Category Archives: Falcon from Brazil

Brazilian “Fans of Falcon” Keep Spirit of 1:6 Scale Action Figure Alive With Release of 3 New Posters

There's nothing like professional GIjOE or "Falcon" posters to properly decorate your home. Surely your wife will approve! (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Fans and collectors of Estrela’s “Falcon” GIjOEs will LOVE these 3 new posters commemorating each unique phase of the figure’s storied history (military, adventure, and sci-fi). (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Never Give Up. Never Surrender!

While that rousing slogan was first made popular in the 1999 sci-fi classic, Galaxy Quest, it lately seems to reflect the die-hard attitude of thousands of frustrated Falcon fans living in Brazil. Falcon, as you no doubt recall from our previous article (HERE), was GIjOE’s exotic South-American cousin during the 1970s and ’80s, and is now as equally as revered and collectible as Action Man is to fans in the UK and Geyperman is to fans in Spain.

Falcon fans, meanwhile, remain undeterred by repeated (failed) efforts to revive the most famous creation of Estrela Toys, and have begun taking matters into their own hands. In addition to reaching out to U.S.-based Cotswold Collectibles, a second group of Falcon fans has invested its own time (and money) into producing a new line of Falcon-inspired promotional posters. According to exclusive “insider intel” we received recently from Brazil’s Marcelo Santana:

Marcelo Santana of Brazil (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

Marcelo Santana of StudioBrasilis, creator of 3 new decorative Falcon posters. (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

“Dear Joe Report—Your blog is an important reference for collectors of GIjOEs, Action Man and many other action figures. I visit often and read all the news that you post. For this reason I write to you today. Surely you know that here in Brazil the GIjOEs (Adventure Team, etc.) were renamed “Falcon” and re-released in 1977 by the toy manufacturing ‘Estrela’ and sold until 1985, when the line was discontinued. Unfortunately, since that time, fans have had no luck convincing Estrela to reissue Falcon as it was back in ‘the old days.’

Recently, a group of independent graphics professionals and myself decided to release an all-new, special series of 3 posters for collectors of GIjOE/Action Man/Falcon. Each poster in the set focuses on a different phase and characteristic of the Falcon line (i.e. the initial military phase, then adventure, and finally, futuristic/sci-fi).

This closeup shows the wonderfully large size of the new Falcon posters. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

According to Marcelo, this poster translates as “The real hero invites you to a new adventure.” (Photo: StudioBrasilis)

Our company, StudioBrasilis, is an independent project of a group of friends and creative pros who came together to develop ideas that focus on producing new products related to popular culture and our childhood. Cool and modern ideas. For the 3 Falcon posters, the creation was all mine, but based on research I conducted with Falcon collectors here in Brazil. They told me that, as happened in other countries where the GIjOE Adventure Team was produced, the Brazilian version had unique characteristics of its own which differed from the others (i.e. its packages, vehicles, clothing, accessories, etc.).

Therefore, our intention was to create something different that did not yet exist. We knew that a few years ago, a commemorative poster for Hasbro’s Adventure Team had already been released, but nothing like it had ever been made for Falcon. In fact, Falcon is one of the rarest versions of GIjOE in the world. Our 3 new posters fill that void (a little) by portraying specific moments in the history of Falcon.

This closeup show some of the "Future" Falcon figures that made the line so unique. (Photo: Marcelo Santana)

This closeup show some of the “Future” Falcon figures that made the line so unique. (Photo: StudioBrasilis)

Finally, we wanted the collector, when seeing the posters, to easily recognize the elements and characteristics present in each, so this was a job that required real research—and creativity. Collectors can frame the posters and decorate the walls of their living room, or hang them next to his (or her) collection of Falcons and GIjOEs.

Each poster measures 24 x 36 inches (60 x 90 cm), is professionally offset-printed in high-resolution on bright, glossy stock (frame not included), and will be available in a limited edition (ONLY 300 sets). We want everyone to also know that we are not affiliated with Estrela Toys or any other toy manufacturer. The 3 poster set is being sold on ebay HERE for $49,90 U.S. (with FREE shipping).” —Marcelo Santana, StudioBrasilis

Bottom Line: StudioBrasilis’ posters are a fine example of fans and entrepreneurs taking matters into their own hands while the brands actual creators (Hasbro and Estrela) continue to sit idly by on the sidelines. We’d like to thank Marcelo Santana and everyone else at StudioBrasilis for their fine work and wish them all the best in their Falcon-based endeavours. Hopefully, their poster sales will be successful enough to galvanize additional fan support for the proposed Cotswold/Estrela Falcon reissue effort we reported on earlier (HERE). While we wait for further updates on that project, if you’re still a “newbie” to the ways and wiles of Falcon, take a look at this classic Brazilian TV commercial we discovered recently over on YouTube. It just might whet your appetite!

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

U.S. Company, Cotswold Collectibles, to Open Talks with Brazil’s Estrela Toys; in Hopes of Reviving 1970s Line of “Falcon” Action Figures

Greg Brown (above), formerly of EKLYPS, and now with Cotswold Collectibles, had some difficult dealings with Twinch Squad and its elusive owner, Jose Luis Ayuso. (Photo: DFW GijOE Club)

Greg Brown (above), formerly of EKLYPS, and now with Cotswold Collectibles, hopes to reach a deal with Brazil’s Estrela Toys for a future revival of the Falcon action figure line. (Photo: DFW GijOE Club)

cotslogoThat’s One Small Step For Cotswold…

In a proactive, forward-thinking move taken right from the playbook of late 1940s-era diplomacy, specifically the U.S. “Good Neighbor Policy,” American action figure manufacturer, Cotswold Collectibles, has extended a hand of cooperative business friendship towards Brazilian toy company, Estrela Toys, in what it clearly hopes will be the first step towards a mutually beneficial agreement between the two. Their ultimate goal? To help resurrect the imaginative Estrela toy line known as—Falcon.

As we discussed in a previous article (HERE), Falcon was Brazil’s creative offshoot of America’s “GIjOE,” UK’s “Action Man” and Spain’s “Geyperman.” But Falcon is not remembered so much for its similarities to those other lines as it is for the many differences it had from them. And, as it was offered only in Brazil, the line has not been widely collectible elsewhere.

Estrela_logo…One Giant Leap, For Falcon!

Good businesses move quickly. Only a day after our article on Falcon first appeared, Cotswold’s chief spokesman and Director of Marketing, Greg Brown, had already sent a timely, almost urgent, note to Falcon’s resident expert in Brazil, Ricardo Beluchi, hoping to secure his assistance in dealing with Estrela. Here’s Brown’s letter in its entirety:

“Hello Ricardo,

My name is Greg Brown and I am the Director of Marketing for Cotswold Collectibles. I understand that you are the “go to” person on Estrela’s Falcon figures. We would be interested in trying to help bring this brand back. Do you have any contacts within Estrela that we could e-mail to see if we could persuade them to make the products or if they have the tooling, sell it to us? We currently make our own 1:6 ‘vintage’ items (Elite Brigade) and work closely with the company that owns the Spanish Geyperman tools. We would love to bring back Falcon!

Thanks in advance,

Greg Brown
Director of Marketing & New Products
Cotswold Collectibles, Inc.”

ricardobeluchi

Brazilian Falcon expert, Ricardo Beluchi. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

A clearly pleased Beluchi quickly notified Falcon fans over on Facebook and a slew of excited replies in support of the idea immediately followed. Here’s Beluchi’s hopeful note:

“Friends, The American (Joe Report) story about Falcon begins to bear fruit. I was approached by Greg Brown of Cotswold. They have an interest in reviving Falcon there and asked me to contact Estrela. If this works, it will help many collectors!”

Bottom Line: As the old adage states, “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” Let’s hope Cotswold’s “acorn” takes root. If it does, Falcon fans may indeed see their favorite toy return. (Here’s an idea: If it rises from the “ashes of incinerators past,” maybe they should rename it: “Phoenix!”)

Tagged , , , ,

Brazil’s “Falcon” G.I. Joes Remain the Most Difficult to Collect———Even for Brazilians!

falconjoes1

The cover of the first Falcon catalog (1977) reveals the Brazilian-made version of GIjOE debuted with an excellent mix of military and adventure themes. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

falcon6

These two Falcon figures look right at home in this Adventure Team Headquarters. The Brazilian version of GIjOE shared many similarities with its American cousins, but also went off in its own creative and distinctive directions. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

Onde estão os Joes Falcon?

Where are they, indeed? That’s a question that nags at the minds of thousands of Brazilian “Falcon” GIjOE collectors. Even when first introduced, the popular toys were difficult to find. Today, Falcon figures and vehicles have become downright scarce. What happened to them all?

Produced by Brazil’s Estrela Toys between 1977 and 1983, Falcon Joes were targeted primarily to middle-class children located in major cities of South America’s largest nation. But for those living outside of Brazil’s major markets, buying opportunities were rare.

Despite the uneven distribution, word spread and the new toys became hugely popular and thoroughly played with by thousands of happy South American children. Today, those same ’70s and ’80s children have grown to adulthood and are once again clamoring for a “fix” of their favorite 12-inch Brazilian hero. But there’s a problem. There are hardly any Falcon Joes left to be found—anywhere! Some (occasionally) appear for sale on ebay, but collectors are clearly facing a supply and demand shortage. And it’s only getting worse.

estrellafactory

This Google street-view of Estrela Toy’s once-bustling production facility reveals only a long-shuttered and abandoned factory today. Fortunately, the company has reorganized and is now headquartered in Sao Paulo. But its future (and that of Falcon GIjOEs) remains unclear. (Photo: Google Maps)

falcon7

“Condor” was a 1:6 scale android, making it an extremely cool Falcon figure. Somehow, this example has survived the last 40+ years in its original window box. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi) Click to enlarge.

Buried in a Landfill—Or Burned Up and Gone With the Wind?

We’ve touched on this depressing aspect of GIjOE collecting in previous articles; but unfortunately, literally thousands of vintage figures are going to be forever MIA. Relegated to the ignominious fate of a landfill or waste incinerator, the “body count” of today’s surviving Falcons is undoubtedly much lower than it should be. For collectors of the line, it’s a sad and undeniable reality.

Simply put, Falcon Joes are scarce, and the last 40+ years have not been kind to their collectors. Today, even with the aid of the Internet, locating good examples of the unusual line is an uphill struggle, even for native Brazilians. The majority of MIA Falcons reside deep within Brazil’s depressing “trash mountains” with no hope of a future rescue.

falconjoes1

Great figures, superb outfits (check out that tan one on the left), and a slightly altered AT logo prove these Falcon figures are still 100% GIjOE! (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

ricardo

Renowned Falcon expert, Ricardo Beluchi (right), poses alongside a colorfully dressed cosplayer during last year’s second Falcon convention in Brazil. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

O Herói de Verdade!

Falcon’s motto is translated as “The Hero of Truth!” And if you’re a Falcon fan, there’s one expert you can always count on to get to the truth: Ricardo Beluchi. Beluchi’s superb Portuguese-language Falcon website (found HERE) is chocked full to overflowing with all things Falcon. Here are some passages translated into English via Google Translate:

“Falcon was first launched in 1978. Originally, there were two models available: one with a dark beard (Action Camouflaged) and one who was beardless (Counter-Attack). But with instant success, additional models were quickly introduced. The themes were of many adventures, and since Falcon had to fight with an opponent, he struggled primarily against nature, including sharks, giant spiders, octopi and ferocious gorillas.

Falcon was also a secret agent, defying death with sets such as ‘Fantastic Leap Forward’ or ‘High Voltage.’ Initially, parents were concerned that their little boys were playing with dolls, but then they saw that Falcon had nothing ‘girly’ about him. With knives, guns and a scar on his bearded face, Falcon is today, the most MACHO of toys.”

falcon2

Fans in Brazil hope to generate enthusiasm for a revival of Falcon and gathered recently for the SECOND annual Falcon/GIjOE convention. Exhibits included 12″ and 3.75″ GIjOEs, 1:1 cosplayers in elaborate homemade costumes, dioramas, and of course, the ever elusive Falcon! (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

falcon3

This table at the second convention in Brazil reveals an Adventure Team headquarters (see GIjOE box), three Falcon figures and one of those cool, “Condor” android dudes.Sweet! (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi) Click to enlarge.

Is There a Future for Falcon?

At this point, it’s impossible to determine what, if any, plans Estrela may have for Falcon, but the company HAS indicated that it is at least curious about fan interest in the line. In a recent poll conducted by Estrela (you can still cast a vote for Falcon HERE), there appears to be overwhelming consumer support for the line’s return. Reminded of Geyperman’s successful reintroduction (see HERE), we wondered if anything else was being done to generate excitement for a possible Falcon “resurrection.” Beluchi replied:

“A few years ago there was a group of Brazilian collectors who joined together to form a Falcon fan club called the ‘BraJoes.’ But after a few years, the club disbanded. In 2012, members of that group teamed up once again and held a convention. This year, a second convention was held. Several items were displayed at that event, including Falcons, GIJOEs, customs figures and dioramas, etc.. There was also a competition for cosplayers and we had many visitors!”

falcon5

Figures on the back row (frogman, deep-sea diver, etc.) look familiar to fans in the U.S., U.K., Spain and other countries, but the front row of “exotic” figures are unique to Brazil’s Falcon line. We see inspiration from Bulletman, Logan’s Run, Flash Gordon, and other schlocky ’70 sci-fi. (Photo: Washington Espínola)

falcon9

It’s good to see fans in Brazil are beginning to work on dioramas as well. Here’s a nice closeup of a garage dio, complete with tools, mini pin-ups, and other related equipment. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi) Click to enlarge.

So the news is encouraging. But what about Falcon’s increasing rarity, rising cost, and decreasing availability? We asked Ricardo if he could comment some on the line’s history and how it created this dilemma. He replied:

“Here in Brazil, Falcon figures were originally found only in major toy stores. Because of the poor overall financial situation of our country, it was an expensive toy to purchase, and so few children ever received more than one or two. Usually, we earned them only on specific dates such as our birthdays or Christmas.

You also need to understand that Brazilians only began collecting Falcon figures a few years ago. During the 70s-’80s, nobody thought of collecting these toys. People actually played with them, and many were THROWN AWAY when they broke. So, nowadays, it’s very difficult to find them in good condition, complete, or for a good price.

I have a few Falcons in my own collection, but since they are so rare, I try to refocus my collection onto GIjOEs and the Adventure Team line-up that I love so much! I hope this helps. If your readers have any more questions about Falcon, please let them know I am available!”

falcon8

Cosplayers are like costumed “cheerleaders” for GIjOE and Falcon, and this group appeared at the second Falcon convention recently to root for their favorites. (Photo: Ricardo Beluchi)

Bottom Line: Already rare in Brazil, it’s a safe bet that Falcon figures, uniforms and equipment will continue to hold a place of high value and fond esteem among Brazilian collectors. Whether or not fans in other countries will see many of them in person is doubtful. Collectors hold on to them tightly, and turnover is infrequent. As long as Estrela remains on the fence about 12-inch figures, fans will just have to keep their eyes and ears open. Our sincerest thanks go out to Ricardo Beluchi for his help with this article. If you’d like to ask Ricardo any more questions about Falcon, you can contact him directly through his Facebook page found HERE. Go, JOE! Vai, Falcon!