Category Archives: Customizers

“Veterans for Peace” Hope “Battlefield Casualties” Parody Video Will Convince UK Government to Raise Minimum Military Recruitment Age to 18

Playing with Action Man was never like this (thankfully!)

We recently came across a VERY powerful Action Man (AM) television commercial parody video. It was created by the advocacy group, Veterans for Peace UK, (VFPUK) and first aired (on the internet, natch’) back in 2015. But before you watch it(!), you should be aware that its content is somewhat startling, even bordering on adult-content. Yes, its creators clearly WANT children to see this video, but we think you should exercise due caution (see graphic freeze-frame image above) depending on your little ones’ ages and sensitivities.

The video contains three separate commercials. Each focuses on a different (and imaginary) Action Man figure play set. The three spots may feature fake products, but the heart-breaking scenarios depicted are all too possible, graphic and (regrettably)—realistic. The first introduces viewers to a psychologically damaged and emotionally traumatized “P.T.S.D. Action Man.” Rather than utilizing AM’s traditional “Eagle Eyes,” this sad fellow possesses instead, a “thousand yard stare,” and comes equipped with booze, drugs, and even a noose—to hang himself with.

The second spot features “Paralysed Action Man” in his wheel chair, wearing a hospital gown and carrying around his 1:6 scale colostomy bag (oh, what fun). The third spot, rather than “playing around” with any other physical or mental conditions, simply jumps straight to death, presenting viewers with a bombed-n-bloody corpse figure appropriately named, “Dead Action Man.” Don’t expect much “action” out of this (in)Action Man, as he is already completely, utterly and 100%—DEAD. The commercial gamely shows that you can zip him up in a body bag and bury him (with full honors, of course) out in your backyard. But after that…<well, sigh>

If you still didn’t get the message—War is Hell—and this Action Man parody drives that point home exceedingly well with its stories of these three tragic heroes. And, as AM television commercial parodies go, this is undeniably an excellent one in terms of its production. Each spot is superbly acted, staged, photographed, edited, narrated, scored and directed. Each perfectly recreates the elusive “vintage video look” of a 1970s original. Our sincerest congratulations to ALL of the master 1:6 scale customizers and diorama builders involved in its production. Simply AMAZING work!

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Superb 1:6 custom packaging—surrounds three tragic and depressing 1:6 scale custom Action Man figures. No, you can’t go out to a local toy store and buy these sets. But then again, why would you want to? Despite the quality of their execution, they’re just too sad to own (or ARE they?). (Custom figure sets and photo: Darren Cullen) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: The creators of this video clearly hope it will generate strong reactions among viewers, thereby aiding them in their cause. But will it? Military recruitment remains (sadly) a necessary endeavour for all free nations (freedom ISN’T free), but at what AGE should an individual be allowed to enter their country’s military? VFPUK’s website is urging UK citizens to write into their local MPs concerning this matter, and request that they raise the minimum enlistment age from 16 to 18. It will be interesting to see whether or not their Action Man parody video has any effect in making that change happen. Stay tuned, AM fans!

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Space Ghost 1:6 Scale Custom Action Figure—WOW!

Ready for ACTION— Once again, customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, has produced a 1:6 scale action figure that the rest of the world will covet with envious eyes. His amazing new Space Ghost action figure is a spot-on, 1:6 scale masterpiece. Zowee! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

Look Out, Zorn! Wayne Faucher Creates Custom Space Ghost Action Figure in 1:6 Scale

Holy Asteroids! That jut-jawed, baritone-voiced, onesy-wearing, powerband-shootin’ outerspace superhero of the 1960s has FINALLY been given the 1:6 scale “star treatment” he’s so long deserved. We’re tongue-in-cheek-talking here, of course, about the inimitable namesake character from Hanna-Barbara’s 1966 Saturday morning TV cartoon—Space Ghost (SG).

As you may recall, Mr. “Ghost” (first name, “Space?”) was every little ’60s kid’s favorite intrepid cosmic avenger. He was a true defender of the the defenseless and a battler of all things weird, sinister—and MONSTROUS. For 42 action-packed episodes, no matter how dire the predicament or struggle, Space Ghost always managed to blast his way out—and into our hearts!

Nice, but TOO SMALL— For years, fans have had to satisfy their cravings for all things Space Ghost at much smaller scales. In fact, 3.75″ remained the norm, but some newer figures promise to reach as tall as 1:12 scale (or 6″). This blister-packed mini-Ghost and Blip set by Jazwares is typical of current offerings. (Photo: Michael Crawford)

Back in 1966, bleary-eyed children would plop down on the livingroom floor early Saturday morning to eat bowls of Quisp and other sugary cereals, content in the knowledge that after a rousing 15-minute episode of exciting outer-space/alien/monster action, Space Ghost would arise triumphant and restore the universe to its good and proper course again (just in time for another GIjOE commercial, ‘natch). However, as SG fans well know, after an all too brief 42-episode run, the beloved cartoon suddenly vanished within its own cloaking spaceship (The Phantom Cruiser) and would not to be seen again until 1994, when the show’s characters were resurrected and recast in Cartoon Network’s offbeat talkshow spoof, “Space Ghost—Coast to Coast.”

Sit Long and Prosper— Getting up early to watch cartoons on tiny televisions was a rite of passage for children during the 1960s and ’70s. What time do YOUR kids get up? (Photo: ClipArt Kid)

51 years after his television debut, Space Ghost continues to live on indefinitely in reruns. A plethora of smaller-scale toys, action figures and other “merch” have (thankfully) FINALLY been created, and videos on YouTube will keep the beloved character’s legacy alive and well for future generations. Nonetheless, and despite SG’s obvious popularity, it remains a mystery to thousands of 1:6 scalers as to why this space superhero has never been successfully “captured” (in 1:6 scale) by any major toy company. Is this another sign of the “demise” of 1:6 scale?

Custom Cartoon Perfection— As this closeup clearly reveals, Wayne Faucher’s new 1:6 scale custom Space Ghost action figure is a very accurate representation of the ’60s cartoon character. His headsculpt, figure, costume—it’s all perfect. Spaaace Ghooost! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

After some research, we were able to find a 1:6 scale Space Ghost costume on the internet (made for Captain Action figures), and even the 1:6 scale headsculpt utilized by Wayne for his custom project (shown above). Typically, putting all the pieces together (head/body/costume/accessories) requires the skills of a talented customizer like Mr. Faucher who states:

Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“I’m happy to finally have a 1/6 scale Space Ghost on my shelf. He’s one of artist Alex Toth’s most striking creations, and it’s finally been made possible with the help of yet another stunning head sculpt by the (very) talented Todd Grimes. It’s spot on, and I couldn’t have done this custom figure without him! Todd’s work can be found on Shapesways.com.

 
As you may recall, Space Ghost was created by Mr. Toth while in the employ of Hanna Barbera studios back in 1966. Only one season was produced (probably due to growing concern over violence on TV) but it’s been rerun ad infinitum ever since. I really hope people are aware of the original series, as it ranks right up there with Jonny Quest (which Toth also worked on with artist Doug Wildey) as one of the classics of television animation.” —Wayne Faucher

Step to the Left, Step to the Right— In this side view, Space Ghost appears to be doing a “do-see-do” at some square dance hoedown. Boogie DOWN, SG! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

Close, but no Cigar— The upcoming Space Ghost figure by Mezco looks promising at first glance, but it turns out to be only in 1:12 scale or approximately 6″ tall. D’oh! (Photo: Mezco) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Toymaker MEZCO has announced plans for a 1:12 scale Space Ghost (see pic at right) which would come in at about 6″ tall. That’s really not going to do it for most fans of 12-inch action figures. And what’s with the evil-looking Blip figure? Why did they decide to make the little guy look like some sort of possessed primate? Oh well, we’ll continue to keep our eyes open for a Captain Action or other 1:6 Space Ghost figure, but don’t hold your breath. It looks like it’s an uphill struggle to get ANY new 1:6 figure made these days. Our sincerest thanks go out to Wonderful Wayne Faucher for all his help with this article. You sir, are ‘da MAN. Finally, here are a few more pics of Wayne’s amazing SG custom and a video clip from the original show. Enjoy!

ZZAPPP!!! Get back in your volcanic crater, you mindless Lava Monster! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Courage in Profile— Todd Grime’s excellent headsculpt perfectly recreates the cartoon version from the 1960s. Out-STANDING work, Mr. Grimes! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Click to enlarge.

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Decal Sets Provide Quick-n-Easy Upgrades For 1/6th Scale Vehicles, Figures, Weapons & Gear

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Da, Comrade!— Custom 1:6 scale Dragon Russian Aerosan vehicle with added ProSeries waterslide decals from Patches of Pride. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Kent Middleton) Click to enlarge.

It may seem obvious to most fans of The Joe Report, but a few of you “lay readers” out there may still not realize the extreme ease with which decals and other such markings can improve and upgrade items in your 1:6 scale collection. Whether the markings in question are hand-painted, comprised of traditional “peel-n-stick” papers, or output as high-end “waterslide” decals, there’s no questioning their ability to put the “WOW” factor into any custom project.

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Do YOU have the gift?— Customizer Ron Stymus’ real-life experience as a tattoo artist spills over into his 1:6 scale hobby as well. Check out his outstanding hand-painted “Rat Fink” artwork on this Joe. WOW! Of course, if you can’t draw as well as Ron, you can always apply decals from companies such as PoP. (Photo: Ron Stymus)

For example, tattoo decals can add realism and character to any action figure’s body. Instrument panel decals can add a whole new level of realism and playability to a vehicle’s interior. And without a doubt, exterior body or hull markings can go a LONG way towards upgrading any custom vehicle, aircraft or watercraft. As Nike says— JUST DO IT.

For example, Kent Middleton, recently sent in some exclusive photos showing us the progress of his custom Dragon Aerosan project. A quick (and jealous) look at the pics reveals that Kent’s new custom snowskipper has been dramatically enhanced with the addition of waterslide decals produced by 1:6 scale manufacturer, Patches of Pride (PoP).

Before, the vehicle had been unmarked. But after the installation of PoP’s decals, there’s now no doubt that Kent’s aerosan had belonged to Stalin’s WWII “Red Army.” We asked Middleton about this exciting custom project, and he kindly replied with the following updates:

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“Its not ‘done’ yet. The machinegun rig is custom, and I am painting the inside to replicate severely weathered plywood, but you can’t see that in the pics as I stuck the Russians in there. Only about 6-8 layers to go, and its a slog, cuz you can’t disassemble this beast! That, some paint chipping and some moisture ‘drips’ are still to come… someday.” —Kent “I Kan Do It” Middleton

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It’s amazing what the addition of a simple red star can do for a custom aerosan. Without it, you’d have to guess which force was behind the wheel (and machinegun). (Photo: Kent Middleton) Click to enlarge.

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Quality Counts— This super close-up reveals the amazing realism provided by PoP’s top-of-the-line ProSeries waterslide decals. In fact, they look painted on! (Photo: Kent Middleton) Click to enlarge.

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Truly Transformative— As this screenshot from the Patches of Pride website clearly demonstrates, a little paint and some professional waterslide decals can make a stunning difference in even the smallest 1:6 scale items. Which pile of ammo cans would YOU prefer to display? (Photo: PoP) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: When working on any 1:6 scale custom project, it’s important to keep in mind that tiny items like ammo cans and mammoth items like Panzer Tanks can all benefit from the creative addition of decals and/or other types of exterior markings. If your hand or art skills are limited, then we recommend you seek out the assistance of 1:6 companies whose products are proven and can help your next custom project look its best. Remember—Details Matter!

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WHOOSH!—UK’s 3-D Design Wiz, Harry Peters, Teams Up With Famed U.S. Customizers Wayne Faucher and Roland Delaune to Create New 1:6 Bell Rocket Pack

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Prepare for TAKE-OFF!—The new Peters/Faucher/Delaune 1:6 scale Bell Jet Belt, shown in unpainted front view. On sale now! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

Will Sell For Less Than Half the Price of Proposed Version by Executive Replicas 

Longtime contributor, field reporter, and expert customizer of 1:6 scale, Wayne Faucher, wrote in recently with the following exciting new product intel—exclusively for readers of The Joe Report!

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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“Hi Mark! I thought I’d let you in on this first. No one, outside of the 3 people involved in this project, has seen this yet. So…if ya wanna share it, you and your readers will have the exclusive intel first—and I know you all dig that! 

You may recall my Lost in Space John Robinson (with the Jet Pack) custom garnered some notice a few years ago within the 1/6 community (see our article on that amazing custom by Faucher HERE, ed.). Afterwards, I had a ton of people inquire about the possibility of mass-producing a 1/6 Bell Rocket Belt. Well, that project didn’t seem feasible at the time. But now, with the advent of 3D printing—it’s become a reality!”

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3/4 View (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

“I’ve been consulting with the amazingly talented Harry Peters, a 3D designer in the UK who makes his work available through the cutting-edge Shapeways website. Make no mistake—this is really Harry’s baby. He poured his heart and SOUL into it after my friend Roland Delaune and I showed him my initial prototype and inquired if it was even possible to produce.”
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Harry’s Got Your Back— The curved backshield of Peters’ Bell Jet Belt conforms to the body of any James Bond, Lost in Space, or Adventure Team “Rocketeer” figure. Absolutely AMAZING attention to detail from every angle. (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

“Harry seemed pretty confident that such an item could in fact be done, and so we proceeded. I acted as a consultant and provided some reference materials, being careful to point out the (many!) inaccuracies of my prototype. Well, Harry not only rose to the task but he clearly surpassed any expectations that Roland and I had.”
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Exploded View reveals the various parts of the pack, including jet nozzles, tanks and back shield. WOWZA! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

“When it comes to accuracy and detail, Harry’s 1:6 Rocket Belt leaves my scratch-built version in the dust! It’s currently available for sale over on the Shapeways site HERE. No, it’s not cheap. But with word that the Executive Replicas John Robinson figure w/Jetpack may have been indefinitely delayed (see HERE), this really is IT when it comes to a 1/6 scale Rocket Belt. And it’s available NOW for less than HALF the price!”
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Fits like a glove—Mr. Bond seems quite happy with the scale and extraordinary quality of Mr. Peters’ Jet pack. Now… let’s go get SPECTRE! (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

“Again, I was really just a consultant and cheerleader on this project, Roland was the one who first hooked up with Harry for a few other Lost In Space pieces and Harry was the (very) creative force behind it all. Also, note that these images feature the 1/6 Bell Rocket Belt right out of the box. NO DETAILING or painting has been done, so you can imagine how dynamite this thing would look with a little work! And I want to be clear about one more thing: Roland and I aren’t making a DIME off of this product. We just appreciated Harry’s work so much that we thought it deserved to be shared with a wider audience than just the two of us. Enjoy!” —WEF
We knew our faithful readers would want to know more about the realities of the 3D product-making process, so we decided to contact the inimitable Harry Peters directly. Thankfully, he quickly replied and generously provided the following exclusive insider-intel:
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“The Bell Rocket Belt has been far and away the most rewarding modeling commission I’ve had the pleasure to work on. Despite source material differing greatly between various versions of the pack that existed, Roland, Wayne and I eventually found enough high-resolution images from the prop used in the James bond film Thunderball and of the ‘Bell No. 2 Rocket Belt’ (one of the last remaining examples in good condition, which currently resides in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum) to piece together an accurate reconstruction.”

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Side view (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

“Since we’d managed to gather so much quality reference material, I decided to try and make it as accurate as I possibly could, down the the finest details I could glean from the photographs, (even going as far as to add a pivoting hinge so the rockets could be directed using the handles). I kind of ran away with it, unsure exactly how well these tiny details would resolve when printed at 1:6 scale. What I ended up with was this design with a level of detail more accurately represented a 1:1 scale replica as opposed to 1:6!”

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Back View (Photo: Wayne Faucher) Exclusive to The Joe Report

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Harry Peters, UK (Photo: Harry Peters)

“The risk of course was how well these details would actually come across once 3D printed, and there’s always an element of risk when you’re 3D printing with a company like Shapeways, since all the printing and shipping is handled by their engineers in their own factory. Because of this, I rarely get to see my own designs outside of my computer screen as I’m entrusting the task of making them a reality to a third party. Thankfully, though, Shapeways are incredibly good at what they do and, despite working with them for the past 3 years now, the level of detail that they are able to reproduce always surprises me!I’m currently looking forward to adapting the design of the Bell Rocket Belt to match the famous Lost in Space Jetpack prop (bicycle seat and all!) to list alongside the original recreation.” —Harry Peters, UK

We also wondered about Roland Delaune’s contributions to this outstanding new product. Thankfully, Roland promptly sent in his own exclusive intel revealing the following:

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Roland Delaune (Photo: Roland Delaune)

“I actually met Wayne inadvertently through The Joe Report when I read your August 25th, 2012 article on him. I have been a HUGE  fan of the Irwin Allen series Lost In Space since I was about six years old, and when I saw the absolutely AWESOME custom figures that Wayne had made (John Robinson with Jet Pack, and John with Space Suit) I knew I had to have them.

Not expecting  a reply, I messaged Wayne over on The Trenches Forum and asked him about his custom Lost In Space figures. I was shocked when he not only answered me, but answered question, after question, after question, on ad nauseam! We have since gone on to be good friends.

I stumbled onto Harry Peters in much the same way, but through Shapeways Inc. I was looking through the Shapeways website when I noticed a 1/6 scale Lost In Space helmet for sale. It was very similar, but was different in a lot of ways from the version used in the TV show. I bought that one and tried to adapt it to make it look more like the original, but in the end I ruined it.

I messaged Harry and asked if it would be possible to make some changes to the design, and he said yes! So that started a series of back and forth emails, with myself making suggestions and Harry making the changes. After about 15 emails, Harry had changed his
design to match the on-screen version exactly.

Wayne and I both bought versions of the re-designed helmet, and Harry went on to create the backpack (which Wayne had originally built from scratch), a 3-button control panel that attaches to the red vest on the space suit, and even a 1st season Lost In Space laser pistol. All of these products are now on sale on Shapeways through Harry’s shop, MiniatureMachine.

After seeing what could be done with 3D printing and Harry’s talent, the Bell Rocket Belt was the next logical step. The rest, as they always say, is 1:6 history!” —Roland Delaune

Bottom Line: The advent of 3D printing and the increasing use of it by 1:6 scalers is an exciting development in our beloved hobby. Apparently, if we can dream it, talented people like Wayne, Roland and Harry can make “it” become a reality! Our sincerest thanks to all three gentlemen for their generous contributions to the hobby (and to this article). You guys are the BEST! —Mark 🙂

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Miguel Tavarez—Master of Miniaturization—Creates Astonishingly Realistic (1:6 Scale) Diorama of U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) Paratroopers in Action

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Bring it On— In a stunning display of 1:6 scale artistry, customizer Miguel Tavares has recreated a battle scene from the Korean War featuring two figures from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Inf. Co. (Airborne). This closeup of the Master Sergeant reveals he has been authentically detailed with correct unit insignia and helmet emblems produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Miguel Tavares) Click to enlarge.

Expert Modeler Depicts Soldiers of “Forgotten War’s” All-Black, All-Ranger Regiment

Welcome to 2017, 1:6 Scalers!

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Immortalized on the Cover—UK hobby industry magazine, Military Modelling (vol. 41, issue no. 1) celebrates the skills of master modeler, Miguel Tavarez, by splashing his work (deservedly so) on the front cover of its most recent issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Military Modelling)

It’s a brand-new year and the guys and gals at The Joe Report felt like kicking things off with a BIG photo-story about a new, rising talent among the 1:6 scale customizing community—Miguel Tavarez. Tavares is a master modeler and 1:6 customizer of the highest degree, and in recognition of his superlative skills, the UK hobby magazine Military Modelling recently published an article about his work, even going so far as to feature a photo of his new (2-figure) paratrooper diorama on the publication’s cover.

The remarkable diorama in question depicts two African-American U.S. Army paratroopers of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) during the Korean War. They’ve just completed a jump and one soldier appears to have suffered a hard landing or been otherwise wounded. His Master Sergeant has rushed to his side, all the while gazing grimly skyward as he watches other Rangers still descending.

This 1:6 scale masterwork is both wonderful and inspirational to behold. Action figure customizers and diorama builders around the world would probably pay good money just to take a 1 hour class from this talented artisan. If fact, we felt Miguel’s Ranger dio achievement was so important, that it was worthy of further mention and praise beyond just the pages of a UK hobby magazine. Therefore, despite any repetition, we’ve wholeheartedly chosen to share it here, too—on The Joe Report!

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A Bad Time for a Sprain— What a superb choice of headsculpt! This figure’s excellent facial expression perfectly captures so much emotion at once. The frustration, pain, and yes, even anger, at being hurt before even getting to fire a shot, must surely be a severe disappointment to this Ranger. After training for months, making dozens of practice jumps, and going through everything required to become a U.S. Army Ranger, to be sidelined and/or hobbled like must be quite a blow. Let’s hope this brave paratrooper’s leg is only sprained and not broken. Go, Rangers! Go, ARMY! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

 Details Do Make the Difference

When you study Miguel’s custom figures, you quickly discover that he is zealously devoted to both military accuracy and authenticity, as well as the execution of professional, almost extreme modeling detail. Take a (very close) look at those hands (the fingernails!), the figure’s wrinkled and “weathered” uniforms, their weaponry, equipment, and even the stones and grass on the ground cover beneath their feet—it’s all been magnificently painted and otherwise realistically executed. HISTORY—has been brought back to life in three dimensions: visibly, tactilely—and in miniature!

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As Real as it Gets— The mind boggles looking at the reality of this ground cover. Make special note of Miguel’s careful selection of the grass and tiny white flowers. Where other customizers would choose or create plantlife that is oversized, Tavarez has ensured that even the tiny flowers are correctly scaled to match his diorama. Un-freakin’ believable! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

It’s Okay to Seek Outside Help

Tavarez has also taken the trouble (and expense) to commission custom waterslide decals and cloth patches from renowned miniatures manufacturer, Patches of Pride. All of their tiny products are carefully researched and recreated from scratch, so their inclusion helped to elevate this unique diorama to undisputed “masterpiece” status. Custom works of such high caliber are truly rare, and this one solidifies Miguel’s well-deserved reputation as a master modeler of 1:6 scale.
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Let’s Get a Move On, Ranger!— Staying out in the open for too long after a combat jump can be an invitation to disaster, as this Master Sergeant clearly knows. This side view of their combined poses demonstrates that there is a clear sense of urgency and peril to their situation. Just LOOK at all the amazing detail! The patches, helmet emblems, ammo bandolier, boots…WOW! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

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Miguel describes the inspiration behind his 2-figure Ranger diorama:

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Cheers, Customizers!— Miguel Tavarez raises a cold one in toast and tribute to other members of the 1:6 scale community in this exclusive photo taken for readers of The Joe Report. His outstanding customs are providing inspiration to thousands of fellow kitbashers around the world. (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

“This diorama is about two African-American Rangers during the Korean War. The Korean War is often referred to as “ the forgotten war” because of the lack of public attention it received both during and after the war, and in relation to the global scale of World War II, which preceded it, and the subsequent angst of the Vietnam War, which succeeded it. After finishing my last 1/6th dio, I was looking for a new project to do, and so I decided to read up on the Korean conflict and see if I could find a subject to recreate within my own little 1/6th scale kitbashing ‘world’.

I came across a book on a very fascinating unit of a segregated, all-black elite Ranger company that had fought with distinction during the first 2 years of the “Forgotten War” in Korea. I had previously done a WWII 761st African-American tanker before, so I became keen on creating something that would also honor this all-black Ranger company—the 2nd Ranger Infantry Co. (Airborne).”

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Don’t Forget the Base— Yes, you can simply set your figures on a table, but the creation and use of a custom base beneath their feet helps add geographical texture and context, as well as increasing the realism of your tabletop diorama scene. Beautiful! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

“As I mentioned before, they were an African-American unit at a time when the U.S. military was slowly being integrated after years of racial segregation. President Truman’s executive order 9981 in 1948 changed that. But the reality was that the desegregation policy was yet to come into full compliance. Segregation was still being practiced right into the Korean War.

White high-ranking officers who did not support desegregation would funnel the colored troops into units such as the 2nd Ranger Co. in the first several years of the war. But 1950s racial issues aside, the ‘Buffalo Rangers,’ as they were known, gave a good account of themselves in the Korean War until their deactivation in 1951.”

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Remembering and Honoring Our Heroes (in 1:6 Scale)— This 3/4 front view shows off the entirety of Miguel’s amazing custom diorama and reveals that he included an actual Ranger pin down in the bottom righthand corner. Congratulations on a great job, Miguel! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

These “Buffalo Rangers” participated in “Operation Tomahawk” on March 23rd 1951. This operation was historic for two reasons; one, it would be the first time a Ranger unit participated in an Airborne combat jump. Secondly and more importantly, it would be the first combat jump for black troops in the U.S. military. Attached to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (its parent unit), it would make this historic jump in ‘Operation Tomahawk’ into North Korean and Chinese-held territory!” —Miguel Tavarez

Bottom Line: Miguel’s work is AWESOME. That’s the bottom line. Our sincerest thanks go out to Mr. Tavarez for sharing these photos of his work and for the exclusive account of his inspiration for this piece. As of the date of this article, you could still buy a copy of the issue of UK’s Military Modelling magazine featuring Miguel’s amazing work HERE.

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Wayne Faucher Reveals First Pics of His Custom 1:6th Scale “Adventure Team Commando ATW”

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Ready for Bipedal Battle Action— Wayne Faucher’s custom ATW is a threatening, elevated platform for some serious AT firepower. (Photo: WFT)

You all know the drill. Every 6 months or so, customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, shows up here in the pages of The Joe Report to share some pics of his latest creative foray into 1:6 scale imaginative excellence. Today, he debuts pics of his new “Adventure Team Commando ATW,” a wondrous creation he upgraded from one of those Star Wars “Assault Walker” toys you’ve probably seen (and passed by) at Walmart many times. However great his efforts, Wayne is never one to toot his own horn, and describes this particular 1:6 custom project in an almost blasé manner, stating:
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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“Just a bit of weekend fun here. Here’s the Adventure Team Commando ATW. This is a straight up repaint of a Star Wars Assault Walker (currently available on clearance at Walmart for $15). I really tried to find something to customize here, but when something is already this cool, there’s not much to do!

It’s colored it in the Adventure Team Commando Armored Division orange cammo I had already established with my Troublemaker last year. Along with my ATXO, it makes a welcome addition to my AT Commando line. And the price is unbeatable. The whole concept of the AT Commando is set in the early 70’s and $15 is about what this item would have cost back then! So, continuing the ‘What if Hasbro had decided to extend the military line INTO the Adventure Team run,” here then, is the ATW. Enjoy! —Wayne Faucher

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Look For This Box— Here’s what the toy package looks like. At first glance, you may think you’re only buying one of those barely poseable storm trooper figures, but upon further study, you see that you’re also getting the walker shown in the battle scene. TOO COOL! (Photo: Hasbro) Click to enlarge.

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One careful stroke at a time— Wayne proves you can still paint your toys the old-fashioned way—with a brush—and get GREAT results. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.

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Powerful Decals— As a professional artist, Wayne’s skills enable him to increase his custom’s realism while simultaneously keeping the ’70s AT “toy-like quality” he enjoys. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.

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Powerful Profile— From the side, you can see that Wayne went to great trouble to ensure certain details were painted with the appropriate colors. (Photo: WTF)

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Box ’em up REAL good!— As Wayne has proven time and time again, even though Hasbro has given up on GIjOE’s beloved “Adventure Team,” there’s nothing stopping its fans from making their own custom boxes for custom AT figures. So…let’s all get busy! (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

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Back off, Bad Guys— There’s a new sheriff in town. And his name is “Adventure Team Commando!” (Thanks to “Wild” Wayne Faucher.) (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

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Gettin’ SERIOUS— Wayne’s AT Commando force continues to grow. (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Once again, Wayne has officially BLOWN OUR MINDS here at The Joe Report, and we’d like to thank him sincerely for sharing these pics and for inspiring countless 1:6 customizers around the world. Absolutely SUPERB work, Wayne. If you’d like to contact Wayne, please leave a comment here with any kudos and/or questions. Thanks!

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John Kolb, Retired U.S. Marine Corps Helicopter Pilot, Making 1:6 Scale Collectible “Minirounds”

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Miniature Metal Munitions Master— Retired USMC Captain, John Kolb (shown here in his workshop), holds up a piece of aluminum he’s begun shaving and shaping down into what will ultimately become one of his exclusive “miniround” miniature artillery shell collectibles. (Photo: John Kolb) Click to enlarge.

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Pop-a-Top (or not)— John’s “Mini M107” is available in two versions, standard or bottle opener. (Photo: John Kolb)

1:6 Scalers are all about realistic detail. In that regard, you won’t find more realistically detailed 1:6 scale ordnance for your GIjOE’s artillery pieces than those currently being created and sold by former USMC helicopter pilot, John Kolb. We stumbled across John’s outstanding work on the internet recently and were absolutely floored by what we had discovered—highly accurate, all-metal, perfectly detailed, 1:6 scale miniature (non-functioning) replicas of U.S. military artillery ordnance. OOHrah!

Judging by the closeup photos on John’s “Minirounds” website (see HERE), Kolb has achieved the highest possible level of realism and quality at 1:6 scale. Much like fellow 1:6 scale artist/artisan, Jonathan DeGuzman (see HERE), Kolb is also working with real metals, carefully handcrafting each and every item in his own workshop, all by hand. In the following interview, exclusive to readers of The Joe Report, John kindly “reveals all” regarding his exciting new line of “Miniround” products. Enjoy!


TJR: Hi John! Thanks so much for taking time out to discuss your work today. Please tell us all about “Minirounds,” what you do there, and how you came upon the idea to create miniature metal ordnance collectibles in 1:6 (and other) scales.

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“Minirounds is a micro company; just me actually; specializing in the replica ordnance market. I recently retired in March of 2015 from the Marine Corps where I flew CH53E/D helicopters as an Officer and worked as an electronics technician as an Enlisted man. I knew that I didn’t want to fly when I transitioned and had a few career options to choose from—one of them being research and product development and the other, dentistry.”

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Preparing to Lift a Humvee— Before John Kolb began creating 1:6 scale ordnance collectibles, he piloted CH53E/D “Super Stallion” helicopters like this one for the United States Marine Corps. Thank you so much for all of your service, John. OOHrah! Semper Fi! (Photo: DOD) Click to enlarge.

TJR: R&D and Dentistry? Those both sound like challenging and lucrative career options. So what made you decide to create a military miniatures and collectibles business instead?

“It actually all hinged on a long conversation with my wife (who is a physician). She asked one very important question, ‘Do you have a burning desire to be a dentist?’ I replied, ‘No. Not really, but it’s a good profession that pays well.’ She then asked, ‘Okay, what do you have a passion for?’ I explained this concept of product development and selling a variety of widgets. She replied, ‘Great, let’s do that!’, and that was the genesis of a significant career shift.”

TJR: Very cool! It’s wonderful that you have your wife’s full support. So, how did you get started?

“After browsing countless online forums and trying to figure out how to do ‘this,” I soon realized that I needed to purchase some modeling software (Solidworks) and machines (Haas). I called Solidworks and was very impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to help Vets out.  They actually gave me a student version for just $150.00 because I was a veteran. Great company!”

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Get Down! Those papers on your desk wouldn’t dare fly or “blow away” when being held down by a paperweight as impressive as THIS! Kolb’s larger (non-1:6 scale) products are still miniatures (approximately 12″ tall), but their larger size makes them a superb (and attention-getting) collectible for any former artilleryman or militaria collector. Out-STANDING! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: How did you make your decisions regarding those machines, equipment, etc.?

“I really liked what I had read about Haas CNC machines from a variety of users, so before transitioning my savings into these machines, I chose to pay them a visit.  I intentionally underdressed and feigned a level of naivety. I showed up for one of their demo days at their manufacturing plant in Oxnard, CA.  From the time I walked into the door, I was treated like I had just purchased a $250,000.00 machine, even though I was just a visitor.  I was sold on the company and since that visit, I’ve purchased a TL2 lathe and TMP-2 mill.  Once again, they are a great AMERICAN Company.”

TJR: How about ideas? What made you think of making miniature artillery rounds?

“At my final duty assignment, I sat next to an Artillery Officer.  He knew that had a lathe and asked if I could replicate a 155mm Howitzer round.  I said sure, as long as I had either a blueprint or an actual round to model.  He tracked one down for me and as they say, ‘the rest is history.’ It has been an interesting journey, both challenging and the most rewarding profession that I’ve had to date.”  

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This is 1:6 scale! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: Could you walk us through the process of making one of your 1:6 scale munitions?

“Sure! First, the projectile body starts as 12-foot billet of aluminum that is cut down to a 4.1-inch slug.  The first cycle cuts the bottom profile, then drills and taps a 3/8-inch x 16 TPI hole.   Next, the front profile is cut and the hole for the fuse is drilled.

The copper rotating band is turned to the correct outside diameter followed by the gas ring groove and it is cut to length.  Next, the fuze is cut from a solid billet of aluminum.  The profile is turned, followed by a grooving cycle to give the back of the fuze its shape. 

The copper ring is then joined to the body, masked and then painted. Next, the masking tape is removed and the bottle opener body is joined to the projectile body.  The fuze is epoxied into place and the graphics are printed (view our production video below).”

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Real Metal is Unmistakable— This super closeup of one of John’s minirounds reveals the real copper ring section. Absolutely stunning realism! (Photo: John Kolb)

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Miniature Metal Masterpiece— John even creates tiny screw-in, screw-out detonator fuse tips, or ogives, for each of his excellent “minirounds.” Great for your GIjOE EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) squad! (Photo: John Kolb)

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Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em— John also offers a 1:6 scale version of the 155H Smoke Projectile. On a real-life battlefield, these babies are great for creating huge volumes of smoke, providing visual cover for the movement of advancing troops. This 1:6 scale version…will look good in your diorama. Hey, it’s non-functional! (Photo: John Kolb)

TJR: Wow. Your work is mind-boggling. All the steps required and the level of detail you achieve—your products are clearly the best of the best. How about custom work? Are your designs customizable in any way, or are they all set in stone, so to speak?

“I’ve made modifications of the original bottle opener design to accommodate the model industry for different applications.  I try my best never to say no, because you never know where the next day will take you. If there is anything you need, please contact us and I’ll do my best to make it happen. Semper Fi!”
John Kolb, Minirounds

Bottom Line: John Kolb’s new “Minirounds” have clearly raised the bar of 1:6 scale achievement as high as it could ever possibly go. Many of his products may be too large for use in GIjOE-sized dioramas, but his smallest, the shells shown in this article and their bottle-opener counterparts, would make absolutely fan-TASTIC additions to any artillery or ammo dump diorama. At $20 a pop, the price, as they say, is right.

Also, our sincerest thanks go out to Capt. Kolb for his service to our country and for his contributions to the 1:6 scale collecting and customizing hobby. It’s our considered opinion that no collection or display of GIjOE or Action Man artillery soldiers (or Marines) would be complete without at least 1 or 2 of John’s miniature masterpieces completing the scene. We highly recommend that you pay John a visit at his website and contact him personally with any questions regarding his fine products. Go, John! Go, Minirounds! 

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Reality in Miniature Doesn’t Come Cheap— The price list on Kolb’s “Minirounds” website proves you’re getting what you pay for; handcrafted, all-metal, highly detailed, professionally created (non-functional) replicas of U.S. military ordnance at various scales. GIjOE fans will be most interested in the 1:6 scale “Mini-Mini M107” and the “Mini-Mini M110A2,” costing $20 and $25 each, respectively. You can even get them made as bottle openers. Out-STANDING! (Photo: John Kolb) Click to enlarge.

 

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1:6 Customizer, Gary Stair, Inspired By the Work of Wayne Faucher, Creates His Own Versions of Captain Action Battle Armor and 1960s Jet-Packs

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Creative Minds Think Alike— Inspired by the masterpieces of 1:6 scale wizard, Wayne Faucher, fellow customizer, Gary Stair (of Pennsylvania), combined another assortment of unrelated parts (including a set of Hulk Buster armor, a plastic Easter egg, a Star Wars figure and a Classic Collection GIjOE headsculpt) to create his own unique “B.A.D.A.S.S.” custom toy for use with his favorite hero—Captain Action. Out-STANDING work, Actioneer! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Like birds of a feather, customizers of 1:6 scale do indeed, “flock together.” In today’s exclusive, generously penned and provided to us by 1:6 customizing expert, Gary Stair (PA), we learn exactly how the work of one creative genius can quickly influence the work of many others. In the following two examples, Stair reports how his own custom work (as of late) has become greatly influenced by that of fellow customizer, Wayne Faucher; even to the point of requiring him to jump in his car and race over to Walmart, just to buy an Iron Man toy that was going on clearance. According to Stair:

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Gary Stair (PA) (Photo: Gary Stair)

“I want to be Wayne Faucher in my next life. I LOVE his 1:6 scale custom stuff! So much so, I often try to emulate him in my own 1:6th creations. The recent Joe Report article describing his amazing Hulk Buster figure (HERE) had me out of my house in minutes and ZIPPING over to the local Walmart; where low and behold—I found one LAST Hulk Buster (HB) figure still sitting on the clearance shelf. Thanks to Wayne’s tip, I snagged it for a mere $11 bucks—with an additional 10% off!

The HB was missing its helmet, but that didn’t stop me. I found a plastic easter egg (clear on one side, yellow on the other) to serve as a replacement, leaving only a few additional items to make it complete. (Hey Wayne—Can you tell what I did over the weekend?) After multiple hours of painting and assorted customizations that utilized all sorts of miscellaneous parts and “do-dads” (to create self-balancing rockets and heat-seeking missiles), I’d soon created my very own Captain Action B.A.D.A.S.S. (short for what else?): the BATTLE ARMOR DEFENSE AIRBORNE SURVIVABILITY SYSTEM. I also intend to install an Iron Man-esque chest light, utilizing one of those 1:6 scale desk lamps I’d purchased previously at a Dollar Store (see HERE).”

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EGGX-cellant! Gary’s superb solution to his missing helmet dilemma was to create one of his own using a 2-piece plastic Easter egg. Absolutely ALIENS-inspired! (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Custom Armor-O-ACTION! Gary’s decision to go with a metallic blue paint job gave his custom creation a definite Captain Action twist. Sweet! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

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Built For Battle— The back view reveals there are few if any weak spots in the Hulk Buster armor. The possibilities for customizing this “suit” are practically limitless! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

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As seen from the side— Gary’s Hulk Buster armor sports one of Cap’s logo stickers (just so Dr. Evil knows who’s about to deliver the HURT on his squishy-brain head) and you can also see how Stair’s unique “Easter egg” helmet was painted and utilized. COOL! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“To further demonstrate how Wayne’s creations have been keeping me up at night, I tried to replicate his outstanding Lost in Space jet-pack (shown in a previous Joe Report article HERE). I also really love the scene in Thunderball where Bond uses the same jet-pack system to make his getaway from SPECTRE bad guys (see video clip above). Thanks largely to Wayne’s inspiring examples, I now have a Sean Connery 007 figure flying high in my toy room with a Wayne Faucher-esque jet-pack (or at least my version of it).”
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Do you own a 1:6 scale jet-pack system for use with your custom Lost in Space or James bond figures? If not, WHY not? Just like Wayne and Gary, you can make one yourself! Hey, Gary, where’s the helmet? (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Prepare for Takeoff— Gary Stair’s custom jet-pack was created from an assortment of, as he likes to call them, “odds-n-ends.” WOW!!!!! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“I want to give major KUDOS to Wayne Faucher for all the inspiration he’s provided to me and other 1:6 customizers around the world. I hope The Joe Report will continue sharing examples of his amazing work of 1:6 seale ART well in the future. I know they’ve inspired MANY customizers to strive for greater achievements and help keep our beloved 1:6 scale “vision” ALIVE!” —Gary Stair, PA

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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

Bottom Line: Gary mentioned that he had grown up watching ARK II. We had never seen (or heard of) “ARK II” before, so we decided to check it out on YouTube today where we found the entire first episode (see link above). If you jump ahead to the 5:49 minute-mark, you’ll see the very same jet-pack system that Wayne and Gary have recreated so perfectly in 1:6 scale.

Wayne and Gary are both outstanding customizers and are leaders by example in our wonderful hobby. We hope these two “wizards” will stay in touch often, and that YOU too, will write in to us here at The Joe Report so that we can share YOUR creative projects with the world. Finally, a special note of thanks to Gary Stair for all his generous contributions to this article. Go, GARY!

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“Scale Model Expo” in Ohio Provides Affordable Alternative For Fans of 1:6 Scale Who Are Unable to Attend This Year’s JoeCon 2016 or Joelanta

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Aching! Lock unt Load! This screenshot from a Fox19 News video reveals a closeup of Dick Schauerte’s outstanding 1:6 scale WWII German anti-tank gun, just one of many inspiring pieces fans can see on display—FREE of charge—at this weekend’s Scale Model Expo in West Chester, OH, March 5 & 6, 2016.

Let’s face it… This year’s location of JoeCon 2016 in Loveland, Colorado, is a going to be a lonnnng haul for many of us, and Joelanta, as great as that show is (and it IS great!), can also set fans back a fair amount of change, simply to attend. When you factor in hotel stays, food, fuel, entrance fees and other related expenses, going to our hobby’s “main events” each year can put quite a dent in a collector’s wallet. But do those financial realities mean fans have to sit on their hands, year after year? Absolutely not!

There are always ways Joeheads and 1:6 scalers can save money and make hobby-related excursions more affordable and “attendable.” Carpooling, for example, can save fuel expenses. Shared hotel rooms (do you snore?) can cut back dramatically on lodging. And low-budget meals (yes, we mean McDonalds) or “brown-bagging it,” can really streattttch your convention dollars.

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He’s Gettin’ the Word Out— In this screenshot, fan, collector, customizer, and “Scale Model Expo” organizer, Keith Davis, discusses the creation of 1:6 scale custom projects during an exclusive interview with Fox19 News. Working with local media outlets is a proven way to boost show attendance.

Fortunately for fans on a budget, alternatives to expensive shows abound. The best, of course, are the ones that don’t charge ANY attendance or dealer table fees. Are there such events? Indeed! One such stellar (and affordable) example is this weekend’s Scale Model Expo located in West Chester, Ohio. According to the Expo’s page on Facebook:

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“FREE ADMISSION to the Scale Model Expo! Regular admission rates apply to the Train Journey and the A-Maze-N Funhouse. Exhibiting Large scale models of R/C Steam and Electric Boats, G-Scale Live Steam Trains, R/C Airplanes, Automobiles, Military Vehicles and Equipment, Military Figures, Large 1/6th Scale WWII Military Dioramas, Stationary Steam engines and much more.

Participating Groups: Cincinnati Scale Modelers; Cinder Sniffers Inc.; Greater Cincinnati Garden Railway Society; Sixth Scale Collectors Club of Cincinnati; Sycamore Modelers; Maritime Modelers and more. Representatives of the Veterans Administration will be present to provide assistance to veterans in reference to available benefits. 25 cent hotdogs (all through March at EnterTRAINment Junction!”

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Shows are Great For Recruiting— In another interview with Fox19, SSCC member, Dick Schauerte, expressed his hopes that the show would help “draw more people into our club and get younger people involved,” to help grow the hobby in general and to support Entertrainment Junction.

Bottom Line: As well as the various show-saving methods discussed above, we also suggest you keep your eye on hobby magazines, Facebook, and online fan forums. All of them typically contain “upcoming event calendars” that provide VERY handy information. Our own Joe Report calendar (see at the bottom of this page) is a great place to start. And don’t forget to check your local newspapers for toy and “model shows” in your area. Hopefully, you’ll be able to attend either the Scale Model Expo, Joelanta, or JoeCon in 2016, to help you get your 1:6 scale “fix.” Our best wishes go out to the organizers of this weekend’s show in Ohio. It sounds like you’ll have a BLAST! To view the entire Scale Model Expo interview video on the Fox19 News website, go HERE.

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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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