Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fans & Collectors Celebrate “The Sweeter Side” of G.I. Joe Fandom With Custom Cakes & Treats

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GIjOE fan, collector and dealer, Irving Santiago, was recently surprised on his birthday with this outstanding GIjOE hovercraft cake. The colors and details are right on, and everything you see is edible, down to the missiles, guns and logos. (Photo: Irving Santiago)

ep·i·cu·re·an  [ep-i-kyoo-ree-uhn]
adj. 1. fond of or adapted to luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating and drinking.

“Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Levels be Damned! I’m having a second piece!”

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This photo of Irving Santiago (center) and his two sons gives you a better idea of the massive size of his hovercraft birthday cake. (Photo: Irving Santiago)

In ever-growing numbers, typically health-conscious GIjOE fans have begun rebelling against normal dietary restrictions and succumbing instead to the increased consumption of “oh-so-sugary” custom cakes, cookies and baked treats; all under the guise of celebrating and/or commemorating the world’s greatest action figure—GIjOE!

How did this “usurption of gastronomical good sense” get a grip on GIjOE fans? The exact origins and connections remain unclear, but expert analysts believe the typical fare consumed at an average GIjOE club meeting (i.e. pizza, hamburgers, etc.) has begun to be seen as “insufficient” for the evolving epicurean tastes, palates and waistlines of discerning fans. According to one such “rich food rebel” we spoke with recently:

“Well, you know how it is. GIjOEs are all about having fun. When fans get together for a GIjOE club meeting or related event we just feel like celebrating! A lot of us can’t eat sweet treats at home without getting the ‘skunk eye’ from the our old ‘ball-n-chain,’ so we thought it would be a good idea if we ‘topped off’ our meetings with something special. Something like a cake or other sweet dessert.”

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How about a GIjOE tank cake? This looks like the creation of a very talented Mom who wanted to surprise her “little man” on his birthday. (Lucky kid!)
(Photo: cakepicturegallery)

Sounds good to us! Of course, GIjOE cakes and other treats aren’t limited to just collector’s club members. Hundreds, if not thousands, of such delicacies have been created and consumed over the years by hungry fans of all ages in the form of birthday cakes, cupcakes or cookies. A quick search on the internet revealed dozens of examples in a variety of shapes, “eras” and themes. Our favorites are the ambitious ones that go beyond traditional round or rectangular shapes and endeavoured to make 3-dimensional cakes based upon GIjOE characters and vehicles (see tank cake at right).

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This stylized, comparitively simple cake design features a miniature “Snake Eyes” and “Storm Shadow” preparing to do battle. Absolutely Superb! (Photo: quaintcake.com)

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The baker of this “Cobra Cake” did an outstanding job rendering the Cobra logo. YUM!
(Photo: Kristy’s Kreations)

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If cakes aren’t your thing, how about a GIGANTIC chocolate-chip cookie? With camoflage frosting? Just remember to keep it a “classified top secret” until your 10th birthday party—like Joey!
(Photo: gourmetgoodiesbykate)

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If your club members are “all thumbs” when it comes to baking, this “General Hawk” cake pan should help speed things up. (Photo: ebay)

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Clearly the work of a professional, this outstanding GIjOE cake features perfectly cut stars and logo. And the green color has that perfect RAH feel. (Photo: cakecentral)

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Ho-Ho-How about a Humvee full of Christmas presents? How cool is THIS? (Photo: frostedcelebrations)

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Anyone can make a “Joe Cake” with just a little imagination and some good ol’ fashioned “Joe Spirit.” On this homemade birthday cake, Joe has just taken down a bad guy and restrains with a rubber band. We love how GIjOE’s name is so much larger than poor little “Max.” Hilarious! (Photo: iheartcakes)

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Another great example of a “club cake,” this one was for the Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club. It was baked and then decorated by a local grocery store (Meijer), using some kind of high-tech, “edible image’ frosting. Don’t worry. It was GREAT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Whatever the occasion, whether it be a GIjOE club meeting, birthday party or just for fun, there’s no better way to “top off” the event’s festivities, than with a GIjOE-themed dessert. With that in mind, we’ve saved the very BEST GIjOE cake for last. It was created by our good friends in the Long Island Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club. Click HERE or on the video link below and prepare to be BLOWN AWAY. Enjoy!

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Hasbro’s #1 G.I. Joe Fan,” James DeSimone, to Host “Action Figure & Toy Show,” May 5, Burbank, CA

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The cover of James DeSimone’s first GIjOE guide has almost become as iconic as its subject matter. While not 100% accurate, it’s nonetheless quite handy and widely respected among collectors for what it DOES provide: a quick visual reference to GIjOE figures, equipment sets and vehicles produced between 1964 and 1978. Self-published by DeSimone back in 1994, the guide originally sold for $75. Copies can still be purchased from Cotswold Collectibles for $20. (Photo: James DeSimone)

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GIjOE fan, collector and show organizer, James DeSimone of Glenoaks, CA. (Photo: James DeSimone)

James DeSimone, undeniably one of the most famous (and active) names in the world of GIjOE collecting, is hosting yet another of his famous GIjOE “Action Figure and Toy Shows” on May 5th in Burbank, CA.

Over the last couple of decades, DeSimone has proven himself to be one of GIjOE’s most vocal and effective advocates. Today, “GIjOE’s #1 Fan” (as Hasbro called him) still acts as a leader for fans out on the west coast, and is highly regarded by fans around the world for his multitude of past accomplishments.

As far back as 1985, DeSimone formed the first fan-operated, “GIjOE Collector’s Club,” eventually achieving a total membership of over 500 members. Later, he would produce and host various GIjOE conventions, thereby convincing Hasbro to produce convention exclusives. Permission for official licensing soon followed, and with that, the manufacture of a line of highly popular reproduction vehicles, uniforms, parts and accessories.

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The base of a trophy presented to DeSimone by executives at Hasbro bears this unique “#1 GIjOE Fan” designation. (Photo: James DeSimone)

A total of three DeSimone GIjOE identification guides would ultimately be published, and while each has both fans and detractors, the guides have undeniably been of great assistance to many collectors. And… despite all the time, trouble and expense of hosting GIjOE shows, DeSimone still seems to enjoy being “in on the action.” According to the official press release about next month’s event:

“I want to thank you all for wanting me to do another show. Our next one will be on Sunday May 5, 2013, at the Ramada Inn Hotel at 2900 San Fernando in Burbank, CA. Dealer set up will begin at 6AM and the show is from 9AM to 4PM. Admission is $5 and dealer table spaces are $40 each (limit 2). If you’d like, you can pre-pay with PayPal to: batcar1@hotmail.com, or mail a check to James DeSimone 150 s. Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank CA, 91510. For event or dealer information, you can email us at batcar1@hotmail.com. Please help make the show a success. Tell (and bring) some friends. Parking is free!”

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GIjOE fans agree that one of James DeSimone’s greatest triumphs was this superb reproduction of the beloved 1960s Irwin Panther Jet. Simply OUTSTANDING! (Photo: Cotswold Collectibles)

Bottom Line: DeSimone is clearly a “Man of Action.” While others may “talk the talk” year in and year out, this is one GIjOE fan who’s proven he knows how to get things done. James’ shows are still some of the best opportunities for fans in the West to gather together and talk, sell and swap GIjOEs. If you can, we highly recommend you attend this upcoming event in Burbank. Go, James! And… Go, JOE!

Customizer-Reviewer of 1:6 Scale Action Figures Creates “Star Trek Battle Log” Photo-Comic

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Mayne’s ability to combine his professional-level skills as a master model-builder, custom figure creator, computer-graphics wizard, and imaginative storyteller have resulted in the recent completion of his latest and greatest 1:6 scale photo story entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.” (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

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Mayne’s photo stories are planned and executed down to the tiniest details. He even designed custom patches for the uniforms of his characters. Here, “Kumasa,” the hero of Star Trek Battle Log, sports new “Special Forces” and custom nametag patches designed by Mayne and produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Who ya Gunna Call?

Quick! Your entire planetary system is under attack by a malevolent, unstoppable alien force. Who do you call? Who has the training and power required to defend your (remaining) threatened home worlds from imminent devastation? Fortunately, those cosmically-important questions have (finally—phew!) been addressed in an exciting new 6-part, 1:6 scale photo-comic entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.”

Created, written and photo-illustrated by master customizer and diorama builder, Hylton Mayne, this new (online-only) adventure serial follows the lives of a group of dedicated, hard-fighting Starfleet Special Forces Security personnel who have been tasked with the daunting, life-n-death assignment of repelling an alien invasion. “Prepare for Warp Speed!”

The Masterworks of Mayne

Mr. Mayne has extensive experience creating 1:6 scale photo-comics and stories, primarily for use on the Sideshow Collectibles website found HERE. When each new Sideshow figure is introduced, he will create a short adventure starring and demonstrating that figure. Sideshow clearly appreciates Mayne’s efforts, as customers and fans are provided with an entertaining way to view the company’s products, each professionally posed and photographed in a variety of action settings and scenarios. Simply outstanding in every way!

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This overhead view of Mayne’s scratch-built bridge set for the U.S.S. Titan, clearly demonstrates his superb skills as a craftsman and artist. Take a good look at this diorama. It’s all handmade and HUGE. What an accomplishment! (Photo: Hilton Mayne)

As a result of his ongoing and inspiring work for Sideshow, Mayne has accumulated quite a sizeable fan-base of his own. “1:6 scalers” of all stripes, from all around the world, appreciate his sophisticated photographic composition, creative storylines, and highly detailed, scratch-built dioramas. The growing support and encouragement of his fans eventually prompted Mayne to pursue personal projects of his own, leading to his most impressive work so far: Star Trek Battle Log. But the going hasn’t been easy. According to Mayne:

“What a journey! After two years of striving, walking away, trying, quitting, re-energizing, and passion re-kindling, I have FINALLY completed my 1:6 scale photo-comic project. I hope you enjoy it. If you get a chance, please tell me what you think.”

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The old adage “waste not, want not” applies to 1:6 scale diorama-building as well. Fans of vintage GIjOEs will recognize the source of a part of this custom spacecraft. Look closely. See it? It’s the blue firewall out of an old GIjOE Space Capsule, painted and weathered to match the rear section. And Kumasa’s battle armor? Perhaps that subtle bat logo on his chest will give it away. How clever! (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Bottom Line: Mayne’s Star Trek Battle Log is an outstanding example of 1:6 scale “fan fiction.” Fortunately for fans, all six chapters (plus an epilogue) are now available for viewing online for FREE over at Mayne’s personal website found HERE. Hylton has also hinted he has plans for some sort of a future print-version of his 1:6 scale adventures. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

Custom ’69 “Eagle Eye” Adventurer Creates Stir

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“Eagle Eye” GIjOEs featured adjustable eyes with the ability to look side-to-side. (Photo: irol04)

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Don’t be so stunned, Joe. You look GREAT! When your owner removes that flocking-glue residue around your mouth and touches up the paint on your hairline, you’ll be perfect! (Photo: irol04) Click to enlarge.

A Great “What if?” Experiment

How cool looking is this guy? In an intriguing auction spotted recently on ebay, some creative Joehead (was it YOU?) had customized a ’69 Adventurer by swapping out its original head for a flocked ’76 “Eagle-Eye” (EE) noggin. Then, he shaved off its hair (yes, the beard too!) and converted it back to a painted-hair (PH) redhead!

The final unique custom figure sold for $47 and judging by its photos, the newly transformed hero seems somewhat startled by his freshly shorn appearance. Some fans even see such “radical surgery” as sacrilege, but we DIG ‘im! We think the results reveal a whole new “face” that Hasbro could easily recreate and then exploit in a new line of EE-PH figures. In the listing, seller “irol04” described “Red” thusly:

“Here’s a ’69 Adventurer body with the pat pending numbers stamped on his rear. The body looks nice with a possible factory flaw at the neck post. He looks to have had his head replaced with an Eagle Eye, with some revisions.”

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First-generation bodies and EE heads were never together originally, making this custom an instant standout. (Photo: irol04)

The description is factual, yes, but far from complete. As you may recall, Eagle-Eye (EE) GIjOEs made their first appearance in 1976, sporting all-new “life-like bodies” and exciting all-new EE headsculpts with flocked hair (some with beards, some without).

A simple glance at this custom figure reveals it has an older first-generation body, proving its EE head is not original and has been changed. The so-called “flaw at the neck post” mentioned in the listing is actually one version of the sniper or “sharpshooter position” neck-piece.

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Owners controlled the “Eagle Eyes” of their GIjOEs with a little slide-switch in the back of the head. Once covered with flocking, the head’s hair helped hide the switch from view. This custom PH head eliminates the hair and makes the switch more visible. (Photo: irol04)

But WHO put this interesting 1:6 hero together this way? And WHY? It would be nice to know the reasons behind these customizations. If you’re this figure’s creator, please leave a comment behind. Regardless, the results speak for themselves. This figure ROCKS!

Bottom Line: If you’ve ever wondered what a bearded fuzzhead with eagle-eyes would look like if you shaved off his hair and painted his noggin, well here you go! And despite this particular Joe’s trepidation about his appearance, we think he looks pretty great indeed. Hello, Hasbro? Here’s yet ANOTHER idea for a line of 50th Anniversary figures!

Special thanks go out to “Eagle-Eyed” Field Reporter, Tony Stroud, for first spotting this unique figure and bringing it to our attention. Thanks, Tony!

Goldenrod LSO Prototype Uniform Purchased From Official “Hasbro Seconds Store” in 1960s

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This closeup of the unproduced Hasbro prototype “goldenrod” LSO suit, reveals it came with red striping only. This early sample was rejected in favor of a more elaborate tan suit with day-glo orange and pink striping, more closely matching actual jumpsuits worn by LSO crewmen during the Korean War and early ’60s. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Ever been to a “Day-Old Bread Store?”

They’re small, “no-frills” bread stores that sell off unsold loaves of “day-old” bread, damaged pastries and any other “defective” baked-goods considered unsellable at full retail (box of broken bear claws, anyone?). Bakeries typically operate one or more of these shops in poorer neighborhoods of nearby cities and towns, offering such “day-old” baked goods at steeply discounted prices. (I’ve tried them out. It’s actually a great deal. Taste-wise, you can’t tell the difference!)

In a similar manner, during the 1960s and ’70s, long before there was a GIjOE Collector’s Club Store or an online “buy-direct” HasbroToyShop website, fans of “America’s Movable Fighting Man” could go into a small store in Pawtucket, RI, that sold authentic factory “seconds,” direct to the public. The store was a convenient and practical outlet for a growing toy company trying to recoup some of its pre-production and prototyping expenses (i.e.”up-front” costs typically incurred when designing and testing new toys). What it couldn’t sell out of its seconds store would sadly, simply end up in a landfill somewhere. In a recent interview with The Joe Report, longtime GIjOE dealer, George Gray, provided additional insight into this little-known chapter of GIjOE history…

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GIjOE Collector and Dealer, George Gray, a high school teacher from Dover, TN, holds up his authentic Hasbro goldenrod prototype LSO suit at JoeCon 2013. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“About 12 to 15 years ago, I bought a large lot of miscellaneous vintage stuff off ebay. Right away, I could tell there was something different about the items. They were all authentic Hasbro all right, but they didn’t look ‘correct’ in many ways.

I asked the seller for more information, and she turned out to be an old lady from Rhode Island. Apparently, back in the 1960s, she would go into what she called a Hasbro ‘seconds’ store in Pawtucket and pick up ‘seconds’ and discounted Hasbro toys.

Originally, I had a lot more uniforms, boots and things, but I’ve sold or traded most of it away over the years. I wish I had kept it all together, because it would have been interesting for fans if I had photographed and recorded all of the so-called defects and differences between the ‘rejects’ and final production pieces.”

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This closeup of the back of the unusual LSO suit reveals the perfect fit and finish of an intricately formed , factory-produced garment. Clearly, this is the REAL DEAL! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Intrigued by his find, George decided to seek the counsel and second opinion of a renowned GIjOE expert, Dan McKee from Southern California. McKee studied Gray’s prototype LSO suit quite extensively, comparing its materials and construction with his own vintage pieces. Ultimately, McKee concurred with the ebay seller’s assertion that it was indeed a vintage GIjOE jumpsuit and that it had undeniably been manufactured by Hasbro. When asked whether he felt it was a real “prototype” test uniform, McKee emphatically declared:

“Absolutely, it’s real!”

But That’s Not All…

The “clincher” in this story really occurred with the revelation of one more piece of corroborating information. According to the old woman in Rhode Island, all of the Hasbro “seconds” in the store were marked in a specific way so as to indicate that they were NEVER to be sold at retail. The “mark,” she said, was a “scarlet slash” made though the GIjOE logo with a permanent (red) laundry pen. Wha…?

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A closeup of the tag in the LSO jumpsuit reveals a faded red marker “slash” through the logo, confirming it as a vintage Hasbro “second,” most likely a rejected color-test prototype. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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A closeup of an actual 1:1 scale LSO uniform reveals that neither version by Hasbro was 100% correct. (Photo: Charles Bury)

Fascinated by her revelation, Gray quickly tugged at the collar tag of the old jumpsuit and discovered to his delight, that sure enough, it DID bear such a red mark! Combined with all the other indicators, there seems to be little doubt that this piece is an authentic Hasbro product, most likely produced as a color-test prototype. Once rejected, it was apparently marked and tossed into the company’s outgoing “seconds” bin to be sold from their store as such. Thankfully, Gray’s research and identification have rescued it from obscurity and provided fans with yet another intriguing glimpse into GIjOE’s history.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to all of the generous contributors to this article, including: George Gray, Dan McKee, Charles Bury, Nick Bowyer and that “little old lady from Pawtucket,” Go, JOE!

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Final production version of the LSO set. (Photo: Nick Bowyer)

Searching for “Lost” G.I. Joes, Mission #1: “Rescue the Talking Commander!”

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A website confirmed that a “Talking GIjOE Commander” was to be auctioned off Sunday in Gifford, IL. This sounded like a job for yours truly, “GIjOE Rescue-Man!”   (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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The ad with its two, powerful words. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Two Little Words

Every year about this time, auction listings begin to appear in our local newspaper; sometimes so many that they seem to be proliferating like little rabbits. A couple of days ago, I came across a new listing for a general property auction (see photo at right). In the advert were two little words that caught my eye: “including GIjOEs.” Whoa! Hold the phone, Horatio! What did they mean by that? Are they old Joes? Big Joes? Little Joes? My mind began racing with all of the exciting possibilities. But I knew from previous experience that such sketchy descriptions were often misleading and could end up being ANYTHING; even a box of little green army men. I drummed my fingers in frustration and anticipation. I had to learn more.

This enlargement of the auction website photo appears to show a "healthy" Talking Commander. Only time and a closeup inspection would reveal the reality. (Photo: Gordyville Auctions)

This enlargement of the auction website photo appears to show a “healthy” Talking Commander. Only time and a closeup inspection would reveal the reality. (Photo: Gordyville Auctions)

Gathering Auction “Intel”

Preparing to attend an auction is like going into battle. First, you need to gather information or “intel” online about the items that will be up for bid. Second, you need to “marshal your forces” by going to an ATM to “load up” with the requisite moolah. And finally, you need to compute your “plan of attack” into a GPS, ensuring that you won’t end up lost out in the middle of some cornfield. You’ll want to make sure you arrive early enough for a “sneak preview” of the items being offered for sale. After scanning the auction photos online, I found only one photo of a GIjOE, but it was a Talking Commander in its original box, complete with paperwork and inserts. YES! My mission now had a clearly defined goal. I must:“Rescue the Talking Commander!”

Dedicated Joeheads will drive for hours if it means a "lost" GIjOE can be rescued. Fortunately, this trip would only take me 30 minutes through the Illinois farm country. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Dedicated Joeheads will drive for hours if it means a “lost” GIjOE can be rescued. Fortunately, this trip would only take me 30 minutes through the Illinois farm country. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Prairieland “Ponn Farr”

Outsiders see it as an obsession. But Joeheads refer to it as the “Thrill of the Hunt.” Whatever it is, I had it bad. Most GIjOE collectors seem to “catch it” about this time every year, when the snow begins to melt and “auction season” begins to heat up again across the U.S. I’m not talking about online auctions, where collectors can sit around for weeks waiting, just to have the object of their desire “sniped” away in the last seconds. I’m talking about real LIVE auctions, where buyers of every stripe, color, and description, gather together armed with wads of money in their pockets and wearing their best “poker faces.”

You Never Know What You’ll Find

At the auction site, door after door led into a variety of featureless metal buildings. There were no signs. No arrows. Nothing. Whatever treasures lay beyond remained hidden from view. The hunt continued! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This was the auction site. Door after unmarked door led into a variety of featureless metal buildings. There were no signs. No arrows. No directions. Whatever treasures lay ahead remained hidden from view. The hunt continued! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Auctions, Flea Markets and Garage Sales are all unpredictable “treasure hunts.” For example, about 15 years ago, I attended an auction with a similarly vague newspaper ad, and it turned out to be the lifetime accumulation of an old farmer who was liquidating his ENTIRE vintage 1960s GIjOE, Barbie and Soakie (’60s cartoon character bubble-bath bottles) collections. Would today’s auction contain the same sort of collectible “bonanza?” Maybe. (Maybe not.) I’ve learned that no newspaper ad (or website photos) EVER show everything sold at an auction. They can’t. There are always boxes of stuff that contain untold treasures inside, delightful surprises that you can only discover by being at the auction IN PERSON. As they say in the auction world, “You’ll never know, if you don’t go.”

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The Commander looked sad, almost pitiful, as he lay locked inside a glass and metal case. With no one to care for him, he seemed to stare forlornly up at the ceiling, as if wondering how he had ever gotten to such a lonely place. Surely the little boy who used to love and play with him all those years and adventures ago, would come back to “rescue” him from this awful fate. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Playing the Waiting Game

Auctions require a great deal of patience, and today’s event would be no exception. I pulled into a gravel lot surrounding an assortment of long, unmarked metal buildings. Typically, these buildings were used for horse shows, sales, and rodeos. Today, there would be no horses (unless they were of the miniature Breyer variety), but SALES were clearly on everyone’s mind. I could smell hamburgers cooking, and walked towards the aroma. Once inside, I saw the auctioneer’s PA-equipped truck parked among rows of tables piled high with goods (didn’t I tell you about the piles?). After a short search, I located the “missing” Commander. He was indeed a talker, complete with everything except the bottom of his box and some hair at the front of his forehead. I quickly calculated a bidding budget of $50 for the figure, not based so much on his actual value, but more so upon an assumption I’d be bidding against a bunch of non-Joehead farmer-types. I’ve seen them go ga-ga over die-cast John Deere tractors, but surely they wouldn’t bid more than $50 for a child’s “doll.” Right? I paced anxiously about the room while I waited for the auction to begin…

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Much to my chagrin, as soon as the auctioneer fired up his microphone, bidders started to cluster around the tables loaded with rare coins, toys and the display box containing “my” future Talking Commander. This didn’t look good. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

My Big Auction “Secret”

Auctions can drag on for a long time, depending on the crowd size, number of items involved and the speed of the auctioneer. But while daunting, such large public sales can also be quite rewarding. Here’s where the psychology and “secret” advantage of attending an auction in person begins to kick in: If you can afford the time, are patient, and there are no other bidders in attendance who are interested in the object(s) you’re interested in, you can end owning some extremely valuable items—for a song. Seriously, I’ve seen MANY lucky bidders pay just a few dollars for rare vintage furniture, toys, comics and other cool collectibles that were worth THOUSANDS, simply because no one else at the auction bid against them. Unfortunately for me, on this particular day, a great deal of fellow bidders had decided to “hang around.” Curse them all!

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Winning bidder, Brent McNamara (48), of Cerro Gordo, IL, shows off his new GIjOE Talking Commander outside the Gordyville auction building in Gifford, IL, Sunday, April 14, 2013. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Acting Like Kids Again

After 45 minutes of boring bidding on lots of old coins, pocket knives and watch fobs, my pulse began to race as the auctioneer FINALLY reached the GIjOE. You should have seen all the grown men in that building suddenly perk up. The feeling was palpable. They were acting like kids again. A chorus of “Pull his string! Let’s hear if he still talks!” arose from numerous faces in the crowd. Silence descended upon the giant room as the auctioneer’s helper slowly pulled out the Commander’s string. The tension was thick, when suddenly, the veteran adventurer LOUDLY declared, “I’ve got a tough assignment for you!” and the crowd erupted again with cheers. “Yayyyy, JOE!!! At that moment, I was sunk. Despite the figure’s age and imperfect condition, I knew this was one Joe who wasn’t going to sell cheaply.

Bottom Line: Bidding for the Commander started at $40, jumped quickly to $50, then $60, and climbed steadily until finally peaking at $130. I never even raised my hand! Ultimately, the Commander was snagged by Brent McNamara, a dedicated GIjOE collector from Cerro Gordo, IL. Brent spoke with me outside after his win, and revealed the following:

“I’m not a dealer or anything. I had all these Joes when I was a kid. Now I’m trying to get ’em all back. I only wished it hadn’t cost me $130 bucks! Oh well. The only reason I came today was for this little guy. And I don’t mind driving a long way. You know what I mean?”

I sure do. And I’m also happy (really!) that the Commander “went home” to such a nice guy and not to some ebay scalper. Congratulations, Brent. Keep “rescuing” GIjOES. And happy collecting!

Increasingly Realistic 1:6 Scale Custom Figures and Dioramas “Fool the Eye” at Joelanta 2013

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Caleb Brown (15), sets up his latest diorama masterpiece at Joelanta 2013: a 1:6 scale gas station and country store—being invaded by ZOMBIES! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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This 1:6 scale custom figure of “Rick Grimes” from the “Walking Dead” was another amazing figure at the show. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

At this year’s Joelanta, grown men were shaking their heads in disbelief. Wives were heard giggling, amused by all the “silliness” set up around them. Children would run in, stop short, and just stare in awe at it all. Were these all toys? Some sort of artwork? Or possibly exhibits for some future museum? Intriguingly, the answer to all three questions, is a resounding, “YES.”

We’re referring (of course) to the amazing 1:6 scale creations that were entered in the “Custom Action Figures, Vehicles and Dioramas” competition at Joelanta 2013. This year’s competition was stiff. The entries? Superb. And the crowds? They were WOWED.

Return of the “Whiz Kid”

This year’s standout exhibit was (again) created by diorama “Whiz Kid,” Caleb Brown (see our previous article HERE). The modest 15-year old’s outstanding 1:6 scale “Country Store Zombies” diorama, complete with a hand-shaped metal roof, intricate hand-painted graphics and a fully detailed interior was the clear winner of the 2013 competition (although it was not officially entered due to size limitations).

Brown’s diorama was set up to depict a gas station/country store that was under assault by killer zombies, each giving (and getting) their own share of gory retribution as they attacked a variety of humorous “locals.” His most interesting custom figure in the scene is a zombie that was being graphically decapitated with a chainsaw (see photo below). Truly superb work! We asked Caleb about how he creates his miniature masterpieces. Here’s what he told us:

“After I get home from school and homework’s done, I’ll start working on some piece of a new diorama or maybe a custom figure. I don’t have a ‘studio’ or any special work area. I just go out on our front porch. I don’t watch much TV or have a lot of other extra-curricular activities. I just enjoy making this kind of stuff. I guess you could say I’m an artsy kind of cat!”

This closeup reveals detail of Caleb Brown's "Decapitated Joe Zombie" custom figure. Absolutely AMAZING. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup reveals detail of Caleb Brown’s “Decapitated Joe Zombie” custom figure. Absolutely AMAZING. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

As we predicted, Brown’s notoriety within the 1:6 scale community continues to grow. His custom buildings, figures and dioramas are all becoming more popular with fans, and offers to purchase his work have been increasing as well. And it’s easy to see why. Caleb’s superbly crafted pieces are more than “backgrounds” for action figures. They’re actually more akin to works of “folk art” than they are to mere hobby fodder. And as works of art, their inherent monetary value and importance will undoubtedly continue to rise over time. In fact, fellow 1:6 fan and collector, Buddy Finethy, has already purchased Caleb’s general store diorama (for quite a tidy sum!) and hopes to add it to the growing lode of customs being accumulated for the upcoming Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum; a fitting place, in our opinion, to display such fine work. Congratulations, Caleb!

Additional images of Caleb Brown’s “Country Store” Diorama:

This closeup of Caleb Brown's diorama reveals a "local" who seems quite unconcerned about the zombies, knowing that his .44 magnum packs enough firepower to blow the head of any zombie "clean off!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup of Caleb Brown’s diorama reveals a “local” who seems quite unconcerned about the invading zombies, knowing full well that his .44 magnum packs enough firepower to blow their heads “clean off!” Besides, he just fried up some eggs for breakfast! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Caleb details and paints all the surfaces and graphics of his dioramas by hand, increasing their level of artistry and elevating his work above similar dioramas utilizing computer-generated signs and print-outs. Note all the “weathering” detail he’s applied to the building’s slatboards, columns and framing. Outstanding! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Step right in! This interior view of Caleb Brown’s diorama shows his appreciation for depicting realistic details, even INSIDE his 1:6 scale structures. As Buddy Finethy commented, “If you’ve ever been inside one of these old country stores, this is just what they look like.” Unbelievable work. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Side view of Brown’s general store. That Coca-Cola graphic is HAND-painted onto the REAL wooden slats of his scratch-built building. What artistic skill! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Miniature Bedroom Masterpiece

Jack "RatSix" Hall, points to his 1st place-winning diorama, a miniature bedroom scene he dubbed,

Jack “RatSix” Hall, points to his 1st place-winning diorama, “The Boy’s Bedroom.” (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Jack Hall is a big guy. But his award-winning “Boy’s Bedroom” diorama is a TINY work of 1:6 scale perfection. While the room’s construction is fairly simple and consists only of a few foamcore walls, the array of miniatures contained within reveal incredible patience and long-term collecting commitment.

Fans of 1:6 scale know how hard it is to find objects that fit properly into dioramas. It’s not an easy task to find everyday objects that have been realistically reduced down to 1:6 scale. That’s what makes Hall’s so-called “simple” diorama so special to fans. We KNOW how long it takes to gather all this tiny stuff together. All in all, Hall’s collection of bedroom “extras” took him over 13 years to complete. According to Jack:

“It took years and years to accumulate what you see here. Over 13 now and counting. See that Jeep there? That’s a Hallmark ornament. I found that little aquarium a long time ago at a Toys ‘R Us, just after ‘Finding Nemo’ came out, I believe. When Joelanta’s over, I’ll take this dio apart, and you’ll never see it again. Once I get home, it’ll all just go back into boxes. So take your pictures now!”

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Jack clearly has a great eye for detail. What a perfect scene! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

As to the specific objects in the diorama, judging by his inclusion of a Farrah Fawcett poster on the wall, we’re dating Jack’s scene at around 1978 to 1980, the approximate height of the blond bombshell’s popularity on TV and in magazines. Interestingly, most of the men who approached his diorama at Joelanta were heard to comment, “I had that Farrah poster too!”

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This closeup of Jack’s amazing diorama reveals how a talented customizer can “fool the eye” of the beholder with his or her skillful combination and arrangement of carefully selected miniatures. OUTSTANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

In addition to Farrah, there’s a tiny bookcase full of tiny GIjOEs, a miniature capture copter, a miniature Crash Crew Truck box (found HERE), and a wide variety of other assorted toys, games and sports miniatures. Along the wall are bunk beds covered with AT yellow bedding, while over in another corner, a stunning miniature aquarium glows with a cool blue light.

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Tiny chest. Tiny figurines. Tiny trophies. Tiny Bulletman shirt. It’s all PERFECT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Jack’s “simple bedroom diorama” would go on to sweep him to victory, earning its creator a well-deserved 1st Place in the adult diorama category. However, despite the success, Jack’s already looking over his shoulder at “Whiz-Kid” Caleb Brown, saying:

“I told Caleb when they put him in the adult division, I’m gonna stop bringing a diorama, because it would just be a waste of time (lol). He really is talented—and a nice kid on top of it!”

In this closeup, the scene looks so real the viewer feels they could just walk in and sit down at that chair. Amazing! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

In this closeup, you can see even MORE great details including the window, the door, the aquarium, the patch on the boy’s shirt and the AT logo on the table. WOW. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: If you want to see the amazing work of these talented customizers in person, you should make plans to attend (and/or ENTER) next year’s competition at Joelanta. However, we know that’s not always possible, so here at The Joe Report, we vow to continue to do our utmost to bring you the best and most reliable 1:6 scale intel available. In that spirit, here are some MORE pics from this year’s competition. Enjoy!

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The largest diorama at the show featured this massive 5-foot UFO by Mike Gardner which was surrounded by Men in Black, soldiers and curious onlookers. It even included glowing lights and lightning effects. Something is out there!  (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Humorous signage helped create an even more realistic scene. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Outstanding “Alien Autopsy” diorama BELOW the mountain, complete with gurney, well-outfitted doctors and even nurses. How cool! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” Was It Worth The Wait? Fans say “YES!” And “NO!” And…“Who Cares?”

Snake Eyes and The Rock shoot at stuff in GIjOE: Retaliation. Will that be enough reason for you to buy a ticket? (Photo: Paramount)

Snake Eyes and The Rock shoot at stuff in GIjOE: Retaliation. Will that be reason enough for fans to buy tickets? Early box office receipts are running high, despite the films dismal reviews. (Photo: Paramount)

Bruce Willis in GIjOE: Retaliation. (Photo: Paramount)

Bruce Willis and…some guy. (Photo: Paramount)

“My kids LOVED it like crazy, which means Joe is looking towards the future when it comes to doing things.” —DaSmokeEater

After a 9-month delay…

GIjOE: Retaliation, the second Paramount film based on Hasbro’s GIjOE franchise has finally been released into theaters. Early box office receipts are good, but GIjOE fans and general audiences appear to be less than thrilled with the newly “retooled” 3-D version. In case you don’t remember the studio’s reasons for delaying the film, according Niall Browne over at ScreenRant:

“GIjOE Retaliation received scores in test screenings that ranged from ‘mediocre to bad.’ The decision was made to delay the release, reshoot, and then convert the film to 3D. The reason given for the 3D conversion was that the lucrative ticket price could maximize foreign box office revenue and make the film more profitable.

Iron Man 3 has also filmed new scenes and altered its storyline somewhat so as to cater to foreign audiences, creating multiple versions of the same movie. (Photo: marvel.com)

Iron Man 3 has also filmed new scenes and altered its storyline so as to increase appeal to foreign audiences, thereby creating multiple versions of the same movie. (Photo: marvel.com)

There you have it. GIjOE: Retaliation wasn’t delayed to make it better. It was delayed and converted to 3-D to make it more profitable to foreign audiences. Yes, it’s common knowledge that studios now openly tinker with their franchise and “tent pole” movies, often creating entirely new characters, scenes and storylines to specifically target overseas markets.

“It is not a terrible movie if you go in having low expectations.” —HippoJoe

In a similar example, Iron Man 3 (IM3) was also in the news recently for having filmed a variety of all-new scenes in China solely for the purpose of appealing to—and appeasing the sensitivities of—Chinese audiences. Why? The allure of burgeoning profits from Chinese ticket sales has simply grown too great for Hollywood to ignore. (Read the entire story of IM3’s multiple versions over on CraveOnline HERE.) 

“The best part of ‘GIjOE: Retaliation’ was eating at The Varsity afterwards.” —ToysGottoGo

Some hot chick named Adrianne Palicki portrays "Lady Jaye" in the film. Mmm...girls with guns! (Photo: Paramount)

Adrianne Palicki portrays “Lady Jaye” in the film. Mmm…girls with guns! (Photo: Paramount)

But back to GIjOE: Retaliation. It seems Paramount realized the movie was going to bomb (no pun intended) and felt it needed to do whatever it could to rescue whatever profits it could. Mr. Browne’s article appears to concur with this viewpoint, saying…

“This line of reasoning equates the release delay to the cash-grab attempt so many fans saw it as. With this delay, the studio and toy company are clearly doing everything they can to secure SOME kind of profits from this venture.”

Costs and Profits

OF COURSE it’s about money! Whether or not a movie’s actually any good is now of secondary importance. Fortunately for Paramount, GIjOE: Retaliation is enjoying a strong start financially. According to Brooks Barnes, the film’s receipts are healthy and online to recoup investment:

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” was a burly No. 1 at North American theaters over the Easter weekend, validating an unusual decision by Paramount Pictures to delay its release so that it could rework parts of the plot. ‘Retaliation,’ which cost at least $130 million to make, took in about $41.2 million over the weekend, for a total since opening on Thursday of $51.7 million. Overseas, the movie — originally planned for release last summer — generated an additional $80.3 million in ticket sales.”

The Cobra Commander walks ominously around his headquarters. Does it get foggy behind that visor? (Photo: Paramount)

The Cobra Commander walks ominously around his headquarters. We gotta admit, that giant COBRA logo on the wall and ol’ “Chrome Dome’s” helmet look pretty spiffy! (Photo: Paramount)

Of course, some GIjOE fans could care less about the current GIjOE movies. Kent Williams, for example, offers up his own alternative ideas and opinions, saying:

“Honestly, I have absolutely ZERO interest in the ongoing RAH movie saga. It has absolutely nothing to do with what I consider ‘real’ GIjOE and caters only to the 3-3/4” fans. You want to make a GIjOE movie? How about showing how a bunch of regular ‘Joes’ became involved with the ADVENTURE TEAM?

Bottom Line: There seem to be few surprises regarding the new GIjOE: Retaliation. Joeheads may not agree with Hollywood’s depiction of our favorite action figures, but as the old Latin sayings tell us, “Cuique Suum” and “Caveat Emptor!” Fans like Williams might be more interested in independent fare such as the famous “bootleg footage” of that outstanding Adventure Team animation. If you don’t remember what we’re referring to, click HERE or on the video clip below:

That’s a Wrap! 4-Day “JoeCon 2013” Closes in Indianapolis To Mixed Reaction and Reviews

GIjOE collector and fan, Scott Turnbull, poses next to his 1:6 scale Apollo 11 diorama at “JoeCon 2013″ held recently in Indianapolis, IN. In an event that was clearly skewed towards fans of 3.75” figures, Turnbull’s larger-sized entry into the show’s diorama competition was a rare, 1:6 scale exception. A proud (and defiant) Turnbull later declared, “Please include my photo in your article on The Joe Report to show that 12″ figures STILL have their place at JoeCon.” Our pleasure, Scott! We especially admire Turnbull’s innovative combination of a 2-D photographic backdrop with his scratch-built 3-D LEM landing leg. VERY clever. It makes his diorama both stand UP and stand OUT! (Photo: Scott Turnbull)

Oh, my aching HEAD!” This closeup of the strangely tired-looking, haggard, and baggy-eyed headsculpt of “Hangover Joe,” one of the exclusive figures at JoeCon 2013, seems to mirror the mood and attitudes of many of the shows attendees. Dealers and fans of BOTH scales openly stated their belief that 1:6 scalers are now being “sidelined” by the national club. (Photo: M. Otnes)

After a year’s worth of build-up and hoopla…

JoeCon 2013, held this past weekend in Indianapolis, IN, is now officially, “a wrap.” And for all of the lucky(?) GIjOE fans who were able to attend, memories of this year’s 4-day event will undoubtedly be mixed, divided and somewhat conflicted. While it is always enjoyable to catch up with old friends and make new ones, the way fans of 1:6 scale figures will celebrate their love of the GIjOE hobby is clearly undergoing a change at the “national show” level. This year, attendees familiar with past national cons were struck by THIS show’s two undeniable and distinct developments:

1) There was LESS…of EVERYTHING.
Blame it on the economy. Blame it on “the Sequester.” Or simply accept it as an aberration unique to this year’s show. But there’s no denying it. This show was SMALL(er). While we’re not privy to official attendance figures, even the most casual observers were heard to be commenting openly how few fans, dealers, exhibitors, customizers, and “general public” visitors there were at the event. Only on Saturday, when the dealer room opened to the public, did anything resembling a “crowd of people” seem to gather.

Event workers, hotel security and volunteers all seemed to have less to do. Lines were extremely short (oohrah!) and the number of tables and quantity of merchandise for sale was clearly less than in previous years. By contrast, the more 12-inch friendly “Joelanta” show, held just 3 weeks prior in Atlanta, GA, is currently enjoying an explosion of growth in attendance and popularity. Interesting!

In a pleasant surprise, the evil “Sebastian Gorman” headsculpt turned out to be much better than expected, featuring stronger “scowl-lines” and more clearly defined facial features than those shown in early prototype photos. He could still use a little moustache trim, however. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

2) 12-inch fans are being SIDELINED at the national level.
Whether done intentionally or not, the national-level GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) seemed to be doing very little (if anything) at this year’s Con to dispel the growing belief among ALL fans that its version of a “national convention” is now predominantly planned around and targeted to the needs and desires of fans of 3.75″ RAH figures. According to GIJCC leader, Brian Savage, any “blame” for this development boils down to simple economics. During one of the JoeCon seminars (also held to sparse attendance), Savage defended the club’s decisions this way:

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“Over the years, a lot of different GIjOE shows have come and gone. They were run by a lot of different groups with a lot of different ideas and ways of doing things. But they’re mostly all gone now, and we’re still here. I think that’s because we (the GIJCC) haven’t forgotten, first and foremost—that this is a BUSINESS.” —Brian Savage, GIjCC

“Where’s GIjOE?” Historically, package artwork has been an integral part of GIjOE’s appeal. While this is box is nice, many fans wondered why creators of the “Secret Mission to Dragon Island” set had eschewed the usual outstanding artwork of Classic Collection artist, Larry Selman, in favor of a smaller box and a simpler AT logo/dragons motif. Was it simply a cost-cutting decision, or as many fans believed, yet another indicator of dwindling club support for the 12″ line? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Cosplayers were in attendance as usual, happy and eager to pose for photos with fans in their amazing handmade costumes. Look at the superb detail of this “Cobra Snowtrooper” w/harness and parachute pack. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Where will things go from here?

No one can argue with the GIJCC’s successful record while at the helm of GIjOE fandom. However, its recent decisions have undeniably diminished the importance previously accorded to 12-inch fans. Such moves leave many observers (including us here at The Joe Report) scratching their pith-helmeted heads. What’s going on?

Think about it… Most “1:6 scalers” are now only in their 40s or 50s. Their retirement years will be coming up in another decade or so. That means more disposable income and TIME to spend on hobbies. To turn away such a lucrative fan/consumer base, with so many collecting and convention-attending years still ahead of them, seems shortsighted from anyone’s “business” standpoint.

Yes, there was a “Secret Mission to Dragon Island” figure set produced for this year’s JoeCon and collectors of 12″ figures. But the quantity produced by the club was reduced to only 200. Was the club THAT worried about selling them all? If so, their fears quickly proved unfounded, as all of the sets are now “accounted for” and in the hands of happy collectors.

Where things will go from here remains to be seen. We may be witnessing the beginning or end of a consumer cycle, it’s hard to say. Fans come into and go out of hobbies all the time. Judging by 2013’s booming attendance at Joelanta, and a disappointing national con in Indy, its unclear whether such shows are in for a period of growth or decline. George Gray, one of the few 1:6 dealers at this year’s JoeCon, views the current conflicted situation this way:

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“I don’t think the national GIjOE club reaches out to 12-inch collectors anymore. They think we’re a ‘dying breed.’ Regardless, I still sell at their shows because I loved GIjOE so much as a kid. And while I’m doing alright sales-wise, at these national cons, the days when you would see a lot of 12-inch collectors show up appears to be over. In recent years, fewer and fewer 12″ fans are coming to this show, and you start to wonder—who’s going to BUY this stuff in the future?” —George Gray

Fans of the little Joes were probably content, though not overwhelmed, by the number of quality dealers offering products in their 1:18 scale. For example, “Avac’s Lab” was selling row upon row of custom heads, helmets, hats and accessories. When we asked how he created his masterpieces at such a tiny size, the owner revealed, “I use a BIG magnifying glass and a lot of light!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup of some products from “Avac’s Lab” reveals how far some Joeheads are starting to go in 1:18 scale. Just look at the level of detail in that Spartan helmet. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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

Collectors of 1:6 could find some amazing vintage Joe gear for sale at the show. If we have to tell you how rare these two items are, then you should just move on to My Little Pony. HA (Seriously.) Both sets were 100% original and the construction one even retained its ORIGINAL 1960’s price tag (only .66 cents at JCPenneys). We quickly whipped out a dollar, but unfortunately, the dealer told us he wanted a “tad bit more” for it now. Hmph! Wasn’t that false advertising? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Our favorite 12" custom figure by FAR, with real metal helmet, axe and accessories. (Photos: Mark Otnes)

Our favorite 12″ custom figure at JoeCon 2013 was this amazing piece featuring a real metal scratch-built helmet, fire axe and uniform accessories. Too cool! (Photos: Mark Otnes)

What a MASTERPIECE! Our favorite 1:18 scale diorama was this balloon-centered, Steampunk extravaganza. Superb craftsmanship in every piece. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

What a MASTERPIECE! Our favorite 1:18 scale diorama was this balloon-centered, Steampunk extravaganza. Superb craftsmanship in every piece. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

ARRR!!! Take a look at this  VERY creative custom of the Intruder, reimagined by customizing and custom painting a Hulk figure. But what really caught our eye was the all-steel cage and scale-correct padlock. PERFECT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

ARRRGH!!! Take a look at this creative custom Intruder figure, reimagined by customizing an Incredible Hulk figure. But what really caught our eye was its all-steel cage and scale-correct padlock. PERFECT! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This unique 180-degree “panorama” image of the dealer showroom of JoeCon 2013, shows the convention at its peak attendance. However, the picture does not clearly show how few dealers there were. While quality of goods was high, quantity was LOW. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We don’t pretend to have a crystal ball, or the answers to all the questions currently raining down in the fan forums across the internet, but this year’s JoeCon in Indianapolis was clearly a “wake-up call” for fans who prefer the 1:6 scale, 12-inch version of GIjOE. On the other hand, if you’re an advocate of the “little Joes,” you can rest easy. The GIjOE Club’s got’cher back!

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DC Comics Legend, Carmine Infantino, Dead at 87

Batman and Robin were elevated to the status of American entertainment icons by the exciting 1960's artwork of DC great, Carmine Infantino. (Artwork: Infantino/Anderson)

Batman and Robin were elevated to the status of American entertainment icons by the exciting 1960’s artwork of DC great, Carmine Infantino. (Artwork: Infantino/Anderson)

Carmine Infantino, as rendered by another comics legend, Neal Adams. (Art: Neal Adams)

Carmine Infantino, as rendered by another comics art legend, Neal Adams. (Art: Neal Adams)

‘Silver Age’ comics legend, Carmine Infantino, died yesterday (April 4, 2013). He was 87. I LOVED Infantino’s artwork and the comic books in which it appeared. I never met the man personally, but if you ever mention his name to me, a thousand colorful, exciting images will immediately come flooding back to my mind. That’s the “power” of any really, REALLY great artist.

If you’ve never heard of Infantino, I highly recommend you take a few moments today to acquaint yourself with some of his amazing work. You may suddenly realize that indeed, you do recognize something he’s done, if not in the realm of comics, than perhaps in the arena of toys and action figures. Fortunately, there are numerous websites, personal interviews and in-depth articles available about the man, all free and online.

In addition to his extensive comic book art legacy, Mr. Infantino was also well-known by fans of 1:6 scale action figures as the artist who was chosen to illustrate the packaging of Playing Mantis’ “retro-repro” line of Captain Action action figures. In fact, the man who originally worked with him on that line, Round 2’s Joe Ahearn, has just posted a very nice tribute to Infantino over on the Captain Action fan website. You can read that post HERE.

Captain Action's first reappearance after 40 years was in this new box illustrated by Camine Infantino for Playing Mantis Toys. (Photo: Joe Ahearn)

Captain Action’s first reappearance after 40 years was in this new box illustrated by Camine Infantino for Playing Mantis Toys. (Photo: Joe Ahearn)

Bottom Line: If you grew up in the 1960s, you may remember begging your mother for “just one more” DC comic book at your local grocery store (remember those rotating racks FULL of bright, shiny new comics?). If so, your pleas would surely have been music to Mr. Infantino’s ears.