Monthly Archives: August 2012

TJR’s “Video Pick of the Week” #7

This is a wonderfully touching video (7 min) about Marvin Skubick, a WW2 bomber pilot, taking his final flight aboard a B-17. Whenever I see anything like this, I remember all that we have to be grateful for to the men and women of our military. Enjoy and please thank a veteran today!

GIjOE Club Online Store Finally Reopens after Customer Credit Cards Hacked in Early 2012

Great deal on Navy Attack Helmets, only $12 for 4 over at the club store now. (Photo: GIjOE Collector’s Club)

The online shopping cart system for the national GIjOE Collector’s Club, offline since February 2012, when its credit card processing system was hacked into and compromised, is FINALLY up and running again.

I have to admit, so much time had gone by since February, that I almost gave up hope it would ever be restored. And then, when it finally came back online, I must’ve missed the official club announcement. So today, imagine my happiness to discover that it was finally up and running again just fine. Phew!

And there’s more good news! The club has simplified and improved their online shopping experience. Now, the product photos are larger and clearer, and they’ve even added information regarding the quantity remaining in stock. That’s the best addition, in my opinion. It’s helpful to know what’s about to run out of stock when trying to make (expensive) purchasing decisions. So…if you’ve been waiting patiently (or impatiently, HA), jump over to the club’s store found HERE and check out their cool merchandise all over again. (FYI…There’s only 8 of the Flying Tiger Convention sets left in stock. But at $320 per, there’s probably no need to hurry.)

Naval Aviator, Test Pilot, Aerospace Engineer, Apollo 11 Astronaut, Neil Armstrong, Dead at 82

Years before voyaging to the moon aboard Apollo 11, Armstrong served his country proudly as a Naval Aviator and test pilot; regularly testing the limits of human courage and physical endurance while inside powerful, rocket-powered planes such as NASA’s blisteringly fast X-15. (Photo: NASA)

One of my all-time favorite childhood heroes, astronaut Neil Armstrong, died today. I was just 9 years old when Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin journeyed together aboard Apollo 11 to the moon. I can clearly remember watching that and other space missions of the 1960s and ’70s on television, clipping articles about them from the newspaper and reenacting innumerable splashdowns in the bathtub with my GIjOE astronaut and space capsule. I LOVED America’s adventures into outer space. I even remember watching some of the missions in my elementary school classroom in Austin, Texas. The teacher wheeled in a big black and white television set with “AV” painted on the side (remember those?) and we thought it was the most exciting and “high-tech” thing to have a TV in the classroom. Yes! But back to Armstrong…According to the Reuters article announcing his death:

“Armstrong died following complications from heart-bypass surgery he underwent earlier this month, the family said in a statement, just two days after his birthday on August 5.

As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. As he stepped on the dusty surface, Armstrong said: ‘That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.’ Those words endure as one of the best known quotes in the English language.”

My custom-made, 3-figure, Apollo 11 GIjOE astronauts box remains front and center within my collection, commemorating the courage and success of Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin’s famous journey in 1969. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Armstrong and Aldrin’s actual time on the moon was very short (only 2 1/2 hours) and the Apollo 11 mission was only one small part of Armstrong’s long and storied career. To learn more about this amazing man, I highly recommend you read the Wikipedia account detailing his many accomplishments found HERE. God Speed, Commander Armstrong!

Marvel & DC Comics Inker, Wayne Faucher, Also an Accomplished Creator of Custom 1:6 Scale Celebrity and Pop-Culture Action Figures

Comic book inker, Wayne Faucher, in his studio with some of his 1:6 scale action figure collection. According to Wayne, “That’s Jason Bourne and Travis Bickle I’m holding. Who would win in a fight? Actually, without firepower, I’m guessing it would be Bourne. Although DeNiro always seemed to have just one more weapon hidden somewhere!” (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Since the posting of our articles on customizers Rick Ratto (July 27, 2012) and Paul Wills (August 15, 2012), top-notch customizing talent seems to be coming out of the woodwork. Recently, another talented customizer of 1:6 scale wrote in to us here at The Joe Report and we were so impressed with the quality of his work, we felt we had to share it with you immediately.

Wayne’s custom Batman and Robin figures perfectly capture the likenesses of Adam West and Burt Ward. Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Meet Wayne Faucher. Wayne had read our profile of Rick Ratto and the others who enjoy creating custom ’60s TV Batman figures and took notice of one particular photo used in the article…

“I noticed you used an image of one of my figures on The Joe Report!  I’m the “Astounding Unknown” customizer who made that non-Rick, Adam West Batman figure shown at the end of the article. I’m a comic book artist (inker) working for DC and Marvel Comics for the last 20 years or so and make these things as something of a hobby.” 

“I’ve been into GIjOE my whole life, as I grew up not far from the Hasbro plant in RI. My neighbor worked there and gave me virtually EVERYTHING they ever made for GIjOE out of the trunk of his car!  Sweet deal, if you could get it”

Wayne must feel like a “lucky punk” to own this spot-on custom “Dirty Harry” figure. WOW! (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Sweet deal indeed! In addition to all of his vintage GIjOE treasures, Faucher’s also enjoys collecting modern, high-end figures and creating his own customs inspired by popular TV and movie characters.

After seeing some of his superb work, we asked Wayne to describe a few of his most recent custom projects and he generously wrote back detailing an astonishing Lost in Space jetpack, helmet and laser rifle he had made, plus a breathtaking, custom Mr. Freeze ensemble, complete with “freeze collar.” Absolutely amazing work. Here’s what Faucher had to say about his Lost in Space project…

(Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

“I confess I’m a little taken aback by your response. I just make these things and stick’em on the shelf, y’know? The Bell rocket belt (aka a jetpack) is one of my favorite things in the world. I started with the Sci-Fi Metropolis John Robinson figure and went from there. I had some help with the clothing from Inner Circle Toys and took care of the jet pack, helmet, laser pistol, etc. myself.

(Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

The jetpack took the most effort. I started out with a couple of old GIjOE flame throwers and a lot of photo reference. The curved base is an Ice Breakers gum container. The blue top seen in the construction images is from an original Captain Action Jetpack. That really was the inspiration for doing this.

(Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

There’s obviously a certain amount of imagineering here, as I had to make some compromises in accuracy in order to make the control handles actually move the pitch and yaw of the exhaust pipes. I debated adding the scarves to the helmet but decided I should in the end. I always wondered about those.

(Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

I modified an old GIjOE Mercury astronaut helmet and created a new clear visor to match the TV version. I used a clear container from a gumball machine I found at my local grocery store. Low tech, sure, but it doesn’t look half bad! The backpack is sculpted from Crayola Model Magic clay. Very lightweight and easy to work with.”

One of the greatest customs we’ve ever seen. Wayne’s Lost in Space John Robinson figure is complete with uniform, parka, helmet and fully detailed jetpack. An absolute MASTERPIECE in 1:6 scale. (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Wayne’s custom helmet finishes off this Lost in Space figure perfectly. (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Words fail. But let’s try…AWESOME!!! (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

ASTONISHING work, Wayne. Seriously. The jetpack, helmet, everything…it’s all a 1:6 scale masterpiece! Congratulations on all your superb work. As to his recent Mr. Freeze project, Faucher went on to say…

Wayne’s custom freeze gun with tanks and freeze collar with adjustment knobs is simply ASTOUNDING. (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

“I also just completed some prototype work for a small company making a Mr. Freeze figure from the ’60s Batman TV show. I just stuck it on a Clint figure to see how it fit (see photo). As far as I can tell, it’s the most accurate 1:6 scale version done to date. Which isn’t saying much, since most of the ones I’ve seen bear little resemblance to the actual prop. Not licensed, so a very short run, I’d guess. Still, fun!”

Closeup of Wayne’s handcrafted freeze gun, tanks and collar. MAN-O-MAN.
(Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Again, words fail. Wayne made this miniature freeze collar by hand. What amazing skill! (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

This early photo shows the jetpack during production. Note Wayne’s extensive use of clear, reference photos. That is VITAL! (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Another early in-production shot reveals the painstaking process required to custom fit tiny parts together to work correctly at 1:6 scale. And again, note Wayne’s extensive use of reference photos to ensure the most accurate results. (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

In this production photo, you can see the page from an auction catalog that helped Wayne create his miniature Lost in Space air pack and to accurately determine its size and shape. Pack is shown prior to painting and final detailing. (Photo: Wayne Faucher)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks go out to Wayne for sharing all this wonderful information with us. We’re huge fans of all customizers and their amazing accomplishments. If you know of anyone creating custom 1:6 scale figures, uniforms, accessories, equipment, vehicles or dioramas, please write in to us here at The Joe Report so we can share the good news with fans all around the world.

’60s TV Icon and America’s Favorite Fantasy Girl, Miss Barbara Eden, Co-Star of NBC’s Classic “I Dream of Jeannie,” Turns 78 Today

Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman in a scene from “I Dream of Jeannie.” (Photo: NBC/Sony)

At the last Joelanta show, GIjOE collector Gordon Mayfield set out his $1,000 die-cast 1:6 scale Corvette mainly on a whim. It wasn’t a customized vehicle and he didn’t expect to win any prizes by showing it. He just knew we’d all enjoy seeing it and so brought it along for fun.

As it turns out, Gordon is also a fan of “I Dream of Jeannie,” the iconic ’60s comedy starring Larry Hagman and blonde bombshell, Barbara Eden. To celebrate that fact, Mayfield had placed a GIjOE dressed in a “Major Nelson” USAF uniform and a “Jeannie” Barbie inside the magnificent 2-seater. How cool!

Today, there’s more reason to celebrate…On this day (August 23rd), in Arizona, 78 years ago, Barbara Eden was born. If you’re a fan of the actress or her show, you might want to take a moment to visit her personal website found HERE or spin up the ol’ DVD player and watch a few episodes!

Gordon Mayfield’s astonishing 1:6 scale die-cast Corvette with Jeannie and Major Nelson, on display during 2012’s Joelanta. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

UK Customizer, Paul Wills, Creating Highly Detailed, 1:6 Scale Military Masterpieces

Master customizer, Paul Wills, of the UK, poses next to his latest creation, a 88mm Flack 36, currently under construction. (Photo: Paul Wills) Click to enlarge.

I received a request for another custom waterslide decal set recently. This time, it was from renowned master customizer Paul Wills, in the UK, who said he needed detailing graphics for a 1:6 scale oxygen and acetylene “gas bottle set” used by German railroad workers and tank mechanics. According to Paul…

“Hi Mark, I got round to fitting the decals you supplied me, they are spot on! Thanks for your help.

As you know, I had been looking for something different to create a diorama for my 1:6 scale tanks and I had seen these gas bottle sets before, but when I searched for them I found that Rick Ivansek had closed his Die Werkstatt site.

I eventually found that Lee Sellers of newthorpemodels.co.uk/ was remaking the resin parts, but I then struggled to find decals.

I remembered your Patches of Pride site from a couple of years ago, from when I previously bought decals from you, and so decided to approach you and as you can see they have turned out really well.

You can see more of my models and dioramas at paulstiger1.co.uk/Nord-West-KampfGruppe.htm. I’ve also attached a photo of ‘Josef’ and me taking a break from building my latest model; a 88mm Flack 36.”

Closeup of the gas bottles reveals the tiny gauge decals fit perfectly in place. Cool! (Photo: Paul Wills)

The men are hard at work repairing…something…with Paul’s customized oxygen-acetylene “gas bottles.” (Photo: Paul Wills) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: All we can say is WOW. Superb work, Paul! The photos clearly show the two pressurized tanks, each painted in their correct bright blue and yellow colors, with my all-new PoP decals along the sides and within their tiny circular gauges. As a final touch, Paul posed a couple of Panzer crewman as if they’re finishing up a tread or wheel repair. Simply beautiful work all around. Thanks for sharing photos of your creation with The Joe Report, Paul!

Calling All Joeheads———The Polls Are Open! Cast Your Vote For G.I. Joe As The #1 Toy of ALL TIME!

GIjOE is up against a lot of competition. Only YOUR vote can help him win! (Photo: CMI)

Hey there, Joe fan. Are you going to just sit in your cushy armchair and let “Candy Land” or “Tickle Me Elmo” be declared the greatest toy of all time?” Of course not!

Right now, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (CMI) is conducting a semi-official survey of toy fans all around the world, providing a way to vote for their favorite of the “100 toys that define our childhood.” The toy receiving the most votes will be granted special display status and top bragging rights within a new museum exhibit of the “Top 20 Toys.” According to their website:

“The Children’s Museum has scoured its collection and chose 100 of its most iconic and classic objects that have defined American childhood in the last century. Everyone has a story to share about their favorite toys from childhood, whether it’s about finding a high-demand Cabbage Patch Doll ® in the ‘80s, waging battles with toy soldiers in the ‘60s, or collecting Beanie Babies ® in the ‘90s.

We’re inviting you to share your toy memories and vote on the favorite toys you had as a child. You can vote for as many toys as you want each day. We will feature 20 new toys per week for five weeks, so be sure to come back every week to vote. The top 20 toys with the most votes will be put on display in the museum in September.”

This is a no-brainer folks! With only a week to go, we’ve all got to rally around America’s Movable Fighting Man and cast every possible vote—for GIjOE!  Tell you what…If Joe wins, I’ll drive over to Indy in person, visit their new “Top 20” toy exhibit and then report on it here in The Joe Report. Should be great (if GIjOE is front and center as #1). To cast your vote for GIjOE now, go HERE.

TJR’s “Video Pick of the Week” #6

I was browsing through the Trenches recently and came across an intriguing post from “captcarl74” about a restored, full-color version of the classic “Adventures of GIjOE Sinking Capsule” commercial. WOW! Along with the previously posted spot for the Mobile Support Vehicle, this has to be one of the greatest GIjOE commercials EVER.

It’s got everything. Great music. Great narration. Great action. Great storyline. Great photography and shot angles. Great kid actors (look for the one that mouths “Wow” at just the right time). Hilarious! If you haven’t seen this superb spot in a while, you owe it to yourself to watch this fully restored version again. It is AWESOME!!!!!! The best line is the last one which captures the heart of why we love this toy so much…“Make up a different adventure EVERYDAY…with GIjOE!”

A big thank you to eagle-eyed, captcarl74 for his heads-up on this great video!

GIjOE Collectors Currently Being Scouted By Producers of New TV Series “Toy Hunter” Which Premieres August 15th on the Travel Channel

All right, Joeheads…Time to give up that secret location of your “Vintage GIjOE Stash!”

For those of you who still pay to watch television (suckers!), the Travel Channel is set to premiere an all-new show called “Toy Hunter”on August 15th. Here at The Joe Report, we’re already very familiar with this show, as its producers had contacted us a couple of months ago to discuss whether or not we would allow them to feature the collections of some members of the Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club.

We said, “Well sure, why not?” But apparently, after reviewing the photos of our collections, all nicely set up and neatly arranged, they decided they didn’t see anything of interest and moved on. Other well-known Joeheads such as Dave “Tanker” Matteson were subsequently contacted, but none seem to have been videotaped as of the writing of this article. Too bad, too. We think Tanker’s got a mug just made for television. Hooah!

Prominent GIjOE collector, Dave “Tanker” Matteson, has been approached by the producers of the new show “Toy Hunters.” (Photo: Dave Matteson)

When asked whether the show had decided to feature his collection on the show, Tanker replied…

“Not really. They wanted pics of my Joe room and full boxes of toys that weren’t displayed. The fact that the guy would have to walk through my messy house was not appealing either.”

So apparently, they’re looking for that fabled, undiscovered, vintage GIjOE collection that’s still hidden away in a dusty, old barn someplace. Oh…THAT one! We all know the whereabouts of that one, don’t we? HA When they find it, the show’s host, “renowned toy dealer” Jordan Hembrough, can “discover” it and then make a bundle reselling it to us later, right? Hey, it’s every picker’s dream!

For an example of what we’re talking about, take a look at this preview clip from the show found HERE where a guy pays $17,000 for a prototype Boba Fett figure. Yikes! What the producers of the show clearly don’t yet realize is that GIjOE and Action Man collectors around the world are some of the best “pickers” and scroungers in existence. And we’ve all been searching flea markets, toy shows, GIjOE cons, and garage sales for many decades now; digging through boxes and boxes of old toys, moldy Barbie collections and even Goodwill and Salvation Army stores; all with the purpose of locating just one more “lost Joe.”

Publicity still from the new Travel Channel show, Toy Hunter, with host Jordan Hembrough.
(Photo: Travel Channel)

Regardless of whether any GIjOE collector is ever featured on this new show, we wish the producers of Toy Hunter the best of luck in their searches for all undiscovered toys. Shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars, etc have become very popular with audiences around the world, and we’re sure there’s room for one more based specifically on toys. Stay tuned!

Thanks to ace field reporter, Jerry Gonzalez, for his “heads up” tip on this show. You go, Jer’!

G.I. Joe’s Appearances in Newspaper Comics #3

Who knew the end of the dinosaurs was brought upon by the awesome firepower of GIjOE?
Jason Fox, that’s who! (Art: Bill Amend) Click to enlarge.

In this closeup, Jason’s GIjOE Dart Helmet takes on yet another new appearance. (Art by: Bill Amend)

I was going through stuff to take to Goodwill the other day (don’t worry, no Joes) and was skimming through some old Fox Trot books. I soon discovered a few strips with references to—and a cameo appearance by—our old friend, GIjOE; so I thought I’d share them here with you as part of our ongoing series of “GIjOE sightings” articles.

As fans of Fox Trot already know, the character most likely to be seen with anything GIjOE-related is usually Jason. Jason’s a little geekoid kid who’s always obsessing about the latest movies, computer games and toys, especially ones that he can use to somehow annoy his older sister, Paige.

He’s constantly bombarding the poor girl with kites, spitballs, flying Hot Wheels cars and even suction cup darts fired from his “GIjOE Dart Gun Helmet” or bazooka. Enjoy!

If it says “GIjOE” on it, it’s got to be good. Right, Jason? (Art: Bill Amend) Click to enlarge.

Jason puts his new GIjOE helmet to quick use. HA (Art by: Bill Amend) Click to enlarge.

In this last strip, Jason combines his GIjOE Dart Helmet with a GIjOE Bazooka and guns for even MORE “anti-sister” firepower. HA (Art by: Bill Amend) Click to enlarge.