Category Archives: New Products

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)


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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G.I. Joe “Classic Collection” Artist Releases New Military Art Calendar For 2016 Holiday Season

This will BLOW YOU AWAY— Can you imagine a better way to decorate the wall of your Joe Room than a new 2016 calendar from famed GIjOE artist, Larry Selman? Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This will BLOW YOU AWAY— Can you imagine a better way to decorate the wall of your Joe Room than a new 2016 calendar from famed GIjOE artist, Larry Selman? Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Heads up, GIjOE and military history fans! A great new 2016 calendar has recently been released by Classic Collection artist extraordinaire, Larry Selman, just in time for this holiday shopping season. Much to our surprise, Selman sent us a free sample (THANKS, Larry!) and we have to tell you, it is freakin’ AWESOME! What better gift can you give a Joehead (or loved one) than a calendar ($20) that’s chocked full of iconic GIjOE packaging artwork? And who better to purchase one from than the artist himself? Here’s the link to get one for YOUR Joe Room. Enjoy!

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Brit Footballer w/ German Ancestry Discovers Likeness Used by D.i.D. For 1:6 New Action Figure


Hey, that’s ME, Mein Herr! As this side-by-side closeup reveals, the likeness of handsome UK soccer player, Bastian Schweinsteiger, was CLEARLY used by Dragon in Dream (DiD) for the headsculpt of their new “World War II Army Supply Duty – Bastian” action figure. Not too smart to put his name in the title, DiD. You might as well prepare for the inevitable lawsuit that is sure to follow. (Photo: Getty images)

Bottom Line: Sometimes being famous and having a handsome German “Nordic” face can result in unexpected consequences—such as having your likeness usurped for a 1:6 scale nazi action figure! Read all about this clear case of facial piracy on the BBC News website HERE. Gott im Himmel!

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Interesting 1:6 “Find” at Target———Our Generation “Morgan Foal” Doubles As 1:6 Equine For G.I. Joe

Not Bad! GIjOE walks up to examine the latest animal addition to his owner's collection. It's a

What do we have HERE? GIjOE walks up to examine the latest animal addition to his owner’s collection. It’s a “Morgan Foal” from Maison Joseph Battat Ltd. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Hungry Horsey? The feed box that comes with this set is perfect for use in GIjOE's stable or barn. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hungry Horsey? The feed box that comes with this set is perfect for use in GIjOE’s stable or barn. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Unexpected 1:6 Scale “Find” Made at Target

In an era when Hasbro is no longer making anything for collectors of 12-inch G.I. Joes, fans now find themselves seeking to satisfy their 1:6 scale “fixes” elsewhere, often discovering things that they can use with their collections in the unlikeliest of places. Today’s intriguing “find” was found recently in a store that the staff of The Joe Report rarely frequents anymore—Target.

It’s true. Ever since Target stopped carrying GIjOEs and Formative’s “Soldiers of the World” figures and accessory sets, we’ve had little to no reason to darken their aisles again. And that’s a shame. We used to thrill to “the chase” and “the hunt” for 1:6 scale within their stores. Many a memory was made as we anxiously drove from location to location, searching for the latest 1:6 product releases. But alas, those exciting days of “Joe Hunting” at local Targets are now over.

So… it was completely by coincidence that we wandered into Target late last night. We were looking for a small area rug to fit in our guest bedroom. Nothing more, nothing less. It was going to be a quick “in and out” shopping mission. But, old habits are clearly hard to break, and I soon found myself perusing Target’s toy aisles for the first time in many years, blithely inspecting the chain’s new “gender neutral” decor (yes, it’s all trimmed in “bland tan” now (see that story HERE).

Easy Girl, I'm G.I. Joe— Joe soothes the nerves of his new 1:6 equine friend as he gets a closer look at the new

Joe moves in for a closer look and notices that his new equine friend’s mane is made of real hair (wrapped tight in cello) and not painted-on like Johnny West’s, “Thunderbolt.” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Vintage Horse Flesh from MARX— An original Thunderbolt and a custom painted version. (Photo: etsy)

Vintage MARX Horses— An original Thunderbolt (l) and a custom painted version (r). (Photo: etsy)

As expected, I was disinterested in the toys I found and was just about to return to the home furnishings department when I spied ONE lone horse standing in the (formerly pink) doll aisle that appeared to be in 1:6 scale. I went back; picked it up and it immediately reminded me of Johnny West’s faithful steed, “Thunderbolt.” A quick study of the newer horse revealed that it was not as well-sculpted as ol’ Thunderbolt, nor was it articulated like the high-end (i.e. expensive) horses produced by Dragon. I did notice that he/she had real hair and numerous accessories, so I decided to study it more carefully.

Open 'er Up— The packaging doubles as a diorama, enabling you to make a stall or simulate a corral. More than enough for a child's imagination to take wing. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Instant Diorama— The horse’s packaging doubles as a diorama, enabling you to make either a single stall or to simulate a larger corral. More than enough for a child’s imagination! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Target’s new “Morgan Foal” is clearly a younger horse, yet its size/age is more akin to an adult mare when viewed in 1:6 scale. It’s muscularity and facial features are softened and its legs appear a tad longer than that of a more mature equine. These physical differences will matter more to some collectors than to others and depends largely on how one intends to use and/or display the horse.

Once free of its cardboard corral, Joe soothes his new friend and approaches carefully to gain its trust. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Freed from its cardboard corral, the Morgan Foal waits as Joe calmly approaches. Note its detailed bridle and lead, as well as real-hair mane and tail. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

For example, if you were to add some custom horse armor, army blankets, fancy bridles or saddlery that cover up the horse’s head, etc., then its youngish appearance would diminish and matter little. Personally, I was about to leave the critter on the store’s shelf and walk away, but then I saw its price—only $17! WHOA, Nelly! At such a low price point, this honey is well worth picking up.


Easy girl, easy nowProportionally speaking, the man-to-horse size ratio looks pretty good here, but the longer you study it, the more you realize this horse is a foal, not a mare. But no matter, if you added some more details (a blanket, saddle, etc., the differences would become much harder to spot. In other words, the trained eye of a good customizer could easily “age” this horse. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The water bottle is a tad big, but not by much. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

The water bottle looks a tad big for Joe, but not by much. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

A simple review of this product shows that it comes in a box that opens up and makes an instant, albeit small, corral for the horse to stand in. That’s fine if you’re a little kid, but adults will likely discard all of the cardboard pieces. As for the other accessories, you’ll also receive an accessories bag, 2 booklets, a slightly oversized brush and water bottle, and a (perfectly sized) little red “feed box” you can fill with oats or hay.

Apples appear to be the main design theme here, which makes sense since this toy is targeted to children, primarily little girls. Value-wise, the set and all of its accessories are a great deal. Quality-wise, it’s also impressive. Everything fits together nicely and looks to be well-made. While it wasn’t designed for us 1:6ers, with a little imagination, it can surely be used and absorbed into our collections.

Here are the accessories that come with the Morgan Foal. Some good, some not. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Accessories Abound Here are some of the accessories that come with Target’s Morgan Foal. 1:6 customizers will look at that horse coat and realize it provides a perfect pattern. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Scoop it Up— The food scoop that comes with this set is also a tad large, but in a barn setting where you feed large animals, it may actually be appropriate. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Scoop it Up— The scoop that comes with this set is also a tad large, but in a barn setting where Joe is feeding large animals, it may actually be appropriate. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Target’s Morgan Foal is clad in a warming blanket with velcro closures and a red plastic harness with lead. Customizers can go either way with these items. Some may not care about the “applely” appearance and will opt to keep them as they are; while others may want to “reverse engineer” them as sewing patterns so as to create their own replacements.

The hairbrush, water bottle and food scoop are all a tad oversized, but when placed in their usual large settings (barns, corrals, etc.) they should look just fine. If you’re a stickler for 100% accuracy, then buy a Dragon horse or some stock in Hot Toys or Sideshow. Otherwise, these are great for most 1:6 dioramas. Take a look:

Right side view

Right side view— We like the look of GIjOE on this horse. Even though he doesn’t have a saddle, we can imagine how cool he’d look once it was fully geared up for action. (Photo: Mark Otnes)


Ride ’em, Doughboy— Joe looks great on the Morgan. With some minor detailing, they should get along “down the trail” just fine. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Don't be a Horse's A**— Ridin' a horse sure beats walking! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Don’t be a Horse’s A**— Ridin’ horses sure beats walking! How about adding a “U.S.” brand on his hind-quarters for more realism? (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: C’mon, for $17, you can’t beat this horse with a stick! It’s simply a great value all around. If you’re a customizing perfectionist, feel free to repaint and/or even resculpt some of its features first. The price point is SO reasonable, you’ll find little financial reason to deter you.

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Shout it Out Loud! 2 More “Lost Talker” Repro G.I. Joes Are Now Available For Pre-Order From the (Ft. Worth, TX) G.I. Joe Collector’s Club

The new 2015 "Talking G.I. Joe Action Pilot," available only from the GIjOE Collector's Club. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

Oh, Major Nelson!—This all-new (2015) “Talking G.I. Joe Action Pilot” is now available for pre-order only from the GIjOE Collector’s Club. WHOOSH! (Photo: GIJCC)

Final 2 Figures Will Complete the Club’s Popular “Lost Talker” Series

Say what you will about finding an original, vintage GIjOE “talker” figure on eBay, these brand-new reproductions are freakin’ SWEET. Compared to their “marble-mouthed” predecessors, these new versions speak with crystal clear authority and will leave no doubt in your troop’s minds as to what orders are being given. Produced and sold exclusively by the GIjOE Collector’s Club, these two new figures will complete the series of “Lost Talkers” that fans have already proudly added to their collections. First up, the new Talking Action Pilot, which is described by the GIJCC’s website as:


This ‘TALKING’ 12-inch figure features two voice phrases that were recorded back in the 1960s but were not included on the original figure released in 1967. With a meticulously reproduced long box and uniform, you will hear the original ‘voice of G.I. Joe’ as never before with crystal-clear clarity. The figure features the original 8 recordings you recall from your childhood and 2 that were never heard until now. Don’t miss this opportunity to own a piece of action figure history with our new ‘Lost Talker Action Sailor.’ Includes: figure, dogtag, batteries, cap, pants, shirt, boots, insignia, mini-comic, boot removal instructions, and instruction sheet. Available only from the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club!”

The all-new "Talking G.I. Joe Action Sailor" from the GIJCC is sure to be hit with all fans and collectors of GIjOE. (Photo: GIJCC)

Anchors Aweigh!— The all-new “Talking G.I. Joe Action Sailor” from the GIJCC is sure to be hit with all fans and collectors of 12″. Pre-orders are now being accepted. (Photo: GIJCC)

Second up on deck, is the club’s new Talking Action Sailor. This guy looks just as sharp as his Air Force counterpart and will surely make a wonderful addition to your repro-talker figure lineup. The club describes this new stalwart defender of freedom in a similar manner, saying:


“This ‘TALKING’ 12” figure features two voice phrases that were recorded back in the 1960s but not included on the original figure released in 1967. With a meticulously reproduced long box and uniform, you will hear the original ‘voice of G.I. Joe’ as never before with crystal clear clarity. The figure features the original 8 recordings you recall from your childhood and 2 that were never heard until now. Don’t miss the opportunity to own a piece of action figure history with the ‘Lost Talker Action Sailor.’ Includes: figure, dogtag, batteries, cap, pants, shirt, boots, insignia, mini-comic, boot removal instructions, and instruction sheet. Available only from the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club!”

Bottom Line: These two new repro figures “sound” and look GREAT to us. We own the others in this highly collectible line-up, and can’t wait for the moment when we can afford to pick these up as well (they’re $67 each, OUCH!). If you’d like to place your pre-order now, jump to THIS PAGE.

If you’re still not convinced, check out the club’s cool new sales video below. Go, JOE!

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HALT! Who Goes There?———G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Announces Limited-Edition “Boutique Item”———Air Security Figure With Uniform and Accessories

This all-new GIJCC

This excellent, all-new “boutique” USAF Air Security figure is now available and for sale to GIJCC members only. Hurry! Quantities are described as “VERY limited.” (Photo: GIJCC)

Sorry, Scalpers. Figures Are Limited to 1 Per Membership!

Take a look at this surprise figure recently announced by the GIjOE Collector’s Club. It’s a 2015 12” Air Security Figure complete with Uniform and Accessories. Out-STANDING! According to the club’s official product description:


“In the grand tradition of the GIjOE Backyard Patrol accessory sets from the 1970s, this vintage-styled reproduction 12” figure is a VERY short run ’boutique’ item put together by a GIJCC designer and features hard hands, standard ’60s head sculpt, air force dress jacket and pants, tall black boots, 45 pistol with white holster and belt with shoulder strap, an ALL-NEW white ascot, and ALL-NEW blue Air Security helmet. This is a great entry-level figure for new collectors and older kids alike. Even long-time collectors will get a kick out of the old/new feel of this piece. Quantities are VERY limited.”

According to GIjOE fan and collector, Greg Eaton, the GIJCC's new USAF Air Security Joe

Just as expected— According to GIjOE fan and collector, Greg Eaton, the GIJCC’s new USAF Air Security Joe “met expectations.” (Photo: Greg Eaton)

Bottom Line: These sharp “boutique” USAF Air Security figures look FANTASTIC. Yes, you could probably put it all together yourself via kit-bashing, but buying one would be an enjoyable way to support your beloved GIjOE club. So…Get yours HERE or forever hold your peace! Go, JOE! 

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Latest Mock-up Pics of 2016’s Club Exclusive “Mike Power the Atomic Man” 12″ G.I. Joe Reveal Much-Anticipated Changes and Improvements


What a difference a few improvements can make! GIjOE’s 12″ Mike Power figure has never looked so…AWESOME. Wow! And it’ll be nice to own one that doesn’t have cracked, yellowed hands. Sweet! (Photo: GIJCC)

Look Into My Eye…ZZZAP!!!

For those of you who missed it, the GIjOE Collector’s Club recently released two new photos of their highly anticipated club exclusive figure for 2016, Mike Power the Atomic Man. To GIjOE fans and collectors, the changes and improvements over the original figure are obvious. In place of the original’s goofy “Ken doll” head, there’s an all-new “angry” GIjOE head sculpt with a working light-up LED eye. Mike also (finally) gets TWO atomic-powered legs, making his daily runs on that mountain hideout treadmill MUCH easier. And in lieu of his old camo shirt and brown shorts, Mike will be attired in a more modern white AT t-shirt, dark shorts and white tennis shoes. Atomic Tennis, anyone?

The second photo reveals Mike’s unique “Field Mission Alpha” accessory set (sold separately), which will come with a short-sleeved jumpsuit, bright red belt, and a passel of other weapons and equipment. Overall, this set appears to strike all the right chords and should please most 12″ club members. According to the official GIJCC website’s press release:


The NEW Atomic Man from the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club will feature kung-fu grip hands, clear legs, a clear arm and an ALL-NEW head design which will include an electronic LED light-up eye activated by tugging on his Adventure Team dog tag! The figure will come dressed in t-shirt, shorts, and white shoes based on the RARE vintage uniform from the Secret Mountain Outpost for Atomic Man produced in the 1970s. To add to the fun, there will be an accessory uniform set for Atomic Man available for separate purchase! To get the NEW Electronic Mike Power Atomic Man 12″ figure, be sure to join the G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club by March 16th, 2016. With the NEW Atomic Man as a member of the Adventure Team, evil (and Doctor Isotope) won’t stand a chance!”

Mike Power's "Field Mission Alpha" accessory set would be a welcome addition to any collection. Let's GO, Adventurers! (Photo: GIJCC)

Mike Power’s “Field Mission Alpha” accessory set. (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: We like what we see here. The new Mike Power 12″ figure and his nifty uniform and equipment set will make welcome additions to all GIjOE collections. In Hasbro’s absence, the club continues to step up and take charge of new “official GIjOE” figure production. Thanks, GIJCC!

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Barbie Suffering Same Fate as 12-inch G.I. Joes: Will Future Children No Longer Play w/ Toys?

Are we looking at a future without Barbie? A world where children no longer have the interest, desire or attention span required to keep the iconic toy line afloat? Plummeting sales at Mattel appear to bear an ill harbinger of things to come. (Photo: clayzmama)

A future without Barbie? In a world where children appear to be losing the interest and attention spans required to creatively play with dolls, how will Mattel keep its iconic toy line “alive?” (Photo: clayzmama)

The memories of playing with his GIjOE and his

The 1970s were a busy time for children fortunate enough to have grown up playing and creating adventures with GIjOEs and other imagination-dependant toys. Above, Scott McCullar (now an adult) plays with his GijOE’s “Troubleshooter” play set. (Photo: Scott McCullar)

The Future of Some Toy Lines Certainly Growing—UNcertain

If you’re an adult over say, 45, you may be a member of a dying breed. We’re not talking about your health or lifespan, we’re talking about the fact that you’re a human (man or woman) who can still remember when “childhood playtime” meant interacting with dolls, action figures and other toys. You may not realize it, but you could be a member of one of the last generations who’ll remember those youthful pursuits as the carefree activities they were and how they required one of life’s most precious gifts—imagination.

This conclusion is easily understood by simply observing the children of today’s societies and how their evolving behavior patterns have begun to affect the “bottom line” of an already struggling toy industry. Yes, it’s a different world (today) than the one you grew up in, and that reality is forcing toy giants (i.e. Hasbro and Mattel) to push for changes that will usher in a new era, one that may be largely devoid of the past’s traditional or “imagination-dependent” toys.

We're sorry, but today's largely PC-approved, non-gender specific,

We’re sorry kids, but today’s largely politically correct, non gender-specific, “discovery” type toys are, in our opinion, a poor substitute for the more creative toys of the past; specifically those from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Today’s bland, generic toy fodder, such as this “MentalBlox” game will do little to instill the sort of life-long toy memories once so common among children and adults. Today’s children are moving on to hand-held electronic devices at earlier and earlier ages which quickly stunt their desire to play with traditional, imagination-dependent toys. (Photo: discovery toys)

Robert's sons Gus (l) and Ben (r) hold up their 1st-place winning custom figure of

An exception to the rule— It’s becoming a rare sight to see children who are actively interested in 12″ GIjOEs. In this case, longtime collector Robert Browning and his two sons Gus (l) and Ben (r) keep their love of toys alive by attending conventions (such as Joelanta) together as a family. Here, the boys hold up their 1st-place winning custom figure of “The Shadow” and their prize, a Sideshow “Cobra Ninja” action figure. Such activity encourages camaraderie and the creation of life-long toy-related memories. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Children are ChangingBuying Behavior is Changing—The Toy Industry is Changing

In the past, toy manufacturers used to be able to count on keeping a child’s interest and faithful patronage until about the age of 13 or so. Once the teenaged years kicked in, it was understood that kids began to switch over to more “grown up” interests such as sports, dating and music. While it was a shame to lose them as customers, toy companies knew there would always be more children coming along and more profits could be made from them. But now…that predictable mode of forever selling toys appears to be changing. Dramatically.

At earlier and earlier ages, children are visibly turning away from traditional toys. Once their first computer, video game system or <shudder> “smart” phone enters their lives, there’s really no looking back. In fact, the very idea of playing with traditional, non-electronic toys is becoming positively quaint to children of today (of both sexes). Even casual observations at toy shows and toy stores have confirmed they already perceive GIjOEs and Barbies as stiff, almost unrelatable artifacts of bygone age; something that their Mommy or Daddy “used to play with” very long ago, but is now—boring.

So what does all this mean? It means that now, in 2015, toy companies can no longer afford to do business as usual. New solutions to newly emerging problems must be found, before sales and stock values plummet any further. It means that once impervious toy lines of the past are now at risk of being ignored (read Derryl DePriest’s commentary on the fate of GIjOE HERE) or canceled altogether. As children continue to grow up faster and switch to non-toy pursuits at younger ages, they’re truncating a once lengthy consumer-provider relationship. Profits from toys therefore, are now harder to predict, forcing changes in marketing strategies that, while helping boost the bottom line, may actually increase the growing gap between children and traditional toys—even further.

Is there anything sadder or less interesting to young girls nowadays than a pile of pulled-apart Barbie bodies? Probably not. (Photo: buzzfeed)

Playing with Barbies— Is there anything sadder than a pile of pulled-apart Barbies or GIjOEs? Unfortunately, young boys and girls (nowadays) could probably care less. (Photo: buzzfeed)

Logo-MattelIn a stunning admission, Mattel recently disclosed that Barbie’s sales figures have fallen for the last SEVEN CONSECUTIVE QUARTERS. It’s hard to imagine how much longer the toy giant will want to support such a steadily declining “loser,” but it’s harder still to imagine a world where Barbie no longer exists—at ALL. In a recent article in the The Wall Street Journal, business analyst Cassandra Jaramillo reported:


“Mattel Inc.’s sales of the doll fell 19% in the second quarter, as the toy maker swung to a quarterly loss and posted a 7% drop in overall net sales. The stronger U.S. dollar drove a large chunk of the decline, but Barbie’s sales would still have fallen 11% when stripping out currency swings.”

Bad news Barbie fans, but hardly a surprise to the bean counters at Mattel. The article continues:


“Sales of the doll have dropped by DOUBLE DIGITS for seven straight quarters—underscoring the deep challenges facing new Mattel Chief Executive Christopher Sinclair as he looks to right the world’s largest toy maker by sales. Barbie is Mattel’s largest brand and a big driver of profits, but its long slump has cost it shelf space at retailers that Mattel will have to work hard to earn back.”

How long has it been since you've seen BOTH sides of the aisle in a toy store devoted solely to Barbies? The famed

Valuable Shelf Space LOST— How long has it been since you’ve seen BOTH sides of a toy store aisle devoted solely to Barbie? Those famed “Pink Aisles” are unlikely to return, and in the future, may only reside in your memory. (Photo: artisancomplete)

Currently, the profit pendulum is clearly swinging backwards in a negative arc for Mattel. Its stock value went down by 3 points and the WSJ article ended with THIS sobering total:


“The company posted a LOSS of $11.4 million in the most recent quarter, compared with a profit of $28.3 million a year earlier.”

Toy Companies—Media Companies—Will There Be a Difference in the Future?

hasbrologonewMattel’s not the only toy giant to see one of its oldest toy lines struggle to remain relevant and profitable in this modern age. Hasbro too, now considers its once industry-leading brand, 12″ GIjOEs, to be practically null and void. Without the “little Joes” (3.75″ sized), the world’s most famous toy brand would have vanished from stores by now.

But Hasbro has demonstrated amazing vision. Anticipating the evolving market realities and changing interests of children, they’ve diligently built-up their business from its basic toy origins into a full-blown media and entertainment powerhouse; producing blockbuster brand-offshoot motion pictures such as The Legos Movie, Transformers, etc., while simultaneously working alongside other film industry giants (see HERE) to coordinate massive merchandising efforts. Despite all the vitriol many fans continue to spew in its direction, Hasbro has clearly shown them (and Mattel) that there IS a future for toy production. And while that future may not include GIjOEs or Barbies, it will certainly include profits made from toy sales—LOTS of them.

Playing with toys in the near future may look something like this. With virtual reality, the need for (and use of) real objects that you actually touch and hold would be lost, but the interaction with similar “virtual” objects would remain the same. The question is…Would you WANT to play this way? (Photo: TIME)

Move Over Traditional Toys—Virtual Reality is Here NOW

On top of everything else we’ve discussed, we’d be remiss not to mention the impending arrival of virtual reality (VR) systems. Recent breakthroughs have solved the majority of nagging technological and biological hurdles (4K resolution refresh rates, dizziness, headaches, etc.), and promises of very near future “life-like” immersion will make playing with traditional toys seem as obsolete as newsprint is to the internet. The latest TIME magazine goes into this subject in great detail (see cover above) and VR’s impact on the future of entertainment and toys promises to be profound.

You think today’s video games are addictive? With the arrival of virtual reality systems, it’s hard to imagine a future wherein children would be satisfied playing with traditional, “imagination-dependent” toys. Question: Is a “virtual” GIjOE still a GIjOE? (Photo: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Bottom Line: We’ve discussed the topics of shifting consumer buying habits and evolving toy preferences many times over the years. The days of children playing with imagination-dependent toys may largely be behind us as a society; or at the very least, are becoming seriously endangered. The future of 12-inch Hasbro GIjOEs is already known. The future of Mattel’s 12-inch Barbies now falls into question. Fans have to wonder, what exactly will children of the future be playing with? And what effects will those toys (both traditional and virtual) have on their shrinking attention spans, imaginations and overall cognitive abilities? Will kids be jumping for joy like the dude in the TIME cover photo? Or will they be drooling over in a corner without an original thought inside their impressionable little heads? Let us know what YOU think. Please leave a comment today. Thanks!

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UK Artist’s Love of “Product Design From a Less Cynical Time” Results in Creation of Unique Art


The “EYES” Have It— These stunning (life-sized) sculptures of a pair of VERY famous faces appear to have begun a “stare-off” at the home of UK artist, John Barton. Their amazing likenesses were hand-crafted and are now being sold to collectors around the world. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

Are you talking LOOKING at me?

Robert De Niro may have been talking to himself in the film, Taxi Driver, but you might be saying something similar to a familiar face—with repositionable eyes—mounted up on the wall of your “Man Cave” or “Joe Room” someday soon. Thanks to UK artist, John Barton, a pair of new 1:1 scale head sculptures (or “busts”) based on the heroic visage of Palitoy’s most famous fighting man are now available for purchase. We contacted Barton and he kindly provided the following intel:


TJR: Absolutely amazing work, John. We LOVE your new toy-inspired busts!


“I’ve invested a fair amount of time and effort on these so I’m really grateful to receive such positive feedback.” 

In addition to setting on a shelf or table, Barton's busts are designed to hang or mount up on the wall as shown above. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

Just hanging around— In addition to setting on a shelf or table, Barton’s art busts are designed to hang or mount up on the wall as shown above. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Please tell us about your new “Man of Action” (MoA) sculptures. What initially prompted their creation? What were your inspirations?


“I’ve always had a keen appreciation for good design and illustration, which is perhaps why I was so drawn to Action Man in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The packaging illustrations by David Barnacle are classics (is there a book available featuring his work?).

My inspirations come from multiple sources: a love of pop art, ephemera, product design from a less cynical time (’70s action figures weren’t ‘ripped’ on protein drinks), classic cinema posters (of which I am also a fan) and my own childhood.

This ultra close-up reveals the quality and craftsmanship of Barton's MoA busts. Just look at those eyes! (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

I SEE YOU— This ultra close-up reveals the quality and craftsmanship of one of Barton’s MoA busts. Just look at the paint-job and those amazing eyes. Outstanding! (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Where else do you draw inspiration for your work?


“Toy and model shops used to be full of outstanding packaging design. Tamiya produced beautiful product illustrations and graphic design, Airfix box paintings were action-packed (now sadly retouched and sanitized) and of course, Action Man’s boxes. They’ve always set the tone for ADVENTURE!”

YES! The eyes are poseable! You can make your MoA look in any direction. AMAZING. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

YES! The eyes are poseable! MoA can look in any direction. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

TJR: How did your work and interest in 1:6 scale action figures come together?


“I’m a graphic designer. I’ve always loved creating things in three dimensions (as well), so the creation of my ‘Man of Action’ sculptures was bound to happen one day. I’m now what I’d call a ‘professional creative.’ I still turn my hand to graphic design and photography, but my real passion is for art.”

Left, Right or Straight Ahead— The choice is YOURS. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.l

Look Left, Right or Straight Ahead— The choice is YOURS. (Photo: John Barton) Click to enlarge.

TJR: What else should potential buyers know about your MoA sculptures?


“Each is handmade to order and is intended for display, NOT play. Many hours go into the creation of each piece and no two are the same. It was really important to me that the eyes were positionable. It would have been so much easier to create the mould and castings without eye sockets, and have static eyes, but I’m stubborn and I refused to compromise on this.

The eyes are independently positionable from inside the head allowing each MoA to stare intently in any direction you wish. My initial thought was to engineer an inner ‘eagle eye’ mechanism, and for a one-off this would be fine, but it’s just not replicable in numbers at a sensible cost.

As each piece is made-to-order, every customer is kept fully informed of progress with emails and photos. I may even create other versions and special editions in time. I hold out the vain hope that as a handmade, numbered piece, my MoAs will one day become collectibles in their own rights.”

Your Barton Bust will instantly become the focal point of any room. (Photo: John Barton)

Your “Barton Bust” will instantly become the focal point of any room. (Photo: John Barton)

TJR: What kind of response have you been getting from AM collectors so far?

“I only posted the MoA to a couple of forums for the first time yesterday and I’m really humbled with the positive reception received so far from aficionados. Thank you ALL for your enthusiasm and support!”

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks go out to John Barton for his assistance with this article and our best wishes to him in all of his future endeavours. We know quality work when we see it, and these new busts of his are top-notch—all the way.

Who knows how long he’ll be creating them? For that reason alone, we highly recommend you contact Barton SOON if you’re interested in adding one (or more) to your collection. For complete information on cost, shipping and options, visit his website HERE. These handsome lads would make stunning gifts for any fan who believes that he (or she) already owns “one of everything.” Talk about your “limited-editions.” This is it!

Artist John Barton poses with two of latest creations. Absolutely superb work! (Photo: John Barton)

Artist John Barton poses with two of his creations. Absolutely superb work! (Photo: John Barton)

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G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Releases First (Actual Product, Not Prototype) Photos of Upcoming Action Pilot and Action Sailor “Lost Talkers”

These are the first photos of the actual products being produced by the GIjOE Collector's Club for fans of the 12-inch GIjOE line. (Photo: GIJCC)

FIRST PICS! These are the first official photos of the actual products being manufactured for sale by the GIjOE Collector’s Club for fans of the 12-inch figures. (Photo: GIJCC)

Apparently, things are progressing nicely at the GIjOE Collector’s Club HQ down in Ft. Worth, TX. According to a recent official press release shown on their website (HERE):


“Hey 12” G.I. Joe fans! As we announced at GIJoeCon 2015, the Collectors’ Club will be producing the two remaining figures in our lost talker series. The photo shows actual samples from the factory and boy do they sound GREAT!

These limited-edition figures will feature 10 phrases, unlike the originals which only had 8. The two added phrases were recorded back in the 1960s but never used until now! Stay tuned for details on when the LOST TALKER PILOT and LOST TALKER SAILOR will be available in the Club online store for Pre-order.”

Bottom Line: These look really nice. We’ll be first in line to pick ours up, ASAP. Go, JOE!

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