Bottom Line: Another great video review from the Popculteer himself, Rudy Panucci. Enjoy!
In yet another superb “sighting” of GIjOE and Action Man in the “mainstream media,” UK’s “MoneySuperMarket” website has just aired a brand-new TV commercial for its business—starring—the many and varied heroes of the vintage Action Man toy line-up. There’s even a ’60s Barbie “Action Girl” thrown in for good measure. According to an article over on the Campaign website:
“The latest ad in MoneySuperMarket.com’s epic campaign stars Action Man. The Hasbro action figure is so overcome by his savings from Moneysupermarket that he rallies the troops to dance in the desert, even stripping down to his blue underpants. The ad is set to ‘90s classic ‘Finally’ by CeCe Peniston. It was created by Mother, the brand’s outgoing agency – and the joyful creativity of the spot makes it even more bittersweet that the two are parting ways.”
Bottom Line: This new commercial is without a doubt the most advanced combination of stop-motion and computer animation since GIjOE’s last appearance in a superb (2016) TV commercial for Subaru (see HERE). Who knew Action Man was so good at dance choreography? It’s time to get out some of your figures and “Pump up the JAMS!” Enjoy!
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.
Bottom 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!
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:
“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!”
“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.”
“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).”
“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 HERE, I may jump back in and work on a ‘firing version’ (with spring inserted), allowing the ‘2nd generation’ repro rockets to ‘hook’ onto their launchers.”
“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!”
“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
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!
Submissions for 5th Annual “GIjOE Stop-Motion Film Festival” Now Being Accepted
Despite Hasbro having turned its corporate back on 12-inch GIjOE action figures and their worldwide array of fans, collectors and customizers, the “most beloved toy in the last 100 years” (see HERE) continues to make its presence known to the public in ever more unexpected ways. We’re speaking specifically now, about independent filmmaking—and stop-motion animation. Cinematographer, graphic designer and festival coordinator, Gio Toninelo (shown above, right) has just announced the opening of submissions for what will become the 5th Annual GIjOE Stop Motion Film Festival (GSMFF). The GSMFF is referred to as a “travelling” film festival, due to the fact that Toninelo will exhibit the winning entries in theaters and venues all across the country. This year’s festival premieres September 27th at the Bug Theater in Denver, Colorado and extends thereafter to LA, New York and Austin (TX).
Stop-motion animation, once championed by early effects wizards Ray Harryhausen (see bio video above) and animators Rankin & Bass (of 1964’s Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer fame), had almost become a lost and forgotten art form, but it seems to be back on the path to popularity once again. This will surprise many, because today’s CGI-dominated animators view the (much) more laborious and time-intensive stop-motion process as an unwieldy and (dare we say) “wasteful” practice from a bygone, pre-digital era. Fortunately, there are STILL some diehard (and VERY patient) individuals out there for whom stop-motion animation (and its unique results) remains a JOY to create and behold.
An Analog Technology For a 1:6 Digital World
You may already know of some fellow GIjOE fans who are also stop-motion animators. We certainly do. Two such patient practitioners of the technique (that come immediately to mind) are the talented filmmaking duo of Lisa and Tim Weedn (see above, right). The Weedns are regular attendees and popular presenters at each of the Toylanta (formerly Joelanta) GIjOE shows held annually in Atlanta, Georgia. Here’s a 2014 video they made in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th anniversary:
Is Stop-Motion Animation Merely a Fad—Or Making a Comeback?
Fortunately for stop-motion animation afficiandos, they don’t have to rely solely on the efforts of amateurs in order to get their “fix” of the technique. In fact, there are many influential showbiz pros out there who continue to utilize stop-motion in their projects. For example, Seth Rogen revived the technique for his standout animated TV series, Robot Chicken (see his HILAROUS GIjOE short below). Academy Award winner Nick Park too, used the process for his superb Wallace and Gromit shorts and features. Perhaps a sort of “tech-revolt” is underway, one that rages against the film and TV industry’s current overuse of CGI? If so, it appears that the nostalgic animation style is actually GROWING in popularity—with no end in sight!
We asked Mr. Toninelo to comment on the upcoming GIjOE film festival and he kindly replied:
“Hi Mark, I’m so excited! Our GIjOE film festival is back for its 5th season! I’m not surprised that you haven’t heard about our festival. We started waaaay back when the internet was a sleepy teenager. Plus, we took a needed break since 2013. Put simply, we screen films that use G.I.JOE action figures as their main characters using the ‘stop-motion’ animation technique. We always read The Joe Report and I’ve bought some stuff from Patches of Pride (PoP) in the past as well. I’ve even listed PoP as one of our sponsors!
There are only TWO main rules for our Festival:1- Your film MUST be shot using stop-motion technique. Puppetry, wires and live action could also be used as long as it does not comprise 30% of the entire film. 2- Your main character MUST be an official G.I. Joe action figure, created by Hasbro, Inc. or an Action Man figure, created by Palitoy. Other licensed figures are also accepted, like “Comandos em Acao” and “Falcon” (BRAZIL) or “Commandos Heroicos” (MEXICO). Other action figures, dolls and toys can be used for supporting roles.
Finally, because we are a ‘travelling’ festival, I try not to put the videos up on the web, at least not on our social media channel. We always save the BEST ones for the tour. However, some of our old trailers can still be found over on YouTube HERE. Enjoy!
Bottom Line: This looks like yet another EXCELLENT opportunity for GIjOE fans and customizers, as well as all aspiring amateur and/or professional filmmakers. For complete details on festival submission requirements, entry deadlines, etc., go HERE. Our sincerest thanks go out to Gio Toninelo and to everyone else connected with these exciting shows. Go, Joe! And… Go, GIO!
A pair of new TV commercials currently airing ONLY on Brazilian television screens are bound to make GIjOE, Action Man, Geyperman and Falcon collectors elsewhere around the world turn absolutely GREEN with envy. The two spots in question continue Brazilian toymaker Estrela’s current “celebration” of Falcon’s 40th Anniversary, and promote its three new commemorative action figures including: a skydiver, jungle explorer and turbo copter pilot. Both commercials feature top-notch photography, pacing, music and graphics. It’s safe to say most 1:6 fans haven’t seen TV promos this good in a LONG time. They clearly celebrate nostalgia and bring back the high levels of EXCITEMENT and ADVENTURE that GIjOE and Falcon fans of all ages have come to expect.
Bottom Line: The quality of these new TV commercials and the action figures they represent, are EXCELLENT. It’s a shame Hasbro has completely relinquished this sort of endeavor to other companies. <sigh> Yes, the figure’s prices are fairly high (approximately $68+ s/h apiece), but for such rare sets, they’re really not that unreasonable. Fortunately, each of the 3 Falcon figures shown in these new promos are available directly from Estrela HERE and should also be available to fans worldwide from such respected action figure webstores as Cotswold Collectibles (HERE). Expect prices to vary from dealer to dealer due to mark-ups. Depending on WHERE and WHOM you buy from, some of the figures may also have to be back-ordered, but in the world of action figure collecting, patience—is a virtue. Happy Hunting!
Playing with Action Man was never like this (thankfully!)
We recently came across a VERY powerful Action Man (AM) television commercial parody video. It was created by the advocacy group, Veterans for Peace UK, (VFPUK) and first aired (on the internet, natch’) back in 2015. But before you watch it(!), you should be aware that its content is somewhat startling, even bordering on adult-content. Yes, its creators clearly WANT children to see this video, but we think you should exercise due caution (see graphic freeze-frame image above) depending on your little ones’ ages and sensitivities.
The video contains three separate commercials. Each focuses on a different (and imaginary) Action Man figure play set. The three spots may feature fake products, but the heart-breaking scenarios depicted are all too possible, graphic and (regrettably)—realistic. The first introduces viewers to a psychologically damaged and emotionally traumatized “P.T.S.D. Action Man.” Rather than utilizing AM’s traditional “Eagle Eyes,” this sad fellow possesses instead, a “thousand yard stare,” and comes equipped with booze, drugs, and even a noose—to hang himself with.
The second spot features “Paralysed Action Man” in his wheel chair, wearing a hospital gown and carrying around his 1:6 scale colostomy bag (oh, what fun). The third spot, rather than “playing around” with any other physical or mental conditions, simply jumps straight to death, presenting viewers with a bombed-n-bloody corpse figure appropriately named, “Dead Action Man.” Don’t expect much “action” out of this (in)Action Man, as he is already completely, utterly and 100%—DEAD. The commercial gamely shows that you can zip him up in a body bag and bury him (with full honors, of course) out in your backyard. But after that…<well, sigh>
If you still didn’t get the message—War is Hell—and this Action Man parody drives that point home exceedingly well with its stories of these three tragic heroes. And, as AM television commercial parodies go, this is undeniably an excellent one in terms of its production. Each spot is superbly acted, staged, photographed, edited, narrated, scored and directed. Each perfectly recreates the elusive “vintage video look” of a 1970s original. Our sincerest congratulations to ALL of the master 1:6 scale customizers and diorama builders involved in its production. Simply AMAZING work!
Bottom Line: The creators of this video clearly hope it will generate strong reactions among viewers, thereby aiding them in their cause. But will it? Military recruitment remains (sadly) a necessary endeavour for all free nations (freedom ISN’T free), but at what AGE should an individual be allowed to enter their country’s military? VFPUK’s website is urging UK citizens to write into their local MPs concerning this matter, and request that they raise the minimum enlistment age from 16 to 18. It will be interesting to see whether or not their Action Man parody video has any effect in making that change happen. Stay tuned, AM fans!
To most toy fans and collectors, this latest news will not come as much of a surprise. In fact, current developments regarding the world’s ongoing toy retailing saga may seem all too predictable, but here we go nonetheless: It turns out, having fewer retail stores for customers to visit and browse for products (like toys) can actually be bad for business. <Wow. Who’d a thunk it?> In fact, following closely on the heels of the recent story of Toys R Us’ (TRU) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, we now also learn that Hasbro and Mattel (both) are beginning to feel their own negative economic ripple effects—and that they believe their troubles can be laid squarely at the doorstep of TRU’s earlier woes. According to the AP:
“Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels cars, reported disappointing third-quarter results late Thursday and said it was hurt by Toys R Us’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last month. Earlier this week, Hasbro, the maker of My Little Pony and Monopoly, also blamed weak results on the Toys R Us bankruptcy filing.
Mattel, whose revenue in North America fell 22 percent in the three months ending Sept. 30, said that about half of that decline was due to the Toys R Us bankruptcy. Globally, most of its brands saw sales declines. Barbie sales fell 7 percent and Hot Wheels fell 6 percent. Sales of its American Girl brand, whose 18-inch dolls typically cost more than $100, fell 30 percent.” —AP
Whoa. 30 percent? That’s quite a financial nosedive. And if ever a particular toy brand needed a store’s support (i.e. an actual, physical PLACE to go to) so as to be able to SEE and HANDLE their extensive and upscale line), it’s pricey American Girl. Anyway…
Bottom Line: If TRU’s Chapter 11 reorganization and debt payoff difficulties continue, it seems likely that additional store closings and employee layoffs industry-wide could also continue. That would result in even fewer “brick-n-mortar” toy stores, less actual shelf space for toys, and then ultimately, fewer toys overall for fans and collectors to buy and enjoy. Ouch! That’s where WE feel “the pinch.” We’re not too worried about the financial stability of either Hasbro or Mattel (they’re doing just fine, thank you), but this situation is fluid and developing. Stay tuned for further intel. Read the AP story HERE.
Bottom Line: Toys ‘R Us (TRU), has officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (see complete details HERE). Sadly, we saw this event coming along YEARS ago. As more and more consumers have chosen to “shop” for bargains online and purchase their toys on the internet, web-retailing powerhouses such as Amazon and Walmart (and many, many others) have continued to drain away TRU’s financial stability and perilously erode its market share.
Indeed, TRU’s once-dominant, nation-wide chain of “brick-n-mortar” toy stores is now facing a dire and uncertain future. Faithful readers of The Joe Report will recall we first reported on TRU’s mounting fiscal woes waaaay back in 2014 (see that story HERE), and since that time, the company’s situation has only continued to weaken. It’s too soon to “call the game” on this sad story, and we’ll continue to monitor developments, but if current market trends are any indication, we don’t expect news to improve for America’s once mightiest—but now FAILING—toy chain.
Bottom Line: Here’s another great video from the MASTER of pop-cult videos—Mr. Rudy Pannuci! Our sincerest thanks to Rudy for taking the time to cover this year’s EXPO and for his production of yet another superb video review. Be sure to leave any comments or compliments you may have for this famous “PoPCulteer” on his blog found HERE and keep up-to-date with future Rudy videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel HERE. Go, Rudy! Go, JOE!