Category Archives: Customizing Tips & Tricks

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!”
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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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New (Almost) 1:6 Scale Stand-up Arcade Games at Walmart Really Work and Are Ideal For Use With 12″ G.I. Joes—Plus (Get This), They’re Only $20!

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Zap those aliens, Joe! Moving beyond fantasy into 1:6 scale reality, the new “Arcade Classics” video game toys from Basic Fun are PERFECT for use with 1:6 scale GIjOEs. They look real. They sound real. They play real. Heck, these ARE real games. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Creation of 1:6 Scale Arcade Dioramas Now Easier and Less Expensive—Holy, Atari! 

During a quick trip to Walmart today, I discovered an outstanding set of 4 miniature stand-up arcade games (toys), and thanks to the miraculously technological times we’re living in, these new mini games aren’t just inert, display-only models; no, they actually function. That’s right, you can PLAY these miniaturized versions of classic arcade games, while your GIjOEs stand up in front of them (just like YOU used to) and play right alongside you—How cool is THAT?!

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We found FOUR, but there’s MORE— Yes, it’s true. Further research has revealed there are at least THREE more games in this amazing new toy line. Most of the 7 games can now be found at Walmart stores—and their website online (HERE). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

The four games I picked up (shown above) are all vintage arcade classics, including: Centipede, Frogger, Q-Bert and Asteroids. If you were a teenager back in the late 1970s or early ’80s, these games will surely be familiar to you and bring back LOTS of memories. They’re top-notch, quality-made products by Basic Fun, and are numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6. Of course, those numbers made me think that there might also be a #1 or 2 (maybe even a 7!), so I quickly jumped on the internet when I got home and found out that—sure enough—mini-versions of Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man and Space Invaders are also available.<sigh> (I guess I need to get out the credit card—again.)

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Is Pac Man Going to be Pricey? We searched for the #7 game, Pac Man, online today, and found it at Walmart.com for $20, but also over on ebay—listed at $35! It looks like the price gougers have spotted a good thing and are already jumping on it. Why? Well, take a good look at that video screen. It’s showing the FULL-COLOR graphics of the original Pac Man, NOT cheap-o black-n-white LCD screens like those released by other companies. Our GIjOE’s “man cave” has GOTTA have this one, too. WOCKA-WOCKA-WOCKA! (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

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Hey Shorty, Where’s Your Bottom Half?— Obstensibly to save on production costs (the licensing fees were probably enormous), Basic Fun shaved the height of each game by approximately 50%. Fortunately, the other dimensions are less notably out of scale and the height issue can easily be rectified by creative, capable 1:6 scalers. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

It’s Like They Just Cut ‘Em in Half!

Right out of the box, you’ll notice that these games looks SHORTER than 1:6 scale—but are they really? They’re actually pretty darn close in terms of monitor screen size and case width. Our best guess is that in order to save $ on manufacturing, Basic Fun decided to shave down the HEIGHT of each game by about 50%. That means dedicated 1:6 scalers (like YOU) are going to have to come up with some sort of “make do” solution in order to raise the games back UP to their “proper” height. (Insider tip—I just sold a REAL, vintage 1970s Robotron arcade game and it stood about 6′ tall. That’s the same respective height of a 1:6 GIjOE. So…if you shoot for a 12″ overall game height, you’ll be pretty darn close at 1:6 scale).

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BONUS PLAY! During our online searches of the many mini gaming systems now available, we also came across this “Multicade 230” toy from SoundLogic XT SEE HERE. The 230 is similarly sized and will look just fine sitting alongside the games from Basic Fun. Note: Its dimensions are slightly taller, so whatever base you construct to increase its height (up to 12″) will only need to be about 4″ or so. Yes, the joysticks and buttons of ALL of these games are oversized for 1:6 scale, but we’re betting Joe’s Kung-Fu Grip can handle ’em. And check out that FULL COLOR screen! (Photo: Walmart)

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Super Side View— The Multicade 230 has a great profile with AWESOME graphics. You’ll want to display this one so you can see it from the side as well as the front. (Photo: Walmart)

Height and Scale Improvements are EASY to Make

For 1:6 scalers, ALL of these games come up short— in terms of height. Fortunately, replacing any of that “missing” height is easily rectified. All you have to do is construct some sort of a nondescript box or base (in shiny or flat black) to make up for the missing dimensions. For Basic Fun games, your base will need to be about 6″ tall, 3 1/2″ wide and 2 1/2″ deep. For the Multicade game, your base will only need to be about 4″ high. Suggestions for “construction” materials include: a sheet of styrene plastic, wood (at Hobby Lobby or Michaels), or possibly some “letramax” mat board (stiff, all-black cardboard that has a flat, non-reflective finish, also sold at most art and/or hobby stores).

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Build-a-Base Tips— If you decide to go with the simplest and most basic construction method for your game base(s) (using Letramax mat board), might we suggest that you use a sharp x-acto knife when making the cuts, AND… instead of cutting out each individual side panel, cut JUST SHORT of going all the way through. Leaving that “little bit” of mat board UNCUT provides you with a hidden “hinge” on the inside, thus enabling you to FOLD and create the various box sides without having to tape or glue them together. Yes, you’ll have to glue the box’s final connecting edges together in order to complete and hold its boxy shape, but that’s it. ENJOY! (Photos: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Once you’ve selected a material for your base, all you have to do is fold, shape, glue, and possibly paint it until your “base box” is finished. Then, set your game up on top of it. The final 12-inch height of your game will make it look FANTASTIC alongside 1:6 scale action figures and in their respective dioramas. Your mind will soon be racing with ideas for dios, including such videogame-appropriate locales as pool halls, bars, pizza joints, mall arcades, basement game rooms, “man caves,” and much more.

Bottom Line: As well as looking great with GIjOE, these mini arcade games are really FUN toys, too. Their gameplay is truly retro and just as challenging as you remember. The stickers and graphics on each game cabinet look SUPERB, so there’s no worries or problems there. Plus, all of the gaming sounds, play action, joysticks and button movements are natural and fully functional. Play them all at once and it sounds JUST LIKE the arcades of your youth (see video above for audio-visual demonstration). Buy just one and set it up in the corner of a room diorama, or buy them ALL and recreate your favorite teenage hangout (Gold Mine Arcade, Northcross Mall, Austin, TX, 1978, here I come—again!). Whatever you do, my 1:6 collecting friend—Just “Git ‘er Done!”


UPDATE as of 12-12-17: As shown above, game #7 in the Basic Fun line-up is Pac Man—again. Why repeat Pac Man? Well, it turns out Pac Man #1, which was released along with #2, Space Invaders, were both inferior products, featuring sterile b&w LCD screens and unrealistic, what we would call “FLAT” cabinetry. It’s as if Basic Fun wanted you to lay those first two games down flat on a table while playing them. Of course, GIjOE fans want these miniature replicas to stand UP and look like they did originally back in the arcades of our youth.

So… just so you know, we recommend that you forget about tracking down games #1 and #2, they don’t really fit into this newer, vastly improved line. Spend your time picking up #3, 4, 5, 6 and #7. Remember, the new Pac Man (#7) comes with correctly shaped cabinetry and FULL COLOR game graphics—just like the original. YES!


UPDATE as of 12-14-17: We just learned that TWO MORE great games in the Basic Fun lineup have been released. They’re #8 Joust and #10 Rampage. Say, where’s #9? Our 1:6 arcade is really shaping up! See video review by madlittlepixel below:

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No Collection is Too Small— 1:6 G.I. Joe Enjoys Collecting (You Guessed It)—Action Figures!

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Collecting knows no size— Joe the Adventurer shows off a new (super-mini) HALO action figure, one of many such figures displayed on shelves throughout his home. (Photo: Queli Castro)

What do YOUR GIjOEs do when they return home from a mission? Some spend days, even YEARS, sealed up in depressing, air-tight storage containers, while others dutifully stand an interminable “watch” from the inside of locked, glassed-walled display cabinets. But for those fortunate few who are given freedom of movement by their (obviously imaginative) owners, the pursuit of personal hobbies and other pastimes is now becoming the norm.

For example, we recently caught up with one such fortunate 1:6 soul, a tiny toy collector known simply as “Joe,” whom, it turns out, is himself a 12-inch tall “fuzzhead” Adventurer! According to his owner, Queli Castro, of Chicago, Joe truly enjoys getting out of the house and visiting local stores to browse their aisles for the latest SUPER-MINIATURE action figures. Castro reports:
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“Hello Mark, Long time no chat. Yes, Joe collects action figures, and lately he’s added quite a few to his collection. I asked him if he’d pose alongside his collection for a few pictures and he kindly obliged (see attached images). In the wide view of his study (shown below), this is only PART of his growing collection. He’s always ‘rotating’ pieces in and out.”
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A flair for decorating— Joe’s study reveals an obvious talent for tasteful decoration. That mid-century modern coffee table, the high-back chair, and those attractive display shelves are ALL superb 1:6 scale furnishings. What a wonderful room. Go, Joe! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Superman is Joe’s favorite. That one he’s pointing to (see below) is a actually a nano metalfig (.99 cents) from Walmart.”
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Great Caesar’s Ghost! Such amazing detail at such a small scale. (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Joe also collects Star Wars memorabilia and he just got this super-miniature x-wing fighter from Walmart on Force Friday. The two military HALO figures (behind the x-wing) are by Mega Construx. They have 11 points of articulation(!) and come with lots of detail, display stands, and extra pieces. They are wonderful!”
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WHOOSH!!! Joe’s mind is racing with all the possible Star Wars scenarios he could act out—in his imagination. He clearly believes in taking off his shoes, surrounding himself with his favorite toys, and having a GREAT time! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Here (below), Joe poses with his new Alice in Wonderland and Buzz Lightyear figures. While both are very cool, these particular figures are for his children and he plans to put them both under the Christmas tree this year.”
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‘Tis the Season— Joe knows that the true meaning of Christmas is to GIVE, LOVE, and SHARE with others. We’re sure Alice and Buzz WON’T disappoint! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“All the figures in Joe’s display are about 2” high and were bought at Walmart, with the exception of the three up there on the top righthand shelf (i.e. Batman/Robin/The Flash) which all came from our neighborhood WalgreensI’m also providing some photos of the action figures in their packaging (see below) because things look a lot different after they’ve been taken out of the box. And finally…

Mark… I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for The Joe Report. 
I look forward to every ‘issue’ and you do a wonderful job with it. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!” —Queli Castro, Chicago, IL

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Sergeant Forge HALO action figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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Superman die-cast metal figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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The FLASH action figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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An Endcap Full of Ships— Star Wars mini vehicles for sale now at Walmart. These make out-STANDING miniature toys for GIjOE! (Photo: Queli Castro)

Bottom Line: We absolutely LOVE how this Joe decorates his 1:6 scale home with “super-mini” collectibles. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Queil Castro for providing all of these excellent photographs and for his very generous “field reporting” here at The Joe Report. You are the BEST, sir!Mark Otnes, Editor TJR

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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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