Category Archives: Fans & Collectors

G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Struggling to Keep Up With Overwhelming Fan Demand For JoeCon 2018’s Exclusive Figures and (Affordable) Hotel Rooms

A Victim of Their Own Success?

Word of mouth among GIjOE fandom alluding to the fact that this year’s JoeCon in Chattanooga, TN could very well be the LAST such “national” club convention has many fans (members and non-members alike) scrambling for nearby (affordable) hotel rooms and a chance to purchase (again, what may be) one of the LAST exclusive figure sets ever produced by the GIjOE Collector’s Club.

In addition, with Hasbro largely sitting on its hands concerning all things GIjOE, collectors of all scales are seeing this year’s JoeCon as “the one” that they “must attend,” leading to an unexpectedly early sell-out for the small figure exclusive sets and an ongoing shortage of downtown hotel rooms that are priced at the club’s more affordable “discounted block rate.”

The latest confirmation of these alarming facts comes to us today “hot over the wires” and from the GIJCC’s head honcho himself, Brian Savage, who revealed the following intel about a shortage of 3 3/4″ exclusives (and provided suggestions on what be believes can be done about it):

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Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

 

“The 2018 GIjOECon Convention 3 3/4″ sets are SOLD OUT! Currently, we BELIEVE that we will be able to increase the production run for both 3 3/4” boxed and loose sets (attending and non-attending). HOWEVER, our contacts in China have now shut down for Chinese New Year. We have requested that they increase our production run (which won’t happen for another couple of months).  

It will take a few weeks until we have confirmation back from them concerning our request. Chinese New Year runs through the first week in March. Each factory has a different schedule as to when they return to work. In the meantime, if you are interested in an 3 3/4″ attending, non-attending or a loose set, please let us know by putting yourself on the wait list by sending an email to: Waitlist@funpubinc.com.  

Please DO NOT CALL about the list. We will notify you about processing your request when the additional quantities are available. You will receive a confirmation email that you are on the list. If you have already contacted us and were told that we have placed you on the waitlist, you do not need to email us. Please don’t get on the list 2x. The list will be worked in the order it was received.

Please place in the title of the email one of the following: American Hero waitlist, Homefront Hero waitlist, Attending loose set waitlist, Non-attending loose set waitlist. In the body of the email please provide your full name and phone number. Being on the waitlist does NOT guarantee that you will get what you requested, as we may exhaust the additional quantities ordered.

Do not order a 12″ attending set and hope that we will swap it for the 3 3/4″ set. We will not swap sets.”

Fortunately for attendees and non-attending collectors of the 12-inch GIjOE exclusive sets, some better news was forthcoming from Savage, who reassuringly stated:

“The 12″ attending and non-attending sets are still available.”

Finally, regarding the shortage of affordable hotel rooms, Savage offered this hopeful update:

“The Staybridge Hotel block is now sold out. We are investigating a THIRD hotel in the area, so please watch for future emails.” 

Bottom Line: Phew! This is getting exciting (and frustrating for some). It looks like we should expect this convention to be a BIG one, crowd-wise. If you plan to attend, we recommend you go ahead and reserve a hotel room SOMEWHERE nearby the Chattanooga Convention Center at ANY rate you can afford—NOW. There’s always plenty of time for you to cancel or (hopefully) get a different room at the club’s cheaper block rate—later. That is, of course, IF… Señor Savage can convince that mysterious, unnamed “third hotel” to cooperate. Good luck to us all! Go, JOE!

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Roll ‘Em!——5th Annual “G.I. Joe Stop-Motion Film Festival” to Premiere All-New Movies Based on—and Utilizing—”America’s Movable Action Hero”

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Submissions for 5th Annual “GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival” Now Being Accepted

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Gio Toninelo, coordinator and distributor of the upcoming 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (Photo: Gio Toninelo)

Despite Hasbro having turned its corporate back on 12-inch GIjOE action figures and their worldwide array of fans, collectors and customizers, the “most beloved toy in the last 100 years” (see HERE) continues to make its presence known to the public in ever more unexpected ways. We’re speaking specifically now, about independent filmmaking—and stop-motion animation. Cinematographer, graphic designer and festival coordinator, Gio Toninelo (shown above, right) has just announced the opening of submissions for what will become the 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (GSMFF). The GSMFF is referred to as a “travelling” film festival, due to the fact that Toninelo will exhibit the winning entries in theaters and venues all across the country. This year’s festival premieres September 27th at the Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado and extends thereafter to LA, New York and Austin (TX).

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Lisa and Tim Weedn, creators of superb 1:6 scale stop-motion animated videos, regularly premiere their work at Joelanta conventions in Atlanta, GA. (Photo: Tim Weedn)

Stop-motion animation, once championed by early effects wizards Ray Harryhausen (see bio video above) and animators Rankin & Bass (of 1964’s Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer fame), had almost become a lost and forgotten art form, but it seems to be back on the path to popularity once again. This will surprise many, because today’s CGI-dominated animators view the (much) more laborious and time-intensive stop-motion process as an unwieldy and (dare we say) “wasteful” practice from a bygone, pre-digital era. Fortunately, there are STILL some diehard (and VERY patient) individuals out there for whom stop-motion animation (and its unique results) remains a JOY to create and behold.

An Analog Technology For a 1:6 Digital World

You may already know of some fellow GIjOE fans who are also stop-motion animators. We certainly do. Two such patient practitioners of the technique (that come immediately to mind) are the talented filmmaking duo of Lisa and Tim Weedn (see above, right). The Weedns are regular attendees and popular presenters at each of the Toylanta (formerly Joelanta) GIjOE shows held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s a 2014 video they made in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th anniversary:

Is Stop-Motion Animation Merely a Fad—Or Making a Comeback?

Fortunately for stop-motion animation afficiandos, they don’t have to rely solely on the efforts of amateurs in order to get their “fix” of the technique. In fact, there are many influential showbiz pros out there who continue to utilize stop-motion in their projects. For example, Seth Rogen revived the technique for his standout animated TV series, Robot Chicken (see his HILAROUS GIjOE short below). Academy Award winner Nick Park too, used the process for his superb Wallace and Gromit shorts and features. Perhaps a sort of “tech-revolt” is underway, one that rages against the film and TV industry’s current overuse of CGI? If so, it appears that the nostalgic animation style is actually GROWING in popularity—with no end in sight!

We asked Mr. Toninelo to comment on the upcoming GIjOE film festival and he kindly replied:

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Filmmaker and Festival Coordinator, Gio Toninelo (Photo: GT)

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“Hi Mark, I’m so excited! Our GIjOE film festival is back for its 5th season! I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard about our festival. We started waaaay back when the internet was a sleepy teenager. Plus, we took a needed break since 2013. Put simply, we screen films that use G.I.JOE action figures as their main characters using the ‘stop-motion’ animation technique. We always read The Joe Report and I’ve bought some stuff from Patches of Pride (PoP) in the past as well. I’ve even listed PoP as one of our sponsors! 

There are only TWO main rules for our Festival:1- Your film MUST be shot using stop-motion technique. Puppetry, wires and live action could also be used as long as it does not comprise 30% of the entire film. 2- Your main character MUST be an official G.I. Joe action figure, created by Hasbro, Inc. or an Action Man figure, created by Palitoy. Other licensed figures are also accepted, like “Comandos em Acao” and “Falcon” (BRAZIL) or “Commandos Heroicos” (MEXICO). Other action figures, dolls and toys can be used for supporting roles.

Finally, because we are a ‘travelling’ festival, I try not to put the videos up on the web, at least not on our social media channel. We always save the BEST ones for the tour. However, some of our old trailers can still be found over on YouTube HERE. Enjoy!

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At Work in the World of 1:6 ScaleGio Toninelo, shown here in his home office and/or art studio, carefully details one of his 1:6 scale custom GIjOE action figures. Will this Joe become a “star” in one of Toninelo’s future film productions? We’ll just have to wait and see! (Photo: Jeff Otte)

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Fans of Films and GIjOEs— Is there anything better than watching “America’s Movable Fighting Man” up on the big screen? Here, fans gather at a past screening  of Gio Toninelo’s GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival to watch the “Best of the Best.” (Photo: Gio Toninelo) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: This looks like yet another EXCELLENT opportunity for GIjOE fans and customizers, as well as all aspiring amateur and/or professional filmmakers. For complete details on festival submission requirements, entry deadlines, etc., go HERE. Our sincerest thanks go out to Gio Toninelo and to everyone else connected with these exciting shows. Go, Joe! And… Go, GIO!

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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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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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Rudy Panucci’s Video Recap of 2017’s Kentuckiana GIjOE Toy Expo Held August 5th in Louisville, KY

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Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci)

Bottom Line: Here’s another great video from the MASTER of pop-cult videos—Mr. Rudy Pannuci! Our sincerest thanks to Rudy for taking the time to cover this year’s EXPO and for his production of yet another superb video review. Be sure to leave any comments or compliments you may have for this famous “PoPCulteer” on his blog found HERE and keep up-to-date with future Rudy videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel HERE. Go, Rudy! Go, JOE!

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4th Annual Kentuckiana GIjOE Toy Expo to be Held This Saturday in Louisville, KY——Don’t Miss It!

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Bottom Line: Hosted by the Kentuckiana Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club, this exciting “toy expo” will be held in the beautiful city of Louisville, KY on this coming Saturday from 10AM to 3PM. Admission is just $2 and “early birds” can get in at 9AM for $5. You can bet your favorite footlocker that this show will be chocked FULL of great GIjOEs and a whole mess’a great fans and collectors. So… if YOU love GIjOEs and other vintage toys, YOU need to be in Louisville this Saturday. Gas up your ol’ family wagon and… git ‘er done! Go HERE for complete info.

Tiny “Cobra Enemy!” Pin a Big Hit With G.I. Joe Fans

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Stick it!— GIjOE/Cobra fan and pin creator, Mae Catt models her latest creation, a unique “Cobra Enemy!” cloisonné lapel pin that really pops against her dark jacket. (Photo: Mae Catt) Click to enlarge.

Don’t Worry—Getting “Pinned” Doesn’t Mean You’re Going Steady With Cobra

Fans and collectors of GIjOE-related collectibles and ephemera will be thrilled to learn that there is now an exciting new (little) item they can now add to their already growing stash—a tiny cloisonné lapel pin emblazoned with a “Cobra Enemy!” warning in bold black lettering which is set against a bright yellow “starburst” background and red cobra logo (see closeup below).
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POW!!!— As this super close-up reveals, the quality of Mae’s new “Cobra Enemy!” cloisonné lapel pin is top notch all the way. Resistance is Futile! (Photo: Mae Catt) Click to enlarge.

We were curious about the pin’s origins, so we contacted its creator, Mae Catt, of the aptly dubbed, Catt Call Co., who kindly replied with the following (exclusive) insider-intel:

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“Hello, all! My name is Mae Catt, I’m a big GIJOE (okay, well, Cobra) fan who also loves lapel pins. I combined those two loves into the Cobra Enemy lapel pin that you can see in the photos shown in this article. I’m just an individual seller, and I got into GIjOE in the most backwards of ways. I was only 18, and was backpacking through Paris with a high school friend when the GIjOE live-action movie was just coming out. Bombarded by the film’s foreign advertising, we decided to check out GIjOE online…” 
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Mae’s “Catt Call” business card is cleverly designed to resemble the backing cards of the old Hasbro 3.75″ action figure packaging. Sweet! (Photo: Mae Catt) Click to enlarge.

But rather than watch that (dumb) live-action movie—we downloaded the original animated movie instead and watched it on a laptop in a hotel room. I had no preconceived ideas of the context of GIjOE, Cobra or that movie, but I decided it was just good enough (and overtly ridiculous enough) to inspire me to look it all up on Wikipedia.

That’s when I discovered the absurd INSANITY of the Cobra Commander. I soon became ‘charmed’ by the character’s willpower and villainy I suppose, and have been a huge fan of the Cobra phenomenon ever since.

Back in the ‘ol US of A, I sought out friends who were actually alive waaay back in the 1980’s, and was ‘properly’ introduced to the amazing world of GIjOE and Cobra through catered screenings of the TV episodes. Now, more recently, I’ve also gotten into the lapel pin craze that’s going around.

Have you seen the increased amount of collector’s pins at conventions? Well, the scene over on Instagram is going crazy right now. Pins seem to hit a button inside me. They’re a very subtle, classy way to express your fandom on formal wear, and I latched onto pin collecting almost immediately.

The next step of course, was to start making pins myself! The second pin I ever made was the Cobra Enemy pin. It’s gold plated, 1.25″ wide, painted with hard enamel (meaning smooth) and the design is something I’d wanted to make into a pin since, oh… forever.

I’ve always thought of that little toy sticker as a badge of honor for Cobra members, sort of like, ‘Yeah, I’m the Enemy. Come at me!’ Anyway, if you’re into the GIjOE/Cobra pin scene too, please pick yours up HERE. You can also follow me on Instagram @CattCallCo for more nerdy pins. Thanks!” —Mae Catt

Any way you look at it— The new “Cobra Enemy” lapel pin from Catt Call Co. is a definite WINNER. Our advice to you? Order yours today! (Photo: Mae Catt) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: If you don’t already own this very cool pin, we’ll bet you’ll be ordering one very soon. It is a truly ROCKIN’ collectible that looks great on any GIjOE fan’s cap, convention shirt, or vest. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to Mae Catt for her generous contributions to this article.
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Catastrophic Capsule Failure Dooms Astronaut “Major Bob Tom” During “Mercury 10” Mission Commemorating Action Man’s 50th Anniversary

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Lost (From) Space— The whereabouts of the UK’s most famous 1:6 scale astronaut, Major Bob Tom, remain unknown. Did he survive his momentous fall? Can YOU help find him? (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

Final Fate and Location of Organizer’s Vintage Action Man Astronaut Remain Unknown

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Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Bottom Line: A 1:6 scale “space mission,” designed to lovingly commemorate Action Man’s 50th Anniversary, has ended with mixed—some might say, heartbreaking—results. The goal was to lift a vintage Action Man astronaut figure (strapped securely into a vintage AM space capsule) up, up, UP through the stratosphere with the aid of a helium-filled balloon, and return him safely back down to the Earth (see our earliest coverage of this event HERE).

Designated “Mercury 10” by its organizers, the UK mission was masterfully coordinated by Rob Wisdom and funded primarily through donations raised in a surprisingly successful (10-day!) Kickstarter campaign (see that fundraising page HERE). Thankfully (for the thousands of AM fans around the world who were not able to attend), this mission’s breathtaking ascent, its startling final fate, and the frustrating field search for the intrepid (yet sadly, still missing) “Major Bob Tom,” have all now been preserved and presented in an excellent 25-minute video (see below). Enjoy!

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Identifying Marks— To help you find him, note that Major Bob Tom was bedecked in an original silver space suit with a union jack flag and custom “Mercury 10” patches from Patches of Pride—one was even placed on his helmet for maximum visibility. Also-fricken-TASTIC! (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

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A Perfect Fit— As this closeup reveals, the real cloth “Mercury 10” patches provided by Patches of Pride conform perfectly to the folds and sleeve of a vintage AM space suit. If you find an astronaut in a field in Britain, look for THIS patch. It’s only on the uniform of Major Bob Tom! (Photo: Rob Wisdom)

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Fan-Created G.I. Joe Ephemera—Picking Up Where Collector’s Club Leaves Off, James Kavanaugh Jr. Heads Up a Talented Team of Graphics Experts to Produce Exclusive Posters, Cards, and Boxes To Be Given Away Every Year at JoeCon—For FREE!

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Utilizing Vintage Design to Promote RAH GIJoes— At first glance, you’d think this professionally created mini-poster is one of the original product brochures produced by Hasbro back in 1964 to promote its new line of 12″ GIjOE action figures and accessory sets. But you’d be wrong, my friend. In actuality, this masterpiece depicts GIjOEs of the more modern-era (3.75″) RAH variety. Produced by a team of graphics professionals spearheaded by James Kavanaugh Jr., this limited-edition (300) fan-produced poster is a superb example of how far some die-hard fans will go to further expand upon and refine GIjOE’s “universe.” (Framing by Sam Sears. Photo by: James Kavanaugh) Click to enlarge.

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Incognito Imagineer?— Apparently a man of many faces and talents, James Kavanaugh is also the chief designer of some of the world’s greatest GIjOE “faux ephemera.” (Photo: James Kavanaugh)

Bumping Into a Graphics Guru— When we first met James Kavanaugh Jr. at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL, he was surrounded by about a dozen wide-eyed fans. They were all eager to get a closer look at James’ offering of expertly created GIjOE fan-graphics; including such nifty items as mini-posters and 3.75″ mini-boxes. Surprised by the professional quality of the items arrayed on his tables, we were sure they would be priced accordingly (i.e. expensive) and were stunned when he informed us that they were actually being given away to JoeCon 2015 attendees—for FREE!

If you know anything about the high costs of producing and printing quality graphic projects (and we do), then you’ll know we’re talking about some serious money here. For example, individual copies of James’ RAH posters could easily range upwards of $30 apiece (if outputted with high-end plotters or printers). Such JoeCon “freebies” can actually be very expensive to make (and very valuable to collect).

Clearly, this segment of GIjOE fandom isn’t a cheap corner of the “sandbox” to play around in. The large amount of time required to produce such quality pieces can ring up a hefty tab, and we were eager to learn what sort of “madness” drives Kavanaugh in this regard. Thankfully, he kindly assented to the following exclusive interview—for faithful readers of—The Joe Report!


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TJR: Thanks for speaking with us today, James. As fellow graphic designers and “brothers-in-arms” in the visual and communication arts profession, we’d love to hear the story behind your amazing GIjOE print projects; especially that stunning RAH mini-poster (shown at top).

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With a Wink and a Nod—GIjOE fan, collector and graphics expert, James Kavanaugh Jr. continues to produce and distribute GIjOE graphics at each JoeCon—for FREE! (Photo: James Kavanaugh Jr.)

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“The poster is a long answer to a short question. I pigeonhole myself as a RAH (Real American Hero) collector and since the 2005 convention, I’ve been making and handing out free custom file cards and package card backs.

They were originally designed to supplement the GIjOE club’s membership figures because the club was only providing a quick bio on the back of each membership card.”

TJR: What a excellent idea! And you still give all these cards and posters away for FREE?

“Yes, that’s right. Every year I make 300 for JoeCon and an extra (exclusive) 100 for the awards dinner as a token of my appreciation to all the wonderful people I’ve met at the shows.”

TJR: That’s very generous. You have some serious “Joe Karma” coming your way. Do you work on these projects all alone, or do you enlist the aid of other talented Joeheads?

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GIjOE Fan and Expert, Gary Godsoe (Photo: Gary Godsoe)

“Gary Godsoe is my right-hand man in these projects, and Ace Allgood was my go-to guy for reference photos, accuracy, and overall expert vintage opinion. I’ve also utilized the amazing skills of John Jett, Troy McKee, Andrew Hall and Todd Weinzeirl.”

TJR: That sounds like an “A-Team” of GIjOE experts. Are you a big fan of both the RAH and 12″ GIjOEs?

“Honestly, I was born in 1977 and grew up in an almost childless neighborhood with no older relatives, so  I knew nothing about 12” GI Joe. I assumed that he was just Barbie’s ‘Army boyfriend.’  And sadly, certain aspects of the 12” figure as a whole are simply lost on me. Nonetheless, I wanted to work backwards and explore GIjOE’s 12” history by undoing the RAH line. 

It began one day when I was thinking about the TV series ‘Gotham.’ I assessed that the show took the core of the Batman story, pulled it apart, and reassembled its disparate pieces into a new configuration. That made me wonder, what if the RAH line had been released back in 1982 with a more 12” style approach?”

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Giving Proper Credit— Contributors to each of Kavanaugh’s projects receive official credit bylines such as those listed in the corner of Jame’s RAH poster. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Where did you take the project from there?

“Over time, the project evolved into various interpretations of the RAH portion of the GIjOE hobby, each a reflection of the current time. For example, in 2009, I inducted Bullet-Man into the ‘Crappy Figure Brigade.’ And in 2010, I did a Ted Williams card back for the love-to-hate-to-love subgroup of fans that support, shall we say, the more ‘unique’ G.I. Joes ever produced.”

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Packaging Fans Take Note— The classic GIjOE designs from the 1960s hold up VERY well today, as this closeup of James Kavanaugh’s poster clearly reveals. Hello, Hasbro? Are you seeing this? Here’s a great way to bring all GIjOE fans together under one “visual umbrella.” (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What did you decide to produce for GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary?

“For the 50th Anniversary of G.I. Joe, I wanted to do something more dynamic and more in tune with the roots of G.I. Joe, not a RAH ‘off-year,’ so I developed the 4-inch boxes. They were designed to assume the role of a vintage package for the modern visage of G.I. Joe. They were also designed to emulate the vintage packaging as closely as possible, while fully selling the more ‘realistic’ aspects of the RAH.”

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Realistic Detail on Every Panel— The attention to detail on Kavanaugh’s projects is stunning; UPC codes, fine print, choke warnings, it’s all there. Look closely at this GIjOE “Infantry” box— there are even pictures of its related uniform and accessory sets depicted on the side panels at barely 1″ high. Get out your magnifying glass, because you’ll need it to read it! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: You’ve made mini-boxes, posters, and even authored books on RAH GIjOEs. But your new poster seems to be targeting fans of the vintage 12″ GIJOEs. What inspired the change?

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Debonair Author— James Kavanaugh Jr., renowned RAH GIjOE expert and “Human Chameleon,” demonstrated yet another of his handsome and distinctive “looks” while discussing his new book, “Rank & File, a Guide to 4″ GIjOE Action Figures,” at a convention held in the UK. (Photo: Tree-Bot)

“I wanted to do something a bit more abstract in relation to my previous work and also do something for a wider audience than RAH collectors. My RAH research showed me that, in many ways, early RAH was still thought of in terms of small 12” figures with names and an enemy.  This poster gave the RAH figures height, removed the names and gave them the interchangeable dynamic that was left behind in the transition. My goal was to also simulate a marketing approach to ‘higher ups’ so that the viewer feels like they’re looking at a conceptual pitch.”

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Collect ‘Em All— Kavanaugh’s wide variety of GIjOE-related creations have become a new collecting segment all of their own and it’s easy to see why. The cover of his new book, Rank & File, utilizes design inspired by the ’80s RAH comics. Get your copy HERE today!

TJR: Your poster is a superb demonstration of how Hasbro could have brought fans of both eras together by appealing to the heart-strings of older collectors while reviving vintage packaging design. What did your A-Team of experts think of your unique retro-poster concept?

“The early idea was difficult for me to convey, I had a hard time articulating my thoughts to my core consultants. They kept simplifying it as a 12” Grunt (like the figure in the 1994 Hall of Fame). The base figure is the Action Soldier male, not ‘Grunt’ as the RAH guys know him. The vintage RAH art is familiar to RAH collectors and was used to help accentuate the packaging while guiding the viewer to its hybrid conclusions.

I then divided the 82-84 line into Basic and Deluxe package options and used almost the exact character themes given to us in those respected years. I stripped away the unique shades of green that each RAH character is typically assigned (ex. Zap was light green while Grand Slam was dark olive) and tried to create as many reusable plastic parts a possible.

Customizable variations of the core product were also paramount.  The human essence of both lines was diversity so I wanted to assume the base figure was ‘available’ in various hair colors and skin colors.  But to take it a step further, the consumer could mix and match figures with outfits as they choose.”

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A Face All Fans Can Love— Whatever the scale, GIjOE’s “first face” was an iconic design that continues to resonate strongly with collectors worldwide. (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What else should fans (of both eras) know about the content depicted in your poster?

“The versatility of the 12” line was there for the consumer to choose. So showcasing the iconic vintage 12” head was paramount in order to drive home the idea that this concept was 12”.  John Jett was the artist that nailed the various looks. The verbiage used in the poster derives heavily from the vintage RAH catalogs, and the fictitious Asst. #’s are based on the original Asst. numbers used in the original 1982 products (the ‘H’ is fake in all the numbers and the ’15’ is just the convention year).  My projects always have Easter Eggs in them.”

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Gutsy, Not Glamorous— Kavanaugh’s poster also features a GIJane action figure. Never meant to be a “pin-up” girl, the various depictions of Jane depict determined looking, capable fighting women instead. Out-STANDING! (Character art: John Jett/Andrew Hall) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Tell us about that GIJane figure. She’s a great addition to the poster!

“The real ‘twist’ with this poster’s concept was the inclusion of a female soldier. This fictitious, femme-fatale figure would’ve been sold separately—but equally—with the male. This led me to make the female look more in sync with the male figure, while still retaining female features. I will apologize beforehand when I say the female nurse isn’t the most attractive female action figure representation (in my opinion). Thus, John Jett was tasked with developing a more striking female. But hey, don’t get me wrong, she’s not posing for a glamour shot.  She’s here fight for freedom!

She’s obviously (to RAH guys) an abstract notion of Lady Jaye. However, the reason why I gave her a javelin thrower is not for RAH accuracy. I would’ve been inclined to give her a rifle like her male counterpart (though I’m sure some market research would’ve resulted in girls wanting some sort of ‘non-rifle’ weapon) but it hit me that GI Joe reflects contemporary pop culture and Hunger Games is a huge hit right now. The female star is called Katniss and fights with a bow and arrow. Of course, a traditional bow and arrow would’ve looked awkward compared to the male’s rifle, but a javelin shooter bridges that military gap and still gives girls the sort of heroine they’d want.”

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A GIJane With a Bow— Katniss from The Hunger Games inspired and impacted Kavanaugh’s depiction of the GIJane action figure shown on his poster. However, the movie character’s bow-n-arrow had to go and was replaced with a rocket-propelled “javelin” (instead of a rifle). (Photo: Lion’s Gate)

I asked John to produce a woman that looked like she means business, yet wouldn’t scare away female consumers.  The goal was for her to have an assertive demeanor. Then, females could utilize the basic accessories like the male, yet have their own exciting ‘looks’ that filled all roles.”

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Words to Live By— Real American Heroes need real mottos to steel their nerves in battle. The copy on James’ poster reminds kids and adults to fight the good fight—with GIjOE! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Any closing thoughts on this poster and/or your reasons for creating it?

I believe vintage GI jOE could use as much attention as possible and I just wanted to do my part. Hopefully, this poster showed commonalities between both lines and illustrates how, with some minor changes, Hasbro could’ve painted a totally different picture of the brand’s landscape. With the proverbial product ‘well’ running dry or at least tapering off, maybe collectors who prefer one line over the other will decide to cross over into new territory so to speak, and further round-out their own perspective of the hobby.”

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Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to James “the Chameleon” Kavanaugh Jr. for all of his generous contributions to the GIjOE collecting hobby and to this article. You can reach James on Facebook HERE and find his books on Amazon HERE. Go (or Yo), JAMES!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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