Category Archives: Movies & TV Shows

Clint Walker, Television & Film Star, Dead at 90

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“The Big Man”— Actor Clint Walker as he appeared in The Dirty Dozen (1967) (Photo: MGM)

At Ease, Private Posey— For fans of GIjOEs, vintage ’50s-’60s TV cowboys, and the WWII action movie genre, the recent announcement of the death of Hollywood’s “Big Man,” actor Clint Walker, was truly sad news. According to his obituary in yesterday’s New York Times (edited for length):malecomment

“Clint Walker died on Monday in Grass Valley, CA. He was 90. His death, at a hospital, was confirmed by his daughter, Valerie Walker, who said the cause was congestive heart failure. Mr. Walker appeared in the ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and other movies, but he was best known for ‘Cheyenne,’ seen on ABC from 1955 to 1963.

‘Cheyenne’ was among the first television series produced by Warner Bros., and it had the lavish look of a big-screen movie. As shooting of the show’s first season began, Mr. Walker confessed to the crew that he did not have a great deal of experience on horseback. He later recalled the response: ‘You’ll either be a good rider, or a dead one.’ ‘There were a few times I wondered which one it was going to be,’ he said.

Many episodes of ‘Cheyenne’ called for Walker to be shirtless, revealing a bodybuilder’s 48-inch chest and a 32-inch waist in onscreen moments that, while maybe not essential to the plot, helped make the handsome, blue-eyed Mr. Walker a star. At 6 feet 6 inches, he was tall not only in the saddle; one reporter joked that ‘he has snow on his shoulders six months of the year.’ 

His size forced him to restrict his movements to stay within camera range, which could be a challenge during onscreen fistfights. But he pressed for more of those. ‘I feel action is what I owe the public,’ he once told an interviewer. ‘When I see a hero yak-yak-yakkin’ I lose all interest.’

He was appearing on ‘Cheyenne’ when he began making films, including ‘Fort Dobbs’ (1958), with Virginia Mayo. Howard Thompson, reviewing that movie for The New York Times, called him ‘about the biggest, finest-looking western hero ever to sag a horse, with a pair of shoulders rivaling King Kong’s.’

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In ‘The Dirty Dozen,’ released in 1967, he played the meek Samson Posey alongside a crew of hardened military convicts — played by Jim Brown, Charles Bronson, Donald Sutherland and others — who were recruited for an assassination mission behind German lines during World War II. His last film was Joe Dante’s ‘Small Soldiers’ (1998), about high-tech toy soldiers that go on a rampage, in which he had a voice role along with some of his ‘Dirty Dozen’ co-stars. 

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Don’t Push Me!— Walker’s tense face-off with tough-guy Lee Marvin in this scene from The Dirty Dozen was one of the most memorable moments in the film. As Marvin continued to push and taunt the gentle giant, Clint’s mounting rage was palpable. He had a knife. Marvin was unarmed. What would happen next? Audiences were transfixed. This was EXCITING STUFF! (Photo: MGM)

Mr. Walker came close to dying in a freak accident on a ski trip in 1973 when he stumbled and a ski pole pierced his heart. He survived and recovered quickly. He worked as a port security guard and a nightclub bouncer, and then as a deputy sheriff providing security at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. It was there that the actor Van Johnson suggested that he explore acting. Mr. Walker would later recall thinking: ‘I’m not going to get that far carrying a gun and a badge. It doesn’t pay that well. If you make movies, you make some pretty good money — plus, the bullets aren’t real!'”

Bottom Line: Rest in Peace, Mr. Walker. Happy Trails, Cheyenne. We will miss you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Dr. Strange” Movie 1st Official Trailer Released

Bottom Line: Ol’ Doc Strange is one of our favorite Marvel characters, simply for the fact that he’s so, well—STRANGE. The story possibilities with a character like this, one that utilizes MAGIC over super-powers in Marvel’s ever-expanding movie “universe,” are practically limitless. Add to that, the undeniable acting prowess of its star, Benedict Cumberbatch, and you have what appears to be a sure-fire SMASH at the box office. The film’s first official trailer (shown above)—will blow your mind!

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Superb New (1:6 Scale Stop-Motion) “Anomalisa” Reveals the Future Potential For 1:6 Scale Films

Do you remember the regrettable tale of the world’s last major motion picture that utilized 1:6 scale “puppetry” in lieu of real, live human actors? We’re referring, of course, to 2010’s box office BOMB— Jackboots on Whitehall (JOW); a film that then, as now, was universally derided for its amateurish attempts at humor and the almost oppressive DULLNESS of its screenplay.

Well, Good News, 1:6 Scalers! Now you can take whatever money you saved by not buying a copy of Jackboots, and apply it instead, towards a ticket to see Anomalisa; a fascinating, delightful and touching 1:6 scale animated film, that is head-n-shoulders above Jackboots in every possible way.

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Decidedly Different— Unlike the abysmal 2010 1:6 scale film, Jackboots in Whitehall, in which explosions and special effects were the focus and di regueur of the film, Anomalisa, by contrast, is completely and utterly character-driven. In fact, while the film’s backgrounds and sets add superb believability and visual context to each scene, viewers will tune all that out, focusing instead, on the touching and emotional lives of its 1:6 scale humans. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

In our 2015 review and analysis of Jackboots (see article HERE), we discussed in detail how that film’s dreadful screenplay and scattershot 1:6 scale puppet quality all contributed to its calamitous—yet predictable—failure at the box office. At that time, we acknowledged how incomprehensible it seemed (to us) that ANY film using 1:6 scale action figures (or “puppets”) and costing $6 million dollars to make, could go on to gross a mere $20,776. In fact, the financial failure of Jackboots had been SO bad, the prospects for future 1:6 scale films appeared to be slim—to none.

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Careful!— Posing (and remembering) each incremental second of action in a 1:6 scale film requires intense concentration, skill and dedication. Simply exiting an elevator in Anomalisa required MANY hours to stage and film convincingly. Note too, the filmmaker’s use of a variety of realistic (non-Barbie doll style) body types. Absolutely Out-STANDING attention to detail! (Photo: Paramount Animation)

 Thankfully… MANY lessons were learned from Jackboots tragic and utter failure. And we can happily report that the creators of Anomalisa, co-directors, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson have deftly and expertly avoided ALL of JOW’s pitfalls. Their new film is superbly character-driven, inspirational AND entertaining. Of course, for us 1:6 scalers, it’s especially exciting to see someone else pick up the mantle of 1:6 scale filmmaking and prove that stop-motion films (in this scale) can indeed be made to be both entertaining and financially successful.

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Parts, Parts, Parts— This prop room photo of the film’s collection of body parts will look VERY familiar to any collector of 1:6 scale action figures. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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It’s all in the Details— With cameras photographing from only inches away, prop masters need to carefully check every little detail before a shot. (Photo: Paramount Animaton) Click to enlarge.

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Lighting is Crucial— You can have the best scale sets in the world, but scenes like this airport exterior would fall flat without all the tiny added details created by effective lighting. Note the glow from the streetlight, both near and far away, the car’s headlights and the building in the distance showing glowing windows with curtains and little blue roof lights. Even the airport terminal building shows the correct (i.e. less “warm”) coloring of drab, florescent lighting. WOW! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Posing Figures? No Problem!— With all the years of experience 1:6 scalers and Joeheads have with posing action figures, it seems that we’d be able to easily get jobs working as prop masters on some of these labor-intensive 1:6 scale animated movies. HA! (Photo: Paramount Animation)

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Build your sets up on TABLES— Utilizing a method that would benefit many 1:6 scale diorama projects, the production designers (John Joyce, pictured above) placed many of their sets on easily accessible tables. That saves a lot of wear and tear on your knees! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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It Takes a Director’s Eye— To properly “frame a shot,” director Duke Johnson has to get down in close and imagines what the scene would look like in real life in order to recreate it convincingly at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Having a Drink Together— The two main characters of Anomalisa get to know each other over a quiet drink in the film’s superb 1:6 scale recreation of a hotel bar. Imagine all the scenarios you could recreate with an outstanding diorama like this. WOW! (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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Working in a World of Miniature— The creators of Anomalisa surrounded themselves with the multitude of props and specialized equipment required to create their amazing 1:6 scale film. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

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The Men to Thank— Co-Directors Charlie Kaufman (left) and Duke Johnson (right) on the set of Anomalisa. Fans of 1:6 scale owe these two gentlemen a great deal of thanks for helping to keep the unique genre of 1:6 scale filmmaking alive. (Photo: Paramount Animation) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Fans of 1:6 scale (and GIjOEs in particular) continue to dream of a special sort of 1:6 scale animated GIjOE film, possibly Adventure Team-themed, perhaps along the lines of the classic 1960s Jonny Quest cartoons. But until such a film is made (if it ever is), we highly recommend that you check your local theater listings for showings of Anomalisa so as to (financially) reward all of Kaufman and Johnson’s hard work. Finally, here’s another video that has some good shots of Anomalisa’s various body molds, head sculpts, props and costumes, which will give you a better idea of the superb artistry required to create the 1:6 scale “puppets” in this amazing film. Enjoy!

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G.I. Joe Marine “Sighting” Discovered in Un-Aired SNAFU Bloopers From R. Lee Ermey’s “Mail Call”

If you enjoy watching military documentaries, films, and television programs, and/or anything that features America’s favorite USMC senior drill instructor, R. Lee Ermey, then you’ll DEFINITELY want to see his hilarious collection of SNAFU bloopers and deleted scenes that were never aired publicly on the History Channel TV show, Mail Call. Here are some screenshots from the video:

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YOU are a disgusting Fat Body! R. Lee Ermey’s “Mini-Lee” voices his displeasure regarding the physical condition of the Pillsbury Dough Boy in a deleted scene from Mail Call. (Photo: The History Channel)

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Mini-Lee orders a vintage GIjOE Marine to hit the deck (and give him 25) in one of many scenes from the show utilizing 1:6 scale action figures. Out-STANDING. OOHrah! (Photo: The History Channel)

Bottom Line: If you’re a GIjOE or R. Lee Ermey fan (and who isn’t?), then you’ll want to skip forward to the hilarious 5-minute compilation of Ermey’s “extra-salty” Mini-Lee outtakes, beginning at the 33:57 minute-mark. From that point, you’ll be able to enjoy watching Lee’s (decidedly adult-language) action figure take part in some exciting adventures as well as putting some disgusting “fat bodies” in their place, including the Pillsbury Doughboy and a vintage GIjOE Marine. Enjoy!

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G.I. Joe’s Shocking Appearance on “King of the Hill” as the Decidedly Anti-Hero, “Joe Sixpack”

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You crashed a TRUCK? You WILL feel my wrath! A clearly perturbed Hank Hill (portraying God) lifts up a bearded AT GIjOE (portraying “Joe Sixpack”) and prepares to smite the Joe for his thoughtless, drunken driving. This rare “anti-hero” Joe sighting was discovered in a 1998 episode of Fox’s “King of the Hill.”

kingofthehilllogoBottom Line: I’ll tell you what… 12″ GIjOE appeared in a episode of Fox’s animated comedy hit, King of the Hill. And why not? It seems like a natural fit to us. But we have to admit, we weren’t prepared for the surprising casting twist the show takes with our 12-inch action hero’s typically sterling reputation. In Meet the Manger Babies, Joe’s cast against type as a decidedly “anti-hero” villain known as “Joe Sixpack.” Turns out, Mr. Sixpack is an otherworldly escapee (from Hell, no less), who enjoys luring innocent victims into his car and then killing them in premeditated drunk driving accidents. <Ick> It’s up to the show’s real American hero, Hank Hill, to come to the rescue of all concerned in the show’s final minutes. This is a truly unexpected and unusual “Joe sighting” on a major television program. You’ll love it. Enjoy!

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FLASH! Renowned G.I. Joe Collector, Kevin Bolger, Featured in New “Through the Decades” TV Show Hosted by CBS’ Veteran Newscaster, Bill Curtis

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Chicago area GIjOE expert, Kevin Bolger, in a screenshot from CBS’ Through the Decades

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Bill Kurtis, host of CBS’ Through the Decades (Photo: CBS)

We were contacted recently by the producer of CBS’ new Through the Decades show (hosted by Bill Kurtis of CBS News fame) who informed us she was going to be in the Chicago area (that week) with a production crew. She wanted to know if we would be available for an interview, regarding (of all things) “the history of G.I. Joe.” Regrettably, we had to pass, so she inquired if there was anyone else in the Chicago area whom we knew and could recommend as a bonafide “experts” on the subject. Hmm… “experts, eh..?”

We discussed the juicy topic over lunch that afternoon in our conference room, and (of course) many amazing names immediately came to mind. Over BLTs and Diet Cokes, we considered the varieties of collections and vast amount of knowledge possessed by of all the Chicago “Joeheads” we knew of (great guys and gals, one and all), but one name kept coming back to the top of everyone’s list; renowned GIjOE fan, advocate, collector, 1:6 scale hobbyist extraordinaire, and all-around “good buddy,” Kevin Bolger.

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Kevin Bolger checks the attendance list during the 2008 GIjOE Show in Algonquin, IL. All present, sir! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

For those of you who’ve never met Kevin—

Bolger’s bulging GIjOE résume´ reads as long as your arm. Suffice it to say, he’s been a member of the Chicago Division of the GIjOE Collector’s Club and a co-organizer of that club’s annual shows held in Algonquin, Illinois for many years running. A quick search of The Joe Report will bring up numerous articles featuring and/or quoting from Kevin, such as our coverage of one past Algonquin event (see HERE) and another article quoting Bolger’s pragmatic description of the struggling Chicago division (see HERE).

We contacted Bolger at his home and asked if he had any additional behind-the-scenes tidbits or exclusive intel he could provide regarding his recent appearance on TV. He kindly replied:

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“The G.I. Joe segment on the ‘Through The Decades’ TV show was on TV this week (February 2nd). It runs about 7 minutes. I was very pleased with the production and it was the first segment on the hour-long show. Kurtis narrated it, which, being a long-time fan of his from his anchor days on Chicago’s WBBM, made this experience especially enjoyable for me.”

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Unfolded GIjOE History— This is one side of the “handbill” that was originally created for use by Hasbro toy reps and distributed during the 1964 Toy Fair in NYC. (Photo: Kevin Bolger)

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A few years back, I bought a number of pieces directly from…drumroll…Sam SpeersIf you watch the video carefully, you’ll see a shot of Hasbro’s ultra-rare 1964 Toy Fair handbill or ‘salesman’s catalogue,’ which I own. I’ve attached a couple of still shots (see above and below), and the closeup of side 2 reveals one of those elusive green camo shoulder radios and an early, prototype version of the MP outfit.”

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Prototype Peek-a-Boo— This closeup from the inside of the handbill reveals an especially early shot of GIjOE’s line of Army equipment and an “elusive green camo shoulder radio.” (Photo: Kevin Bolger)

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“Through The Decades is usually on one of the CBS local off-the-air sub channels (i.e. Channel 2.2 in Chicago). They feature stories like ‘on this day in 1971, this happened, so & so was born,’ etc. In my interview, I give a brief history of Hasbro and the development of GI Joe. I also set up a bunch of vintage figures with 40th anniversary window boxes for the film crew.

The show’s website is www.decades.com, but it doesn’t look like they stream any of their programs, only the promos. I watched an episode (on TV) last week. They’re on M-F, a 1 hour show, that’s repeated a couple of times during the day). It looks like they’ll be using a lot of old CBS network news reports, 60 Minutes segments and other nostalgic stuff mixed in with original segments and features.”

Bottom Line: Through the Decades looks like a wonderful program and should appeal to all nostalgia and history buffs. Kevin’s segment on the history of GIjOE is absolutely wonderful and we were thrilled to learn that the show’s producer had taken our recommendation and ended up utilizing his expertise for the show. Our sincerest thanks to Kevin for his generous contributions to this article. Enjoy his full appearance on Through the Decades by clicking the video link below:

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By Asgard! 1:6 Scale Mjölnir (Thor’s Hammer) Now Available at Hobby Lobby Craft Stores

This packs a WHOLLOP— Here's what the Thor hammer keyring looks like in the store. It's bagged in cello which makes it a tad difficult to see, but the backing card has some holographic rainbow coloring to help you find it among all the other tiny

This packs a WHOLLOP— Here’s what the Thor hammer keyring looks like in the store. It’s bagged in cello which makes it a tad difficult to see, but the backing card has some holographic rainbow effects to attract your eye and help you find it among all the other items up by the register. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Like it Says— Jack “King” Kirby drew this panel in an old Thor comic book, revealing the legendary inscription imposed by Odin. (Art: Marvel Comics)

Are YOU worthy? According to Asgardian legend, only “he who is worthy” should be able to lift Thor’s hammer. Thankfully, that restriction doesn’t apply to an absolutely superb mini-replica now available in your friendly neighborhood Hobby Lobby (and we assume, other) stores located across the U.S. While picking up some crafting supplies last night, our art staff stumbled upon this stunning miniature version of Thor’s beloved “Mjölnir,’ and was delighted to discover that it was both a keyring—and—in perfect 1:6 scale.

Whichever Thor figure you own and have at home, you’ll likely want to replace his hammer with this one. It’s fantastic! The detail is simply breathtaking.

Quite a handful— Despite it's diminutive size, the all-metal hammer is quite hefty (and handsome). (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Quite the handful— Despite its diminutive size, Thor’s hammer is quite hefty. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

First of all, it’s made of actual metal. It also features tiny Norse rune writing around the top and includes a real leather strap at the end of the handle. Without a doubt, this mystical miniature mallet will make a wonderful upgrade to any Thor figure and would serve equally well as a background detailing item for your 1:6 scale superhero dioramas. Despite the hammer’s metallic construction, our gung-ho gripped GIjOE had no trouble holding it aloft. Costwise, you’re only looking at $7.99, so we must say,”Prithee, thou canst beat that lowly sum!” And yes, “Thou couldst carry thine keys on it, as well!”

Forsooth—Here are some more photos:

More good news— The hammer isn't just an ordinary looking tool. It was carefully styled and copied from the one in the Marvel films (as this sticker confirms). (Photo: Mark Otnes)

More good news— This 1:6 scale hammer isn’t just an ordinary tool. It was carefully styled and copied from the ones used in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (as this sticker confirms). (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Step One— Remove the unneeded keyring and other hardware. Be sure to use TWO needlenose pliers to open the ring and not hurt the hammer. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Careful Now— After you’ve unpacked the hammer, remove the unneeded keyring and clip hardware. Be sure to use TWO needlenose pliers to open the ring and not hurt the hammer! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Here's what you'll receive— After you've removed the rings and clip, your hammer will be ready for use. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Here’s what you’ll receive— Absolutely superb craftsmanship! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

It's Detailed at the Top— We can't read this without a microscope, but it's surely the motto written in runes, right? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

It’s Detailed at the Top— We can’t read this tiny inscription without a microscope, but it’s surely the “worthy” motto written in Norse runes, aye? Simply wonderful details. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Any strong Joe (with tight joints) should have no trouble hoisting Thor's mighty hammer high. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

King Arthur, Who?— Any strong GIjOE (with tight shoulder joints) should have no trouble hoisting Thor’s mighty hammer high. Our test subject had no problem. Lightning bolts, anyone? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: This cool miniature will make a great addition to your 1:6 scale collection and costs only $7.99 at Hobby Lobby. If there’s any problem, it’s that our store had only 3 in stock. That seems to indicate they may not last long. So… Get off your lay-z-boy and go shopping, Earthling!

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New “Thunderbirds Are Go!” Trailers Released

Bottom Line: This new Thunderbirds Are Go! show is looking MUCH better than we had ever anticipated. The sets, the ships, the characters, EVERYTHING seems to be getting first-class treatment from the animators. According to the show’s official website:

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“Thunderbirds Are Go coming to CITV Spring 2015. Thunderbirds Are Go is also coming to TV2 in New Zealand and Nine/GO in Australia this Spring – await news of further launches! When disaster strikes and there’s no one else to help, International Rescue answers the call! From their secret island base, this family of highly trained responders can reach every corner of the globe – and beyond – in minutes. With their remarkable cutting edge Thunderbird Vehicles, brothers Scott, Virgil, John, Gordon and Alan Tracy along with head of security Kayo and lead engineer Brains pull off amazing feats of heroism. No rescue is too big and no journey too far to save a life. When duty calls, Thunderbirds are GO.”

Once this new Thunderbirds program hits the airwaves, it’s a sure thing that fans all around the world will want to collect merchandise from the show. Hello, Hasbro? Take a hint from CITV and TV2. Imagine if their same superb animation skills were applied to a GIjOE Adventure Team program. You could be raking in the dough too, through renewed AT merchandising!

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YouTube Takes It Down, DailyMotion Puts It Right Back Up———James May’s Toy Stories’ Most Elusive Episode, “Action Man at the Speed of Sound,” Is Once Again Viewable by Fans Online

bbc 2We’re not quite sure why, but BBC2 has been playing online “musical chairs” with one of its most highly rated episodes of James May’s Toy Stories; the long-awaited and yet surprisingly negative, “Action Man at the Speed of Sound.” We had previously reported on this controversial episode in complete detail HERE. As you may recall, after it had aired on Christmas Day, 2014, May’s openly derisive comments towards Action Man instantly upset many fans who were clearly expecting the show to be more of a “hero’s welcome” for the iconic Palitoy line. Instead, the episode unspooled more as an undeserved “roast” of the popular toy’s (perceived) failings.

British TV celebrity, James May, poses alongside a clear rocket containing an Action Man astronaut in this publicity still promoting an upcoming episode of his show, "James May's Toy Stories." (Photo: BBC)

British TV celebrity, James May, poses alongside a clear rocket containing an Action Man astronaut in this publicity still promoting an episode of his show, “James May’s Toy Stories.” (Photo: BBC)

If you haven’t seen it, the episode in question is enjoyable (enough), but it IS constantly (and unnecessarily) interrupted by May’s personal assertions that Action Man (AM) had “never really done anything.” After a while, his statements must’ve begun to grate on AM’s decidedly die-hard fandom and letters of complaint and comments to that effect began to race around the ‘net. BBC2 of course, had been expecting May’s Christmas Day episode to be a big hit with viewers. And it was. After all, the UK and Europe remains a hotbed of Action Man support. In fact, expecting to bask in further acclaim, the channel didn’t hesitate to post the episode up on its own YouTube channel, where it quickly began to rack up thousands of AM fan “views.” But after only a few weeks, the channel removed the episode without further comment or explanation.

BBC2 TV personality, James May, buying Alan Hall’s Action Man Guides at Birmingham NEC 2013. (Photo: Stephen Lees)

What happened? Why remove ANY program from YouTube that could help expand and increase the viewership of your “real” TV channel? While we can’t say for sure, it’s possible BBC2 was getting too many angry viewer comments from Action Man fans who resented May’s backhanded treatment of their favorite toy. It’s also quite likely that the channel eventually decided discretion was the easier path to take in order to quickly “settle” the matter with as little fuss as possible. Whatever their reasons, the controversial episode was promptly removed from public view and further fan backlash was averted. After all, out of sight, out of mind. Right? Well, maybe not…

As you undoubtedly know, the internet remains the “Wild West” in many respects, and it doesn’t take long for ANY photo or video to find itself a new home—on another server—somewhere. And in this particular case (as of the writing of this article), an anonymous Action Man fan named, “Helen” has uploaded a nice crisp copy of the Speed of Sound episode on a competing video website called DailyMotion (see clip above). As far as we know, Helen’s page is currently the only place fans can view the episode. For whatever reason, 2 months after it originally aired in the UK, Speed of Sound has yet to posted by BBC2 on the Toy Stories official website HERE or its sister Hulu page HERE.

Bottom Line: NOTHING truly ever disappears from the internet. There are always sites SOMEWHERE storing and silently archiving EVERYTHING we’ve ever posted. Most of it happens continuously and silently, in the background, in a faraway land, and we never give it a second thought. So when a “missing” episode suddenly reappears, you shouldn’t be too surprised. If you haven’t yet seen the Speed of Sound episode, take an hour to do so now. And remember, May’s opinions are wholly his own. Whenever he disses Action Man, just laugh it off. It’s a shame he doesn’t “get it.” But we all know that the TRUTH is out there. Go, ACTION MAN!

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