Category Archives: Dealers

One-Sixth Scale Shell-Shocker— New M3 Lee/Grant Medium Tank From Armortek Will Blow You Away!

m3pic1

Batten down the hatches—for BATTLE. Armortek’s all-new, all-metal M3 Grant-Lee tank looks heavy enough to CRUSH all enemy forces, much less blow them away. (Photo: Armortek) Click to enlarge.

Some things look too good to be true. In this particular case, something VERY good is also something very true—and very real. So get a grip on your nearest GIjOE or Action Man fellow customizers, because what you’re looking at (above) is also —in 1:6 scale. That’s right. This stunning, steel-plated behemoth is actually something your GIjOEs, Action Man (Men?) and other 1:6 military action figures will feel “right at home” in whilst reenacting WWII’s deadliest 1:1 scale tank battles (see historic intel by Wikipedia HERE). According to Armortek’s, Kian Shroff:

kianshroff

Kian Shroff, Owner of Armortek in the UK (Photo: TMM Photography)

malecomment

“I was reading The Joe Report online magazine and thought your readers may be interested in our latest release a M3 Lee Medium Tank from WWII. In case you do not know about Armortek, we are the world’s leading manufacturer of 1:6 scale metal model kits. Our kits weight 120lbs upwards and take about 200 hours to assemble. I have attached our press release as well as some images – feel free to use these on your website. Let me know any questions you may have.” Kind regards, —Kian Shroff

m3side

Side view dimensions of the Armortek M3 (Art by Armortek) Click to enlarge.

m3top

Top view dimensions of the Armortek M3 (Art by Armortek) Click to enlarge.

m3front

Front view dimensions of the Armortek M3—AWESOME! (Art by Armortek)

According to Shroff and Armortek’s official press release:

kianshroff2

Kian Shroff at Armortek’s headquarters, UK (Photo: TMM Photography) Click to enlarge.

malecomment

Winchester, UK
17th September 2018:

Armortek (www.armortek.co.uk), the world’s leadingmanufacturer of 1:6 scale metal model kits announces the launch of their latest products – the iconic M3 Lee/Grant medium tanks. Used by the Americans, British, Australians, Indians and the Russians during World War II, the M3 medium tank was most effective in matching and even beating the German firepower in the North African campaign and was a vital “stop-gap” until the M4 Sherman tanks made their debut. In keeping with previous Armortek releases, the Armortek M3 Lee and Grant medium tank kits are a result of detailed research and measurements of a full-scale vehicle. Made predominantly from CNC machined aluminium and steel, the kits feature scale thickness armour, prototypical suspension and can be remote control enabled.

Containing over 2,000 parts (with more than 200 unique components), the M3 medium tank kit will take about 200 hours to build. The M3 Lee/ Grant from Armortek measures 94cm (37”) long and 44cm (17”) wide and stands 48cm(19”) tall. They will weigh approximately 80kg (180 lbs) in their remote-controlled configuration. The kits are manufactured in a small batch as Limited Editions and each one comes with a serial number and certificate of authenticity. Option packs can be added to the kits to provide them with remote-controlled drive, turret turn, gun elevation and slew, realistic sounds and exhaust smoke.

Armortek is a family owned business operating from its state-of-the-art factory in Hampshire, UK. Research, design and manufacture of the kits are all done in house. Armortek has been producing 1:6 scale all metal model kits for over 15 years and, in that time, has produced over 20 different WW1 or WW2 kits for hobbyists, engineers and collectors across the world. For sales information, please email us at sales@armortek.co.uk. For further press information, please email us at press@armortek.co.uk.”

armortek2

A Bridge Too FAR OUT, Man!— How about a REAL metal and wooden bridge for your tanks to cross over your backyard streams and rivers? Armortek makes them too! The products shown above were on display at Armortek Open Day 2017. WOW! (Photo: TMM Photography) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to TMM Photography, Kian Shroff (and everyone else) at Armortek for their generous assistance in the creation of this article. Can YOU assemble one of Armortek’s amazing new M3 Lee/Grant tank kits? Isn’t it time you found out? Whichever Armortek product you build, it’s sure to became THE stellar attraction of your 1:6 collection. For more information, visit Armortek’s website HERE or their fan page over on Facebook HERE.

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Heads Up!—”Stewart’s Attic” Reopened in Florida

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic (Photo: CAE)

Good News, Captain Actioneers and Best of the West Johnny West Fans—

Good things DO come to those who wait. Especially to those who’ve been waiting for the long-anticipated return of one of the 1:6 scale community’s most popular online dealers—Stewart’s Attic. That’s right, Stewart’s Attic—is BACK! YEEhah!

Owned and operated by longtime (and highly respected) Joelanta/JoeCon dealer, “Super” Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic is THE headquarters for all things MARX, Best of the West (BOTW) and Captain Action-related. What exactly can fans and collectors expect to find at Scott’s new and IMPROVED online establishment? According to a message received today on The Joe Report’s teletype machine, Scott revealed the following plans:

malecomment

“Hi Mark, I just wanted you to know that I’ve re-opened Stewart’s Attic. Although I’m not molding and casting custom items right now, I hope to have that set up soon. Thanks for your patience during my recent move to Florida.
Please visit: http://www.stewartsattic.com/catalog/Thanks! Scott Stewart, Stewart’s Attic

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Scott for submitting this exciting intel and our best wishes to him too, in ALL of his endeavors. It’s the enthusiastic actions and efforts of men (and women) like Scott that help keep the 1:6 scale hobby alive—and thriving. Go, Stewart’s Attic!

Tagged , , , , ,

New Englanders, Rejoice! Only One Month to go Before Big Toy Show Debuts in North Haven, CT

NEtoyshowposterWe’ve heard it time and time again— Why aren’t there any more big shows out on the coasts anymore? Think about it— Other than James Desimone’s yearly events in LA and Irving Santiago’s big Ultracons down in Florida, all the conventions and larger toy shows appear to be occurring more often inland, in places like Dallas, Atlanta and Louisville. But now—FINALLY—fans living on the eastern seaboard have a new event that they can sink their collecting “teeth” into— the Northeast Toy & Collectibles Show (NETCS). The NETCS takes place a mere 31 days from today in North Haven, CT, and promises to be a truly MEGA toy event. According to John Kozin

johnkozin2

John Kozin, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: John Kozin)

malecomment

“Annnnnd we’re sold out of table space!!!!! 30 dealers and over 60 tables of awesome toys and collectibles!”

Bottom Line: The 2018 NETCS looks like it will be a VERY popular event. Its scheduling, convenient Connecticut location and wide variety of toy offerings make it a “must-see” for collectors of all ages. Our best wishes to everyone concerned. Have a great time!

Tagged ,

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

sanchezfigures3

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:

emilysaul

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

womancomment

“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.”


hom·age

(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.

sanchezfigures1

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.”

sanchezfigures2

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.

Tagged , , ,

It’s Over—Final “JoeCon” Fades Into Joe-History as Fans Reveal Their Plans for an Uncertain Future Without Hasbro or G.I. Joe’s Biggest Annual Show

deanmorrison

Shock ‘n Aw-Ful— Longtime GIjOE fan, collector and dealer, Dean Morrison, reacts when told that this year’s JoeCon will be the LAST one EVER on the planet Earth. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

As JoeCons go, this was a pretty good one. Everyone understood that it was to be the last, and therefore attendance was strong and fan spirits were high. Longtime friends gathered again, some for the last time, while new friends were easily made and mutual memories shared. Despite the loss of future JoeCons, “America’s Moveable Fighting Man”—or “Real American Hero” (depending on your age)—has clearly made a lasting impact upon a great number of people and they wanted to say a final THANK YOU to Hasbro, Fun Publications, Brian Savage and the GIjOE Collector’s Club.

joecon2018hall

Holy Halls of Fandom!— The cathedralesque main hall of the Chattanooga Convention Center was perfectly-sized for the BIG events of JoeCon 2018. Here, fans are shown milling about, taking acquisitions up to their rooms, visiting the dealer room, touring the diorama exhibits, stopping off at the snack tables, snapping photos in front of cosplay backdrops or walking towards the panel discussion rooms. They were busy, busy, BUSY! Can you find yourself? Or Waldo? (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

exclusivebanner

joecon2018logo25for25logo


25 GIjOE Collectors SPEAK OUT Regarding the
25th (and Final) 
Hasbro-Sponsored “JoeCon”

Fortunately, the future of GIjOE shows seems assured. To commemorate the end of Hasbro-sponsored GIjOE conventions, we asked 25 die-hard fans attending the last-ever JoeCon to reveal to us their most inner thoughts and feelings regarding the loss of the club and its annual JoeCon shows. We also wanted to know their personal plans for GIjOE collecting and fandom going forward from this point, sans the club and any official Hasbro support. Some were optimistic about the future, others—not so much. Regardless of all the emotions and uncertainties involved, here’s what they had to say—transcribed from EXCLUSIVE Joe Report recordings made at JoeCon 2018:

malecomment

fredmeyer

Fred Meyer, GIjOE fan, collector, website administrator and podcaster (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s the end of the ‘official’ JoeCon era, but I think you’ll see fan gatherings pop up and grow over the next couple of years. And honestly, this is less about the toys for a lot of folks, it’s more like a high-school reunion with people you actually want to see! So, I think that spirit will continue. For example, I’m the administrator of JoeBattlelines.com (see HERE) and I’m still going to keep doing reviews. And I’m also on a bi-weekly podcast and we’re going to keep that going as long as people want to listen. GIjOE has evolved over time and it’ll keep evolving.” —Fred Meyer, Pekin, IL

 

malecomment

eriknaville

Erik Naville, GIjOE fan, collector and cosplayer w/”The Finest” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s really bittersweet for me. I’ve been coming to JoeCons for 11 years. I’ve met a lot of great people and everybody’s like family. Coil Con is in Ohio and the Kentucky GIjOE show is coming up in July, so there’s definitely some variety of shows still out there. I’ve gotten really into the cosplay aspect of Joe fandom lately. ‘The Finest’ is a costuming group I’m in and we help raise money for different military charities. Right now, we’re raising money for K-9s for Warriors, which takes dogs out of shelters and trains them up to be support animals to help veterans with brain injuries.” —Erik Naville, Floyds Knobs, IN

 

malecomment

chetpeters

Chet Peters, GIjOE fan and collector

“You hate to see anything end. There’s a lot of camaraderie with a lot of guys here. But the good thing is that there’s still other shows throughout the country and there’s still opportunities for guys to get together and celebrate each other and what we love to do with toys and stuff. I’ll continue to work on my collection. I typically collect vintage 12-inch. Everybody has a different way of collecting. I try to just center on what I had as a kid.” —Chet Peters, Falmouth, KY

 

malecomment

stevestovall

Steve Stovall, GIjOE fan, collector, dealer and KY show organizer. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I hate to see it go. It’s been fun. I’ve met a lot of good people here and had a lot of fun at these shows. This was the last show that was officially endorsed by Hasbro with Brian Savage and his crew and the great job they’ve done. But I think the Joe-spirit will live on in shows like Joelanta and the upcoming Louisville, Harrisburg and Dallas shows. So while it’s the end of one show, it’s not the end of the hobby or tradition. I run the Louisville show—so we’ll be doing that every year. As a dealer, we’ve been setting up at Joelanta for quite some time, so we’ll always do that and enjoy that. We’re also going to try out the Harrisburg show this year, which is the first time for it. So I think there’s a nice calendar of Joe shows from March throughout the Summer. We’ll be covered!” Steve Stovall, Louisville, KY

 

malecomment

ralphgaudiuso

Lifelong GIjOE fan and collector, Ralph Gaudiuso, “turns his back” on the idea that somehow, without future JoeCons, GIjOE fandom will cease to exist. Hmmph. PrePOSTEROUS! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s a little sad, because of all the conventions, this one (JoeCon) was connected to Hasbro more than any of the others. But most of the people I see here I’ll also see at Joelanta, sorry, it’s called ‘Toylanta’ now, and at other local shows like the Dallas/Ft. Worth show and the Kentucky show. As far as what else I’ll be doing with my JoeCon ‘show dollars’ from this point on, since there hasn’t been a lot of Hasbro 12-inch going on, so I’ve begun doing ‘my own thing.’ For example, it’s currently the 50th anniversary of the ‘Outer Space Men.’ They were a set of 7 aliens created by Colorforms in the late 1960s and they’re now being produced in 12-inch. I’ve also been collecting certain types of Joe bodies, head-swapping them and dealing a lot with customizers. God knows I don’t have the talent to make custom figures myself, so I have what I want MADE by someone who can!” —Ralph Gaudiuso, Yardley, PA

 

malecomment

chuckpierce

Chuck Pierce, GIjOE fan, collector and cosplayer w/”The Finest” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m a little disappointed that this is the last one, but I have a good feeling that it’ll come back. They’ll keep it alive—somehow. It probably won’t be branded “JoeCon,” but THIS (gesturing to the crowd around him) will never die. Hasbro sees the money. I mean just LOOK at this place! I think it would clearly benefit them (financially) to keep it going. I’m a cosplayer too, and I’ll absolutely keep doing this (aspect of Joe fandom). I’m in a group now called ‘The Finest,’ the GIjOE costuming group, and we have ‘garrisons’ all over the world. So that part is never going to go away. It’s too much fun. Meeting people, getting in touch with their kids… when I was growing up, I had the 12-inch GIjOEs that I played with and it’s so nice to see parents bringing their kids to these shows, getting them into it, too. It’s all just a lotta fun!” —Chuck Pierce, Atlanta, GA

 

malecomment

randybloom

Randy Bloom, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“Yeah, I’m a little sad. I’ll miss the people I see each year. It’s been 21 years that I’ve been doing the JoeCons, and it’s bittersweet that this is going to be the last one.

As to the future, I’ll still collect. I’ll still meet my friends. I’ll see them at other different conventions and I’ll find them on the internet. The club can stay strong and GIjOE is still going good.” —Randy Bloom, Boca Raton, FL

 

burtmontague

Burt Montague, GIjOE fan and collector from Lawton, OK (Photo: Mark Otnes)

malecomment

“While I think this is the last GIjOE show that’s sponsored by Hasbro, I also think that it’ll still go on. GIjOE is a toy that will live on through collectors and the people who play with it. When we’re gone, we still have our kids. My son is 33 and he collects 3.75″ figures. We’ve also got a real solid 12-inch collection hobby out there. We’ve got the Dragon, Cotswold and Sideshow lines, plus all the Star Wars 12-inch collectibles. You’re always going to have the Comic-Cons, toy shows and other things. The only thing you WON’T have is Hasbro’s official backing. My buddies and I will continue to do this (gestures around). It gives us a chance to keep in contact with each other and meet old friends. We’re kind of a tight-knit community and we’ve been doing these conventions since 1994. We’ll keep doing this. It’s a good way to make friends too, and it’s good, clean, happy fun.”Burt Montague, Lawton, OK

 

malecomment

rudypannuci

Rudy Panucci, GIjOE fan, collector, blogger and broadcaster (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m actually a little tired and overwhelmed. This is my first official JoeCon EVER. I used to get the (convention exclusive) sets when I was working for the club, but I was never able to travel. This is the first time they’ve been close enough for me to attend. I’m also surprised at all the 3.75” stuff. I’m a 12-inch guy, you know? It’s sad. I’d like to see some way for JoeCon and the club to continue, but I can understand Brian (Savage) being a little tired after all the time he’s put into this. As for the future, Mego’s being revived this year. Captain Action has the new uniforms coming out. There’s all kinds of new Marx stuff coming out. Captain Cosmos from France and Felipe Monaco from Brazil are both doing incredible work. There’s the Falcon resurgence down there, too. There’s plenty of new stuff to collect—so I’m fairly optimistic about the future. I think that it’s entirely possible that in the next few years we’re going to see a massive GIjOE resurgence when the kids who collected the Classic Collection and Ultimate Soldier figures become old enough to start having nostalgic feelings (and the disposable income) to reclaim THEIR childhood toys.” —Rudy Panucci, Charleston, WV

 

malecomment

aceallgood2

Ace Allgood, GIjOE fan, collector, dealer, historian, and film and video restorer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I have mixed emotions about all this. I’m really sad. I can’t believe this is the last one. This is something I’ve been doing on and off since 1994. My friend Burt Montague and I have been playing with Joes since we were 4 years old, so this is REALLY disappointing. There’s no ‘somewhat’ about it. But I understand—I understand where Brian’s at personally. He’s not old enough to retire, but I understand that there also comes a time in life when you can’t keep doing everything, you know? And Brian’s done these shows since 1997, I believe. That’s a long time. Burt and I went to the first one in 1994, that was pretty fun. And boy, how they’ve changed over the years—they really have changed. It’s certainly a 3.75″ focused show now, but there’s still 12-inch guys that love it and there’s always new guys getting in. It’s fun to see the excitement on kids faces, too. I don’t think the hobby’s dead. I think the hobby’s just starting. I think that we’re going to get into a ‘golden age’ of vintage GIjOE. I think for the next 20 years it’s going to be awesome. 

What’s happening is you’ve got guys whose kids are going off to college and they’ve got grandkids and they’ve got a lot of spare time. They’ve got a lot of boxed Joe stuff in their basement that they’re going to start going through and playing with again. I’m not kidding you. I’ve noticed a trend in the last 2 or 3 years that there were more guys starting to get into it (the GIjOE hobby) again. I think that there is a GREAT future for 12-inch GIjOE. I think that—as always—there are people trying to get in—and out—of their collections. What’s interesting to me is that the ‘common’ stuff is still common, but the ‘rare’ stuff STILL tends to drive a really high price. Watch ebay. See what tends to go for crazy money. It tends to be the harder-to-find. And rare—is still rare.

As for my own future, I’m looking at the next stage of my life as more of a GIjOE-focused time. I think there is still a market out there for toy shows. I think Joelanta is an amazing experience. I’m still maintaining my own collection. My collection is not going anywhere. I’m actively buying and selling. I feel that there’s still a very positive market in the collector marketplace and I am excited about the future. I think that we’ve got a bunch of guys that are going to be retiring and they’ll have a lot of free time and this what they’ll do. You know, someone put this out there—the great thing about GIjOE collecting is that it brings you back to when you were 9 years-old and the happiest time in your life. And when you’re 70 years-old, what are you going to do? You’re going to go back to the happiest time in your life and that’s when you were playing with your GIjOEs.

I gotta tell ya—every show—EVERY show—I’ve got a handful of people who come up to me and say, ‘You know, I’ve been collecting 3.75″ for a long time and I’ve got everything. I want to get the ‘Dad’ of GIjOE.’ That’s what they think of 12-inch GIjOE. It’s kinda like me and 3.75″, you know? You start getting a couple, you go to shows, some guy hands you one, you get another one, your kid picks up one, and the next thing you know you go, ‘Hey, those things are pretty damn cool! Those aren’t as bad as I thought when I was 25, you know?’ And at the same time too, you understand that we are ALL collectors and that we all have that desire—and that hunt—and as soon as you fill up with what you got, you start looking for what you don’t have and what else is out there.” —Ace Allgood, Minneapolis, MN

 

malecomment

christucci

Christopher Tucci, GIjOE fan and collector, Oak Lawn, IL (Photo: Mark Otnes)

 “This is kind of bittersweet for me. I went to three JoeCon conventions already, and this one is—by far—it’s kind of sad, because you’ll never see it again. I’m enjoying everything and I’m a 12-inch collector, but the 3.75” guys look like they’re having a GREAT time. They OWN this show. And that’s fine. It’s good enjoyment for the family, kids are enjoying themselves, everybody’s having a great time. I’m gunna miss it, because it’s not going to be around anymore. But who knows? Someone else might pick this up and we’ll just go from there. I’m going to focus more on local venues. There’s Kane County, Illinois, we do a lot of Joe-hunting there. The Kentucky Expo is also a great show, I’ve been there. It’s not a far drive for me, so that’s a fun venue to go to. Steve Stovall puts on a great show. He has some great people and great vendors. It’s gunna be a great time.” —Christopher Tucci, Oak Lawn, IL

 

malecomment

billyreynolds

Billy Reynolds, GIJOE fan and collector, Signal Mountain, TN (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is my first JoeCon and my feelings are that while I’m so excited to be here, I’m also so sad that it’s going to be the last one. I’m sad because I’ve been collecting on and off since ’94 when people starting collecting again. But I’m excited too, that at this show I’ve seen a little bit more of the 12-inch figures than I expected. It’s really bittersweet though. This is a sad situation. We’re now FORCED to start going to local, self-promoted shows. It’s our only choice. They’re forcing us to do that. I’m going to start going to Joelanta. I’m more focused on original Hasbro-only stuff. I’m not into custom stuff, but I’ll support it because it helps keep the hobby alive.” —Billy Reynolds, Signal Mountain, TN

 

malecomment

jamesheinen

James Heinen, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m excited but also disappointed that all this ‘big stuff’ is coming to an end. But that opens up new doors, too. I’m looking forward to seeing who’s going to step up and take over and take charge and ‘steam forward’ with this stuff! As for me, I’m going to continue to refine my own collection with what I need and want, while getting rid of other frivolous stuff. I’m into those oversized ‘Men of Honor’ figures now. I love ’em! That is definitely going in my direction. For example, I made a giant ‘Smoke Jumper’ box (see photo). I like making custom boxes for them. That’s where I’m going now. Turning Men of Honor figures into giant Adventure Team members!” — James Heinen, Middleton, NY

 

malecomment

ethanbancala

Ethan Bancala, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I guess I have mixed feelings. It’s a little sad, because we’ve kind of made this our family vacation for the last four years. It’s going to be sad to see JoeCons go. You won’t be able to hang out with other dealers and people you’ve become friends with, you know? I’ve never really been to any of the other shows and Joelanta is too far for us. It’s a pretty big trip from Massachusetts down to Atlanta. We have to rent a trailer. As for what I’ll do in the future, I pretty much collect all the 3.75″ stuff from 1982 up to the present. I brought a list of parts that I’m missing for vehicles and figures and was hoping to have some more time to get out there on the floor and look for them, but it’s been such a huge convention with so many people flowing in that I haven’t had much of a chance to do that. I’m a dealer, so I have to stay here in my booth most of the time.” —Ethan Bancala, Holden, MA

 

malecomment

gregbrown

Greg Brown, GIjOE fan, collector, Cotswold Collectibles dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s 20 years ago now that I did my first JoeCon in San Antonio. I was hooked after that. Got to meet a lot of great guys. In fact, a lot of people I met at the 1998 show I’m still good friends with today. It’s kind of sad to see the collector’s club and JoeCons go, but they helped spawn smaller shows from other members. So Joe fandom will carry on in different incarnations around the United States. We’re pretty happy about that. As for my own future in GIjOE collecting, I’m about 95% done with my Adventure Team and so now I’m slowly going backwards into the ‘Adventures of’ figures from 1969. I just bought my first four ‘Super Joe’ sets, so Steve Stovall and I will be pretty good buddies from now on. (HA) We’re already good friends. I also went to England a few years ago, so now I’m hooked on Action Man. I LOVE Action Man! They kept on going where Hasbro stopped and made some REALLY beautiful stuff.” —Greg Brown, Ennis, TX

 

malecomment

mattstevenson

Matt Stevenson, Dallas, TX, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer extraordinaire (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I hate to see JoeCon end. But hopefully something will rise from its ashes and we’ll have something new or better in a year or two. We’ll see. As a collector, there’s still plenty of opportunities at local and regional shows like Kentuckiana, Joelanta and the DF/W GIjOE Action Figure Show. As a collector, there’s still going to be lots of outlets. As a dealer, there’s probably not going to be as many. But it’ll all be fine. There’ll still be places to show our wares to GIjOE collectors.” —Matt Stevenson, Dallas, TX

 

malecomment

larryselmanjoecon2018

Larry Selman, artist/illustrator (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“My feelings about the end of JoeCon and the club are mixed. Mostly I’m happy that we’ve had a lot of years of experience doing these shows. It’s also sad because I’ve made a lot of friends here and it’ll be very hard to see them at other shows. This is a BIG show. I’ve enjoyed Brian’s shows a lot. I’ve enjoyed the smaller shows too, but you know, everyone’s different and some guys won’t travel that far. So it’s tough. I might do a couple more shows, not just because this one’s going away, but because it’s nice to get out and see people and friends. I like talking to people. It’s also nice when they haven’t seen your art before and they get excited. That’s kinda cool. For me, I’m sort of at a personal crossroads because I’m a little older and you start thinking, ‘Okay, what’s next?’ I started out doing paperbacks. But I went to art school to do record covers. Now I have to decide whether to keep on painting soldiers or slide into something else. I’m kind of at that ‘last edge.’ I don’t want to be a very old man and not able to paint anymore or frustrated that I didn’t paint something that I should’ve.”
Larry Selman, Waynesboro, PA

 

malecomment

bobstram

Bob Stram, GIjOE fan and collector from Belleville, Illinois (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is my first JoeCon. I’m really a Joelanta guy. I wish I would’a come to more. Especially the one in Springfield (Illinois). To be fair, I don’t discriminate. I love ALL GIjOEs. I’ve had a good time at this JoeCon. I wish that I’d come for more than just one day, but we gotta get back home. From my perspective, Toylanta will be the show we go to now, and a lot of the regional shows like the Toy Man Toy Show. I’m also seeing a lot of people getting together on Facebook and groups like that. When a ‘Hascon’ comes out, I might look into it because like I said, I like all GIjOEs and I also like Transformers. The thing that scares me is that GIjOE might get drawn out by the Transformers. I think that’s a bigger property.” —Bob Stram, Belleville, IL

 

malecomment

stevepennington

Steve “the guy with all the IDs” Pennington, GIjOE fan and collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the last JoeCon ever and I’m not happy about it—AT ALL! I’ve just gone 25 years and I want to go at least for the Golden Anniversary at 50! I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. It’s been great. I appreciate Brian and the crew. I’ve made some fantastic friends. They’re people I’ll remember the rest of my life. They call me ‘the guy with all the IDs’ and I’m gunna just keep on goin’. I guess now I’ll have to find new places to buy the stuff. That’s it. Short ‘n sweet!” —Steve Pennington, Raymore, MO

 

malecomment

bradcurry

Brad Curry, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m sorry to see it all come to an end. I’ve been coming to JoeCons since 1994—not all of them—but quite a few, so it’s kind of sad. I’ve always enjoyed getting together with other GIjOE collectors and just talking about Joe and reminiscing about Joe and of course buying and getting new things for my own collection. I’m kind of going to go into more ‘oddball’ stuff now; unique things that I’m interested in like some of the GIjOE knock-off stuff from the ’60s and ’70s that were just as nice quality as Hasbro. Some of it is pretty hard to find. I’m definitely always on the lookout for that sort’a stuff. In fact, the TOP-quality knock-offs are actually harder to find in many cases than the real Hasbro Joe stuff, so it’s kind of unique to search for, nowadays.” —Brad Curry, Monticello, IL

 

malecomment

daleharris

Dale Harris, GIjOE collector (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the final JoeCon, and actually, I think it’s about time! I think a lot of us 12-inch Joe collectors have come to an end—and I think we’re going to have to be happy with what we’ve got. I don’t believe they’re going to make anymore. And I don’t think there’s going to be anymore conventions. Having said that, my daughter has two boys and I’ve sent them some GIjOEs and they love them! (Leans in and whispers) I believe they (the grandsons) are going to end up with my collection. And my collection includes over 300 GijOE figures!” —Dale Harris, Peru, IL

 

malecomment

normanharris

“Stormin’ Norman” Harris, GIjOE fan, collector and diorama maker (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“JoeCon’s were great. While this last one is still going on, I’m going to take full advantage of it and enjoy it. Afterwards, I’m going to continue making my own dioramas and having fun with my own GIjOEs. Personally, I would like to see the Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club perk up a little more (gives Mark a little ‘skunk eye’). How about a little more action there? Hmm? I have a Joe Room. It’s small, but I do have one and I plan on making even more dioramas in the future.” —“Stormin’ Norman” Harris, Princeton, IL 

malecomment

 

louissimmons

Louis Simmons, GIjOE fan, collector and dealer (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s been great. It’s been fun. It’s been packed. I’ve been talking toys all weekend, as I have for almost the last 20 years, and it’s starting to set in that THIS—is IT. But I try to look on the bright side. I’m very depressed. It’ll be a long drive back to Texas because this is it and there’ll never be another Con like this—EVER. People may have had problems with Brian and Fun Pub, but I’ve never had ANY issues with them because they’ve brought so much enjoyment and collectibles to the hobby. The way most conventions go now, they’re such ‘money grabs.’ You’re paying $300 for celebrity autographs. You’re paying $100 to get in. THIS show, buying the boxed set, which no other con is going to have, you get the dinner, the casino, the panels, everything that they pack in. I’ve heard people complain about the price, but you get EXCLUSIVE figures you can’t get ANYWHERE else, plus access to everything at the Con. And they move it around. What other Con is going to tour the country and actually make it viable to do things other than the Con? They had the tours—I personally never did the tours—but I loved that they offered them. You know? And for families it’s perfect. My wife and I did our own tours. We still went to Ruby Falls, yesterday. At Disneyworld, we went to Universal Studios.

But this is bad. It’s REAL bad. It’s so unfortunate that this is, at least probably for me, the most attended Con I’ve ever been to—and it’s the last one. Obviously, the brand still has fans. It’s still viable. As far as what I’ll do from this point forward, I’ll still collect. But I hope there’s something TO collect. I hope Hasbro gets something on the pegs. I hope the movie in 2020 revitalizes the brand. That’s the hope. Maybe they can get a cartoon? Something definitely has to happen, and I don’t know what it is. I mean, you have plenty of ideas of what you want the movie to be, or if they do the ‘shared universe,’ but just be successful. You gotta have FUN with it. I personally loved the first two live-action GIjOE movies, but they both have problems. A LOT of problems. If it was easy, it’d be an easy solution. But you have to hit that tone of what Marvel seems to do so well. You stay true to the characters. You stay true to the history. But you have fun. It just has to be fun. So, we’ll see.” —Louis Simmons, Bedford, TX

 

malecomment

jackhall

Jack Hall, GIjOE fan, collector and Michigan Wolverines booster. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“This is the last JoeCon, so yeah, it’s a little sad. I went to all of them from ’94 to ’04, when—to be honest with you—they got a little too expensive for me and I had to stop going. Since ’04, this is only the second one I’ve been to. I went to the Indy one because it was drivable. I came here because Dean Morrison asked me to help out at his booth—and I’m so glad I came—I’ve seen people I haven’t seen in YEARS. I’ll tell you, this one is more packed than the last couple of JoeCons I went to. I don’t know if that’s because it’s the last one and everyone wants to make sure they’re here, or what. I kept hoping that somewhere along the line they’d get a reprieve and stuff, but that isn’t going to happen. It would’ve happened by now if it was. I’m still trying to finish my vintage Adventure Team collection, either with stuff I can’t find or stuff I can’t afford. But at every convention and every show I find at least one piece I can add. After that, I’ve been branching off, because the ’60s stuff—that was before my time. When I was a kid, I started with the Adventure Team, so that’s kinda what I collect. Now I go to estate sales and buy other toys that I had when I was a kid—Hot Wheels, board games, whatever I had as a kid. That way, when I’m old and decrepit, I can sit in the toy room and just relive my own childhood. —Jack Hall, Wyandotte, MI

 

malecomment

deanmorrison2

Dean Morrison, GIjOE fan, collector and all-around great guy!  (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“I’m sad to see it end. I saw Brian last night and I thanked him for all he did over the years. Some people complain and moan, but even if you didn’t like what he did, without him, there wouldn’t have been ‘continuing Joes.’ I missed the last couple of Cons, but I’m really, really glad I’m here. I sold my entire personal collection at the Norfolk JoeCon in ’02, but I’ve since built up a bunch more and actually, while packing for this show, I got that vintage ‘itch’ back. I was putting together some Cadets, a German and a Brit, and I was going, ‘Oh, I do like these a LOT.'”
Dean Morrison, Chardon, OH

 

finalpanel

Together for the last time? A somber crowd attended what was the last-ever panel discussion—at the last-ever JoeCon— June 24th, 2018, in Chattanooga, TN. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

 

TWO BONUS QUOTES FROM JOECON 2018:

malecomment

kirkbozigian

Kirk Bozigian. (Photo: GIJCC)

“Yesterday, I said that Larry Hama gave GIjOE his soul. Today I want to say Brian Savage has given him his heart. Thank you Brian for giving me an opportunity to keep in touch with GIjOE—And I want to thank all the fans. Because without YOU, this all wouldn’t have happened—This is just going to morph into something different next year, so I’m looking forward to seeing ALL of you ‘downrange’ someday.” —Kirk Bozigian, Providence, RI

 

malecomment

briansavage

Brian Savage (Photo: GIJCC)

“If you’ve ever had any fun in the last 20 some years or so of doing this—it’s all my fault. We’re really gonna miss all you guys, because again without you, there is no GIjOE. It’s truly amazing what y’all do with this. We have to thank God for what he’s given to us. There’s a saying, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’ Here you go. And Todd mentioned this awhile ago, ‘We came for the toys and we stayed for the friends.’ So it’s as if we all collect the friends. It’s not the plastic out there. It really is all of you guys (gesturing to crowd).

The other people I want to thank are the FBI. You didn’t know this, but there’s people who’ve been undercover at this show. We’ve had extra local law enforcement. There’s been all kinds of things that have happened, because of things that happened online. One thing I want to ask people—is to be NICE. Okay? You don’t know who you’re talking to—online—you don’t know who you’re dealing with—If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything. Just be silent.—The one thing I will say in closing is—So the GIJOE 3.75″ saying is, ‘Knowing is half the battle.’ So what’s the other half? (Crowd: ‘Doing!’) Doing.—It’s not the knowing that’s important. It’s the doing. So go out, do good things, help other people and along the way, continue to collect GIjOE. Yo, Joe!” —Brian Savage, Ft. Worth, TX

chattanooga

Goodbye Joe Fans— After the show had ended and the fans had departed, we snapped this one final photograph from the 16th floor of the adjacent Marriot hotel. Without the hustle and bustle of JoeCon, downtown Chattanooga became quiet and still. The parking lots—previously packed with visitor’s vehicles packed with GIjOEs and other toys—were now empty. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This was one for the history books—but now that page has been turned. On June 20-24, 2018, the last, official “JoeCon” convention was held, hosted and summarily ended by the (also soon-to-be-defunct) GIjOE Collector’s Club within the vast (yet welcoming) halls of the Chattanooga Convention Center in Chattanooga, TN. As it was before the club’s existence, and as it will be after the club’s demise, GIjOE fans once again find themselves—on their own. If you want to gather fans together for a GIjOE club meeting or host a Joe-related show or event, you’re more than welcome to do so. But from this point on, it can only be done without an official endorsement from Hasbro. Our sincerest thanks to all of the participants who made the content of this article possible and our best and sincerest wishes to Brian Savage and his talented, hardworking crew at Fun Publications for all of the pleasure they’ve given—to so many—for so long. Go (and Yo), JOE!

Tagged , ,

Hollywood Came-a-Calling—Creator of 1:6 Scale Accessories Asked to Produce Miniature Props for Use in Upcoming 2018 Film, “The Women of Marwen”

carellcloseupwjeep

Meet Steve’s “Little Women”— Actor Steve Carell sits on a park bench in Vancouver, Canada, while taking a break from shooting his upcoming (Nov. 2018) film, “The Women of Marwen.” Alongside him sits a “Jeep-full” of miniature female co-stars, some (possibly) sporting tiny 1:6 scale patches or other accessories created by Mark Otnes of Patches of Pride, (Photo: Universal) Click to enlarge.

Steve Carell Pic to Feature Products Produced by 1:6 Company, “Patches of Pride”

This isn’t a “big story” by any means, but here it is, nonetheless: Patches of Pride (PoP), the well-known and respected producer of 1:6 scale miniature products (typically utilized by collectors and customizers of GIjOE action figures), has recently received (and shipped out) several mass orders of patches, armbands and other related accessories to various film industry costuming businesses in both Canada and Hollywood. Normally, that would be “non-news” to the public; the sort of boring, internal sales information typically only of interest to the businesses and individuals involved.

40-Year-OldVirginMoviePoster

Actor and toy collector, Steve Carell (Photo: Universal Pictures)

But in this case— the film industry costumers in question happened to be working on a new movie project that should hold GREAT interest for fans of 1:6 scale. In fact, the Canadian and LA costumers we’re talking about have been tasked with creating miniature 1:6 scale uniforms that will be utilized in an upcoming Universal production entitled, “The Women of Marwen” (aka “TWOM” see HERE). From what we can gather online, TWOM is being directed by “Back to the Future” auteur, Robert Zemeckis and stars actor, comedian, and action figure fan, Steve Carell, of “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” fame. The products ordered from Patches of Pride would be used to accessorize miniature costumes and military uniforms worn by some of the film’s “smaller stars.” We tracked down PoP’s head honcho, Mark Otnes, and asked him how he felt about undertaking this exciting new foray into movie prop production. He replied:

malecomment

“Well, I think it’s overstating it a bit to say that Patches of Pride has moved into ‘movie prop production.’ Yes, it is exciting to think that something we’ve created may appear ‘up there on the big screen,’ but this was probably just a one-time deal for us—unless they do a sequel. I’m a HUGE fan of both Zemeckis and Carell. Just knowing that they’re working on a film project together with 1:6 scale action figures is VERY cool news. And I LOVED Carell’s take on the societal pressures and ‘trials and tribulations’ faced by action figure collectors in ‘The 40 Year-Old Virgin.’ You could FEEL his pain at the thought of selling his beloved collectibles. Hilarious!

As to my business’ involvement with this new film, ‘The Women of Marwen,’ I simply filled a number of orders that came in from new customers located in Canada and Los Angeles. That’s it. At the time, they were very nice and notified me that the patches and other products they were ordering were for something they called, ‘an untitled Robert Zemeckis project.’ I knew who Mr. Zemeckis was, but I didn’t know that this so-called ‘untitled project’ was going to be a film. I just learned that fact recently, myself! I’d thought it was going to be a TV documentary on WWII or something like that. But hey, a Steve Carell movie sounds a WHOLE lot cooler!

And keep in mind that I also don’t know if anything I made for them will actually appear on-screen in the movie, or if PoP will get any sort of credit. Most likely not. You know how unpredictable filmmaking can be. Our products may just be used in test shots or scenes that end up on the ‘cutting room floor.’ However it all works out, you can bet that I’ll be watching the movie VERY closely for any signs of my work. Everything we sell at Patches of Pride comes from original art files that I’ve created. That way, I can easily recognize my work whenever and wherever I see it. If someone uses ANY of our products on their custom figures or vehicles, I can tell. I know ALL of the (thousands) of PoP products by heart—AND by sight.”

POPLOGOinblue1_11

Bottom Line: This sounds like it’ll be a really cool flick and a wonderful opportunity for Zemeckis, Carell and Patches of Pride as well. We wish all concerned with this project the very best of luck. “The Women of Marwen” is scheduled for a November 2018 release. If any further information becomes available before that time, we’ll be sure to share it with you here on The Joe Report ASAP. Will any of Otnes’ 1:6 scale products actually end up on screen? Stay tuned!

Tagged , , , ,

James DeSimone Make Guest Appearance on A&E’s “Storage Wars” As a G.I. JOE “Super Collector”

Bottom Line: In this 2-minute clip from an episode of the A&E program, Storage Wars, one of the show’s contestants(?) purchases a storage locker for $750, then discovers it contains a 1985 GIjOE USS Flagg aircraft carrier. She then takes it over to James DeSimone for his professional, expert estimation of its value. There are some quick, fleeting views of the assembled ship, plus a few shots of James’ RAH figures placed atop its deck and arranged around it for maximum display effect (making this an official “Joe Sighting”). The Flagg’s box is included as well, but it appears to be pretty banged up. Was this particular Flagg worth what James declares? YOU be the judge. Enjoy!

Tagged , ,

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

johnkolb

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

exclusivebanner

minirounds6

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

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

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


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

malecomment

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

CH-53E Super Stallion AST-1

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

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

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

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

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

minirounds9

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

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

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

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

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

minirounds1

This is 1:6 scale! (Photo: John Kolb)

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

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

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

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

minirounds3

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

minirounds2

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

minirounds4

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

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

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

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

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

minirounds10

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

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

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

scalemodelexpo1

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

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

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

scalemodelexpo2

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

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

malecomment

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

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

scalemodelexpo3

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

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

Tagged , , , , , ,

“G.I. Joe Repair Shop” Owner Hopes His Business Will Help Revitalize “Empty” Downtown of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma———Daughter Paints G.I. Joe Murals

lonewolfsignandtower

The Last Place You’d Expect to Find a G.I. Joe Museum— If you don’t take your foot off the pedal, it’s all too easy to zip right through the small town of Lone Wolf, OK, little realizing you’re also passing by one of the SWEETEST little museums ever dedicated to America’s Movable Fighting Man. So, SLOW DOWN, pahduh! Maybe if they painted their water tower Adventure Team yellow..? (Photo: Nick Vitale)

neilvitale

Neil Vitale, owner, operator and curator of the GIjOE Repair Shop (and museum) located in Lone Wolf, OK (Photo: Nick Vitale)

Living’ the G.I. Joe Dream—In Lone Wolf, OK

Sometimes we come across fans or collectors who are truly living the “GIjOE dream.” Typically, they’re the sort of individuals who, through a combination of hard work and dedication, are now able to comfortably display, professionally repair, and profitably sell—GIjOEs. After years of effort, they’ve finally achieved 1:6 fandom’s most highly sought-after “collecting trifecta,” and now own and operate a GIjOE-related business.

Indeed, even after decades of diehard collecting, many collectors continue to dream of a well-appointed “Joe Room,” or the space required to simply de-crate and display a burgeoning collection. Many others yearn for the knowledge and/or talents required to repair, reflock or repaint, old or broken action figures. For most of us though, it’s TIME and money that remain the most restrictive factors, and so it’s always heartening to learn when another fan has broken through those barriers; purchased his own building, and is now refurbishing it into a growing, downtown Joe-business. We’re referring (of course) to renowned GIjOE expert—Neil Vitale.

joerepairshop

Welcome to Neil’s Place— You’re looking at the Main Street entrance to an actual “brick-n-mortar” GIjOE store now located at 1107 Main Street in downtown Lone Wolf, OK. If you love Joes, this is THE place to hang out on weekends, get something repaired, or buy-n-sell. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

Formerly of Connecticut, Neil recently moved his family (and impressive vintage GIjOE collection) to the far-flung reaches of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. A pediatrician by profession, Nick commutes daily to the nearby Air Force town of Alton for his practice, before returning home again to his family and favorite hobby—GIjOE. In the following interview (given exclusively to The Joe Report), Vitale reveals the full “inside” story behind his exciting new “GIjOE Repair Shop.” Enjoy!

exclusivebanner

TJR: Thanks for taking time to talk to us today, Neil. Please tell our readers how you came up with the idea for your GIjOE business and how you got the ball rolling on such an ambitious project.

neilvitale2

Dr. Neil Vitale, Pediatrician and GIjOE businessman (Photo: Neil Vitale)

malecomment

NV: “The GIjOE Repair shop was an outgrowth of my ebay store. I started putting together vintage GIjOE sets in 2009 and have sold over 500 in the last 7 years. I did this in my basement in Connecticut. We had recently moved to Lone Wolf, Oklahoma from Connecticut to be closer to my wife’s family and during the transition, I had all my Joe stuff in storage for about a year. While working in Oklahoma (I’m a Pediatrician), it became clear that there were a lot of empty buildings in our downtown area that people were only using for storage. Lone Wolf is a farming community of about 450 people and the downtown area is dying. So I purchased the old Flower Shop and decided to use it for Joe storage and a place to build and sell my Joe’s.”

TJR: Fascinating! What happened next? How does your new business work?

malecomment

“I found a few display cases in the surrounding communities to temporarily display the Joe’s before I sold them. It was great, because I was able to have an enormous space for my Joe’s and my wife was happy to get them out of the house. I call it the “GI JOE Repair Shop” and we buy pieces and parts off of ebay and then complete the sets to resell them, just like I did before in Connecticut.”

joestore6

Main Street Visitors— Fans and customers browsing Neil’s new store/museum. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

TJR: What was the inspiration for the way you’ve decorated your business’ interior and exterior?

malecomment

“In Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma (about 120 miles away), there’s The Action Figure Museum. They have a special section on military and GIjOE figures. We went in there and it turned out to be a pretty cool museum. Their GIjOE/military section had some neat dioramas, but not many actual vintage GI Joe’s. So, I decided that Oklahoma needed a stand alone GI JOE display.”

TJR: Sounds cool! What sort of plans do you have for future displays, etc.?

malecomment

“I shifted from selling Joes to creating a GIjOE display for Vintage 1964-1969 Joes. I still sell the 1970-76 figures to help with funding, but my goal is to have one of each Joe from the original vintage era and put them on display in one part of the shop. I have 75 on display so far. The missing Joes are the the rare and expensive ones (i.e., the Nurse, Jungle Fighter, later MPs etc.) I’ll eventually get to them!

The other part of the shop will be a 150 square foot diorama of the Normandy invasion with about 40 vintage Joes (American and German) and only genuine Hasbro equipment. I hope to have it ready for our town’s Fourth of July parade. We had nearly 100 people come in the shop that day last year and that was before the diorama! The name of the shop will be changed to The GI JOE Repair Shop and Museum this Spring.”


THIS JUST IN—THIS JUST IN—THIS JUST IN—THIS JUST IN

rosiemural1

Art Major, Rosie Vitale, blocks in colors as she begins work on the door-sized GIjOE mural for, appropriately, the front door of her Dad’s “GIjOE Repair Shop” in Lone Wolf, OK. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

Beautiful Art Major Making Beautiful Murals in Oklahoma

In a related story, we were understandably curious as to the identity of the talented individual or individuals responsible for all the wonderful GIjOE artwork and murals seen inside and outside of Neil’s new store and museum. We asked Vitale for further intel on the matter and he replied:

malecomment

“My daughter, Rosie Vitale, is an art major and she was recruited to paint our three murals. The first is the advertisement for the talking GIjOE. The second is a mash-up of Action Sailor box art. The third is the Action Soldier Box that we used for our front door. She’d blocked out the pictures first, then use acrylic paints and let her talent take over. The two wall murals took about a week each to complete and the door, 4 days. They look AMAZING in person!”

rosiemural2

Remembering Petrucci— In her left hand, Rosie holds a color print of the original GIjOE Action Soldier box artwork created by famed illustrator Sam Petrucci (in 1964) and refers to it for guidance and inspiration while creating her own, greatly enlarged copy. Absolutely AMAZING! (Photo: Neil Vitale)

rosiemural5

Vintage VICTORY— Rosie’s finished painting, ready to greet customers. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

rosiemural3

Action Sailor Artwork— Rosie Vitale continues to adorn the walls of her father’s store with additional murals. This one was also inspired by the 1964 paintings of Sam Petrucci. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

joestore5

Go, NAVY! Rosie’s completed Action Sailor mural is an undeniable eye-catcher and one of the three that fans will see when they visit Neil Vitale’s GIjOE Repair Shop. (Photo: Neil Vitale)

Finally, Neil offered the following hopes for his business’ effect on downtown Lone Wolf, saying:

malecomment

“We are now one of the few businesses on main street in Lone Wolf. And I’m pretty sure this is the largest collection of vintage GIjOEs on display ANYWHERE in Oklahoma. With the addition of the the diorama, I am hoping to attract some attention and maybe get a few people to come by and stop in Lone Wolf, rather than just drive on through.” —Neil Vitale, The GIjOE Repair Shop

neilvitale6

The Doctor Will See You Now— Neil Vitale poses alongside the “first four” of his many vintage GIjOEs in a photo taken exclusively for The Joe Report. Neil’s got the prescription—for FUN! (Photo: Neil Vitale)

Bottom Line: We were THRILLED to learn of Neil’s success and the creation of his all-new GIjOE-related business in Lone Wolf, OK. Imagine if this sort of business model was copied in other towns and cities across the country (and around the world!). How cool would that be? We also want to thank Neil and Rosie Vitale for their generous assistance with this article, and wish them both all the best in their future endeavors. Go, Neil! Go, Rosie! Go, JOE!

Tagged , , , , ,
Advertisements