Category Archives: Just When You Thought You’d Seen It All

Miguel Tavarez—Master of Miniaturization—Creates Astonishingly Realistic (1:6 Scale) Diorama of U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) Paratroopers in Action

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Bring it On— In a stunning display of 1:6 scale artistry, customizer Miguel Tavares has recreated a battle scene from the Korean War featuring two figures from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Inf. Co. (Airborne). This closeup of the Master Sergeant reveals he has been authentically detailed with correct unit insignia and helmet emblems produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Miguel Tavares) Click to enlarge.

Expert Modeler Depicts Soldiers of “Forgotten War’s” All-Black, All-Ranger Regiment

Welcome to 2017, 1:6 Scalers!

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Immortalized on the Cover—UK hobby industry magazine, Military Modelling (vol. 41, issue no. 1) celebrates the skills of master modeler, Miguel Tavarez, by splashing his work (deservedly so) on the front cover of its most recent issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Military Modelling)

It’s a brand-new year and the guys and gals at The Joe Report felt like kicking things off with a BIG photo-story about a new, rising talent among the 1:6 scale customizing community—Miguel Tavarez. Tavares is a master modeler and 1:6 customizer of the highest degree, and in recognition of his superlative skills, the UK hobby magazine Military Modelling recently published an article about his work, even going so far as to feature a photo of his new (2-figure) paratrooper diorama on the publication’s cover.

The remarkable diorama in question depicts two African-American U.S. Army paratroopers of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) during the Korean War. They’ve just completed a jump and one soldier appears to have suffered a hard landing or been otherwise wounded. His Master Sergeant has rushed to his side, all the while gazing grimly skyward as he watches other Rangers still descending.

This 1:6 scale masterwork is both wonderful and inspirational to behold. Action figure customizers and diorama builders around the world would probably pay good money just to take a 1 hour class from this talented artisan. If fact, we felt Miguel’s Ranger dio achievement was so important, that it was worthy of further mention and praise beyond just the pages of a UK hobby magazine. Therefore, despite any repetition, we’ve wholeheartedly chosen to share it here, too—on The Joe Report!

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A Bad Time for a Sprain— What a superb choice of headsculpt! This figure’s excellent facial expression perfectly captures so much emotion at once. The frustration, pain, and yes, even anger, at being hurt before even getting to fire a shot, must surely be a severe disappointment to this Ranger. After training for months, making dozens of practice jumps, and going through everything required to become a U.S. Army Ranger, to be sidelined and/or hobbled like must be quite a blow. Let’s hope this brave paratrooper’s leg is only sprained and not broken. Go, Rangers! Go, ARMY! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

 Details Do Make the Difference

When you study Miguel’s custom figures, you quickly discover that he is zealously devoted to both military accuracy and authenticity, as well as the execution of professional, almost extreme modeling detail. Take a (very close) look at those hands (the fingernails!), the figure’s wrinkled and “weathered” uniforms, their weaponry, equipment, and even the stones and grass on the ground cover beneath their feet—it’s all been magnificently painted and otherwise realistically executed. HISTORY—has been brought back to life in three dimensions: visibly, tactilely—and in miniature!

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As Real as it Gets— The mind boggles looking at the reality of this ground cover. Make special note of Miguel’s careful selection of the grass and tiny white flowers. Where other customizers would choose or create plantlife that is oversized, Tavarez has ensured that even the tiny flowers are correctly scaled to match his diorama. Un-freakin’ believable! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

It’s Okay to Seek Outside Help

Tavarez has also taken the trouble (and expense) to commission custom waterslide decals and cloth patches from renowned miniatures manufacturer, Patches of Pride. All of their tiny products are carefully researched and recreated from scratch, so their inclusion helped to elevate this unique diorama to undisputed “masterpiece” status. Custom works of such high caliber are truly rare, and this one solidifies Miguel’s well-deserved reputation as a master modeler of 1:6 scale.
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Let’s Get a Move On, Ranger!— Staying out in the open for too long after a combat jump can be an invitation to disaster, as this Master Sergeant clearly knows. This side view of their combined poses demonstrates that there is a clear sense of urgency and peril to their situation. Just LOOK at all the amazing detail! The patches, helmet emblems, ammo bandolier, boots…WOW! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

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Miguel describes the inspiration behind his 2-figure Ranger diorama:

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Cheers, Customizers!— Miguel Tavarez raises a cold one in toast and tribute to other members of the 1:6 scale community in this exclusive photo taken for readers of The Joe Report. His outstanding customs are providing inspiration to thousands of fellow kitbashers around the world. (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

“This diorama is about two African-American Rangers during the Korean War. The Korean War is often referred to as “ the forgotten war” because of the lack of public attention it received both during and after the war, and in relation to the global scale of World War II, which preceded it, and the subsequent angst of the Vietnam War, which succeeded it. After finishing my last 1/6th dio, I was looking for a new project to do, and so I decided to read up on the Korean conflict and see if I could find a subject to recreate within my own little 1/6th scale kitbashing ‘world’.

I came across a book on a very fascinating unit of a segregated, all-black elite Ranger company that had fought with distinction during the first 2 years of the “Forgotten War” in Korea. I had previously done a WWII 761st African-American tanker before, so I became keen on creating something that would also honor this all-black Ranger company—the 2nd Ranger Infantry Co. (Airborne).”

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Don’t Forget the Base— Yes, you can simply set your figures on a table, but the creation and use of a custom base beneath their feet helps add geographical texture and context, as well as increasing the realism of your tabletop diorama scene. Beautiful! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

“As I mentioned before, they were an African-American unit at a time when the U.S. military was slowly being integrated after years of racial segregation. President Truman’s executive order 9981 in 1948 changed that. But the reality was that the desegregation policy was yet to come into full compliance. Segregation was still being practiced right into the Korean War.

White high-ranking officers who did not support desegregation would funnel the colored troops into units such as the 2nd Ranger Co. in the first several years of the war. But 1950s racial issues aside, the ‘Buffalo Rangers,’ as they were known, gave a good account of themselves in the Korean War until their deactivation in 1951.”

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Remembering and Honoring Our Heroes (in 1:6 Scale)— This 3/4 front view shows off the entirety of Miguel’s amazing custom diorama and reveals that he included an actual Ranger pin down in the bottom righthand corner. Congratulations on a great job, Miguel! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

These “Buffalo Rangers” participated in “Operation Tomahawk” on March 23rd 1951. This operation was historic for two reasons; one, it would be the first time a Ranger unit participated in an Airborne combat jump. Secondly and more importantly, it would be the first combat jump for black troops in the U.S. military. Attached to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (its parent unit), it would make this historic jump in ‘Operation Tomahawk’ into North Korean and Chinese-held territory!” —Miguel Tavarez

Bottom Line: Miguel’s work is AWESOME. That’s the bottom line. Our sincerest thanks go out to Mr. Tavarez for sharing these photos of his work and for the exclusive account of his inspiration for this piece. As of the date of this article, you could still buy a copy of the issue of UK’s Military Modelling magazine featuring Miguel’s amazing work HERE.

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1:6 Scale Baseball Caps and Related Sports Gear Revisited——Outfitting Your G.I. Joe For Game Day

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Vending Machine NFL Caps for GIjOE— These NFL team logo caps look great on any 1:6 scale action figure. Minor paint overspray can be easily touched up. (Photo: Bryan Mays) Click to enlarge.

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Play Ball! This closeup reveals the 1:6 scale MLB batting helmets produced by Rawlings—perfect for 12-inch GIjOEs. Go, RANGERS! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

If you’ve been with us since 2012, then you may recall that the first-ever article published HERE on The Joe Report was a short account regarding the discovery of a 30-piece set of 1:6 scale MLB baseball batting helmets at a local Dick’s Sporting Goods store in Champaign, Illinois. Manufactured by Rawlings, the tiny helmets (see at right) proved to be a huge hit with GIjOE kitbashers (and sports fans), and the article itself helped us to “kick off” the collaborative and informative nature of this beloved online blogazine.

Today, another faithful follower and “eagle-eyed TJR field reporter” helps us revisit that self-same first topic, reminding us of both past and present 1:6 scale sports headgear and jerseys, including some new hats that he found recently—in a vending machine. According to Bryan Mays:
“I love The Joe Report and how creative all the folks out there are, as well as all the great GIjOE history your blog has uncovered. Your TJR ‘Christmas List’ article a few years back (see HERE) really got me hooked, especially when I saw that photo of a GIjOE holding a toddler’s corn-popper Christmas ornament made by Hallmark. Right then, I knew that Joe Report readers were my kind of people! I wanted to drop you a line and see if you or your readers knew of any NFL gear (or even MLB or NHL for that matter) that would fit our 1/6th scale buddies. I am passing along what little I’ve learned on this subject as well, which admittedly, isn’t too much, but here we go:
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What Team Does YOUR Joe Support? Outfit your GIjOE sports fan with one of these new 1:6 scale NFL team caps found both in vending machines and websites online. Their quality may not be perfect, but with a little touch-up paint, the will be! (Photo: Bryan Mays) Click to enlarge.

A few years back, I bought several hats out of a vending machine that do fit 1:6 scale GIjOEs (see above). They are still available online (HERE) as ‘Premium Football Caps Vending Capsules.’ The hats themselves sometimes have a bit of paint overspray, but they were only $1 from that vending machine, so no biggie.
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Have it YOUR Way— These nifty 1:6 scale football player jerseys were distributed by Burger King a few years ago and can still be found numerous places online. Take care when putting these on your GIjOE however, as those neckholes can be very tight. (Photo: IMGUR) Click to enlarge.

I also found that those Burger King NFL jerseys from about a decade ago (see above) do not work easily with 1:6 GIjOEs—at least not without some modification. Right out of the bag, their neckholes are simply not large enough to fit over Joe’s noggin. You’ll need to either enlarge the neckhole by stitching and sewing, or remove and reinstall Joe’s head in order to get the jersey to go on the figure.
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Higher Quality, But Untested— Have you tried these caps on a GIjOE? If so, we’d love to hear from you. They look GREAT! (Photo NFL store)

I’ve haven’t had time to test those the new NFL MadLids football team ballcaps (see at right), but they’re starting to hit Target stores now and look to be very detailed, even including a little New Era logo. I also haven’t tried any of those Upper Deck mini jersey offerings, neither NHL nor MLB. It is possible they will have the same (tight) neck issues as those Burger King ones. I’d be interested in hearing if any other Joeheads have tried them and/or if they know of any other ballcaps or sports jerseys that work well with 12″ GIjOEs. 
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How Great is THIS? Imagine all the action figures you could outfit with these great NFL “Mini Jerseys.” We’re not sure when they came out, or if they’re still available, but hopefully, they’ll easily fit onto GIjOE without any major modification. It’d be a shame to have to alter them. Of course, if you can yank off and replace your Joe’s head, then any tight neckhole problem is moot. If you know more about this exciting line, please write in. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks! (Photo: Upper Deck)

Happy holidays to all, and thanks again for putting out such a great site, Mark! I hope my article is enough on-topic to be of interest/help to you and to the rest of the 1:6 scale community that loyally follows The Joe Report.” Sincerely—Bryan Mays
Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Bryan Mays for his generous contributions to this article. We had not heard of (or seen) many of the items described above. It looks like its time for us to start searching the ‘net (and our local stores) again. Happy Hunting!
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U.S. Army Paratrooper Who Modeled For Photos in 1962-63 Believes the Images Taken of Him Were Used To Create the Iconic Headsculpt of G.I. Joe

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Well, Hello Joe! At first glance, Phil Iverson’s resemblance to the original (1964) GIjOE headsculpt seems obvious—even strikingly so. It should be no surprise to learn that the former US Army paratrooper firmly believes the iconic action figure’s “first face” was based on photographs taken of him in 1962-63 by a representative of Hasbro. As fans well know, theories have long postulated that the original GIjOE’s face was an almagam of various Medal of Honor winners—not based on the likeness of any one individual. Unfortunately, the head’s sculptor (subcontracted by Hasbro) provided inconclusive comments about the use of reference photographs before passing away in 1996. (Photo: Courtesy of Phil Iverson)

Did a Signed Contract Enable Hasbro to Legally Recreate Soldier’s Visage in 1:6 Scale?

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There Was Something About His Face— As kids, we all knew IMMEDIATELY that GIjOE was a tough, good-looking dude, and that his sublimely heroic countenance was perfect for untold adventures of imagination. With or without that facial hair, GijOE was definitely ‘da man. HOOah! Go, JOE! (Photo: Sears Roebuck & Co.)

For over 5 decades now, GIjOE fans and collectors around the world have been asking the same question: Did some unknown individual’s face serve as reference (or inspiration) for the original ’64 GIjOE headsculpt? Or, was Joe’s famous noggin (as many still believe) actually a magnificent mélange of various Medal of Honor winners? Depending on how one views the newly uncovered facts, photos, and first-person account of former U.S. Army soldier, Phil Iverson, the truth may now be a little more…


plau·si·ble

ˈplôzəb(ə)l/
adjective

 1. (of an argument or statement) seeming reasonable or probable. “a plausible explanation”


When PFC Phil Iverson was first told by an unknown U.S. Army sergeant (in 1962-63) to report to HQ and have his picture taken in khaki uniform and cap, he replied, “Yes, Sergeant!” PFC Iverson’s photographic mission seemed simple enough, but unbeknownst to the 21-year-old paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division, he was (possibly) being tasked to be an artist’s model who’d provide reference for a sculptor creating the most popular toy soldier face ever—G.I. Joe.

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The Likeness is VERY Close— As these side-by-side closeups help confirm, it seems quite likely that freelance sculptor Phil Kraczkowski utilized the reference photos he (or a Hasbro rep) had taken of Phil Iverson. Even GIJOE’s iconic facial scar was placed on the same cheek (right-hand side). Coincidence? Perhaps. Perhaps not! (1:6 scale paratrooper cap patch courtesy Patches of Pride.) Click to enlarge.

exclusivebannerAn Exclusive Interview With the Man Who May Be the “Original Face” of GIjOE—Phil Iverson

In the following exclusive interview, Phil Iverson relates exactly how he was photographed and why he believes his 21-year-old face was ultimately utilized as visual reference/guidance material by sculptor, Phil Karaczkowski, during the latter’s creation of the iconic, 1964 G.I. Joe headsculpt.

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Senior Citizen Joe— Phil Iverson (76), is considered by many to be the model used for the “original face of GIjOE.” He’s shown as he appears in 2016. If  you’ve ever wondered what GIjOE would look like as a senior citizen…here you go! (Photo: Phil Iverson)

“I enlisted in the service in 1961, went through basic training, MP school, and was sent to Fort Campbell, KY, to go through paratrooper jump school with the 101st Airborne. Sometime in 1962-63, a sergeant I had never seen before came into our barracks and told me to put on my uniform and double-time it over to the headquarters building to get my picture taken. 

So… I went over to HQ and up to an empty 2nd floor office that was not being used. I remember it had a reception counter in front and empty office space in the back. I went in and there was a man sitting next to a camera. I don’t know who he was, but he had black hair and looked to be about in his 30s.”

(The man Phil refers to here was most likely Hasbro’s Don Levine or the largely unsung sculptor of the original ’64 GIjOE head, Phil Karaczkowski. For more information on Mr. Karaczkowki and his hugely important role in GIjOE’s early history, please watch the video clip provided below. —Ed.)

“He looked me up and down for a moment and said (pointing), ‘You have to sign that release, right over there.’ He was referring to a form he’d placed on the left side of the counter. So I did as he said,. I went over to it—and I signed it. What it said, I have idea. I didn’t read it. In the Army, you’re trained to do what you’re told. 

As I was signing the form, I laughed and said, ‘Sure! I’ll sign. Nobody will ever want to use MY picture.’ That seemed to get his attention and he gave me sort of a double-take, you know, like he suddenly had a much greater interest in me.

He said ‘Stand right there’ and I did. I remember I was standing in front of a plain backdrop. He took a couple of pictures, front and side stuff, you know, and that was that. I walked out without any further comment from either of us.”

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The Artistic Genius Behind GIjOE— Freelance sculptor, Phil Karaczkowski, was the largely unheralded creator of the iconic, world-famous 1964 GIjOE headsculpt, receiving only $600 for the assignment. Here, he stands next to some life-sized examples of his work, bronze busts of other famous Americans. Was THIS the man who took reference photos of Phil Iverson back in 1962-63? (Screenshot taken from a video produced by DoubleACS TV, Attleboro Access Cable System, Inc.) Click to enlarge.

“The next day, while I was sitting on my bunk relaxing in the barracks, another sergeant (that I’d also never seen before) came in and said, ‘Here’s a copy of one of those pictures they took of you yesterday.’ I took it, said, ‘Thanks,’ and he left. The next time I went home on leave, I gave the photo to my parents.

Well, I didn’t see that photo again until 2002. My mother had just passed away and we were going through her belongings. When I saw the photo again, I thought to myself, ‘Boy, that sure looks like GIjOE!’ A lot of other people I’ve shown it to also agree that it was probably used for GIjOE, but I don’t have a copy of the release I signed or any other definitive proof.

I am reminded of another occasion, long ago, just a little after 1964. I had gone to a birthday party for some kid, and at the party he received a new GIjOE. Everybody was standing around looking at it, because it was a new thing at that time, you know…and they were all saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute, Phil. That’s YOU!‘ 

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A Real GIjOE On Duty— The only other photo Phil Iverson owns from his time in the Army is this rather dramatically lit nighttime image taken while on guard duty at the entry gates of the base. It confirms Iverson’s PFC rank and position as a Military Police (MP) officer and 101st Airborne Division paratrooper (see 101st AD helmet emblem and basic jump wings pinned above left pocket). The mystery is, Phil has no recollection of when this photo was taken by the Army (understandable, since he was on duty at the time), nor of how it came to be in his possession. Cue the Twilight Zone music! (Photo: Phil Iverson)

By this time in Phil’s story, our curiosity was well piqued. We began to dig deeper for more facts:

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Author-GIjOE historian, John Michlig. (Photo: John Michlig)

TJR: Most fans believe the definitive history of GIjOE was detailed in a book authored by John Michlig entitled, GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action. After checking through its pages, we were unable to locate any mention of you, or of any reference photographs being taken (of anyone) for use in creating the original 1964 GIjOE headsculpt.

“No. Well, that’s probably because he (Michlig) wrote that book before he knew anything about me, my story, or the pictures. But with GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary approaching, I looked Michlig up on the computer and found his website and phone number. I thought, ‘What the heck?’ and I called him. I told him that I thought my picture was used for the ’64 headsculpt of GIjOE and he seemed kinda bored, sorta like he didn’t believe me. 

I told him I also had a facial scar—on my right cheek. That fact seemed to pique his interest. Then I asked him to take a look at my photos on Facebook. He did, and while he was looking, I could hear him in the background going, ‘Whoa!’ Finally, he said, ‘Send me ALL the stuff you’ve got! I did, and he called me back later to say, ‘Oh yeah. That picture of you was definitely used somehow for GIjOE.'”

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Derryl DePriest. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

TJR: Interesting! Has anyone else in the GIJOE pantheon agreed with your supposition?

“Well, I called the GIjOE Club a few years ago. They agreed totally that the picture had to have been used in some way for GIjOE. But they also advised, ‘Let’s keep this confidential.’ Then I called and spoke with Hasbro’s Derryl DePriest. He was also very nice, but mostly noncommittal, and only said, ‘We don’t have any information that goes back that far.’ That’s about all I have right now.”

TJR: Okay, so while many people agree there’s a strong resemblance and a high likelihood that the photos taken of you were used by Hasbro or Phil Kraczkowski, there’s still no definitive written or oral proof (other than yours) to attest to that fact. No contracts. No testimonials. Nada. Did you ever consult a lawyer about this matter?

“Yes. A lawyer I consulted asked me if there was any kind of heading on the release form I signed and I told him no; not that I knew of, or remembered seeing. I read about Stan Weston in the California Daily News. He’s in his 80s now, and I understand he’s still trying to recoup some copyright possession of GIjOE (see The Joe Report’s coverage of that story HERE). But I have no goals or ambition to gain financial benefits from Hasbro. They’ve made about a billion dollars on GIjOE, but I’ll never see any of it. I’d just like to get this historical information out there. I’m sure most fans and collectors have never heard about these early model photos before.”

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Comfortable Working at Any Scale— GIjOE’s sculptor, Phil Kraczkowski, working in his studio. (Screenshot taken from a video produced by DoubleACS TV, Attleboro Access Cable System, Inc.)

TJR: Did you ever try to reach the actual sculptor of that first GIjOE head, Phil Kraczkowski?

“Yes, I did. But he had already died and his girlfriend has sold off everything he had. His records are all gone now. I know this, because I also talked to his nephew.”

TJR: That’s a shame. Tell me, do you remember how you got your own facial scar?

“Oh yeah. I was in 8th grade. They were making a ball field in the back of the grade school. We got a bunch of people together and they gave us all shovels. I was standing there and this kid picked up a shovel of dirt, swung it and hit me right in the cheek. I had to have about 20 stitches! After 50+ years, you’ve got to look really close to see that scar now, but I still have a Selective Service card (from 1958) that says ‘Identifying Marks: Scar on right cheek.’ HA!”

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You May Fire When You Are Ready, Gridley!— Indeed, like the famous US Navy quote, a few years later, Phil Gridley Iverson would indeed be firing weapons for his country—but not for the Navy. Iverson enlisted in the U.S. Army instead. Intriguingly, his 1958 selective service registration card already mentioned the defining physical characteristic of any true GIjOE, his “scar on right cheek.” Coincidental? Yes. Fascinating? OH, YES! (Photo: Phil Iverson) Click to enlarge.

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That Famous Scar— You can’t miss it on this page in a 2014 issue of Boy’s Life magazine. (Photo: Carin Reddig)

TJR: Very interesting. And actually, that little card is yet another tiny bit of evidence supporting your story. Of course, we all remember Don Levine’s account regarding the addition of a scar and reverse thumbnail to the original GIjOE. It was done so that Hasbro’s new action figure would have unusual physical characteristics that would help strengthen its copyright protection.

“Yes, that’s right. And the scar is visible in the photo (of me) that I believe Hasbro and/or Kraczkowski used. If you look at that photo and then at a ’64 GIjOE—they’re identical. Funny thing, I have another photo of me, taken by the Army, where it’s obvious that they chose to airbrush-out the scar. But to me and to everyone else I’ve ever shown this material to, the conclusion remains obvious. They all say the same thing. That original GIJOE ’64 headsculpt—is ME!”

TJR: Your theory seems to be, at the LEAST, quite plausible. And it does appear that you were unwittingly immortalized in plastic. Whether or not any of it was Kraczkowski or Hasbro’s intent remains to be determined. What have you been doing since those bygone days?

“Well, I was in the Army for 3 years. I’m as patriotic as anybody who’ll ever walk the face of the Earth, but I didn’t want to go to Vietnam. So… after I got out of the service, I first went to work in a steel mill, then two years in a police department, then on to Commonwealth Edison electric utility for 30 years, and finally to a grocery store where I worked as a maintainance man for 14 years. I retired at 70 and am now 76. Oh! And I just had a heart-attack.”

TJR: Oh, No!

“Yeah, I’m afraid so. And I’ve lost 30 lbs since then. I got some stents and then I had to go to rehab at the local hospital. When I was there, they interviewed me and asked if anything interesting had happened to me in my life. I told them about GIjOE. The next day, everybody at the hospital knew about it. The nurses said their kids and some adults with GIjOEs wanted to bring them in for me to sign!”

Phil Iverson, Manteno, IL

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GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action (Photo: Chronicle Books)

Does Iverson’s theory about Hasbro sending someone to Fort Campbell, KY to take reference photographs for a new GIjOE action figure ring true to you? Well, there’s a lot of established precedent to back up his account. Many of Hasbro’s subcontracted artists, such as the famous Sam Petrucci and Larry Selman, were well-known for taking numerous resource photographs in preparation for their GIjOE-related art projects. It’s easy to conceive then, that Iverson’s mysterious “dark haired, 30-something” photographer was indeed Phil Kraczkowski. Sadly, the sculptor passed away in 1996 and didn’t mention taking (or using) reference photographs in John Michlig’s book:

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“People ask where my ideas come from. I say ‘from living so long.’ I’ve observed an awful lot of people, and I draw from that. In the case of GI Joe, I never sketched anything and I couldn’t use myself as a model because I’m not that handsome. Like a lot of the things I’ve sculpted, GI Joe came from within…Does GI Joe look a bit like John Kennedy? I’d done the Kennedy medal in 1961 and other full busts of him preceding the GI Joe project., so maybe the resemblance got in there subconsciously. I was thinking of a composite of people I know.”

Phil Kraczkowski, as quoted from John Michlig’s book, GIjOE: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action

Bottom Line: The truth is out there…and probably rests somewhere in the middle. The idea that Kraczkowski created GIjOE’s 1964 headsculpt completely from his own imagination is certainly conceivable and believable. But taking reference photographs has been and will always remain a tried and true practice that commercial artists rely upon when facing impending project deadlines.

Whether or not Karaczkowski mentions the use of reference photos in Michlig’s book, Iverson’s interpretation of the events that occurred at Fort Campbell in 1962-63 fit perfectly within GIjOE’s early timeline. And SOME civilian clearly took reference photographs of Iverson and other soldiers on that day 50+ years ago. We have the physical proof staring back at us from Phil’s photo.

Nevertheless, pending any further clarification, conclusions drawn by anyone regarding the photographer’s actual intended purpose or use of his images remains (for now) mere speculation. Hopefully, someone out there will see this article and write in with further insight or intel. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Phil Iverson for his generous contributions to this article.

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

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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!”

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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.”  

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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).”

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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)

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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)

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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! 

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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.

 

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It’s So Ugly, It’s GREAT!———John Barton Creates New Dead-Eyed “Zombie” Action Man Sculpture

John Barton's outstanding "Zombie Edition" Action Man sculpture, was (sadly) produced only as a VERY limited-edition—of 1. (Photo: John Barton)

Creepy In-Action Man— John Barton’s outstanding “Zombie-Edition” Action Man sculpture, was (sadly) produced in a VERY limited-edition—(just this ONE). Boooo!!!! (Photo: John Barton)

It’s may seem a tad late for a Halloween-related story, but we felt we HAD to share this particularly “gruesome” art news with you here today, nonetheless. It concerns everyone’s favorite Action Man sculptor, John Barton, of the UK, who had sent in some photos of his latest work back in October (yes, we’ve been busy), hoping that we would share them with the rest of the 1:6 scale collecting world (our belated pleasure, Mr. B!). We were both shocked and delighted by his latest bizarre take on UK’s favorite hero; this time, as a truly one-of-a-kind, “Zombie-Edition” Action Man. After all the laughter and exclamations of praise had subsided in the newsroom, we gathered around the conference table and read Barton’s descriptive letter aloud, revealing the following:

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Artist John Barton (UK) poses with two of his previous creations. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

 

“Further to the Man Of Action sculptures I’d produced earlier in 2015 (for which you very kindly provided coverage), I have produced something even more unique. In the spirit of the ‘witching season,’ I wondered, what would an eagle-eyed, zombie-edition Action Man have looked like? In my eBay listing, I described this piece as mixed-media kitsch, retro-POP; a unique wall-sculpture inspired by the iconic Action Man action figure. Measuring 185mm wide (7¼”)
, 260mm high (10¼”), 
170mm deep (6¾”) it’s almost life-size! 

This piece is a one-off and no others will be made. Hand-cast from resin, with exposed inset skull top, jaw, teeth and cheek bone (where a scar would normally be) with repositionable eyes. The eyes can be adjusted so that they look in any direction. Upturned zombie stare, fixed dead ahead, or cross-eyed – it’s up to you.

The sculpture is hand-painted and includes an internal hanging loop, so it’s ready for display. This is a unique take on what the iconic Action Man Eagle-Eyes head could have looked like if a Zombie-Edition had been produced in the 1970s/80s.” —John Barton, UK

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Take a BITE Outta THIS— The ghoulish green skin color, the missing chunks of flesh, the exposed jaw and teeth, and the discoloration of the hair are all DEAD-ON. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

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Anatomically Correct Action Man— This closeup reveals more details including the detailed teeth, jaw bone and realistic cracking along the skull. Superb! (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: A ghoulishly GREAT masterpiece. Thanks for sharing your latest art project with us, John. It’s good to know that even after he dies, our beloved Action Man will continue to “live on” as one of the Walking Dead! Hey, we know where he can get some free brains… They don’t seem to needing—or using—them over at Hasbro or Palitoy these days. Bwa-ha-HA!!!

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Making Your Own (REAL) 1:6 Scale Doughnuts

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Homer knows doughnuts. (Art: Fox Television)

Bottom Line: Longtime GIjOE fan and collector, Frank Hollingshead, wrote in today with a link to the above video clip (in Korean!) showing how it is possible to make REAL fried doughnuts—in 1:6 scale! Other than the miniature loaves of bread that Patches of Pride has been selling for years (see HERE), we were unaware that any other REAL food could exist so sublimely in 1:6 scale. Thanks Frank! Mmm….Doughnuts.

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“Here’s a great step-by-step video demonstration on how to feed our hungry GIjOE ‘doughboys’ at the front. At least, it looks about 1/6 scale. Keep up the great work with The Joe Report and Patches of Pride!”
—Fighting man from head to toe, Frank Hollingshead

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Everything Must Go (Again!)———G.I. Joe’s “#1 Fan,” James DeSimone Will Definitely “Sell it All” at One Final Estate Sale to be Held at His CA Home

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The more you look, the more you’ll want to buy— There are literally piles upon PILES of vintage toys, action figures, vintage cereal boxes and much more, crowding the Burbank, CA home of renowned pop-culture collector, James DeSimone. Dedicated fans will have a rare opportunity to paw their way through this “Mecca of Merchandise” during his May 1st estate sale. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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A Lifetime of Collecting— DeSimone’s passion for toys began when he was a child (above). Now, it’s time to let it all go. (Photo: James DeSimone)

If at first you don’t succeed in getting rid of your life-long GIjOE and vintage toy collection via local toy shows, online sales or auctions, then try, try again; this time with an estate sale held—at your own home! Yes, once again, the man whom Hasbro deemed “GIjOE’s #1 Fan,” James DeSimone, is preparing to put (what remains) of his massive vintage toy collection up for sale—at an estate sale—on May 1st, 2016.

Buyers and collectors will have to travel to James’ home in Burbank, CA, but this time they’ll be rewarded for their efforts by being allowed to dig through decades of collectible treasures, piled high up to the sky (or at least to James’ garage ceiling), and inspect each and every item up close and personal before deciding on a purchase. But remember, estate sales are “first come, first served,” so you better get there early (with cash in hand) if you want the best chance at snagging those long, lost toys of your childhood. According to the sale’s information page HERE, this is what to expect:

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“GIJOE and Vintage Toy Estate Sale!! Featuring the sale of the collection of James DeSimone, consisting of GIJOE plus thousands of other TOYS from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, including: 1000s of 1960s GIJOE accessories. 1000s of 1980s GIJOE accessories. 1000s of 1960s Ken/Barbie accessories. 1/6 scale vehicles, 1000s of VINTAGE toys by Gilbert, Marx, Tonka, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Topper, Kenner, Ideal, Hasbro, Mattel, Mego, Aurora, Batman, James Bond, Captain Action, Space toys, GIRLS toys, tools, Playsets, all kinds of TV/movie character toys and figures, toy cap guns, models, food and advertising toys, games and the list of different stuff goes on and on! NOTE THE DIFFERENT LOCATION FOR THIS EVENT: 1524 Broadway Burbank, CA 91504 Hours are 8AM to 5PM. Come take pictures with a replica 1966 Batmobile! This is a special one time event held at this location, don’t miss it!! The show will return to the Ramada Inn for the December show.” If you have any questions, please email: jamesdesimone@hotmail.com

exclusivebannerWhat we’re observing is that a collection as large and diverse as DeSimone’s is proving to be quite the challenge for him (or anyone) to disperse. In the beginning, James utilized his CA GIjOE shows, then held an auction (see HERE) and now, will try selling the remainder of his 1950s, ’60s and ’70s vintage toys at his upcoming estate sale. Regarding this unique event and its impact on his life, James graciously provided the following insights—exclusively to readers of The Joe Report:

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“GIJOE’s #1 Fan,” James DeSimone (Photo: James DeSimone)

“Hi Mark (et.al), Forgive me. I just don’t have the ability to do much anymore, including long responses. But I owe you at least that for all your support. It may take a few hours to write this all to you. The doctors are telling me to handle my affairs, and my body agrees. I want to live long enough to see my daughter (shown below) graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 7 weeks.

Yes, everything is going. Fortunately, I dont need the money. I need peace of mind, knowing that my family doesn’t have to deal with all this. It’s interesting you should mention Hasbro’s #1 fan. I was just wondering about that. It has the prototype 12″ Duke body and a custom head Hasbro made and gave me, a hand-cast prototype 3 3/4″ Duke, a #1 production 3 3/4″ Soldier; both of which Hasbro gave me. In addition, a Hasbro employee watch, ring and a gold dogtag, all of which Hasbro gave me. I think I would like to sell it all as a set (as it was presented to me) to one person who will appreciate it and won’t use it for target practice! (lol)”

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Proud Papa— DeSimone in a recent photo with his son, daughter and wife. (Photo: James DeSimone)

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“As for how I feel… I once wrote a story about Artie Rickun, a friend and toy dealer from Milwaukee, at one time had 10,000+ packaged GIjOE items! He told me that once I had kids, nothing else would matter to me. Having died once already, I consider myself fortunate to have had a little time to plan. So no, it is of no great loss to see it all go. Very little matters to me anymore. Hopefully, I will get some joy out of seeing someone buy something from me, like that all too familiar feeling of finding a GIjOE at a garage sale!”

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James with “The King”— DeSimone (left) poses for a quick pic with fellow toy dealer, Artie Rickun, at a toy show in the early 1980s. Rickun had just purchased a warehouse full of over 15,000 vintage boxed and packaged GI Joes and accessories. Holy inventory, Batman! (Photo: James DeSimone)

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“All of my toys used to be upstairs on the second level. For the past couple of months, volunteers have been helping me bring it all downstairs so that it will be accessible to foot traffic. Right now, its all a mess. I thought I would have a couple months to sort it all out, but my energy level is non-existent now and I haven’t been able to do very much. Thankfully, I’ll have volunteers helping the week before the sale to set it all up in my home.”

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Horses, Horses, Horses— Johnny West and MARX fans take note… There will be a LOT of vintage “Best of the West” for sale at DeSimone’s estate sale. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Oh, Ken. You’re such a DOLL— There will also be boxes full of vintage Ken dolls, carrying cases and related ephemera. Study these photos carefully! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Beam me up! What set did this interesting Star Trek bridge come from? It appears to come with railings and perhaps chairs, as well. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Dusty but DELICIOUS— That vintage “Bop-a-Bear” target set is certainly dusty, but we bet if you took a vacuum cleaner with a brush hose attachment, it would clean up like new in seconds. We also see GIjOE, Major Matt Mason and more in this pic! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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You want more? James has MORE! Vintage toy-aholics will be drooling at this estate sale. How much of this wonderful stuff do YOU remember? (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Lookie there! There’s a Sky Rail set! Boy, those are getting hard to find. Enlarge this pic and start hunting for YOUR childhood favorites! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Take your covered wagon to the Beauty Parlor— Whoa… check out those cool, retro Barbie beauty parlor hair dryers and chairs. Or, are they space helmets? Or…? You’ll only find out if you’re there in person! Too cool for school, dude! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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All will be revealed, May 1st! Remember that vaunted (haunted?) secret shelf James built in his garage to house his overflowing toy collection? What did he store up there? At one time it held parts of his massive GIjOE diorama. Now, it looks like there’s some vintage missile launcher sets from REMCO. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of this sale! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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On and on it goes— Click each pic to enlarge and DROOL. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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How keen is YOUR toy eye?— We spy a 60s “Tiger Joe” tank, an in-the-box Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots game, some vintage Transogram games and much more. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Put ’em up, Pahdnuh!— A tub full of vintage cap pistols and their VERY rare holsters is sure to get cowboy/cowgirl hearts a-beatin.’ Yeeee-HAAAAA!!!!!! (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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Toy Heaven is (apparently) a dusty garage— Vintage Barbies, ’60s space toys and much more will be sold at James DeSimone’s house on May 1st, 2016. (Photo: James DeSimone) Click to enlarge.

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“GIjOE has provided me with a great life; a life that most people could only dream of. But, GIjOEs are only toy possessions, none of which matters anymore, simply because I cant take them with me. I have raised 2 of the greatest kids a man could ever hope for. I share a love with a woman which is the stuff epic novels are written of. And I have made my peace with God. —James DeSimone

Bottom Line: This certainly sounds (and looks) like “no-miss” event, especially if you’re within driving distance of southern California. Our sincerest thanks (again) to James DeSimone and his wonderful family for all of their contributions to the vintage toy and GIjOE collecting hobbies. Take care and We wish you all the BEST!

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Psst! Have You Seen the G.I. Joe Collector’s Club “Stealthy” Deep Sea Diver Uniform Set, Matey?

Man-o-MAN! JoeCon 2016's "stealth" DSD suit is definitely a keeper. We won't be throwing this swimmer back! Excellent! (Photo: GIJCC)

Man-oh-man-oh-Deep Sea Diver MAN! JoeCon 2016’s “stealthy” DSD suit is clearly a keeper. We won’t be throwing THIS fish back in the sea. Excellent work and truly BAD A–! (Photo: GIJCC)

According to the GIjOE Collector Club’s official press release re: this photo…

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“This is the reproduction 12-inch 1969 Aquanaut stripped of his long box gear and redressed in ONE of the uniform sets included in the larger outer box that holds the entire 12-inch convention set. “DIVE INTO DARKNESS” is a new spin on the classic DSD look of the vintage 12-inch G.I. JOE. There are things in the hidden darkness of the ocean floor. For his own safety, Joe must ‘blend in’ to avoid the attention of creatures both unseen and unknown.

This second uniform set comes with:

– Black Dive Suit
– Black Gloves
– Silver-tone Diving Helmet
– Oxygen Pump and Hose
– Compass
– Brass-tone Weighted Belt & Harness
– Brass-tone Weighted Brown Boots
– Treasure Chest
– Treasure Coins
– Dive Knife and Sheath” —GIjOE Collector’s Club

Bottom Line: A picture’s worth a thousand words. (Phew! That saves us a lot of typing!)

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Unbelievable———Archive of Rare 1960s G.I. Joe TV Commercials Discovered By Vintage3DJoes.com

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50 Year-Old Treasure Trove of Vintage GIjOE Advertising— A cache of B&W and color film reels of 1960s-vintage GIjOE TV commercials—still in their original boxes—was recently rediscovered by the daughter of the films’ director. According to Matt McKeeby, efforts are now moving forward to raise the funds required to restore and digitize the films with plans to ultimately host and share the videos with the public on McKeeby’s famed GIjOE reference website, Vintage3DJoes.com. (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

Director of GIjOE’s First TV Commercials to Be Commemorated w/Restoration of His Films

Catching Up With This Story— Before we reveal the latest, EXCLUSIVE intel, let’s review the background regarding this exciting and evolving story. Regular readers of The Joe Report will undoubtedly recall our previous articles detailing the superb work and service continually being provided to the 1:6 scale GIjOE collecting community by Matt McKeeby (NY) and how, for the last 3 years, McKeeby has been hard at work researching, compiling and documenting Hasbro’s vintage ’60s-’70s lines, one carefully photographed figure at a time, then posting his amazing 360º (rotating) images over at Vintage3DJoes.com for free and public enjoyment (24/7).

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Prepare to FIRE— Have you ever wondered if your Green Beret Machinegun emplacement set was complete? Now you can view the entire set and all its parts in 360º rotating images at Vintage3DJoes.com. Ba-RROOMM! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

McKeeby’s professionally produced website quickly become one of the 1:6 hobby’s highest-ranked, must-see, go-to, photo reference points on the web; garnering both the site, and McKeeby, well-deserved reputations for providing GIjOE fans with undisputed “expert advice” regarding the compilation of an accurate and complete 12″ collection.

But Wait! There Was More

We also reported on McKeeby’s subsequent discovery, digitization, and professional restoration of a handful of previously unknown vintage GIjOE TV commercials from the 1960s (see that story HERE). McKeeby’s stunning finding jolted an increasingly blasé GIjOE collecting community, surprising many of its so-called “experts,” and those who had simply grown complacent in the belief that they’d already “seen it all,” regarding Hasbro’s vintage Joe commercials. Oh, how wrong they (and we) were all proved to be!

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In today’s exclusive story— McKeeby blows away all previous fan expectations by revealing the true fate of all those “lost,” vintage, GIjOE TV commercials. Most of us had long ago given up any hope that they existed at all, believing such advertising gems were routinely tossed out, or had simply been destroyed by some indifferent advertising agency. But thanks (again) to Matt McKeeby, an exciting new discovery of a “cache” of such films is about to shock and AWE the entire GIjOE collecting community. We’ll let Matt take the story over from here, in his own words, in an exclusive, first-person account you’ll only find HERE on The Joe Report. Enjoy!

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GIjOE fan, collector, historian and “curator” of Vintage3djoes, Matt McKeeby. (Photo: Matt McKeeby, Vintage3DJoes)

 

Archive of rare 1960s GI Joe Commercials Found! —By Matt McKeeby

“The origin of this cache of commercials is a remarkable one.  The daughter of the films’ director contacted me on Facebook over a year and a half ago.  She had gone on line to look up GI Joe, wanting to see if her father was mentioned anywhere.  There is lots of history about folks like Don Levine, Sam Petrucci, and others at Hasbro, but the name Herb Dietz wasn’t mentioned. She wanted to know if anyone had heard of him, as he was the man responsible for creating the first commercials that the publicized the brand, the films that made ‘G.I. Joe, G.I. Joe, fighting man from head to toe…’ a jingle sung by tens of thousands of boys in the mid-sixties.”

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From the Desk of Herb Dietz— In this “Partial Credit and Client List” provided by Dietz’ daughter, we can see that Hasbro was indeed a client of renowned ’60s GIjOE TV commercial director, Herb Dietz. This is one more exciting piece of GIjOE’s historic provenance—confirmed! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

“Unfortunately, the message languished in my ‘other’ folder and wasn’t checked for over a year.  When I first saw it last August, I was excited to find out what she had to say.  We got in touch over the phone, and she shared that as a child her father, a World War II veteran, had gone into the film industry in New York, eventually founding the firm Lane Cole Dietz with buddies he had met during the war. (An interesting aside, he eventually married his sweetheart who had become so annoyed to be left behind when he enlisted, that she signed up herself, becoming a military police woman if the Women’s Army Corps, making her a real ‘G.I. Jane.’)”

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On the Set— Director, Herb Dietz (above left, w/glasses), is shown preparing a bag (of money?) for a shot in some unidentified (non-GIjOE) 1960s TV commercial. (Photo: Dietz Family)

Herb’s military experience, as well as his skills as a commercial filmmaker for accounts such as the American Red Cross, Mack Trucks, Pepsi, and many other major companies, made him a natural to work producing and directing these spots.  The early work sold the realistic detail of G.I. Joe heavily, segueing from stock footage of WW II and Korea era stock footage into dioramas of boys playing with our beloved toy.  His daughter was on the set for several of the shoots and remembers getting to take home G.I. Joe figures and accessories, all of which are now gone.  That is particularly sad, as many early issue and rare prototypes were on the set.”

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Military Man Turned Media Man— GIjOE’s first TV commercial director was previously in the Army, as shown in the small photo above (Dietz is wearing the helmet w/goggles) and in a post-war newspaper clipping. His military background served him well during his later years with GIjOE. (Photo: Dietz Family)

“She had contacted Hasbro to see if they were interested in obtaining the films, but received no reply.  After a couple of months discussing them, her interest in making her father’s legacy known became a driving force in our discussions.  Our initial plan was to create a DVD of the commercials, along with a short film detailing her dad’s work.  Hasbro, while willing to allow the commercials to be digitized, was not happy with the idea of ‘unofficial’ product being released.  That moved us to an effort to get them out free of charge to fans everywhere, along with the mini documentary about Herb Dietz via the Vintage3DJoes.com website.”

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There’s a LOT for Matt and Ace to Work With— Building a documentary of Deitz’s work on the early GIjOE commercials will include reels and reels of vintage spots, photos, news clippings, family memories and much more. What an outstanding idea for GIjOE-related project! (Photo: Matt McKeeby)

“Commercial filmmaker and G.I. Joe fan, Ace Allgood, will be working to arrange for a top-notch company to digitize the shorts, while I work on the Herb Dietz story with his daughter.  The hope is that we will be able to begin releasing the work in the early summer.  Unfortunately, digitization will not be free, so I may need to do some fundraising to defray the cost, and hope Joe fans will step up to contribute to the cause in order to make the films free to all.

What’s there?  Along with photos and clippings about Dietz’s work, the core of the archive is twenty-six 16mm film positives of commercials from 1964 through 67, the heyday of the military era.  A number of them are out there already, but generally in low quality multi-generation dubs.  Having just reviewed the first few frames of each, I can confirm that there are many not yet in circulation, including commercials for the Soldiers of the World, the cadet sets, and many more.  

One is intriguingly titled “Adventure Packs” and may be from the first release of the Talking Adventure Packs.  The condition looks good, but it will be hard to tell about sound and color quality until they have been professionally evaluated.  If you need a ‘fix’ in the meantime, visit the commercials page on Vintage3DJoes.com to get a feel for what’s ahead, and stay tuned to the site, Facebook, and the Joe Report for updates on the process and potential fundraising efforts. 

Digitization and sound/color work will run around $1600. I will get the work done regardless, but if any fans want to support the project, they can help by making a donation on the Vintage3DJoes website at the page found HERE. Any one who donates will be given credit for their assistance on the website when the commercials are released.” —Matt McKeebyVintage3DJoes.com

Bottom Line: Time and time again, Matthew McKeeby’s masterful research, methodology and assurance of excellence, has proven him to be one of 12″ GIjOE fandom’s foremost “curators” and historians. His unusual discoveries constantly surprise, intrigue and impress collectors all around the world. Our sincerest thanks to Matthew for all of his generous contributions to this article. If you’d like to make a donation to help ensure his important work can continue, please go HERE.