Category Archives: Scale Animals and Props

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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“Action Flo” TV Commercial & Print Ad Campaign For Progressive Insurance is Parodying G.I. Joe

New Insurance Company TV Commercial Mimics 1960s and ’80s G.I. Joe Ad Campaigns

As readers of The Joe Report know all too well, GIjOE “sightings” in media and pop-culture are often found in unlikely or unexpected places. Most show our friend Joe way off in the background somewhere, or only mention him by name, as in the aforementioned scene of Cheers (see HERE).
It must be even rarer then, to discover parodical sightings wherein Hasbro’s GIjOE is being used to promote the products and/or services of another company altogether. But insurance? Really? We have to admit we didn’t see this one coming. (Please view the 30-second spot above.)

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Look Out COBRA…er, High Insurance RatesProgressive’s On Its Way! Fans of the 1980s “GIjOE: Real American Hero” Saturday morning cartoon will recognize this opening shot from the Progressive commercial showing vehicles zooming overhead. Excellent mimicry of the RAH! (Photo: Progressive)

Indeed, the commercial in question is for Progressive Insurance (PI) and it will undoubtedly strike nostalgic chords with millions of Joeheads of all ages. Even if you’ve never seen this spot before, if you grew up during the 1960s, ’70s or ’80s, you’ll instantly recognize it as a not-so-subtle homage to Hasbro’s GIjOE promos of the past, mimicking their gung-ho music, animations, and voice-overs.

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They’re Ready to FIGHT—For lower rates! This screenshot from PI’s “Action Flo” commercial reveals various characters in poses similar to those depicted in ’80s RAH GIjOE spots. (Image: Bigshot)

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery— If so, Hasbro should be thrilled with this new parody by PI. Indeed, if you leave the sound on your computer turned OFF while watching the commercial, it’ll appear as if the subject(s) being promoted is indeed, action figures and toys. However, with the volume turned ON, you can enjoy its true intent and the spot’s tongue-in-cheek narration, which reveals the humorous truth behind “Action Flo” —Psst…she’s selling insurance!

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Oh no! In this screenshot from the commercial, fans of 1960s GIjOE commercials will recognize the surprised, mouth-agape expression of these two kids who’ve just discovered that their GIjOE businessman is now “up to his neck in operating costs.” The horror! Absolutely HILARIOUS.

What we enjoy most about Progressive’s new “Action Flo” ad campaign (and this commercial, in particular) is that it seamlessly and expertly combines elements from all eras of GIjOE advertising. For example, this PI spot opens with a hard-charging, GIjOE RAH-esque ’80s animation sequence, which then segues smoothly into excellent live actor portrayals (ala Hasbro’s 1960s and ’70s ads) of children playing with both “Action Flo” and GIjOE-type figures, somewhere in backyard America.

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Lookout for the birdbath, Joe! In this screenshot, a 1:6 scale lawncare worker runs into a customer’s birdbath. Hey, Joe! Damaging the customer’s property requires the services of a insurance company!

PI’s beloved TV spokeswoman, “Flo,” makes her usual cameo appearance towards the end of this spot, giving her new Action Flo toy line (i.e. Progressive Insurance) a big thumbs up. Just after the director calls out “Cut,” she finds herself being hilariously “dissed” by a smart-alecky kid who apparently has some “pull” with the smoothy maker over at the production’s crafts services.

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The “Bad Guy” of the spot is the homeowner whose birdbath was damaged. He yells, “Now you’re gunna pay!” and is an interesting one-of-a-kind creation, custom-made from multiple sources.

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GRRR!!! This closeup screenshot reveals the Bad Guy’s hand-painted head sculpt. Excellent!

We want those toys! Action figure fans and collectors of advertising will undoubtedly be impressed by the quality of the Action Flo toy line and all of its superb, blister-packed accessories. Sadly, it doesn’t appear the toys are destined for mass-production—yet. We were able to locate a couple of “promotional” copies, but the majority of what you see onscreen, is not even real. According to a recent Bernstein & Andriulli article on this topic:

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“If you can believe it, what you see aren’t actual toys. They’re CGI composites. ‘The original intent of this wasn’t to make a toy, it was just to make a series of print ads,’ says Klim Kozenevich of Bigshot. ‘But because of how our process works, action figures are possible.’ Does that mean this is going to turn into an action figure? Plenty of people are asking for them, but we can’t know for sure. For now, we have to satisfy ourselves admiring the detail and variation that Bigshot Toyworks and Progressive brought to the range.”

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Yes, This “Action Flo” is REAL— She sold recently on eBay for $104.01. Most likely she was a VERY limited production promotional piece made for a limited purpose and not sold at retail. (Photo: eBay)

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Standing Tall— You gotta admit, this line of (non-existent) “Action Flo” toys has been superbly executed. Simply Out-STANDING work, Bigshot! (Photo: Progressive)

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Who ‘dat? This closeup screenshot reveals one of the Joes was (most likely) based on Hasbro’s Ulysses S. Grant figures. The gloves are crudely made, but only appeared on-screen for a split-second.

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Here’s another REAL “Action Flo” (not a CGI rendering) that you may never be able to actually own. Again, this was most likely a VERY limited promotional prototype. (Photo: eBay)

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Not-so-Good-Buddy— Trucker Flo seems to be the least inspired prototype. Fairly dull.

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Here’s the back panel which helps prove these actually existed, at least in prototype form.

Stop Teasing us, Flo! The print ad campaign carries through with "photos" of the action figures. Progressive, you're such a tease! (Photo: Bigshotklim)

Stop Teasing us, Flo! The print ad campaign carries through with “photos” of the (currently non-existent) action figures. Progressive, you’re such a tease! (Photo: Bigshotklim)

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Creative designer, Klim Kozenevich, gives the prospect of (someday) seeing Action Flo in toy stores a big thumbs up. For now, you can only contact Progressive—and hope! (Photo: Klim Kozenevich)

For those of you who are diggin’ the “Action Flo” toy line and want to know if you can buy them NOW, we offer one little ray of hope. When asked by one fan whether they were actually going to make the toys, Bigshot’s Klim Kozenevich optimistically opined:

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“You would have to contact Progressive to get the information on where and when you can get a Flo Figure.”

 

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Look closely, this is NOT real— It’s a CGI illustration of a fantasy product. Amazing! (Art: Bigshot)

Bottom Line: This new “Joe sighting” is a fast-paced and fun homage to GIjOE from beginning to end and has something for fans of all eras. As for the Action Flo figures, at this time, it’s not certain whether or not they’ll ever make the transition from fantasy CGI to reality, but if they ever do, it appears some of the line’s accessories are close to 1:6 scale. The “Log Haulin'” metal helmet (see above) looks especially promising. Our heartiest congratulations to everyone at Progressive and Bigshot Toyworks for their superb work on this campaign. Go, JOE! Go, FLO!

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You Can Build It———New 1:6 Scale “Nanoblock” (LEGO-Like) Sets Work Perfectly With G.I. Joes

Lanard Joe and young "Joey" spread out the base board of their new "Nanoblocks" set and begin to build the base of the Christmas tree, one block at a time. (Photo: Queli Castro)

Joe and “Joey” sit around the base board of their new “Nanoblocks” set and begin to assemble a 3-D Christmas tree sculpture, one tiny block at a time. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Queli Castro)

As this closeup reveals, the tiny Nanoblocks are spot-on PERFECT at 1:6 scale and work amazingly well with the tiny hands of this youthful Barbie child figure. (Photo: Queli Castro)

Tiny blocks for tiny hands—As this closeup reveals, the tiny Nanoblocks are spot-on PERFECT at 1:6 scale and work amazingly well with the tiny hands of this youthful Barbie child figure. (Photo: Queli Castro)

First of all… Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

We sincerely hope that 2016 proves to be a wonderful, happy, healthy and bountiful new year for you and all of your loved ones. We’d also like to wish you the very best in all of your future 1:6 scale collecting and customizing efforts, whatever they may be. Go, JOE!

As you well know, we here at The Joe Report are dedicated to tracking down and reporting the “best of the best” news stories regarding upcoming shows, products, activities, customs, dioramas, videos, “Joe sightings” in pop-culture and other 1:6 scale-related events. Despite our unrelenting vigilance, or perhaps because of it, we’re constantly being surprised, nay, delighted, whenever a new product or “find” is discovered and is found to (even unintentionally) work well within our ever-expanding 1:6 scale universe.

Equally surprising to us this time, our first such 1:6 scale “find” for 2016 has actually been on the market—since 2008(!)— but this is the first time that it’s ever even “registered on our radar” or been reported within our pages. News of this “new” 1:6 scale product known as Nanoblocks comes to us today from faithful TJR Field Reporter, Queli Castro, who files the following report:

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“Hello Mark, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I’ve been meaning to send you some photos but sometimes life conspires against me. A number of years ago, I discovered ‘Nanoblocks’ at Toys R US (TRU). I found them irresistible because it turns out that these micro-sized blocks are actually in 1:6 scale(!) and are perfect for use with our favorite action figure. I bought several of the ‘Sights to See’ series which are models of famous structures/buildings. HERE is a link to some of the sets on Amazon.”

Look at THIS! The tree is beginning to take shape. The trunk is done and Joe and Joey have begun adding the pine needles and ornaments. WOW! (Photo: Queli Castro)

Look at THIS! The Nanoblocks Christmas tree is beginning to take shape. The trunk is done and now Joe and Joey are adding the green pine needles and multi-colored ornaments. (Photo: Queli Castro)

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“Last year, I bought the Christmas tree set illustrated in my attached photos. I also posted these pics over on the Barbie Ultimate Chat board (found HERE) and Doll Divas (found HERE). As you can see, Joe and ‘Little Joey’ are having a lot of fun with their new ‘Legos.’ Take care and I look forward to reading your articles in 2016!”Queli Castro, Chicago, Illinois
What to Look For— Admittedly, the packaging for Nanoblocks is hardly "kid-oriented." No splashy colors or bright packaging. Rather, you might assume this was a box of christmas lights or tinsel and pass it by! (Photo: Queli Castro)

What to Look For— Admittedly, the poor packaging for Nanoblocks hardly appears “kid-oriented” and does little to spur sales. No splashy graphics. No bright colors. You’d probably pass this by without even a second glance. A serious repackaging effort is clearly called for here.  (Photo: Queli Castro)

Bottom Line: We’re not necessarily fans of Legos-type building blocks, so the fact that a miniature version had been created and has been around since 2008 doesn’t really surprise us. But the fact that this increasingly popular toy line also works perfectly with GIjOE and other 1:6 scale figures clearly makes them a welcome addition to our already bulging “miscellaneous” tub full of diorama supplies. Our sincerest thanks to “faithful fan,” Queli Castro for submitting today’s report and for all the wonderful supplemental photos. EXCELLENT photography, Queli! Remember… If YOU discover something that appears to be a natural (or even unnatural) “fit” within our wonderful 1:6 scale realm, please send news of it to us here at The Joe Report and we’ll share it with the world. Thanks!

Merry Christmas! Joe and Joey are clearly thrilled with the results of their efforts. It's amazing that these Lego-style blocks can be made at such a tiny scale. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Queli Castro)

Merry Christmas! Joe and Joey are clearly thrilled with the results of their efforts. It’s amazing that these Lego-style blocks can be made at such a tiny scale. Go, Nanoblocks! (Photo: Queli Castro)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forsooth—Here are some more photos:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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)

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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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