Category Archives: Vehicles, Aircraft & Watercraft

The Future of Toymaking?—Hasbro’s New “HasLab” Crowdsourcing Initiative Attempts to Raise Funds For Production of Star Wars’ “Jabba’s Sail Barge”


Will They Succeed?— This computer-rendering of HasLab’s (first-ever) crowdsourced toy project, “Jabba’s Sail Barge,” reveals the incredible potential for similar collector-driven toy projects in the future. But questions remain: Will HasLab succeed? Is crowdsourcing the future of toy production? Will fans be able to sustain “toys” that costs them $500 a pop? (Photo: HasLab) Click to enlarge.

In what may be the clearest view yet of toy-making’s future, Hasbro has just launched its new “HasLab” crowdsourcing initiative. The goal of this particular collector-funded toy project will be to locate and sign up at least 5,000 fans who are willing to pony up $500 each for an exclusive, 4-foot long (compatible w/3.75″ figures) “Jabba’s Sail Barge” from Star Wars. A prototype shown at Toy Fair and all of the computer renderings online look absolutely GORGEOUS. If Star Wars toys are your thing, you should watch HasLab’s customer recruitment video shown below.


Aiming High— HasLab’s new business model may reflect the future of “high-end” collectible toy production. The potential for such crowdsourced toys would seem to be sky-high. (Photo: JpM)

haslablogoBottom Line: If this approach to “high-end” toy production is successful for Hasbro, you can expect to see similar efforts forthcoming from other toy manufacturers in the future. Perhaps Hasbro would even consider creating something new, big and amazing for 12″ GIjOEs? How about an updated, more realistic version of a 1:6 scale USAF Crash Crew Truck? Joe fans can dream, too!

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Customizers of 1:6 Scale Vehicles Now Utilizing “Shapeways” 3-D Printing Services to Recreate Lost, Broken or Missing Original Vintage Parts


Missing Parts be Damned— As the newly 3-D printed missile launchers of Gary Stair’s vintage 1960s “Silver Streak” vehicle clearly prove, the ability to recreate broken or missing parts of vintage toys has DEFINITELY arrived. Out-STANDING work, Shapeways! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

We’ve covered this topic before, and we’ll cover it again—because 3-D printing ROCKS! Wassamatta, Joe? Can’t you find that rare, missing, or broken piece of your classic GIjOE or other vintage toy? Well, fear NOT, my friend. Nowadays, thanks to the modern-day miracles of 3DP, you can simply MAKE ONE YOURSELF (see our previous article HERE). In further confirmation of the evolution of this exciting field of “amateur” toy creation, diehard customizer and revered TJR Field Reporter, Gary Stair, wrote in recently to describe a new 3DP project he had just completed for his beloved Captain Action “Silver Streak” vehicle. According to Mr. Stair:



Toy collector and customizer, Gary Stair, PA. (Photo: Gary Stair)


“I bought the Captain Action Silver Streak vehicle many, many moons ago and have been searching for rockets and replacement launchers for it for some time. After reading about Wayne Faucher’s Bell jet pack / Shapeways article on the Joe Report HERE, it dawned on me one day—DUUHH—that I have the resources required to make all-new parts—with 3D printing!”


We can rebuild them— Will 3D printing become a panacea for collectors of vintage toys, allowing them to replace or recreate ANYTHING they need? We think YES! (Photo: Gary Stair)

“I began by interviewing several designers and finally found one over in Australia who was up for the challenge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a vintage Silver Streak rocket anywhere—and believe me I hunted. I wanted the designer to have an exact replica to work from. But in lieu of that, I emailed him a TON of photographs, and he was able to use them to figure out the (close to) exact measurements required to recreate a “non-firing” version.”


99% Accurate, NON-FIRING— Gary’s new Silver Streak replacement parts do NOT come with a spring-loaded system that “fires” missiles off their launchers. but the shape, size and accuracy of these parts is—nonetheless—unbelievable. WOW! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Unlike the original versions, my new rockets do NOT fire. On the original vehicle, a spring came inserted in the rocket that would then lock onto the launcher. I wasn’t sure I wanted that level of liability yet—let me sell a few first—(LOL) so I went with a non-firing version. Regardless, overall, it is a near-perfect design and DOES fit PERFECTLY onto any original 1960s IDEAL Silver Streak Captain Action vehicle (as you can see in the photos).”


Things of BEAUTY— Gary’s new 3D printed parts simply snap into place, perfectly replacing the original missing launchers and rockets. WHOOSH!!! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“As for the Silver Streak’s LAUNCHERS, I did manage to locate some (broken) vintage ones, and sent those off to my designer in Australia, communicating via email every step of the way. And while this was an expensive project, the new 3-D printed parts from Shapeways came out GREAT. After I sell a couple on eBay HEREI may jump back in and work on a ‘firing version’ (with spring inserted), allowing the ‘2nd generation’ repro rockets to ‘hook’ onto their launchers.”


Armed and Ready to do Battle with Dr. Evil— Superb! (Photo: Gary Stair) Click to enlarge.

“Customizers can paint them silver (like the ZICA version) or blue (like the Ideal original) or ANY color to replace their missing launchers and rockets. It is amazing all of the things you can do with the 3D printing process. I’m not sure what I will create next (maybe the gear shifter?), but for now, it’s just great to know that we have the tools required to make replacement parts or create NEW parts for our 1:6 scale GI JOE, Action Man, Captain Action and other figures. What a great resource!”


Big, Bad, and BEAUTIFUL— Say, who stuck those .50 cals on the front? (Photo: Gary Stair)

“Thanks again (and hats off) to the pioneers of 1:6 scale 3DP, Wayne Faucher, Sean Huxter and David Pruitt (see HERE) for showing all the rest of us “the way.” And a great big thank you to you too, Mark Otnes, for helping us all keep our 1:6 scale dreams alive. Go, Joe Report and Go, Patches of Pride!” —Gary Stair, PA


Zoiks! It’s ZICA— The mini Silver Streak from ZICA Toys for 3.75″ figures. (Photo: ZICA)

Bottom Line: 3-D Printing is proving to be quite the boon for creative-thinking customizers and 1:6 scalers. A few years ago, “Super” Sean Huxter made some short videos demonstrating a couple of his new 3DP product ideas in prototype form (see below), proving that the potential for new GIjOE-related accessories appears to be practically limitless. Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Gary Stair for all his generous help with this article and to the other “pioneers” of this new 1:6 scale field of expertise and endeavor. You guys are all the BEST!

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RC Hobby Shocker!—Hobbico Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection As Declining Consumer Interest Continues to Impact Already Struggling Toy Industry—Softening Drone Market Also Cited


How the Mighty Are Falling— As this aerial view reveals, the Hobbico headquarters building located in Champaign, IL, is literally MASSIVE in terms of its size and employment. Unfortunately, declining consumer interest in its RC hobby products has now forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US Federal Court. At this location alone, 332 Hobbico employees currently face (possible) termination. Other toy and hobby companies are similarly threatened, and many toy industry observers have begun to wonder if an entire leisure pastime (playing with toys) has begun to die a slow death—one GIANT business at a time. (Photo: Google Earth) Click to enlarge.

Downward “Domino Effect” From Falling Toy and RC Sales Being Felt Industry-Wide


First, Toys ‘R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see HERE). Then, Hasbro and Mattel both raised their own corporate “red flags,” warning of impending financial difficulties (see HERE). And yesterday, Hobbico, the LARGEST hobby product distributor in the United States, announced that it too, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection against its own horde of (unhappy) creditors. In an article published in today’s News-Gazette, reporter Ben Zigterman reveals the shocking financial figures:


“In its filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Hobbico said it has an estimated 200 to 999 creditors, $10 million to $50 million in assets, and $100 to $500 million in liabilities.”

Fans and Collectors of 1:6 Scale Should Take Heed

Ouch! Those numbers sting. With a mere $10-50 million in assets and a debt of as high as $500 million, the future of Hobbico does indeed look bleak. And if an RC-industry giant such as Hobbico fails, it’s death knell must certainly serve as some sort of “canary in the coal mine” warning to our own (beloved) 1:6 scale hobby. Seriously, if you think about it, there is actually very little separating the two hobby’s fields of interest For example…

We love our 1:6 scale action figures, vehicles, dioramas, and the imaginative world of indoor and outdoor playtime they inspire, correct? Well, all of that joy overlaps (in many cases) with very similar products (and activities) provided by our compatriots in the RC hobby world. For many on both sides, the activities of our two related “communities” are conveniently, inextricably, and forever—linked. The truth is undeniable. RC tanks, planes, boats, cars, drones and other such vehicles are ALL a common sight at today’s GIjOE-centric toy shows. And why not?


A Perfect Blend of Two Hobby Worlds— As this photo clearly demonstrates, the combined use of RC vehicles and action figures has always been a “no-brainer.” (Photo: Ron Stymus)

Sadly, today’s article in the News-Gazette also goes on to report:


“…it is possible that there will be a permanent shutdown of all Hobbico operations and locations and the permanent termination of all Hobbico employees…” —Howard Salazar, HR Director, Hobbico

Surprisingly, decreasing sales of RC drones are also (partially) to blame for Hobbico’s current financial dilemma. Only a couple of years ago, the prevailing belief was that RC drone sales would continue to skyrocket well into the future. Unfortunately, it appears that the public’s interest in this relatively new market segment has already begun to wane. According to Salazar:


“After a strong prior year, a softening of the overall drone market in 2016 led to substantial declines in sales for Hobbico.”

Bottom Line: Despite the country’s current robust economy, the end (sadly) appears to be coming soon for both Hobbico and Toys ‘R Us. Hopefully, other toy and RC industry giants will hear the bellwether ring of these impending business closures and make whatever strategic corrections are necessary to ensure their own survival.

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Wayne Faucher Reveals First Pics of His Custom 1:6th Scale “Adventure Team Commando ATW”


Ready for Bipedal Battle Action— Wayne Faucher’s custom ATW is a threatening, elevated platform for some serious AT firepower. (Photo: WFT)

You all know the drill. Every 6 months or so, customizer extraordinaire, Wayne Faucher, shows up here in the pages of The Joe Report to share some pics of his latest creative foray into 1:6 scale imaginative excellence. Today, he debuts pics of his new “Adventure Team Commando ATW,” a wondrous creation he upgraded from one of those Star Wars “Assault Walker” toys you’ve probably seen (and passed by) at Walmart many times. However great his efforts, Wayne is never one to toot his own horn, and describes this particular 1:6 custom project in an almost blasé manner, stating:

Wayne Faucher (Photo: WFT)

“Just a bit of weekend fun here. Here’s the Adventure Team Commando ATW. This is a straight up repaint of a Star Wars Assault Walker (currently available on clearance at Walmart for $15). I really tried to find something to customize here, but when something is already this cool, there’s not much to do!

It’s colored it in the Adventure Team Commando Armored Division orange cammo I had already established with my Troublemaker last year. Along with my ATXO, it makes a welcome addition to my AT Commando line. And the price is unbeatable. The whole concept of the AT Commando is set in the early 70’s and $15 is about what this item would have cost back then! So, continuing the ‘What if Hasbro had decided to extend the military line INTO the Adventure Team run,” here then, is the ATW. Enjoy! —Wayne Faucher


Look For This Box— Here’s what the toy package looks like. At first glance, you may think you’re only buying one of those barely poseable storm trooper figures, but upon further study, you see that you’re also getting the walker shown in the battle scene. TOO COOL! (Photo: Hasbro) Click to enlarge.


One careful stroke at a time— Wayne proves you can still paint your toys the old-fashioned way—with a brush—and get GREAT results. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.


Powerful Decals— As a professional artist, Wayne’s skills enable him to increase his custom’s realism while simultaneously keeping the ’70s AT “toy-like quality” he enjoys. (Photo: WFT) Click to enlarge.


Powerful Profile— From the side, you can see that Wayne went to great trouble to ensure certain details were painted with the appropriate colors. (Photo: WTF)


Box ’em up REAL good!— As Wayne has proven time and time again, even though Hasbro has given up on GIjOE’s beloved “Adventure Team,” there’s nothing stopping its fans from making their own custom boxes for custom AT figures. So…let’s all get busy! (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.


Back off, Bad Guys— There’s a new sheriff in town. And his name is “Adventure Team Commando!” (Thanks to “Wild” Wayne Faucher.) (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.


Gettin’ SERIOUS— Wayne’s AT Commando force continues to grow. (Photo: WTF) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: Once again, Wayne has officially BLOWN OUR MINDS here at The Joe Report, and we’d like to thank him sincerely for sharing these pics and for inspiring countless 1:6 customizers around the world. Absolutely SUPERB work, Wayne. If you’d like to contact Wayne, please leave a comment here with any kudos and/or questions. Thanks!

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James DeSimone Make Guest Appearance on A&E’s “Storage Wars” As a G.I. JOE “Super Collector”

Bottom Line: In this 2-minute clip from an episode of the A&E program, Storage Wars, one of the show’s contestants(?) purchases a storage locker for $750, then discovers it contains a 1985 GIjOE USS Flagg aircraft carrier. She then takes it over to James DeSimone for his professional, expert estimation of its value. There are some quick, fleeting views of the assembled ship, plus a few shots of James’ RAH figures placed atop its deck and arranged around it for maximum display effect (making this an official “Joe Sighting”). The Flagg’s box is included as well, but it appears to be pretty banged up. Was this particular Flagg worth what James declares? YOU be the judge. Enjoy!

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Robert Jason, Master Customizer of 1:6 Scale Vehicles, Completes M-16 Halftrack With RARE “Quad Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machineguns”

Four, count 'em, FOUR .50 caliber machine-guns mounted on a rotating turret make this stunning custom halftrack by Robert Jason a big, BAD mutha! (Photo: Robert Julie Kostick)

There’s four, count ’em, FOUR .50 caliber machine-guns mounted on a rotating turret in the back of this stunning M16 halftrack customized by Robert Jason. Imagine all the firepower GIjOE could pour onto the enemy with this baby. Brrrrrrappp!!! (Photo: Julie Kostick) Click to enlarge (and drool).

Master customizer Robert Jason (Photo: Julie Kostick)

Master customizer Robert Jason poses with his latest 1:6 creation. (Photo: Julie Kostick)

Picking Up Where Hasbro Left Off

When you look around at all the new 1:6 scale vehicles still being produced nowadays, especially custom ones, such as those being built by master customizer, Robert Jason (previously profiled HERE), you begin to realize the tremendous amount of lost profits Hasbro decided to leave behind when it chose to abandoned its 12-inch GIjOE line. Utilizing one of Hasbro’s M3 Marine Tank Destroyers, combined with a stunning array of FOUR .50 caliber machine-guns mounted on a rotating turret, Jason has created an all-new and exciting variation that any Joe fan around the world would LOVE to add to his collection.

For Hasbro, producing this same vehicle would have been a fairly simple product extension to bring to the market, but in their absence, it’s comforting to know there are still fans and customizers out there who are able to fill this niche so ably. In fact, upon learning of this particular custom vehicle, we were stunned that Jason had decided to put it up for sale over on ebay HERE. Of course, that’s great news for us collectors, but it must’ve been a difficult decision to make on his part. We asked Robert to recount his memories concerning the creation of this superb custom, and he kindly replied:


“In response to several requests from fellow collectors, I attempted to recreate a 1:6 scale US Army WWII M16 Halftrack .  To my knowledge and extensive research, no one is producing this model in 1:6 scale.  After much web-surfing and research, I discovered that most pieces for the intricate turret configuration had to be scratch built.”

This view of Robert's M16 reveals its amazing "Quad" firepower. AWESOME. (Photo:

Prepare to be BLOWN AWAY, Fritz!  This view of Robert Jason’s custom M16 reveals its amazing “quad” firepower and how one seated gunner could UNLEASH HELL. (Photo: Julie Kostick) Click to enlarge.

“The basic Hasbro M3 GI Joe Marine Tank Destroyer was used as a platform for this M16. The Hasbro halftrack is not a true 1:6 scale vehicle for 12-inch figures; it comes up a little short. So, consideration had to be given to ensure the Quad Browning M2 .50 cal machine guns, the turret and the gunner all look good, as well as fit within the scale of the Hasbro Halftrack.  I think I have come very close to accomplishing this feat.”

As seen from above, the armored halftrack and it massive Quad rig would be an obvious TERROR on any battlefield. (Photo: Julie Kostwick)

As seen from above, Jason’s armored halftrack and it massive quad gun rig would be an obvious TERROR when deployed on any battlefield. (Photo: Julie Kostick) Click to enlarge.

Armorpax (UK) did a special pre-purchase production-run a couple of years ago on the M16 turret set. It came out beautifully! However, the run was limited, required a huge amount of casting and was very expensive. Regardless, it looks dead-on perfect at 1:6 scale. Dave at Armorpax is uncertain if it will ever be made again.”

If you were the enemy, this is the view you most certainly did NOT want to see. But for fans of 1:6 scale, this angle is SWEET! (Photo: Julie Kostick) Click to enlarge.

If you were the enemy, this is a sight you definitely did NOT want to see. But for fans of 1:6 scale, this view of “Big Bertha” is ABSO-FREAKIN’ SWEET! (Photo: Julie Kostick)

“I also purchased the cast ‘tombstone’ ammunition magazines from Dave for this project as well as the accurate vehicle tie-down and armored windshield components. Then, to top it all off, I marked it with the excellently produced, totally accurate WWII-era decals made by Mark over at Patches Of Pride. I think it came out well and hopefully, others will too. Thank you for your interest and please support our veterans. We owe them everything!” —Robert Jason

Every Detail is Accounted For— As always, Robert has included all sorts of tiny details the average customizer would've left out, including ephemera like magazines, cigarettes, maps, etc. OutSTANDING! (Photo: Julie Kostick)

Every Detail is Accounted For—Robert has even included tiny details such as 1:6 scale ephemera (i.e. magazines, cigarettes, maps, etc.). OutSTANDING! (Photo: Julie Kostick)

Bottom Line: Robert Jason continues to surprise and amaze us with the top-of-the-line 1:6 scale custom vehicles he creates and sells. Remember! If you’re interested in purchasing this one-of-a-kind masterpiece, it’s for sale RIGHT NOW over on ebay HERE. Good luck and happy bidding!

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Whirr-Click!——— “Basic” 1:6 Scale G.I. Joe Action Figures Are Continually Being Improved With Assistance From New and Varied Technologies

Get a Grip— The transition from stiff, unusable “nose-picker” hands to vastly more versatile “Kung-Fu Grips” marked one of the first and most significant advancements for GIjOE (and action figures in general). The ability to actually HOLD a weapon or piece of equipment is now considered vital to any figure’s “playability.” (Photo: Wikipedia)

Enhancing Action Figures Has a Long and “Gripping” History

Since the earliest halcyon days of GIjOE and Action Man, fans have long dreamt of ways they could improve the world’s most popular action figure. After all, more movement plus more features equalled more fun, right? And let’s face it, as popular as they were, our first 12-inch heroes had obvious physical limitations. Their ping-pong ball hip-sockets meant that Joe couldn’t really sit down. He mostly had to slump down into his 5-star Jeep driver’s seat, unless he adopted some sort of splayed-leg yoga stance (one that hardly looked very “military”). And he couldn’t even hold his trusty .45 sidearm for more than a few minutes before it popped out of his rigid, “nose-picking” hands. How embarrassing!

It’s true that those early Joes could stand up unassisted for days (weeks even), while waiting patiently for their owners to return. But let’s face it, that was about all they could do. We eventually learned that if we left a Joe alone for too long, he might suffer the ignominy of a “shelf-dive,” plummeting helplessly to the floor below. Moving, posing and “acting out” our action figures by hand was clearly required, and voicing Joe’s innermost thoughts by shouting out phrases for him like, “Let’s take that hill!” became standard practice for children all around the world. (No complaints here.)

Indeed, playing with the first GIjOEs proved to be a physical and mental exercise, requiring the use of both hemispheres of a child’s brain; the right-side for creativity and imagination’s sake (i.e. “Let’s attack that bad guy’s fort!”), and the left-side for learning what things were and what they actually did (i.e. “Daddy, What’s a mine detector?”). As a result, by the end of the day, many children had practically written a novel’s-length adventure in their heads, all played out before them with 12″ action figures in their bedrooms, living rooms and backyards. It seemed the less a “basic” GIjOE could do for itself—the more WE had to do for it. And we LIKED it!

Ever since the introduction of GIjOE in 1964, fans and collectors like Jerry Seinfeld (above) have played with action figures one way—by moving all the parts with your hands and mouthing their dialogue with your own voice. "Mission Completed. Back to base, Joe!" Over the last 50 years, regular advancements have been made to 12-inch action figures and many of today's 1:6 scale  are (Photo: NBC)

Mission Completed! Back to Base, Joe! Since the introduction of GIjOEs in 1964, action figure fans like Jerry Seinfeld (above) have played with their action figures just one way—by moving all the “points of articulation” with their hands and by mouthing imaginative dialogue with their own voices. (Photo: NBC)

Change is Good— During the 1970s, Hasbro and Palitoy tinkered with the basic figure adding kung-fu grip hands, eagle-eyes, metal arms, bionic legs  and much more. There seemed to be no limit to where Joe could go! (Photo: Hasbro)

Change is Good— During the 1970s, Hasbro and Palitoy regularly tinkered with the basic 12″ figure, adding kung-fu grip hands, eagle-eyes, metallic arms, bionic legs and much more. There seemed to be no limit to where Joe could go in the future! (Photo: Hasbro)

How Far Can 12-Inch Action Figures “Evolve?” Let’s Go to the Tape:

Over the next 50 years, Hasbro and Palitoy attempted to enhance our 1:6 scale “play experience” with a wide (and WILD) variety of inventive and creative product improvements, including such things as “lifelike hair and beards,” “eagle-eyes,” “atomic-powered” limbs, the ability to grasp and hold objects with a powerful “kung-fu grip,” and the use of hidden levers to quickly move arms with “pistol drawing action” or to execute a perfect military salute. But technological improvements made to our 12-inch heroes weren’t limited to mere physical alterations or enhanced movement. There were also advancements created—in sound.

Until 1967, the earliest GIjOEs were all silent heroes, unable to utter even a single command for themselves. It was up to WE THE PEOPLE to provide their voices, creating subtle changes in inflection or accents for each figure. As we all know, the first actual “Talking” GIjOEs utilized a very clever pull-string record technology that required no batteries. The problem was, over time, their commanding voices all became garbled and incomprehensible. If the string broke off, for all intents and purposes (for little kids, at least) that Joe was immediately deemed unrepairable and became demoted to the ranks of their older, non-talking, “silent corps.”

Now Hear This—The 1970s Talking Commander GIjOE remains of the most popular pull-string figures ever made. Years later, the GIjOE Collector's Club would release reproductions utilizing new chip technology mated with old-fashioned pull-string technology. FanTASTIC! (Photo: ebay)

Now Hear This—The 1970s Talking Commander GIjOE remains of the most popular pull-string figures ever made. Years later, the GIjOE Collector’s Club would release reproductions utilizing new chip technology mated with old-fashioned pull-string technology. Fan-TASTIC! (Photo: TylerJ)

Speak up, Soldier!— Hasbro's Talking Duke GIjOE combined lip movement (controlled by pushing a button on his chest) with sound. Reviews were mixed and there were no more push-n-talk figures released. (Photo: Hasbro)

Speak up, Soldier!— Hasbro’s Voice FX Duke GIjOE combined lip movement (controlled by pushing a button on his stomach) with sound. Reviews were mixed but the figure remains popular with collectors. (Photo: Hasbro)

As the decades passed and toy technologies advanced, talking GIjOEs would return in many different variations. His original pull-string voice box was swapped out for a newer, higher-tech, battery-powered, digital version (i.e. the Navajo Code Talker, etc.), and while its sound quality was clearly superior, many fans missed pulling out that ol’ neck-string, and felt that somehow (regrettably) a bit of GIjOE’s “charm” had been lost. (It’s amazing what things people miss!)

Hasbro took 12″ GIjOEs about as far as they thought they could be taken (technologically) in 2003 when they combined the ability to control their mouths with a synchronized digital voice in the unique Voice FX Duke figure (above and right). Many believed this VFX Duke was going to be a real “game changer,” but fans were not impressed and sales were sluggish. Hasbro began to see the end of the road ahead for 12-inch Joes and further attempts to improve, upgrade or enhance the line slowed to a crawl.

But then a funny thing happened..

With necessity being the mother of invention, 12″ fans (who realized they were being left to own devices) and competitors of Hasbro (who sensed unclaimed profits) continued to evolve 1:6 scale products on their own, picking up where Hasbro left off. Over the last decade, talented 1:6 scalers around the world have stepped up and proven themselves to be a very creative and inventive lot, essentially advancing “basic” 12-inch action figures into astounding, semi (and fully) animatronic versions of their former selves. All on their own, RC fans (who were already building model airplanes, cars and tanks) have begun adding miniature robotic 1:6 scale action figures to their creations to increase their realism and “play-value.” (There’s that term again!)


Go Coast Guard! Hasbro chose to add “Pistol Drawing Action” to its Cold Water Immersion Diver figure, in yet another attempt to expand the capability of its basic 12-inch GIjOE. (Photo: ebay)

Unfortunately for short-sighted Hasbro, rather than partnering with various RC firms or spearheading its own new line of 1:6 GIjOE brand RC tanks, aircraft, vehicles or robotic action figures, it has inexplicably chosen to turn its back on millions (perhaps billions!) of dollars in potential profits. Rather than leading the toy industry towards a high-tech future heralding all-new 12-inch action figure toys, it’s decided to forgo participation altogether in Joe’s latest and most miraculous incarnation—and evolution.

Watch Your Back, Hasbro.
The Future is Already Here!

While we’re sure their competitors (Dragon, Armortek, Hobbico, etc.) are enjoying all the 1:6 product profits Hasbro is leaving on the table, it remains a mystery why the creator of GIjOE wouldn’t at least pursue unclaimed licensing profits. A simple stroke of their mighty corporate pen could surely cement deals with strategically selected smaller businesses, all eager and VERY willing to spread the GIjOE 12-inch brand name into all-new markets in a whole new era. Clearly, the futures of both hobbies (1:6 scale action figures and RC models) are immensely compatible and interwoven. In fact, nowadays, the only “hands on” interaction required to make your 1964 GIjOE drive a tank, Jeep or Kubelwagen (or even row a boat!) are YOUR hands placed on the buttons and toggle switches of an RC control panel. The possibilities are limitless! To get a better idea how far this technology has advanced, take a look at the smooth realism and interaction of these two remote-controlled Dragon tank crewmen. You can almost imagine their conversation as they scan the battlefield looking for enemy forces!

Nearly Perfect? This superb Talking Action Man represents a trifecta of technological enhancement, featuring three of the most sought-after improvements prized by collectors today, including original kung-fu grip hands

Nearly Perfect in Every Way This superb vintage Talking Action Man possesses nearly all of the technological enhancements collectors want today, including a fully flocked head and beard, original kung-fu grip hands, poseable “eagle-eyes,” and an original pull-string talking mechanism. The “playability” of this figure is through the ROOF. It doesn’t get much better than this! (Photo: ebay)

exclusivebannerEXTRA! EXTRA! Creating a Better Action Man—One Fan’s Amazing Story:

While we’re all aware of the improved and enhanced 1:6 scale action figures currently being offered by companies such as Dragon, Hot Toys and Sideshow, some may not be aware of similarly wonderful creations being built by individual hobbyists around the world. So to wind up today’s article, we thought we’d introduce one such “maestro of miniaturization,” the creator of that unbelievable 1:6 scale robotic RC rowboat Action Man (shown in the video at the top of this article). His name is Jason Quayle and he generously wrote in to provide the following exclusive intel:

Action Man fan and master model boat builder, Jason Quayle, of the UK. (Photo: Manx Model Boat Club)

Action Man fan and master model boat builder, Jason Quayle, of the UK. (Photo: Manx Model Boat Club)


“Thank you for taking an interest in my Action Man model rowing boat. I am a member of the Manx Model Boat Club in the UK. I have been building and sailing model boats for the last 25 years or so. I probably have about 12 or 15 model boats which I have built and which I sail on a regular basis. 

About 3 years ago, I decided to have a go at building a radio-controlled model rowing boat from scratch. I did a bit of research on the internet and found that there are quite a few people who have built similar projects – some of which are very good and some not quite so good.

Using these ideas as inspiration, I started looking around for a suitable figure to use as the rowing man and I dug out my old Action Man figures from the attic. These figures had been in my attic for many years and haven’t been used since I was a kid.

I decided to strip one down and take it apart to see how everything fit together and to see how much space there was inside (the Action Man) to fit servos and electronics (playing around with Radio Control and electronics is another one of my hobbies).”

Row, Row, Row Your Boat! Action Man works hard to cross the Thames, whilst ably and remotely controlled by master model boat builder, Jason Quayle of the UK. Absolutely SUPERB! (Photo: Manx Model Boat Club)

Row, Row, Row Your Boat! Action Man works the oars of his new rowboat as he smoothly crosses over the Thames, all whilst ably (and remotely) controlled by master model boat builder, Jason Quayle of the UK. Absolutely SUPERB in every way, Jason. We are GOBSMACKED! (Photo: Manx Model Boat Club)

“Having  established that everything would fit, I started building the model which took about 7 or 8 months to complete. I then took a further 6 months to fit my Action Man with all the radio control equipment and electronics that would make him work. 

The rowboat model is totally scratch-built, so I had no instructions and had to design everything as I went along. There was quite a bit of ‘trial and error’ required before I managed to get the rowing action to work properly and look convincing on the water.

The electronics are all based around a programmable micro controller called Picaxe. This micro controller reads inputs for the radio control receiver for speed and direction and then converts them to outputs which drive the servo motors. There are 5 servos altogether – 2 servos to drive each oar, 2 servos to raise and lower each arm, 1 servo to move his back and 1 servo to rotate his head.

The oars can be controlled independently which allow the boat to be steered just like the real thing. I’ve displayed this model at several shows and it always ‘turns heads’ with members of the public because it is such an unusual model. I hope this all makes sense.
Regards —Jason Quayle, UK”

Atten-HUT! After 50 years waiting, it was a pleasure to be able to FINALLY purchase a GIjOE that could actually salute his superior officer. A long time coming, this marvelous Dress Marine could instantly snap a salute by the owner simply pushing down on a lever in his back. The white gloved hand was a nice touch as well. OOHrah! (Photo: ebay)

Atten-HUT! This marvelous Dress Marine GIjOE came with “Real Saluting Action” and could instantly “snap a sharp one” whenever you pushed down on the lever in his back. Those white-gloved hands were a nice touch too. OOHrah! Semper Fi! (Photo: ebay)

Bottom Line: Despite Hasbro’s ongoing apathy, the 12-inch action figure is FAR from being “retired” from the toy world. Frustrated GIjOE fans continue to patronize hundreds of smaller, forward-thinking 1:6 firms that show little intention of slowing production of their own 12-inch product lines any time soon. And as a toy “platform,” the basic 1:6 scale figure’s versatility and profit potential has been well-proven over the last 50 years, creating BILLIONS of dollars of profits for its creators (the biggest of course, being Hasbro). Therefore, rather than focus on that toy giant’s somnambulistic lulls, we look forward to reporting on whatever new projects (and products) individual fans and companies are introducing to our great 1:6 hobby. After all, remember what they said about Steve Austin (the Six Million Dollar Man) after he crashed?


“We can rebuild him. We have the technology.”
Oscar Goldman, Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI)

If you’re still a “doubting Thomas,” have a look at what Quayle’s Action Man is able to do:

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Mysterious “Project: HERCULES” Excites Fans of 1:6 Scale Worldwide———Purpose of “X-1” Unknown

Due to a current news "black-out" and strictly enforced "no photos" policy recanted enacted by the ground crew at the Patches of Pride launch site, we're unable to bring you a better image of the upcoming "Project: HERCULES. Just WHAT are we looking at? The boys in our photo lab have done their best to clear up this image, taken last night in total darkness using a long-range telephoto lens and night-vision filter. The best consensus we can reach is that it appears to show some sort of canister, possibly a fire extinguisher and most likely, the helmet of the test pilot of the enigmatic "X-1." Unfortunately, we can't be sure of either assessment, but those are our best guesses. (Photo: TJR)

We’re in the Dark Due to a current news “black-out” and strictly enforced “no new photos” policy recently enacted by the ground crew over at the Patches of Pride launch site, we were unable to bring you a better image of their upcoming “Project: HERCULES than this. So… WHAT exactly are we looking at here? The boys in our photo lab have done their best to enhance and clean up this image. It was taken last night in total darkness using a long-range telephoto lens and night-vision filter, but the best consensus we could reach is that it appears to show some sort of spray canister, most probably a fire extinguisher and what looks like a flight helmet, quite possibly that of a test pilot of the mysterious “X-1.” This leads us to believe that whatever the X-1 may be, it’s operable at night, even in total darkness. Unfortunately, we can’t confirm any of these assessments at this time. (Photo: TJR)

A recently posted sign warns photographers to keep their lens caps on. ARGH! (Photo: Tracey Evans)

No Pictures! A recently posted sign warns news photographers approaching the Project: HERCULES launch site. (Photo: Tracey Evans)

Little more than a week away from its official “launch date” on December 22, 2014, a mysterious new product line is generating genuine intrigue and debate among fans of 12-inch action figures who are eager to learn the answers to its many secrets. Officially and enigmatically dubbed “Project: HERCULES” by its creators at 1:6 accessories manufacturer,  Patches of Pride (PoP), the specific nature and potential usage of the new line remains largely unknown and has actually puzzled fans of the renowned company— for almost 3 YEARS.

You read that right. After some digging, reporters here at The Joe Report discovered that the origin of Project: HERCULES actually dates back to 2011, when PoP first released a free, daily, online photo-comic entitled, “A Joe a Day” (AJAD). According to PoP company rep, Mark Otnes, the figures featured in the strip were his 7 original, childhood GIjOEs that had been stored in his brother’s home for over 40 years. After they’d been returned to Otnes (that year) over Christmas, “Mark’s Magnificent 7” were quickly reassigned as a time-travelling team of military heroes who join up with members of his Adventure Team and embark upon a cross-country road trip, all the while protecting the contents of The Commander’s mysterious briefcase, containing what is only known only as— “Project: HERCULES.”

In this frame from Mark Otnes' "A Joe a Day" photo-comic serial, the mysterious "football" briefcase contains the secrets and answers to the mysterious "Project: HERCULES." Unfortunately, the serial has not yet been concluded. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

What’s inside the “Football?” In this frame taken from Otnes’ “A Joe a Day” photo-comic serial, a briefcase known as the Commander’s “Football” containing top-secret materials related to the mysterious “Project: HERCULES” is removed from a team member’s backpack for examination. Unfortunately, the serial has yet to be concluded and the football’s contents remain unknown. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

While Otnes’ intriguing AJAD storyline has yet to be completed and hence, the exact nature and capabilities of Project: HERCULES are known to no other, it’s expected that the answers to many a fan’s questions will be revealed with the imminent release of these new PoP products. Suspense continues to build as the company’s “countdown” (to the product launch) continues, and a slow trickle of “sneak pics” make their way to eager fans trolling for clues over on PoP’s Facebook page (HERE) and/or VIP Customer Mailing List (HERE). With the release of each new tantalizing image, debate is stirred anew, resulting in heated conjecture among collectors, including the following:


Renowned GIjOE collector and customizer, Angelo D'Annibale (Photo: Angelo D'Annibale)

Angelo D’Annibale

“I’m getting hopes up for some sort of helipad or jet pack. Can’t wait to see more!”Angelo D’Annibale

Kyle Knox (Photo: Kyle Knox)

Kyle Knox

“Driving me crazy! But I have an idea. A space capsule akin to NASA’s Orion.”
Kyle Knox

Lyle "Bigfoot" Button (Photo: Lyle Button)

Lyle “Bigfoot” Button

I was thinking some kind of unmanned drone, but now I’m not so sure.” —Lyle Button

Good ideas all, gentlemen! But we believe renowned GIjOE fan and collector, Scott Turnbull may have come closest to deciphering the various clues and “sneak pics” of Project: HERCULES with THIS intriguing supposition:

Scott Turnbill

Scott Turnbill

“Something tech-ish, I’m sure, which hits the sweet spots of my collections! Maybe a temporal experiment…”
Scott Turnbull

Bottom Line: We asked PoP’s secretive “Commander-in-Chief,” Mark Otnes, if he had any further comment regarding the upcoming Project: HERCULES, and he declined, citing his company’s official “news blackout” until December 22nd. Despite Otnes’ intransigence, we intend to forge ahead on this matter and promise to apprise our readership of any and all fresh intel as it becomes available. —Editor

Since last week, PoP has begun giving away free 1:1 scale "Project: HERCULES" t-shirts to lucky winners over on its fan page on Facebook HERE. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

FREE T’s! PoP has begun giving away free 1:1 scale Project: HERCULES “ground crew” t-shirts to lucky winners on its Facebook Fan Page. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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“Tankers” Lining Up To See “FURY” November 2014

Tank, starring James Garner (Photo: Imdb)

Tank (1984), starring James Garner was an enjoyable “tank fantasy.” (Photo: IMDb)

Among the vast pantheon of GIjOE collectors, there’s a die-hard subset of fans who also know a great deal about military history and the mighty armored tanks that command such a prominent role on the battlefield. We’re referring, of course, to those ardent armor aficionados appropriately (and affectionately) known as, “Tankers.” If you’ve never heard of, or used this particular appellation before, Tankers are those zealous individuals who can accurately recite the names, weaponry, and firepower stats of practically anything heavily armored or tracked. From the smallest Kettenkrad tractor to the largest modern Abrams M1A2 (and everything else in-between) their knowledge—is unassailable.

Many Tankers are also big military history buffs that can wax rhapsodic for hours about WWII’s Montgomery and Patton, recount battlefield strategies, the proper deployment of tanks during a “Blitzkrieg,” the rise and fall of Rommel’s vaunted Afrika Korps, clashes between SS Panzer Divisions and Russian Red Army T-34s at Stalingrad and Kursk, the pivotal Battle of the Bulge, the use of tanks in the Pacific theater against Japan, North Korea, North Vietnam, and most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wherever they’re deployed, tanks often prove to be THE deciding factor between a battlefield victory—or ignominious defeat. Not surprisingly then, films about tanks are almost invariably larger than life, exciting—and FUN.

Battle of the Bulge, starring Henry Fonda (Photo: Imdb)

Battle of the Bulge (1965), starring film icon Henry Fonda was good—but not great. This movie BEGS to be remade. (Photo: IMDb)

Why are we bringing this up now? Because recently, Tankers, GijOE fans and amateur military historians have all begun to discuss the impending release of a new “tank-centric” motion picture called, “Fury,” which depicts the WWII exploits of a battle-hardened U.S. Army 2nd Armored Division tank crew (watch the film’s trailer at top). As you are undoubtedly already aware, movies about (or utilizing) tanks, are not unheard of in Hollywood, but pickings can be slim. As a result, fans of this particular genre typically have to wait about a decade or two between decent offerings.

But even if the script stinks (Tank Girl, anyone?), there’s just something about a tank movie that makes it hard to dislike. Let’s face it, they’re BIG. They’re brash. And well…they’re BEAUTIFUL! For alpha-male / leading man-type actors, to have a good tank movie “in your quiver” is a rare accomplishment, nowadays; worthy of more than just a little braggadocio. OOHrah!

Some of the better tank flicks that come to mind include Sahara, starring Humphrey Bogart, Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks, The Battle of the Bulge, starring Henry Fonda, Tank, starring James Garner, Patton, starring George C. Scott and most recently, Fast ‘n Furious 6, with Vin Diesel. (Take a moment to enjoy the first 3 video clips of this article before proceeding.)

Fury stars well-known Hollywood heart-throb, Brad Pitt (last seen in the farcical Inglorious Basterds) and according to the brief description we found over on the Huffington Post:

Sahara was a highly underrated 1943 tank film starring Humphrey Bogart. (Photo: IMDb)

“Pitt stars as a sergeant named ‘Wardaddy’ who leads a tank crew of American soldiers into Germany. (Jon Bernthal, Michael Pena and Shia LaBeouf are Wardaddy’s longtime battle comrades; Logan Lerman plays the group’s newcomer.) The whole thing looks comfortably familiar — a beat from “Inglorious Basterds” here, some from “Saving Private Ryan” there — but it’s never not compelling. “Fury” is set for release on Nov. 14, meaning it could either become one of Sony’s year-end awards contenders or simply a solid money-maker for the studio. Or maybe both: The last time Pitt and Sony teamed up for a film, it was 2011’s “Moneyball,” which earned $74 million at the North American box office and six Oscar nominations.”

Patton, starring George C. Scott, featured numerous tank scenes. (Photo: IMDb)

Patton, starring George C. Scott, featured numerous tank battle scenes. (Photo: IMDb)

It’s been quite a while since Tankers have seen a really good tank movie. It’s about time our heroes of the armored divisions were featured on-screen again. Heck, we were even excited to see that Abrams tank in the first episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Although it saw no “battle action,” it served as a main prop and temporary place of safety for the show’s beleaguered hero. Tank fan hopes are high that Fury will be a solid, well-researched and realistic tribute film to all the men who fought, died and served in the U.S. Army or Marine Corps tank divisions. Curious about what our fellow GIjOE fans are hoping to see (or NOT see) in this upcoming film, so we posed the question to everyone’s favorite GIjOE fan and resident tank expert, Dave “Tanker” Matteson (of Alabama), who kindly offered the following observations:

Dave "Tanker" Matteson in his Joe Room. (Photo: Dave Matteson)

Dave “Tanker” Matteson in his GIjOE Room. (Photo: Dave Matteson)

“Shermans and Tigers and Shermans, Oh my! I was asked by Mark to watch the trailer and then give my opinion on the upcoming movie, “FURY.” Am I qualified to review this movie? I believe so! Most people know me as “Tanker.” I spent time as a tank crewman in M1A1 tanks, about 8 years to be exact, as well as being a ‘tread head’ since the age of 8. For those who have seen Fury’s trailer (at the top of this article), the Sherman M4A2E8’s and the M4A3 are all, in fact, REAL. And yes, the Tiger Tank is also VERY real. All of the tanks used in this film are on loan from the Bovington Tank Museum in England where David Ayer, the film’s director, did most of his research.

The research Ayer undertook takes us back to WWII and inside a Sherman tank where its crew LIVED. Before filming, the crew was treated to a mini ‘Armor School’ where they had to learn the job of being a tanker. Then, once on the set, Brad Pitt actually lived with his crewmen in the tank they crewed for the duration of the filming of the battle scenes, totaling some 30 days.

Everything you’ll see onscreen is as close to real as it gets. This film is going to be for Tankers what Saving Private Ryan was to Rangers and Paratroopers. Generally, movie trailers are what doesn’t make the film. The good thing is, I have been following this production VERY closely, and it is definitely on the money. Being a tanker was the best job I ever had!” —Dave “Tanker” Matteson

Bottom Line: Our sincerest thanks to Dave Matteson for his help with this article. We are FIRED UP about seeing Fury on the big screen this November. Until then, we leave you with this full-length tank episode of “Lock-n-Load,” starring everyone’s favorite Gunnery Sergeant, R. Lee Ermey. So, go grab a cup of Joe, put your feet up on the desk—and Enjoy!

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“First-Time” G.I. Joe Collector Creates Working 1:6 Scale USCG Helicopter———As His Ceiling Fan!

Holy Rotors, Batman! Imagine "flying" this stunning 1:6 scale USCG HITRON "Fast Attack" Littlebird helicopter INSIDE your home—with just the flip of a switch. For creator/customizer, Tom McMurray, that's now become a daily reality. Lower the rescue diver! Aye-aye! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

Semper Paratus! Imagine “flying” this stunning 1:6 scale USCG HITRON “Fast Attack” Littlebird helicopter INSIDE your home—with just the flip of a switch. For creator-customizer Tom McMurray, that dream is now a daily reality. Lower the Rescue Diver, Joe! Aye-aye, Sir! (Photo: Tom McMurray)


When we first heard that retired US Coast Guardsman and GIjOE “newbie,” Tom McMurray, had converted a beat-up, 1:6 scale 21stC Littlebird into a working, (fully electrified) USCG helicopter CEILING FAN, we knew immediately that fans around the world would want to hear all about it. After contacting McMurray, he graciously agreed to the following exclusive interview and also (very generously) provided us with these exclusive photos and video clips. Enjoy!


After completing the Littlebird’s custom paint-job and applying decals from Patches of Pride, McMurray begins work on the helo’s custom wiring and lighting. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

Tom McMurray (Photo: Suzanne McMurray)

Tom McMurray (Photo: Suzanne McMurray)

TJR: Congratulations on your superb 1:6 scale custom helicopter, Tom. Could you tell us first—what inspired you to take on such a challenging undertaking?

TM: “I was medically retired out of the U.S. Coast Guard (just shy of 40 years) as a Petty Officer 1st Class Port Security and Small Arms Instructor and wanted a project that would take time and represent my career. I wandered across a Littlebird over on e-bay. It was blue and not in very good condition. But over the following months, I picked up various parts one at a time and pieced it all together.”


This early test revealed exterior running lights and spotlights working perfectly. Interior lighting would also be added, illuminating the ‘Bird’s instrument panel and cockpit. (Photo: Tom McMurray)

TJR: How long did this project take you to complete?

TM: “I started in December of 2013 and finished it in July of this year (2014). I have close to 400 hours altogether put into this project. The hardest part was getting the stripes on the Littlebird to be exactly 67 degrees (as required by the Coast Guard). The painting pattern is correct and was used on an experimental chopper by HITRON for fast attack on “Go-Fast “ (drug-smuggling) boats down in Florida.”


The longer you look, the more custom details you see! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

TJR: After completing the helo’s tricky (and beautiful) paint-job, what did you work on next?

TM: “Well, as you can see, the exterior utilizes a waterslide USCG decal set (found HERE) that I picked up from Patches of Pride (PoP), and the cockpit uses one of their “Complete Cockpit Conversion Kits” (found HERE). I then further modified the instrument cluster and all of the gauges by drilling small holes behind the decals and then giving each gauge its own colored led light, sealed in behind it.”


Great closeup showing Tom’s disassembled cockpit firewall and the addition of new decals, a fire extinguisher, custom helmet paint, seat cushions, etc. Great improvements! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

TJR: That clearly elevated your Littlebird to a higher level. What else did you add?

TM: “If you look closely at the photo below, you’ll see that the pilot has a small laptop mounted on the console, and both of the interior spaces are lit by a red LED for night-vision. I also added all of the required exterior lights, a working high power spotlight and a working FLIR lamp underneath. The ‘float’ is required on any USCG chopper that works off the coasts, so I hand-fabricated that. Also, the .50 cal Barrett on the port side is mounted on a stanchion built into the deck. Finally, I cut all of the windows down halfway except the main hatch, which I mounted in the opened, rescue position.”


Peek into the finished cockpit and you’ll go GA-GA over all of its details, back-lit gauges, and additional 1:6 scale props such as flight charts and maps. Stunning work, Tom! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

TJR: You’ve impressed us enough already, but here’s where your story gets REALLY interesting. Tell us about converting your 1:6 scale USCG Littlebird helicopter—into a ceiling fan.

TM: “To mount it to the ceiling fan, I filled the upper engine compartment with a 2-part epoxy and let it dry around the threaded accessory lamp-post. Then, I took the lamp section off of the bottom of the fan, filled the extra cover with epoxy, attached it to the main fan motor with screws and let the finished project sit supported on top of a 10-ft ladder overnight to cure. My wife, the electrician, the contractor (that had just finished the room) and myself, all had our fingers crossed when I lit-‘er-up. Voila! SHE FLIES!!!! And not a shudder or vibration.”

Holy Rotors, Batman! Imagine "flying" this stunning 1:6 scale USCG HITRON "Fast Attack" Littlebird helicopter INSIDE your home—with just the flip of a switch. For creator/customizer, Tom McMurray, that's now become a daily reality. Lower the rescue diver! Aye-aye! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

The accuracy and realism of Tom’s working ceiling fan helicopter are striking. (Photo: Tom McMurray)

 TJR: Tell us about your interest in GIjOEs and 1:6 scale vehicles. What else have you created?

TM: “Believe it or not, these are the first GIjOEs I have ever owned. Honestly! As you can see, I made a lot of changes, but after 37 years in the Coast Guard, I didn’t need much help. And now, I’m looking for my NEXT project. Thanks for all the parts, decals and help Mark.” —Tom McMurray


At night, Tom’s “heroic helo” creates a colorfully realistic light show. COOL! (Photo: Tom McMurray)


Tom’s custom-mounted .50 cal Barrett sniper rifle can stop a high-speed boat with one well-placed shot through the engine block. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Tom McMurray)


Another view of Tom’s USCG Littlebird in action. (Photo: Tom McMurray)


Lowering a Rescue Diver down with Tom’s custom harness and pulley system. (Photo: Tom McMurray)


The realistic lighting on Tom’s custom helo makes for exciting “night-ops” action. (Photo: Tom McMurray)


At rest, you can see that the blades of Tom’s fan were also custom painted to perfectly simulate the rotors of a real USCG HITRON helicopter. Amazing work, Tom. Congratulations! (Photo: Tom McMurray)

Bottom Line: McMurray’s 1:6 scale custom Littlebird helicopter is one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. His attention to detail and accuracy reflect his many years of experience and service in the Coast Guard, and his inspired conversion of a typically static-display model into a working ceiling fan is truly remarkable. Our sincerest thanks to Tom for his service to our country and for his generous contributions to this article. Enjoy a video of Tom’s helicopter in action:

UPDATE 12/17: Here’s a new video on YouTube from Joe Burlas showing how to connect the 21stC Littlebird helicopter to a ceiling fan. Thanks so much for your help, Joe!

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