Category Archives: Scale Animals and Props

Grab That Greasy Joystick, Joe—It’s Arcade Time!

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Boxed up FUN— The games still in their original packaging. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

We LOVE miniature 1:6 scale video games. Fortunately for this holiday season, a batch of approximately 10 new ones are now appearing in stores across the U.S., primarily from the good folks at My Arcade. These new games are currently priced between $25 and $35 (each) depending on where and WHEN you buy them. Our advice? Watch your local big box stores like a hawk. Also, browse online at Walmart.com, Amazon, etc. Whenever you see a game’s price dropping, JUMP on it! These are popular little items with a wide variety of collectors and ordinary consumers, so they typically don’t last on shelves for long—virtual or otherwise.

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Battery Hogs?— These new games really need the juice, four AA batteries to be precise. Ouch! Remember to always REMOVE batteries when not in use! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Better Designed— Last year’s smaller, simpler, “one size fits all” cases from Basic Fun (shown on the right) don’t compare with this year’s bigger, better, more accurate case designs from My Arcade (shown on the left). Even the buttons and joystick sizes are more accurately scaled to fit 1:6 scale. EXCELLENT! Regardless, both games will still ROCK in GIJOE’s arcade! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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A Back to Back, “Pac to Pac” Comparison— The new Pac Man game case from My Arcade (as shown on the left) is clearly more stylish and faithful to the original game’s design. The smaller, (boxier) case from Basic Fun (on the right) was good—but it wasn’t great. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Raise ’em up so Joe can PLAY— To save money, the makers of these miniature arcade games chop off the bottom halves of the cases where in the real-world, all of the game’s computer “innards” were stored. To make up the resulting height deficit, we recommend that you create some sort of a base to raise the games back up to Joe’s level (see our previous article HERE). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: We’re hoping someone comes out with a miniature version of the original “Pong,” “Robotron,” or maybe even “Zaxxon.” Those were three truly iconic arcade games from back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Remember, watch those stores and look out for sales. Happy Hunting!

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“Battle with the Black Widow”—Massive Monster Arachnid (From The Home Depot) Faces Off Against G.I. Joe Crash Crew Firefighter— Who Will Win?

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A lone Crash Crew GIjOE armed only with an ax and crowbar faces off against a decidedly more powerful foe—a giant black widow spider from Home Depot. Fortunately, Joe’s trusty pet black panther sneaks up from behind. Will it come to Joe’s aid during this deadly face-off? (Maybe after a nap.) The spider’s eyes have a spooky, hypnotic effect. Look out, Joe! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Got Arachnophobia? Then this Giant Spider is Definitely NOT for You!

So I bring home this giant plastic spider last night, right?— I place it on the couch behind my wife. It has long, spindly legs and some seriously eerie, red-glowing eyes (the spider, not my wife). When she turns around and sees it, she literally jumps off the couch screaming, “ICK! What is THAT?!” Surprised, I reply, “it’s a new giant spider for GIjOE to fight against. Look! Its abdomen is all hollowed out, so I can stuff it full of 1:6 scale human skeletons and show that it’s been eating Joes!” She frowns a BIG frown and bluntly observes, “You are really WEIRD.” Well, maybe so, my dear. But I’m betting there’ll also be a lot of other “weird” 1:6 scalers out there who’ll be interested in picking up one of these (admittedly) frightening new “home decor” items from Home Depot.

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Big, Bad, Butt-iful! Joe’s pet panther sniffs the spinnerets of the giant arachnid while Joe lines up his first blow, “right between those evil eyes!” From leg tip to leg tip, the spider measures a whopping 44 inches across. Once folded up, it measures only about 14″ across. YES! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

The spider is made of a solid black plastic; the good, hard, model-kit kind, so if you wanted to, you could paint its fangs, or even flock its entire body to make it all fuzzy black and red. What a fun custom project THAT would be! And yes, its legs are fully-articulated, so you can pose him in a full “legs out” battle stance (as shown in these pics) or all tucked up to its body ala a “I just got squirted with RAID” death pose. Whatever you decide to do with this monumental monstrosity, it’s an IDEAL creature for any Adventure Team (or military) GIjOEs to battle in backyard (or indoor) dioramas.

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A “Cage of DEATH?”— Viewed from this angle, you can imagine the black widow’s ribbed abdomen filled up with 1:6 scale human skeletons. Fortunately, this spider DOES open up. There are tiny screws holding the body together. Opening it up takes only minutes. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Here’s the label to look for while shopping in Home Depot. It even has a “TRY ME” button on it, so you can try out the glowing-eyes effect in the store. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

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Bite Me— The spider’s mandibles grab Joe’s arm as its fangs prepare to inject him with its deadly toxin. Is this the END of Crash Crew Joe? Only YOU can decide! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Yes, this spooky “home decor” item is great for use on Halloween, but in our opinion, it’s actually makes a much better TOY. Its giant size, durable construction, leg articulation, and light-up eyes—guarantee HOURS of fantasy FUN for GIjOE and action figure fans. You can find them for sale NOW at a Home Depot near you, or simply order one online HEREEnjoy!

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Yikes!—Tis the Season for Some Scary Skeletons!

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Nice kitty…Good kitty. This giant saber-toothed cat looks to us to be one of the better offerings this year. Simply amazing details from tail to fangs! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

No flesh? No worries. These skeletal creatures are scary enough!

Your GIjOE museum and fantasy dioramas all need skeletons, right? Well, thanks to the impending Halloween season, stores throughout the U.S. (and beyond) have begun ramping up their supply to meet the growing demand. Besides all of the trick-or-treaters and Halloween home decorators, GIjOE fans and customizers too, now have their eager “eagle-eyes” set on picking up at least ONE of these amazing skeletal “beasties.” According to intrepid TJR Field Reporter, Keith Davis:

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Keith Davis, fan, collector and customizer of all things 1:6 scale (Photo: Fox 19 News)

“Wanna try something new in 1/6 or other scales!?! How about going prehistoric, or Jurassic, or Bedrock? I found these recently at Home Depot, and the bigger ones at Big Lots. The smaller ones go for around $40, the bigger ones are over $100. I think all of them have light-up eyes and maybe sounds, too. Even Barbie had the Flintstones. You could make one heck of a diorama with this stuff! —Keith Davis

We concur with Keith. Simply place one of these massive, menacing monsters next to ANY scale GIjOE and your imagination immediately runs WILD with all sorts of fun diorama possibilities. Let’s take a look at some of the other creepy critters that Keith has tracked down in Cincinnati’s “Concrete Jungle” of brick-n-mortar stores—

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Horns. Teeth, and TERROR! A herd of skeletal dinosaurs. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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Life-sized sitting dogs and some spiky mini-triceratops. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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This closeup reveals the quality to be better on some than others and the prices to be fairly consistent. The wiring must be hidden inside the bones, somewhere. (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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With real BITING action! If you look closely, these red-eyed T-Rex skeletons appear to have working jaws for added realism. VERY cool! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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A size for every diorama— Don’t like small? How about LARGE? (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

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How about a big, bad, DRAGON? Check out that wingspan! (Photo: Keith Davis) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to keen-eyed Keith Davis for his generous contributions to this article. In the past, such skeletal “decor” items have ranged from the junky to the banal (skeletal rats, really?). But these new dinosaur, saber-toothed cat, and horned dragon skeletons VASTLY open-up possibilities for 1:6 scale (and other scale) dioramas. So—GO GIT ‘EM!

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‘Ello, Guv’nuh! 1:6 Scale (All-Metal) Royal Mail Postbox Available First Quarter of 2018—Perfect Size and Detail For Fans of Action Man and GIjOE

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Blimey, this ‘box is a BEAUT! The new 1:6 scale Royal Mail postbox from SOAR ART Workshop is constructed of all-metal and will be available at most 1:6 retailers sometime during the first quarter of 2018. (Photo size comparison by Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

This cool news just came in on over the wire…

According to respected wholesale product distributor, Alpha-C Group (located in Hong Kong), the modeling masters over at SOAR ART Workshop will soon be releasing an all-metal, 1:6 scale Royal Mail postbox, sometime during the first quarter of 2018. For fans of Action Man, GIjOE, and all things 1:6 scale, this is exciting news. Such a box would make a STUNNING addition to any (post WW2) neighborhood or downtown (i.e. urban) diorama. (Now you’ll need an Action Man Mailman!)

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Three closeups for the price of ONE— Superb craftsmanship in the new SOAR ART postbox is apparent from all angles. And take a look at that middle pic. YES! It even opens up so you can remove all of Action Man’s mail. That is out-STANDING! (Photo: SOAR ART) Click to enlarge.

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What time is pickup and drop-off?— Don’t worry, this pic (taken from about an inch away) shows that you can even read the tiny type in that RM plaque. WOW! (Photo: SOAR ART)

Bottom Line: Spec-wise, this RM postbox stands at a perfect 27cm tall (approximately 10.6″), is 10.5cm wide (4.1″) and weighs in at about 1kg (or 2.2 lbs). All told, this big boy looks to be a near perfect replica of the real thing. According to Alpha-C, you should probably expect a retail price somewhere around $62 plus s/h. Our advice? Start watching the usual 1:6 scale import/retail websites (Cots, Big Bad, etc.) for further information on price and availability. Happy Hunting!

 

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New (Almost) 1:6 Scale Stand-up Arcade Games at Walmart Really Work and Are Ideal For Use With 12″ G.I. Joes—Plus (Get This), They’re Only $20!

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Zap those aliens, Joe! Moving beyond fantasy into 1:6 scale reality, the new “Arcade Classics” video game toys from Basic Fun are PERFECT for use with 1:6 scale GIjOEs. They look real. They sound real. They play real. Heck, these ARE real games. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Creation of 1:6 Scale Arcade Dioramas Now Easier and Less Expensive—Holy, Atari! 

During a quick trip to Walmart today, I discovered an outstanding set of 4 miniature stand-up arcade games (toys), and thanks to the miraculously technological times we’re living in, these new mini games aren’t just inert, display-only models; no, they actually function. That’s right, you can PLAY these miniaturized versions of classic arcade games, while your GIjOEs stand up in front of them (just like YOU used to) and play right alongside you—How cool is THAT?!

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We found FOUR, but there’s MORE— Yes, it’s true. Further research has revealed there are at least THREE more games in this amazing new toy line. Most of the 7 games can now be found at Walmart stores—and their website online (HERE). (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

The four games I picked up (shown above) are all vintage arcade classics, including: Centipede, Frogger, Q-Bert and Asteroids. If you were a teenager back in the late 1970s or early ’80s, these games will surely be familiar to you and bring back LOTS of memories. They’re top-notch, quality-made products by Basic Fun, and are numbered 3, 4, 5 and 6. Of course, those numbers made me think that there might also be a #1 or 2 (maybe even a 7!), so I quickly jumped on the internet when I got home and found out that—sure enough—mini-versions of Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man and Space Invaders are also available.<sigh> (I guess I need to get out the credit card—again.)

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Is Pac Man Going to be Pricey? We searched for the #7 game, Pac Man, online today, and found it at Walmart.com for $20, but also over on ebay—listed at $35! It looks like the price gougers have spotted a good thing and are already jumping on it. Why? Well, take a good look at that video screen. It’s showing the FULL-COLOR graphics of the original Pac Man, NOT cheap-o black-n-white LCD screens like those released by other companies. Our GIjOE’s “man cave” has GOTTA have this one, too. WOCKA-WOCKA-WOCKA! (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

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Hey Shorty, Where’s Your Bottom Half?— Obstensibly to save on production costs (the licensing fees were probably enormous), Basic Fun shaved the height of each game by approximately 50%. Fortunately, the other dimensions are less notably out of scale and the height issue can easily be rectified by creative, capable 1:6 scalers. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

It’s Like They Just Cut ‘Em in Half!

Right out of the box, you’ll notice that these games looks SHORTER than 1:6 scale—but are they really? They’re actually pretty darn close in terms of monitor screen size and case width. Our best guess is that in order to save $ on manufacturing, Basic Fun decided to shave down the HEIGHT of each game by about 50%. That means dedicated 1:6 scalers (like YOU) are going to have to come up with some sort of “make do” solution in order to raise the games back UP to their “proper” height. (Insider tip—I just sold a REAL, vintage 1970s Robotron arcade game and it stood about 6′ tall. That’s the same respective height of a 1:6 GIjOE. So…if you shoot for a 12″ overall game height, you’ll be pretty darn close at 1:6 scale).

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BONUS PLAY! During our online searches of the many mini gaming systems now available, we also came across this “Multicade 230” toy from SoundLogic XT SEE HERE. The 230 is similarly sized and will look just fine sitting alongside the games from Basic Fun. Note: Its dimensions are slightly taller, so whatever base you construct to increase its height (up to 12″) will only need to be about 4″ or so. Yes, the joysticks and buttons of ALL of these games are oversized for 1:6 scale, but we’re betting Joe’s Kung-Fu Grip can handle ’em. And check out that FULL COLOR screen! (Photo: Walmart)

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Super Side View— The Multicade 230 has a great profile with AWESOME graphics. You’ll want to display this one so you can see it from the side as well as the front. (Photo: Walmart)

Height and Scale Improvements are EASY to Make

For 1:6 scalers, ALL of these games come up short— in terms of height. Fortunately, replacing any of that “missing” height is easily rectified. All you have to do is construct some sort of a nondescript box or base (in shiny or flat black) to make up for the missing dimensions. For Basic Fun games, your base will need to be about 6″ tall, 3 1/2″ wide and 2 1/2″ deep. For the Multicade game, your base will only need to be about 4″ high. Suggestions for “construction” materials include: a sheet of styrene plastic, wood (at Hobby Lobby or Michaels), or possibly some “letramax” mat board (stiff, all-black cardboard that has a flat, non-reflective finish, also sold at most art and/or hobby stores).

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Build-a-Base Tips— If you decide to go with the simplest and most basic construction method for your game base(s) (using Letramax mat board), might we suggest that you use a sharp x-acto knife when making the cuts, AND… instead of cutting out each individual side panel, cut JUST SHORT of going all the way through. Leaving that “little bit” of mat board UNCUT provides you with a hidden “hinge” on the inside, thus enabling you to FOLD and create the various box sides without having to tape or glue them together. Yes, you’ll have to glue the box’s final connecting edges together in order to complete and hold its boxy shape, but that’s it. ENJOY! (Photos: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

Once you’ve selected a material for your base, all you have to do is fold, shape, glue, and possibly paint it until your “base box” is finished. Then, set your game up on top of it. The final 12-inch height of your game will make it look FANTASTIC alongside 1:6 scale action figures and in their respective dioramas. Your mind will soon be racing with ideas for dios, including such videogame-appropriate locales as pool halls, bars, pizza joints, mall arcades, basement game rooms, “man caves,” and much more.

Bottom Line: As well as looking great with GIjOE, these mini arcade games are really FUN toys, too. Their gameplay is truly retro and just as challenging as you remember. The stickers and graphics on each game cabinet look SUPERB, so there’s no worries or problems there. Plus, all of the gaming sounds, play action, joysticks and button movements are natural and fully functional. Play them all at once and it sounds JUST LIKE the arcades of your youth (see video above for audio-visual demonstration). Buy just one and set it up in the corner of a room diorama, or buy them ALL and recreate your favorite teenage hangout (Gold Mine Arcade, Northcross Mall, Austin, TX, 1978, here I come—again!). Whatever you do, my 1:6 collecting friend—Just “Git ‘er Done!”


UPDATE as of 12-12-17: As shown above, game #7 in the Basic Fun line-up is Pac Man—again. Why repeat Pac Man? Well, it turns out Pac Man #1, which was released along with #2, Space Invaders, were both inferior products, featuring sterile b&w LCD screens and unrealistic, what we would call “FLAT” cabinetry. It’s as if Basic Fun wanted you to lay those first two games down flat on a table while playing them. Of course, GIjOE fans want these miniature replicas to stand UP and look like they did originally back in the arcades of our youth.

So… just so you know, we recommend that you forget about tracking down games #1 and #2, they don’t really fit into this newer, vastly improved line. Spend your time picking up #3, 4, 5, 6 and #7. Remember, the new Pac Man (#7) comes with correctly shaped cabinetry and FULL COLOR game graphics—just like the original. YES!


UPDATE as of 12-14-17: We just learned that TWO MORE great games in the Basic Fun lineup have been released. They’re #8 Joust and #10 Rampage. Say, where’s #9? Our 1:6 arcade is really shaping up! See video review by madlittlepixel below:

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No Collection is Too Small— 1:6 G.I. Joe Enjoys Collecting (You Guessed It)—Action Figures!

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Collecting knows no size— Joe the Adventurer shows off a new (super-mini) HALO action figure, one of many such figures displayed on shelves throughout his home. (Photo: Queli Castro)

What do YOUR GIjOEs do when they return home from a mission? Some spend days, even YEARS, sealed up in depressing, air-tight storage containers, while others dutifully stand an interminable “watch” from the inside of locked, glassed-walled display cabinets. But for those fortunate few who are given freedom of movement by their (obviously imaginative) owners, the pursuit of personal hobbies and other pastimes is now becoming the norm.

For example, we recently caught up with one such fortunate 1:6 soul, a tiny toy collector known simply as “Joe,” whom, it turns out, is himself a 12-inch tall “fuzzhead” Adventurer! According to his owner, Queli Castro, of Chicago, Joe truly enjoys getting out of the house and visiting local stores to browse their aisles for the latest SUPER-MINIATURE action figures. Castro reports:
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“Hello Mark, Long time no chat. Yes, Joe collects action figures, and lately he’s added quite a few to his collection. I asked him if he’d pose alongside his collection for a few pictures and he kindly obliged (see attached images). In the wide view of his study (shown below), this is only PART of his growing collection. He’s always ‘rotating’ pieces in and out.”
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A flair for decorating— Joe’s study reveals an obvious talent for tasteful decoration. That mid-century modern coffee table, the high-back chair, and those attractive display shelves are ALL superb 1:6 scale furnishings. What a wonderful room. Go, Joe! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Superman is Joe’s favorite. That one he’s pointing to (see below) is a actually a nano metalfig (.99 cents) from Walmart.”
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Great Caesar’s Ghost! Such amazing detail at such a small scale. (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Joe also collects Star Wars memorabilia and he just got this super-miniature x-wing fighter from Walmart on Force Friday. The two military HALO figures (behind the x-wing) are by Mega Construx. They have 11 points of articulation(!) and come with lots of detail, display stands, and extra pieces. They are wonderful!”
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WHOOSH!!! Joe’s mind is racing with all the possible Star Wars scenarios he could act out—in his imagination. He clearly believes in taking off his shoes, surrounding himself with his favorite toys, and having a GREAT time! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“Here (below), Joe poses with his new Alice in Wonderland and Buzz Lightyear figures. While both are very cool, these particular figures are for his children and he plans to put them both under the Christmas tree this year.”
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‘Tis the Season— Joe knows that the true meaning of Christmas is to GIVE, LOVE, and SHARE with others. We’re sure Alice and Buzz WON’T disappoint! (Photo: Queli Castro)

“All the figures in Joe’s display are about 2” high and were bought at Walmart, with the exception of the three up there on the top righthand shelf (i.e. Batman/Robin/The Flash) which all came from our neighborhood WalgreensI’m also providing some photos of the action figures in their packaging (see below) because things look a lot different after they’ve been taken out of the box. And finally…

Mark… I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and thank you for The Joe Report. 
I look forward to every ‘issue’ and you do a wonderful job with it. Keep up the good work. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!” —Queli Castro, Chicago, IL

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Sergeant Forge HALO action figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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Superman die-cast metal figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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The FLASH action figure (Photo: Queli Castro)

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An Endcap Full of Ships— Star Wars mini vehicles for sale now at Walmart. These make out-STANDING miniature toys for GIjOE! (Photo: Queli Castro)

Bottom Line: We absolutely LOVE how this Joe decorates his 1:6 scale home with “super-mini” collectibles. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Queil Castro for providing all of these excellent photographs and for his very generous “field reporting” here at The Joe Report. You are the BEST, sir!Mark Otnes, Editor TJR

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Get Your Pepperoni Pizza Slice and a Cup of Coke Ready—1:6 Scale Arcade Games Are Coming Soon For Use In All Of G.I. Joe’s “Man Cave” Dioramas

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Get your roller disco skates on and head over to your local 1:6 arcade. 2018 will see the arrival of an entire line of GIjOE/Barbie-scale standup video games. (Photo; Replicade Amusements)

Bottom Line: If you collect GIjOEs and 1:6 scale props, grew up in the 1970s, and remember whiling away your teenage years in dark, video game arcades, then THIS story is definitely for you. Thankfully, it’s already been written for us by “Mighty” Mike Fahey, who lays out all the details on a new, exciting (and expensive) 1:6 scale product line—miniature standup arcade games. So… crack Joe’s tiny knuckles, line up some quarters, and prepare for all-night arcade game action HERE!!!

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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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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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JoeCon 2016’s “Eight Ropes of Danger”Accessory Set to Include Reproductions of Vintage Deep Sea Diver’s Uniform, Equipment———and Much More!

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Get Ready to Blow Some Bubbles—This first pic of the club’s exclusive 12″ uniform set for JoeCon 2016 reveals that it will include a faithful reproduction of Hasbro’s original DSD. (Photo: GIJCC)

Dive! Dive! Dive! If this is the last 12-inch exclusive set the club will ever produce, then they’re definitely going to go out with a BANG. In addition to the set’s two outstanding repro boxes and fully dressed Aquanaut figure we’ve already shown you, this exclusive will also include everything you see in the photo (above). Here’s the official tally, according to the club’s official press release:

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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. THE EIGHT ROPES OF DANGER is one of the most iconic accessory sets ever made for 12-inch G.I. Joe. It is featured on the art for 1969 Aquanaut’s ‘red top’ long box and comes with:

– White Dive Suit
– White Gloves
– Brass-tone Diving Helmet
– Oxygen Pump and Hose
– Compass
– Octopus
– Silver-tone Weighted Belt & Harness
– Silver-tone Weighted Black Boots
– Treasure Chest
– Treasure Coins
– Dive Knife and Sheath”

Bottom Line: This is pretty much what fans expected to see in this set, but what we’re not so sure about, is what the club’s “stealth” Aquanaut uniform will look like. Stay tuned, Aqua-NUTS! 🙂

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