Category Archives: Customizing Tips & Tricks

Non-Electric Flocking Techniques Help Lyle Kozak Create Truly Unique 1:6 Scale GIjOE Headsculpts

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As real as it gets— Combine high-end headsculpts with E. Lyle Kozak’s superbly intuitive hair-n-beard flocking and you get near-REALITY at 1:6 scale. Can this figure speak, too? WOW! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

exclusivebannerGet’cher Hair On!— We’ve talked about talented “flockers” in the worldwide 1:6 scale community before, from a Brazilian builder of an amazing one-of-a-kind, life-sized Falcon action figure (HERE) to a professional flocking business in the U.K. appropriately called “Flocktastic” (HERE), to gutsy, yet admitted “amateurs” in the U.S. who eschew expensive flocking devices and yet still manage to produce outstanding quality-flocked heads using only ordinary, non-electric supplies.

One such highly talented “amateur” flocker is Edward Lyle Kozak. Better known to his friends, family and fans online as E. Lyle Kozak, or simply Lyle, Mr. Kozak has taken the teachings of a VERY basic video tutorial provided by Bob “the Barber” Rodden (still found in the “tips-n-tricks” section of the Patches of Pride website HERE) and has elevated Rodden’s simple process to an astonishing level, creating amazing, 1:6 scale, facial-hair ART. Fortunately (for the subscribers and readers of The Joe Report), Mr. Kozak has kindly consented to provide us all today with an exclusive insight into his stunning “forays into flocking.” Take it away, Mr. K!

Edward Lyle Kozak, displays his unique “mini-me” Santa GIjOE, complete with matching Santa hat and (a tad-too-long) suit coat. (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

“Have ya ever thought about re-flocking an old GIjOE Adventure Team figure? Or giving your figure some unique new character? Me too! I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s and my fascination with GIjOE started when I was very young. My brother had many of the Adventure Team figures and accessories. I received a few of my own at the very end of the AT line. I was so obsessed with AT GIjOEs that for many years growing up, I thought you had to have a beard to be a soldier! From there, I went on to Super Joe and then on to the RAH line. My two favorite toys growing up were the Fisher Price Adventure People and the Adventure Team. For many years, I was buying and trading figures and always wanted to learn how to repair damaged or missing flocking on their heads. It would take me a LOT of research to find reliable references on how to flock a Joe and where to get the right materials (it’s easier now).”

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Classic Adventure Teamers, RESTORED— There’s nothing cooler than giving new flocks to vintage A-Teamers from the 1970s. If these guys could speak, they’d probably scream out, “THANK YOU, Lyle! Thank you for restoring our thinning hairlines and making us YOUNG and VIRILE again!” We’d have to agree. That is SUPERB hair-restoring flocking work, Mr. K! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak) Click to enlarge.

“After many late nights (and 12AM cups of coffee), one day, purely by chance, I was looking for some replacement AT decals for a recently acquired yellow ATV, and as I looked through the Patches of Pride (PoP) website, I found a link that said, “How to flock your heads in 10-15 minutes.” Wha..? After all my searching— FINALLY—there it was, right in front of me (see HERE). Other than all those great decals, and awesome and unique accessories, PoP also offers TONS of cool diorama and customizing tips and ideas.”

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Fancy Foreign Facial Flocks— Lyle’s battlin’ Brits are now sporting some SERIOUSLY sassy whiskers. Blimey, Guv’nah. Long live the Queen! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak) Click to enlarge.

“The process demonstrated on PoP’s website by Bob Rodden is a VERY basic way of flocking without spending a lot of money on an expensive electrostatic machine. Bob’s process works just fine and that is exactly how I’m doing all my heads now; with just a few minor changes to the process. Here are the specific changes I have implemented into the process that I learned from Bob and PoP.

  • I pretreat the heads with a PVC pipe cleaner that removes oily residue from handling and helps to promote better glue adhesion (found at local retailers).
  • I also found a good, affordable, and not-too-smelly adhesive that works great but can also be easily removed with rubbing alcohol.
  • The first type of glue I use is Loctite GO2 Glue. This glue is a little thicker and spreads on nicely over the head and has a long enough pot life (dry time) to be able to cover the head and flock.
  • The other glue I have recently started to use is Clear Gorilla Glue. This is a little thinner than the GO2 glue, but they both held up the same in dry testing and at holding the flock on.”
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Flocking Adds Character— Hit the ice, Adventurers! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

“In my search for flocking knowledge, I eventually found a wonderful company called “Just Flock It” that produces GIjOE-appropriate flocking in a multitude of colors and lengths—just PERFECT for any and all crazy customs that might come to mind (see their website HERE). I have to say too, the customer service and availability at Just Flock It is top-notch and I have never had a single issue with their products or service.”

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Ho, Ho, HAIRY— With flocking projects, if you can THINK it, you can probably DO it. Lyle’s short-bearded “Santa Joe” is a perfect example. (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

“I’ve also found the Flock Concepts blog which has a ton of info on adhesives, fibers, flocking machines, and anything else you can think of re: flocking. The blog is run by Ray Cairo, a really cool guy who also flocks as a side business. He dyes and cuts most of his own flock and has mastered how to mix colors to get correct blends that match vintage figures. HERE‘s the link to Ray’s blog.”

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Artistic Hair Design— Lyle’s expert mixture of gray and black flocking impart a distinctive look and “age” to this “angry” AA headsculpt. (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

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Grizzled Greatness— Varied follicle heights and subtle color differentiations combine to imbue this custom head with a WORLD of personality. AMAZING work, Lyle! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

“A few more things to keep in mind when you’re flocking:

  • Don’t rush it, take your time, practice, and it will become easier.
  • The straight colors are ok, but mixing them makes them really POP!
  • It doesn’t take very much glue or a lot of flock to cover one (1) head.
  • Once you learn the basics, the possibilities are endless!

For more information, please visit my flocking page on Facebook HERE. Enjoy!”

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EE-YUCK! Adding flocking to this “Walking Dead” headsculpt has made it almost TOO real to look at. Wow. VERY CREEPY, Mr. K! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

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Goin’ Gray? This Sea Adventurer looks like the man in charge. His encroaching gray provides distinction as well as “aging” him beyond his blonder subordinates. THIS IS A MASTERPIECE of 1:6 scale flocking. Just look at that face! (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

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Redheads RULE!— This tough guy looks like someone you’d want “watching your back” whenever you got in a tough scrape. Lyle’s perfectly blended redhead coloration goes superbly with his eye and eyebrow colors. (Photo: E. Lyle Kozak)

Bottom Line: Customizers such as Mr. Rodden and Mr. Kozak are truly inspirations to us all. Their ventures into the fantastical world of flocking continues to reveal to us that—with very little expense and (a little) trial and effort—all our customizing “dreams” really CAN come true. Keep up the great work, guys. An especially big THANK YOU too, to Mr. Kozak, for sharing all of his flocking intel with us today. You are the MAN, sir!

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Grab That Greasy Joystick, Joe—It’s Arcade Time!

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Boxed up FUN— The games still in their original packaging. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

We LOVE miniature 1:6 scale video games. Fortunately for this holiday season, a batch of approximately 10 new ones are now appearing in stores across the U.S., primarily from the good folks at My Arcade. These new games are currently priced between $25 and $35 (each) depending on where and WHEN you buy them. Our advice? Watch your local big box stores like a hawk. Also, browse online at Walmart.com, Amazon, etc. Whenever you see a game’s price dropping, JUMP on it! These are popular little items with a wide variety of collectors and ordinary consumers, so they typically don’t last on shelves for long—virtual or otherwise.

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Battery Hogs?— These new games really need the juice, four AA batteries to be precise. Ouch! Remember to always REMOVE batteries when not in use! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Better Designed— Last year’s smaller, simpler, “one size fits all” cases from Basic Fun (shown on the right) don’t compare with this year’s bigger, better, more accurate case designs from My Arcade (shown on the left). Even the buttons and joystick sizes are more accurately scaled to fit 1:6 scale. EXCELLENT! Regardless, both games will still ROCK in GIJOE’s arcade! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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A Back to Back, “Pac to Pac” Comparison— The new Pac Man game case from My Arcade (as shown on the left) is clearly more stylish and faithful to the original game’s design. The smaller, (boxier) case from Basic Fun (on the right) was good—but it wasn’t great. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Raise ’em up so Joe can PLAY— To save money, the makers of these miniature arcade games chop off the bottom halves of the cases where in the real-world, all of the game’s computer “innards” were stored. To make up the resulting height deficit, we recommend that you create some sort of a base to raise the games back up to Joe’s level (see our previous article HERE). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We’re hoping someone comes out with a miniature version of the original “Pong,” “Robotron,” or maybe even “Zaxxon.” Those were three truly iconic arcade games from back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Remember, watch those stores and look out for sales. Happy Hunting!

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Yikes!—Tis the Season for Some Scary Skeletons!

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Nice kitty…Good kitty. This giant saber-toothed cat looks to us to be one of the better offerings this year. Simply amazing details from tail to fangs! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

No flesh? No worries. These skeletal creatures are scary enough!

Your GIjOE museum and fantasy dioramas all need skeletons, right? Well, thanks to the impending Halloween season, stores throughout the U.S. (and beyond) have begun ramping up their supply to meet the growing demand. Besides all of the trick-or-treaters and Halloween home decorators, GIjOE fans and customizers too, now have their eager “eagle-eyes” set on picking up at least ONE of these amazing skeletal “beasties.” According to intrepid TJR Field Reporter, Keith Davis:

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Keith Davis, fan, collector and customizer of all things 1:6 scale (Photo: Fox 19 News)

“Wanna try something new in 1/6 or other scales!?! How about going prehistoric, or Jurassic, or Bedrock? I found these recently at Home Depot, and the bigger ones at Big Lots. The smaller ones go for around $40, the bigger ones are over $100. I think all of them have light-up eyes and maybe sounds, too. Even Barbie had the Flintstones. You could make one heck of a diorama with this stuff! —Keith Davis

We concur with Keith. Simply place one of these massive, menacing monsters next to ANY scale GIjOE and your imagination immediately runs WILD with all sorts of fun diorama possibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the other creepy critters that Keith has tracked down in Cincinnati’s “Concrete Jungle” of brick-n-mortar stores—

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Horns. Teeth, and TERROR! A herd of skeletal dinosaurs. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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Life-sized sitting dogs and some spiky mini-triceratops. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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This closeup reveals the quality to be better on some than others and the prices to be fairly consistent. The wiring must be hidden inside the bones, somewhere. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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With real BITING action! If you look closely, these red-eyed T-Rex skeletons appear to have working jaws for added realism. VERY cool! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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A size for every diorama— Don’t like small? How about LARGE? (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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How about a big, bad, DRAGON? Check out that wingspan! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to keen-eyed Keith Davis for his generous contributions to this article. In the past, such skeletal “decor” items have ranged from the junky to the banal (skeletal rats, really?). But these new dinosaur, saber-toothed cat, and horned dragon skeletons VASTLY open-up possibilities for 1:6 scale (and other scale) dioramas. So—GO GIT ‘EM!

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Toymakers Beware—If You Make Miniature Custom Figures That Look TOO Good—and Then Sell Them TOO Publicly—You’d Better be Prepared to Face an All-Too-Costly Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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The likeness is unmistakable— That pose. That expression. That haircut. That weaponry. THAT is Conan the Barbarian—and we all know it. Ricardo Jove Sanchez’s mini-sculpt figurine was clearly modeled after Robert E. Howard’s iconic character and Frank Frazetta’s iconic paintings. Submitted as prima facie evidence in court, this screenshot of a Facebook post made under Sanchez’s pseudonym “Rykar Jové” provided the judge with a definitive and unmistakable side-by-side comparison. Click to enlarge.

Are YOU a custom figure “fraudster?”

Let’s hope not. It might net you some tempting income in the short term, but it could also cost you a pretty penny in the future. For example, a Brooklyn, NY judge recently penalized “professional freelance sculptor” Ricardo Jove Sanchez (of Spain) with $21,000 worth of fines and liabilities. Sanchez’s transgressions? He had sculpted multiple miniature (3″ tall) figurines based upon Robert E. Howard Properties’ Conan the Barbarian characters—and the paintings of Frank Frazetta—and his actions were found to be “liable under trademark infringement laws.” According to the article recently published in the New York Post (HERE) and as penned by reporter Emily Saul:

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Emily Saul, New York Post (Photo: New York Post)

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“A Spanish man has been ordered to cough up $21,000 for hawking unauthorized reproductions of action figures like Conan the Barbarian, Kull and El Borak over the internet. Brooklyn federal Judge Frederic Block found Ricardo Jove Sanchez liable under trademark infringement laws, saying he sold the collectibles despite knowing their likenesses were owned by Conan Properties International LLC, and Robert E. Howard Properties Inc. Sanchez peddled the figures of Conan, Kull, El Borak, Soloman Kane, Ironhand, Bran Mak Morn, and Dark Agnes over Facebook and Kickstarter for a three-year period, the companies alleged. Yet, when he was told to stop, the fraudster simply changed the names of his replicas and continued business as usual, according to Block.

‘For example, he changed ‘Conan the Barbarian’ to ‘The Barbarian’ and ‘Dark Agnes’ to ‘Swordswoman’ ” in his ads, the papers say. Block ordered Sanchez to cough up $3,000 per character he ripped off, plus additional damages. He is also permanently barred from making or selling any figures based on Howard’s works in the future. Howard, who died in 1936, wrote a series of popular pulp fiction works during the 1930s. Sanchez couldn’t be reached for comment.”


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(h)ämij/

noun

definition: a special honor or respect shown publicly.


How “honoring” your favorite characters can get you in trouble with the law

As most 1:6 scalers well know, a sort of character-infringement “light” has been going on at GIjOE shows around the world for a quite a long time now. This is not the work of major toy companies ripping each other off. No, this activity resides within the realm—and purview—of well-intentioned individuals. And it’s not a greed-driven pursuit, either. Quite the contrary, most of the time, any infringement being perpetrated is because of an individuals’ LOVE for a certain brand or character. His (or her) goal is RARELY to take money away from a brand’s rightful copyright holder(s). Rather, it is (they feel) their way of remembering, honoring, and/or THANKING the creators for something that has provided them with a lifetime of wonderful memories. But—however noble or sentimental their reasoning may be—those people are still—breaking the law. And that’s wrong.

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Too Close for Legal Comfort— With minor tweaks, these figures could’ve easily been declared completely original concepts, but then their sales would likely have dropped dramatically. Sanchez had received a warning about the trademarked names and replaced them with more generic ones (see above). Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to satisfy the attorneys of Robert E. Howard, Inc. and a lawsuit was soon filed. Copyright laws exist to protect creators. (Photo: Ricardo Jove Sanchez) Click to enlarge.

You’ll see such honorific—and yet illegal—products being sold ALL THE TIME at toy shows—as vendors blatantly ply goods bearing likenesses, logos, illustrations, photos and other copyrighted material that is clearly not theirs to reproduce. Most of the individuals doing so have ZERO official approval to make whatever it is they’re making—or to sell whatever it is they’re selling. And yet—

Toy Shows Remain “Islands of Opportunity” for Many

For those involved in the creation and sale of any copyright-infringing product, staying underneath the legal “radar” means that they must produce them in only VERY limited quantities, preferably as one-of-a-kinds, or sell (or trade) them purely on a “collector to collector” bartering basis. Toys shows are ideal for this. Much like open-air flea markets, they provide sellers (and buyers) with an easy opportunity to get together and transact. Heck, with major manufacturers currently “dropping the ball” toy-production-wise, some of the coolest products you can find are the handmade creations being sold at toy shows. We’re not attorneys, but it appears to us that Sanchez’s internet-based sales on both Facebook and Kickstarter were just TOO public, TOO well-received and TOO successful for the Robert E. Howard folks to overlook. Hopefully, the recent (expensive) outcome of Sanchez’s case will serve as an instructive wake-up call to others pursuing similar “business.”

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High Quality Honorifics— Sanchez’s work is superb. This pic shows six more of his sculpted (and unofficial) miniature creations. Remember, whenever you create an original work—it (and you) are BOTH protected by copyright law. (Photo: Ricardo Jove Sanchez) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Do YOU make your own “kitbashed” or custom action figures? Equipment? Packaging? Clothing? Are you aware of all of the legal pitfalls and potential financial penalties resulting from copyright infringement? Don’t get us wrong. You’re perfectly free to show off (and sell) all of your homemade creations with well-deserved pride. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. copyright law protects you and ALL of your own unique artistic creations. BUT—if any of your work contains near (or exact) likenesses of any other copyrighted characters, logos, or well-known individuals (living or dead), then that MAY be a problem—especially if you ever decide to sell them publicly, online or in very large quantities. Any questions? We suggest you pay for an hour or so of time with your own, trusted attorney. That minor cost up front may save you a great deal MORE later on. View court documents from Sanchez’s case HERE.

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Messerschmits! 12 O’Clock High!—1:6 Customizer Creates WWII Aerial Combat Diorama Featuring 2 Waist-Gunners Defending a B-17 “Flying Fortress”

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Here they come! Stay sharp! We’ve got to get through! This realistic 1:6 scale WWII B-17 battle diorama was created and customized by Bud Brown of California, and the ProSeries waterslide decals (shown on the aircraft’s outer hull) were provided by Patches of Pride (natch’). All this pic needs now are some special “FIRE” effects so that the .50 cal looks like it’s really “spittin’ HOT lead!” Absolutely outstanding customizing and pics, Bud. Keep up the great work! (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

Man, oh MAN. Some 1:6 scale custom dioramas are SO accurate and thrilling to look at that they make you DROOL with envy. This is one of them. Looking at the photo above, you can practically FEEL all the tension and energy of that moment. And, as we all know, it was life-or-death—EVERYDAY—for Allied and Axis combatants over the skies of Europe during WWII. Do you ever stop to think about the horrors endured by all the young flyers during that extremely dangerous air campaign? Well, if you’re not thankful for your comfy life of freedom now (would you even EXIST today if Germany had won?), then think about just ONE of the shocking B-17 bomber statistics from that war—as recounted to us by the dedicated aircraft historians at the Spitfire Association:

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“In a single 376 plane raid in August 1943, 60 B-17s were shot down. That was a 16 percent loss rate and meant 600 empty bunks in England. In 1942-43, it was statistically impossible for bomber crews to complete a 25-mission tour in Europe.”

“Statistically IMPOSSIBLE” to complete. And yet they went up anyway—time and time again. And this was the result of just ONE mission! Are you paying attention now? Good. Those heroes DESERVE our attention. While Hollywood movies thrill and excite viewers, the terrible truth was—and forever will be—REAL war is HELL. Millions of fathers, mothers, sons and daughters DIED protecting and preserving freedom around the world. Thankfully, the creation, sharing and commemoration of those heroes—in 1:6 scale dioramas—is a growing and popular hobby. When customizer Weldon “Bud” Brown II wrote in recently (see below) to share some pics of his latest custom 1:6 creation, needless to say, we were thrilled. Here’s Bud’s letter—

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Weldon “Bud” Brown II

“Attached are some finishing touches on my B-17 waist-gunner display. The bomber jacket patch is fantastic. I placed the decals on the plane fuselage. I made both the YANK mag and the Bible. I also put in the pin ups (one is my wife), along with a liberators war poster and a German aircraft identification poster. Now if I could just find some expended .50 caliber ammo for the floor. Thanks Mark and Patches of Pride. You have great stuff!”
Bud Brown
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History comes ALIVE— On your shelf? Yes! And what a conversation starter. Bud’s 2-figure, B-17 waist-gunner diorama makes viewer’s eyes POP and their jaws DROP. (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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Details DO make the difference!— In this closeup, you can see Bud’s handmade YANK magazine, a Bible and some pin-up photos. There’s also a couple of parachutes, some oxygen bottles and even a thermos for coffee. Out-STANDING attention to detail. (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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This reverse-view shows an ammo belt, Bud’s “Liberators” poster, and the gunner’s step-decks to help stabilize their balance and aim. (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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Durable and Desirable— Large, textured cloth patches for the backs of 1:6 scale bomber jackets are available HERE from Patches of Pride. Bud chose the ever-popular “Straight Shooter” version (for obvious reasons). ZING! (Photo: Bud Brown)

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Avoid “Friendly Fire”— Bud’s German aircraft ID chart helps his waist-gunners to tell friend from foe. So cool! (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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Providing backup— Another view from tail-gunner #2. (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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Pulled Back a Bit— Fully revealed, you can now see that Bud has only one small section of the hull of a B-17 represented. To display a full-sized 1:6 scale B-17 in his office would be, let’s say, “uncomfortable.” HA. But this is MORE than enough fun for a work space! (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

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Adorning Armored Aircraft— This reverse angle clearly shows the exciting Patches of Pride ProSeries waterslide decals Bud chose to use on his custom diorama. The 4 swastikas indicate the number of confirmed “kills” for that gunner. The “Benito Finito” cartoon decal (found HERE) was first seen on Allied Jeeps after the Italian campaign. They look GREAT on aircraft, too! (Photo: Bud Brown) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks go out to Bud Brown for his generous contributions to this article. Customizers of 1:6 scale continue to “push the envelope” and amaze us with their creations.

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When L.R. Aponte “Feels the Need” for a Custom 1:6 Scale USN Fighter Pilot Helmet—He Makes His Own!

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AWESOME American Aviators— This custom, 1:6 scale, US Navy VF-1 “Wolfpack” fighter squadron helmet was created by master customizer, L.R. Aponte utilizing a set of ProSeries waterslide decals from Patches of Pride (see HERE). Out-STANDING work, sir! (Photo: L.R. Aponte) Click to enlarge.

There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing products you’ve manufactured being put to use by talented customizers out there in the 1:6 scale “universe.” Of course, that must happen all the time to Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride, who filed the following report regarding the latest accomplishment of one of his longtime “customer-customizers,” L.R. Aponte. According to Otnes:

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“It’s true. We get letters, emails, photos, online posts, and everything else you could imagine from thousands of customers we’ve supplied with our products over the years. Whether it’s miniature patches, decals or any of the thousands of other 1:6 scale-related accessories we sell, it’s always exciting to see how individuals are using them to enhance their own unique, custom projects.

For example, this week, longtime PoP customer and customizer extraordinare, L.R. Aponte, wrote in to share some STUNNING photos of a 1:6 flight helmet he’d just completed customizing, using one of our more, oh, let’s say, “challenging” helmet decal sets. It’s a ProSeries set—aka “waterslide”—that we created a few years ago to commemorate the heroic aviators of the US Navy’s VF-1 “Wolfpack” fighter squadron.

That set includes a pair of giant wolf heads and some seriously lonnnng stripes that require a steady hand (and patience) to install correctly. As you can see from L.R.’s photos, they look absolutely AWESOME once installed. He’s done a SUPERB job creating a custom VF-1 helmet. Congratulations, L.R!” —Mark Otnes

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Opposite 3/4 view from the front. Out-STANDING! (Photo: L.R. Aponte) Click to enlarge.

LR Aponte added the following intel regarding this amazing custom helmet, stating:

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LR Aponte, Customizer of 1:6 scale action figures (Photo: LR Aponte)

“Hi Mark, I just wanted to send you some pics of the helmets with your decals. They came out good. Thank you so much and I will be making more purchases soon. When I am not buried in work, I try to set time aside and work on 1/6 scale figures. I repaint head sculpts and come up with some original figures. My work area is whatever area around the house that is close to a panoramic window, I LOATHE being enclosed in an ‘office’ area. My line of work is aerospace and I travel now more than when I started 32 yrs ago. I have seen all types of jets from all our friends and foes around the planet. I hope you like the pics. Your website (Patches of Pride), is an excellent site and your products are VERY good.” —LR AponteJacksonville , FL

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This side view shows how the stripes curve perfectly on the helmet. (Photo: LR Aponte) Click to enlarge.

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SCRAMBLE!— Another of LR Aponte’s amazing custom pilots. (Photo: LR Aponte) Click to enlarge.

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U2 Lookin’ at Me?— Aponte’s U2 pilot w/ custom-painted headsculpt. (Photo: LRA) Click to enlarge.

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The Rear-View is sometimes the BEST View— In this case, we’d agree. Seriously, we’d pose the figure wearing this helmet with his face to the wall and his back facing out so that the viewer could see this side of the helmet clearly. It’s THAT cool. The paint, the decals, it’s perfect! (Photo: LRA) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: LR’s mastery of the application of waterslide decals is obvious. In fact, his skill levels are so high, he could probably open a sideline business making 1:6 scale custom helmets! Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to Mr. Aponte for his generous contributions to this article. If you’d like to try your hand at creating a VF-1 “Wolfpack” helmet like this, the ProSeries decal set (shown above) can be purchased from THIS PAGE of the Patches of Pride website. Enjoy!

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All We Are Saying—is—Give Wayne Faucher a BIG Hand—His “Early ’70s John Lennon” Custom Figure Could be His Greatest 1:6 Scale Creation—EVER!

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IMAGINE— having the talents required to be able to create custom figures as wonderful as this. So GREAT! Wayne Faucher’s “Early ’70s John Lennon” is an absolute SPOT-ON 1:6 masterpiece. Isn’t it great when all the individual parts of a project COME TOGETHER(Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

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Stunned. Shocked. THRILLED Those are but a handful of the emotions that are undoubtedly racing through your mind—right now—as you gaze upon—in awe and wonder—this astonishing 1:6 scale “tribute figure” to one of our planet’s greatest-ever singer-songwriters—Mr. John Lennon. The miniature masterpiece in question is the latest handiwork of Marvel Comics’ inking maestro (and custom 1:6 scale figure creator extraordinaire), Wayne Faucher, of Rhode Island, USA.

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Rockin’ Out in Central Park— If you think this is a photo of the REAL John Lennon, then look again. Faucher’s custom figure is SO realistic that it easily “fools the eye.” (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Wayne’s world of wonderful works has been well-documented here within the pages of The Joe Report, and we never tire of sharing his masterful creations with YOU—our beloved readers. This particular figure stands out among all of Faucher’s other amazing customs because it represents NOT a fanciful superhero, NOR a science-fiction character from some other world, but rather a REAL human being from right here on good ol’ planet Earth. And when a custom figure is made this well, it instantly becomes elevated from the nomenclature of an ordinary “action figure” to the honor of a starry realm reserved solely for handcrafted artwork known as “TRIBUTE” figures. And what a tribute this figure is! Wayne describes his stunning, one-of-a-kind creation thusly:

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Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“I got tired of waiting for the Molecule 8 figure (HERE), so I just went ahead and did one myself, for about 1/3 of the price. I didn’t want to do a specific event or photo of John, I just wanted a general early 70’s version. So… I chose a couple of iconic period pieces; the fatigue shirt he wore at his 1972 NYC concert (and on the Dick Cavett show), as well as the ‘New York City’ t-shirt from his famous rooftop photo session. The fatigue patches were all provided by Patches of Pride (HERE), and are a dead-on match!”
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Lennon on CavettJohn Lennon on The Dick Cavett Show, September 11, 1971. (Photo: ABC-TV)

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ROCK ON! Wayne Faucher’s custom “Early ’70s John Lennon” sports OD fatigues adorned with custom 1:6 scale patches from Patches of Pride. OOH-yeah! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

“For the t-shirt, I got a plain white shirt from Cotswold Collectibles (HERE) and designed my own heat transfer for the type. The head is a stunning sculpt from Kumik (HERE), with a few alterations to the hair. The glasses came with the head, but are totally resized and reworked with a Dremel. I also added the tinted lenses.”
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Details DO Make the Difference— Tweaks to the hair, eyeglasses, t-shirt, custom PoP patches—it all adds up to 1:6 scale PERFECTION. WOW! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

“The guitar came from Ebay. Like most professional guitar players, John had a LOT of guitars. His tastes evolved over the years, so I really don’t associate him with a particular model (unlike Paul McCartney’s famous Hofner bass). Anyway, I couldn’t have done this custom figure (at least not as effectively) without PoP’s fine patches. Thanks again, Mark!” —Wayne Faucher
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On the FLIP SIDE— As this closeup of the other sleeve reveals, Faucher did a superb job installing the custom patches from Patches of Pride. This is a mini-masterpiece! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

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Make Art, Not Crap—Just IMAGINE all of the fantastic photos you could take with custom figures like this. We can almost hear Lennon’s music playing, too! (Photo: WEF) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Regardless of what you thought of Lennon’s music, politics, or the man himself personally, you have to admit that Faucher’s custom tribute figure is an amazing artistic achievement. Mr. Faucher is a multi-talented individual who continues to surprise and impress legions of comic book fans as well as all of the diverse individuals who populate the 1:6 scale collecting universe. I think it is safe to say that we are ALL blown away by the quality of your work, sir! And—once again—you have clearly “raised the bar” of figure customizing beyond any levels we could have imagined. (Our sincerest thanks to Wayne for all of his help in the creation in this article.) 

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Stayin’ Alive With POWER— Customizer Gary Stair Creates Unique “Iron Kid” Action Figure Featuring Chest-Mounted Arc Reactor and “Light-Up Action”

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Meet “IRON KID”— Gary Stair’s exciting new 1:6 custom figure features a custom silver suit and an “Arc Reactor” installed in its chest that REALLY lights up. Out-STANDING work, Gary! (Photo: Gary Stair)

Here’s another quick-n-cool custom figure idea from the VERY fertile mind of renowned 1:6 scale customizer, Gary Stair. Gary describes his latest—unique—creation thusly:

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

“Hey Mark, I had another idea—You remember those little ‘mini LED’ lamps? The ones we found at The Dollar Store? Well, I just found another use for them, one that that I think the other readers of The Joe Report might enjoy knowing about. We all need little lights that are easy to work with (for trucks, boats, planes, cars, etc.); and can be easily replaced too, right? Well… Voi-LAAA! Now we now have it. And creating this custom figure was really easy. First, I took the lamp apart. Then, I took an old ‘Steve Scout’ body and drilled a couple of holes into him, making the front one SMALLER so that the LED lamp would fit fairly tight when I inserted it into his chest. Then, I had a custom silver suit made up for him (looks pretty snazzy, doesn’t it?) and dressed him in it as shown. All done! He’s now part of my ever-growing Captain Action team. I’ve dubbed him “IRON-KID” (lol). I would LOVE to see what other customizers do with these little $1 LED lights. They’re good for so much more more than just placing on a desk and using as a lamp. We’re only limited by our imagination. Go, Joe! Go, Captain Action! And now, Go, IRON KID!” —Gary Stair, PA

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Drill, intall, and you’re done!— Say, is Iron Kid finally hitting puberty? Is that a chest hair we see poking out from behind his arc reactor? Maybe Lady Action’s new Phicen body is having some unexpected “side effects” on our young man? Hmm… ya’ better go take another (cold) shower, kid! (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Power up!— Gary Stair’s 1:6 scale “arc reactor” is in reality, a common canvas fastener. AMAZING! Click to enlarge.

That cool-looking “Arc Reactor” Gary created looked somehow familiar, but we just couldn’t place where we’d seen it before. Fortunately, Gary had an answer for that, too, revealing:

“It’s a canvas fastner – the top portion. It’s the female piece of a 2-part fastner set. I had some sitting around because I had previously repaired an outdoor canopy. You should be able to google ‘marine canvas fasteners’ (see HERE) and find them easily. Good luck!”

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He’s ALIVE!— Iron Kid’s implanted arc reactor lamp has seen to that. (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Sharp Dressed Young Man— The custom silver suit for Gary Stair’s “Iron Kid” action figure fits like a glove. EXCELLENT! (Photo: Gary Stair)

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Testing, 1,2,3— It works! Just glue the disc over the lit area and you’re done. (Photo: Gary Stair)

Bottom Line: A big THANK YOU to Gary Stair for yet another wonderful contribution to The Joe Report. Gary’s articles are always entertaining and informative. Go, Gary! Go, IRON KID!

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Customizers of 1:6 Scale Vehicles Now Utilizing “Shapeways” 3-D Printing Services to Recreate Lost, Broken or Missing Original Vintage Parts

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Missing Parts be Damned— As the newly 3-D printed missile launchers of Gary Stair’s vintage 1960s “Silver Streak” vehicle clearly prove, the ability to recreate broken or missing parts of vintage toys has DEFINITELY arrived. Out-STANDING work, Shapeways! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

We’ve covered this topic before, and we’ll cover it again—because 3-D printing ROCKS! Wassamatta, Joe? Can’t you find that rare, missing, or broken piece of your classic GIjOE or other vintage toy? Well, fear NOT, my friend. Nowadays, thanks to the modern-day miracles of 3DP, you can simply MAKE ONE YOURSELF (see our previous article HERE). In further confirmation of the evolution of this exciting field of “amateur” toy creation, diehard customizer and revered TJR Field Reporter, Gary Stair, wrote in recently to describe a new 3DP project he had just completed for his beloved Captain Action “Silver Streak” vehicle. According to Mr. Stair:

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

 

“I bought the Captain Action Silver Streak vehicle many, many moons ago and have been searching for rockets and replacement launchers for it for some time. After reading about Wayne Faucher’s Bell jet pack / Shapeways article on the Joe Report HERE, it dawned on me one day—DUUHH—that I have the resources required to make all-new parts—with 3D printing!”

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We can rebuild them— Will 3D printing become a panacea for collectors of vintage toys, allowing them to replace or recreate ANYTHING they need? We think YES! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“I began by interviewing several designers and finally found one over in Australia who was up for the challenge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a vintage Silver Streak rocket anywhere—and believe me I hunted. I wanted the designer to have an exact replica to work from. But in lieu of that, I emailed him a TON of photographs, and he was able to use them to figure out the (close to) exact measurements required to recreate a “non-firing” version.”

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99% Accurate, NON-FIRING— Gary’s new Silver Streak replacement parts do NOT come with a spring-loaded system that “fires” missiles off their launchers. but the shape, size and accuracy of these parts is—nonetheless—unbelievable. WOW! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Unlike the original versions, my new rockets do NOT fire. On the original vehicle, a spring came inserted in the rocket that would then lock onto the launcher. I wasn’t sure I wanted that level of liability yet—let me sell a few first—(LOL) so I went with a non-firing version. Regardless, overall, it is a near-perfect design and DOES fit PERFECTLY onto any original 1960s IDEAL Silver Streak Captain Action vehicle (as you can see in the photos).”

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Things of BEAUTY— Gary’s new 3D printed parts simply snap into place, perfectly replacing the original missing launchers and rockets. WHOOSH!!! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“As for the Silver Streak’s LAUNCHERS, I did manage to locate some (broken) vintage ones, and sent those off to my designer in Australia, communicating via email every step of the way. And while this was an expensive project, the new 3-D printed parts from Shapeways came out GREAT. After I sell a couple on eBay HEREI may jump back in and work on a ‘firing version’ (with spring inserted), allowing the ‘2nd generation’ repro rockets to ‘hook’ onto their launchers.”

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Armed and Ready to do Battle with Dr. Evil— Superb! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Customizers can paint them silver (like the ZICA version) or blue (like the Ideal original) or ANY color to replace their missing launchers and rockets. It is amazing all of the things you can do with the 3D printing process. I’m not sure what I will create next (maybe the gear shifter?), but for now, it’s just great to know that we have the tools required to make replacement parts or create NEW parts for our 1:6 scale GI JOE, Action Man, Captain Action and other figures. What a great resource!”

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Big, Bad, and BEAUTIFUL— Say, who stuck those .50 cals on the front? (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Thanks again (and hats off) to the pioneers of 1:6 scale 3DP, Wayne Faucher, Sean Huxter and David Pruitt (see HERE) for showing all the rest of us “the way.” And a great big thank you to you too, Mark Otnes, for helping us all keep our 1:6 scale dreams alive. Go, Joe Report and Go, Patches of Pride!” —Gary Stair, PA

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Zoiks! It’s ZICA— The mini Silver Streak from ZICA Toys for 3.75″ figures. (Photo: ZICA)

Bottom Line: 3-D Printing is proving to be quite the boon for creative-thinking customizers and 1:6 scalers. A few years ago, “Super” Sean Huxter made some short videos demonstrating a couple of his new 3DP product ideas in prototype form (see below), proving that the potential for new GIjOE-related accessories appears to be practically limitless. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Gary Stair for all his generous help with this article and to the other “pioneers” of this new 1:6 scale field of expertise and endeavor. You guys are all the BEST!

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Fan Builds Life-Size FALCON “Climber” Action Figure in Commemoration of Toy Line’s 40th Anniversary

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Put ‘er There, Pal— A rather surprised looking 1:1 scale FALCON action figure (the one on the left) prepares to test his newfound “Kung-Fu Grip” on his creator, Mauricio Wendler, a VERY talented artisan residing in Brazil. Wendler created this stunning full-size replica of a vintage 1970s FALCON “Climber”—in just 4 days! That sir, is out-STANDING! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

Just when you think you’ve seen everything—you haven’t!

Today we received some amazing international intel from our highly talented “Field Reporter” down in Brazil, Mauricio Wendler, who wrote in concerning his country’s recent 40th anniversary celebration of everything FALCON. Falcon, as you (hopefully) recall, was the extremely popular version of GIjOE produced in Brazil during the 1970s and ’80s. Well, 40+ years have passed since those heady days of yore, and it appears now that Mauricio has decided to “raise the bar” of modern Falcon fandom—a wee little bit—to 6-foot PLUS!

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Who’s Got the POWER? Mauricio taunts Senhor Climber Falcon with his own formidable “Fists of Fury.” Notice too, that Wendler’s 1:1 creation is wearing a REAL jogging suit (with a handmade emblem) and a pair of REAL lace-up boots (to boot). (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

We kid you not—This isn’t facetious “fake news,” nor is it an egregious example of phony Photoshoppery. Rather, Field Reporter Wendler has actually created his own, FULL-SIZE, 1:1 scale action figure; specifically, a spot-on recreation of the (regionally) famous, “Climber” Falcon hero, complete with its iconic (Adidas inspired) red jogging suit, working “Eagle-Eyes,” fully flocked hair and beard, and even a solid pair of “Kung-Fu” gripping hands. WOWZA! After we had picked our jaws up off the floor, we asked Mauricio to describe his stunning new creation and he replied:

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“I’m from Brazil, more specifically from the City of Curitiba, in the state of Paraná. My brother, Marcelo, had had an article published by The Joe Report about 3 years ago; the one about the 3 posters he had produced commemorating FALCON action figures (see  HERE). I have been a fan of the FALCON action figure (the GIjOEs of Brazil) for many years now. I do not know if you knew this, but they were recently (and resentfully) reissued in 3 commemorative versions, due to the manufacturer’s (Estrela) 80th birthday.”

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Eye Can’t SEE You— The 1:1 head of Wendler’s custom is shown here prior to flocking and final paint. Note too, that he has upsized and recreated the interior “Eagle-Eyes” mechanism as well. Soon, this Falcon will SEE the world around him! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge (and study).

“Well, it turns out that THIS year, their Falcon line is celebrating 40 years of its launch in my country and as a collector, photographer, and modeler of products (I make several parts for old Falcons), I also could not pass up this 40th anniversary without doing something really STRIKING by our beloved figure!”

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Turn your head, Please— This profile side-view provides a good look at how Mauricio’s FALCON head is constructed out of two separate sections (rear skull piece not shown), plus those wonderful interior eagle-eye mechanisms. Pretty amazing! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

“I made this figure by designing duct 6 times more piece by piece. It is all made of plastics material (PVC and resin without any fiber). I also do restoration and recovery work of Falcons in 1/6 scale for collectors. And yes, as with the smaller figures, this one also has the flocked hair.”

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Franken FALCON— After each individual section had been molded, trimmed out, and tested for fit, the various pieces were carefully assembled together until soon—a towering (albeit still headless) action figure was born. It’s ALIVE! It’s ALIVE! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

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Welcome to the 1:1 Scale World, Mr. Falcon— This super-closeup pic of Wendler’s finished masterpiece shows the head’s final paint job, placement of its VERY blue eyes and a full head of flocked hair. Out-STANDING work, sir! (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge (and drool).

“During the course of this year, I produced the complete and functional Falcon figure you see, giving ‘life’ to a full-size figure in 1:1 scale. Everything happened as a challenging project that took me about 4 full days total to complete successfully. This Falcon, as you can see, with its fully articulated body, is indeed, our well-known and REAL hero. Oh! I also have a blog where I show some of my restoration works HERE. And Mark, thanks again for all the work you do on The Joe Report!” —Mauricio Wendler, Brazil

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Hold up Yer Skivvies—With a Belt? This closeup reveals the weave and fibers of actual fabric, used to create the realistic pattern you see impressed into (or glued over) the waist section of Wendler’s 1:1 scale Falcon figure. (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to ENLARGE (the crotch). Schwing!

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Wendler’s  “Climber” assumes a defensive stance as he looks askance at the viewer. Is that a pitchfork in his hand, or is he just glad to see you? HA. (Photo: Mauricio Wendler) Click to enlarge.

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Whom will she choose? Sure, Mauricio’s handsome and all, but there’s something really HOT about this new Falcon dude. Hmm… (Photo: Maurico Wendler) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This 1:1 scale custom FALCON action figure is a monumental achievement AND an undeniable work of art, earning it an immediate place of TOP honor amongst the thousands of other such creations produced by fans and customizers of GIjOE, Falcon and related action figures. This MASTERPIECE breaks ALL of the known barriers of “working large” and Mauricio’s proficiency with plastics proves that his fabricating skills know few, if any limitations. Finally, our most heartfelt congratulations go out to Mr. Wendler for all of his SUPERB Falcon-related achievements and for his very generous contributions to this article. Magnífico, senhor!

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