G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Struggling to Keep Up With Overwhelming Fan Demand For JoeCon 2018’s Exclusive Figures and (Affordable) Hotel Rooms

A Victim of Their Own Success?

Word of mouth among GIjOE fandom alluding to the fact that this year’s JoeCon in Chattanooga, TN could very well be the LAST such “national” club convention has many fans (members and non-members alike) scrambling for nearby (affordable) hotel rooms and a chance to purchase (again, what may be) one of the LAST exclusive figure sets ever produced by the GIjOE Collector’s Club.

In addition, with Hasbro largely sitting on its hands concerning all things GIjOE, collectors of all scales are seeing this year’s JoeCon as “the one” that they “must attend,” leading to an unexpectedly early sell-out for the small figure exclusive sets and an ongoing shortage of downtown hotel rooms that are priced at the club’s more affordable “discounted block rate.”

The latest confirmation of these alarming facts comes to us today “hot over the wires” and from the GIJCC’s head honcho himself, Brian Savage, who revealed the following intel about a shortage of 3 3/4″ exclusives (and provided suggestions on what be believes can be done about it):

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

 

“The 2018 GIjOECon Convention 3 3/4″ sets are SOLD OUT! Currently, we BELIEVE that we will be able to increase the production run for both 3 3/4” boxed and loose sets (attending and non-attending). HOWEVER, our contacts in China have now shut down for Chinese New Year. We have requested that they increase our production run (which won’t happen for another couple of months).  

It will take a few weeks until we have confirmation back from them concerning our request. Chinese New Year runs through the first week in March. Each factory has a different schedule as to when they return to work. In the meantime, if you are interested in an 3 3/4″ attending, non-attending or a loose set, please let us know by putting yourself on the wait list by sending an email to: Waitlist@funpubinc.com.  

Please DO NOT CALL about the list. We will notify you about processing your request when the additional quantities are available. You will receive a confirmation email that you are on the list. If you have already contacted us and were told that we have placed you on the waitlist, you do not need to email us. Please don’t get on the list 2x. The list will be worked in the order it was received.

Please place in the title of the email one of the following: American Hero waitlist, Homefront Hero waitlist, Attending loose set waitlist, Non-attending loose set waitlist. In the body of the email please provide your full name and phone number. Being on the waitlist does NOT guarantee that you will get what you requested, as we may exhaust the additional quantities ordered.

Do not order a 12″ attending set and hope that we will swap it for the 3 3/4″ set. We will not swap sets.”

Fortunately for attendees and non-attending collectors of the 12-inch GIjOE exclusive sets, some better news was forthcoming from Savage, who reassuringly stated:

“The 12″ attending and non-attending sets are still available.”

Finally, regarding the shortage of affordable hotel rooms, Savage offered this hopeful update:

“The Staybridge Hotel block is now sold out. We are investigating a THIRD hotel in the area, so please watch for future emails.” 

Bottom Line: Phew! This is getting exciting (and frustrating for some). It looks like we should expect this convention to be a BIG one, crowd-wise. If you plan to attend, we recommend you go ahead and reserve a hotel room SOMEWHERE nearby the Chattanooga Convention Center at ANY rate you can afford—NOW. There’s always plenty of time for you to cancel or (hopefully) get a different room at the club’s cheaper block rate—later. That is, of course, IF… Señor Savage can convince that mysterious, unnamed “third hotel” to cooperate. Good luck to us all! Go, JOE!

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‘Ello, Guv’nuh! 1:6 Scale (All-Metal) Royal Mail Postbox Available First Quarter of 2018—Perfect Size and Detail For Fans of Action Man and GIjOE

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Blimey, this ‘box is a BEAUT! The new 1:6 scale Royal Mail postbox from SOAR ART Workshop is constructed of all-metal and will be available at most 1:6 retailers sometime during the first quarter of 2018. (Photo size comparison by Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

This cool news just came in on over the wire…

According to respected wholesale product distributor, Alpha-C Group (located in Hong Kong), the modeling masters over at SOAR ART Workshop will soon be releasing an all-metal, 1:6 scale Royal Mail postbox, sometime during the first quarter of 2018. For fans of Action Man, GIjOE, and all things 1:6 scale, this is exciting news. Such a box would make a STUNNING addition to any (post WW2) neighborhood or downtown (i.e. urban) diorama. (Now you’ll need an Action Man Mailman!)

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Three closeups for the price of ONE— Superb craftsmanship in the new SOAR ART postbox is apparent from all angles. And take a look at that middle pic. YES! It even opens up so you can remove all of Action Man’s mail. That is out-STANDING! (Photo: SOAR ART) Click to enlarge.

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What time is pickup and drop-off?— Don’t worry, this pic (taken from about an inch away) shows that you can even read the tiny type in that RM plaque. WOW! (Photo: SOAR ART)

Bottom Line: Spec-wise, this RM postbox stands at a perfect 27cm tall (approximately 10.6″), is 10.5cm wide (4.1″) and weighs in at about 1kg (or 2.2 lbs). All told, this big boy looks to be a near perfect replica of the real thing. According to Alpha-C, you should probably expect a retail price somewhere around $62 plus s/h. Our advice? Start watching the usual 1:6 scale import/retail websites (Cots, Big Bad, etc.) for further information on price and availability. Happy Hunting!

 

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You’re Looking Spiffy Today, Sir! First Pics of Exclusive 12″ GIjOE Logo Gear Revealed As Registration for JoeCon 2018 Officially Opens

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12″ Vintage Fans REJOICE— This GIjOE logo T is an undeniable work of art. You might have trouble deciding whether or not you want to wear it—or FRAME IT! Be sure to pick one up this coming June 21-24 at JoeCon 2018 in Chattanooga, TN. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

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A Timeless Classic Cover— What better way to spend your remaining years than walking (or sitting) around in this SUPERB vintage GIjOE logo cap? It is absolutely ROCKIN’. Get your today, Joehead! (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: If you’re planning to attend the “final” JoeCon in Chattanooga, TN on June 21-24, then you’ll be happy to know that registration for the upcoming mega-event is now officially OPEN over on the JoeCon 2018 website found HERE. Oh! While you’re there, you might consider picking up some of the nifty retro-logo gear also being offered. It all looks out-STANDING! Go, JOE!

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Roll ‘Em!——5th Annual “G.I. Joe Stop-Motion Film Festival” to Premiere All-New Movies Based on—and Utilizing—”America’s Movable Action Hero”

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Submissions for 5th Annual “GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival” Now Being Accepted

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Gio Toninelo, coordinator and distributor of the upcoming 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (Photo: Gio Toninelo)

Despite Hasbro having turned its corporate back on 12-inch GIjOE action figures and their worldwide array of fans, collectors and customizers, the “most beloved toy in the last 100 years” (see HERE) continues to make its presence known to the public in ever more unexpected ways. We’re speaking specifically now, about independent filmmaking—and stop-motion animation. Cinematographer, graphic designer and festival coordinator, Gio Toninelo (shown above, right) has just announced the opening of submissions for what will become the 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (GSMFF). The GSMFF is referred to as a “travelling” film festival, due to the fact that Toninelo will exhibit the winning entries in theaters and venues all across the country. This year’s festival premieres September 27th at the Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado and extends thereafter to LA, New York and Austin (TX).

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Lisa and Tim Weedn, creators of superb 1:6 scale stop-motion animated videos, regularly premiere their work at Joelanta conventions in Atlanta, GA. (Photo: Tim Weedn)

Stop-motion animation, once championed by early effects wizards Ray Harryhausen (see bio video above) and animators Rankin & Bass (of 1964’s Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer fame), had almost become a lost and forgotten art form, but it seems to be back on the path to popularity once again. This will surprise many, because today’s CGI-dominated animators view the (much) more laborious and time-intensive stop-motion process as an unwieldy and (dare we say) “wasteful” practice from a bygone, pre-digital era. Fortunately, there are STILL some diehard (and VERY patient) individuals out there for whom stop-motion animation (and its unique results) remains a JOY to create and behold.

An Analog Technology For a 1:6 Digital World

You may already know of some fellow GIjOE fans who are also stop-motion animators. We certainly do. Two such patient practitioners of the technique (that come immediately to mind) are the talented filmmaking duo of Lisa and Tim Weedn (see above, right). The Weedns are regular attendees and popular presenters at each of the Toylanta (formerly Joelanta) GIjOE shows held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s a 2014 video they made in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th anniversary:

Is Stop-Motion Animation Merely a Fad—Or Making a Comeback?

Fortunately for stop-motion animation afficiandos, they don’t have to rely solely on the efforts of amateurs in order to get their “fix” of the technique. In fact, there are many influential showbiz pros out there who continue to utilize stop-motion in their projects. For example, Seth Rogen revived the technique for his standout animated TV series, Robot Chicken (see his HILAROUS GIjOE short below). Academy Award winner Nick Park too, used the process for his superb Wallace and Gromit shorts and features. Perhaps a sort of “tech-revolt” is underway, one that rages against the film and TV industry’s current overuse of CGI? If so, it appears that the nostalgic animation style is actually GROWING in popularity—with no end in sight!

We asked Mr. Toninelo to comment on the upcoming GIjOE film festival and he kindly replied:

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Filmmaker and Festival Coordinator, Gio Toninelo (Photo: GT)

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“Hi Mark, I’m so excited! Our GIjOE film festival is back for its 5th season! I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard about our festival. We started waaaay back when the internet was a sleepy teenager. Plus, we took a needed break since 2013. Put simply, we screen films that use G.I.JOE action figures as their main characters using the ‘stop-motion’ animation technique. We always read The Joe Report and I’ve bought some stuff from Patches of Pride (PoP) in the past as well. I’ve even listed PoP as one of our sponsors! 

There are only TWO main rules for our Festival:1- Your film MUST be shot using stop-motion technique. Puppetry, wires and live action could also be used as long as it does not comprise 30% of the entire film. 2- Your main character MUST be an official G.I. Joe action figure, created by Hasbro, Inc. or an Action Man figure, created by Palitoy. Other licensed figures are also accepted, like “Comandos em Acao” and “Falcon” (BRAZIL) or “Commandos Heroicos” (MEXICO). Other action figures, dolls and toys can be used for supporting roles.

Finally, because we are a ‘travelling’ festival, I try not to put the videos up on the web, at least not on our social media channel. We always save the BEST ones for the tour. However, some of our old trailers can still be found over on YouTube HERE. Enjoy!

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At Work in the World of 1:6 ScaleGio Toninelo, shown here in his home office and/or art studio, carefully details one of his 1:6 scale custom GIjOE action figures. Will this Joe become a “star” in one of Toninelo’s future film productions? We’ll just have to wait and see! (Photo: Jeff Otte)

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Fans of Films and GIjOEs— Is there anything better than watching “America’s Movable Fighting Man” up on the big screen? Here, fans gather at a past screening  of Gio Toninelo’s GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival to watch the “Best of the Best.” (Photo: Gio Toninelo) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This looks like yet another EXCELLENT opportunity for GIjOE fans and customizers, as well as all aspiring amateur and/or professional filmmakers. For complete details on festival submission requirements, entry deadlines, etc., go HERE. Our sincerest thanks go out to Gio Toninelo and to everyone else connected with these exciting shows. Go, Joe! And… Go, GIO!

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Lock and Load! 12″ Exclusive Set For JoeCon 2018 Revealed As “Green Beret Machine Gun Outpost” Featuring All-New Box Artwork by Larry Selman

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Spray some lead, Joe! This battered (but beautiful) GIjOE “Green Beret Machine Gun Outpost Set” dates from 1965, approximately around the middle of the Vietnam War. Surviving examples are now over 53 years old and typically look like this original (found today over on ebay). Fortunately for fans and collectors of 12-inch GIjOE action figures, an all-new version of this “holy grail” of GIjOE sets will soon be produced (in very limited quantities) for attendees of the GIjOE Collector’s Club JoeCon 2018 (June 21-24) in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Will YOU be there? (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

Gird your loins and grab your credit cards, Joeheads!

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Larry Selman, renowned GIjOE packaging illustrator and artist of military history, will create artwork for JoeCon 2018’s 12″ exclusive figure set. (Photo: Larry Selman)

The GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) has just announced that the 12-inch exclusive figure set for their FINAL JoeCon EVER—will be a recreation of the famed 1965 “Green Beret Machine Gun Outpost.” And just like the original version, this recreation will include TWO GIjOE action figures and a TON of 1:6 scale military gear. The main difference between old and new will be that the new box’s artwork will be created by (the one and only) 12″ GIjOE package illustrator extraordinaire, Larry “Mr. Classic Collection” Selman (read more about the amazing Mr. Selman HERE). Will THIS be the last “official” 12-inch GIjOE product ever made? If so, it will hold a VERY special place in “Joehistory.” According to the GIJCC’s official press release, the new set is described thusly:

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“This year, it’s back to the military for G.I. Joe. One of the favorite 12” figures of all time was the Green Beret. So, what could be better than two Green Berets in an updated ‘1960’s Sears Exclusive’ box adorned with art from Larry Selman?

This year’s 12-inch Convention Set is a recreation of the ‘Sears Exclusive’Green Beret Machine Gun Outpost Set. It comes with: 2 Painted Head Figures and each figure has a Camo Shirt and Pants; Green Beret; Tall Brown Boots; Dog Tag; Belt with 2 Cartridges.

In addition, the set comes with: 12 Grenades; Bazooka; 6 Bazooka Shells; Field Telephone; .30 Caliber Machine Gun and Tripod; M-16 Ri e; Ammo Box; Camouflage Netting; Plastic Foliage; Tent Poles; Tent Stakes; and 10 Sand Bags.

All of these items are in a box adorned with an updated painting of the Green Beret Outpost, painted by Larry Selman. Watch on-line at GIJoeCon.com for product reveals.” —GIjOE Collector’s Club

Bottom Line: If this is indeed to be the FINAL set from the FINAL official GIjOE Collector’s Club JoeCon EVER, then those facts alone will undoubtedly make this exclusive a very hot commodity among 1:6 Joe fans and collectors. Stay tuned. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for any further JoeCon 2018 intel and/or updates and pass them all along to you here ASAP—on The Joe Report!

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Shutting Down—Toys ‘R Us Confirms Imminent Closure of 180+ Stores—Official List Released

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Toys ‘R’ Us mascot, “Geoffrey” (already “retired”), is looking a little less upbeat these days, after hearing the news that 180 more of his company’s stores will close in 2018. (Graphic: Toys ‘R’ Us)

Bottom Line: Well, now we have some real numbers to reflect upon. In yet another (depressing) follow-up to our previous articles discussing Toys ‘R Us and its filing for bankruptcy, the former powerhouse toy retailer has just released a (startlingly) long list of imminent store closures—180 in total. The first of their stores to close will do so as early as next month (February), with the remainder having done so by the end of April, 2018. We wonder—Is this the first 2018 list of TRU closures—or the last? Will this dramatic action save the company from oblivion—or merely prolong the inevitable? Only time will tell. How will YOUR particular area be affected? Hold your breath and scan the company’s official closure list provided below (arranged alphabetically by states):

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Alabama

2600 McFarland Blvd. East, Tuscaloosa AL

335 Summit Blvd., Birmingham AL

Arizona

801 W. 32nd Street, Yuma AZ

12801 North Tatum Blvd., Paradise Valley AZ

9139 Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale AZ

4619 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson AZ

7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Scottsdale AZ

US 60 and Signal Butte Rd., Mesa AZ

Arkansas

2616 S. Shackleford Rd., Little Rock AR

California

42500 Jackson St., Indio CA

1189 Simi Town Ctr. Way, Simi Valley CA

26573 Carl Boyer Dr., Santa Clarita CA

960 Lakes Dr., Covina CA

1600 S. Azusa Ave., Puente Hills CA

2575 E. Imperial Highway, Brea CA

530 Westminster Mall, Westminster CA

20120 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance CA

2550 Canyon Springs Pkwy S., Riverside CA

700 “A” Onstott Rd., Yuba City CA

2785 E. Bidwell St., Folsom CA

1330 Fitzgerald, Pinole CA

4505 Century Blvd., Pittsburg CA

600 Francisco Blvd., San Rafael CA

5461 Lone Tree Way, Brentwood CA

1400 Gateway Blvd., Fairfield CA

3938 Horton, Emeryville CA

2179 Monterey Hwy., E. San Jose CA

865 Blossom Hill Rd., San Jose / Almade CA

3520 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno CA

31250 Court House Dr., Union City CA

10640 Trinity Pkwy., Stockton CA

3900 Bristol Street, Santa Ana CA

3665 Grand Oaks, Corona CA

1240 W. Morena Blvd., Mission Bay CA

8181 Mira Mesa Blvd., Mira Mesa CA

1990 University Drive, Vista CA

Colorado

1150 S. Ironton, Aurora CO

Connecticut

376 North Universal Drive, North Haven CT

275 Union St., Waterbury CT

3491 Berlin Turnpike, Newington CT

169 Hale Road, Manchester CT

Delaware

1061 N. Dupont Highway, Dover DE

Florida

1625 Apalachee Pkwy., Tallahassee FL

1900 Tyrone Blvd., St. Petersburg FL

3908 West Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa FL

6001 Argyle Forest Blvd., Orange Park FL

Spring 708 West State Rd. 436, Altamonte FL

21697 State Road #7, Boca Raton FL

10732 SW Village Pkwy., Port St. Lucie FL

450 South SR 7, Royal Palm Beach FL

2601 W.Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee FL

6001 West Sample Road, Coral Springs FL

3214 N John Young Pkwy., Kissimmee FL

Georgia

2601 Dawson Rd., Albany GA

2955 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna GA

6380 No. Point Parkway, Alpharetta GA

1155 Mt. Vernon Hwy., Dunwoody GA

6875 Douglas Boulevard, Douglasville GA

8160 Mall Parkway, Conyers GA

221 Newnan Crossing Bypass, Newnan GA

132 Pavilion Parkway, Fayetteville GA

Indiana

3928 E 82nd Street, Indianapolis IN

8800 US 31 South, Greenwood IN

Iowa

1211 E. Army Post Rd., S. Des Moines IA

8801 University Ave., Des Moines IA

Illinois

1610 Deerfield Rd., Highland Park IL

16 East Golf Rd., Schaumburg IL

295 Center Drive, Vernon Hills IL

5001 Lincoln Highway, Matteson IL

6420 W. Fullerton, Bricktown IL

7750 South Cicero Avenue, Burbank IL

5660 Touhy Avenue, Niles IL

Kansas

4646 W. Kellogg, Wichita KS

8500 W 135th Street, Overland Park KS

Kentucky

4900 Shelbyville Rd., St. Mathews KY

1155 Buck Creek Rd., Simpsonville KY

1965 Star Shoot Parkway, Lexington KY

Louisiana

137 Northshore Blvd., Slidell LA

Maine

6 Bangor Mall Blvd., Bangor ME

200 Running Hill Road, Portland ME

Maryland

8401 Mike Shapiro Drive, Clinton MD

Massachusetts

302 Providence, Dedham MA

70 Worcester Providence Tpk/Rt. 146, Millbury MA

50 Holyoke Street, Holyoke MA

217 Hartford Ave., Bellingham MA

6110 Shops Way, Northborough MA

Shoppers World Plaza, 1 Worcester Road, Framingham MA

Michigan

5363 Harvey Street, Muskegon MI

2620 Crossing Circle, Traverse City MI

5900 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing MI

4923 28th Street South East, Grand Rapids MI

3725 Carpenter Road, Ann Arbor MI

3725 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor MI

Minnesota

14100 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka MN

170 89th Ave., Blaine MN

8236 Tamarack Village, Woodbury MN

900 West 78th Street South, Richfield MN

Mississippi

1003 Bonita Lakes Circle, Meridian MS

200 Bass Pro Dr., Pearl MS

Missouri

1901 Bernadette, Columbia MO

201 Silver Springs Rd., Cape Girardeau MO

5590 St. Louis Mills Blvd., Bridgeton MO

220 THF Blvd., Chesterfield MO

Nebraska

3505 S. 140th Plaza, Omaha NE

Nevada

2150 North Rainbow Blvd., Las Vegas NV

7020 Arroyo Crossing Parkway, Spring Valley NV

New Mexico

45 Hotel Circle, Albuquerque NM

North Carolina

801 Fairview Road, Asheville NC

7001 Fayetteville Road, Durham NC

3300 Westgate Drive, Durham NC

New Hampshire

29 Gusabel Avenue, Nashua NH

New Jersey

1280 Rt. 22 & St. James Ave., Phillipsburg NJ

137 Route 35, Eatontown NJ

100 Promenade Blvd., Bridgewater NJ

2700 Route 22 East., Union NJ

909 US Hwy 1 South., North Brunswick NJ

Rt. 541 & Cadillac Road, Burlington NJ

2135 Route 38, Cherry Hill NJ

7 Wayne Hills Mall, Wayne NJ

545 Route 17 South, Paramus NJ

98 Route 10 West., East Hanover NJ

Kids World 900 Center Drive, Elizabeth NJ

50 International Drive South, Mt. Olive NJ

New York

139-19 20th Ave., College Point NY

24-30 Union Square E, Union Square NY

5181 Sunrise Hwy., Sayville NY

5214 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa NY

2335 Marketplace Drive, Henrietta NY

1569 Niagara Falls Blvd., Buffalo NY

401 Frank Sottile Boulevard, Kingston NY

708 Upper Glen St., Glens Falls NY

221 Wade Road Extension, Latham NY

2700 Central Park Ave., Yonkers NY

66 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village NY

1350 Corporate Drive, Westbury NY

108 Veterans Memorial Highway, Commack NY

461 Lycoming Mall Cir, Williamsport NY

1530 Ridge Rd. West, Greece NY

Ohio

6251 Glenway Ave., Western Hills OH

2661 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd., Dayton OH

7841 Mentor Ave., Mentor OH

3610 West Dublin-Granville Rd., Dublin OH

Oklahoma

1119 SE 66th St., Oklahoma City OK

5609-E Rogers Ave., Fort Smith OK

560 Ed Noble Pkwy., Norman OK

Pennsylvania

100 Welsh Road, Horsham PA

6680 Peach St., Erie PA

3700 William Penn Highway, Monroeville PA

104 Bartlett Ave., Exton PA

2003 Cheryl Dr., Ross Park Mall PA

301 Oakspring Road, Washington PA

18/Valley View Dr., Beaver Valley Route PA

Rhode Island

300 Quaker Lane, Warwick RI

South Carolina

254 Harbison Boulevard, Columbia SC

South Dakota

450 E. Disk Drive, Rapid City SD

Tennessee

7676 Polo Ground Blvd., Memphis TN

5731 Nolensville Rd., Nashville TN

Texas

801 Mesa Hills Dr., West El Paso TX

9730 Katy Freeway, Houston TX

170 E. Stacy Road, Allen TX

7730 N. MacArthur Blvd, Irving TX

420 E. Round Grove Rd., Lewisville TX

13710 Dallas Parkway, Dallas Galleria TX

1309 W. Pipeline Rd., Hurst TX

5800 Overton Ridge Blvd., Hulen TX

Utah

4042 Riverdale Rd., Ogden UT

1122 Fort Union Boulevard, Midvale UT

Virginia

14173 Crossing Place, Potomac Mills VA

12153 Jefferson Ave., Newport News VA

Washington

3567 N.W. Randall Way, Silverdale WA

1325A S.E. Everett Mall Parkway, Everett WA

6104 N. Division Street, Spokane WA

Wisconsin

18550 W. Bluemound Rd., Brookfield WI

2161 Zeier Road, Madison WI

 

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RC Hobby Shocker!—Hobbico Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection As Declining Consumer Interest Continues to Impact Already Struggling Toy Industry—Softening Drone Market Also Cited

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How the Mighty Are Falling— As this aerial view reveals, the Hobbico headquarters building located in Champaign, IL, is literally MASSIVE in terms of its size and employment. Unfortunately, declining consumer interest in its RC hobby products has now forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US Federal Court. At this location alone, 332 Hobbico employees currently face (possible) termination. Other toy and hobby companies are similarly threatened, and many toy industry observers have begun to wonder if an entire leisure pastime (playing with toys) has begun to die a slow death—one GIANT business at a time. (Photo: Google Earth) Click to enlarge.

Downward “Domino Effect” From Falling Toy and RC Sales Being Felt Industry-Wide

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First, Toys ‘R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see HERE). Then, Hasbro and Mattel both raised their own corporate “red flags,” warning of impending financial difficulties (see HERE). And yesterday, Hobbico, the LARGEST hobby product distributor in the United States, announced that it too, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against its own horde of (unhappy) creditors. In an article published in today’s News-Gazette, reporter Ben Zigterman reveals the shocking financial figures:

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“In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Hobbico said it has an estimated 200 to 999 creditors, $10 million to $50 million in assets, and $100 to $500 million in liabilities.”

Fans and Collectors of 1:6 Scale Should Take Heed

Ouch! Those numbers sting. With a mere $10-50 million in assets and a debt of as high as $500 million, the future of Hobbico does indeed look bleak. And if an RC-industry giant such as Hobbico fails, it’s death knell must certainly serve as some sort of “canary in the coal mine” warning to our own (beloved) 1:6 scale hobby. Seriously, if you think about it, there is actually very little separating the two hobby’s fields of interest For example…

We love our 1:6 scale action figures, vehicles, dioramas, and the imaginative world of indoor and outdoor playtime they inspire, correct? Well, all of that joy overlaps (in many cases) with very similar products (and activities) provided by our compatriots in the RC hobby world. For many on both sides, the activities of our two related “communities” are conveniently, inextricably, and forever—linked. The truth is undeniable. RC tanks, planes, boats, cars, drones and other such vehicles are ALL a common sight at today’s GIjOE-centric toy shows. And why not?

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A Perfect Blend of Two Hobby Worlds— As this photo clearly demonstrates, the combined use of RC vehicles and action figures has always been a “no-brainer.” (Photo: Ron Stymus)

Sadly, today’s article in the News-Gazette also goes on to report:

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“…it is possible that there will be a permanent shutdown of all Hobbico operations and locations and the permanent termination of all Hobbico employees…” —Howard Salazar, HR Director, Hobbico

Surprisingly, decreasing sales of RC drones are also (partially) to blame for Hobbico’s current financial dilemma. Only a couple of years ago, the prevailing belief was that RC drone sales would continue to skyrocket well into the future. Unfortunately, it appears that the public’s interest in this relatively new market segment has already begun to wane. According to Salazar:

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“After a strong prior year, a softening of the overall drone market in 2016 led to substantial declines in sales for Hobbico.”

Bottom Line: Despite the country’s current robust economy, the end (sadly) appears to be coming soon for both Hobbico and Toys ‘R Us. Hopefully, other toy and RC industry giants will hear the bellwether ring of these impending business closures and make whatever strategic corrections are necessary to ensure their own survival.

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New Toy Series Premieres on Netflix—But the Question is: Will Fans Want to PAY to See it?

There’s a New Show All About Toys—But Is It Worth The Cost?

A new Netflix series (clumsily) titled, “The Toys That Made Us” is currently airing online (available to paid Netflix subscribers only), and (as you might expect) the show’s episodes each focus primarily on iconic brands such as GIjOE, Barbie, Star Wars, etc. Predictably too, the approximately 45 minutes of airtime each installment consumes is largely comprised of (familiar) video clips taken from OLD television commercials, OLD Saturday morning cartoons, and OLD comic book ads and/or catalogs (feeling OLD yet?). Sprinkle in assorted sound bites from “expert” talking-heads and uber-collectors, then tie it all together with “fluff” narration, and you have what amounts to a not-all-too-unpleasant way to spend the better part of an hour.

Bottom Line: Since these new Netflix episodes are largely targeted to today’s attention-deficited, iPhone-obsessed viewing public, their video clips tend to be short and rather quickly cut. That can become VERY frustrating to diehard (i.e. older) toy fans who prefer to SEE all these vintage goodies for more than just a couple of seconds apiece. Similarly, the show’s so-called “expert” sound-bites also tend to be too short and shallow, and left us wanting to hear MORE (much more, actually). Finally, due to changing consumer viewing habits, it’s unlikely DVDs of this show will ever be offered, so… while much of the content is stuff you’ve probably seen before (likely for FREE on YouTube or elsewhere), if you don’t mind paying Netflix for the privilege of viewing their repackaged “exclusive content,” then you should take a look at the show’s teaser reel provided above. It’s cool!


UPDATE (1-8-18): The TTTMU episode featuring GIjOE focuses primarily on the  tremendous financial “gambles” Hasbro took when it produced both its original 1960-70s 12″ lines and then (again) later, its 1980s 3.75″ RAH figures. Many toy fans too, may not have known how GIjOE’s unprecedented sales success in the ’80s was responsible for restoring a (then) moribund Hasbro to a position of financial solvency and dominance in the toy industry—What a hero!

The episode also provides a well laid-out history of the company itself, its founding Hassenfeld family, and the key individuals involved in GIjOE’s development and creation. Especially enjoyable to the staff here at The Joe Report (who viewed the program), was the inclusion of such familiar and friendly faces as Larry Hama and Derryl DePriest. What great guys! Fans of 12″ GIjOEs may feel somewhat short-changed by the episode’s content, but overall, it was very well done. Go, JOE!

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Geronimo!!! Skydivers Perform an Amazing Group Jump with Intrepid 1:6 Scale “Salto Fantastico” (Fantastic Jump) Action Figure in First of Two New Brazilian TV Commercials For Estrela’s FALCON

A pair of new TV commercials currently airing ONLY on Brazilian television screens are bound to make GIjOE, Action Man, Geyperman and Falcon collectors elsewhere around the world turn absolutely GREEN with envy. The two spots in question continue Brazilian toymaker Estrela’s current “celebration” of Falcon’s 40th Anniversary, and promote its three new commemorative action figures including: a skydiver, jungle explorer and turbo copter pilot. Both commercials feature top-notch photography, pacing, music and graphics. It’s safe to say most 1:6 fans haven’t seen TV promos this good in a LONG time. They clearly celebrate nostalgia and bring back the high levels of EXCITEMENT and ADVENTURE that GIjOE and Falcon fans of all ages have come to expect.

Bottom Line: The quality of these new TV commercials and the action figures they represent, are EXCELLENT. It’s a shame Hasbro has completely relinquished this sort of endeavor to other companies. <sigh> Yes, the figure’s prices are fairly high (approximately $68+ s/h apiece), but for such rare sets, they’re really not that unreasonable. Fortunately, each of the 3 Falcon figures shown in these new promos are available directly from Estrela HERE and should also be available to fans worldwide from such respected action figure webstores as Cotswold Collectibles (HERE). Expect prices to vary from dealer to dealer due to mark-ups. Depending on WHERE and WHOM you buy from, some of the figures may also have to be back-ordered, but in the world of action figure collecting, patience—is a virtue. Happy Hunting!

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Fan Builds Life-Size FALCON “Climber” Action Figure in Commemoration of Toy Line’s 40th Anniversary

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Put ‘er There, Pal— A rather surprised looking 1:1 scale FALCON action figure (the one on the left) prepares to test his newfound “Kung-Fu Grip” on his creator, Mauricio Wendler, a VERY talented artisan residing in Brazil. Wendler created this stunning full-size replica of a vintage 1970s FALCON “Climber”—in just 4 days! That sir, is out-STANDING! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything—you haven’t!

Today we received some amazing international intel from our highly talented “Field Reporter” down in Brazil, Mauricio Wendler, who wrote in concerning his country’s recent 40th anniversary celebration of everything FALCON. Falcon, as you (hopefully) recall, was the extremely popular version of GIjOE produced in Brazil during the 1970s and ’80s. Well, 40+ years have passed since those heady days of yore, and it appears now that Mauricio has decided to “raise the bar” of modern Falcon fandom—a wee little bit—to 6-foot PLUS!

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Who’s Got the POWER? Mauricio taunts Senhor Climber Falcon with his own formidable “Fists of Fury.” Notice too, that Wendler’s 1:1 creation is wearing a REAL jogging suit (with a handmade emblem) and a pair of REAL lace-up boots (to boot). (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

We kid you not—This isn’t facetious “fake news,” nor is it an egregious example of phony Photoshoppery. Rather, Field Reporter Wendler has actually created his own, FULL-SIZE, 1:1 scale action figure; specifically, a spot-on recreation of the (regionally) famous, “Climber” Falcon hero, complete with its iconic (Adidas inspired) red jogging suit, working “Eagle-Eyes,” fully flocked hair and beard, and even a solid pair of “Kung-Fu” gripping hands. WOWZA! After we had picked our jaws up off the floor, we asked Mauricio to describe his stunning new creation and he replied:

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“I’m from Brazil, more specifically from the City of Curitiba, in the state of Paraná. My brother, Marcelo, had had an article published by The Joe Report about 3 years ago; the one about the 3 posters he had produced commemorating FALCON action figures (see  HERE). I have been a fan of the FALCON action figure (the GIjOEs of Brazil) for many years now. I do not know if you knew this, but they were recently (and resentfully) reissued in 3 commemorative versions, due to the manufacturer’s (Estrela) 80th birthday.”

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Eye Can’t SEE You— The 1:1 head of Wendler’s custom is shown here prior to flocking and final paint. Note too, that he has upsized and recreated the interior “Eagle-Eyes” mechanism as well. Soon, this Falcon will SEE the world around him! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge (and study).

“Well, it turns out that THIS year, their Falcon line is celebrating 40 years of its launch in my country and as a collector, photographer, and modeler of products (I make several parts for old Falcons), I also could not pass up this 40th anniversary without doing something really STRIKING by our beloved figure!”

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Turn your head, Please— This profile side-view provides a good look at how Mauricio’s FALCON head is constructed out of two separate sections (rear skull piece not shown), plus those wonderful interior eagle-eye mechanisms. Pretty amazing! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

“I made this figure by designing duct 6 times more piece by piece. It is all made of plastics material (PVC and resin without any fiber). I also do restoration and recovery work of Falcons in 1/6 scale for collectors. And yes, as with the smaller figures, this one also has the flocked hair.”

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Franken FALCON— After each individual section had been molded, trimmed out, and tested for fit, the various pieces were carefully assembled together until soon—a towering (albeit still headless) action figure was born. It’s ALIVE! It’s ALIVE! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

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Welcome to the 1:1 Scale World, Mr. Falcon— This super-closeup pic of Wendler’s finished masterpiece shows the head’s final paint job, placement of its VERY blue eyes and a full head of flocked hair. Out-STANDING work, sir! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge (and drool).

“During the course of this year, I produced the complete and functional Falcon figure you see, giving ‘life’ to a full-size figure in 1:1 scale. Everything happened as a challenging project that took me about 4 full days total to complete successfully. This Falcon, as you can see, with its fully articulated body, is indeed, our well-known and REAL hero. Oh! I also have a blog where I show some of my restoration works HERE. And Mark, thanks again for all the work you do on The Joe Report!” —Mauricio Wendler, Brazil

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Hold up Yer Skivvies—With a Belt? This closeup reveals the weave and fibers of actual fabric, used to create the realistic pattern you see impressed into (or glued over) the waist section of Wendler’s 1:1 scale Falcon figure. (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to ENLARGE (the crotch). Schwing!

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Wendler’s  “Climber” assumes a defensive stance as he looks askance at the viewer. Is that a pitchfork in his hand, or is he just glad to see you? HA. (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

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Whom will she choose? Sure, Mauricio’s handsome and all, but there’s something really HOT about this new Falcon dude. Hmm… (Photo: Maurico Wendler) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This 1:1 scale custom FALCON action figure is a monumental achievement AND an undeniable work of art, earning it an immediate place of TOP honor amongst the thousands of other such creations produced by fans and customizers of GIjOE, Falcon and related action figures. This MASTERPIECE breaks ALL of the known barriers of “working large” and Mauricio’s proficiency with plastics proves that his fabricating skills know few, if any limitations. Finally, our most heartfelt congratulations go out to Mr. Wendler for all of his SUPERB Falcon-related achievements and for his very generous contributions to this article. Magnífico, senhor!

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