Don’t Throw It Away! Recycling 1:6 Scale “Junk”

Customizer Gary Stair utilized a wing from a 1970s Avenger Pursuit Craft to create this all-new "flying wing" for his GIjOE and Captain Action figures. Whoosh! (Photo: Gary Stair)

Customizer Gary Stair utilized a wing from a 1970s Avenger Pursuit Craft to create this all-new “flying wing jet pack” for his GIjOE and Captain Action figures. Note the addition of a safety harness, fuel tanks, flight control joysticks and much more. Whoosh! (Photo: Gary Stair)

Dealing with “Toy Detritus”

Details matter! Gary's new CA "mini-sub" even has a tilting, opening canopy. (Photo: Gary Stair)

Details matter! Gary’s new CA “mini-sub” even has a tilting, opening canopy. (Photo: Gary Stair)

For those who love GIjOE, it’s hard to let go of anything toy-related, even if it’s something we no longer care about. Why? Because Joeheads see kitbashing potential in practically everything. As a result, over the years, many fans of 1:6 and 1:18 scale Joes have amassed growing “sell and trade” piles at home, typically comprised of unwanted and broken parts, imperfect figures and busted-up vehicles.

Faced with disposing of such toy detritus, fans can either trade or sell it, donate it to a charity or thrift store (i.e. Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) or…”reuse and recycle” (R&R) the items back into their collections by producing all-new custom creations. The R&R method of disposal is the one we’ll be discussing (most enthusiastically!) in today’s article.


Gary holds up his newly detailed flying wing. What a superb paint job! (Photo: Gary Stair)


Captain Action checks out the flying wing’s controls. “Hmm…not bad!” (Photo: Gary Stair)

Toy collector and customizer, Gary Stair, PA. (Photo: Gary Stair)

Toy collector and customizer, Gary Stair, PA. (Photo: Gary Stair)

To demonstrate the sort of creative thinking behind R&R, we thought it best to seek out the expert counsel of well-known master-customizer, and regular TJR contributor, Gary Stair. Readers of The Joe Report (TJR) will recall Mr. Stair from previous articles showcasing his custom creations for Captain Action (CA); see HERE and HERE.

Ideas from an Expert

Most customizers work with existing vehicles, adding details such as custom paint jobs, extra parts, “weathering,” waterslide decals, etc. But Gary prefers to create all-new, original toys by mixing and combining parts from a variety of unrelated sources. He describes the process this way:

“Well, for example, what do you do when you have a severely burnt, bad-smelling GIjOE Adventure Team headquarters and a fairly decent one that you bought for cheap? By themselves, neither is much of a prize, but together…? After thinking it over, I realized that neither Hasbro nor Ideal had ever made a Moon Base for GIjOE or Captain Action. However, Action Man ( in the UK ) had created many of the components I needed to make a really cool base. So…I gathered a few more odds-n-ends and wa-LA! It was base-buildin’ time!”


Action Man checks out Gary Stair’s new custom-made “Moon Base,” an all-new and unique combination of cast-off parts from various GIjOE, CA and Action Man playsets. (Photo: Gary Stair)

“As you can see, I kept most of the old AT HQ structure intact (above), although I decided I didn’t really need the storage room area. So, I converted that section into a bedroom (see below), complete with a flat screen TV playing ‘My Favorite Martian’ HA.”


Gary’s Action Man is diggin’ the view of Earth through the portal in his bedroom on the lunar base. Look at all the custom details in this room! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Next up was my conversion of the communications room. First, I updated all the photos. Then, I cut out some equipment panels and glued balsa wood behind them to give ’em all a more 3-D look. Finally, I added some new shelves to hold testing equipment, rock samples and chemical containers.” (see closeup below)


Gary’s combination of new and old blend seamlessly together, creating an all-new Captain Action Lunar HQ. Sweet! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“My new moon station is also equipped with several vehicles for exploration including a one-man jet pack for short aerial trips, a Moonraker space buggy for long terrain trips and a ‘Space-Pod’ for long-range excursions of the lunar surface.” (see below)


Gary even repurposed a main section of one of the “burnt” ATHQs as a LEM. Note the incredible amount of added detail including landing legs, a sliding rear hatch, lights, etc. Absolutely AMAZING work. (Photo: Gary Stair)

But Wait! There’s More!

Just when we thought we had seen everything, Gary sent along some additional photos of a newly kitbashed custom ATV, a mini-submarine and even a Captain Action train! Here’s a peek at the pics:


Check out Gary Stair’s snappy little mini-sub! By taking parts from here, there and everywhere, Stair has created an all-new, “retro” submarine that looks right at home with his 1960s gear. (Photo: Gary Stair)

“In the photo above, my Captain Action is shown checking the controls of his new mini-sub as he prepares to hit the water in a new underwater adventure. In the photo below, you can see that the sub has a complete interior with an upholstered seat and a new set of gauge decals from Patches of Pride.”

You know you LOVE toys when you go to the trouble to create this sort of detailed interior for your mini-sub that hardly anyone else will ever see. Superb job, Gary! (Photo: Gary Stair)

You know someone LOVES toys when they create a detailed interior like this for a mini-submarine that hardly anyone else will ever see. Superb job, Gary! (Photo: Gary Stair)


Clearly inspired by James Bond’s “Little Nellie”, Gary’s “Big Nellie” custom helicopter combines parts from many unrelated sources. Some toy company should sell these RIGHT NOW! (Photo: Gary Stair)


Stair’s “Big Nellie” was inspired by “Little Nellie,” the REAL star of the 1960s 007 film, “You Only Live Twice.” (Artwork: Talbot)

“I call my custom Captain Action attack ‘copter (above), ‘Big Nellie’ in honor of the similar-looking one made famous by 007. GIjOE fans will recognize that a lot of the parts came from an Avenger Pursuit Craft. But I added many things to make the scale and mechanics more accurate. I also think I may have improved on Bond’s ‘Little Nellie’ (see artwork above) somewhat by adding gadgets such as smoke-screen projectors, rear and forward-firing missiles, laser turrets, front air-to-ground missiles and an easy to access control panel. Whoosh!”


Gary’s newly customized Kid Action ATV is light years beyond its humble origins. Everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink seems to have been added to this superb adventure toy! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Originally, my old ATV was in really bad shape. But after giving it a thorough cleaning, I repaired and restored it to like-new condition. Then, I added a pair of hydraulic arms and a trailer hitch (shown above) that I had taken from an old Kenner ‘Aliens’ power loader.”


Kid Action clearly enjoys the fit and finish of his newly restored, custom ATV. (Photo: Gary Stair)

“To complete my ATV’s restoration and customization (see above), I installed an interior conversion kit from Patches of Pride (PoP), cargo cans from Lowes hardware, and a pair of PoP bungee tie-downs.”


Never seen one of these? That’s because it’s Gary’s unique combination of a Power Team helicopter, Pursuit Craft pontoons, Littlebird machineguns, and “spinning” plexi rotors. Clever! (Photo: Gary Stair)


This Captain Action Train deserves a future article all its own. WOW. (Photo: Gary Stair)


Gary recently added on another expansion module to his Moon Base, proving that the “reuse and recycling” of old toys need only end with the limit of our imagination. (Photo: Gary Stair)

Bottom Line: What ISN’T possible with a little imagination and creativity? We’d like to thank Gary Stair once again for his generous contributions to The Joe Report and to this article. His creative customs never cease to amaze and undoubtedly serve as a continued inspiration to other fans around the world. Go, Joe! Go, GARY!

6 thoughts on “Don’t Throw It Away! Recycling 1:6 Scale “Junk”

  1. Tanker says:

    If you have been doing 1/6th scale for any length of time, the one and only cardinal rule is that you never throw away ANYTHING remotely usable for GIJOE! 🙂

  2. kneonknight says:

    I agree with Tanker, with the added caution of learning to think outside of the box, as it were. A lot of items, by themselves, might never catch your notice, but when you think of them as parts of a greater whole, then the sky is the limit.

    • Wayne Faucher says:

      Great stuff here! Gary’s work illustrates an important lesson.

      Using a leftover piece for an UNintended use is where the creativity comes in with this hobby. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been walking around my local craft store and been asked “Can I help you?”. Well, I’m NEVER looking for an actual item. It’s always “something shaped like…” or “something that would look cool with…”. That’s hard to explain to someone who just wants to sell you a Bedazzler. Same for going into the fabric store and saying you need a square FOOT of cloth…

      It takes some vision to look at an object and NOT see what everyone else does. It’s called being an artist. Nice job, sir!

  3. Gary says:

    Wow – Thanks Mark and Joe Report team members! It was truly an honor to be recognized by the team. Also I want to say to everyone – keep sharing ideas on your custom designs and upgrades….I love seeing them as they spark ideas for me as well!

    Thanks again for all the kudos…it means a lot!!

    Go JOE!!


  4. Michael Dunn says:

    I made my custom GIjOE Mars lander from spare parts and alot of people say to me: “Why didn’t Hasbro make this?” I answer: “Because I did not work for Hasbro.” 🙂 Check out my Mars Lander on my Facebook Page!

  5. Steve Polzak says:

    Say Gary, again ALL great work. I got a Bratz 1/6 3-wheeled vehicle coming. It won’t have much custom work, just a little paint and for sure, I’ll be removing anything on it that may say “Bratz.” It’s a nice future-looking little ride. If Capt. Action or Doctor Who don’t fit it well, I will have it for Kid Action. Keep producing those wonderful things!

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