculpt currently being created for the GIjOE Collector’s Club 2016 12-inch membership action figure—with working LED light-up eye. An optional uniform set will also be produced and sold separately. (Photo: Jerry Gonzales)

A new photo of the GIjCC's upcoming 12

GIjCC’s 2015 12″ membership figure, “Dr. Isotope” will be the first-ever, glow-in-the-dark GIjOE. Imagine Mike Power’s LED atomic eye shooting at Doc—in the dark! (Photo: GIjCC)

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a “must-have” for fans. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

On the Upcoming and Unusual “Dr. Isotope,” the First EVER Glow-in-the-Dark GIjOE: 

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‘The 12″ membership figure for 2015 will be Doctor Isotope: The Nuclear Menace. He’ll be the first-ever 12″ GIjOE action figure that will glow-in-the-dark. He’s a new foe for the Adventure Team to fight and as always, you can purchase a unique uniform and accessory set for him separately.”

For over 18 years now, GIjOE fans and collectors have watched Savage and the GIJCC grow to fill a role of ever-increasing importance and leadership among both the 1:6 and 1:18 scale GIjOE collecting communities. Indeed, without his/their tireless efforts, many wonderful GIjOE figures (of both scales) that fans now take for granted would never have been produced in the first place. Take a look at your own collection. It’s likely you own at least one of Savage’s superb creations, perhaps more. And as the years have passed, their desirability and collectibility have only increased. That’s easy to understand. Here are just a few examples:

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he'll leave behind a trail of excellence and achievement. We looked around the office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. Of course, he and his team of experts at the GIJCC have produced many more official GIjOE products, in both 1:6 and 1:18 scales. Imagine owning them all! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he’ll leave behind a mountain of GIjOE achievement. We looked around our office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. This is only a fraction. Imagine owning everything! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Indeed, as Hasbro continues to step farther away from the possibility of producing 12-inch GIjOEs EVER again, Savage has begun to be recognized for his new role: that of being the sole remaining producer of officially licensed 12″ GIjOE action figures. Sideshow and others may dip a toe into the GIjOE waters now and then, but nothing with the regularity of Savage and the GIJCC.

Local fan club divisions too, occasionally produce their own exclusive figures (predominantly the Atlanta and DFW divisions), but when it comes to manufacturing hundreds of authentic GIjOE action figures in factory-made coffin boxes, there’s really only one place collectors can still turn to: Brian Savage and the GIJCC. Here’s some more Q&A from Savage at JoeCon 2015:

JoeCon 2015 was held in Springfield, IL. Why? According to Savage, it was because for the first time, the community responded to their requests for facility and hotel availability. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

JoeCon 2015 was held this year in Springfield, IL. But why? According to Savage, there were a variety of reasons. For the FIRST time, Illinois’ capital city had responded to the GIjCC’s inquiries re: facility and hotel availability, thus helping its chances. And as the old lottery saying goes, “You have to be in it—to WIN it!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On How JoeCon Locations Around the U.S. Are Chosen:

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“When I started this 18 years ago, my original thought was I would find an East Coast, Center of the Country, and West Coast location. I would then alternate between them. But that reflected my naivety as an event planner, because I wasn’t experienced as an event planner.

What’s happened is, we’ve continued to grow…We’re not in that facility ‘footprint’ size anymore. There are a lot of facilities out there with 12,000 sq. ft. ballrooms. However, they do NOT have another 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom sitting next to it where we can do break-outs (i.e. panel discussions, film festivals, etc.) or dinners.

For JoeCon, we’re now at 25,000 square feet (gesturing to the dealer room upstairs). To do BotCon, I need 35,000. There are very few facilities out there that have that size space. And oftentimes, you can’t get into a place you’ve already been because they don’t have your dates. Costs, rates and availability are always changing.

I also try to move it around it the country because I always hear people say, ‘It was never near me before. But this year I could drive to it and had such a great time; I’m going to go WHEREVER you are next year!’ For all these reasons, choosing a location for JoeCon is often a lot more magic—than it is science.”

Sometimes the surprise

SURPRISE! Sometimes the free convention “extras” given out to attendees are GREAT and sometimes they’re not. This year, at JoeCon 2015, 12-inch fans received a STUNNING Adventure Team pilot’s helmet (its logo is painted on, not a cheap sticker) along with a matching yellow parachute box (including straps but no ‘chute). These FREE gifts were very much appreciated. Thanks, Brian! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many fans also received  FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many 12″ fans also received FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On Working With Hasbro and the State of the GIjOE Brand in 2015:

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“The Joe people, because it (GIjOE) hasn’t been in the retail stores, they pretty much let us run amok (in picking sets, teams and themes) for a lot of it now…They do work with us. There’s nothing heavy-handed…They’ve been trying as a company, for the last 4 months, to integrate us better on both sides. The GIjOE brand just isn’t there, because they (Joes at retail) are in such an anemic state right now. And you know, you couldn’t ask for two better people to work with than Derryl (DePriest) and Mark (Weber).” (He goes on to explain that there is just not enough demand or resource for both sizes.)” 

The Man of Action accessory set, while uninspired, will offer fans the chance to dress their new membership figure, as well as house him in a nice repro box. Actually, the box is the most appealing part of this entire set. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIjOE club’s reproduction Man of Action figure, box and accessory set were the closest Hasbro would get to an “official” 12″ commemorative of the brand’s 50th anniversary. (Photo: GIJCC)

“In my opinion, they blew a whole opportunity to artificially (because of the 50th Anniversary) recreate GIjOE and drag it (the 12″ GIjOE brand) up from the depths again. But the company decided not to emphasize the anniversary. If WE (the GIjOE Club) were supposed to head up the 50th anniversary celebration, then that’s kind’a sad (as there is no way they could do with the brand what Hasbro can).”
GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) took time at JoeCon 2015 to patiently reply to  questions from fans and the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) repeatedly took time during JoeCon 2015 to patiently answer questions from fans and members of the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s all strange and wondrous (the last 18 years)… I don’t even remember the names of all of the people we’ve worked with there (at Hasbro). I’ve been working with them for 18 years. I’ve got more time on the brand than anybody that’s there at Hasbro, except maybe Derryl (DePriest)…There’s a lot more phone calls and stuff now that he and Mark are on the brand.

Above: The parachute drop at the 2009 JoeCon in Kansas City, MO, was one of the last truly big “media event” drops hosted by the GIjOE Collector’s Club. Sadly, since that time, the activity seems to have lost its focus, forcing the club to shelve future drops while reconsidering its purpose.

On the Evolution and Disappearance of the Parachute Drop at JoeCon 2015:

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“The parachute drop (has) become something totally different than what it was designed to do in the beginning. It was designed to #1: Stop 12-inch collectors from throwing parachute figures off the building at night. And #2: So that we could have an event for the media, to get on TV.

We used to sell the extra figures to cover the costs of the free ones we were throwing off the building. But now, the parachute jump has kind of devolved into this ‘extra collector thing I have to have.’ So we need to go back and rethink what we’re doing, because it’s not serving its original (media event) purpose anymore.”

On the Day-to-Day Difficulties of Dealing With Dissatisfied Club Members: 

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“What we find on the web is that people often go to non-related forums or contact Hasbro to ask a question or complain without ever contacting us. If you have a question or concern, you can email or call our office. We want to help you get the correct answer.”
In the

Just Joking (Sort Of)— In the post-Con Questionnaire that attendees fill out and return to the club’s information booth, we made sure to indicate our preference for super-articulated 12-inch club figures with KFG (YES!). And then we jokingly named Hasbro as our “favorite GIjOE enemy.” HA! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“I answer almost every email, and if not, we’ll put something out that has the information on it. That’s why we put out a newsletter and a website. Sometimes I get so many emails from the same people. I don’t mind answering one or two, but when you’re sending me one every three or four days, it becomes overwhelming. If I have 3,000 people in each club (GIjOEs and Transformers), sending this many emails we won’t do anything except answer emails.”

Finally, in a previous interview over on joecustoms.com (HERE), Savage cleared up the differences between Fun Publications, the Master Collector and the GIjOE Collector’s Club, saying:

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“Fun Publications, Inc. is our company. Master Collector is one of our websites and was the classified ad publication for trading toys. We ceased publication of the print version of MC a year ago. The G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club and the Transformers Collectors’ Clubs are officially licensed by Hasbro and are business units of our company. That means every figure or accessory we produce are officially in the cannon of G.I. Joe.”

After thanking Savage again for his years of hard work, the hallway O&A group slowly began to disperse; but before they did, Brian politely and thoughtfully thanked them in return, saying:

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 “I sure appreciate y’all coming, and taking the time to listen, and the feedback—and all that stuff!”

Savage has grown increasingly popular with fans of 1:6 GIjOEs, as they have begun to realize he is now the

Savage Faces the Fans— Brian has grown increasingly popular among GIjOE collectors, especially fans of 1:6 scale figures, as they have begun to realize that Savage’s business (Fun Publications, Inc.) provides the best chance for the creation and continuation of new, officially licensed (12-inch) GIjOE-brand action figures. Here, Savage answers an additional 30 minutes of questions from fans of 1:6 scale Joes during an unscheduled “Hallway Q&A” at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

GIjOE Collector's Club logo

GIjOE Collector’s Club logo

Bottom Line: Savage and his GIjOE Collector’s Club have certainly earned their place at the top of the GIjOE collecting pantheon. There’s an undeniable “sense of historic occasion” to each of Savage’s JoeCons; and while they may not all be successes, when they do “hit,” they typically hit on all cylinders, providing 3 days of fun and opportunity for thousands of fortunate fans. After all, many collectors remain GIjOE brand purists, demanding only Hasbro-stamped butt cheeks and Hasbro-branded coffin boxes. For them, nothing else but official Hasbro-licensed GIjOE products will do. And for them, Brian Savage remains solidly in business. He and the GIJCC are probably the last, BEST hope for such products in the future. Remember: Only GIjOE—is GIjOE!

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Action Man Journeys Into Space in New UK Video

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Some GIjOE/Action Man fans are talented—and then there’s the world’s-leading Action Man graphics guru, Robert Wisdom. As you may recall from our previous article profiling Wisdom (HERE), his work is top-drawer all the way and professionally produced. Recently, Wisdom completed a new video short (see above), that reimagines the early days of America’s space race and NASA’s Mercury space capsule missions in particular. The hero of his short is, of course, a vintage ’60s Action Man astronaut, ably supported by a superb ground crew from the same era. Before being released, Robert had written in to describe his new project to us, saying:

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“I’m going to film him (Action Man) suiting up, getting into launch position, and shooting into space. Then, there’ll be a space-walk and Earth floating in the background. The sound will be actual dialogue from one of the missions and some cool layered music. I’m having to polish his visor somewhat first because of the HD and close-ups. That’s the biggest hurdle so far; would you believe? I’m filming primarily with green screen, and I have some glow-sticks to put in the capsule’s footwell for added authenticity. It won’t be long, but it should be good, taking 2-3 weeks to produce.”
In this superb retro-comic ad "teaser" for his new video, Robert Wisdom recreates the look of an old comic book ad of the 1960s. Excellent work, Robert! (Graphic: Robert Wisdom) Click to enlarge (and print!)

Action Man’s “Mission Mercury”— In this superb “teaser ad” for his new video, Robert Wisdom recreates the look of old comic book ad from the 1960s. (Graphic: Robert Wisdom) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Wisdom’s new video IS excellent in every way and thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Without a doubt, it’s the most visually perfect the GIjOE/Action Man astronaut figure has ever been depicted on-screen. Our sincerest thanks go out to Robert for sharing his new fan video and the supporting “teaser ad” (shown above) with readers of The Joe Report. Go, Action Man! Go, Robert!

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JoeCon 2015 Captured in Widescreen HD Video

Bottom Line: In this, the first of THREE articles we have planned covering JoeCon 2015, we thought we’d surprise you. Rather than penning paragraph after paragraph of descriptive text, we chose instead to produce a documentary video of the show. That way, you’ll get to see and HEAR highlights captured during its actual events. And if you weren’t able to attend in person, then this should provide a “You Are There” experience for what you missed. Finally, to assure you receive the finest coverage available, our Joe Report film crew shot the entire production in FULL high-definition (HD) widescreen. So, sit back, enlarge the picture to fill your screen—and ENJOY!

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