Monthly Archives: April 2014

Joelanta 2014’s Indoor “Parachute Drop” A Popular Event For Fans, Families and Friends

Passing the torch— GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Ryan Bonavia (r), with his children Logan (11) and Ella (6), waiting for the beginning of Joelanta 2014's "Parachute Drop." (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Passing the torch—GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Ryan Bonavia (r), with his children Logan (11) and Ella (6), wait for the beginning of Joelanta 2014’s “Parachute Drop” in Atlanta, GA. This year, Bonavia chose to “sit this one out,” preferring instead to allow his children to perform the drops. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Ryan Bonavia, bears more than a passing resemblance to the Simpson's "Dr. Nick Riviera," but both categorically deny being an "inept, quack physician." (Art: Matt Groenig)

Ryan Bonavia, bears a striking resemblance to The Simpsons character, “Dr. Nick Riviera” (above). But both men categorically deny being “inept, quack physicians.” (Art: Matt Groenig)

“This was Ella’s first parachute drop and Logan’s fourth. They had a blast and told me they can’t wait for next year. I’m a toy dealer, so I have to set up and work most of the time at these events, but they still love ‘coming to shows with Daddy.’ Gabriel and Logan just met here at the ‘drop’ but then hung out playing and customizing their figures. Joelanta’s always a fun show and we love attending!”
—Ryan “Dr. Nick” Bonavia

March 15th, 2014: In years past, grown men eagerly jockeyed for elevator space at the Marriott Century Hotel in Atlanta, GA, tightly gripping parachute GIjOEs in their hands and mentally rehearsing various “toss-n-release” techniques they hadn’t used since they were kids. Why? Because any chance to participate in a Joelanta “parachute drop” was a unique and special opportunity, and they weren’t going to miss it.

By contrast, at this year’s extravaganza, while (some) adults were participating, for undeclared reasons, the majority in attendance elected to “sit it out” and act instead in a supervisory role—for their children. Perhaps many (adult) “jump veterans” of past conventions had grown tired of the up-and-down elevator rides, or now simply preferred to watch from below. Whatever the reasons, it was obvious that an unofficial, unspoken “passing-of-the-torch” was underway.

New friends Gabriel Cauthen (l) and Logan Bonavia (r) discuss the best ways to hold and toss their GIjOEs to ensure they have a full 'chute deployment and a safe descent. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

New friends Gabriel Cauthen (l) and Logan Bonavia (r) debated the best ways to hold and toss their GIjOEs to ensure they had a full ‘chute deployment and a safe descent. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

All around us, “Elder” GIjOE fans (fathers, uncles, grandfathers, etc.) were handing over their beloved parachute Joes and reassigning the majority of the evening’s upcoming “drop missions” to a younger generation. Among the children especially, a palpable excitement and anticipation began to grow. For many of them, this would be their FIRST parachute drop, and the fact that their parents were letting them ride up and down the elevators unsupervised was also a very BIG deal.

La Familia Bonavia

The family of Toy Federation head honcho, Ryan Bonavia (see photo at top), was a perfect example of the evening’s more youthfully skewed dynamic. Ryan’s son Logan (age 11) and his daughter Ella (age 6) ran up to us, plaintively asking a variety of questions including, “How do I throw this?,” “How high up should we go?” and “What if the ‘chute doesn’t open?” We calmly answered their questions, and tried to reassure them of the likely results. Satisfied with our answers, they looked up to the top of the atrium again in eager anticipation. This was going to be COOL!

Similar to a fireworks display, as the Joelanta 2014 parachute drop commenced, fans turned their eyes skyward and "oohed and aahed" over the different shapes, sizes and colors of parachutes falling down around them. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Much like watching a fireworks display, when the Joelanta 2014 parachute drop commenced, fans turned their eyes skyward to “ooh and ah” over the different shapes, sizes and colors of parachutes falling down around them. It’s clearly a prime “photo-op” for everyone as well! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This is the vertigo-inducing view fans have when they look up in the triangular atrium at the Marriott. If you look carefully, you'll notice a yellow-parachuted GIjOE is drifting perilously close to "the void" of the three elevator shafts. This Joe did indeed, go into the void, and ended up snagged up on a cable. His ultimate fate remains unknown. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This is the vertigo-inducing view fans have when they look up in the triangular atrium at the Marriott. If you look carefully, you’ll notice a yellow-parachuted GIjOE is drifting perilously close to “the void” of the three elevator shafts. This Joe did indeed, go into the void, and ended up snagged on one of the cables. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A Perfect “Drop Zone” for GIjOE

Over the past 10 years, the Marriott Century Hotel’s massive indoor atrium in Atlanta has proven to be an excellent and (mostly) safe “drop zone” for the tossing of GIjOE USMC paratroopers, Army Golden Knights, and a wide assortment of Adventure Team and Action Man skydivers. Other than an occasional unopened parachute, or lost figure in an elevator shaft, hotel security has had little to complain about.

When tonight’s event was finally given a “GO!,” fans sat back and watched as elevators quickly filled up with happy children (and some adults), destined for the hotel’s top floor. Soon, GIjOEs of all sorts began drifting down, some snagging on plant boxes or wall sconces, but most successfully reaching the lobby floor where they were caught by some helpful fan, child, or hotel employee. Ryan and I smiled at each other as his children came back down and fed us continual updates on their success. Ella’s smaller parachute-toy had required some untangling and an occasional “search party” to find it, but otherwise, all went very smoothly.

Joelanta regular, Jack Hall (center), untangles the cords of an Adventure Team GIjOE parachutist he had just caught, so as to prepare it for return to its rightful owner. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Joelanta regular, Jack Hall (center), untangles the cords of an Adventure Team GIjOE parachutist he had just caught, so as to properly prepare it for return to its rightful owner. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: As usual, a few errant figures disappeared into the hotel’s elevator shafts, but after an hour of safe, silly fun, most were reunited with their owners, and Joelanta’s 2014 parachute drop was declared to be an unqualified success. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to Ryan Bonavia and his wonderful family for their participation and contributions to this article. After 10 years in the same location, Joelanta’s parachute drop has set the standard and become one of the hobby’s grandest and most enjoyable spectacles. If you’ve never experienced the simple pleasure of tossing, catching or watching a “flock” of parachute GIjOEs in free-falling action, then you need to get yourself out to next year’s Joelanta. GERONIMO!

All-Volunteer Group of G.I. Joe Fans Combine Forces To Create A “Dirty Dozen” at Joelanta

PoP's "Dirty Dozen" at Joelanta 2014 consisted of (from r to l): Bryan Tatum, Haz Ardis, Brad Curry, NAME, Keith Mayo (back), Chung Kim (front), Terry Lee Stair Sr., NAME, Kids name, Jim Moore and NAME. The final member, NAME, is not shown. Each generous member gave freely of his time to assist sole-proprietor, Mark Otnes, hand out free candy, business coupons and gift buttons. Whatta group! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

PoP’s “Dirty Dozen” actually consisted of 13 volunteers at Joelanta 2014 (11 of whom are shown here), including (from l to r): Bryan Tatum, Haz Ardis, Brad Curry, Chet Peters, Keith Mayo (back), Chung Kim (front), Terry Lee Stair Sr., Tearle Ashby, Michael Dickey, Jim Moore and John Keater. (Scott C. Stewart and Gordon Mayfield are not shown). Each member generously gave of his own time to assist sole-proprietor businessman, Mark Otnes, hand out free candy, savings coupons and free gifts including 50th Anniversary GIjOE buttons, t-shirts and action figures. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Carlos Morrison, holds up the MIB "Sergeant York" action figure he had just won as one of Patches of Pride's "instant winners" at Joelanta 2014. Free packets of "PoP Rocks" candy were handed out by members of PoP's elite "Dirty Dozen" volunteers, and on the back of Carlo's pack of candy was a sticker declaring him as an "instant winner!" After showing the candy wrapper to one of the Dirty Dozen, he was awarded his free gift. Now THAT'S "Joe Karma!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE fan and toy dealer, Carlos Morrison, holds up the MOC “Sergeant York” action figure he had just won from Patches of Pride at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Spirited Group Donates Time and Effort To Help Sole-Proprietor Advertise His 1:6 Business

“This guy came by my booth handing out free packets of candy and saying, ‘PoP Rocks! PoP Rocks!’ At first, I thought he worked for a candy company or something, but then he said he was helping out with something called, ‘PoP’s Dirty Dozen.’ I turned my packet over and on the back it said I was an ‘instant winner!’ That was pretty cool.” —Carlos Morrison

The “Spirit of Joe Karma” was clearly alive and well at last month’s Joelanta GIjOE and Action Figure Show held in Atlanta, GA. During that event, 13 diverse individuals came together in the spirit of helpful camaraderie and selflessness to aid a man most of them had never met, fellow “Joehead” and 1:6 scale entrepreneur, Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride (PoP).

Lucky attendees at Joelanta 2014 received free packets of PoP Rocks candy from volunteers of PoP's "Dirty Dozen." On the back were stickers with "lucky prize numbers" and notifications of "instant winner" status. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Fans who received free packets of PoP Rocks candy noticed that on the back were stickers designating either a prize number or instant winner status. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A month earlier, Otnes had placed a straightforward want-ad on Facebook asking for volunteers to help him distribute prizes and promotional materials to guests and attendees of the show. Much to his surprise, a large group quickly stepped forward offering their assistance, free of charge and without hesitation. Otnes quickly dubbed his gung-ho assistants “PoP’s Dirty Dozen,” and promised each that he would receive a free 50th Anniversary GIjOE t-shirt as a show of thanks for their assistance.

This closeup reveals that each member of PoP's "Dirty Dozen" received a free "unofficial" 50th Anniversary GIjOE t-shirt, a special "Dirty Dozen" button, and one of the ultra rare-n-square 50th Anniversary pin-on buttons. Sweet! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This closeup reveals the nifty 50th GIjOE t-shirt each member of PoP’s “Dirty Dozen” received, along with unique Dirty Dozen and “rare-n-square” 50th Anniversary buttons. Sweet! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Patches of Pride was one of the sponsors of the Custom figures and Dioramas competition at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark OTnes)

As one of the official sponsors of Joelanta’s custom figures and dioramas competition, Patches of Pride posted its impressive banner nearby. As always, the quality of the entries was superb! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

During the show, each member made their way around the showrooms, handing out the free 1:6 gifts, candy and PoP promotional materials, providing Otnes with an extremely valuable “person-to-person” workforce that normally would have cost him a small fortune. Afterwards, an obviously ecstatic Otnes couldn’t stop praising his illustrious team of volunteers, expressing his sincerest gratitude time and time again:

“These guys were Heaven-sent! I mean, for the entire weekend my business’ labor force jumped from just one person (me) up to twelve! Thirteen actually, when you count my ‘unofficial’ extra helper, Chung Kim. I can’t thank them enough for all their generous help. Usually it’s just me doing all of this promotional work, trying to spread the word about my business, So I was THRILLED to have so much help at Joelanta!” —Mark Otnes, Patches of Pride

There was even a special sign set up at the entrance to Joelanta, welcoming the attendees and urging to "Look for the fans wearing THIS button!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

There was even a special sign set up at the entrance to Joelanta, listing all the members, welcoming show attendees and urging them all to “Look for the fans wearing THIS button!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Dirty Dozen member, Brad Curry, looks through bins for German uniform pieces while taking a break from handing out free samples of PoP Rocks candy. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Dirty Dozen member, Brad Curry, looks for German uniform pieces at Joelanta 2014. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: It’s wonderful to hear of such a clear-cut example of “Joe Karma” and to learn that in this day and age, there are still so many helpful fans willing to selflessly come to the aid of a Joehead in need.

As the sun began to set on the final day of the show, Otnes gathered his team of volunteers together outside by the hotel swimming pool for one last vital and important mission: to pose for a group photograph (see that pic at top of this article).

Afterwards, instead of hurrying back to the show, many of the members simply lingered in conversation, clearly in no hurry to leave one another’s company, preferring instead to share some rare quality “Joe time” with their new-found friends, while relishing in their mutual satisfaction of a job VERY well done.

Go, JOE! Go, Dirty Dozen! Go, PoP!

You’re Never Too Old———70 Year-Old Retired Man “Getting Over Bout of Cancer” By Creating 1:6 Scale Miniature Dioramas For Fun and Profit

Mini dorama and display stand creator, Joe Hodge, mans his booth at Joelanta 2014. A quick glance at his products reveals superb craftsmanship. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Mini diorama and display stand creator, Joe Hodge, mans his booth at Joelanta 2014. A quick glance at his products reveals surprising and superb craftsmanship with myriad details. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Joe Hodge (70), stood with his hands on his hips, squinting with an inquisitive eye as he studied the crowd milling around him. He was behind his dealer’s table at Joelanta 2014, manning a booth full of his expertly assembled, hand-crafted, hand-painted and “ready-to-use” 1:6 scale miniature diorama scenes, all the while watching, waiting and wondering about the fans passing by.

“Hmm…This is a strange crowd,” he mumbled, to no one in particular.

Hodge knows crowds. He can read them like a book. He’s had a lifetime of experience selling to all sorts and sizes, from all around the country. After a stint in the Marine Corps, he worked over 40 years as a professional jacket embroiderer, creating custom-embroidered “show jackets” for owners and fans of collector cars and hot rods. He’d travel from one car show to another on the nation’s busy “car show circuit,” setting up huge dealer tents displaying an array of colorful jackets and then busily embroider elaborate designs of cars, logos and custom names, all made “while you wait.”

Nowadays, Hodge is supposed to be fully retired. But on this weekend, he’d decided to travel from his home in Fountain End, SC to attend the world’s famous Joelanta GIjOE and action figure show in Atlanta, GA, hoping as he said, “to earn a little spending money.” Joe also had some more “personal” reasons for being there. According to Hodge:

“I getting over a bout of cancer. I decided to start making these miniature 1:6 diorama scenes to keep my hands busy. The hardest thing about making ’em is finding a reliable source of materials. I’m always looking for good wood, styrofoam and other supplies. Sure, I’ll go to Hobby Lobby for the basics, and sometimes I find things at florists and hardware stores, but it’s a challenge! But all it is, is a hobby. I’m not getting rich doing this.”

As I was about to walk away, Joe stuffed his business card into my hand and said, "Here's how to reach me. I don't have a website, and I doubt I ever will!" (Photo: Mark Otnes)

As I was about to walk away, Joe stuffed his business card into my hand and said, “Here’s how to reach me. I don’t have a website, and I doubt I ever will!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Intrigued by his story, I studied Hodges “stands” for a while longer and realized that they were ideal for anyone wanting to set up a mini-diorama scene that didn’t require much space on a display table or shelf. Imagine working days or weeks on a custom figure. What do you do with it then? Box it up? Put it in your attic? No! Either PLAY with the blasted thing or DISPLAY it proudly on one of Hodge’s excellent mini-diorama stands! Clearly sensing my thoughts, Hodge lamented today’s fans, saying:

People and kids today don’t want to PLAY with their toys anymore. But let me tell you—I’ve been playing with toy soldiers ever since I was a child—and I STILL play with ’em!” 

Bottom Line: Joe’s work is top-notch. And his personal example is very inspirational. We’re thrilled to see someone of his age still actively connected with the fun and creativity of the 1:6 scale hobby. Hopefully in the future, there will be thousands of similar “toy soldier” fans still playing with and customizing their 1:6 scale action figures—well into their 80s, 90s and beyond! Finally, if you’d like to contact Joe to place an order, remember that he doesn’t have a website, so you’ll need to pick up the telephone and call him on his old-fashioned “land line.” Remember those, buck-o?

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FLASH!——— Hallmark Announces Surprise October Release of a “50th Anniversary (Action Soldier) G.I. Joe” Keepsake Ornament For Christmas 2014

This closeup of the upcoming (limited-edition) "50th Anniversary GIjOE" keepsake ornament by Hallmark measures approximately 4.5"h. We assume the Action Soldier box graphics continue all the way around. FANTASTIC! (Photo: Hallmark)

This closeup of the upcoming (limited-quantity) “50th Anniversary GIjOE” keepsake ornament by Hallmark measures approximately 4.5″h and should be available in stores in time for Christmas 2014. Although it cannot be determined from this early photo, we assume the Action Soldier box graphics continue all the way around. HOO-ah! Happy 50th, GIjOE! (Photo: Hallmark)

Limited-Edition Ornament Is Not Listed in 2014 Keepsake Catalog

It may seem somewhat early to be thinking about Christmas 2014, but in this case, a little foreknowledge may not be a bad thing. As you’re probably well aware, Hallmark releases its annual Christmas tree ornament selection into stores well before the holidays, and also sells them from a printed catalog and variety of websites. However, what you may not know is that a handful of special ornaments are produced every year that are NOT advertised in the company’s catalog, greatly limiting their quantities and public awareness of their existence.

In addition, Christmas tree ornament collecting has developed into a growing hobby of its own, with a dedicated cadre of followers that—similar to GIjOE fans—belong to a variety of online fan clubs, forums, voluntary e-mail lists and other such enthusiast groups encouraged by Hallmark and other ornament manufacturers. Fortunately (for us Joeheads), one such “ornament enthusiast” also happens to be an ardent GIjOE fan and collector. She’s The Joe Report’s own “ace” Field Reporter, Raquel Castro, who generously filed the following EXCLUSIVE REPORT with our news bureau:

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“This year, Hallmark is releasing a 50th Anniversary GIjOE ornament on Saturday, October 4th, during its ‘Debut Weekend.’ Unfortunately, it is classified as a ‘limited-edition’ ornament, which means that there will only be about 6 ornaments available—per store. If your readers want one, they will have to be at a Hallmark store bright and early on that day! It costs $19.95 and is at the most 4.5″h.”

I am a Keepsake Ornament Club (KOC) member, so I can check Hallmark’s members-only website and receive special emails and newsletters about items like this. I also check yulelog.com which is a great resource for Hallmark collectors.” —Raquel Castro

Bottom Line: Once again, our ever-expanding web of Field Reporters has come through with some very juicy and exclusive GIjOE-related intel. Our sincerest thanks to Raquel Castro for this exciting and informative update. Finally, here are a few photos of some upcoming (mass-produced) Hallmark ornaments that may also be of interest to 1:6 scale customizers and diorama builders. Enjoy!

The "Pretty Pink Trike" keepsake ornament measures approximately 3"l x 2.5"h x 1.5"w and would make an ideal decor item for a 1:6 scale Christmas diorama. Love that chrome! And yes, the wheels turn. (Photo: Hallmark)

The “Pretty Pink Trike” keepsake ornament measures approximately 3″l x 2.5″h x 1.5″w and would make an ideal decor item for a 1:6 scale Christmas tree diorama. Love that chrome! And yes, its wheels turn too. (Photo: Hallmark)

Measuring almost 3" in diameter, this light-n-sound mini "Simon" game would look great sitting on a 1:6 scale table between two Joes. FUN! (Photo: Hallmark)

Measuring almost 3″ in diameter, this light-n-sound mini “Simon” game would look great sitting on a 1:6 scale table between two Joes. FUN! (Photo: Hallmark)

Here's another great "vintage" era background item that would add a lot of fun to any 1:6 diorama. This TV ornament plays the Brady Bunch (and ONLY the Brady Bunch) 24/7. HA! With lights and sound, it measures 2.75" h x 3"w. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! (Photo: Hallmark)

Here’s another great vintage or Adventure Team-era background item that would add a lot of fun to any 1:6 diorama. This TV ornament lights up, plays the Brady Bunch theme song, and measures 2.75″ h x 3″w. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Good item for a mini Joe room, game room, or bedroom dio! (Photo: Hallmark)

This 1942 Harley-Davidson "Liberator" motorcycle would look AMAZING as a background (tabletop) model in any 1:6 scale diorama. It die-cast metal with wheels that turn, and measures 2"h x 4"l. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Hallmark)

This 1942 Harley-Davidson “Liberator” motorcycle would look AMAZING as a background (bookcase or floor) model in any 1:6 scale diorama. It’s made of die-cast metal with wheels that turn, and measures 2″h x 4″l. VRROOOM! (Photo: Hallmark)

JoeCon 2014 Closes to (Mostly) Positive Reviews

This superb VTOL Air Adventurer flight diorama was clearly the

This superb, custom VTOL Air Adventurer diorama by Sean Huxter was clearly the “show stealer” of the day at JoeCon 2014. Hand-crafted and 3D-printed, exquisite details were everywhere you looked. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

This feisty

This feisty “Baroness with a Whip” clearly wanted to get into the spirit of the occasion by wearing her handmade, skin-tight Baroness costume to JoeCon 2014. RrrOW! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

Fans Share Reactions to Recent Show

JoeCon 2014 is now one for the history books. Based on forum reviews, e-mails to the editor, and direct first-person “field reports” received here by our news desk, fan reaction to the 4-day event held last weekend in Dallas, TX appears to be primarily—positive. Attendance was similar to last year’s subdued affair in Indianapolis (i.e. “so-so”), not up or down significantly. The 12-inch dealer, fan and collector presence all seemed to be (fairly) well represented, with sales and product equally (fairly) plentiful. And, the number of 1:6 scale custom figure and diorama entries contesting for prizes seems to have held its own this year among a much greater number of 3.75″ RAH entries. It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary “blow-out party” fans had long been hoping for, but overall, JoeCon 2014 would have to be categorized as—a (qualified) success.

Of course, third-person recaps are fine, but nothing beats having first-person “boots on the ground” reportage when covering a major event such as this. For that sort of up-close and personal coverage, we now turn (once again) to our intrepid pool of TJR “Field Reporters,” each and every one a dedicated fan, collector, and concerned analyst of the GIjOE collecting hobby. Here’s what they had to say:

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GIJOE fan and collector, Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

GIJOE fan Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

“I went to the Saturday general admission exhibit area of JoeCon 2014. The show was nice and seemed to be well organized. Overall, it was bigger than the one I went to in Frisco, TX several years ago. There was a good mix of items for sale for both the 12 inch and 3 3/4 inch collectors (with a slight more emphasis on the 3 3/4 inch figures). Being just a general admission attendee, I didn’t get to do anything else, but there was a seminar on the ‘History of GIjOE’ going on in another area while I was there. I had a great time and look forward to the upcoming D/FW show in October!” —Brad Byers

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it's questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it’s questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW GIjOE Club)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW Club)

Dealers and 1:6 scale-related businesses will be interested to learn what Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles had to say about his experiences at this year’s show:

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“I did some quick GIjOE shopping Friday morning, picked up a NICE Irwin Scout Car from Ace, a tan field radio with handset-n-strap from Jason, a pair of machetes with sheathes and an AT Talking Commander Shirt and Pants I found buried way in the back of a 3.75” dealer’s booth.

After lunch, my son and I manned the Cots booth as the 2 PM crowd came in (and what a crowd it was). We stayed busy until 5:15 PM, when they finally ran off the holdout customers in our booths. Contrary to popular belief, there are still 12″ Joeheads coming to this show, and they came to spend money!”

“Celebrating 25 Years of Action,” Cotswold Collectibles continues to step into the 12-inch product “void” created by Hasbro’s near-total departure from 1:6 scale. Cotswold is now producing its own superb line of figures, packaged and sold in vintage-style “coffin” boxes to ever greater success. Bottom line? More lost revenue for Hasbro, and more profits for Cotswold! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“Saturday was just as busy. We sold a ton of stuff and talked to a TON of people. I called it a day at 5 PM again. Didn’t do the club dinner that night for I hadn’t purchased a convention package, so my boy and I just ate in the hotel restaurant, and retired back to our room, wherein he read the stash of GIjOE comics he got that day, and crashed from exhaustion. There was a clandestine para-drop that night, but we were so out of it, we didn’t go.

Sunday was my third and final day at the show. It was slower, so I got to walk around a little. I talked to Brian Savage for a pretty good amount of time, ‘shop talk’ mostly, which was productive.”

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could:

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could: “Build your own Explorer!” by selecting from various colors of backpacks, canteen covers, belts and uniforms. YES! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“Even though the Club didn’t do much in offering 12″ product at the show, you couldn’t say that 12” was dead there. I was representing Cotswold, Ace Allgood and his crew had 5 booths full of vintage 12″ or 1:6 scale product, Ross Craig had a TON of Adventure Team sets and figures, Greg Patterson had an assortment of 40th sets, Eva Thompson had two booths plus of vintage and other 12″ product, Tony Tillman had a TON of loose figures and parts out the wazoo, Cosmic Collectibles had some nice boxed AT vehicle sets as well as good loose parts, and there was even a man and wife team from California(!) with 12″ vintage.”

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was going to be

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was “no 12-inch” at the Con. Each figure bore a price sticker, right on its chest, making sales quick and easy. When faced with such fantastic selection, fans and collectors feel like kids in a candy store as they try to pick their favorites. There’s even a muscular-bodied, CA “Thor” peeking in at the lower right. By, Asgard! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“So from a personal perspective, I’d have to say that this was a fun show and it was great to reconnect with the Con ‘regulars’ I remembered from years back. From a business perspective, we had a lot of people tell us that they had missed us and were happy that Cotswold Collectibles had come back this year. They showed their appreciation financially too, for it was probably the BEST JoeCon we’ve had in years, maybe even the past 10 years! When I sat down and totalled up our numbers, I was shocked at how much we sold.” —Greg Brown, Cotswold Collectibles

This dealer's table included 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man figures and even a group of 1:6 Star Wars characters. Sweet! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Another dealer table loaded with 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man “Eagle-Eye” figures and an assortment of 1:6 scale Star Wars characters. There was something for everyone! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This customized

This custom gold Bulletman figure looked great with his all-new uniform, boots and paint. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Greg’s “after action” report is undeniably upbeat and a relief for other sellers and dealers who were worried that business at JoeCon had all but dried up. But did everyone who attended feel as positively about the show as Mr. Brown? Apparently not. For some additional insight and impartial perspective, let’s hand the microphone back over to some show attendees:

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 “I can’t say that I was all that impressed with the show this year. I swung by, and after an hour, I was ready to leave (and did).” —Michael Milstead

Every year, the GIjOE Collector's Club uses this same display case to show off its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other premiums. This year, the lackluster

Every year, the GIjOE Collector’s Club uses this same display case to present its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other merchandise. This year, their lackluster “Codename: GIjOE” 12-inch set was a disappointment and drew little interest from fans. (Photo: Brad Byers)

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David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

“If you went to Joelanta, you saw 75% of the vintage that was at JoeCon, more than likely with the exception of a few small dealers. For the money, Joelanta was a better choice for me. And scheduling JoeCon so close to Joelanta is a bad idea. Unless you have a deep pocketbook and tons of inventory, it’s difficult to attend two major shows back to back.” —David Howard

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We're not sure who this guy's supposed to be. He looks sort'a like a human geiger counter! Whatever his real character's name may be, this outfit with a giant analog gauge really helped him

We’re not sure who this cosplayer’s supposed to be. He looks sorta like a human geiger-counter! Whatever his real character’s name may be, this costume, with its giant analog gauge really helped him “measure up” to the competition! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“There was a lot of 12″ stuff, there just wasn’t a lot of 12″ collectors, or collectors in general. I don’t know if it was the fact that the dealer room was huge, but this seemed to be one of the lightest-attended Joecons I have been to.” —Joe Czar

Hmm… Interesting! With disparaging remarks such as “lightly attended,” “Joelanta was a better choice,” and “after an hour I was ready to leave,” it appears some fans viewed the proceedings through a slightly different lens. Of course, if you look at the club’s official convention photos (found HERE), you only get the impression of packed halls, busy banquets and energetic dealer rooms full of happy fans. That may be (mostly) true if you’re a collector of the little 3.75″ figures, but it’s clear some 1:6 scalers felt “left out” during this year’s JoeCon. To get a more overall and detailed description of the show from a fan’s perspective, we dispatched our intrepid, undercover Field Reporter, Louie Lapointe (shown below) to cover the events and report back to us with his own honest summation. Here then, is Lapointe’s intel:

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GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“Overall, I saw some great fan enthusiasm at JoeCon 2014. Those that go to JoeCons are a niche group, and they really enjoy being there. I felt a positive chemistry in the air with so many like-minded people gathered together. I frequent Comic Cons as well. At those shows, the vibe is different because there are so many varied interests. At THIS show, I walked past many groups of people animatedly discussing things related to GIjOE. And the lines to see the various ‘Joelebrities’ were also filled with fans, all happy to wait to meet their favorites.”

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. (Photo: GIJCC)

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, poses alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. Speers is widely regarded as one of the “Founding Fathers” of GIjOE. (Photo: GIJCC)

“I also witnessed some outstanding cosplay (costumed players). Being an old ‘Con Rat,’ I’ve seen a vast improvement over the years in terms of costume craftsmanship and care given regarding the portrayal of beloved characters. Most at this show were top-notch!”

Two RAH

Two RAH “cosplayers” show off their carefully constructed costumes with detailed, color-coordinated accessories and headgear. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“As far as custom figures and dioramas, there were some truly inspired, imaginative and downright FUNNY ones on display. And at one booth, there was even some creepy and creative avant-garde pieces to experience.”

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the “Bad Mother Tattoos” tattoo parlor. Note all the tiny details including magazines, books, framed samples, equipment, and even a 1:6 scale tattoo gun. Simply out-STANDING work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This closeup of the 1:6 scale

This closeup of the “Bad Mother” Tattoo Parlor’s 1:6 scale tattoo gun reveals superb attention to detail and miniature realism. Excellent work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“As to vendors and dealers, my impression was, overall, very positive. You could tell that they were fans as well and were knowledgeable about the stuff they had up for sale and/or trade. Most were SUPER friendly, willing to make a deal, and eager to help you find whatever it was you were looking for.”

Fans of 12-inch were surprised and pleased to find many rare figures available at the show. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Fans of 1:6 scale GIjOEs had mixed reactions to the quantity and availability of 12-inch merchandise at JoeCon 2014. Despite that fact, take a look at THESE great figures. WOW! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized “Adventure Primate Elite” figures stands ready to take over the Earth at your command. Even the sign was hand-carved and painted. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“My only complaint—and it’s one that I (sadly) anticipated—was the lack of any real celebration of GIjOE’s 50th  anniversary. I’m 52 now, and I find it kind of funny that the GIjOE sets I couldn’t afford way back when they first came out, I STILL can’t afford today! Oh well, at least, my 20-something son made out like a bandit with his own  particular list of wants. Any time I can share my hobby with him gets a BIG check mark in the positive column!” Louie Lapointe

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to all of the intrepid TJR Field Reporters who generously contributed their time, insights and photographs to this article. And our sincerest and heartiest congratulations to Brian Savage and the rest of his hard-working employees (and volunteers) at the GIjOE Collectors Club. Despite all of the “gripes and grumbles” fans send their way, the club’s professionalism and experience in organizing, promoting, and hosting these annual conventions is undeniable and worthy of fandom’s sincerest admiration and respect. If you’d like to view more photos of JoeCon 2014 and its proceedings, we recommend you visit the GIJCC photo gallery HERE. Mr. Savage also chimed in regarding the recent success of JoeCon 2014, saying:

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“The overall vibe was VERY positive and we raised over $6,000 for the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth! Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write a report for you now, but we will have others writing JoeCon articles for the upcoming (June) issue of the collector’s club magazine.”
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These great medical dioramas NEVER get old. Look at the well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. GREAT job! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

A good medical diorama never goes out of style. This entry in the 1:6 diorama category had well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. Simple and effective. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

There are still copies of this special brass commemorative coin available at the club store. ($25 each). (Photo: CIGCC)

Copies of this commemorative coin are available from the club—for $25! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for the banquet included your choice from these 4 superb GIjOE-themed cakes. Which one would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for attendees of the Con’s awards banquet included a piece from one of 4 superbly crafted  GIjOE-logo cakes. Which cake design would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)

Fan Expectations Remain Low for 1:6 Scalers During This Weekend’s “JoeCon” In Dallas, TX

While better than nothing, the club's "Codename: GIjOE" convention exclusive 2-figure set has generated little excitement among fans who expected something MUCH more creative or inspired for the figure's 50th Anniversary. (Photo: GIJCC)

Is it just us, or do these Joes look bored? While better than nothing, the club’s “Codename: GIjOE” 12-inch convention exclusive set has generated little excitement among fans who expected something MUCH more inspired for Joe’s long-awaited 50th Anniversary. (Photo: GIJCC)

Will it be a Boom or Bust in “Big D?”?

What’s left to say about this that fans don’t already know? Four days of JoeCon 2014 will begin today in Dallas, TX and run through Sunday, April 13th. If you’re going, you’re probably already there, and if you’re not going, you’re probably not regretting missing it much. After all, last year’s JoeCon 2013 in Indianapolis, IN was a great disappointment for most fans of 1:6 scale GIjOEs, and this year’s 12-inch exclusive set has done little to excite anyone. It’s no secret either, that fans of the smaller RAH Joes will be much more likely to attend this show. We wish them all the best as the club continues its undeniable transition into a predominantly 3.75″ fan-based club.

Bottom Line: Whether this year’s convention turns out being good, bad, or in-between, if you DO choose to attend, please feel free to submit written accounts of your observations via email as “field reports,” along with any photos or videos you may take. We’d love to share them with the rest of the world here on The Joe Report. Thanks in advance. And… Go, JOE!

Two G.I. Joe Fans Agree to Record-Setting Deal Enabling Seller to Net $6,500 at Joelanta 2014

Passing the torch of Joe fandom, Jim Besse of New York (right) hands over two of the MANY figures he recently sold to fellow GIjOE fan and collector, Ron Galletti of Florida (left). Galletti and Besse had just completed negotiations on possibly the largest deal EVER conducted at Joelanta, with Galletti paying Besse $5,000 for his entire collection. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Passing the torch of GIjOE fandom, Jim Besse of New York (right) hands over two of the many rare, expensive vintage GIjOE figures he sold to buyer and fellow fan/collector, Ron Galletti of Florida (left). Galletti and Besse had just completed negotiations on possibly the largest deal EVER concluded at Joelanta, in which Galletti paid Besse $5,000 for his entire vintage collection. Combined with profit he made earlier, Besse would end up netting over $6,500 and selling EVERYTHING. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

exclusivebannerEXCLUSIVE: The Besse-Galletti “Super Sale”

GIjOE shows and toy conventions are ideal places for fans, collectors and dealers of all sorts and stripes to get together, talk toys, and buy/sell/trade until their wives (and wallets) scream for mercy. And on the first day of Joelanta 2014, word quickly spread about “some guy” who was offering to sell his entire collection for one big price. Such a “Super Sale” sounded like a serious opportunity, one of those rare occasions where a buyer with deep-enough pockets can acquire a significantly valuable collection of rare, vintage GIjOEs—all in one fell swoop.“This,” I thought, “sounds like a story for The Joe Report!

(Former) GIjOE collector, Jim Besse, double-checks his inventory list to ensure that every item in the vintage collection he had just sold was present and accounted for. Earlier that morning, Besse's massive collection had taken up the entire back wall of the dealer room, with figures covering a long row of tables and filling three shelves. After selling it to Ron Galletti, Jim had to repack it all for shipping to Florida. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

(Former) GIjOE collector, Jim Besse, double-checks his inventory list to ensure that every single item in the massive vintage collection he had just sold was present and accounted for. Earlier that morning, his massive collection had taken up the entire back wall of the dealer room, with figures covering a long row of tables and filling three shelves. After selling it all to Ron Galletti, Jim repacked everything for shipping to Florida (at his expense). (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Passing the Torch—of GIjOE Collecting

Wearing a Michigan Wolverines hoodie, dealer Jim Besse of New York paced back and forth in front of his wall full of vintage, boxed GIjOEs, vehicles and accessories. He’d shipped in hundreds of superb examples of almost every item you could imagine, and displayed it all temptingly in long rows on shelves, tables and deep stacks on the floor. He’d also hung huge hand-lettered signs that said: “50% off labeled price” and “$6,500 Takes ALL!” Why did he go to such trouble? The answer is that it was Besse’s PERSONAL collection he was selling. And despite the obvious emotions involved in such a massive “sell-off,” Jim hoped he would be selling it all today, and he wanted each item to be given the final, appropriate respect he felt it deserved. (Goodbye, old friends!)

As you might have expected, Joelanta attendees and buyers can practically smell quality, vintage GIjOEs. And many were soon hovering around Jim’s impressive personal collection like vultures. Clearly excited about the potential for a big “score,” they began swooping in to snatch up their favorite vintage Joes, and at half-price, who could blame them? Jim handled and eyed each treasured piece one last time, before handing it over to its new happy owner. He knew they were all going to other collectors who would love them as much as he had done, and he was glad that “passing the torch” of his collection was not as sad a moment as he had anticipated. Indeed, as the morning wore on, Jim was kept VERY busy with all the deals he was making and it looked as if he would have little trouble selling off most of his personal collection during the Joelanta weekend.

This photo captures the moment just after Besse had deducted the cost of items sold from his original asking price of $6,500, taking it down to $5,000 for what remained. At this point, Galletti could wait no longer and quickly agreed to "buy it all!" (Photo: wanderlustatlanta.com)

This photo captures the moment just after Besse had deducted the cost of items sold from his original asking price of $6,500, taking it down to $5,000 for what remained. At this point, Galletti could wait no longer and he quickly agreed to “buy it all!” (Photo: wanderlustatlanta.com)

This is How it Ends—And Begins Anew

Nearby, a visibly concerned Ron Galletti of Florida, stood over to one side and observed the proceedings with growing angst and alarm. You see, Galletti was interested in buying ALL of Besse’s collection. And as a die-hard GIjOE fan and collector, he had actually tossed and turned the night before, unable to sleep, for fear that it would all be gone and sold soon. Today, as he silently watched Besse sell off yet another beautiful 5-Star Jeep, he couldn’t help but mutter:

“Dang! There goes something else!

Galletti continued to watch the giant collection being parceled out a piece at a time, and suddenly could take it no longer. Before any more was lost, he approached Besse about his “Take All” offer, and after the two had calculated what had been sold, they agreed the remaining items were indeed worth a little over $5,000. After further soul-searching (and bank account balancing), Galletti agreed to Besse’s price, shook his hand, and said, “Deal!” It was a big moment for both men. One of great relief for Jim, and one of obvious excitement for Ron. Curious, I asked Besse what had prompted him to sell off his entire personal collection. Such weighty decisions don’t come lightly. He replied:

jimbesse“You’re right, of course. My decision to sell off everything wasn’t an easy one to make, that’s for sure, but I felt that the time was right and thought I’d give it a chance here at Joelanta. You see, I’ve been very fortunate in the financial markets and was able to retire early. Now I live like a king in the Philippines, just off the interest of my 401K.

But…my home was recently burglarized as well, and I lost the bulk of my GIjOE collection, over 320 vintage figures! As a result, I decided to sell the rest of it here at Joelanta and get out of the Joe hobby altogether. That way, I won’t have to keep going to toy shows, just to sell off my collection one piece at a time.”

I then turned to Galletti and asked what prompted HIM to buy Besse’s collection. He answered:

rongilletti“Well, I didn’t come to Joelanta to buy a big collection, that’s for sure. It just sorta happened. In fact, I had already spent all my “show cash” before I even saw Jim’s stuff. Bottom line, I bought Jim’s collection because I love GIjOEs and I believe it could also be a good investment. When I went up to tell my wife what I had done, she just looked at me and said, ‘You didn’t.’ And I said, ‘Yup, I did!’

And you know, whenever you see someone selling their own personal collection, you know that the items are in good shape and have been treated with care. As a fellow collector, you also know where a guy selling his own collection must be coming from—deep inside. I mean, when I was a kid, I used to play with GIjOEs ALL DAY! Nowadays, back in Florida, I publish Born to Ride Magazine and also produce a ‘biker lifestyle’ TV show. But I’ll always love GIjOE!”

Rows and rows of Joes had to checked off Besse's master inventory list, then carefully and securely packed for shipment to Florida. Besse admitted he looked forward to not having to deal with such a large group of figures ever again. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Rows and rows of Joes had to be checked off Besse’s master inventory list, then carefully and securely packed for shipment to Florida. Despite the obvious poignancy of the proceedings, Besse admitted he looked forward to not having to deal with such a large group of figures ever again. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: The Besse-Galletti deal at Joelanta 2014 was clearly the exception to the rule. Rarely do fans with such deep pockets and dealers with such deep inventories get together in the same place at the same time. But, as collectors of vintage GIjOEs (or anything else, really) continue to age, ultimately transitioning to “empty nester” status and choosing to down-size their earthly possessions, this sort of big “sell-off ” is bound to become more commonplace at future toy shows. How will that effect prices between buyers and sellers? This evolution in the hobby will be VERY interesting to watch as other collectors attempt similar “big sales” in the future. Stay tuned!

G.I. Joe Cosplayers Creating “Girls of the Finest” 2015 Calendars to Benefit “Wounded Warriors”

The world's most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers will soon combine their considerable talents in an all-new 2015 calendar called, "Girls of the Finest." All proceeds will benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: The Finest)

The world’s most beautiful GIjOE/Cobra cosplayers are combining their considerable talents to create a 2015 calendar called “Girls of the Finest” to benefit the Wounded Warriors Project. (Photo: The Finest)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as "The Baroness" in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful "femme fatales" will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the "Wounded Warriors Project." (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Actress/model, Veronica Orosco, strikes a pose as “The Baroness” in her cosplayer costume. Orosco and other beautiful “femme fatales” will soon grace the pages of a new 2015 GIjOE/Cobra cosplay calendar, proceeds of which will go to benefit the “Wounded Warriors Project.” (Photo: Veronica Orosco)

Another Example of  How “The Power of Joe” Extends Far Beyond Personal Collecting

It’s a simple plan. Perhaps that’s why it’s proving so successful. GIjOE cosplayers from around the world are recruiting the most beautiful of their costumed forces to create a sexy, new “Girls of the Finest” calendar for 2015. They plan to sell the instant collectible to fans and collectors (who will immediately hang them in their Joe Rooms) and then donate all of the proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Project, a highly reputable charity organization dedicated to assisting injured U.S. military service members. We first heard of this superb example of “Joe karma” from actress and model, Veronica Orosco, herself a longtime fan and GIjOE cosplayer:

“Hello Mark, My name is Veronica Orosco, aka ‘The Baroness’ of the GI Joe Fighting 788th. If you’re unaware, the 788th is a regional garrison of ‘The FINEST‘ (the premier GIjOE/Cobra costuming club in the world). In honor of the 50th anniversary of GIjOE, all the different cosplayer garrisons across the US have decided to put together a limited-edition “Girls of the Finest” Calendar with all of the proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project. We’re very excited about this, and are trying to spread the word to as many different fan pages, groups, etc., to help us raise funds to get these calendars out to GIjOE fans! I am GIjOE proud and am very honored to be a part of this amazing calendar to benefit our nation’s Wounded Warriors!

What a GREAT idea! We had never heard of “The Finest” before (see their website HERE), but quickly discovered that its members are well-organized and making full and capable use of the power of the internet; utilizing social media, YouTube, and popular fundraising websites to create awareness and interest in their project. Take a look at the enjoyable, professional and humorous video created for their page on the indiegogo website HERE.

51oLm3PgDIL._SY300_Orosco went on to point out that fans could also visit a new page on Facebook set up exclusively for the 2015 calendar HERE and that The Finest further described the Wounded Warriors GIjOE/Cobra calendar fundraising project in a press release, stating:

“If you’re reading this, you’re probably a big fan of GIjOE. So are we! We’re the women behind the Girls of The Finest 2015 calendar. The 50th anniversary of GIjOE is here, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate this milestone. Trust us, this is no ordinary ‘pin-up’ calendar. We are passionate about the characters we portray and we want to reflect the passion of the GIjOE fandom. All of your favorite female characters (plus a few twists on classic characters) will be portrayed here—12 months of our amazing female coplayers photographed exclusively for this calendar.”

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the "Wounded Warriors Project" charity. (Photo: The Finest)

This recently released image proudly announced that the upcoming calendar project has already been fully funded. In addition to proceeds from the sale of the calendars, all additional funds collected on the indiegogo website will also go directly to the “Wounded Warriors Project” charity. (Photo: The Finest)

Bottom Line: This is another great example of how “The Power of Joe” is extending beyond mere personal collecting, helping others in need. Already funded and underway, the idea for the Girls of the Finest calendar is clearly a popular one (especially among fans and collectors of the 1980s RAH/Cobra line) and we see no reason why this method of fundraising can’t be repeated over and over again for other purposes (Hello, Cody Lane Foundation?). If you’re interested in picking up a copy while simultaneously contributing to the Wounded Warriors Project, go HERE and… Go, JOE!

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FLASH! Hasbro Announces “It’s Had Enough” of Shrinking Sales and Low Public Opinion; Vows to Reintroduce 12-Inch G.I. Joes “In a BIG Way” For Iconic Figure’s 50th Anniversary———and Beyond!

In a stunning reversal of recent corporate silence and indifference towards the world’s “most popular toy,” Hasbro spokesmen (almost giddily) declared today that they were “throwing down the gauntlet” to their competitors and getting back into the 1:6 scale toy universe “in a BIG way.” According to a jaw-dropping press release received today:

“After observing the loss of millions of dollars in sales revenue to industry competitors such as Hot Toys, Sideshow Collectibles, Mattel and others, Hasbro management has recently undertaken a massive reassignment of its personnel. Scores of department heads (across the board) have either been fired or replaced, while an entirely new management team of product strategy specialists, designers and artists are being hired to revitalize our most popular and long-lived brand—G.I. Joe.

We learned our lesson the hard way, and fully admit our error and misjudgment of the loyalty of GIjOE’s fans. We sincerely regret the many years we’ve allowed our (once) superb brand to bounce around in ‘product limbo’ and for depriving millions of GIjOE fans countless opportunities to add new (authentic Hasbro) products to their collections. That will all now come to an end.

David's stunning "High Rescue" helicopter pilot box was also created as an exclusive for the DFW Joe club. (Photo: David Howard)

Rumors are also running rampant that Hasbro has reached out to longtime GIjOE fan, David Howard, declaring, “We’ve seen David’s custom boxes, he really seems to understand what we’re going for.” Our only question is, is Howard’s million dollar signing bonus for real too? WOW. Congrats! (Photo: David Howard)

Our goal for 2015-16 will be the MASSIVE reintroduction and revitalization of “America’s Movable Fighting Man,” utilizing multiple interchangeable versions of the original iconic headsculpt set atop an all-new 12-inch super-articulated body. We’re also returning to an almost forgotten marketing strategy previously known as a “razor and blades” approach, enabling us to provide an ongoing supply of all-new uniform and equipment sets. We’re tired of being labeled as ‘short-sighted penny-pinchers.’ We’re in the toy business to be the BEST! To remind our employees of our company’s newly refocused priorities, we’ve just strung a giant banner across the lobby of our corporate headquarters. Guess what it says? That’s right… ‘Only G.I. Joe,  is G.I. Joe!”

Bottom Line: This is STUNNING news. After all the years of fans griping and groaning, can this possibly be true? By the sound of this press release, the future of GIjOE looks to be in great hands. Who knows what new developments will be announced in the coming months? Now that it’s APRIL, many FOOLS will soon be jumping for joy! (Insert collective GROAN here.)

(Editor’s note: The above story is of course, a complete fabrication, and it was written purely as an attempt to provide our readers with an exciting and entertaining “what if” diversion on April Fool’s Day. We apologize for any “burst bubbles” of hope or anticipation you may have experienced.)

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