Tag Archives: 50th Anniversary

Action Man Fans Working to Ensure Palitoy’s UK Version of 1:6 Scale G.I. Joes Are Never Forgotten

Much Like its American Counterpart G.I. Joe, the wide variety of original Action Man (AM) products was literally breathtaking. Children of the 1960s and ’70s can still remember finding this sort of display inside local toy and department stores. As adults, those same fans are now working to ensure Palitoy’s beloved UK/Europe toy line will never be forgotten. (Photo: Palitoy) Click to enlarge.

Action Man fan and collector, Robert Wisdom, poses alongside "his better half" for a pic taken at a recent 1940s weekend in Sheringham, Norfolk. The event is held every September in the UK, and according to Robert, "is a great chance to get out my 1940s Battle of Britain dress uniform and soak up the atmosphere, ride steam trains and marvel at Spitfires flying overhead. Hundreds of US vehicles line the streets too, so it's worth a trip over the pond!" Sounds like a FANTASTIC time! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Action Man fan, collector and advocate, Robert Wisdom, poses alongside “his better half” for a pic taken at a recent 1940s weekend in Sheringham, Norfolk. The event is held every September in the UK, and according to Wisdom, “is a great chance to get out my 1940s Battle of Britain dress uniform and soak up the atmosphere, ride steam trains and marvel at Spitfires flying overhead. Hundreds of US vehicles line the streets too, so it’s worth a trip over the pond!” Sounds like a FANTASTIC time! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

All-New Websites, Videos, DVDs, and Limited-Edition Books Are Being Created to Commemorate the Upcoming 50th Anniversary of Palitoy’s 12-inch Action Figure

When someone REALLY loves someone—or someTHING—he or she often chooses to share their positive, heartwarming feelings through some sort of physical manifestation or demonstration.

For example, heroes and other historic figures regularly have statues or other memorials erected in their honor. Famous personalities of all sorts and stripes, because of their past and/or present notoriety, have books and videos created about their lives and careers. Even beloved family members receive similar treatments when relatives commission cemetery markers, portrait paintings, or family photo albums or DVDs in their memory.
So why not—Action Man?

That’s right. Inanimate persons, places and things can also be revered and remembered by their ardent fans and followers. You only have to visit a local shopping mall to gaze upon a multitude of books, videos, calendars and other commemorative objects devoted to such diverse (non-living) subjects as Texas BBQ, the Eiffel Tower, Muscle Cars, Superheroes, Hobbies, Hollywood Films, etc. If making people recall something fondly is the main criteria for such commemoration, then certainly the upcoming 50th anniversary of Palitoy’s Action Man (AM) is worthy of WORLDWIDE acclaim.

Unofficial Action Man HQ (Logo: Robert Wisdom)

Fun for Fans—The “Unofficial Action Man HQ” website, created by professional graphic artist, Robert Wisdom, has become a popular hub of activity for AM collectors worldwide. (Logo: Robert Wisdom)

Action Man Commemorations Being Ably Guided With Aid of Graphics Professionals

As much as we enjoy “amateur” fan tributes created in honor of GIjOE and Action Man, it’s always such a pleasure whenever top-drawer graphic artists, illustrators and professional designers come along and offer up their considerable talents to support the cause of commemorating our favorite 12-inch action heroes. One such talented and artistic fan is Robert Wisdom of the UK. Robert’s new “Unofficial Action Man HQ” website (HERE) has become one of the hobby’s leading AM forums and his creation of professional-quality AM photography and videos, is also doing a great deal to advance the 1:6 scale collecting hobby as well (see sample video clip above).

Indeed, after the backhanded AM “tribute” proffered by James May on his James May’s Toy Stories program (HERE), Wisdom’s more positive contributions to Action Man feel like a breath of fresh air. And while other AM collectors are openly expressing a desire, nay a HUNGER, for better treatment of their favorite toy, it’s wonderful to discover fans such as Wisdom who are willing and (professionally) able to assist them in that regard. When its 50th anniversary arrives in 2016, it appears Action Man will finally receive the level of respect and commemoration he deserves.

It's all about RESPECT— One of the recent AM "photo bombs" by Robert Wisdom shows how powerful a teaching tool and the veteran 12-inch action line

Changing of the Guards— This stunning 1:1-1:6 scale “photo bomb,” created by professional graphics wiz, Robert Wisdom, reveals the amazing realism of Action Man whilst posed alongside a REAL member of the Queen’s Life Guards. Out-STANDING work, Robert! (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

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While there are scores of Action Man collectors around the world, for the sake of time and space, we’re focusing today on the intriguing efforts of England’s Robert Wisdom. Wisdom is a die-hard AM collector and has devoted a great deal of his own personal and professional time towards the toy’s promotion and commemoration. In the following exclusive interview with The Joe Report, he explains his connection to Action Man and how he plans to honor the toy line in the future:

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

Robert Wisdom, Action Man fan and collector (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

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“I received my first Action Man (a Talking Commander, blond) for Christmas, 1971. I would have been around six. He was an instant hit. He knew exactly what I was thinking and played hard at whatever I suggested without a second thought. A true buddy. As kids, we used our imaginations. It’s sad to say that today’s kids, for the most part, have it all worked out and done for them. They don’t create. They just play with what’s already created, and then in a year later (or less!) it becomes another unloved thing in a charity box.

I know Action Man, in my childhood, lasted for YEARS. He was very much an extension of me. He did the things I dreamt of doing and that which I dared not do. At some point, Mum would have noticed I didn’t play with Action Man so much, a bit like the scene in Toy Story where Andy starts to overlook Woody. And so, sadly, my childhood collection is elsewhere—possibly the plastic graveyard in the sky.

But it wasn’t too long after Art College and embarking on a fledgling career as designer, that I rediscovered Action Man. I was now in my 20’s and had the good fortune to accompany a dear father-in-law to a Toy Fair in a community hall to look for the Matchbox Models of Yesteryear that he collected. Whilst there, I saw a flock-haired tank commander nestled between some other bits and couldn’t leave without ‘rescuing’ him from his plight.

It all came flooding back… I slowly became hooked again, and eventually set about reading up on AM and running the Unofficial Action Man HQ (UAMHQ) website, just to share what I had learned. I was disappointed there was almost a total lack of info on the web! I approached a well-respected AM expert to assist / partner the build of a new website, but he was pretty uninterested (which surprised me). Today, the site needs another overhaul, now that we are all broadband enabled.”

“I currently run a design agency in the UK (HERE) and the next big project I’m trying to organise is a 300-page, 13″ limited-edition square book (with a slip case) for Action Man collectors by Action Man collectors. ‘MISSION 50’ will be one of a kind—the likes of which have not been seen before on this subject.

It will be an AM book to end all AM books, with high-res actual size photography, minute detail and footnotes on changes to production, rarity and suchlike from 1966 thru 1984. A lot still needs to be considered, we need to approach all the copyright holders and the powers that lurk beneath. I cannot do it on my own, I need to have a team of enthusiasts on board, but initial response has been excellent and I am considering crowd-funding when the proposition is worked out in detail.”

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An AM Book to End All AM Books— Robert Wisdom’s “Mission 50” hardcover book is expected to weigh-in at 300 full-color pages that fit neatly within its own protective slip-case. (Photo: Robert Wisdom)

“In addition to the UAMHQ website and its forum, a Facebook Page (HERE) has also been created. That Facebook page is expected to become key to helping me ascertain how popular the MISSION 50 concept is and for spreading the word around about its production. I would like to ask any AM enthusiasts out there to PLEASE take the time to ‘like’ that page.

And as to the future, I suppose, as a mark of respect, we should all continue to seek out, repair, and restore (to original condition) those little fellas that set us FREE to explore and enjoy a healthy childhood—before computers came along to ‘fake it’ all for us. Action Man will surely outlast all of us mortals, and it was a pleasure that we (of a certain age) were there at his birth.” —Robert Wisdom

The modern-day Action Man logo is superb and would look GREAT on some all-new 50th Anniversary products! (Graphic: Wikipedia)

The POWER of Great Graphics— The modern-day Action Man logo is superb and would look GREAT on some all-new 50th Anniversary (or later) products. Is it time for another relaunch? (Graphic: Wikipedia)

The Story of Action Man has been faithfully recounted on a superb 2013 DVD by Australia's Tony Roberts. (Photo: ebay)

The Story of Action Man has been faithfully recounted on a superb 2013 DVD by Australia’s Tony Roberts. (Photo: ebay)

Bottom Line: The story of Action Man closely parallels that of our own beloved GIjOE, trailing its development by only a couple of years. Much of AM’s equipment is similar, and much is identical. But without a doubt, Palitoy’s Action Man was responsible for the creation of a multitude of unique 1:6 scale product innovations (of which we are continually jealous!). Our sincerest thanks and best wishes go out to Robert Wisdom for all of his generous assistance with this article, and to the Action Man fans around the world, we’d like to wish you all a “Happy 50th Anniversary” in 2016. While we eagerly await that exciting date (and hopefully the release of Wisdom’s Mission 50), may we suggest that you pick up a DVD of 2013’s The Story of Action Man (HERE) produced by renowned AM fan, Tony Roberts, of Australia (view teaser below). It’s equally informative and entertaining. Go, Action Man!

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Official Hasbro Commemoration of G.I. Joe’s 50th Anniversary Appears Unlikely; Company Inaction Creating Alternative Fan-Celebrations

Speak out! Determined to "spread the good word" about GIjOE on its 50th Anniversary, faithful fans such as Tearle Ashby are taking advantage of opportunities to discuss, display, and demonstrate the original and BEST version of "America's Movable Fighting Man" to audiences at libraries, schools, and even museums, such as Tearle's recent appearance at the in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Richard Goldenberg)

Speak out! Determined to “spread the good word” about GIjOE on its 50th Anniversary, faithful fans such as Tearle Ashby (above) are taking advantage of opportunities to  display, demonstrate, and discuss the original and BEST version of “America’s Movable Fighting Man” to groups at libraries, schools, and even museums. Here, Tearle recounts the history of GIjOE at a recent appearance at the New York State Military Museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Force Headquarters)

Clearly, GIjOE still has plenty of fans at "Boy's Life" magazine! This page is just part of some great coverage he recently received in the February 2014 issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Carin Reddig)

Clearly, GIjOE still has plenty of fans at Boy’s Life magazine. This page is just part of the great coverage he recently received in the February 2014 issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Carin Reddig)

Disgruntled GIjOE Fans “Refuse to Forget”

Riddle Me This, Batman: What are collectors of 1:6 scale GIjOEs to do—in 2014? With few new 12-inch releases planned, even the simple act of going out to a toy store to pick up a “50th Anniversary Commemorative GIjOE” has been taken away from them. What are fans to do when Hasbro—GIjOE’s own creator(!)—barely acknowledges the iconic 12-inch line’s existence anymore, much less celebrates (in any appreciable way) its half-century of sales and enduring popularity?

Fortunately, despite Hasbro’s laissez-faire attitude towards its former flagship brand (many would argue that Lego has now assumed that mantle), “Joeheads” around the world have begun demonstrating that they are not yet ready to lay down and surrender. In fact, many are viewing 2014 not as the END of the epic GIjOE saga, but as the end of its beginning; preferring to look forward instead—to the NEXT 50 years of collecting!

GIjOE collector and "advocate," Tearle Ashby, poses proudly with members of his superb 1970s Adventure Team at a special "50th Anniversay" exhibit held in the museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Forces Headquarters)

GIjOE collector and advocate, Tearle Ashby, poses proudly with members of his superb 1970s Adventure Team at a special “50th Anniversary” exhibit held this month in the New York State Military Museum in Sarasota Springs, NY. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg, Joint Force Headquarters)

No room for Joe? While we're being somewhat melodramatic, there's no denying that toy store shelves will feel barren and dull without 12-inch GIjOEs in 2014. (Photo: Ross Franklin)

No room for Joe? While it may seem a bit melodramatic, there’s no denying that toy store shelves will seem barren and dull without 12-inch GIjOEs in 2014. (Photo: Ross Franklin)

The “Bare-Shelved Realities” of 2014

As with the first so-called “end of GIjOE” in 1978, the current disappearance of 12-inch product from store shelves and its subsequent evaporation from Hasbro’s line-up en toto, leaves little doubt that “America’s Movable Fighting Man” is (once again) entering a period of corporately-forced “product retirement.” Anxious fans and collectors are already wondering, how long will Joe be away this time? Of course, no one outside of Hasbro’s boardrooms can answer that for sure, but it probably will be quite a while before we see 12-inch GIjOEs on store shelves again.

Nevertheless, a handful of resolute Joeheads have begun showing that they simply “refuse to forget” GIjOE, especially during its all-important 50th anniversary. In fact, in ever-increasing numbers, die-hard fans have begun creating their own unique ways and means of celebration, pushing past the apathetic executives of “the big H” to post their ideas on public forums such as Facebook, The Trenches, and The Sandbox. Supporting businesses too, have begun to chip in their own celebratory products and ideas. For example…

Opinions about the club's JoeCon 2104 exclusive have been strong, running against box's lack of an illustration, preferably from renowned Joe artist, Larry Selman, to its blatant use of the "Codename" tag made famous by Joe's competitor, Captain Action.

Opinions about the GIjOE club’s box design for its 2014 12-inch exclusive range from disappointed to mixed. Probably for budgetary reasons, the club chose to go with an all-black box with red logo, completely devoid of any supporting photos or illustration. As the theme is supposed to be based on a Green Beret figure, it’s a shame they didn’t commission a special 50th Anniversary painting from renowned Classic Collection artist, Larry Selman. In addition, the use of “Codename” surprises many, as it was most recently made famous by Joe’s 12-inch competitor, Captain Action. Stranger and stranger! (Photo: CIGCC)

The GIjOE club's "official" 50th Anniversary t-shirt looks fine, but the logo chosen is from the 1980s-'90s. A minor point? Or a major mistake? The answer depends on your scale allegiance and/or preference for accuracy. (Photo: GIJCC)

Every 50th anniversary deserves a t-shirt, and this is what the club came up with. We suppose it’s okay, but the logo depicted is from the 1980s. Is that a minor point or a major mistake? The answer likely depends on your scale preference and/or penchant for accuracy. To be honest, we’re not too thrilled. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIJCC Has Become “The Tip of the Spear”

In the absence of any official leadership from Hasbro, “spearheading” GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary during 2014 has fallen to the independently-run GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC). Their upcoming JoeCon 2014 in Dallas,TX, with its 12-inch “Codename: GIjOE” exclusive 2-figure set (see HERE) is the closest thing fans will see resembling anything “official” being produced for Joe’s 50th Anniversary.

Depending on your perspective, this “passing of the torch” to the club can seem like a good thing or a bad thing. They (the club) have made no bones about their desire to merge the worlds of RAH and Cobra with that of the Vintage and Adventure Team fans, skewing conventions more and more towards collectors of “the little Joes” over the years. Indeed, with each passing JoeCon, collectors of 12-inch figures have felt more and more sidelined. At last year’s event in Indianapolis (see complete review HERE), it was almost embarrassingly one-sided.

The GIjOE Collector's Club is the only known businesses creating and selling officially licensed "50th" merchandise such as tees and caps. Attendees of this year's JoeCon can get them at the convention, and leftover copies are typically sold from the club's website. (Photo: GIJCC)

The GIjOE Collector’s Club is the only known businesses creating and selling officially licensed “50th” merchandise such as tees and caps. Attendees of this year’s JoeCon can get them at the convention, and leftover copies are typically sold from the club’s website. (Photo: GIJCC)

Remember toothat the club’s convention figures are NOT created by Hasbro. They are completely designed and created by the club (under license from Hasbro) and always in VERY limited quantities. Bearing all this in mind, as the Codename: GIjOE 12-inch sets are the only “official” figures being produced for Joe’s 50th, they’re bound to sell out quickly. If you can afford to pick one up, we recommend that you (and Mr. Mastercard) act sooner, rather than later.

In lieu of Hasbro’s lack of 50th products and obvious corporate indifference, numerous “unofficial” items have begun to circulate among fans in celebration GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example, copies of this superbly made commemorative t-shirt are currently being given away for FREE to the lucky winners of Patches of Pride’s “Operation: Joe Karma 2014″ prize giveaway. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

In lieu of Hasbro’s lack of 50th products and obvious corporate indifference, numerous “unofficial” items have begun to circulate among fans in celebration of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example, copies of this superbly made commemorative t-shirt are currently being given away FREE to lucky winners of Patches of Pride’s “Operation: Joe Karma 2014″ prize giveaway. WOW! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

“Unofficial” Celebrations Led by Fans Hoping to “Spread Joe Karma”

Independent 1:6 scale-related businesses and GIjOE fans are, of course, free to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary in any way that they choose, as long as they do it in ways that don’t enable them to profit from the sale of items that may infringe upon the intellectual property or trademarks of Hasbro. One such “unofficial” effort comes to us from Patches of Pride owner, Mark Otnes, who has created nifty little “unofficial” 50th t-shirts and is giving them away as part of a unique promotion dubbed, “Operation: Joe Karma 2014.” When pressed for details, Otnes replied:

“GIjOE has given so many people so much pleasure for so long, that we were as shocked as anyone when Hasbro decided to let its 50th anniversary pass by practically unnoticed. So we thought giving away ‘freebies’ every day during 2014 could be the start of some sort of an ‘unofficial’ celebration. We hope fans enjoy the gifts and will spread their own ‘Joe Karma’ around as a result.”

Volunteering Your Time—For GIjOE!

It’s always a good idea to help spread some “Joe Karma” around, any way that you can. And one of the best ways fans are helping to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary is by sharing their collection and passion for the hobby with others; hauling the best of their collections out to libraries, VFW halls and even museums; speaking about Joe collecting, and giving of their TIME—for Joe.

One example that stands out so far this year, occurred February 8th at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, NY. According to the official press release we received from Colonel Richard Goldenberg of the NY Army National Guard:

“…to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of GIjOE, Tearle Ashby, who provided the figures for our ‘Toys and Tanks’ display, including vintage GIjOE, reproduction figures from the Timeless and Classic collections, 21st Century Toys, BBi, Dragon and others, will speak about GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary in a program at the museum on Saturday, Feb. 8th. Here’s another open invitation for GIjOE collectors in the Northeast to make the trip to Saratoga Springs, view the exhibit and maybe look up Tearle and give him incentive to start a Capital Region GIjOE collector’s group!”

Sure, WE know how cool GIjOEs and other 1:6 action figures are. But what about all those poor souls who don't know anything about our amazing hobby? Imagine the THRILL and surprise unsuspecting passersby must feel seeing displays such as this for the first time. Volunteer to show YOUR collection at a library, school, or museum near you TODAY! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Educational, exciting and eye-popping! Imagine the THRILL of seeing displays such as this one for the first time. In honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary, why not volunteer to show off YOUR collection at a nearby library, school, or museum? (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

Depending on the facilities, sharing your collection can be as "low tech" as bringing a few figures to your child's classroom, or "top-level" as this museum display featuring dust-proof plexi display cases, poster-sized blow-ups of vintage catalogs, and television displays running DVDs of original commercials or GIjOE documentaries. Fantastic! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / )

Depending on the facilities, sharing your collection can be as “low tech” as bringing a few figures to your child’s classroom, or as “top-level” as this museum display featuring dust-proof plexi display cases, poster-sized blow-ups of vintage catalogs, and television displays running DVDs of original commercials or GIjOE documentaries. You’re only limited by your imagination! (Photo: Lori Van Buren / Times Union)

The sincerity and detmination "not to forget" GIjOE's 50th Anniversary is written all over Tearle Ashby's face, as he speaks at a recent gathering in New York to discuss the impact GIjOE has had on his life, and that of millions of other fans around the world. (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg / Joint H)

The sincerity and determination “not to forget” GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary is written all over Tearle Ashby’s face. What an inspiring fan! (Photo: Col. Richard Goldenberg / Joint Force Headquarters)

Bottom Line: Hasbro and the GIjOE Collector’s Club are both businesses first and foremost, each making their respective decisions based upon what they believe will generate the most profit revenue. Fans may be disappointed by some of their decisions, but business—is business. The passions and emotions of devoted fans cannot move mountains, nor can they alter these immutable facts. BUT…there are many things you CAN do in 2014 to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. For example…

Create a custom figure of a relative or famous military hero. Customize a vehicle or build a diorama. Take photographs of your efforts and share them with your family, friends and fellow fans. Display your collection at libraries, toy shows, schools and museums. Act as a local “advocate for GIjOE” like super-fan, Tearle Ashby (shown at right) and give a talk about the 1:6 scale hobby. Hand out any “extras” (gear, figures, etc.) that you may have as free gifts to others in a generous show of “Joe Karma.”

Whatever you choose to do, if you’re waiting for Hasbro to hold your hand in 2014, you can stop waiting. According to all trusted and currently available sources, other than the activities being planned for this year’s JoeCon 2014, nothing further of an “official” nature is being prepared to celebrate GIjOE’s 50th. For simple business reasons, the “Big H” has decided to take a very laid back attitude toward GIjOE’s anniversary, and that’s just a fact fans will have to live with. But we can still REFUSE—to forget. Go, JOE!

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G.I. Joe Collector’s Club Announces “50-Day Sale”

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My, how time flies, and prices fall. The "Terror on the Sea Floor" convention set from 2007 originally rang up at a whopping $250. Durring the GIjCC's "50-Day Sale," you can snag this extraordinary set for just $100. Great gobbling Sea Clams...What a value! (Photo: GIJCC)

My, how time flies, and how prices fall. The “Terror on the Sea Floor” convention set from 2007 originally rang up at a whopping $250. But now, during the GIjCC’s “50-Day Sale,” you can snag this extraordinary collectible for just $100. Great gobbling Sea Clams…that’s a heck of a deal! (Photo: GIJCC)

FLASH! This Sale News Just In…

The Dallas, TX-based GIjOE Collector’s Club (GIJCC) has just announced that it is commencing with a so-called “50-Day Sale” in honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary. This sort of sale (conducted on the club’s website HERE) provides great opportunities for fans to pick up past convention exclusives, reproduction vintage figures, assorted uniform sets and related 1:6 scale accessories. According to the GIJCC’s official press release:

“We have started the huge sale we have been promising! In honor of GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary, we are having a sale that will last 50 days. Twice a week we will add approximately 12 items to the sale. All of these items are at least 50% off and some are as much as 90% off. Many of these pieces are fairly limited, so when you see something you want, don’t wait long. This will be a great time to fill in the holes of your collection. Check out the first items at GIJoeClub.com/shop. Then click on the GIjOE Sale/Clearance Items.”

The "Drive Into Danger" 12-inch exclusive set from JoeCon 2011 remains a "must-have" for Adventure Team fans. It's original sticker price of $325 kept many collectors away, but during the "50-Day Sale" it's being sold for just $162. Of course, add the cost of shipping and you're back up to about $200. (Photo: GIJCC)

VROOOMMM!!! The “Drive Into Danger” 12-inch exclusive from JoeCon 2011 remains a “must-have” for most Adventure Team collectors. Until now, its original $325 pricetag has kept many fans away, but during the club’s “50-Day Sale” it will be sold for just $162. We can smell the desert sands now! But be careful… Add in the cost of shipping and you’re back up to about $200. (Photo: GIJCC)

Bottom Line: We LOVE sales, and this one is looking like it’ll be a doozy! We recommend that you heed the club’s recommendation and check back in every 12 days or so to see what new items have been put up for sale. Keep your fingers crossed. You never know what might happen! Go, JOE!

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