Monthly Archives: December 2012

TJR’s “Video Pick of the Week” #10

This week’s VPOTW was chosen purely for its entertainment value. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Go Hero Announces “Doc Savage” Figure for 2013

We’ll call this prototype head sculpt the “young” Doc. He’s tough, has a full head of hair and looks ready to RUMBLE, retro-style. Alongside is old, “pulp” artwork that served as its inspiration. (Photo: GHT)

My memories of Doc Savage, “The Man of Bronze,” are, I’m sorry to say, fairly limited. Here’s what I remember without consulting Wikipedia: I recall Ron Ely (also TV’s “Tarzan”) in some sort of made-for-TV movie…and a 1970s Marvel comic magazine that came out soon after. I still have that issue laying around here somewhere.

We’ll call this the “old” Doc head sculpt. His face is more weathered and grim, revealing many hard years fighting bad guys. Is that a bad haircut or helmet? Anyone know? (Photo: Go Hero Toys)

I also remember Doc loving to wear all-white outfits that consisted largely of such “explorer gear” as pith helmets, riding pants, tall boots and vests that showed off his powerful arms and pecs. For some reason, he also had a really serious George Hamilton-esque tan (hence his “Man of Bronze” moniker) and carried a Mauser-type pistol…or maybe that was just the Rocketeer. Anyway…

Comic fans will appreciate this wild pistol inspired by the artwork of comics legend, Jim Steranko. WOW! (Photo: Go Hero Toys)

Comic fans will appreciate this wild pistol inspired by the artwork of comics legend, Jim Steranko. WOW! (Photo: Go Hero Toys)

Various views of GHT's Shadow figure. We LOVE that Lamont Cranston head sculpt! (Photos: Go Hero Toys)

We LOVE this Lamont Cranston head sculpt!
(Photos: Go Hero Toys)

Some of you may remember GHT’s 2012 rendition of The Shadow (aka Lamont Cranston). If they produce their 2013 Doc Savage figure at that same high level of quality, collectors are in for a real treat! Go Hero was very thankful to their customers in the press release, saying…

“Thanks for all the support in making 2012 a success! We are so happy to continue put out some first-ever products and buff some amazing retro properties. Also, what an honor to contribute to some incredible projects, toys, films, art and more. It is a great honor to work with so many amazingly talented folks. Just in case you did not catch the teasers & reveals we have had on our always entertaining Facebook Page, here are some sneak peeks of pulpy things in the works for 2013!”

GHT's 2012 figure of "The Shadow" became an instant hit with collectors. Absolutely superb! (Photo: Go Hero Toys)

GHT’s 2012 “The Shadow.” (Photo: Go Hero Toys)

Bottom Line: “Pulpy” is a good description of figures in the GHT line. The Shadow and Doc Savage are both heroic characters from the early days of radio shows and “pulp” magazines, which were hugely popular in the 1930s and 40s. The Doc Savage prototype teaser pics they sent along look very intriguing. We can’t wait to see these new figures in person!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to order a Shadow figure, you can still find them for sale at the Go Hero Toys website HERE, or at the Big Bad Toy Store HERE.

FLASH! G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Slashes Price of “Operation Pegasus Bridge” 2-Figure Set to $110

Cover art of the Operation Pegasus Bridge set. (Photo: GIJCC)

Superb Larry Selman artwork on the Operation Pegasus Bridge 3-figure boxed set. (Photo: GIJCC)

Rear view of the German figure. (Photo: GIJCC)

Rear view of the German figure. (Photo: GIJCC)

“Good things come to those who wait.”

Despite a lengthy Google search, I was unable to find who, if anyone, is responsible for that ancient truism. However, I do know who to thank for the recent price reduction on the famous Operation Pegasus Bridge convention premium set—Brian Savage. Thank you, Brian! According to a recent club e-mail from Brian…

“Hello all you Club Members! Joe items now on CLEARANCE include:

2001 GIJoeCon Operation Pegasus Bridge Convention Set(1 pc) $110.00+shipping

2000 12″ GIJoeCon Exclusive Inchon Marine Figure (1 pc) $29.99+shipping

2012 3 3/4 Single Carded Figures (Snake Eyes, Firefly, Hazard Viper) 3 pcs $18.99 +shipping

2012 3 3/4 Single Carded Figures Wave 2 (Duke, Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander, Firefly, Cobra Viper, Hazard Viper, Cobra Trooper, Iron Grenadier) 8 pcs $49.99 +shipping

Front view of the British figure.
(Photo: GIJCC)

12″ Ultimate Paratrooper Figure (1 pc) $19.99 +shipping

2006 3 3/4 GiJoeCon Cobra’s Most Wanted Mercenaries Convention set (1 pc) $130+shipping. Thanks for your support! Brian”

The other stuff on that list is cool too, but the real standout value is the Pegasus Bridge set. Yes, members of the national club go back and forth on whether or not it’s worth it to pay the club’s annual dues, but when offers like this one come up, all is quickly forgiven.

Bottom Line: For $110 you’ll get 2 great vintage-style Joes with TONS of cool gear (LOVE that Brit anti-tank weapon). All great stuff. Quantities are limited, so if you’re interested, we recommend you go HERE.

Unique anti-tank weapon included with this set. (Photo: GIJCC)

Unique anti-tank weapon included with this set. (Photo: GIJCC)

Custom G.I. Joe “Super Sea Sled” Converted From (Hasbro Rival) Mattel’s R/C “Terrain Twister”

Toy manufacturers may be missing a big opportunity to take advantage of Hasbro's extended lull in offering 1:6 scale products for  its flagship brand, GIjOE. While they wait, fans and collectors have turned to cannablizing and customizing products from other manufacturers, such as this customized RC Terrain Twister from Mattel. (Fantasy ad: Mark Otnes)

Toy companies are missing a big opportunity to take advantage of Hasbro’s extended lull in offering 1:6 scale products for its flagship brand, GIjOE. Fans and collectors have increasingly turned to “cannibalizing” or customizing items from other manufacturers to satisfy their appetite for new products, creating such innovative concepts as this “Super Sea Sled” custom based on a Mattel RC “Terrain Twister.” (Photo and fantasy advertisement: Mark Otnes)

Welcome to the first of our new, “What If?” series of articles, where we’ll ask the simple question, “What if…?” followed by whatever supposition strikes our fancy. In this first entry, we’ll take a look at the intriguing question… What if Mattel made products for use with GIjOE? 

Think about it… What would happen if Hasbro’s main competitor exercised its manufacturing muscle and created new, original products for use with GIjOE (not using the name, of course). The answer? They would usurp an entire market segment of toy buyers and collectors (i.e. YOU) that Hasbro is currently allowing to sit idly on the sidelines.

superseasled1For this initial “What If?” case study, let’s use a custom vehicle (recently created by yours truly) as our example. I based this concept on one of those wild, RC “Terrain Twister” vehicles from Mattel. Their shape is very similar to (and was likely inspired by) the classic 1960s Hasbro Sea Sled. The resemblence got me to thinking…a dash of paint here, a windshield, sonar bubble and gauge decal set from PoP there—and voila! I have an exciting, all-new “Super Sea Sled” for my scuba GIjOEs!

This closeup reveals the addition of a windshield, decal set and gauge bubbles from Patches of Pride. Cool! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup reveals the addition of a windshield, decal set and gauge bubbles from Patches of Pride. Cool! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Clearly, if an individual such as I can “dual-design” a new use for an existing, off-the-shelf product, so can the big toy companies. It just takes a little creative thought! And with Hasbro squatting on their big behind, Mattel (or anyone else) has an opportunity to steal their thunder. All they have to do is mark it “1:6 scale-ready” and we’ll know what it’s for.

Bottom line: The answer to our first ever “What If? question is…“It’d be COOL!” Sure, these are just the ramblings of a 50-something Joehead who spends WAY TOO MUCH time thinking about such silly things, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably thinking about such silly things too. HA. And yes, the Terrain Twister was also made in YELLOW for your Adventure Team. To watch a video review of the “Terrain Twister” on YouTube, go HERE.

Tearle Ashby’s G.I. Joe Collection to be Exhibited in ‘Toys and Tanks’ Holiday Display at NY State Military History Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY

GIjOE collector, Tearle Ashby, sets up his F-15 Strike Eagle cockpit diorama in the musuem. (Photo: US Arrmy)

GIjOE collector, Tearle Ashby, is shown setting up his F-15 Strike Eagle cockpit diorama for a public display in the New York State Military History Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY. (Photo: US Army)

The unique museum display will feature figures from Tearle’s collection both in and out of the box, set up in realistic settings and poses. (Photo: US Army)

We receive a lot of emails here at The Joe Report, but when a U.S. Army colonel wrote in recently, we sat up extra straight and paid very close attention—yes, SIR! Col. Rich Goldenberg, the Public Affairs Officer for the Joint Forces HQ – New York National Guard of the Albany, New York area, wrote in to tell us about a new GIjOE exhibit currently on display at the New York State Military History Museum. We’re always thrilled to hear such news, and affirmed we would help pass it on to the rest of the GIjOE community. According to the Colonel…

“Our New York State Military History Museum has added a rotating exhibit of GIjOE from a local collector here in upstate New York. Many thanks to Tearle Ashby from Ballston Spa for lending his collection, his time and many of his Mint-in-Box items now opened and on display in Saratoga Springs. This is actually the second time that Tearle has provided his collection for public display. During the holiday season of 2004, it was first shown to the public to great reviews. Thought that readers of the Joe Report might be interested!”

Ashby’s vintage GIjOEs on display in the museum. Lookin’ sharp! (US Army)

According to an advance press notice from readMedia, the exhibit is titled, “Toys and Tanks” and is intended as a temporary holiday display, officially opened to the public on Tuesday, Dec. 11 (yesterday). The notice went on to say…

“The display will be a two-part exhibit featuring rare and vintage 1960s and 1970s GIjOE figures and accessories from collector Tearle Ashby’s extensive collection and military model dioramas of New York National Guard units which fought in World War II from the exhaustively researched collection of retired New York Army National Guard Lt. Col. Paul Fanning. Both are Malta residents. The GIjOE section of the exhibit will include a video of period GIjOE commercials. A rare 1944 newsreel of the 27th Division in the Pacific will also be part of the exhibit.”

NYS Military Museum curator Courtney Burns assists Ashby with the arrangement of his collection. (Photo: US Army)

NYS Military Museum curator Courtney Burns assists Ashby with the arrangement of his collection. (Photo: US Army)

Ashby's Tom Hanks figure has been set up and is ready for his moment in the museum's spotlight. (Photo: US Army)

Ashby’s Tom Hanks figure has been set up and is ready for his closeup in the well-lit museum exhibit. (Photo: US Army)

Ashby poses his figures inside a B-17 gunner diorama. (Photo: US Army)

Ashby poses his figures inside a B-17 gunner diorama. (Photo: US Army)

Bottom line: If you’re a GIjOE fan or collector and live anywhere on the East Coast, this sounds like a great road trip the whole family would enjoy. Hop in your car, go see a great Joe collection and help support the U.S. Army National Guard’s outreach efforts in that part of the country. If you’d like to learn more about Tearle Ashly, the Poststar wrote a terrific interview article about him HERE. Congratulations, Tearle. Best of luck with the exhibit. And thanks again for the intel, Colonel. Go, JOE! Go, ARMY!

2012 Holiday Gift Guide for G.I. Joe and His Family

Here's a couple of great ideas for 1:6 scale gifts: a  "longboard" with working wheels (techdeck.com) and a solid rubber soccer ball (most local dollar stores). Joe's kids will be sure to get a lot of exercise, come Spring! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Here’s a couple of great gift ideas for any 1:6 scale action figure; an absolutely “radical” longboard ($8) available from techdeck.com, and a solid rubber soccer ball ($1), found in most party and dollar stores. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Great over the shoulder style bag, complete with 3 golf clubs (pens) would look cool on any "Golfin' Joe." Click to enlarge. (Photo: Amazon)

Great over the shoulder style bag, complete with 3 golf clubs (pens) would look cool on any “Golfin’ Joe.” Click to enlarge. (Photo: Amazon)

Let’s face it, your Joe is probably as clueless as you are when it comes to buying presents for his family…

And Barbie’s no help either. She thinks of her hunky, action hero husband as a “take charge” kind of guy who can handle any sort of situation—even the family gift shopping. So with a flip of her platinum-blond hair, she’ll glance over her shoulder, smile at Joe and declare, “You handle it please, dear. I’m taking another bubble-bath.”

“Hmph!” your Joe would surely retort. “AGAIN with the bubble-baths?” Oh well, while women may be hard to figure out, there’s one thing your 12″ fighting man knows for sure: if there’s nothing under the tree for Joe Junior to open on Christmas morning, there’ll be no visits to Barbie’s dream bedroom—for quite a while.

TIP: This year, don’t wait until the last minute.

If your Joe is like most men, he probably avoids going shopping like the plague, and will be waiting until Christmas Eve before making a last-minute dash to the mall on a frantic search for gifts. Fortunately for him (and you!), the staff here at The Joe Report put their heads together and came up with some really great gift ideas for this holiday season. For example…

Joe can't believe the Tech Deck longboard's realistic metal axles, rotating wheels and sandpaper-textured finish, just like the 1:1 versions! Click to enlarge. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Joe can’t believe the Tech Deck longboard’s realistic metal axles, rotating wheels and sandpaper-textured finish, just like the 1:1 versions! Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Mark Otnes)

1:6 Scale Skateboards

You’ve probably walked right by these little beauties dozens of times. They’re widely available in Walmart, Meijer and Toys ‘R Us and range from about $5 to $10, depending on the store and time of year. We recommend you take a moment to really look at the new line of Tech Deck “longboards.” These 1:6 scale skateboards are the most suited for use with GIjOE and are available in 10 different trim versions. Hang Ten!

This is about as top of the line as you'll ever find. Joe many never come home from the course! Click to enlarge. (Photo: PrecisionPen)

This is about as top of the line as you’ll ever find. Joe may never come home from the course! Click to enlarge. (Photo: Paradise Pen)

1:6 Scale Golf Clubs and Golf Bags

These are sharp! How about getting your Joe a new set of golf clubs (pens) in a nice, miniature leather golf bag? These are now widely available on the ‘net. Simply google “golf bag pen holder” and watch all the entries come up. We found prices ranging from about $12 to $25, depending on the style and whether or not the 3 pens were included.

They’re available in many sizes, colors and materials, so take your time looking around. Some versions we found even come with the little attached handcart, with flip-out tires and a pole handle to help Joe wheel it around his 1:6 scale golf course (in your IMAGINATION).

We especially like the versions offered by Paradise Pen (see photo at right). Next time Barbie decides to have the girls over for one of their lengthy hair-styling sessions, you know it’ll be time to…Hit the links, Joe! FORE!

Joe practices his swing with his new set of 1:6 scale golf clubs. (Photo and diorama: G.I.Jay)

Joe practices his swing with his new set of 1:6 scale golf clubs. (Photo and diorama: G.I.Jay)

Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

It may surprise you, but many of those famous Hallmark Keepsake ornaments work equally well in 1:6 scale dioramas. Simply remove their hanging eyelets and you can set them up around your Joe’s Christmas tree. How fun would that be? Here are some of the most likely candidates…

The Willys Jeep is now available as a beautiful, miniature ornament. Simply remove the hanging eyelet, put it under your 1:6 scale tree, and "Junior's" got his own 5-Star! (Photo: Hallmark)

The Willys Jeep is now available as a beautiful, miniature ornament. Simply remove the hanging eyelet, put it under your 1:6 scale Christmas tree, and “Junior’s” got his own 5-Star! (Photo: Hallmark)

C'mon, it's Mr. Staypuff! He would look great under Joe's Christmas tree. (Photo: Hallmark)

Click to enlarge.(Photo: Hallmark)

1943 Ford GP Willys Jeep Ornament

This is a no-brainer! Hallmark did an amazing job on this Jeep ornament. You’ve GOT to get one of these for little Joe Junior. What a mini-motoring masterpiece. $15 from Hallmark HERE.

Mr. Staypuff Ornament

Who doesn’t love Mr. Staypuff? He’s adorable and always has that “Happy Holidays” look about him. Plus, iconic advertising figures like this always make good diorama fodder. $17.95 HERE.

Superb John Deere tractor ornament by Hallmark. (Photo: Hallmark)

Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Hallmark)

John Deere Riding Mower Ornament

Another great prop that would look good in any 1:6 scale Christmas diorama. We’re not sure of its exact size, but Junior would surely love to play with this! $14.95 HERE.

The cool thing about this Lionel train set ornament is that you get all THREE, the engine, caboose and box car. Set it up like its going around the tree and Junior Joe will go bonkers! (Photo: Hallmark)

Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Hallmark)

Lionel Train Set 3-piece Ornament

The cool thing about this Lionel train set ornament is that you get all THREE of them for one money, the engine, caboose and box car. Take a look at the closeup photo. You won’t believe how detailed these little guys are. Set ’em all up like they’re going around the tree and Junior Joe will go bonkers on Christmas morning! $19.95 HERE.

Joe is stunned that this new "Corn Popper" keepsake ornament from Hallmark is in perfect 1:6 scale and actually pops like the Fischer-Price original. (Photo: Hallmark)

Joe is stunned that this new “Corn Popper” keepsake ornament from Hallmark is in perfect 1:6 scale and actually pops like the Fischer-Price original. “Dang! Li’l Junior Joe will love this m’shizzle!” (Photo: Hallmark)

Fisher-Price Corn Popper Ornament

This is a childhood classic. Most of us pushed these around the house as toddlers, listening to the “pop, pop, pop” sound of the little plastic balls. What fun! Now Joe can give one to his little Joe. And get this…IT REALLY WORKS! Just like the original, 1:1 scale version. $12.95 HERE.

This sharp Cessna Skyhawk will remind you of those bygone days when your Dad put one of those big ol' gas-powered Cox airplanes under the tree. Kids came from all around to watch you fly that thing, round and round. Remeber? Click to enlarge. (Photo: Hallmark)

Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Hallmark)

Cessna Skyhawk Airplane Ornament

This sharp Cessna Skyhawk ornament will remind you of those bygone days when your Dad put one of those big ol’ gas-powered Cox airplanes under the tree. Remember? Kids came from all around the neighborhood to watch you fly that thing, round and round on Christmas morning. $14.95 HERE.

1936 Ford Fire Engine Ornament

Click to enlarge. (Photo: Hallmark)

Click to enlarge. (Photo: Hallmark)

Big red firetrucks are one the most iconic Christmas gifts ever. This highly detailed beauty would look great in your “toy pile” diorama and really get the eyes to watering. $14.95 HERE .

Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Hallmark)

Fisher-Price Two-Tune TV Ornament

Another American classic toy. This would look great in your diorama sitting right next to that Fisher-Price corn popper ornament. And yes, it has a little sound chip in it that plays the same music you remember from the original. Isn’t technology cool? $17.95 HERE.

Click to enlarge.
(Photo: Hallmark)

Student Teacher Barbie Ornament

Of course, Joe has to pick up a gift for Barbie too. But instead of the usual diamond rings he always buys her, why not get a nifty miniature replica of her, looking just like she did before they were married and she was still, as they say, “mint-in-the-box?” <chortle> $19.95 HERE.

(Photo: Bryan Tatum)

(Photo: Bryan Tatum)

Hobby Lobby “A Tree for Me” Miniature Tools

Ace Field Reporter, Bryan Tatum, wrote in recently to share some intel about a new set of inexpensive 1:6 scale tools he found over at Hobby Lobby. Sure, you can spend $100 or more on those miniature museum pieces put out by ZC and sold by Cotswold Collectibles HERE, but if you’re on a tighter budget (and who isn’t these days?) you may want to check out these new ones over at Hobby Lobby. According to Bryan…

“Bob The Woodsman loves The Joe Report! I wanted to tell you about my newest purchase from Hobby Lobby. I can always use new tools, so I was very excited to see these. You get 2 nice wrenches, a hammer and saw (though the saw is a tad on the small side) and a nice new corded drill. They’re 50% off this week. For you city folks, that means this entire set was only $2.50.”

Editor’s note: Wow! Sweet deal, Bryan. Thanks for sharing the information and photos!

(Photo: Brian Tatum)

Bob the Woodsman is diggin’ his new drill from Hobby Lobby.
(Photo: Bryan Tatum)

Bob has no trouble holding THESE tools, either.  (Photo: Bryan Tatum)

Bob has no trouble holding THESE tools, either. Get it? HA (Photo: Bryan Tatum)

Sears Craftsman Miniature Tools

Finally, thanks to Eagle-Eyed Reporter, Christopher88 who gave us a heads up on these cool tools over at Sears. According to his intel…

“Thought this might be interesting for the vehicle guys and some crossover AT application here. The lawnmower and toolbox might be smallish, but the engine in the lawnmower might be salvageable for something else. The chainsaw looks very detailed and approximately 1/6th scale. Looks like they are priced at $9.99. For those near a Sears, might be worth a look.”

Sharp looking miniature tools from Sears. Some may work in 1:6 scale, others not so well. (Photo:

Sharp looking miniature tools from Sears in a variety of scales. (Photo: christopher88)

Bottom Line:Oh, alright,” your Joe grumbles, grabbing the keys to his 5-star Jeep. “I’ll be back in about an hour. I guess. With SOMETHING!” Barbie giggles back, “Okay, hon. You do that. After my tub, I’ll be trying on disco dresses for 4 hours.”

Poor Joe. Oh well, some of these gift ideas are available all year round. Others, like the Hallmark ornaments are seasonal and only available for a short time. We say, if Joe really wants something, he should get it now. But keep in mind, after Christmas, all remaining stock is typically cleared out at half-price or LESS. So, if you can get Joe to go out shopping AGAIN, he may be able to pick up some great deals. Happy Hunting!

Remembering Pearl Harbor———71 Years Ago Today

Of course, no Hollywood movie could ever truly capture the holocaust of events inflicted upon Americans during the actual surprise attack. (Photo: US Navy)

The U.S.S. Arizona and other ships in “Battleship Row” are engulfed in flames after being repeatedly strafed and bombed during a surprise attack by Japanese forces, Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo: US Navy)

Tourists boarding  the ferry to visit the memorial. (Photo: armchairhawaii)

Tourists boarding the ferry to visit the memorial. (Photo: armchairhawaii)

I’ve visited Pearl Harbor just once myself, many years ago. I remember that the most touching and solemn moments (for me) began when we took that little boat ride over to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. I remember being pleasantly surprised at how quiet and respectful everyone was. There were tourists of every age and background, including many Japanese, all curious about our destination out in the harbor. Even all the children aboard (mine included) were quiet and knew that this wasn’t a time for loud talk or play.

The U.S.S. Arizona memorial (Photo: armchairhawaii)

The U.S.S. Arizona memorial (Photo: armchairhawaii)

Once we reached the memorial, for the most part, everyone remained very quiet and respectful, especially when they neared the back wall of the memorial where large marble plaques are engraved with the names of the 2,800+ servicemen who lost their lives on that fateful day (1,177 killed on the Arizona alone). Walking around, I noticed too, that diesel fuel oil was STILL leaking up from the ship’s hull below, as the Arizona continued to bleed out fresh reminders of that day.

The memorial itself is a quiet, open-air platform, extending amidship over the U.S.S. Arizona. (Photo: armchairhawaii)

The memorial itself is a quiet, open-air platform, extending amidships over the U.S.S. Arizona.
(Photo: armchairhawaii)

To pay our respects, we had brought some roses along and I let my daughter slowly cast them out, one at a time, over various parts of the ship. This ritual of respect and rememberance proved to be a tangible way for her to connect to why we were there, and I enjoyed watching her go from railing to railing, pause for a moment and then ever so gently, drop a flower down onto the waves below.

I’ll never forget that day. I realized then and doubly so now, that all those sailors and marines, forever entombed inside that giant ship beneath my feet, were but the first of many who would sacrifice their lives on battlefields around the world during the war. They would give up all that they had, and all that they would EVER have, so that their fellow (and future) Americans could grow up FREE from tyranny. I, for one, will ALWAYS…“Remember Pearl Harbor!”

2 More WW2 U.S. Fighter Planes Discovered; F6F Grumman Hellcat and P-38 Lockheed Lightning

The P-38 Lockheed Lightning discovered on a Wales beach would have looked very similar to this one. (Photo:

The P-38 Lockheed Lightning recently discovered emerging from a Wales beach in the UK, was one of the most formidable fighters of WW2. (File photo: USAAC)

Navy flight deck crewmen prepare to launch an F6F Hellcat fighter plane off an aircraft carrier during WW2. (Photo: US Navy)

The pilot (or Naval Aviator) of a recently discovered (and unidentified) WW2 Hellcat fighter would have witnessed a scene very similar to this one prior to his (final?) takeoff from the deck of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. (Photo: US Navy)

The ocean depths continue to give up their ghosts of war-times past… 

Over the six decades since the end of World War II, the discoveries of downed, sunken, buried, or otherwise “lost” warships and military aircraft have been considered some of the rarest of rare occasions. But for some reason during 2012, such findings have been occurring on an almost monthly basis. For example:

April, 2012:

20 “lost” British Spitfires are found buried inside their original packing crates in Burma. Since that time, the number has risen to possibly as high as 100, with excavation of the first of the rare “Spits” set to begin in early 2013. More HERE.

July, 2012:

The amazingly well-preserved wreckage of a downed RAF P-40 Kittyhawk is stumbled upon in a desolate, uninhabited part of the Saharan desert. The pilot’s remains are located a few miles away, indicating he survived and tried to walk out of the desert to the nearest town—over 200 miles away!

At almost the same time, the wreckage of a crashed, Korean War-era USAF Douglas C-124A Globemaster II was discovered high up in the rugged mountains of Alaska. For the first time in over 60 years, authorities are able to confirm that all 52 passengers aboard had perished. More HERE.

August, 2012:

In August, we reported on the stunning discovery of a sunken WW2 German submarine, the U-550, located just off the coast of Massachusetts. The U-Boat was sunk after a fierce battle with the U.S. Navy. Quite the story! More HERE.

September, 2012:

And just when we thought we’d seen it all, an ultra-rare Messerschmitt 323 “Gigant” is discovered resting underwater off the coast of Sardinia, Italy. The largest of the Luftwaffe’s experimental “X-planes,” the six-engined monster was quickly nicknamed by the RAF as the “Leviathan of the Skies.” Full story HERE.

Eroding sands on a beach in Wales have revealed an astonishing sight: a “lost” P-38 Lockheed Lightning which crashed during WW2. (Photo: UK Daily Mail)

November, 2012:

Now, most recently, in the span of just one week in November, 2012, two more missing WW2 American fighter planes have been discovered. The first, a U.S. Army Air Corps P-38 Lockheed Lightning, was found half-buried and slowly emerging from beneath the sands of a beach off of Wales in the UK. The second, a U.S. Navy F6F Grumman Hellcat, was found sitting upside-down, 240 feet below the surface, off of the coast of Miami Beach, Florida.

The Hellcat recently discovered near Miami Beach, FL, rests 240 feet deep, upside-down, with its landing gear retracted.(Photo: thebrigade)

The Hellcat recently discovered near Miami Beach, FL, rests 240 feet deep, upside-down, with its landing gear retracted and wing flaps extended. (Photo: thebrigade)

The nearly simultaneous discovery of these two extremely rare WW2 warbirds is a thrilling coincidence for all military and history buffs. How were these planes found? As for the P-38 Lightning, according to an article in the UK Daily Mail…

“It has been hidden under the sands and waves since it crashed off the coast of Wales in 1942. But now this wreckage of a rare World War fighter plane may soon be back on dry land.

Described as ‘one of the most important WWII finds in recent history’, the location of the Lockheed P38 Lightning has been kept a secret to keep the amazing find safe.

Known as the Maid of Harlech, the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighter crashed on the Gwynedd coast when it was taking part in training exercises and its engines cut out.

Amazingly, pilot Lt Robert Elliott walked away from the incident without a scratch but tragically went missing in action just three months later serving in the American’s Tunisia campaign in North Africa.

A charity has announced plans to next year retrieve the wreckage. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery are looking for support and a British museum who will accept the fascinating American machine as a gift to display at their venue.”

The recently discovered F6F Hellcat would have looked very similar to this one during WW2. (Photo: thebrigade)

The recently discovered Hellcat would have looked similar to this one during WW2. (Photo: thebrigade)

The Hellcat was found closer to home and likely suffered from engine failure as well. As of the date of this article, it remains unidentified and so the fate of its pilot too, is unknown. According to an article in the Miami Herald

“The crew of a research submarine studying artificial reefs off Miami-Dade County has discovered the mostly intact wreck of a U.S. Navy World War II fighter plane lying upside down 240 feet deep off Miami Beach.

Researchers aboard the Antipodes were using three-dimensional sonar gear to investigate a blip on the sea floor last June when they found the 28-foot-long Grumman F6F Hellcat — encrusted with marine growth and dotted with exotic lionfish.

 According to the Naval History and Heritage Command, 79 Hellcats were lost off Florida’s east coast between 1943 and 1952. But many of the crews survived by bailing out or ditching. They were not part of the mysterious Flight 19 “Lost Patrol” that vanished on a routine training mission off Fort Lauderdale in 1945. The “Lost Patrol” consisted of five TBM Avengers and the PBM Mariner that was sent to look for them.

 According to Bob Rasmussen, director of the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, more than 12,000 Hellcats were delivered to the Navy, but only a handful are still around today. ‘The discovery of one more — even under 240 feet of Atlantic Ocean — is important to naval aviation history,’ Rasmussen said.”

Bottom Line: Even with today’s advanced sonar and satellite-based imaging systems, searching the vast ocean floor for objects such as crashed fighter planes and sunken ships is often a proverbial “needle in a haystack” scenario. Maybe if they used a Sea Wolf submarine…hmm…

It’s Indianapolis!———G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Announces Time/Date/Location for its 2013 Convention———Only 18 Days After Joelanta!

Official logo of the GIjOECon 2013. (Graphic: GIJCC)

Official logo of the GIjOECon 2013. (Graphic: GIJCC)

Announcement immediately met with both praise AND scorn from many fans.

Heads up, Joeheads! The international GIjOE Collector’s Club has just announced the details for its big, 2013 GIjOE Con, to be held April 4th through the 7th in Indianapolis, IN. Unfortunately, the date they’ve set for the convention is only 18 short days after the big Joelanta show in Atlanta. What the..?

We’re not exactly sure what the national club was thinking when they set the date for this year’s con. Its close proximity on the calendar to Joelanta is guaranteed to cause a great deal of angst and unnecessary pain for many fans, logistically as well as financially.

“Battle of the Joe Cons?”

Official logo of Joelanta 2013. (Graphic: Joelanta)

Official logo of Joelanta 2013. (Graphic: Joelanta)

Unwittingly, the two organizations (Joelanta and GIjOECon) may have positioned themselves into a sort of “battle” for fans, their dollars and affections. Setting such close event dates risks dividing the fan base into smaller groups based on income, ultimately lessening attendance to BOTH events. Here’s how…

Let’s face it, these big shows are expensive. And in these tough economic times, fans are having to choose ever more carefully how they spend their precious hobby-related dollars. Most are looking at travel, hotel and dining expenses, all before ever stepping onto a dealer room floor. Put another big show just 18 days after the first, and well…you can see the problem.

Instead of making it financially and logistically easier by spreading out the dates, the club is actually making it harder for fans to attend, and that could make dealers nervous about whether or not THEY should risk spending the money required to rent a table, travel, etc. It all has a ripple effect, (potentially the most harmful to the second show in the queue).

JW Marriot, Indianapolis, IN. Can you say, "Parachute Drop?" (Photo: funcityfinder)

JW Marriot, Indianapolis, IN. Can you say, “Parachute Drop?” (Photo: funcityfinder)

Here’s the official club press release about the GIjOECon 2013:

“G.I.JoeCon 2013 is coming to Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4th through April 7th. You can make your hotel reservations now at GIJoeCon.com. Fans and Collectors’ who register for G.I.JoeCon as a General OR American Hero package holder will receive either the 12-inch Secret Mission to Dragon Island or 3 3/4-inch Nocturnal Fire convention set, admission to the Friday private sales room experience, priority seating at all panels and seminars throughout the weekend and admittance to the Saturday Night Casino Night Dinner event. General and American Hero package attendees will also receive a special bonus to go along with their convention box set. General Admission for non-registered guests will be available on Saturday and Sunday only.”

Bottom line: Both shows have great activities and incentives to offer fans. Most of us would LOVE to go to both shows. But it’s simply too expensive. To prevent placing such a difficult choice and financial hardship on fans in the future, the organizers of these two major events should work together so as to set more reasonable and mutually beneficial event dates—not competing ones.

Spanish “Maestros of Metal” Creating Steel and Aluminum Masterpieces in Exact 1:6 Scale

Javi and Caeser pose next to their latest 1:6 scale masterwork, a Messerschmidt ME (Photo: javi)

Javier and Esteban pose next to their latest 1:6 scale masterwork, a Messerschmitt 262. (Photo: javi)

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Just when you thought you’d seen it all, along comes another amazing customizer. Or, as in this case, a group of THREE amazing customizers, Javier Rodriguez, CesarRodriguez and Esteban Goyanes. The talented trio hails from northern Spain and are all master craftsmen. In a very short time they’ve built a solid reputation among collectors for their realistically detailed 1:6 scale steel and aluminum replicas of military weapons, vehicles, rockets and aircraft.

Even the interior of this stunning, all-metal ME262 shows a great amount of detail. Superb! (Photo: javi)

Even the interior of this stunning, all-metal ME262 shows a great amount of detail. (Photo: javi)

Once assembled, this 1:6 scale V2 rocket barely fits inside the workshop. (Photo: javi)

Once assembled, this 1:6 scale V2 rocket barely fits inside the workshop. (Photo: javi)

We asked these “maestros of metal” to tell us more about themselves, their business plans and the masterpieces they produce. Here, in an exclusive interview with The Joe Report, is what they had to say…

We are a small workshop located in the north of Spain, composed of three friends with high skills in machinery, welding and design. We specialize in building one-of-a-kind custom projects and are very proud of our craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Every model we build is handcrafted from real materials, mainly carbon steel for the tanks and aluminum for the planes. We can work on any scale from 1:6 to 1:16, and over the last few years, we’ve been involved in some exciting and unique projects for selected collectors and museums including V1 and V2 Flying Bombs, Me 262 jet fighter, King Tiger Tank Porsches turret, Normandy Bunker (made from real concrete), and rare FH18 and PAK 43 German howitzers.

Right now, it’s all still a sideline business that we’re working at part-time. We don’t even advertise. But during the last few years, we’ve managed to gather a list of loyal customers who are willing to deal with our turnaround times. We don’t have a business name either, but next year we’re planning to introduce ourselves with a new website and start working on projects full-time.”

This closeup of the V2 reveals superb attention to detail. Look at all those tiny rivets! (Photo: javi)

This closeup of the V2 reveals superb attention to detail. Look at all those tiny rivets! (Photo: javi)

Clearly, even without an official business name or website, these guys are going to be very successful. Regardless of their lack of self-promotion, they’ve been able to convince a growing clientele to plunk down serious money and wait for indeterminate periods for their orders to be created. Obviously, the word has gotten out that they’re talented AND dependable.

Another masterpiece from the "maestros of metal, a 1:6 scale V1 flying bomb. Superb! (Photo: javi)

Another masterpiece from the “maestros of metal,” a 1:6 scale V1 flying bomb. Superb! (Photo: javi)

Of course, you can’t create a business in a vacuum. We asked them what they’re doing to contact and stay in touch with past and future customers…

“We used to visit the main military trade show in Spain (twice a year) and we participate actively on the biggest Spanish language 1:6 scale forum, www.agrupacion1seis.com. Lately, we’ve been working for several military museums in Spain also.”

Front view of the V1. (Photo: javi)

Front view of the V1. (Photo: javi)

What are you working on now? Any other plans for the near future?

“We are now finishing up a unique 1/6th scale Jadgpanzer IV L70 made from real steel and next year we are planning to introduce a unique German T34.”

These intricate field artillery pieces are of museum-quality. (Photo: javi)

These intricate field artillery pieces are of museum-quality. (Photo: javi)

What’s the best way for future customers to get in touch with you?

“We currently accept orders from EU and USA and can be reached by email at javinatalia@yahoo.es and caesargarcia2000@yahoo.es  Please feel free to reach us for any question. All the best from Spain! —Javi”

Imagine all the cool German aerodrome dioramas the owner of this 262 will be able to create. Gott im Himmel!(Photo: javi)

Imagine all the cool German aerodrome dioramas the owner of this 262 will be able to create. Gott im Himmel! (Photo: javi)

Editor’s note: Thanks for all the information, Javi. We wish you and your friends the best of luck and good fortune with all your future endeavours!

Here some more “behind-the-scenes” photos of various works in progress…

The raw steel and aluminum of a tank turret prior to painting and other details being added. (Photo: javi)

The raw steel of this tank turret GLEAMS prior to painting and other details. (Photo: javi)

Great shot of the V2 being created inside their crowded workshop. (Photo: javi)

Here’s a great shot of their crowded workshop and all its tools, etc. (Photo: javi)

Section by section, weld by weld, the flying V1 bomb comes together in perfect 1:6 scale. WOW! (Photo: javi)

Weld by weld, the flying V1 bomb comes together in perfect 1:6 scale. There’s nothing mass-produced here. It’s all done by hand. One masterwork at a time. (Photo: javi)

Each piece is fully finished with accurate period paint schemes and camo patterns. (Photo: javi)

Each piece is fully finished with accurate period paint schemes and camo patterns. (Photo: javi)

Some of the paint schemes can be elaborate and challenging to replicate, such as the one on this V1. (Photo: javi)

Some of the paint schemes can be elaborate and challenging to replicate, such as the one on this V1. (Photo: javi)

Side details of the ME262. (Photo: javi)

Side details of the ME262. (Photo: javi)

Front view of the ME 262. (Photo: javi)

Front view of the ME 262. (Photo: javi)

3/4 view of the ME 262. (Photo: javi)

3/4 view of the ME 262. (Photo: javi)

Fuselage closeup of the ME 262. (Photo: javi)

Fuselage closeup of the ME 262 with paint and markings. Smooth, accurate, PERFECT! (Photo: javi)