It takes a special type of collector to place a 7-foot Snake Eyes or Storm Shadow GIjOE in his living room; its Samurai sword unsheathed and at the ready…
When collecting 1:6 scale action figures just doesn’t do it for you anymore, it’s probably time to move up to “life-sized,” or 1:1 scale. And while you may not realize it, various types of 1:1 scale military and adventure-themed “GIANT Joes” actually do exist, and some fans are starting to give them serious consideration.
The first, full-figured, 1:1 scale GIjOE most fans remember seeing is the famous “Crew-cut Joe” commissioned by Dreams & Visions founder, Linda Lum. Lum’s life-sized GIjOE (see photo below) featured her company’s unique crew-cut hairstyle and wore a vintage-era, one-pocket, Hasbro-style Army uniform. Ever the detail perfectionist, Lum even insisted that the figure have the traditional “nose picker” hands. (Add a giant dogtag and it’d be perfect!)
She debuted her stunning custom creation in front of the Dreams & Visions booth at the 2004 SDCC show. According to Scott Beckmann over on the Trenches…
“I know Linda Lum commissioned her crew-cut head for some 1:1 mannequin heads she used at shows and or conventions. I think she only had a few made. I spoke briefly with her about buying one of the finished mannequins, but she declined.”
The second and third 1:1 scale GIjOEs to greet the public were an outstanding pair that debuted at the 2009 GIjOE Con in Kansas City—Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow. I remember observing the fans reactions to these two hyper-realistic figures. At first, they appeared to be two men posing in their ninja costumes (really GOOD ninja costumes). But these two were much more than entrants in the evening costume contest—they were “GIANT JOES!”
Upon closer examination, it was evident they were not real, although you couldn’t help glancing up at their eyes every now and then, just to make sure. Storm Shadow was clad from head to toe in an authentic, cloth costume. His swords, nunchuks and sidearm all appeared to be made of chromed metal. The belt and holster, all looked like leather and seemed correct.
Snake Eyes too, shared very realistic-looking accessories, and his body armor was made of that hard, rubber-looking material we’re so used to seeing from all those Batman movies. Very convincing, professional prop figures. Superb work all around, Hasbro!
Of course, once you get past the initial “WOW factor” appeal of 1:1 scale figures, there are numerous drawbacks to collecting anything of such a large size. A lack of adequate space is the first, most obvious problem. Displaying more than a few of these big boys would be pretty difficult inside of an average-sized home. And seriously, do you really want your beloved domicile to feel like a crowded train station, with numerous, highly detailed military figures looming out at you from all corners?
Okay, maybe you would. (Me too. HA) But. imagine slogging into your kitchen for a late-night snack and having to carefully navigate around some big dude with a lightsaber or a full-size Shore Patrol Sailor blocking your way to the fridge. “Excuse me, Petty Officer. I believe that was MY left-over cannoli!” (HA) To most collectors, large figures like these are better off left to a museum, where “keeping your elbows in” is considered standard operating procedure, not nighttime necessity.
And as we all know, unlike their 1:6 scale counterparts, full-sized 1:1 figures are typically statues or mannequins—NOT poseable action figures. That means you probably won’t be able to reposition your giant soldier’s annoying bayonet out of the way. And after backing into it a couple of times, even the most ardent collector can get a little “peeved” at “that damned Doughboy” in the living room.
But surely, you say, we jest. Nobody’s really buying these life-sized Joes. Actually, you’d be surprised. In one interesting example, a newlywed wife in Georgia, lonesome for her away-at-sea Submariner husband, recently purchased a 1:1 scale Sailor figure off of ebay and takes him everywhere she goes! Her substitute “Subby Hubby” weighs 40 pounds, but Suzy Walker has taken him to movies, dinners and even on errands. (Hopefully, her husband’s tour of duty will be over soon. HA)
Some 1:1 Joes function as public “artwork” as well. This life-sized “little green army man” is a perfect example (see photo at left). It appears to be a photo-realistic, giant plastic toy soldier. But it’s actually a LIVE contestant in a cosplay competition at Italy’s 2008 Lucca Comics & Games Show.
Cosplay is short for “costume play,” and is a performance art method in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or object. Passersby immediately mistook this contestant for an inanimate prop. He had done a perfect job with his impersonation!
Finally, as shown in the slideshow photos at the top of this article, collectors no longer have to “wait and wish.” There are now 1:1 scale figures being sold in many big box stores near you, as well as online from businesses such as lifesizestatue.com.
Bottom Line: Most of these 1:1 scale figures are made of fiberglass resin with other materials and are offered in a wide variety of styles, including military branches and celebrities. Prices range from $700 and up. So, if you plan on starting your own 1:1 scale action figure collection and want to “Collect them All,” remember to check everything else at the door. Because soon, there won’t be any room left in the house—for YOU!