Monthly Archives: February 2016

This Just In!———G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Reveals First Pic of 12″ Exclusive Set for JoeCon 2016

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Look out, Joe! This is the first photo released by the GIjOE Collector’s Club revealing the box cover art for an upcoming 2016 convention 12″ figure exclusive. Absolutely TOO COOL! (Photo: GIJCC)

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The Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO, site of JoeCon 2016. (Photo: Embassy Suites) Click to enlarge.

Despite rumors running rampant regarding the national GIjOE club’s somewhat questionable future (see article HERE), Brian Savage and his dedicated and talented staff clearly intend to move forward with their plans to host JoeCon 2016 this coming June, and to produce a new convention exclusive boxed set for fans and collectors of 12-inch figures. Yesterday (Friday), the club released an online version of JoeCon 2016’s official information brochure (see that HERE) and news for 12″ collectors appears to be quite good.

Here’s what the brochure revealed:

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“The Adventures Of G.I. Joe Underwater Diver featuring The Eight Ropes of Danger and Dive into Darkness—This set commemorates the very short run of the 1969 ‘Adventures Of’ series and features a 12” G.I. Joe Aquanaut in a reproduction of a ‘red-top’ long box along with his ‘pork pie’ cap and pants, sweater, dog tag, Label revolver, brown shoulder holster, and black boots.

He also comes with a reproduction Eight Ropes of Danger diving accessory set and a new Dive into Darkness stealth version of the same diving accessory set. All of these items will be packaged together in a display box featuring art from the ‘Adventures Of’ era.”

Bottom Line: This new convention exclusive would be a worthwhile addition to any fan’s 12″ collection. However, as usual, such high-end “swag” from the GIJCC doesn’t come cheap. This set will cost club members $350 and non-members will have to fork out a whopping $440. So…we suppose whether or not you’re interested will (as always) depend on the “depths” you’re willing to take your credit card debt. Of course, we’re nuts for this stuff, so we say…“Dive! Dive! Dive!”

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Wayne Faucher’s Adventure Team Commando “ATXO Battle Armor” Based on Hasbro’s 18-Inch “Titan Hero Series Hulk Buster Armor” Figure

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Ready for Battle— Customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, picked up a set of Iron Man “Hulkbuster” armor at Walmart for $11 (on clearance) and proceeded to custom paint and convert it into the most distinctive and powerful-looking Adventure Team member we’ve ever seen. Absolutely AMAZING work, Wayne. GO, JOE! (Photo: Wayne Gaucher)

Once again, talented GIjOE fans are picking up where Hasbro has (inexplicably) decided to leave off, in terms of creatively customizing and outfitting the world’s most popular 12-inch action hero. In today’s example (of what Hasbro could have done), uber-customizer Wayne Faucher converted another Hasbro product, an 18-inch “Hulkbuster” toy, into a uniquely impressive set of custom “ATXO Battle Armor” for use with his AT Commando GIjOEs. Wayne also generously provided the photos and following commentary for this article—EXCLUSIVELY—for readers of The Joe Report. 

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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

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“I haven’t shown this around to many people (not posted on the Trenches or anywhere else) and I know you always enjoy a first look, so here’s a preview of my Adventure Team Commando ATXO Battle Armor. If you’re interested, it’s a simple modification of the Walmart 18” Hulk Buster toy. I redesigned the head (so our hero is visible), mounted some armament, and designed a color scheme to go with the rest of the AT Commando line. And the best part is, it was only $11 on clearance!

I figured the AT Commandos could use some more advanced brute force and firepower in their fight for justice, and this fit the bill perfectly. I’ve seen a number of repaints of this particular toy on line, so I’m certainly not the first to take a stab at it, but I wanted to incorporate mine into the ever expanding Commando series (see HERE). I used School Bus yellow to give it that industrial “bulldozer” look and trimmed it in the traditional AT black and red. Not a bad weekend’s work! “

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ATXO Battle Armor 3/4 front view (Photo: WEF)

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ATXO Battle Armor 3/4 rear view (Photo: WEF)

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ATXO Battle Armor rear view closeup (Photo: WEF)

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ATXO Battle Armor shoulder closeup (Photo: WEF)

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ATXO operator’s port and weaponry closeup (Photo: WEF)

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For his ATXO, Faucher choose the version of the Hulkbuster armor toys that you can actually open up and place your 12-inch figures inside. FANTASTICO! (Photo: Hasbro)

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“In case there’s any confusion, this is the version of the Hulkbuster that opens up so you can put a figure inside. I actually have a vintage G.I. Joe in mine now. I’m always trying to maintain that throwback quality to my imagined 70s toys. Thanks for looking!”

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Bottom Line: How inspiring! Wayne never ceases to amaze us with talent, generosity and skill as a 1:6 customizer. If you’d like to try your own hand at Faucher’s approach to customizing this toy, remember to look for the version of Hasbro’s Hulkbuster that measures approximately 18-inches in height and opens up in the front. That way, you can put your own 12-inch GIjOE “commando” inside! Our sincerest thanks to Wayne for all his help with this article.

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Unbelievable———Archive of Rare 1960s G.I. Joe TV Commercials Discovered By Vintage3DJoes.com

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50 Year-Old Treasure Trove of Vintage GIjOE Advertising— A cache of B&W and color film reels of 1960s-vintage GIjOE TV commercials—still in their original boxes—was recently rediscovered by the daughter of the films’ director. According to Matt McKeeby, efforts are now moving forward to raise the funds required to restore and digitize the films with plans to ultimately host and share the videos with the public on McKeeby’s famed GIjOE reference website, Vintage3DJoes.com. (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

Director of GIjOE’s First TV Commercials to Be Commemorated w/Restoration of His Films

Catching Up With This Story— Before we reveal the latest, EXCLUSIVE intel, let’s review the background regarding this exciting and evolving story. Regular readers of The Joe Report will undoubtedly recall our previous articles detailing the superb work and service continually being provided to the 1:6 scale GIjOE collecting community by Matt McKeeby (NY) and how, for the last 3 years, McKeeby has been hard at work researching, compiling and documenting Hasbro’s vintage ’60s-’70s lines, one carefully photographed figure at a time, then posting his amazing 360º (rotating) images over at Vintage3DJoes.com for free and public enjoyment (24/7).

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Prepare to FIRE— Have you ever wondered if your Green Beret Machinegun emplacement set was complete? Now you can view the entire set and all its parts in 360º rotating images at Vintage3DJoes.com. Ba-RROOMM! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

McKeeby’s professionally produced website quickly become one of the 1:6 hobby’s highest-ranked, must-see, go-to, photo reference points on the web; garnering both the site, and McKeeby, well-deserved reputations for providing GIjOE fans with undisputed “expert advice” regarding the compilation of an accurate and complete 12″ collection.

But Wait! There Was More

We also reported on McKeeby’s subsequent discovery, digitization, and professional restoration of a handful of previously unknown vintage GIjOE TV commercials from the 1960s (see that story HERE). McKeeby’s stunning finding jolted an increasingly blasé GIjOE collecting community, surprising many of its so-called “experts,” and those who had simply grown complacent in the belief that they’d already “seen it all,” regarding Hasbro’s vintage Joe commercials. Oh, how wrong they (and we) were all proved to be!

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In today’s exclusive story— McKeeby blows away all previous fan expectations by revealing the true fate of all those “lost,” vintage, GIjOE TV commercials. Most of us had long ago given up any hope that they existed at all, believing such advertising gems were routinely tossed out, or had simply been destroyed by some indifferent advertising agency. But thanks (again) to Matt McKeeby, an exciting new discovery of a “cache” of such films is about to shock and AWE the entire GIjOE collecting community. We’ll let Matt take the story over from here, in his own words, in an exclusive, first-person account you’ll only find HERE on The Joe Report. Enjoy!

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GIjOE fan, collector, historian and “curator” of Vintage3djoes, Matt McKeeby. (Photo: Matt McKeeby, Vintage3DJoes)

 

Archive of rare 1960s GI Joe Commercials Found! —By Matt McKeeby

“The origin of this cache of commercials is a remarkable one.  The daughter of the films’ director contacted me on Facebook over a year and a half ago.  She had gone on line to look up GI Joe, wanting to see if her father was mentioned anywhere.  There is lots of history about folks like Don Levine, Sam Petrucci, and others at Hasbro, but the name Herb Dietz wasn’t mentioned. She wanted to know if anyone had heard of him, as he was the man responsible for creating the first commercials that the publicized the brand, the films that made ‘G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe, fighting man from head to toe…’ a jingle sung by tens of thousands of boys in the mid-sixties.”

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From the Desk of Herb Dietz— In this “Partial Credit and Client List” provided by Dietz’ daughter, we can see that Hasbro was indeed a client of renowned ’60s GIjOE TV commercial director, Herb Dietz. This is one more exciting piece of GIjOE’s historic provenance—confirmed! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

“Unfortunately, the message languished in my ‘other’ folder and wasn’t checked for over a year.  When I first saw it last August, I was excited to find out what she had to say.  We got in touch over the phone, and she shared that as a child her father, a World War II veteran, had gone into the film industry in New York, eventually founding the firm Lane Cole Dietz with buddies he had met during the war. (An interesting aside, he eventually married his sweetheart who had become so annoyed to be left behind when he enlisted, that she signed up herself, becoming a military police woman if the Women’s Army Corps, making her a real ‘G.I. Jane.’)”

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On the Set— Director, Herb Dietz (above left, w/glasses), is shown preparing a bag (of money?) for a shot in some unidentified (non-GIjOE) 1960s TV commercial. (Photo: Dietz Family)

Herb’s military experience, as well as his skills as a commercial filmmaker for accounts such as the American Red Cross, Mack Trucks, Pepsi, and many other major companies, made him a natural to work producing and directing these spots.  The early work sold the realistic detail of G.I. Joe heavily, segueing from stock footage of WW II and Korea era stock footage into dioramas of boys playing with our beloved toy.  His daughter was on the set for several of the shoots and remembers getting to take home G.I. Joe figures and accessories, all of which are now gone.  That is particularly sad, as many early issue and rare prototypes were on the set.”

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Military Man Turned Media Man— GIjOE’s first TV commercial director was previously in the Army, as shown in the small photo above (Dietz is wearing the helmet w/goggles) and in a post-war newspaper clipping. His military background served him well during his later years with GIjOE. (Photo: Dietz Family)

“She had contacted Hasbro to see if they were interested in obtaining the films, but received no reply.  After a couple of months discussing them, her interest in making her father’s legacy known became a driving force in our discussions.  Our initial plan was to create a DVD of the commercials, along with a short film detailing her dad’s work.  Hasbro, while willing to allow the commercials to be digitized, was not happy with the idea of ‘unofficial’ product being released.  That moved us to an effort to get them out free of charge to fans everywhere, along with the mini documentary about Herb Dietz via the Vintage3DJoes.com website.”

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There’s a LOT for Matt and Ace to Work With— Building a documentary of Deitz’s work on the early GIjOE commercials will include reels and reels of vintage spots, photos, news clippings, family memories and much more. What an outstanding idea for GIjOE-related project! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

“Commercial filmmaker and G.I. Joe fan, Ace Allgood, will be working to arrange for a top-notch company to digitize the shorts, while I work on the Herb Dietz story with his daughter.  The hope is that we will be able to begin releasing the work in the early summer.  Unfortunately, digitization will not be free, so I may need to do some fundraising to defray the cost, and hope Joe fans will step up to contribute to the cause in order to make the films free to all.

What’s there?  Along with photos and clippings about Dietz’s work, the core of the archive is twenty-six 16mm film positives of commercials from 1964 through 67, the heyday of the military era.  A number of them are out there already, but generally in low quality multi-generation dubs.  Having just reviewed the first few frames of each, I can confirm that there are many not yet in circulation, including commercials for the Soldiers of the World, the cadet sets, and many more.  

One is intriguingly titled “Adventure Packs” and may be from the first release of the Talking Adventure Packs.  The condition looks good, but it will be hard to tell about sound and color quality until they have been professionally evaluated.  If you need a ‘fix’ in the meantime, visit the commercials page on Vintage3DJoes.com to get a feel for what’s ahead, and stay tuned to the site, Facebook, and the Joe Report for updates on the process and potential fundraising efforts. 

Digitization and sound/color work will run around $1600. I will get the work done regardless, but if any fans want to support the project, they can help by making a donation on the Vintage3DJoes website at the page found HERE. Any one who donates will be given credit for their assistance on the website when the commercials are released.” —Matt McKeebyVintage3DJoes.com

Bottom Line: Time and time again, Matthew McKeeby’s masterful research, methodology and assurance of excellence, has proven him to be one of 12″ GIjOE fandom’s foremost “curators” and historians. His unusual discoveries constantly surprise, intrigue and impress collectors all around the world. Our sincerest thanks to Matthew for all of his generous contributions to this article. If you’d like to make a donation to help ensure his important work can continue, please go HERE.

G.I. Joe’s Shocking Appearance on “King of the Hill” as the Decidedly Anti-Hero, “Joe Sixpack”

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You crashed a TRUCK? You WILL feel my wrath! A clearly perturbed Hank Hill (portraying God) lifts up a bearded AT GIjOE (portraying “Joe Sixpack”) and prepares to smite the Joe for his thoughtless, drunken driving. This rare “anti-hero” Joe sighting was discovered in a 1998 episode of Fox’s “King of the Hill.”

kingofthehilllogoBottom Line: I’ll tell you what… 12″ GIjOE appeared in a episode of Fox’s animated comedy hit, King of the Hill. And why not? It seems like a natural fit to us. But we have to admit, we weren’t prepared for the surprising casting twist the show takes with our 12-inch action hero’s typically sterling reputation. In Meet the Manger Babies, Joe’s cast against type as a decidedly “anti-hero” villain known as “Joe Sixpack.” Turns out, Mr. Sixpack is an otherworldly escapee (from Hell, no less), who enjoys luring innocent victims into his car and then killing them in premeditated drunk driving accidents. <Ick> It’s up to the show’s real American hero, Hank Hill, to come to the rescue of all concerned in the show’s final minutes. This is a truly unexpected and unusual “Joe sighting” on a major television program. You’ll love it. Enjoy!

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FLASH! Renowned G.I. Joe Collector, Kevin Bolger, Featured in New “Through the Decades” TV Show Hosted by CBS’ Veteran Newscaster, Bill Curtis

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Chicago area GIjOE expert, Kevin Bolger, in a screenshot from CBS’ Through the Decades

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Bill Kurtis, host of CBS’ Through the Decades (Photo: CBS)

We were contacted recently by the producer of CBS’ new Through the Decades show (hosted by Bill Kurtis of CBS News fame) who informed us she was going to be in the Chicago area (that week) with a production crew. She wanted to know if we would be available for an interview, regarding (of all things) “the history of G.I. Joe.” Regrettably, we had to pass, so she inquired if there was anyone else in the Chicago area whom we knew and could recommend as a bonafide “experts” on the subject. Hmm… “experts, eh..?”

We discussed the juicy topic over lunch that afternoon in our conference room, and (of course) many amazing names immediately came to mind. Over BLTs and Diet Cokes, we considered the varieties of collections and vast amount of knowledge possessed by of all the Chicago “Joeheads” we knew of (great guys and gals, one and all), but one name kept coming back to the top of everyone’s list; renowned GIjOE fan, advocate, collector, 1:6 scale hobbyist extraordinaire, and all-around “good buddy,” Kevin Bolger.

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Kevin Bolger checks the attendance list during the 2008 GIjOE Show in Algonquin, IL. All present, sir! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

For those of you who’ve never met Kevin—

Bolger’s bulging GIjOE résume´ reads as long as your arm. Suffice it to say, he’s been a member of the Chicago Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club and a co-organizer of that club’s annual shows held in Algonquin, Illinois for many years running. A quick search of The Joe Report will bring up numerous articles featuring and/or quoting from Kevin, such as our coverage of one past Algonquin event (see HERE) and another article quoting Bolger’s pragmatic description of the struggling Chicago division (see HERE).

We contacted Bolger at his home and asked if he had any additional behind-the-scenes tidbits or exclusive intel he could provide regarding his recent appearance on TV. He kindly replied:

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“The G.I. Joe segment on the ‘Through The Decades’ TV show was on TV this week (February 2nd). It runs about 7 minutes. I was very pleased with the production and it was the first segment on the hour-long show. Kurtis narrated it, which, being a long-time fan of his from his anchor days on Chicago’s WBBM, made this experience especially enjoyable for me.”

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Unfolded GIjOE History— This is one side of the “handbill” that was originally created for use by Hasbro toy reps and distributed during the 1964 Toy Fair in NYC. (Photo: Kevin Bolger)

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A few years back, I bought a number of pieces directly from…drumroll…Sam SpeersIf you watch the video carefully, you’ll see a shot of Hasbro’s ultra-rare 1964 Toy Fair handbill or ‘salesman’s catalogue,’ which I own. I’ve attached a couple of still shots (see above and below), and the closeup of side 2 reveals one of those elusive green camo shoulder radios and an early, prototype version of the MP outfit.”

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Prototype Peek-a-Boo— This closeup from the inside of the handbill reveals an especially early shot of GIjOE’s line of Army equipment and an “elusive green camo shoulder radio.” (Photo: Kevin Bolger)

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“Through The Decades is usually on one of the CBS local off-the-air sub channels (i.e. Channel 2.2 in Chicago). They feature stories like ‘on this day in 1971, this happened, so & so was born,’ etc. In my interview, I give a brief history of Hasbro and the development of GI Joe. I also set up a bunch of vintage figures with 40th anniversary window boxes for the film crew.

The show’s website is www.decades.com, but it doesn’t look like they stream any of their programs, only the promos. I watched an episode (on TV) last week. They’re on M-F, a 1 hour show, that’s repeated a couple of times during the day). It looks like they’ll be using a lot of old CBS network news reports, 60 Minutes segments and other nostalgic stuff mixed in with original segments and features.”

Bottom Line: Through the Decades looks like a wonderful program and should appeal to all nostalgia and history buffs. Kevin’s segment on the history of GIjOE is absolutely wonderful and we were thrilled to learn that the show’s producer had taken our recommendation and ended up utilizing his expertise for the show. Our sincerest thanks to Kevin for his generous contributions to this article. Enjoy his full appearance on Through the Decades by clicking the video link below:

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Release Dates For the First (2) 50th Anniversary Action Man Commemorative Figures Confirmed

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Fans of Action Man are celebrating the toy’s 50th Anniversary throughout 2016. (Photo: Tony Roberts)

Heads up, Action Man (AM) fans It’s 2016 and your favorite action hero’s 50th Anniversary is finally upon us. As you probably already know, plans are currently underway to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime occasion worldwide. Yes, we remember how Hasbro ignored GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary, but for whatever reason, it has decided to pay homage to Action Man (and his fans) by approving the production of FIVE commemorative 12″ action figures based on vintage Palitoy designs. When asked about definite release dates for the figures, AM’s chief spokesman, Bob Brechin, replied:

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Bob Brechin, former Chief Designer for Action Man at Palitoy (Photo: Tony Roberts)

“One will be released on Father’s Day (June 19th) and the second on Armed Forces Day, (June 25th). The others will follow. One of the figures will be a footballer to celebrate England winning the World Cup in 1966, just in time for the European Championships, I guess. However, these will essentially be for the collectors.”

Bottom Line: Read more about Action Man’s 50th Anniversary plans in an article published recently over in the Leicester Mercury found HERE. Stay tuned for further updates!

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