Tag Archives: Dioramas

Miguel Tavarez—Master of Miniaturization—Creates Astonishingly Realistic (1:6 Scale) Diorama of U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) Paratroopers in Action

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Bring it On— In a stunning display of 1:6 scale artistry, customizer Miguel Tavares has recreated a battle scene from the Korean War featuring two figures from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Ranger Inf. Co. (Airborne). This closeup of the Master Sergeant reveals he has been authentically detailed with correct unit insignia and helmet emblems produced by Patches of Pride. (Photo: Miguel Tavares) Click to enlarge.

Expert Modeler Depicts Soldiers of “Forgotten War’s” All-Black, All-Ranger Regiment

Welcome to 2017, 1:6 Scalers!

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Immortalized on the Cover—UK hobby industry magazine, Military Modelling (vol. 41, issue no. 1) celebrates the skills of master modeler, Miguel Tavarez, by splashing his work (deservedly so) on the front cover of its most recent issue. Out-STANDING! (Photo: Military Modelling)

It’s a brand-new year and the guys and gals at The Joe Report felt like kicking things off with a BIG photo-story about a new, rising talent among the 1:6 scale customizing community—Miguel Tavarez. Tavares is a master modeler and 1:6 customizer of the highest degree, and in recognition of his superlative skills, the UK hobby magazine Military Modelling recently published an article about his work, even going so far as to feature a photo of his new (2-figure) paratrooper diorama on the publication’s cover.

The remarkable diorama in question depicts two African-American U.S. Army paratroopers of the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne) during the Korean War. They’ve just completed a jump and one soldier appears to have suffered a hard landing or been otherwise wounded. His Master Sergeant has rushed to his side, all the while gazing grimly skyward as he watches other Rangers still descending.

This 1:6 scale masterwork is both wonderful and inspirational to behold. Action figure customizers and diorama builders around the world would probably pay good money just to take a 1 hour class from this talented artisan. If fact, we felt Miguel’s Ranger dio achievement was so important, that it was worthy of further mention and praise beyond just the pages of a UK hobby magazine. Therefore, despite any repetition, we’ve wholeheartedly chosen to share it here, too—on The Joe Report!

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A Bad Time for a Sprain— What a superb choice of headsculpt! This figure’s excellent facial expression perfectly captures so much emotion at once. The frustration, pain, and yes, even anger, at being hurt before even getting to fire a shot, must surely be a severe disappointment to this Ranger. After training for months, making dozens of practice jumps, and going through everything required to become a U.S. Army Ranger, to be sidelined and/or hobbled like must be quite a blow. Let’s hope this brave paratrooper’s leg is only sprained and not broken. Go, Rangers! Go, ARMY! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

 Details Do Make the Difference

When you study Miguel’s custom figures, you quickly discover that he is zealously devoted to both military accuracy and authenticity, as well as the execution of professional, almost extreme modeling detail. Take a (very close) look at those hands (the fingernails!), the figure’s wrinkled and “weathered” uniforms, their weaponry, equipment, and even the stones and grass on the ground cover beneath their feet—it’s all been magnificently painted and otherwise realistically executed. HISTORY—has been brought back to life in three dimensions: visibly, tactilely—and in miniature!

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As Real as it Gets— The mind boggles looking at the reality of this ground cover. Make special note of Miguel’s careful selection of the grass and tiny white flowers. Where other customizers would choose or create plantlife that is oversized, Tavarez has ensured that even the tiny flowers are correctly scaled to match his diorama. Un-freakin’ believable! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

It’s Okay to Seek Outside Help

Tavarez has also taken the trouble (and expense) to commission custom waterslide decals and cloth patches from renowned miniatures manufacturer, Patches of Pride. All of their tiny products are carefully researched and recreated from scratch, so their inclusion helped to elevate this unique diorama to undisputed “masterpiece” status. Custom works of such high caliber are truly rare, and this one solidifies Miguel’s well-deserved reputation as a master modeler of 1:6 scale.
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Let’s Get a Move On, Ranger!— Staying out in the open for too long after a combat jump can be an invitation to disaster, as this Master Sergeant clearly knows. This side view of their combined poses demonstrates that there is a clear sense of urgency and peril to their situation. Just LOOK at all the amazing detail! The patches, helmet emblems, ammo bandolier, boots…WOW! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

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Miguel describes the inspiration behind his 2-figure Ranger diorama:

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Cheers, Customizers!— Miguel Tavarez raises a cold one in toast and tribute to other members of the 1:6 scale community in this exclusive photo taken for readers of The Joe Report. His outstanding customs are providing inspiration to thousands of fellow kitbashers around the world. (Photo: Miguel Tavarez)

“This diorama is about two African-American Rangers during the Korean War. The Korean War is often referred to as “ the forgotten war” because of the lack of public attention it received both during and after the war, and in relation to the global scale of World War II, which preceded it, and the subsequent angst of the Vietnam War, which succeeded it. After finishing my last 1/6th dio, I was looking for a new project to do, and so I decided to read up on the Korean conflict and see if I could find a subject to recreate within my own little 1/6th scale kitbashing ‘world’.

I came across a book on a very fascinating unit of a segregated, all-black elite Ranger company that had fought with distinction during the first 2 years of the “Forgotten War” in Korea. I had previously done a WWII 761st African-American tanker before, so I became keen on creating something that would also honor this all-black Ranger company—the 2nd Ranger Infantry Co. (Airborne).”

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Don’t Forget the Base— Yes, you can simply set your figures on a table, but the creation and use of a custom base beneath their feet helps add geographical texture and context, as well as increasing the realism of your tabletop diorama scene. Beautiful! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

“As I mentioned before, they were an African-American unit at a time when the U.S. military was slowly being integrated after years of racial segregation. President Truman’s executive order 9981 in 1948 changed that. But the reality was that the desegregation policy was yet to come into full compliance. Segregation was still being practiced right into the Korean War.

White high-ranking officers who did not support desegregation would funnel the colored troops into units such as the 2nd Ranger Co. in the first several years of the war. But 1950s racial issues aside, the ‘Buffalo Rangers,’ as they were known, gave a good account of themselves in the Korean War until their deactivation in 1951.”

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Remembering and Honoring Our Heroes (in 1:6 Scale)— This 3/4 front view shows off the entirety of Miguel’s amazing custom diorama and reveals that he included an actual Ranger pin down in the bottom righthand corner. Congratulations on a great job, Miguel! (Photo: Miguel Tavarez) Click to enlarge.

These “Buffalo Rangers” participated in “Operation Tomahawk” on March 23rd 1951. This operation was historic for two reasons; one, it would be the first time a Ranger unit participated in an Airborne combat jump. Secondly and more importantly, it would be the first combat jump for black troops in the U.S. military. Attached to the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team (its parent unit), it would make this historic jump in ‘Operation Tomahawk’ into North Korean and Chinese-held territory!” —Miguel Tavarez

Bottom Line: Miguel’s work is AWESOME. That’s the bottom line. Our sincerest thanks go out to Mr. Tavarez for sharing these photos of his work and for the exclusive account of his inspiration for this piece. As of the date of this article, you could still buy a copy of the issue of UK’s Military Modelling magazine featuring Miguel’s amazing work HERE.

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Pin THIS! Tiny 1:6 Scale Clothespins for G.I. Joe

How small can we go? At (almost) 1:6 scale, you can fit quite a lot of these tiny clothespins in your hand. They're made of real wood and metal. They really work. And they look GREAT! Available in many arts-n-crafts stores including Michaels and Hobby Lobby. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

How small can we go? At (almost) 1:6 scale, you can fit quite a lot of these tiny clothespins in just one hand. And yes, they’re made of real wood, real metal, and they really work. And they look GREAT! Available now in many arts-n-crafts stores including Michaels and Hobby Lobby. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

Another quick heads-up for all you customizers of 1:6 scale dioramas out there. Intrepid TJR Field Reporter, James Long, wrote in to us today with some interesting intel and pics of, well, a rather ordinary household item. But what makes this particular “sighting” of interest to us (of course), is that the items in question are in 1:6 scale. And as we all know, customizers of 1:6 scale don’t care WHAT an item is; if it’s in 1:6 scale—we’re DEFINITELY interested!

In this closeup of the product recently found in Michael's, you can see that you'll receive 6 full-sized clothespins (give those to your children) as well as

In this closeup of the product Long found recently in Michael’s, you can see that you’ll receive 6 full-sized “glittery” clothespins (give those away to your kids) and 24 of the miniature (no glitter) versions in black, purple, orange and OD green. Keep those for your “Laundry Adventurer!” (Photo: James Long)

As you can tell by looking at these pictures, in this specific case, the items in question are—hold onto something—tiny wooden clothespins! Yes, we’re about to enter the exciting world of GIjOE doing his weekly laundry. What? You didn’t think his clothes washed themselves, did you? Perhaps if we called Joe a “Laundry Adventurer” or labeled his next mission “The Search for the Lost Socks,” it’d help make this product announcement a little more exciting. According to Long:

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“My wife and I were at Michael’s yesterday, and we spotted something that might make a good addition to your next article on 1:6 scale items and be useful as props for Joe dioramas—clothes pins! Okay, they’re actually just slightly larger than 1:6 scale, but they’re close enough that most people won’t complain. They come with some larger clothespins that aren’t of much use for Joe, but for $1.99 on clearance, I wasn’t going to argue!

It’s a Michael’s exclusive item (according to the back of the packaging) and as you can see in the attached photo (shown below, ed.), they work quite well. Yes, even GIjOE now has the drudgery of doing his laundry. Enjoy!” —James Long

James Long's "Laundry Adventurer" pins up some of his laundry at AT headquarters using his new clothespins. Go, JOE! What a hero! (Photo: James Long)

How’s it Hanging, Joe? James Long’s AT “Laundry Adventurer” pins up some of his laundry recently using the new clothespins Long found at Michaels. What a hero! (Photo: James Long)

Bottom Line: In the photo shown above, Joe’s new miniature clothespins appear to be in accurate 1:6 scale. And the fact that they’re not made of stiff (pink) plastic and that they’re fully functional makes them even more appealing to 1:6 scalers and diorama builders who wish to recreate this exciting…uh…dangerous(?)…looking scene. Anyway, Happy Hunting!

Joe prepares his new EOD robot for use in searching suspicious cars and packages. (Photo: Sean Huxter)

Joe’s EOD robot. (Photo: Sean Huxter) Click to enlarge.

WIN A FREE E.O.D ROBOT!

Here’s How: In this exciting TJR “Bonus Contest,” be the first person to guess EXACTLY how many of the 1:6 scale clothespins are being held in the hand in the photo at the top of this article and you’ll win the FREE 1:6 scale EOD Robot shown at right (GIjOE figure not included).

To enter, simply leave a comment to this article, here on The Joe Report, and when the first correct answer appears, we’ll announce the winner. Please limit yourself to one entry per day. If you don’t hear from us via email, feel free to try again the next day until a winner is named.

International fans are also welcome to participate. The (1) prize will be shipped to the (1) lucky winner completely free of charge. Best of luck to all. Ready? Go!!!!!!

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