Category Archives: Shows

Vintage AM Equipment Sets Opened at VAME Meet 5

Imagine the THRILL of being the first persons to open sealed 1970s shipping cartons packed full of NMOC (new mint on card) vintage Action Man Frogman suits. Well, that thrill was realized recently by two of Action Man’s “founding fathers,” Bob Brechin (the former chief designer at Palitoy) and famed Action Man packaging illustrator, David Barnacle.

The two hobby giants appeared together at the recent VAME Meet 5 (held in the UK) to carefully open two of these precious “time capsules” from Action Man’s venerated past. Fortunately, Action Man fans around the world can now share in the thrill of those exciting moments by watching the video captured at the event (see clip above).

We’ve also received a wonderful “after action report” from VAME 5 representative, Michael Acton, who penned the following exclusive intel for readers of The Joe Report. Enjoy!

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Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Michael Acton)

Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Michael Acton)

“Just a postscript to this after the event: VAME Meet 5 really was extraordinary this year and was hectic from start to finish. We were quite taken aback by the numbers of collectors that came and supported the event, so thanks to all, including some that had travelled very long (by UK standards!) distances to make it.

Too many highlights to mention here, but it included a display of Dave Barnacle’s original AM art work by the man himself, Bob Brechin joining us for the day and patiently answering all those questions and Vectis auctioneers bringing along items from the recent sale of newly discovered unopened Palitoy Action Man stock hoarded by a former salesman. The BBC film crew were very unobtrusive and commented on the sheer enthusiasm of the collectors they spoke to.

We had a bit of fun at the end of the day when a couple of trade boxes of AM frogman sets from the 1970s, that were found untouched and still sealed, were opened by Bob Brechin and Dave Barnacle. There’s a video HERE (or see it above).

The suits were as fresh and supple as the day they left the factory and not perished at all (even though the glue had dried on one or two of the cards so that the blister covering had detached from the card). It’s going to be a challenge to beat this for Action Man’s 50th in 2016, but we’ll try!” —Michael Acton, UK

Bottom Line: Sounds like a great time was had by all. And yes, Action Man fans here in the U.S., Australia and elsewhere around the globe are all VERY jealous. Thanks for the regular updates, Michael. Our best wishes to everyone in the UK who helped make VAME 5 such a ripping success!

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Heads Up, Action Man Fans———2 Upcoming Shows To Take Place (Within 1 Week of Each Other) in 2 Village Halls (Only 2 Hours Distant) in the UK!

Action Man—Is HERE! Fans of all things Action Man gather 'round a dealer's table to search for 1:6 scale treasure during last year's VAME 4 toy show in the UK. (Photo: vame.freeforums.net)

Action Man—Is HERE! Fans of all things Action Man browse dealer tables at last year’s VAME 4 show in the UK. VAME 5, will be held on D-Day, June 6, 2015. BE THERE! (Photo: vame.freeforums.net)

Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Michael Acton)

Michael Acton, UK Action Man fan and VAME Meet 5 organizer (Photo: Michael Acton)

Short 2-Hour Drive on the M1 Enables UK’s Action Man Fans to Gather at 2 Big Shows

Surely, Action Man fans living in the UK must realize how lucky they are whenever they glance at this year’s toy show calendar and see what’s coming up for them in the next 4-5 weeks: TWO big shows are being held at TWO separate village halls, only a short, 2-hour drive apart!

Because of greater distances and higher costs here in the United States, attending multiple shows each year is much more difficult for fans, both logistically and financially. It’d be a dream come true (for fans in the U.S.) to have to only drive 2 hours to attend such great events.

Fortunately for fans in the UK, they’ll be able to attend BOTH the Action Man Day 5 event scheduled for May 31st in the Village Hall in North Weald; then (only a week later) take a leisurely 2-hour jaunt up the M1 to the equally popular VAME Meet 5 being held in the Quorn Village Hall in Leicestershire (see map below).

A short drive up or down the M1 enables Action Man fans to easily gather at TWO big shows. WOW! (Map: Google Maps) Click to enlarge.

Would YOU drive 2 hours to see Action Man? Heck, yeah! A short drive up or down the M1 enables UK Action Man fans to easily gather at TWO big shows in 2015. WOW! (Map: Google Maps) Click to enlarge.

We asked VAME Meet 5 representative, Michael Acton (see his photo above the map), if he had any more intel on the upcoming show being held in Leicestershire and he kindly replied:

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Bob Brechin

Palitoy Chief Designer Bob Brechin holds up a vintage Action Man he’d just autographed for a fan. Brechin worked at Palitoy between 1967-1984, primarily on the Action Man and Star Wars lines. (Photo: Sierra1)

“It’s being held on 6th June 2015, in Quorn (near Loughborough), in Leicestershire UK. It is just a few miles from Palitoy’s main base in Coalville. There is more detail on the VAME website HERE if you’re interested. The show is more of a social event than the usual commercial toy fairs and is shaping up to be the biggest yet. It is actually the longest-running Action Man event left in the UK now, having been held every year since 2011!

This year, we expect to have several of the original Action Man/Palitoy design team reunited, including Chief Designer Bob Brechin (above), with the Leicestershire museum service bringing local material on the history of Palitoy, a jaw-dropping display of ultra-rare carded pieces recently discovered (and heading to auction soon), plus the regular Action Man displays by VAME members of rare pieces, customs and (of course) lots of vintage Action Man (and GIjOE) to buy and trade.

There will also be a BBC TV crew filming (for part of a documentary on Palitoy) as well and we will be taking the opportunity to discuss plans to mark the 50th Anniversary of Action Man’s UK launch, which comes up in 2016. This is all subject to confirmation nearer showtime, so please check our website for the latest show intel. It’s shaping up to be the best one yet!” —Michael Acton

The official poster for VAME Meet 5 is cleverly patterned after a vintage AM accessory card.

The official poster for VAME Meet 5 is cleverly patterned after a vintage AM accessory card. With FREE admission and FREE parking, how could you NOT attend? (Graphic: Michael Acton) Click to enlarge.

Quorn Village Hall, UK (Photo: Google Maps)

The Quorn Village Hall will be the site of VAME Meet 5, on June 6, 2015. (Photo: Google Maps)

One week prior to VAME Meet 5, Action Man fans will also gather northeast of London on May 31st for Action Man Day 5, in North Weald, Essex. Non-UK readers of The Joe Report are already familiar with that show (see our coverage of last year’s event HERE) and are rightfully envious of all the enjoyable activity we’ll miss. Organizer Daniel Smart had this to say about VAME Meet 5:

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Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

“With many thanks to Clive (Clivvers) for his outstanding skills on this fantastic poster (see below), I am pleased to announce that Action Man Day 5 is now to be held on 31st May, 2015. Start saving your pennies, because this is the biggest and BEST one in the country and already we are nearly fully booked with all the regulars and a few new sellers. Be there or be elsewhere wishing you were there. All welcome, as usual. Entrance at 9.00AM. Kiddies are FREE!” —Daniel Smart

Action Man Day 5 Official Poster (Designed by Clivvers 2015)

Action Man Day 5 Official Poster (Designed by Clivvers 2015) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: It’s wonderful to see that the spirit of Action Man collecting is alive and well in the UK. And it’s equally wonderful to learn that two big shows will be conveniently located within reasonable driving distance for all of the fans who wish to attend. Best of luck, mates! Go, Action Man!

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Top Hasbro Executive, Derryl DePriest, Responds to Criticisms From Fans & Collectors of 12-Inch G.I. Joes: “A Market is Definitely Being Ignored”

Hasbro Global Brand Manager, Derryl DePriest, in his trademark Hawaiian shirt and neon tennis shoes, during an exclusive interview with The Joe Report at this month's JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro VP of Global Brand Management, Derryl DePriest, during an exclusive interview conducted recently with The Joe Report at this month’s JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“You know, the reports you put out (in The Joe Report), I have to say—I read them—and I have to bite my lip. Unfortunately, it’s not reflective of what the industry’s put out.”

Thomas Durbin of Champaign, IL, demonstrates his interpretation of the Adventure Team Commander at JoeCon 2015 with a marvelous handmade cosplay costume. Durbin remarked,

12-Inch Fandom Runs Deep with Thomas Durbin of Champaign, IL, who demonstrates what many fans enjoyed doing at JoeCon 2015—portraying their favorite 12″ GIjOE characters with handmade cosplay costumes. Durbin told us, “The hardest thing was enlarging the uniform buttons to be at the right scale.” Durbin certainly bears a striking resemblance to a kung-fu gripped Adventure Team Commander. FAN-tastic job, Thomas! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro Exec is Clearly Listening—But (Respectfully) Disagrees With the Views of Many 12-Inch Fans

I sat down with a very congenial and upbeat Derryl DePriest on the afternoon of April 11, 2015, with the primary purpose of catching up with one of the most famous GIjOE collectors in the world. For those who may not know, DePriest is the Vice-President of Global Brand Management at Hasbro and the author of one of the most famous books ever written on vintage 12-inch GIjOE collecting entitled, “The Collectible GIjOE—An Official Guide To His Action-Packed World.”

Derryl’s fame as an author and lofty position in the toy industry aside, I was more interested in learning about DePriest the man. In fact, my idea of interviewing him had only occurred to me one day before, when I’d seen him walking around at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. I’d met Derryl previously (at JoeCon 2009 in Kansas City), but only long enough to shake his hand and thank him for all his work on behalf of GIjOE. Now, six years later, I was curious to discover what else had been happening in his life.

As a result, when we faced each other in the dealer room/exhibit hall at JoeCon 2015, I told him I had no prepared questions and no particular subject in mind (to discuss) other than himself. Derryl quickly suggested an alternative to a typical Q&A interview, stating, “Let’s just have a conversation” instead. We agreed, turned on the tape recorder and jumped right in. Interestingly and unbeknownst to either of us, our conversation would quickly veer into a very sensitive subject area: Hasbro’s current treatment (and/or lack thereof) regarding (that’s right, you guessed it)—the 12″ GIjOE line. Here then, is our conversation:

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The Collectible GIjOE (Photo: Courage Books)

The Collectible GIjOE by Derryl DePriest (Photo: Courage Books)

INCLUDES 11 NEW & EXCLUSIVE
PICS TAKEN AT JOECON 2015

TJR: So… Could you tell us about the book you’ve written and your interest in GIjOEs?

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“I published The Collectible GIjOE in 1998. That was a dream come true; to be able to write a GIjOE book. I’ve collected 12-inch GIjOEs pretty much my whole life. It’d been my favorite toy when I was a kid and I had to put them away when I was in college; but I’ve never stopped buying them or ‘curating’ a collection. When I as kid, I had about 75 to 100 GIjOEs.”

TJR: Wow. When I was a kid, I had like 6.

“Well, I don’t want to misrepresent it; I didn’t come from a wealthy family by any means. Instead, I came from a family where we had a regular stand at a flea market, and my parents routinely bought and sold things on the weekends. I also have two younger brothers who love GIjOE. So we took our meager allowance every weekend and were running around the flea market buying toys.”

This full-sized truck sported bold, colorful GIjOE graphics at JoeCon 2015. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This full-sized extended-cab truck sported a multi-colored custom paint-job with bold GIjOE-inspired logos and graphics. It was also on display at JoeCon 2015. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

It must be St. Patrick's Day! DePriest poses for a photo for his Facebook page. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

A Lot to Smile About— DePriest posed for this recent “profile pic” over on his Facebook page. (Photo: Derryl DePriest)

TJR: How old are you now and where are you from originally? Where did you grow up?

“I’m 50. So I was born in 1965. I’m from San Diego and grew up in a family that had a very entrepreneurial spirit for buying things and then selling them at a profit. That’s pretty much what my family did.”

TJR: San Diego? So are you from a Navy family?

“No. Dad worked for McDonnell Douglas as a liaison engineer with some of the armed forces manufacturers down there. Anyway, I do have fond memories… Every time a new GIjOE or a set came out that we had to have for Christmas, my brothers and I would look through the Sears catalogs. We had three different colors of pens and each of us would circle what we wanted. I remember when the Mobile Support Vehicle came out and the Headquarters came out. All three of us had drawn BIG circles around them. Under the Christmas tree that year, we got THREE of each toy, because we couldn’t share, we were all jealous of each other.”

Unofficial GIjOE

Unofficial GIjOE “Rabblerouser,” Rick Pell, stands outside Hasbro’s Worldwide Headquarters building in Pawtucket, Rhode Island where DePriest works. In 2014, Pell formed the “50 Years of GIjOE” fan group on Facebook as a place for fans to vent their frustrations re: Hasbro’s current indifference towards 12-inch GIjOE collectors. (Photo: Rick Pell)

TJR: Do you live in Pawtucket, RI, now?

“Yup. After my book came out in ’98, I was contacted by Hasbro. They were closing their Cincinnati office and hiring a new team in Pawtucket. Many of the great folks who’d worked in Cincinnati didn’t want to leave Cincinnati, so what came open was the Director of Marketing for GIjOE. I’d interviewed in Kenner before and I’d really set my sights on joining Hasbro. For years, I’d decided that was really my ‘dream job.’

In 2001, I interviewed with the folks back in Pawtucket, including Alan Hassenfeld, the President of Hasbro (son of company founder, Merrill Hassenfeld). A few days later they offered me the job and I told my wife we were moving to Pawtucket. I had joined Hasbro as the director—heading up GIjOE!”

That's right. All that fantastic 40th Anniversary swag you now hold so near and dear in your collection, you owe to the hard work of Derryl DePriest. (Logo: Hasbro)

All those great 40th Anniversary products you now hold near and dear in your collection were spearheaded by Derryl DePriest. (Logo: Hasbro)

TJR: What were your first GIjOE projects at Hasbro?

“I was in charge of GIjOE from 2001 to 2004. So I brought back the 40th Anniversary Joes and really helped amplify our 12″ GIjOE line. The resurgence in 12” GIjOE had really started before that, with the ‘Classic Collection,’ as done by the Cincinnati team. In fits and starts, that Hasbro team had reissued the classics; after John Michlig had helped bring back the true vintage GIjOE with his book and the ‘Masterpiece Collection.’ But I had felt that we really hadn’t done justice to the original vintage roots of GIjOE, so I conceived the 40th Anniversary Collection (a series of vintage reproduction figure sets with window boxed accessories); and with OUR team, executed that and brought it out. The great lament I would have is that we didn’t get to some of the more exotic and rare and desirable sets. But it is what it is. I’m glad we were able to get out the 24 that we did. Thankfully, the (GIjOE Collector’s) club finished up the Green Beret and Air Force Dress sets for us. We just couldn’t get them to retail.

Many collectors of 12-inch GIjOE would reasonably argue that the 40th Anniversary line has been DePriest's greatest work to date for GIjOE. Unfortunately, this line was discontinued...in 1994!

Collectors of 12-inch GIjOEs could reasonably argue that the 40th Anniversary line was Derryl DePriest’s greatest contribution to GIjOE fandom. Unfortunately, that line of magnificent figure/uniform sets would be discontinued in 2004. And sadly, fans may never see their likes again. (Photo: ebay)

TJR: I LOVED the 40th Anniversary line! I really hated to see it end. What did you do next?

“Well, ultimately, 12-inch GIjOE wound down and then it was OUT. So I made a decision to go over to the Star Wars team in 2004.”

The Future of 12-Inch GIjOEs— With Hasbro unlikely to create new products for fans of 1:6 scale Joes, the club has picked up the ball and announced new figures coming in 2015-16, including 2 more of their superb

The Future of 12-Inch GIjOEs— With Hasbro no longer creating 12-inch GIjOEs, fans listened with rapt attention during a panel discussion at JoeCon 2015 as the club announced it will produce 4 new 1:6 scale figures for 2015-16, including 2 more of their superb “Lost Talkers” series. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Hasbro and the GIjCC might as well be burning fistfuls of $100 bills. By not selling 1:6 GIjOE products anymore, t

Which is it? Fans believe this graphic represents all the money Hasbro is losing by not selling new 12-inch GIjOE products to them; while Hasbro most certainly views the same image as representing all the money they’d LOSE manufacturing such items for a “niche” market segment. (Photo: Getty)

TJR: What do you say to all the 12-inch GIjOE fans and collectors out there who are still hurting from Hasbro’s lack of any 50th celebrationand yet, their wallets remain WIDE open, ready and eager to buy more Hasbro 12″ GIjOEs? It seems like a sizable market is being overlooked—or even ignored.

“A market is definitely being ignored. 

Hasbro is a big company with shareholders. We can’t make everything that we want to. We have to put our design resources where they’re going to be most productive. Unfortunately, the economy of scale of GIjOE—especially 12-inch GIjOE—doesn’t make it (creating new 12″ GIjOEs) a viable proposition for us.

In 1994, when there was a 30th Anniversary of GIjOE underway, that was a much different time in GIjOE collecting, where there was a much bigger base of active collectors. Ten years later, when we did the 40th Anniversary line, we launched that with the anticipation that we would re-engage a lot of fans, and initially, we thought we were. 

But the reality is, even at the time when we had the 40th Anniversary line out there, the 12-inch Joes were finding a much bigger audience to kids than they were for fans. It was still a very much kid-driven line, but we were doing ‘fan-product.’ 

But…the sales tapered off. And what they showed Hasbro senior management is that the 12-inch business really was a very niche business in the world of boy’s toys. So… We had to shut it down. Sales didn’t sustain it. And I’d say 10 years later, the situation really hasn’t changed. 12-inch collecting has a small but passionate fan group (base), but it’s not significant enough for Hasbro to devote design resources to putting fan-targeted product back out there.”

New 12-inch GIjOE product, like the AA

12-Inch GIjOE Sans Hasbro— The creation of new 12-inch GIjOE products (such as this AA “Fantastic Freefall” repro figure for sale at JoeCon 2015) is left to the auspices of non-Hasbro companies including the GIjOE Collector’s Club, Sideshow, Hot Toys, and Cotswold Collectibles. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

At this point in our conversation, the sober realization that Hasbro would no longer be making 12″ GIjOEs, once widely considered to be the “World’s #1 Toy,” left both of us feeling clearly saddened. We paused for a brief moment, lost in thought, watching convention goers pass by our table, before Derryl tried to put a positive spin on this depressing 12-inch forecast, by saying:

The future of 12-inch figures at Hasbro include this

The future of “12-inch” at Hasbro includes more products such as this “Titan Series” figure of Thor, featuring a whopping 5-points of articulation. But don’t worry, ol’ Thor won’t need to bend his elbows, waist or knees to sell briskly from stores (or Goodwill bins). (Photo: Amazon) Click to enlarge.

“What we HAVE shown…is that there actually is a very big market for 12-inch figures. They’re not the kind of figures that fans want to see, but there’s been a 12-inch business ‘renaissance’ of sorts with our Titan series of figures from Marvel and Star Wars. These are the figures with 5 points of articulation at very consumable price points. They’ve become a VERY big part of our business globally.”

TJR: Okay, let me stop you right there. You know those (5-point figures) are widely panned and derided by everyone out there, right?

“No. That is not true.

TJR: That’s NOT true?!

“They’re widely derided by fans who want ARTICULATED figures.”

Show us what'cha GOT! Another cosplayer shows off her stuff at JoeCon 2015. For her and other fans of 3 3/4

Show us what’cha GOT! Another cosplayer shows off her stuff at JoeCon 2015. Fortunately for her and other fans of 3 3/4″ GIjOEs, there’s a great deal of new Hasbro product coming in 2015. Lucky girl! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

sandboxlogoTJR: Right. I’m talking about all the posts I’ve read on places like the Trenches. I’m talking about the Sandbox. I’m talking about ALL of the 12-inch fan groups over on Facebook, where collectors go to discuss what’s currently being offered.

“Those are…I want to say this in the politest way possible…The days of a 12-inch, adult collector fan base being a significant part of our audience are unfortunately behind us. We had the opportunity 10 years ago to make product for that market—and we did! We made wave after wave of 40th Anniversary products. The market was NOT there, compared to any other business at Hasbro. I made a very valiant effort to launch and float that line as a viable business, and ultimately it did not pan out.

smtrench2What I’m trying to say here is, because there are fans who have the money and means and want to buy product, it doesn’t mean it’s a business that Hasbro should be doing. Quite honestly, Hasbro has finite resources, and we have to deploy them where they’re going to give us the greatest return on that investment for the company.”

Another WILD RIDE was parked in the main exhibit hall of JoeCon 2015, this one sporting twin machine guns and armor plating. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

This 1:1 scale COBRA assault vehicle was parked in the main exhibit hall during JoeCon 2015. It featured a full rollcage, twin belt-fed machine guns and armor plating. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

There's room at the top— If you've got the money, that is. The

12″ GIjOE Excellence— The “Retaliation” GIjOE figures created by Hot Toys were undeniably excellent in every conceivable way. Their only drawback? They’re $200+ EACH. (Photo: Hot Toys) Click to enlarge.

TJR: Have you given any thought to maybe creating an off-shoot company or license someone else to release regular offerings to 12-inch GIjOE fans, i.e. those fans that Hasbro no longer considers to be financially viable?

“The GIjOE Club exists to do those kind of things. They’ve managed the collecting business for 15 years now, or longer. They’ve managed conventions and they’ve seen it all. The GIjOE club knows the size of that audience. Unfortunately, what the club has seen over that time is a steady erosion of active collectors in the 12-inch hobby. 

Sideshow and Hot Toys have also made a number of 12-inch figures (see HERE) from us, under license, for the past few years. They were absolutely unbelievable. So in a way, we did exactly as you said. We DID license out 12-inch GIjOE. Unfortunately, even Sideshow’s tapered off. No one (else) has knocked down our door to license 12-inch…the business just isn’t big enough.”

Willing to Wait— GIjOE fans of all scales are steadfast and VERY patient when it comes to their collecting passions. Here, fans line up and wait to enter the dealer/exhibit hall at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Willing to Wait— GIjOE fans (of all scales) are steadfast and patient when it comes to satisfying their collecting needs. Here, fans wait to enter the dealer hall at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Sharp eyes could find some stunning vintage Joe gear at the show. If we have to tell you how RARE these two sets are, you should just move on. The construction set even still has its ORIGINAL 1960's price tag!

“Blades” of a Bygone Era— The production of carded uniform/equipment sets that were “sold separately” is, according to DePriest: “an antiquated model” unlikely to return. Does that make these two even MORE valuable? (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

TJR: We hear all the time from GIjOE fans who wonder why Hasbro can’t simply return to a smaller, more targeted version of their original “razors and blades” concept. They’re not asking for another big 40th Anniversary-style product push, only some occasional new 1:6 scale uniforms or equipment that hasn’t been produced before. Has that approach ever been (re)considered?

“The retail model in today’s landscape doesn’t work that way at all. Retail is a real-estate play. We have to be productive and turn in the space that we aggressively maintain with our retailers. The common comment we get is the ‘razors and blades’ model. That is a 30-40 year old model that is not tenable today. It doesn’t work. It’s not the way other competitive products are sold. In practically any line out there, the FIGURES are the things that sell and are highly consumed. Accessory sets languish and are quickly eliminated from any line, not just GIjOE. The ‘razors-n-blades’ model is an antiquated model that doesn’t represent the way consumers purchase today.

Thanks to the hospitality and welcoming beauty of

Thanks to the hospitality and beauty of “Springfield Welcoming Committee” members, Scarlett Conn (l) and Sara Detrick (r), fans attending JoeCon 2015 were warmly greeted—with FREE cupcakes! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Does THIS Jog Your Memory? This is one of the 2011 GIjOEs DePriest quizzed me on. Of course, I remember them now, AND that in actuality, I DID purchase at 3 or 4 of them. (Photo: ebay)

Does This Picture Jog Your Memory? This is one of the 2011 GIjOEs DePriest was quizzing me about at JoeCon. At the time, I couldn’t place what he was referring to, but I remember them now, And in actuality, I DID purchase 3 or 4 from this line. (Photo: ebay)

(At this point, Derryl decided to turn the tables and began asking ME a few pointed questions):

“When was the last time we had a 12-inch GIjOE line at retail? Do you remember that? Did you pick up the figures we did in 2011 when we came out with a series of 5 or 6 different 12-inch military figures at retail?” 

(Caught off-guard, I couldn’t recall which figures he was referring to specifically, so I just shook my head.)

“You probably don’t remember that. That just gives you an example. People will make figures and people don’t show up to buy them. That’s why we’re not (making them anymore). In 2011…we brought back some new configurations of 12-inch figures. We publicized them throughout the Joe community, but the 12-inch figures were the weakest sellers we had in the entire line. Nobody showed up to get ’em. We had almost no pickup or response from the fans.”

Hasbro's Last Stand For 12-Inch GIjOEs came back in 2011 with figures such as this Army Paratrooper. Many items were rehashed from previous sets and sales were lackluster at best. (Photo: ebay)

Hasbro’s “Last Stand” For 12-Inch GIjOEs was taken back in 2011 with the introduction of 5 or 6 low-priced figures featuring (yet) another paratrooper. Most of this Joe’s gear was rehashed from previous sets, and overall, quality seemed noticeably down. Sales were (predictably) lackluster. (Photo: Amazon)

(Still unsure what 12-inch Joes he was referring to, I replied):

The 2011 line of 12-inch GIjOEs were featured on this issue of the GIjOE Collector's Club newsletter. The pattern in this Marine's camo ACU uniform was one of the few highlights for fans. Did YOU buy this one? (Photo: GIJCC)

The 2011 line of 12-inch GIjOEs were featured in this issue of the GIjOE Collector’s Club newsletter. The ACU camo pattern in this Marine’suniform was one of the few highlights for fans. (Photo: GIJCC)

TJR: Well, is it perhaps that 12-inch collectors are a little more discerning and demanding now, and that they felt the 2011 figures weren’t worthy somehow?

“I don’t know, you tell me! You didn’t buy ’em! I’m not here to do a post-mortem on that line, but what that line suggested was that kids were not—at the time—into 12-inch figures and the fan base wasn’t enough to sustain that business.

My long answer to a short question is… As passionate as the 12-inch fans are—and I’m one of them, because my story’s built on 12-inch, I came to Hasbro to take over the GIjOE line, I have launched many lines internally—it’s (unfortunately) a small but passionate business; not big enough to sustain. 

Our focus now is Joe-Cobra. That’s not to say Joe-Cobra couldn’t be 12-inch, but the days of a kind of generic GIjOE and razor/blades phenomenon or Timeless Collection stuff are in the past.”

joecon2015girls2

JoeCon 2015’s “Cobra Girls” were decidedly taller than their 3.75″ counterparts. Will 12-inch fans ever see such figures become part of GIjOE’s 1:6 future? Only Derryl knows! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

TJR: Wow. Well, we’ve covered quite a lot today, haven’t we? Let’s finish by talking about you again. Do you still have a GIjOE collection? Do you have a “Joe room” at your home? Do you have display cases or is everything stored away in tubs?

“Yes, to all of that.

I’ve got every GIjOE figure ever made!

Some are on display and some are not because of space limitations. You can see in my book exactly what my collection comprises. That’s the story and essence of my collection. Since that time, I’ve acquired a lot of packaged GIjOEs. That’s what I’m interested in now; adding really nice, packaged examples to my collection.

My goal someday is to have every single packaged figure, vehicle and accessory set.” 

TJR: Is there a possible second book in the offing then?

“No. Unfortunately, while I’m at Hasbro, I can’t write any more books.”

TJR: Okay then, do you ever leave comments on GIjOE fan forums or other online fan sites?

“No. We don’t participate in social media, either. And I don’t care. It’s never been about celebrity for me. It’s about trying to bring out the things that fans are most passionate about.”

TJR: Well, your heart’s definitely in the right place! Thank you so much for all your time.

“My pleasure. Thanks, Mark!”

It's Never Been About Celebrity—

“It’s Never Been About Celebrity”— DePriest, looks out at the JoeCon 2015 crowd, reflecting upon the fact that he’s helped make so much of what they enjoy collecting—a REALITY. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Derryl for his generosity and contributions to this article. It’s always fascinating to hear directly “from the top” whenever discussing the past, present or future of Hasbro’s most marvelous creation. If you’d like to see and hear more from Derryl DePriest on this topic, we highly recommend you watch the following VIDEO. Enjoy! Go, Derryl! And GO, JOE! 

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Brian Savage Becomes De Facto Leader of 12-Inch G.I. Joe Production For the Foreseeable Future

Leading the Way— GIjOE Club Founder and President, Brian Savage, currently has more years under his belt as a producer of 12-inch GIjOE action figures than practically anyone. With Hasbro turning its back on the 12-inch line, Savage now finds himself the leading coordinator and producer of official 1:6 scale GIjOE figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Leading the Way for 12-Inch Fans— With Hasbro abandoning 12-inch GIjOEs, GIjOE Collector’s Club Founder and CEO, Brian Savage, has become the main producer of officially-licensed 1:6 scale GIjOEs, with 4 new figures (3 announced at JoeCon) slated for a 2015-16 release. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

joecon2015logoAs Hasbro Bows Out, Longtime Leader of the GIjOE Collector’s Club Announces Production of (at Least) 4 More Officially Licensed 12-Inch GIjOE Action Figures

With multiple IDs dangling from his back pocket and an ever-present walkie-talkie clipped to his famous blue jean shorts, the GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) founder and leader, Brian Savage, looked every bit the “Field Commander” of GIjOE fandom he’d become. At this particular moment during 2015’s JoeCon (a hugely successful GIjOE convention Savage recently orchestrated in Springfield, IL), he found himself in a hallway, encircled by about a dozen 12-inch fans who were peppering him with all sorts of GIjOE and club-related questions.

Although Savage had just completed an hour-long GIJCC panel discussion in the main ballroom, these fans had remained behind with the realization that they were being given a rare opportunity to speak directly to the man who helms the longtime Ft. Worth, TX-based business that will oversee production of new 12-inch (1:6 scale) GIjOEs into the foreseeable future. Fortunately, Brian’s answers were plainspoken and specific. After almost 30 minutes of the energetic back-n-forth, his rapt audience thanked him for “all that he’s done for the hobby” and Savage thanked them in return for their continued support of the club’s efforts. Below are some quotes from that hallway Q&A:

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, CEO and EIC, Fun Publications, Inc. (Photo: GIJCC)

On the Club’s 2 New Upcoming (12-inch) GIjOE Lost Talkers:

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“On the 12-inch side…we had started this ‘Lost Talker’ series a few years ago. We did the Talking Action Soldier and the Talking Marine…in the old days, when these were made…around ’67, they only had 8 talking phrases. We found out that in the archive, there were actually 10 recorded by the original voice actors that were not included. What we did with these figures was, we went back…and were able to add all 10 phrases. So not only were they reproduction Talkers as they had been, but they had 2 phrases that had never been heard, not newly recorded phrases, but original, vintage ’60s recorded phrases that were—LOST.”

Talking Sailor GIjOE (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Sailor (Photo: Vectis)

“We’re going to continue this series…they may hit late this year (2015), depending on production. We’re going to do a Lost Talker Action Sailor…and then we’ll round out this whole series by doing the Lost Talker Action Pilot; which will have 10 phrases rather than 8; 2 that have never been heard before.”

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

Talking GIjOE Pilot (Photo: Vectis)

“We go in and add additional art to the insert to show what the new phrases are. It’s kind of a nice reproduction item with a little bit of a ‘plus’ to it. 

So, even if you already have these as vintage items in your collection, you’ll get something that you didn’t have before. And then that will round out our ‘Lost Talker’ series.”

On the Return of Mike Power, the Atomic Man, as the Club’s 12″ Exclusive for 2016:

So Far Away! Sorry about this grainy pic, but we were  seated pretty far back in the crowd during this presentation. Regardless, we hope you can make out the fact that Mike now has TWO atomic legs, and an all-new

(Mock-up photo: GIJCC)

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“He’s going to be a good lookin’ dude. We’re not reusing his old namby-pamby head. We’re doing a totally new sculpt. We didn’t like the unnamed, ‘other company’s’ male pseudo-fashion figure that Mike Power always seemed to look a little bit like (That would be Barbie’s Ken, ed.). And we’re actually going to put an LED into his eye, which will work with the dog-tag when you pull it. Please don’t point this at any aircraft. Federal authorities will come visit you. We showed a photo of a mock-up and a sketch of the all-new headsculpt we’re having done in the panel discussion. There’ll also be a uniform set called ‘Field Mission Alpha’ that you’ll be able to purchase separately.

A sketch of an all-new head sculpt for the GIjOE Collector's Club upcoming recreation of the Mike Power GIjOE action figure. (Photo: Jerry Gonzalas)

Here’s Looking at YOU, Mike Power #2— Savage revealed a sketch of an all-new headsculpt currently being created for the GIjOE Collector’s Club 2016 12-inch membership action figure—with working LED light-up eye. An optional uniform set will also be produced and sold separately. (Photo: Jerry Gonzales)

A new photo of the GIjCC's upcoming 12

GIjCC’s 2015 12″ membership figure, “Dr. Isotope” will be the first-ever, glow-in-the-dark GIjOE. Imagine Mike Power’s LED atomic eye shooting at Doc—in the dark! (Photo: GIjCC)

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a “must-have” for fans. (Photo: GIJCC) Click to enlarge.

On the Upcoming and Unusual “Dr. Isotope,” the First EVER Glow-in-the-Dark GIjOE: 

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‘The 12″ membership figure for 2015 will be Doctor Isotope: The Nuclear Menace. He’ll be the first-ever 12″ GIjOE action figure that will glow-in-the-dark. He’s a new foe for the Adventure Team to fight and as always, you can purchase a unique uniform and accessory set for him separately.”

For over 18 years now, GIjOE fans and collectors have watched Savage and the GIJCC grow to fill a role of ever-increasing importance and leadership among both the 1:6 and 1:18 scale GIjOE collecting communities. Indeed, without his/their tireless efforts, many wonderful GIjOE figures (of both scales) that fans now take for granted would never have been produced in the first place. Take a look at your own collection. It’s likely you own at least one of Savage’s superb creations, perhaps more. And as the years have passed, their desirability and collectibility have only increased. That’s easy to understand. Here are just a few examples:

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he'll leave behind a trail of excellence and achievement. We looked around the office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. Of course, he and his team of experts at the GIJCC have produced many more official GIjOE products, in both 1:6 and 1:18 scales. Imagine owning them all! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

An AWESOME Legacy—When Brian Savage finally retires, he’ll leave behind a mountain of GIjOE achievement. We looked around our office this morning and piled up what we could find of his work. This is only a fraction. Imagine owning everything! (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Indeed, as Hasbro continues to step farther away from the possibility of producing 12-inch GIjOEs EVER again, Savage has begun to be recognized for his new role: that of being the sole remaining producer of officially licensed 12″ GIjOE action figures. Sideshow and others may dip a toe into the GIjOE waters now and then, but nothing with the regularity of Savage and the GIJCC.

Local fan club divisions too, occasionally produce their own exclusive figures (predominantly the Atlanta and DFW divisions), but when it comes to manufacturing hundreds of authentic GIjOE action figures in factory-made coffin boxes, there’s really only one place collectors can still turn to: Brian Savage and the GIJCC. Here’s some more Q&A from Savage at JoeCon 2015:

JoeCon 2015 was held in Springfield, IL. Why? According to Savage, it was because for the first time, the community responded to their requests for facility and hotel availability. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

JoeCon 2015 was held this year in Springfield, IL. But why? According to Savage, there were a variety of reasons. For the FIRST time, Illinois’ capital city had responded to the GIjCC’s inquiries re: facility and hotel availability, thus helping its chances. And as the old lottery saying goes, “You have to be in it—to WIN it!” (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On How JoeCon Locations Around the U.S. Are Chosen:

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“When I started this 18 years ago, my original thought was I would find an East Coast, Center of the Country, and West Coast location. I would then alternate between them. But that reflected my naivety as an event planner, because I wasn’t experienced as an event planner.

What’s happened is, we’ve continued to grow…We’re not in that facility ‘footprint’ size anymore. There are a lot of facilities out there with 12,000 sq. ft. ballrooms. However, they do NOT have another 8,000 sq. ft. ballroom sitting next to it where we can do break-outs (i.e. panel discussions, film festivals, etc.) or dinners.

For JoeCon, we’re now at 25,000 square feet (gesturing to the dealer room upstairs). To do BotCon, I need 35,000. There are very few facilities out there that have that size space. And oftentimes, you can’t get into a place you’ve already been because they don’t have your dates. Costs, rates and availability are always changing.

I also try to move it around it the country because I always hear people say, ‘It was never near me before. But this year I could drive to it and had such a great time; I’m going to go WHEREVER you are next year!’ For all these reasons, choosing a location for JoeCon is often a lot more magic—than it is science.”

Sometimes the surprise

SURPRISE! Sometimes the free convention “extras” given out to attendees are GREAT and sometimes they’re not. This year, at JoeCon 2015, 12-inch fans received a STUNNING Adventure Team pilot’s helmet (its logo is painted on, not a cheap sticker) along with a matching yellow parachute box (including straps but no ‘chute). These FREE gifts were very much appreciated. Thanks, Brian! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many fans also received  FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Many 12″ fans also received FREE JoeCon 2015 jackets for their Fantastic Freefall figures. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

On Working With Hasbro and the State of the GIjOE Brand in 2015:

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“The Joe people, because it (GIjOE) hasn’t been in the retail stores, they pretty much let us run amok (in picking sets, teams and themes) for a lot of it now…They do work with us. There’s nothing heavy-handed…They’ve been trying as a company, for the last 4 months, to integrate us better on both sides. The GIjOE brand just isn’t there, because they (Joes at retail) are in such an anemic state right now. And you know, you couldn’t ask for two better people to work with than Derryl (DePriest) and Mark (Weber).” (He goes on to explain that there is just not enough demand or resource for both sizes.)” 

The Man of Action accessory set, while uninspired, will offer fans the chance to dress their new membership figure, as well as house him in a nice repro box. Actually, the box is the most appealing part of this entire set. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIjOE club’s reproduction Man of Action figure, box and accessory set were the closest Hasbro would get to an “official” 12″ commemorative of the brand’s 50th anniversary. (Photo: GIJCC)

“In my opinion, they blew a whole opportunity to artificially (because of the 50th Anniversary) recreate GIjOE and drag it (the 12″ GIjOE brand) up from the depths again. But the company decided not to emphasize the anniversary. If WE (the GIjOE Club) were supposed to head up the 50th anniversary celebration, then that’s kind’a sad (as there is no way they could do with the brand what Hasbro can).”
GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) took time at JoeCon 2015 to patiently reply to  questions from fans and the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

GIjOE Brand Manager Mark Weber (l) and Hasbro Global Brand Manager Derryl DePriest (c) repeatedly took time during JoeCon 2015 to patiently answer questions from fans and members of the media. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“It’s all strange and wondrous (the last 18 years)… I don’t even remember the names of all of the people we’ve worked with there (at Hasbro). I’ve been working with them for 18 years. I’ve got more time on the brand than anybody that’s there at Hasbro, except maybe Derryl (DePriest)…There’s a lot more phone calls and stuff now that he and Mark are on the brand.

Above: The parachute drop at the 2009 JoeCon in Kansas City, MO, was one of the last truly big “media event” drops hosted by the GIjOE Collector’s Club. Sadly, since that time, the activity seems to have lost its focus, forcing the club to shelve future drops while reconsidering its purpose.

On the Evolution and Disappearance of the Parachute Drop at JoeCon 2015:

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“The parachute drop (has) become something totally different than what it was designed to do in the beginning. It was designed to #1: Stop 12-inch collectors from throwing parachute figures off the building at night. And #2: So that we could have an event for the media, to get on TV.

We used to sell the extra figures to cover the costs of the free ones we were throwing off the building. But now, the parachute jump has kind of devolved into this ‘extra collector thing I have to have.’ So we need to go back and rethink what we’re doing, because it’s not serving its original (media event) purpose anymore.”

On the Day-to-Day Difficulties of Dealing With Dissatisfied Club Members: 

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“What we find on the web is that people often go to non-related forums or contact Hasbro to ask a question or complain without ever contacting us. If you have a question or concern, you can email or call our office. We want to help you get the correct answer.”
In the

Just Joking (Sort Of)— In the post-Con Questionnaire that attendees fill out and return to the club’s information booth, we made sure to indicate our preference for super-articulated 12-inch club figures with KFG (YES!). And then we jokingly named Hasbro as our “favorite GIjOE enemy.” HA! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“I answer almost every email, and if not, we’ll put something out that has the information on it. That’s why we put out a newsletter and a website. Sometimes I get so many emails from the same people. I don’t mind answering one or two, but when you’re sending me one every three or four days, it becomes overwhelming. If I have 3,000 people in each club (GIjOEs and Transformers), sending this many emails we won’t do anything except answer emails.”

Finally, in a previous interview over on joecustoms.com (HERE), Savage cleared up the differences between Fun Publications, the Master Collector and the GIjOE Collector’s Club, saying:

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“Fun Publications, Inc. is our company. Master Collector is one of our websites and was the classified ad publication for trading toys. We ceased publication of the print version of MC a year ago. The G.I. Joe Collectors’ Club and the Transformers Collectors’ Clubs are officially licensed by Hasbro and are business units of our company. That means every figure or accessory we produce are officially in the cannon of G.I. Joe.”

After thanking Savage again for his years of hard work, the hallway O&A group slowly began to disperse; but before they did, Brian politely and thoughtfully thanked them in return, saying:

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 “I sure appreciate y’all coming, and taking the time to listen, and the feedback—and all that stuff!”

Savage has grown increasingly popular with fans of 1:6 GIjOEs, as they have begun to realize he is now the

Savage Faces the Fans— Brian has grown increasingly popular among GIjOE collectors, especially fans of 1:6 scale figures, as they have begun to realize that Savage’s business (Fun Publications, Inc.) provides the best chance for the creation and continuation of new, officially licensed (12-inch) GIjOE-brand action figures. Here, Savage answers an additional 30 minutes of questions from fans of 1:6 scale Joes during an unscheduled “Hallway Q&A” at JoeCon 2015. (Photo: Mark Otnes) Click to enlarge.

GIjOE Collector's Club logo

GIjOE Collector’s Club logo

Bottom Line: Savage and his GIjOE Collector’s Club have certainly earned their place at the top of the GIjOE collecting pantheon. There’s an undeniable “sense of historic occasion” to each of Savage’s JoeCons; and while they may not all be successes, when they do “hit,” they typically hit on all cylinders, providing 3 days of fun and opportunity for thousands of fortunate fans. After all, many collectors remain GIjOE brand purists, demanding only Hasbro-stamped butt cheeks and Hasbro-branded coffin boxes. For them, nothing else but official Hasbro-licensed GIjOE products will do. And for them, Brian Savage remains solidly in business. He and the GIJCC are probably the last, BEST hope for such products in the future. Remember: Only GIjOE—is GIjOE!

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JoeCon 2015 Captured in Widescreen HD Video

Bottom Line: In this, the first of THREE articles we have planned covering JoeCon 2015, we thought we’d surprise you. Rather than penning paragraph after paragraph of descriptive text, we chose instead to produce a documentary video of the show. That way, you’ll get to see and HEAR highlights captured during its actual events. And if you weren’t able to attend in person, then this should provide a “You Are There” experience for what you missed. Finally, to assure you receive the finest coverage available, our Joe Report film crew shot the entire production in FULL high-definition (HD) widescreen. So, sit back, enlarge the picture to fill your screen—and ENJOY!

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That’s a Wrap, Fans———JoeCon 2015 Is Now History

Hasbro's new Brand Manager for GIjOE, Mark Weber, folds his arms in satisfaction after conducting a "2015 new product" seminar and carefully arranging is officially He's "The Man"

He’s “The Man”— Hasbro’s new Brand Manager for GIjOE, Mark Weber, sits back in satisfaction in the dealer/exhibit hall at JoeCon 2015. Weber was taking a short break after co-conducting the “Hasbro Brand Panel” discussion with fellow company exec, Derryl DePriest. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Bottom Line: Just a quick heads up to let readers of The Joe Report know that we’re now back from covering the events at JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, Illinois. This year’s extravaganza was so jam-packed with Joe-fun, that we’re going to have to break up our reportage into three separate articles. Stand by for article #1, a general overview of all the action—complete with HD video! 

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Stormy Skies Unlikely to Deter Thousands of Die-Hard G.I. Joe Fans From Attending JoeCon

Serious rain is falling all across Illinois at the moment, but it's unlikely to effect the action occurring largely indoors at this year's JoeCon 2015 in Springfield, IL. (Photo: Ev Cabrera Marinucci)

Button up and put the Pedal to the Metal Heavy rains currently falling across Illinois are unlikely to effect the turnout at this year’s JoeCon 2015 being held in Springfield. (Photo: Ev Cabrera Marinucci)

Bottom Line: Well, the sun is up but we can’t see it through all the rain, lightning and tumbling thunderheads. Nonetheless, fans from all over the U.S. will be headed to Illinois’ capital city this weekend for 3 days of fun with the world’s favorite action figure—GIjOE. Just a heads up though, whether you’re on the road or up in the air, THIS is what it looks like down here on the ground. It’s raining cats-n-dogs at the moment (great for when we plant corn and soybeans later this month), but we don’t think the storms will have ANY effect on the thousands of excited fans who’re planning to attend. Safe travels, everyone. Hope to see you soon. Go, JOE!

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“The State of the 1:6 Scale Hobby” Discussed By Panel of Experts at Joelanta 2015 in Atlanta, GA

Toy Expert and Pop-Culture Blogger, Rudy Panucci (Photo: Rudy Panucci)

Bottom Line: If you love GIjOEs and 1:6 scale action figures, but were unable to attend Joelanta 2015 earlier this month <D’oh!> then you’ll be THRILLED to learn that renowned pop-culture commentator, Rudy Panucci took his camera along to the event. As you may already know, some of Joelanta’s most anticipated activities actually take place away from the dealer’s room and outside its vaunted “hall of dioramas.” In fact, a variety of hobby-related meetings and seminars are regularly held and draw big crowds that are eager to display, demonstrate, discuss and even debate assorted 1:6 scale topics. This year was no different. And fortunately—Rudy was there!

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW GIjOE Club)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW Club)

One of this year’s most anticipated panel discussions was the annual “State of the Hobby” commiseration. Thanks to Panucci and his video, you now have a front-row seat worthy of Don Levine himself. Enjoy as Joelanta host Buddy Finethy moderates an exceptional panel of experts including the aforementioned Panucci, 3D printing expert, Keith Holmes, Trenches founder/moderator Scott Beckmann, SA female figure expert Chung Kim and the well-known representative of Cotswold Collectibles, Greg Brown. Stick with the video to the end and you’ll be rewarded with Brown’s adamant declaration (which was met with thunderous applause):

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“As long as you guys keep supporting what we’re manufacturing, I will do my damnedest to make sure we’re making what you want.” —Greg Brown, Cotswold Collectibles

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First Pic! 2015 JoeCon’s 12″ Exclusive Revealed

A rough prototype pic of the box for the JoeCon 2015 12" exclusive set

Geronimo! A rough prototype pic of the box for the JoeCon 2015 12″ exclusive set. (Photo: GIjCC)

The GIjOE Collector’s Club finally revealed today (in a newly released PDF file) that it is definitely creating an exclusive 12-inch figure for fans and collectors of the original 1:6 scale line. It’s yet another parachute-themed set, this one dubbed “The Adventures Of G.I. Joe Test Pilot featuring Fantastic Freefall and Descent into Darkness.” <phew!> The cover of the set’s box (currently only visible in this low-resolution version) looks like it will be quite a nice tribute to the old “red top” boxes from 1969, combining an action photograph of the figure as it parachutes down with artwork of his ’60s jet fighter going down in flames behind him. According to the club’s description:

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“This set commemorates the very short run of the 1969 “Adventures Of” series and features a 12” G.I. Joe Adventurer in a reproduction of a “red-top” long box along with his tan cap and pants, white t-shirt, dog tag, Label revolver, brown shoulder holster, and brown boots. He also comes with a reproduction Fantastic Freefall parachute accessory set and a new Descent into Darkness night-ops version of the same parachute accessory set.* All of these items will be packaged together in a display box featuring art from the “Adventures Of” era.” ($340 for members, $410 for non-members)

Bottom Line: The GIjOE Collector’s Club is famous for its outstanding 12-inch convention exclusives. Oddly, their description didn’t list the Freefall pilot’s key piece of equipment, his distinctive gold, white and black helmet with “G.I. Joe” stenciled on it, but we’re sure that’s going to be included (right?). Anyway, let’s hope so. All in all, this appears to be real winner (if only it wasn’t so EXPENSIVE). One final thing to remember: As the club continues phasing out 12-inch collectors, the quantities of their 1:6 scale products are sure to become more and more limited. Therefore, we recommend you keep your eyes peeled for future updates regarding its availability. We can’t wait to see some more (sharper) photos of the actual set. Should be VERY cool! Go, JOE!

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JoeCon 2014 Closes to (Mostly) Positive Reviews

This superb VTOL Air Adventurer flight diorama was clearly the

This superb, custom VTOL Air Adventurer diorama by Sean Huxter was clearly the “show stealer” of the day at JoeCon 2014. Hand-crafted and 3D-printed, exquisite details were everywhere you looked. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

This feisty

This feisty “Baroness with a Whip” clearly wanted to get into the spirit of the occasion by wearing her handmade, skin-tight Baroness costume to JoeCon 2014. RrrOW! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

Fans Share Reactions to Recent Show

JoeCon 2014 is now one for the history books. Based on forum reviews, e-mails to the editor, and direct first-person “field reports” received here by our news desk, fan reaction to the 4-day event held last weekend in Dallas, TX appears to be primarily—positive. Attendance was similar to last year’s subdued affair in Indianapolis (i.e. “so-so”), not up or down significantly. The 12-inch dealer, fan and collector presence all seemed to be (fairly) well represented, with sales and product equally (fairly) plentiful. And, the number of 1:6 scale custom figure and diorama entries contesting for prizes seems to have held its own this year among a much greater number of 3.75″ RAH entries. It wasn’t the 50th Anniversary “blow-out party” fans had long been hoping for, but overall, JoeCon 2014 would have to be categorized as—a (qualified) success.

Of course, third-person recaps are fine, but nothing beats having first-person “boots on the ground” reportage when covering a major event such as this. For that sort of up-close and personal coverage, we now turn (once again) to our intrepid pool of TJR “Field Reporters,” each and every one a dedicated fan, collector, and concerned analyst of the GIjOE collecting hobby. Here’s what they had to say:

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GIJOE fan and collector, Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

GIJOE fan Brad Byers (Photo: Brad Byers)

“I went to the Saturday general admission exhibit area of JoeCon 2014. The show was nice and seemed to be well organized. Overall, it was bigger than the one I went to in Frisco, TX several years ago. There was a good mix of items for sale for both the 12 inch and 3 3/4 inch collectors (with a slight more emphasis on the 3 3/4 inch figures). Being just a general admission attendee, I didn’t get to do anything else, but there was a seminar on the ‘History of GIjOE’ going on in another area while I was there. I had a great time and look forward to the upcoming D/FW show in October!” —Brad Byers

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it's questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Some dealers at JoeCon 2014 clearly made the most of their limited display space by building their shelving up, up, UP! While such display tactics may help them show more merchandise, it’s questionable whether buyers pay as much attention to items placed high above eye-level. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW GIjOE Club)

Greg Brown of Cotswold Colletibles (Photo: DFW Club)

Dealers and 1:6 scale-related businesses will be interested to learn what Greg Brown of Cotswold Collectibles had to say about his experiences at this year’s show:

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“I did some quick GIjOE shopping Friday morning, picked up a NICE Irwin Scout Car from Ace, a tan field radio with handset-n-strap from Jason, a pair of machetes with sheathes and an AT Talking Commander Shirt and Pants I found buried way in the back of a 3.75” dealer’s booth.

After lunch, my son and I manned the Cots booth as the 2 PM crowd came in (and what a crowd it was). We stayed busy until 5:15 PM, when they finally ran off the holdout customers in our booths. Contrary to popular belief, there are still 12″ Joeheads coming to this show, and they came to spend money!”

“Celebrating 25 Years of Action,” Cotswold Collectibles continues to step into the 12-inch product “void” created by Hasbro’s near-total departure from 1:6 scale. Cotswold is now producing its own superb line of figures, packaged and sold in vintage-style “coffin” boxes to ever greater success. Bottom line? More lost revenue for Hasbro, and more profits for Cotswold! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“Saturday was just as busy. We sold a ton of stuff and talked to a TON of people. I called it a day at 5 PM again. Didn’t do the club dinner that night for I hadn’t purchased a convention package, so my boy and I just ate in the hotel restaurant, and retired back to our room, wherein he read the stash of GIjOE comics he got that day, and crashed from exhaustion. There was a clandestine para-drop that night, but we were so out of it, we didn’t go.

Sunday was my third and final day at the show. It was slower, so I got to walk around a little. I talked to Brian Savage for a pretty good amount of time, ‘shop talk’ mostly, which was productive.”

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could:

Cotswold also set up a display advertising how you could: “Build your own Explorer!” by selecting from various colors of backpacks, canteen covers, belts and uniforms. YES! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“Even though the Club didn’t do much in offering 12″ product at the show, you couldn’t say that 12” was dead there. I was representing Cotswold, Ace Allgood and his crew had 5 booths full of vintage 12″ or 1:6 scale product, Ross Craig had a TON of Adventure Team sets and figures, Greg Patterson had an assortment of 40th sets, Eva Thompson had two booths plus of vintage and other 12″ product, Tony Tillman had a TON of loose figures and parts out the wazoo, Cosmic Collectibles had some nice boxed AT vehicle sets as well as good loose parts, and there was even a man and wife team from California(!) with 12″ vintage.”

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was going to be

This massive wall of figures quickly dispelled the notion that there was “no 12-inch” at the Con. Each figure bore a price sticker, right on its chest, making sales quick and easy. When faced with such fantastic selection, fans and collectors feel like kids in a candy store as they try to pick their favorites. There’s even a muscular-bodied, CA “Thor” peeking in at the lower right. By, Asgard! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“So from a personal perspective, I’d have to say that this was a fun show and it was great to reconnect with the Con ‘regulars’ I remembered from years back. From a business perspective, we had a lot of people tell us that they had missed us and were happy that Cotswold Collectibles had come back this year. They showed their appreciation financially too, for it was probably the BEST JoeCon we’ve had in years, maybe even the past 10 years! When I sat down and totalled up our numbers, I was shocked at how much we sold.” —Greg Brown, Cotswold Collectibles

This dealer's table included 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man figures and even a group of 1:6 Star Wars characters. Sweet! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Another dealer table loaded with 12-inch GIjOES, Action Man “Eagle-Eye” figures and an assortment of 1:6 scale Star Wars characters. There was something for everyone! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This customized

This custom gold Bulletman figure looked great with his all-new uniform, boots and paint. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Greg’s “after action” report is undeniably upbeat and a relief for other sellers and dealers who were worried that business at JoeCon had all but dried up. But did everyone who attended feel as positively about the show as Mr. Brown? Apparently not. For some additional insight and impartial perspective, let’s hand the microphone back over to some show attendees:

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 “I can’t say that I was all that impressed with the show this year. I swung by, and after an hour, I was ready to leave (and did).” —Michael Milstead

Every year, the GIjOE Collector's Club uses this same display case to show off its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other premiums. This year, the lackluster

Every year, the GIjOE Collector’s Club uses this same display case to present its convention exclusive figure sets, t-shirts and other merchandise. This year, their lackluster “Codename: GIjOE” 12-inch set was a disappointment and drew little interest from fans. (Photo: Brad Byers)

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David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

David Howard, GIjOE Collector (Photo: Joelanta)

“If you went to Joelanta, you saw 75% of the vintage that was at JoeCon, more than likely with the exception of a few small dealers. For the money, Joelanta was a better choice for me. And scheduling JoeCon so close to Joelanta is a bad idea. Unless you have a deep pocketbook and tons of inventory, it’s difficult to attend two major shows back to back.” —David Howard

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We're not sure who this guy's supposed to be. He looks sort'a like a human geiger counter! Whatever his real character's name may be, this outfit with a giant analog gauge really helped him

We’re not sure who this cosplayer’s supposed to be. He looks sorta like a human geiger-counter! Whatever his real character’s name may be, this costume, with its giant analog gauge really helped him “measure up” to the competition! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“There was a lot of 12″ stuff, there just wasn’t a lot of 12″ collectors, or collectors in general. I don’t know if it was the fact that the dealer room was huge, but this seemed to be one of the lightest-attended Joecons I have been to.” —Joe Czar

Hmm… Interesting! With disparaging remarks such as “lightly attended,” “Joelanta was a better choice,” and “after an hour I was ready to leave,” it appears some fans viewed the proceedings through a slightly different lens. Of course, if you look at the club’s official convention photos (found HERE), you only get the impression of packed halls, busy banquets and energetic dealer rooms full of happy fans. That may be (mostly) true if you’re a collector of the little 3.75″ figures, but it’s clear some 1:6 scalers felt “left out” during this year’s JoeCon. To get a more overall and detailed description of the show from a fan’s perspective, we dispatched our intrepid, undercover Field Reporter, Louie Lapointe (shown below) to cover the events and report back to us with his own honest summation. Here then, is Lapointe’s intel:

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GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

GIjOE fan and collector, Louie Lapointe (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“Overall, I saw some great fan enthusiasm at JoeCon 2014. Those that go to JoeCons are a niche group, and they really enjoy being there. I felt a positive chemistry in the air with so many like-minded people gathered together. I frequent Comic Cons as well. At those shows, the vibe is different because there are so many varied interests. At THIS show, I walked past many groups of people animatedly discussing things related to GIjOE. And the lines to see the various ‘Joelebrities’ were also filled with fans, all happy to wait to meet their favorites.”

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. (Photo: GIJCC)

GIjOE co-creator and icon, Sam Speers, poses alongside a 50th Anniversary banner at JoeCon 2014 in Dallas, TX. Speers is widely regarded as one of the “Founding Fathers” of GIjOE. (Photo: GIJCC)

“I also witnessed some outstanding cosplay (costumed players). Being an old ‘Con Rat,’ I’ve seen a vast improvement over the years in terms of costume craftsmanship and care given regarding the portrayal of beloved characters. Most at this show were top-notch!”

Two RAH

Two RAH “cosplayers” show off their carefully constructed costumes with detailed, color-coordinated accessories and headgear. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“As far as custom figures and dioramas, there were some truly inspired, imaginative and downright FUNNY ones on display. And at one booth, there was even some creepy and creative avant-garde pieces to experience.”

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the

Perhaps the most detailed diorama at the show was this superb 1:6 scale recreation of the “Bad Mother Tattoos” tattoo parlor. Note all the tiny details including magazines, books, framed samples, equipment, and even a 1:6 scale tattoo gun. Simply out-STANDING work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

This closeup of the 1:6 scale

This closeup of the “Bad Mother” Tattoo Parlor’s 1:6 scale tattoo gun reveals superb attention to detail and miniature realism. Excellent work! (Photo: Brad Byers)

“As to vendors and dealers, my impression was, overall, very positive. You could tell that they were fans as well and were knowledgeable about the stuff they had up for sale and/or trade. Most were SUPER friendly, willing to make a deal, and eager to help you find whatever it was you were looking for.”

Fans of 12-inch were surprised and pleased to find many rare figures available at the show. (Photo: Brad Byers)

Fans of 1:6 scale GIjOEs had mixed reactions to the quantity and availability of 12-inch merchandise at JoeCon 2014. Despite that fact, take a look at THESE great figures. WOW! (Photo: Brad Byers)

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized

Attention, Ape-heads! This fantastic collection of customized “Adventure Primate Elite” figures stands ready to take over the Earth at your command. Even the sign was hand-carved and painted. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

“My only complaint—and it’s one that I (sadly) anticipated—was the lack of any real celebration of GIjOE’s 50th  anniversary. I’m 52 now, and I find it kind of funny that the GIjOE sets I couldn’t afford way back when they first came out, I STILL can’t afford today! Oh well, at least, my 20-something son made out like a bandit with his own  particular list of wants. Any time I can share my hobby with him gets a BIG check mark in the positive column!” Louie Lapointe

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector's Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Brian Savage, GIjOE Collector’s Club (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to all of the intrepid TJR Field Reporters who generously contributed their time, insights and photographs to this article. And our sincerest and heartiest congratulations to Brian Savage and the rest of his hard-working employees (and volunteers) at the GIjOE Collectors Club. Despite all of the “gripes and grumbles” fans send their way, the club’s professionalism and experience in organizing, promoting, and hosting these annual conventions is undeniable and worthy of fandom’s sincerest admiration and respect. If you’d like to view more photos of JoeCon 2014 and its proceedings, we recommend you visit the GIJCC photo gallery HERE. Mr. Savage also chimed in regarding the recent success of JoeCon 2014, saying:

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“The overall vibe was VERY positive and we raised over $6,000 for the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth! Unfortunately, I don’t have time to write a report for you now, but we will have others writing JoeCon articles for the upcoming (June) issue of the collector’s club magazine.”
Brian Savage
These great medical dioramas NEVER get old. Look at the well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. GREAT job! (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

A good medical diorama never goes out of style. This entry in the 1:6 diorama category had well-chosen background accessories and nicely posed figures. Simple and effective. (Photo: Louie Lapointe)

There are still copies of this special brass commemorative coin available at the club store. ($25 each). (Photo: CIGCC)

Copies of this commemorative coin are available from the club—for $25! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for the banquet included your choice from these 4 superb GIjOE-themed cakes. Which one would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)

Dessert options for attendees of the Con’s awards banquet included a piece from one of 4 superbly crafted  GIjOE-logo cakes. Which cake design would YOU choose? Mmm! (Photo: GIJCC)