Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Joe Report’s 2013 “Year In Review”———’n PRIZES!

Cap wonders if delaying the new GIjOE film just to convert it to 3D is a wise decision by Paramount, or as some fans have called it, a "bonehead" move? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Thank You and Happy New Year! Just a quick note to wish all the faithful readers and fans of The Joe Report a great big “THANKS!” for all of your support and help during 2013. It’s been a wonderful year for us here at TJR and we look forward to an even better one in 2014. If you’re interested in reader stats and blogazine number-crunching, the good folks at WordPress.com have prepared a spiffy little 2013 “annual report” for us. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. The Joe Report was viewed about 140,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it!”

Christmas-Present-redPRIZE ALERT! Surging statistics are good, but giving (and getting) FREE stuff is even better! So think back… Were YOU a commenter (aka an “eagle-eyed Field Reporter”) to The Joe Report in 2013? If so, you may now be eligible to receive one of our FREE “Faithful Fan” surprise gifts. To see if you’ve won a prize, simply view our annual report HERE. If your name is listed as one of our “5 most active commenters” of 2013, leave a comment on this post stating as such, and we’ll send you your free prize ASAP. What a great way to start out the New Year. And thanks again to everyone for your support. See you all in 2014! —Mark Otnes

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“Christmas with G.I. Joe” Meant Happy Faces and Happy Memories For Children of the 1960s-’90s

The big smile and happy expression on Scott Korenowski's face tells you all you need to know about his reaction to receiving a brand-new GIjOE footlocker full of gear on a 1960s Christmas morning. (Photo: Scott Korenowski)

The big smile and happy expression on Scott Korenowski’s face reveal how he felt receiving a brand-new GIjOE footlocker full of gear on Christmas morning, 1965. (Photo: Scott Korenowski)

A young Charles Bury holds up his new GIjOE Talking Astronaut proudly in this photo taken in 1969. (Photo: Charles Bury)

A young Charlie Bury proudly holds up his new GIjOE Talking Astronaut in this photo taken (we assume) just after Christmas, 1969. Right, Charlie? (Photo: Charles Bury)

A Time of Innocence—A Time of Play

For many of us, growing up in 1960s, ’70s or ’80s America meant getting up early on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, eating sugary breakfast cereals, playing outdoors—all day!—without a care in the world, climbing trees and playing in tree-houses, reading comic books while fantasizing of becoming football stars and superheroes, and watching astronauts land on the moon while building models of our favorite airplanes, spaceships and monsters (remember all those cool Aurora kits?). It was a time when childhood was still filled with innocence. It was time when children still PLAYED. It was the perfect time in American history—for GIjOE!

It’s a GIjOE Christmas “MIRACLE!”

I can remember being just 6 years old and sitting at the dining table, painstakingly going through our family’s Sears and Montgomery Wards mail order catalogs, studying all the photos of the toys and trying desperately to figure out which ones I should ask Santa for that year. Oh yes, at 6, I firmly believed in Santa Claus, and I remember thinking how MAGICAL the whole Christmas experience was; I could write a list of toys I wanted and Mom would mail it off to Santa at the North Pole. Then somehow, on Christmas morning—there were presents left for us under the tree. Wow!

We love a photo that tells a story. We assume the little boy on the right, trying to remove the 5-star Jeep recoiless rifle from its cardboard packing is the recipient of all this great GIjOE and Big Jim swag. But notice that the Dad (center) can't help but get his hands busy setting up that Adventure Team HQ. And the little brother (left) is already opening the Deep Sea Diver equipment set. It's a GIjOE Christmas, circa 1972! (Photo: Will Ceau)

We believe the little boy (on the right) who’s trying to remove the 5-star Jeep’s recoiless rifle from its cardboard packing, is the recipient of all this great GIjOE and Big Jim swag. But notice that the Dad (center) can’t keep his hands off the Adventure Team HQ, and little brother (left) is already opening up the Deep Sea Diver equipment set. It’s a “GIjOE Christmas,” circa 1972! (Photo: Will Ceau)

Do you remember hearing GIjOE "talk" for the first time? This boy named Brad surely does, as he pulls the string of his Talking Sailor GIjOE on Christmas morning, 1970. (Photo: leadfoot)

Do you remember hearing GIjOE “talk” for the first time? This boy named Brad surely does. Here, he pulls the string of his new Talking Sailor, Christmas, 1970. (Photo: leadfoot)

Remembering “First Moments” With GIjOE

With Christmas 2013 now less than a week away, we thought it would be enjoyable to take a look back at those magical, “first moments” with GIjOE. If you think about it, your earliest memories of GIjOE were probably when you first received him as a gift, typically on a birthday or Christmas morning from the past. As a result, most of these vintage Christmas photos also capture the child’s wonderment and excited first interactions with the toy, leading to what would become (for many of us) a life-long, and deeply personal connection—to GIjOE.

Bottom Line: We were thrilled with the response we received after calling for reader photo submissions, and were able to locate a few more on our own as well. Wherever possible, we’ve credited the photographer of each image, but if you see yourself in any of these old pictures, please write in to The Joe Report HERE with your memories or descriptions of your first “Christmas with GIjOE.” Thanks, and… Enjoy!

This lucky kid had great reason to be smiling. In addition to receiving an Adventure Team HQ, a 6-wheel ATV, and a GIjOE Deep Sea Diver equipment set, he's also received a brand-new Schwinn Stingray bicycle. All Christmas morning, circa 1970. WOW! (Photo: Jelene Morris)

This lucky kid had great reason to be smiling. In addition to receiving an Adventure Team HQ, a 6-wheel ATV, and a GIjOE Deep Sea Diver equipment set, he’s also received a brand-new Schwinn Stingray bicycle. All Christmas morning, circa 1970. WOW! (Photo: Jelene Morris)

A young Tim Weedn playing happily with his new GIjOE Sea Sled and black spy raft, circa Christmas morning, 1966. (Photo: Tim Weedn)

A young Tim Weedn playing happily with his new GIjOE Sea Sled and black spy raft, circa Christmas afternoon, 1966 (quote follows). (Photo: Tim Weedn)

“It was the biggest package under the tree that year and the last to be opened. Fairly impressive, considering I have three older and one younger sibling. I remember ripping into it with great anticipation, then staring at the box art for the longest time. I was completely blown away. Everyone thought the ‘Official GIjOE Sea Sled’ the coolest toy ever. I wholeheartedly agree!” —Tim Weedn

This superb slide was found in an estate sale and was labeled only with "Christmas, 1973." The looks on their faces are priceless. Go, JOE! (Photo: High Steel Heels)

Do you remember shooting shells from your 5-Star Jeep’s cannon? This superb slide was found in an estate sale and was labeled only with “Christmas, 1972,” so as of now, the name of the family remains unknown. But the looks on those boys faces tell a great story, don’t they? Go, JOE! (Photo: High Steel Heels)

Mark Otnes, editor of The Joe Report, holds up his brand-new GIjOE space capsule and astronaut on Christmas morning, circa 1967. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Mark Otnes, editor of The Joe Report, holds up his brand-new GIjOE space capsule and astronaut on Christmas morning, circa 1967. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“The Christmas I received my GIjOE Space Capsule, I remember being enthralled by how its canopy slid open, its intricately detailed instrument panel, the embossed GIjOE logo on its tip, etc. I must’ve played with that toy and my Sea Sled in the bathtub for hours and hours and HOURS, practicing splashdowns and rescues. What great memories!” —Mark Otnes

As we already know, the GIjOE 5-Star Jeep was a popular Christmas gift for many years. Little boys Mike and brother Darron take a break playing with theirs to hold up baby Kent, Christmas day, 1967. (Photo: Alphadog)

The GIjOE 5-Star Jeep was a popular Christmas gift for many years. In this picture, Mike and his brother Darron take a break playing with theirs to pose with baby Kent on Christmas Day, 1967. (Photo: Alphadog)

Bob, aka "Retrohound," poses with his minty-new "Secret of the Mummy's Tomb," Christmas, 1972. (Photo: retrohound)

Bob, aka “Retrohound,” poses with his minty-new “Secret of the Mummy’s Tomb,” circa Christmas, 1972. (Photo: retrohound)

“In 1972 I was 6 years old and I got a GIjOE ATV (all terrain vehicle)! And what is that in my left hand? A sarcophagus? Yes, it’s the GIjOE sarcophagus! I know the picture says May 1973, but it took that long for my folks to get photos developed.” —Bob, aka “Retrohound”

Two years later, Bob is still getting cool GIjOE sets for Christmas. What a lucky kid! (Photo: Retrohound)

Two years later, Bob was still getting cool GIjOE sets for Christmas. The longer you look, the more GIjOEs you see. What a lucky kid! (Photo: Retrohound)

“In 1974, I got a GIjOE, a couple GIjOE outfits, and the ‘Abominable Snowman’ set! That would be worth some money if I still had it in good condition. My Mom sold ALL my GIjOE stuff in a garage sale when I was out of town once. She bought into all that crap about guns and stuff not being good for kids and was always conflicted about letting me have anything ‘violent.’ Plus, I was about 13, and she figured I was too old for toys. The bummer is, she didn’t’ even give me the money!” —Bob, aka “Retrohound”

According to this great retro-photo's caption: "It's Christmas, 1964, in Diamond Bar, CA. My nephew Jimmy got a GIjOE." Where is that Joe today, Jimmy? (Photo: tterrace)

According to this great retro-photo’s caption: “It’s Christmas, 1964, in Diamond Bar, CA. My nephew Jimmy got a GIjOE.” Look at all the blue color in this pic. WILD. Where is that first Joe today, Jimmy? (Photo: tterrace)

In this superb candid shot taken on Christmas morning, 1986, we're not sure who's happier, or who's getting the gift—the Father or the Son? Either way, Go, JOE! (Photo: Ted Fitzgerald)

In this superb candid shot taken on Christmas morning, 1986, we’re not sure who’s happier, or who’s getting the gift—the Father or the Son? Either way, it’s safe to say…they’re BOTH blessed. Go, JOE! (Photo: Ted Fitzgerald)

We suspect that if a study was done, the GIjOE 5-Star Jeep may have been one of the most photographed toys EVER. In this great shot, "Mike" looks up from his idyllic work assembling his Jeep for the first time, Christmas morning, 1965. (Photo: Alphadogs)

We suspect that if a study was done, the GIjOE 5-Star Jeep may have been one of the most photographed toys EVER. In this great shot, “Mike” looks up from his idyllic work assembling his Jeep for the first time, Christmas morning, 1965. What a special toy. What great play value! (Photo: Alphadogs)

This wonderful black-n-white snap was merely labeled "Christmas, 1973." Not a lot to go on, but notice how neatly everything is laid out for the photo? Did this little guy do that, or did his Mom? Looks almost like they were taking it for insurance purposes. HA (Photo: Mark West)

This wonderful black-n-white snap was merely labeled “Christmas, 1973.” Not a lot to go on, but notice how neatly everything is laid out for the photo? Did this little guy do that, or did his Mom? Looks almost like they were taking it for insurance purposes. HA (Photo: Mark West)

Pride of GIjOE ownership crosses all borders. In a charming photo titled, "Me with Action Man and Sister, 1970," a young Brit and his sister pose with some of his gifts next to their table-top Christmas tree. But...what did Sis get? (Photo: jiulong)

In this charming photo titled, “Me with Action Man and Sister, 1970,” a young Brit and his sister pose with various gifts next to their table-top Christmas tree. But…what did Sis get? Aw, who cares? Go, Action Man! (Photo: jiulong)

Parents know they've hit the bulls-eye when they see their son beaming with a smile like this. Merry Christmas, 1988! (Photo: Brian Wilkins)

Parents know they’ve hit the bulls-eye when they see their son beaming with a smile like this. Merry Christmas, 1988! (Photo: Brian Wilkins)

Giving the gift of a new 12" GIjOE (when available!) continues to work it magic with children, as proven in this wonderful photo of "Clay" taken on Christmas morning, 2005. (Photo: ShanVan)

Giving the gift of a new 12″ GIjOE (when available) continues to work it magic with children, as proven in this wonderful photo of “Clay” taken on Christmas morning, 2005. (Photo: ShanVan)

“Aged” Commander is Older, But “Not Bitter”

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The “Aged Commander” GIjOE as envisioned by California-based artist, Maura Condrick, sports a wrinkled face and neck, a wider waistline, and walks with the aid of a (pretty cool-looking) cane. So…where can collectors get one of those nifty 1:6 scale canes, Maura? (Photo illustration: Maura Condrick)

The memorable "Aged Adventurer," as created by the GIjOE Collector's Club, featured an all-new bald headsculpt and unique balding flocked hairstyle. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

The memorable “Aged Sea Adventurer,” as created by the GIjOE Collector’s Club, featured an all-new bald headsculpt and unique balding flocked hairstyle. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

Illustrator Creates Images of Aging Toys

We were sitting around the offices of The Joe Report this morning when our new-fangled teletype machine began chattering away and spitting out pages full of the following so-called (GIjOE-related) “news story.” It’s about an illustrator based out of Venice, CA (‘natch!) named Maura Condrick, who had recently completed a series of photo-paintings portraying a variety of classic toys. (Not so interesting, we thought at first). But…what makes Condrick’s work unusual is that her art imagines what our favorite toys would have looked like if they had continued to age—along with their owners. (Ah! Now THAT’S intriguing!)

Of course, fans and customizers of GIjOEs have been playing around with that sort of “what if” idea for years, the most famous being the club’s very own “Aged Sea Adventurer” (see photo at right). Created as a convention exclusive, the club went so far as to create an all-new, balding headsculpt, flocked with a unique receded hair pattern (see complete review and photos by Sean Huxter on his excellent website HERE). In the article written by Margot Peppers for the UK’s Daily Mail (found HERE), Peppers notes:

“When children grow older, they outgrow their toys, but one artist has imagined what the toys would look like it they aged, too. Maura Condrick’s series ‘Toy Story: The Later Years,’ shows classic toys including Barbie and Ken, GIjOE, Mr Potato Head and Thomas the Tank Engine exhibiting signs of old age like grey hair, wrinkles and a stomach paunch.”

Customizers have taken their creative liberties with famous GIjOE's physique, such as Don Hanke's hilarious "Pot Belly Joe." Now THAT's hilarious! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Customizers have taken their own creative liberties with GIjOE’s famous physique, such as Don Hanke’s hilarious “Pot Belly Joe.” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The images of Barbie with sagging breasts and a spindly-legged Ken are humorous to be sure, but we were more interested in what has become of “America’s Movable Fighting Man.” Apparently, he’s not quite as “movable” as once was, poor guy. According to the article:

“GIjOE now stands with the help of a walking stick and has certainly seen better days. But GIjOE wants to make it perfectly clear—he’s not bitter. He wasn’t bitter when Hasbro reduced him in size to better compete with Star Wars toys in the early ’80s. He wasn’t bitter when Channing Tatum played him in the movie version of his life, and despite rumors that have dogged him since the mid-’60s, the ‘real American hero’ continues to insist, ‘I’m not a doll, I’m an action figure.”

Bottom Line: If you wondering what all this silliness is about, Condrick’s art was created for an entertainment and lifestyle blog called “The Purple Clover” (found HERE) and her imagery works well with the clever commentary penned by blog writer, Larry Carlat. While it’s not a GIjOE “news story,” it IS a pleasant and irreverent diversion for fans (ala a Mad Magazine satire) and an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Hmm…did I take my pills today?

Christmas 2013 “Stocking Stuffers”———All-New 1:6 Scale Accessories———Available in U.S. Stores Now!

Raquel Castro's assorted Ken dolls model 3 of the new 1:6 scale Christmas scarves now available at all Target stores. (Photo by )

“Playscale Miniaturist” Raquel Castro used her assortment of Ken dolls to model three of the six new 1:6 scale Christmas scarves, currently available at most Target store locations. (Photo: Queli)

A closeup of Target's new "Drink Scarf Set" containing 6 holiday-patterned 1:6 scale scarves, perfect for GIJOE, Action Man and yes, Barbie! (Photo: Queli)

A closeup of Target’s new “Drink Scarf Set” containing 6 holiday-patterned 1:6 scale scarves, perfect for GIJOE, Action Man and yes, even Barbie! (Photo: Queli)

THIS JUST IN…THIS JUST IN…

We love receiving hot tips from our ever-growing pool of dedicated and keen-eyed 1:6 scale TJR “Field Reporters.” This time, intrepid investigator and moderator of the famous “In the Pink” Barbie forum, Raquel Castro, sent us the following breaking intel which should set many of you scrambling for your car keys and credit cards. Here’s what Raquel had to say:

“Dear Mark, I have been reading The Joe Report for some time now and I really enjoy it. I’m a dedicated ‘playscale miniaturist’ and am always interested in finding new ‘minis’ for my 1:6 scale dolls. Just recently, I found these miniature Christmas scarves at Target in their seasonal section (the one with all the paper plates and cups).”

The other three scarves look great on these Barbies. Imagine them on your GIjanes and Joes! (Photo: Queli)

The other three Target scarves look great on these Barbies. Imagine them on your GIjanes! (Photo: Queli)

“I apologize that there are no Joes in any of my photos. I wasn’t thinking in terms of your blog when I took them. I’ve never sent The Joe Report any photos before because I’ve always felt that my 1:6 scale ‘finds’ were more geared toward Barbies and not GIjOE action figures. However, from now on, I will let YOU and your readers decide if something I find is ‘Joe-worthy’ or not. Thanks again for your wonderful blog. Keep up the good work and have fun with Joe!”

What are you getting YOUR 1:6 "hotties" for Christmas this year? It's a no-brainer that she'd love all four of these superb copper ornaments, including a skillet, collander, baking pan and jell-o mold. Out-STANDING quality! (Photo: Queli)

These four new copper cookware Christmas tree ornaments are now available from Williams-Sonoma and include a skillet, colander, baking pan and jello mold. MUCH better than your old cheap, pink plastic kitchenware. Eh, Barbie? Imagine how the cooks working down in GIjOE’s “Mess Hall” will react when they see THESE miniature metal masterpieces. Mmm, GOOD! (Photo: Queli)

Don't forget: The miniature cookware are being sold at William Sonoma as ornaments. You may not see them on shelves and may need to look in tree displays to find them (or buy them online). (Photo: Queli)

The miniature cookware are being sold as Christmas tree ornaments, but have far greater 1:6 potential. (Photo: Queli)

Real Copper 1:6 Scale Cookware

In addition to the nifty 6-pack scarf set, Raquel sent in photos of some beautiful miniature copper cookware in PERFECT 1:6 scale. As is often the case this time of the year, the cookware is actually being sold as Christmas tree ornaments, but fans and collectors of 1:6 scale will want to pounce on these four new pieces for use in their next food-related diorama. Imagine the realism they’ll bring to a mess hall, general store, or camping diorama. Too cool!

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to TJR field reporter, Raquel Castro, for her keen and quick “heads-up” regarding these exciting new 1:6 items. Be sure to pick up a 6-pack of mini-scarves the next time you’re in Target, or some of those superb copper cookware ornaments in Williams-Sonoma (also available online HERE). Happy hunting!

WWII B-25 Navigator, Flight Engineer, Gunner & “Tuskegee Airman,” William Booker, Dead at 90

Pioneering aviator, inventor and "Tuskegee Airman," William L. Booker. (Photo: Family of WIlliam Booker)

Pioneering aviator, inventor and “Tuskegee Airman,” William L. Booker. (Photo: Family of WIlliam Booker)

Undeterred by wartime segregation, and unbowed by continued racial prejudice in post-war America, pioneering African-American aviator and inventor, William L. Booker, died of natural causes on November 30th, 2013 in Kirkland, WA, at the age of 90. Booker was one of the few remaining “Tuskegee Airmen;” a legendary group of all-black fighter pilots and bomber crews that broke through racial barriers to achieve numerous victories in the skies over WWII Germany. Later in life, he often encouraged children and students with the following admonition:

‘Take advantage of the many opportunities you now have, those that my generation could not have foreseen, even in our wildest dreams. Remember that there are those of us who struggled to make this a reality for you, because we cared, not only for ourselves, but for you.”

During WWII, Booker appeared much like the men depicted in what is arguably one of the best paintings ever created of African-American bomber crewmen; the extraordinary packaging artwork created by artist Larry Selman for a pair of "Tuskegee Airman" GIjOE action figures. Simply out-STANDING! (Artwork: Larry Selman)

A Tuskegee Airmen bomber crewman as depicted on a GIjOE action figure box. Out-STANDING artwork! (Painting by: Larry Selman)

This closeup of a Tuskegee Airman fighter pilot is from a superb painting by Larry Selman created for Hasbro and its GIjOE line of "Classic Collection" action figures. (Artwork: Larry Selman)

This closeup of a Tuskegee Airman fighter pilot is from a superb painting by Larry Selman created for Hasbro and its GIjOE  “Classic Collection” line. (Artwork: Larry Selman)

After his military service, Booker continued a life of achievement and excellence. His story is one of hard work, innovation, and a clear dedication to duty. According to his obituary in the Kirkland Reporter:

“Booker served as a Navigator and Flight Engineer on the B-24 and B-25 bombers with the 477th Bomber Squadron based at Godman Field, Kentucky. World War II ended before the 477th could be deployed for combat. He later earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Denver and his first work out of college was with the U.S. Dept of the Interior where he helped develop dams and other major infrastructure projects in Montana and Idaho.”

This Boeing E-3 Sentry has been equipped with the massive rotating       provides a quiet "eye in the sky" for forces in the sky and on the ground.

This USAF E-3 “Sentry” aircraft is equipped with an advanced “Airborne Warning and Control” (AWAC) system that Booker helped design electrical applications for while working at Boeing. (Photo: USAF)

“Booker then moved to Bremerton in the 1950s to design electrical systems for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. In 1954, Boeing hired Booker to create electrical applications for some of the country’s most vital defense systems that still remain in service today. These included the massive B-52 long-range bomber and the Airborne Warning and Control System (see above), the distinctive looking dish-shaped radar employed atop Navy and Air Force surveillance aircraft.”

One of the pages detailing the "Electrical Contact Retainer," an invention created by William L. Booker while working for The Boeing Company. (Scan: US Patent Office)

Simple and effective. One of the pages detailing an “Electrical Contact Retainer,” invented and patented by William L. Booker while working for The Boeing Company. (Image: US Patent Office)

“In 1987, Booker was granted a patent for inventing an electrical contact retainer (shown above) that was used in Boeing aircraft. He retired in 1988 after 34 years with Boeing. After retiring, Booker continued to lead an active life. In addition to spending time with his grandchildren, he bred thoroughbred horses and served as president of the Sam Bruce Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.”

 Bottom Line: We sincerely mourn the passing of  Mr. Booker, a positive and inspiring role model for all Americans. We give our sincerest thanks and appreciation too, for his selfless military service to our country, the inventive and productive work he performed while working for Boeing, and for his contributions to American aviation. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to: Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Sam Bruce Chapter 11044 Durland Ave. N. in Seattle. Donations can also be made online and additional information on the Tuskegee Airmen can be found at the group’s website HERE. Finally, we thought you’d enjoy this short video, reminding us all about the courage and determination of “Greatest Generation” heroes, such as Mr. Booker. Enjoy!

“Chef Gina’s” Specializes in Preparing 1:6 Scale Food & Drink for G.I. Joe, Action Man & Barbie

It takes a master chef to prepare these dishes in real-life. It takes a master craftsman and ARTIST to recreate them convincingly at tiny 1:6 scale! This close-up of a 1:6 FEAST is but a small sampling of the extraordinary miniature food and drink products offered by Chef Gina LLC. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Gina King, creator of highly-detailed 1:6 scale food and drink miniatures. (Photo: Gina King)

Gina King, creator of highly-detailed 1:6 scale food and drink miniatures. (Photo: Gina King)

“The majority of our customers are adults who make dioramas for military displays.” —Gina King (aka “Chef Gina”)

Come and Get It—In 1:6 Scale!

Spunky entrepreneur and 1:6 scaler, Gina King, of North Ridgeville, Ohio, wrote into The Joe Report recently to advise us that she’s been creating and selling her own line of miniature food and drink props since 1999, and that her products are ideal for use in any sort of GIjOE-related diorama requiring such items. Our imaginations immediately raced with thoughts of the Joes sitting around our offices and their “pals-n-gals” all set up in historic WWII sidewalk cafe dios, pulling all-night K-P in the Mess Hall kitchen, throwing darts down at the local pub with “me mates,” or just hangin’ and chillin’ in a cool 1:6 scale game room, playing pool and drinking beer. Oohrah!

Adventurer Joe reaches for one of the superb miniature lemon wedges on his fried fish fillet, saying,

Joe reaches for one of the superb miniature lemon wedges on his fried fish fillet while muttering, “I specifically said, NO lemons!” Very accurate 1:6 scale. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

After conversing back-n-forth, Gina kindly offered to provide The Joe Report with some free samples for our (and our reader’s) close-up perusal, and we couldn’t resist setting up a quick, impromptu “photo-shoot” with some hungry and thirsty GIjOEs, so as to demonstrate the exact scale and details of her superb products.

After inspecting the samples, we knew we wanted to learn more about Gina’s amazing “minis” and were just about to ask her if she would consent to an interview when our crack research staff discovered she had just completed a similar interview in the January 2013 issue of Dolls Magazine (DM). It seemed pointless to make Gina “chew on” and “spit out” the same faux food information twice (HA), so we’ve adapted and edited down the most pertinent passages of her DM interview and “re-run” them for you below. Our sincerest thanks to Dolls Magazine and Gina for allowing us to re-share this information with you here again today. Enjoy!

This ultra close-up reveals almost mind-numbing detail. Imagine how real Gina's

This ultra close-up reveals almost mind-numbing detail. How does she do it? Frankly, we don’t really want to know, because it might “spoil the magic” of her miniature masterpieces. Imagine how real Gina’s “faux food” will look in YOUR next 1:6 scale diorama. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

You can almost TASTE this superb Carrot Cake made by Chef Gina. The colors, the textures, the icing, it's ALL perfect at 1:6 scale! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

You can almost TASTE this superb Carrot Cake made by Chef Gina. The colors, the textures, the icing, it’s ALL perfect at 1:6 scale! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

DM: In addition to sculpting miniature food, are, or were you also a chef or “foodie” in real life?

“Yes. I have an Associate’s Degree in Applied Business with a major in Culinary Arts. My specialty was high volume cooking for up to 30,000!”

DM: Your website says you’ve been “Chef Gina” since 1999. How did the business get started?

“Chef Gina’s started on Ebay in 1999. The idea behind making doll food was originally my mom’s idea. In 1999, I was laid off from a job and my mom said, ‘Gina, I always wanted play food for my Barbie’s. Why don’t you make food for Barbie and try selling it on eBay?’ I said, ‘Mom, that’s stupid. Barbie doesn’t even eat. Who’s going to buy that?’ That Easter, my mom gave me a basket full of clay. We worked hours through the night ‘cooking up’ scrumptious food! When the business started to grow, we eventually created our own website (HERE).”

Chef Gina's beverages are the most realistic we've EVER seen at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Chef Gina’s beverages are the most realistic we’ve EVER seen at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Yes, your eyes ARE deceiving you! Although you would swear these are real, 1:1 glasses, they are actually in 1:6 scale. Are you officially

Yes, your eyes ARE deceiving you! Although you would swear these are real, 1:1 beverages, they are actually in 1:6 scale. Are you officially “blown away” by Chef Gina’s work yet? If not, take a good lonnng look at this side-view close-up of the two glasses. You can see all sorts of realistic tiny carbonated bubbles and ice cubes. To us, the goblets even look like they’re “frosty cold.” WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On a diet? Is Gina's carrot cake too

On a diet? Is Gina’s carrot cake too “heavy” for you? This Joe selected a less-caloric Jello 1-2-3 dessert with a perfect swirl of whipped topping. Gina’s real-life experience in the food industry is an obvious contributor to her superb miniature recreations. You have to KNOW food to make it look this good—at ANY scale! Mmm (Photo: Mark Otnes)

DM: Are you a doll collector yourself? If so, for how long? And what kind of dolls do you collect? (How many do you think you own?)

“I am a doll (and action figure) collector. I’ve been collecting since I was a child and now have 140 dolls. My collection ranges from vintage Kellys, Barbies, and GIjOEs, to My Scenes, Bratzs, Genes, Tonners and American Girls. Most of my dolls are out of the box; because I use them for displays.”

This extreme close-up of the Jello 1-2-3 (with Cool Whip) reveals about as much as you'll ever need to know. It...is...GREAT. Look at the attention to detail on that spiffy little swirl! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This extreme close-up of the Jello 1-2-3 (with Cool Whip) reveals about as much as you’ll ever need to know. Look at that spiffy swirl! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

DM: Is Chef Gina’s a sole-proprietor operation, or is there someone else involved in the business?

“Chef Gina’s is a LLC. Including myself, there are four people involved: James, my brother, is the set and design manager. He can design and build anything! A lot of his work has appeared in magazines. Peggy, my mom, you’ll see at conventions and doll shows. And my husband Kelly does all the behind-the-scenes work.”

DM: How would you describe the Chef Gina’s business? Is it just food for dolls or is it something much more? How would you explain it to someone who is not familiar?

“Chef Gina’s is a global brand. We make and sell realistic play-food for fashion (1:6 scale) and larger sized dolls as well as life-sized. At this time, our brand can be found online and in three stores. In addition to providing adult collectors with accessories for their dioramas, our products also influence the creative, young minds of children.”

DM: Is being “Chef Gina” your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?

Chef Gina’s is not my full-time job, even though I do put in full-time hours. My main profession is top secret….I basically sit in a “bat cave” waiting for the call!”

To celebrate our discovery of Chef Gina's outstanding 1:6 products, we

To celebrate our discovery of Chef Gina’s outstanding 1:6 products, we “opened the tap” and told the Adventure Team they could take the rest of the day off. The Land Adventurer and Man of Action take notice of the Sea Adventurer’s “two-fisted” drinking style. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

(Chef Gina's LLC logo)

(Chef Gina’s LLC logo)

Bottom Line: The final results of our inspection are in: the products from “Chef Gina’s LLC” are of absolute top-notch quality and are sure to please even the most demanding detailers and creators of 1:6 scale dioramas. We absolutely LOVE their 1:6 scale mugs of beer, jello desserts, and dinner plates full of food. They’re superbly detailed, durable, and just a lot of fun to play with. The prices too, seem VERY fair for all the detail and professional-quality workmanship you receive. Our sincerest thanks to Gina King for providing all the free samples and for the “heads up” on her fascinating (second) full-time job. What a great business. Go, GINA!

Sunken WWII Imperial Japanese Navy I-400 Class “Super Sub” Located Off Hawaiian Coast of Oahu

This realistic painting of the I-400 shows that is was truly a MASSIVE vessel. While you're looking at this image remember—it's longer than a football field! (Image: Harry Cooper)

Japanese Imperial Navy I-400 submarine with aircraft hangar and launching ramp. (Image: Harry Cooper)

In this WWII image, an American sailor inspects the sub's massive, open hanger door that leads to the interior of the ship where the bomber seaplanes were stored. (Photo: US Navy)

In this WWII photo, an American sailor inspects a captured I-400 sub’s massive, (open) watertight door that leads to a distinctive round hangar where 3 bomber seaplanes (with special folding wings) were stored. (Photo: US Navy)

Longer than a football field, “underwater aircraft carriers” scuttled by US Navy to keep secret from Soviet Union

Imagine if you will, during WWII, having the ability to surface a massive submarine anywhere off the coastline of an enemy nation, quickly launch 2 or 3 bomber aircraft which could fly fast and low so as to avoid easy detection, attacking any designated target and then retrieving the planes and slipping silently beneath the waves to make good your escape.

If successful and frequent, such “stealthy” attacks would have struck terror in the hearts of any nation and possibly altered the outcome of the war. Not surprisingly, the navies of many countries, both Axis and Allied, were experimenting with such “underwater aircraft carriers” and similar deadly innovations. But of them all, by the end of the war, the Japanese Imperial Navy had achieved the greatest success rate, having built 3 of the fearsome, deadly, and game-changing “Super Subs.”

The painting on this model box shows how the I-400 would have looked at speed on the surface, after having launched its 3 bomber seaplanes. (Art: Tamiya Models)

The painting on this model kit box shows how the Japanese I-400 sub would have looked while running at speed on the surface, and after having launched its 3 bomber seaplanes. (Art: Tamiya Models)

In this undated, captured WWII photograph, Japanese submariners can be seen crouching for cover as one of their bomber seaplanes is launched by catapult, somewhere in the Pacific. (Photo: US Navy)

In this undated, captured WWII photo, Japanese submariners can be seen crouching from the prop-wash of a bomber seaplane as it is launched by catapult off the ship’s deck, somewhere in the Pacific. (Photo: US Navy)

The Enemy Below—Discovered!

Editor: I know I’ve “buried the headline” somewhat today, but here’s where we were headed:

In a surprise announcement made last week by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory at the University of Hawaii, it was revealed that one of the three known I-400 submarines, which had been scuttled by the US Navy after the war, has been discovered—again—at the bottom of the ocean—just off the coast of the island of Oahu. It is yet another startling WWII-related find, the latest in a string of such finds (many of them reported here on The Joe Report) concerning lost, crashed or sunken warships and military aircraft. According to CNN:

“The I-400 submarine was discovered in 2,300 feet of water off the southwest coast of Oahu. ‘Finding it where we did was totally unexpected. All our research pointed to it being further out to sea,’ said Lab Ops Director and Chief Sub Pilot Terry Kerby.”

This authentic (color-enhanced) B&W WWII photo of an I-400 sub at sea gives an idea of just how long and imposing they were. Absolutely breathtaking! (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

This authentic (color-enhanced) B&W WWII photo of an I-400 sub at sea gives an idea of just how long and imposing these Japanese warships were. Absolutely breathtaking! (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

Aptly named “Super Subs” Remained Unparalleled in Size Until 1960s

It’s also important to remember that at the end of WWII, there was nothing as large as the I-400 submarines (operating underwater) anywhere on the globe. These massive vessels made the vaunted “Wolf Pack” U-Boats of the Kreigsmarine (German Navy) look absolutely puny by comparison (see previous story on the famous U-505 HERE). The CNN article went on to say:

“At nearly 400 feet long, the I-400 and its two sister ships were the largest submarines ever built before the nuclear age. Initially conceived as a weapon to target the U.S. mainland and capable of reaching any point on the globe without refueling, the subs were effectively underwater aircraft carriers outfitted with three folding-wing seaplanes capable of carrying an 1,800-pound bomb.”

This WWII photo shows the battle-scarred deck and conning tower of a captured Imperial Japanese I-400 class submarine, with its "game-changing" water-tight hangar door (located just forward and below the deck gun) shown in its surfaced, open position. Bomber seaplanes (stored inside) would exit, attach to a catapult, and launch from the sub to attack targets both at sea and on land. For retrieval, the aircraft would rendevoux with the sub and be lifted aboard with the ship's crane (not shown). (Photo: US Navy)

This rare closeup WWII photo shows the hangar and conning tower of a captured Imperial Japanese I-400 class submarine, with its “game-changing” water-tight hangar door (located just forward and below the deck gun) in its surfaced, open position. Bomber seaplanes (stored inside) would exit, attach to a catapult, and launch from the sub to attack targets both at sea and on land. For retrieval, the aircraft would rendezvous with the sub and be lifted aboard with the ship’s crane (not shown). (Photo: US Navy)

This revealing bow and stern view of the I-400 class submarine shows how its conning tower was constructed in a very similar way to that of a traditional aircraft carrier. (Image: subcommitte.com)

These bow and stern views of the I-400 reveals how its conning tower was constructed in a way similar to that of a traditional aircraft carrier. (Image: subcommitte.com) Click to enlarge.

Imagine the damage the I-400 submarines COULD have done to Allied interests had they had more time or been produced in greater numbers. But as the CNN article revealed:

“The ships were never used to attack the mainland United States and saw only limited service before Japan surrendered in 1945. But their novel design represented a tactical shift in thinking about the use of submarines, which until then had been strictly seen as anti-ship weapons.”

This WWII photo showing the sub's crew massed up on deck, provides an even better idea just how BIG these Japanese "Super Subs" really were. (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

This WWII photo showing the entire ship’s complement amassed up on deck, provides an even better idea just how MASSIVE these “underwater aircraft carriers” really were. (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

What we find especially interesting is that after almost 70 years, the (re)discovery of this submarine is still considered somewhat of a sensitive subject, requiring the University of Hawaii researchers to proceed carefully and slowly before announcing their findings to the world. According to CNN:

“The sub was found in August, but the lab didn’t notify the public (in November) until after informing the US State Department and the Japanese government. With tensions rising between the Soviet Union and the United States after the war, the US Navy scuttled the ships to avoid their advanced technology falling into the hands of the Soviet Navy in what would become one of the first intrigues of the Cold War.”

In one of the last photos of an I-400 taken before its heading out to sea (and subsequent capture by the US Navy), this peaceful sunset image (colorized B&W) provides a good view of the sub's unusual round aircraft hangar and a few sailors for a sense of scale. (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

This peaceful sunset image (colorized B&W) provides a good view of the sub’s unusual round aircraft hangar and a few sailors up on deck provide a sense of scale. (Photo: Rtas Vaduum)

I-400: Japan's Secret Air Strike Submarine, by Henry Sakaida, et. al, (Photo: Hikoki Publishing)

I-400: Japan’s Secret Air Strike Submarine
(Photo: Hikoki Publications)

Bottom Line: What an amazing discovery! And there’s so much MORE to this story than we could possibly hope to cover here. For example, did you know that one of the 3 Super Subs had been tasked with destroying the Panama Canal, thereby greatly slowing Allied ship movements to and from the Pacific? And…that one of the subs was even painted in US markings for its final mission? What happened to them all? If you’d like to find out, we highly recommend reading “I-400: Japan’s Secret Air Strike Submarine,” a 2006 book by Henry Sakaida, et. al, that can be purchased in bookstores and on Amazon HERE.

Finally… if you’re a submarine fan or WWII history buff (and who isn’t?), we highly recommend viewing the excellent (1-hour) “Super Subs” video that we found over on YouTube (click on link HERE). Enjoy—and “Dive! Dive! Dive!”

Catching Up With: Robin and Skip Are———Pioneers in the Design and Production of 1:6 Scale Civilian Clothing For G.I. Joes and Other Action Figures

Jason Stone is a big fan of the classic comic book superheroes. He ask us to make him a cape and trenchcoat for his version of the Crimson Avenger. He customized the craft store cowboy hat, added the chain closure to the cape and the mask, and came up with a very sharp looking figure. "Super" job Jasonl!

According to Skip Are, “Jason Stone is a big fan of the classic comic book superheroes. He asked Project ARE to make him a cape and trenchcoat for his version of the Crimson Avenger. He customized the craft store cowboy hat, added the chain closure to the cape and the mask, and came up with a very sharp-looking custom figure.” (Photo: Jason Stone)

Skip Are, the self-described "General Flunky" of Project ARE Action Outfitters. (Photo: )

Skip Are, the self-described “General Flunky” of Project ARE Action Outfitters. (Photo: Chickenfat)

“Being small, we are able to offer a level of value, service and flexibility that is not possible with mass-produced or overseas production.” —Skip Are, Project ARE Action Outfitters

When it comes to outfitting your next 1:6 scale custom figure with good ol’ civilian “basics” (i.e. t-shirts, shorts, shirts, pants, coats, etc.) that are affordable, available in a variety of colors and styles, and are expertly sewn and readily available, one name and number should immediately leap to the top of your speed-dial: Project ARE.

If you’re a collector or (even better), a customizer of 1:6 scale, we’re probably already preaching to the choir. But if for some reason you’ve never seen the work of uber-talented seamstress Robin Are and her ever helpful husband Skip Are, then listen up my friend; because we’re about to provide you with some VERY valuable “insider intel.” We contacted Skip at home recently and he kindly consented to the following exclusive interview. Herrrrrrre’s Skip!

This image of The Joe Report's own Sea Sled Team, reveals three orange-suited scuba divers all set for action, each outfitted in Project Are's amazing lycra scuba suits. Their fit and detailing is superb, and we don't have to worry about them dry-rotting or sticking to the sleds. Outstanding! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This image of The Joe Report’s own Sea Sled Team, reveals three orange-suited scuba divers all set for action, each outfitted in Project ARE’s amazing lycra scuba suits. Their fit and detailing is superb, and we don’t have to worry about them dry-rotting or sticking to the sleds. Outstanding! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Skip's own custom "Hardy Boys," outfitted in some of Robin's superb 1:6 scale flannel shirts and bluejeans. (Photo: Skip Are)

Skip’s custom “Hardy Boys,” outfitted in some of Robin Are’s superb 1:6 scale shirts and jeans. (Photo: Skip Are)

TJR: Before we begin, I just wanted to tell you tell you how BIG a fan I am of Project ARE, and of Robin’s and your work and contributions to the 1:6 scale collecting community. I’ve purchased a few of your scuba suits and t-shirts and I absolutely LOVE the fit and quality!

“Thanks. And it’s good to hear from you again, Mark.

TJR: I know you’ve been a GIjOE fan and collector since 1964 and that your wife, Robin, was in the Navy and has been sewing clothing and accessories for 12″ action figures since 1996. But could you remind our readers about “the early days” and your connections to Adventure Gear? I have to admit I’m a little “late to the party” on that subject. Who did what for whom?

“Robin and I started making a few things in the mid-90’s, before we had ever met Tom Calhoun. Things like sandbags, T-shirts, shorts, that sort of thing, and we sold them at local toy shows. There were a few military customizers at the time, but no one was making civilian type clothing. Then I ‘met’ Tom through the old Sandbox, and we starting discussing having a website to sell stuff. Tom made suggestions of product, and we did what we could to make them.”

Rex Kwiecien outfitted this Joe in one of Project Are's reproduction 'Fight For Survival' arctic outfits to create an Israeli arctic explorer. Fan-FREEZING-tastic! (Photo: Rex Kwiecien)

Rex Kwiecien outfitted this GIjOE in one of Project Are’s repro ‘Fight For Survival’ arctic outfits to create an Israeli Arctic Explorer. Wow! (Photo: Rex Kwiecien)

“Then Tom established Adventure Gear and we made the items for him. He accepted the orders, and we filled them from here. Robin did all the design work and all the sewing, and we did 3 shows with Tom. Things were really growing for us all, and we even produced a couple of sets for the Sandbox, the ‘Sandstorm Rescue’ set and the ‘Return to Spy Island ‘set.”

TJR: Sounds like a very successful beginning for any 1:6 business. What else did you work on?

“Well, we had flocked Cots action figures for sale LONG before it became common to have figures flocked. And we carried lots of accessories too. We even did some commercial work for Burton Snowboards and Trinity Communications. Oh! We were also featured on the back of ‘Outdoors Magazine’ once!

Project ARE's superb "Pirate" outfit features a unique lace-up front. Tremendous detail! (Photo: Skip Are)

Project ARE’s superb “Pirate” shirt features a unique lace-up front. (Photo: Skip Are)

TJR: Outstanding. What happened next?

“Well, after a couple of years, Tom found someone in Charlotte who could arrange to have things sewn in China. So…he decided at that point that some of our more popular items could be made there. We went our separate ways, and Tom continued on with Adventure Gear, having items that Robin had designed sent to China to be copied, and also sending more original AT items there as well. He was selling stuff up until a couple of years ago, but I have no idea whether he is anymore.

TJR: I see. So, is that when you and Robin decided to form your own company?

This superb custom Adventure Teamer created by Alan Grabie is wearing khaki pants with cargo pockets, a turtleneck with embroidered AT patch, and an elastic web belt—all made by Project ARE. WOW! (Photo: Alan Grabie)

This superb custom Adventure Teamer created by Alan Grabie is wearing khaki pants with cargo pockets, a turtleneck with embroidered AT patch, and an elastic web belt—all made by Project ARE. Outstanding! (Photo: Alan Grabie)

“Yes, we took about a 6-month hiatus after the split while we decided what to do, and finally started “Project ARE Action Outfitters” to continue producing many of the items we had done before, plus some new things that we wanted to make that Tom had no interest in. That was in 2001. We also did some custom work for the likes of Fred Jeska, Mike Cherry, Jim Marianneti of ACES (an early customizer), and John Ivory of ‘John’s Stuff.’ We have continued to make things, dropping many items and adding some, as the tastes of our customers have changed.”

TJR: Excellent. And of course we know that you have a great, easy-to-use website (HERE). But what about Joe Cons and toy shows? Do you ever set up there as a dealer?

“We did a few conventions, then decided that it was just too much work for the two of us. We primarily use the website now.”

TJR: I see. What about Dan Dibiase? We see the figures in his elaborate dioramas wearing a lot of what appear to be your company’s clothes. Is he connected to Project ARE?

“Dan is an excellent photographer and diorama builder, and Tom gave Dan an online home to post his stories and photos on. We’ve actually made a few things for Dan a few years back, but most of the clothing you see in his photos came from Tom. So no, neither Tom nor Dan have ever worked for Project ARE.”

Adventure Gear fills a unique niche in the 1:6 scale hobby, providing top quality outdoor clothing items for your Adventure Team. (Photo: Dan Dibiase, Deering Productions)

Another outstanding Dibiase Diorama. (Photo: Dan Dibiase, Deering Productions)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Skip Are for clearing up all the questions fans have long wondered about. We want to wish him and Robin all the best in their future 1:6 endeavours. Skip sums up their outstanding 1:6 scale business this way:

“Project ARE Action Outfitters is a small company dedicated to providing quality made and unique clothing and accessories for the 1/6 scale action figure hobby. We spend a great deal of time and effort designing and making what we sell, and our goal is to offer only those items which can reflect that effort. We want to satisfy our customers, not through phony slogans or hidden agendas, but through hard work and honest effort.”

FLASHBACK! Robin and Skip Are pose with friend and fellow 1:6 dealer, Barry Vedros (left), many years and many pounds ago, at Joelanta 2002. (Photo: Barry Vedros)

FLASHBACK! Robin and Skip Are pose with their good friend and fellow 1:6 scale dealer, Barry Vedros (left), many years (and many pounds) ago at Joelanta 2002. (Photo: Barry Vedros)

“Christmas Caption Contest” Now Underway; w/MIB “Ghostbusters” Action Figure As Prize

This photo from the Patches of Pride website reveals the prize for their "Christmas Caption Contest" is a brand-new "Winston Zeddemore" action figure from the highly-prized "Ghostbusters" line of Adult Collectibles from Mattel. We've seen these figures up close. They are GREAT. (Photo: Patches of Pride)

This photo from the Patches of Pride website reveals that the prize for their current “Christmas Caption Contest” is a brand-new “Winston Zeddemore” action figure from the highly prized “Ghostbusters” line from Mattel. We’ve seen these figures up close and they are superb! (Photo: Patches of Pride)

Who wants to be a Superhero? No one more than ol' Captain Action himself, obviously! And one lucky superhero and action figure fan will have a chance to win the exact figure shown in the photo above. According to online 1:6 scale dealer, Patches of Pride, the company has recently announced that it is giving away the brand-new figure (over on its Facebook page) to celebrate an upcoming celebrity interview article to be published soon here on The Joe Report. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This brand-new Captain Action figure was donated by Patches of Pride and given away in November to celebrate TJR’s recent celebrity interview with John Stork. (Photo: Patches of Pride)

Who ya gunna call for 1:6 scale cloth patches, decals, AND—free contest prize giveaways?

It’s come to our attention that 1:6 scale dealer (and TJR sponsor) Patches of Pride (PoP) is giving away free 1:6 scale stuff —again! A quick visit to the company’s website HERE or its Facebook fan page HERE reveals details about an event they’re calling the “Christmas Caption Contest.” Curious, we picked up the TJR Hot-line and called PoP’s proprietor, Mark Otnes

TJR: We see you’re holding another contest. Why so soon? Didn’t you just give away a brand-new Captain Action on your PoP Facebook page last week?

“Yes, that’s right. I know it seems sort of soon, but to be honest, we LOVE giving away free stuff to all of our faithful customers and fans. We’ve been in business since 1998, and many of them have been supporters of PoP from the very beginning. Prize giveaways are one way we feel we can ‘give back’ and express our thanks to the worldwide 1:6 scale community.”

TJR: Sounds like you enjoy spreading that “Joe Karma” around. Could you tell us more about this new event?

“Sure! Currently, we’re hosting an all-new contest, based on the time-honored idea that encourages entrant participation and rewards creativity. To enter, all you have to do is write a caption to complete a GIjOE photo-cartoon and email it to us HERE at Patches of Pride. All of the entries will go into a big hopper, and on December 15th, we’ll hold a staff meeting in the conference room where we’ll read them all aloud, one at a time. Whichever one makes us laugh the most—and loudest—WINS!”

This graphic from the "Past Contest Winners" page on the Patches of Pride website shows winner Kent Williams of Pueblo, CO, and the prize he received, a MOC USAF GIJOE uniform set. (Photo: Patches of Pride)

This graphic from the Contest Winners page on the Patches of Pride website shows previous winner Kent Williams of Pueblo, CO, and the prize he received, a MOC USAF GIjOE uniform set. (Photo: PoP)

This graphic from the Patches of Pride website shows their "Safecracker Contest" had not just one, but TEN winners. (Photo: Patches of Pride) Click to enlarge.

This graphic from the Patches of Pride website shows their “Safecracker Contest” had not just one, but TEN winners. (Photo: Patches of Pride) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Your company has built quite the reputation for giving away free prizes. What other sorts of contests do you hold?

“Well, over on the Patches of Pride website, we have what we call a “VIP Mailing List” (HERE) where customers can sign up and receive occasional emails about our VIP members-only contests. Most of them are trivia question contests that we like to call, “Are You Smarter Than a Joehead?” Those are very popular. Then there’s the “Let’s Give Something Away Free” contests we hold over on our Facebook fan page (HERE). Those are pretty straightforward giveaways. You just leave a comment and you’re eligible. What’s not to like about that? And now and then, we’ll have special giveaways like our “Safecracker Contest” or this newest “Christmas Caption” one, that require a little more thinking or skill. It sort of ‘culls the herd’ a little and makes it more challenging—and FUN—when they win.”

TJR: Finally, could we possibly share the first panel of your “Christmas Caption Contest” with our readers? I’m sure there are many clever 1:6 fans out there who could write the missing punchline for you and would love to have a chance to win that great Ghostbusters figure.

“Sure thing. The more the merrier! And please remind them to send their funniest captions directly to our PoP email box HERE. Enjoy!”

The first panel of Patches of Pride's "Christmas Caption Contest" features a (giant?) can of the very same "GIjOE Beer" that was recently discussed here on The Joe Report. (Photo: Patches of Pride)

The first panel of Patches of Pride’s “Christmas Caption Contest” features a can (or barrel?) of the very same “GIjOE Beer” that was recently discussed in an article here on The Joe Report. Contest ends 12-16-2013. (Photo: PoP)

The Joe Report is sponsored by Patches of Pride. All products are proudly made or assembled in the USA.

Bottom Line: With all their contests and the large number of free prizes being given away by Patches of Pride, it seems like a “no-brainer” that 1:6 fans should keep the company’s website bookmarked and pay them regular visits. We recommend that you also “like” PoP’s Facebook fan page HERE so as to keep an eye on their daily activities.