Category Archives: Photo Comics

Fans Learn to Collect 1:6 Scale “On The Cheap”

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Tony Carducci’s persistence and tenacity often pays off big time. Here, he sets a GIjOE doctor figure inside the garage sale Barbie van he found (just $10) and then customized into an Adventure Team Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV). Outstanding! And cheap. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Tony said he found this perfect, 1:6 scale “Thor’s Hammer” keychain ($6) at a local grocery store coinciding with the release of The Avengers movie. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“He who spends less, can buy MORE!”

At first reading, the quote above may seem contradictory or counter-intuitive. But as many fans of 1:6 scale are finding out, it’s actually true. While Hasbro’s offerings dwindle and higher-end alternatives from Sideshow and Hot Toys continue to climb higher in price, a growing number of collectors have begun looking for inexpensive ways to satisfy their 1:6 appetites. That means spending less on each individual item to get MORE.

And let’s face it. Joeheads love everything in 1:6 scale. It’s almost like an addiction. We’re always on the lookout for new figures, uniforms or accessories. Every so often, we pick up a new vehicle; maybe even an extra one just for customizing. But no matter what the size or scope of a collection, the “thrill of the hunt” for 1:6 scale never seems to go away.

“I would NEVER pay that much!”

Over the years, a 1:6 “sticker shock rebellion” had begun to squeeze its way into the 1:6 hobby. To illustrate the effects of this “rebellion,” we interviewed a leading proponent of the growing “Spend less to get MORE” crowd; big-time Adventure Team fan, Tony Carducci, of Colona, Illinois. After a long day repairing electric guitars and providing music lessons to wannabe rockers, Tony enjoys nothing more than relaxing at home with his extensive 1:6 scale action figure collection.

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Each shelf in Tony Carducci’s Joe Room is filled to capacity with a wide variety of 1:6 scale action figures. And dig that Adventure Team Yellow wall paint. Cool! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Tony found these 1:6 scale refrigerator magnets at his local Jewel-Osco grocery store. Each is a superb miniature sack (made of real paper) full of a variety of items. Get this: They were only $1 each! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

But, as with many collectors, adequate display space for his growing collection quickly became a problem. Undeterred, the “hands-on” and cost-conscious Carducci decided to add on to his home. Predictably, he chose to forgo hiring expensive contractors and in little over a year, with the able assistance of his family, he had completed a new master bedroom, bathroom and (best of all) expanded his basement area for an all-new “Joe Room!”

“Guess How Much I Paid For THIS?”

Tony readily admits he doesn’t like spending money. And the “fiscally responsible” (or restrictive) attitude he and other fans share carries over into his GIjOE-collecting hobby as well. According to Carducci:

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“I’m always keeping my eyes open for 1:6 scale stuff. And no, I don’t like to spend any more money on it than I have to. That’s why I regularly haunt places like Goodwill and local thrift stores, garage sales and even ebay. Fortunately (for me), for some reason, here in Colona there’s always a lot of great GIjOE-related stuff to be found. You just have to get out and look for it!”

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Happily ensconced in his new Joe Room, Tony Carducci enjoys working with a variety of 1:6 scale miniatures to create custom figures for use in his “Bob Diablo” photo-comics. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Here’s a nice closeup of one of Tony’s “City Survival” backpacks that come filled with chewing gum and are still sold at most supermarkets for just $2. What a great value! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

All of that time scrounging for 1:6 deals has clearly paid off for Carducci, who’s become the pride of his local division: The Central Illinois GIjOE Collector’s Club (CIGCC), At each club meeting, Tony simultaneously amazes and inspires with reports of recent low-cost acquisitions, and then advises others how they can do the same. According to one CIGCC member:

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“Every…single…time…we see Tony at a GIjOE club meeting, he’ll have a story to tell of some fantastic ‘find’ he picked up at a garage sale or thrift store. 1:6 scale vehicles for $1. A dozen Joes for $10. I mean, the guy hardly spends ANYTHING and yet he has more in his collection than 2 or 3 of us put together. On his days off, Tony’s always out there, looking for Joes and anything else he can find in 1:6 scale. Just look at his amazing collection. The guy is a Class-A, hardcore SCROUNGER!”

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Shelves groan under the weight of Carducci’s superb collection. But don’t ask how LITTLE he spent on it all. You wouldn’t believe it if he told you. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Here are some more “Tips from Tony” regarding recent 1:6 scale bargains:

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How about some cool, miniature boxes for your Joe’s “Joe Room?” These 1:6 scale superhero boxes were sold in bulk during Halloween and filled with candy. Dump out the candy and you have some killer props for a diorama. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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How about a 1:6 scale Monopoly game wit 3-D dice, card piles, houses and hotels? Just $2 at Walmart in their scrap-booking section. Superb “bang for the buck!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Your Joes don’t like Monopoly? How about LIFE? Same price. Same place. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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There’s also Scrabble ($2, Walmart), complete with tiny tiles and racks. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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One of Tony’s greatest “on the cheap” achievements is a Barbie van that he customized and converted to a Mobile Adventure Team Satellite Tracking Station Vehicle (or MATSTSV), complete with backlit radar screens, flip down laptop console, computers and professional waterslide decal graphics provided by Patches of Pride. Carducci found the vehicle at a garage sale and traded for the PoP decals, keeping his final total cost for this amazing custom to only about $15. WOW. Fantastic job, Tony! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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Don’t forget to look for these tiny erasers at Target and Walmart ($1). This milk jug is spot-on PERFECT at 1:6 scale. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: To look at his collection, one would think Tony had spent a fortune amassing it all. But in reality, the truth is quite the opposite. His tenacity and dogged determination to save a buck has clearly paid off for him BIG time as a GIjOE collector and provides a shining example for the rest of us on how to go forward during these tough economic times. Remember: “Collecting on the Cheap” doesn’t mean collecting poor quality items. It means saving on each and every purchase—to buy MORE tomorrow!

(Editor’s Note: Inspired by Tony’s success, we recently discovered even MORE 1:6 scale bargain items which we’ll share with you in an upcoming article soon.)

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Customizer-Reviewer of 1:6 Scale Action Figures Creates “Star Trek Battle Log” Photo-Comic

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Mayne’s ability to combine his professional-level skills as a master model-builder, custom figure creator, computer-graphics wizard, and imaginative storyteller have resulted in the recent completion of his latest and greatest 1:6 scale photo story entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.” (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

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Mayne’s photo stories are planned and executed down to the tiniest details. He even designed custom patches for the uniforms of his characters. Here, “Kumasa,” the hero of Star Trek Battle Log, sports new “Special Forces” and custom nametag patches designed by Mayne and produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Who ya Gunna Call?

Quick! Your entire planetary system is under attack by a malevolent, unstoppable alien force. Who do you call? Who has the training and power required to defend your (remaining) threatened home worlds from imminent devastation? Fortunately, those cosmically-important questions have (finally—phew!) been addressed in an exciting new 6-part, 1:6 scale photo-comic entitled, “Star Trek Battle Log.”

Created, written and photo-illustrated by master customizer and diorama builder, Hylton Mayne, this new (online-only) adventure serial follows the lives of a group of dedicated, hard-fighting Starfleet Special Forces Security personnel who have been tasked with the daunting, life-n-death assignment of repelling an alien invasion. “Prepare for Warp Speed!”

The Masterworks of Mayne

Mr. Mayne has extensive experience creating 1:6 scale photo-comics and stories, primarily for use on the Sideshow Collectibles website found HERE. When each new Sideshow figure is introduced, he will create a short adventure starring and demonstrating that figure. Sideshow clearly appreciates Mayne’s efforts, as customers and fans are provided with an entertaining way to view the company’s products, each professionally posed and photographed in a variety of action settings and scenarios. Simply outstanding in every way!

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This overhead view of Mayne’s scratch-built bridge set for the U.S.S. Titan, clearly demonstrates his superb skills as a craftsman and artist. Take a good look at this diorama. It’s all handmade and HUGE. What an accomplishment! (Photo: Hilton Mayne)

As a result of his ongoing and inspiring work for Sideshow, Mayne has accumulated quite a sizeable fan-base of his own. “1:6 scalers” of all stripes, from all around the world, appreciate his sophisticated photographic composition, creative storylines, and highly detailed, scratch-built dioramas. The growing support and encouragement of his fans eventually prompted Mayne to pursue personal projects of his own, leading to his most impressive work so far: Star Trek Battle Log. But the going hasn’t been easy. According to Mayne:

“What a journey! After two years of striving, walking away, trying, quitting, re-energizing, and passion re-kindling, I have FINALLY completed my 1:6 scale photo-comic project. I hope you enjoy it. If you get a chance, please tell me what you think.”

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The old adage “waste not, want not” applies to 1:6 scale diorama-building as well. Fans of vintage GIjOEs will recognize the source of a part of this custom spacecraft. Look closely. See it? It’s the blue firewall out of an old GIjOE Space Capsule, painted and weathered to match the rear section. And Kumasa’s battle armor? Perhaps that subtle bat logo on his chest will give it away. How clever! (Photo: Hylton Mayne)

Bottom Line: Mayne’s Star Trek Battle Log is an outstanding example of 1:6 scale “fan fiction.” Fortunately for fans, all six chapters (plus an epilogue) are now available for viewing online for FREE over at Mayne’s personal website found HERE. Hylton has also hinted he has plans for some sort of a future print-version of his 1:6 scale adventures. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

First year of GIJOE adventure serial completed

Even the Yeti makes a dramatic appearance in this wide-ranging GIjOE-themed epic. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Exclusive to The Joe Report…

A daily, GIjOE-themed online serial entitled “A Joe a Day” has recently wrapped its first full year of production. According to its creator, Mark Otnes, it hasn’t always been easy to keep up such a strict production schedule. Here’s what he told The Joe Report…

” Looking back now, I don’t know how I kept up the grinding pace required to get a new panel out every day for an entire year. What was I thinking? <laugh> For a few days there, I got a little behind (due to holidays, illness, etc.) and had to work my backside off to get caught up again. But, it’s been a lot of fun watching the characters develop and I think the story’s been pretty entertaining as well. I can’t thank the fans enough for all their kind words of support.”

One of the serial's most intriguing characters, known only as "Aurora," was recently revealed to be the A-T Commander's daughter! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Originally created as a way to promote the grand opening of Otnes’ new Patches of Pride (PoP) website on 11/11/11, the serial was scheduled to wrap at the end of 2011. But popularity of the photostory has grown so much that Otnes has agreed to carry it forth into the future indefinitely—with one significant change. While it will retain its original “A Joe a Day” title, the serial will no longer be produced on a daily basis. According to Otnes…

“Increased business here at PoP has forced me to curtail production temporarily while I get caught up with filling orders. I’ve never charged for the serial and keeping the lights on here at Casa Otnes has to take priority. As soon as I’m able, I’ll get back to creating new panels. I know there’s a lot of fans out there waiting to see how this whole “Project Hercules” storyline turns out. And I’m eager to see it as well!”

The entire year's adventure (for 2011) has been archived and is now viewable online for free.
(Photo: Mark Otnes)

If you’ve never seen Otnes’ “Return of the Magnificent 7″ stories, you can easily catch up with them by going to THIS PAGE on his PoP website. And, the entire 365-panel “A Joe a Day” serial (for 2011) has been fully archived into 56 convenient weekly chapters that are available for viewing (free) HERE. With such a large and growing body of work, calls for compiling the entire “A Joe a Day” saga into printed book form have also gained momentum as of late. According to Otnes…

“A full-color graphic novel WOULD be cool. We’ll see. Anything’s possible!”