LINKS OF INTEREST
GENERAL JOE: Well naturally,
you should check out alt.toys.gi-joe,
(Usenet) aka "The Sandbox" for the latest in Joe gossip and spirited discussion.
Also, check out these web-format message boards: The
Sixth Division, The
Dragon's Den, The
Trenches (migrants from AOL's service), and Men
With Dolls (femfigs with an edge).
For links to several years' worth
of self-paced browsing, check out
GIjOE Links, Joe
World Online and Driftwood's
Hot Joe Links.
CUSTOM JOE: This section contains information about some notable customizers and niche market producers. These are usually individuals or small operations who strive for detail and authenticity, and create unique works. Products offered by producers are usually more expensive and delivery can be slow, because it's not mass-produced.
Eagle's Sixth Scale is a great resource for 1:6th scale customizers, and offers a mailing list, tips, accepts guest submissions, plus a lot of other stuff. Check 'em out!
Custom GI Joe Survey- My survey to see what
people like, and would like to see in custom work.
- 2001 Action Figure
Militaire International Competition; Hosted by Force 126, Ransome's
Frontline and the 1/6th Warrior Bunker...
Sandbox Halloween Contest; Hosted by John Kozin...
Sandbox Halloween Contest; Hosted by Joe World...
Sandbox Halloween Contest; Hosted by John Kozin...
- 1998 Sandbox Halloween Customizing Contest; Hosted by moi...
- 1/98 NorCal Show; Some pics posted at the Sandbox by Mike Leon --an opportunity to see the work of some of the elusive masters of customizing who don't have web sites with pictures.
- The 1998 GI Joe Convention in San
Antonio; Sandboxers & customizers & plenty to see! NOTE: This
is a snapshot of time and doesn't reflect the fact that many vendors later
earned themselves a less-than-stellar reputation before going tits-up.
- 1998 Sandbox Customizing Contest; Stephen Londergan did a great job hosting this extravaganza.
Francis Tavares' Battlefields; He's The King: Great custom
uniforms, accessories and scratch-built vehicles, WWII era-- His "Saving
Private Ryan" customs are not to be missed! You may recognize his fingerprint
on some other great custom gear? The BEST action photos, bar none. Also,
be sure to check out his non-WWII stuff at his second website, Paragon,
- Ransome Chua; (WWII) His web site gets mentioned here too (see "Guests" above) because of the quality of his work and the excellent text commentary. This man's from Singapore and he can write like the fabled Merlion! ;^)
- Dave Rogers; An excellent customizer who's apparently been around for a long time.
- Jun Matsui's M's Deck; I wish I could read Japanese, but at least I can read pictures... A cool site which has decals & lots of neat pictures of custom and unique figures, plus links to customizers who you've probably never heard of!
- Scott Baker has lots of interesting variety at his site, and his tastes are very similar to my own. He's a top-notch customizer (and artist), who has actually hand-made 1:6th scale chainmail! Wow...
- Tom Barkmeijer (from The Netherlands) is new on the scene, and has made some very nicely detailed WWII German gear.
- Central Kentucky Joe Club; (WWII) Works by Ray Bowen, Teddy & Karen Sallings, Paul Walmsley, and Robert Gukiesen.
- Thor's Reich; Showcases a lot of customizers' work in a very purdy (& professional & exceptionally well-designed) package. Coming from the Mad Norseman, whodda thunk it??? ;^)
- Mark Cole has been customizing since the '80s and just put up his web site (09/10/99), which showcases his "Custom Outfitworks". Wow... check it out!
Kouki's Holy Dismemberment! This Japanese customizer is the Dungeonlord of Figure Dissecters! Expect to spend quite a while stumbling around in his website, wishing you read Japanese. Besides the dissections, there's a section for kewl female customs, some with cyborg parts. And other stuff.
John A. Hay's Lifeforms An extremely varied collection of figures (Sci-Fi, Superheroes, WWII) from a very talented and enthusiastic craftsman.
Disclaimer: I don't specifically endorse anyone listed below, although to my knowledge they're all honorable folks. (Those who generate a lot of negative feedback in public forums are removed after a pattern is evident.) Prospective buyers should seek feedback in a public forum (like alt.toys.gi-joe) and its archives (Google.com) before spending lotsa money. General advice: Be prepared to wait.
Vehicles; Radio-controlled conversions of 1:6th scale vehicles.
- Adventure Gear; Tom Calhoun's GI Joe Adventure Team web site. Yes, someone does make non-military outfits for Joe! Excellent reputation for fast turn-around & delivery.
- ApeJoe Online; Polo Moreno...This guy is the king of rubber! His boots are legendary, and he's got a full-spectrum interest in Joe things (even...gasp...sci-fi!!!).
- Circle Home Studios; Unusual custom uniforms, WWII era with a lot of variety. Good feedback at Sandbox.
Diversions; Scratch-built vehicles; Tony Tillman is one of the
big kahunas of the Lone
Star Scale Raiders, responsible for the massive WWII diorama-building
- Dave Tedesco's Patch Hut 1/6 scale embroidered patches and stripes. They look very well done, and he supplies many other customizers.
Soldiers Plains Warrior custom figures -- Native American Indian
-- very cool!
- Greg Brown/Eklyps;
A long-timer who has a well-deserved impeccable reputation... Distributes
Brian Vota's diverse line of eclectic weaponry & Mardon's BIG vehicles.
- Firebase Ryan Diorama accessories for your own backyard outpost.
- Fury Dolls
Barbies with Big Hooters & other taboo detailing. A kinky-ish site which
panders to tortured male hormones, but some of the work is very imaginative.
- Haywire Toys; Looks neat, but mixed reviews from Sandbox regarding quality. Personally, I thought their stuff looked pretty good, but unsure whether they're recasting certain Cotswold items.
Great-looking Axis outfits w/unique accessories (Bergman) and vehicles
(Tiger & Pzkpfw III). Very little solid feedback so far.
- Joe Blitz; Paul Walmsley--excellent customizer of WWII German goods & camo patterns.
- John's Stuff;
John Ivory is famous for his great US helmets, but his other work is
equally fine and has gotten very good reviews at the Sandbox; excellent
business ethics too-- once, temporarily closed order taking to manage
production turnaround time (a rare practice).
- Kelly's Heroes... is back! Fred Jeska is well-known for producing very cool likenesses of popular media characters.
Midnight (Timothy Hamilton) ;
Tigers, Panthers, Shermans... Plus uniformed figures. Check it out
and see why he's a legend. (Thor's
Reich has a nice layout of his work.)
- Patches Of Pride; Don't know why I didn't put these guys in before, but they've got printed goods-- decals, patches & accessories-- for vehicles & figures.
- Rob's 1/6th Scale Miniatures; Customizing info and projects; Rob sells his original headsculpts...
- Saru-Inu Ya; Japanese WWII customs made by a Japanese customizer. Very nice stuff & professionally-cast heads with great sculpts; plans to use metal castings for buckles.
- Tripwire Toys; One of the originals, well known for high quality work. Sorta pricey though, according to popular opinion.
- Yoon's Customs; Modern, WWII & sports outfits. Great-looking outfits, and I can speak for the outstanding quality of his resin work!
- The Glove Lady (Valerie Briggs) Tailored gloves for your figures. No index (10/99); this link leads to an order form, and the pics are available by browsing the default directory (kind of a hassle, and would be so easy to fix with links!)
- Cotswold Collectibles; Mid-size manufacturers of their own vintage-styled Joe figure & accessories, and they release new figure sets and accessories regularly. They deserve your loyalty for supporting the hobby during the lean years. Lately, they've been fighting back agressively with unique offerings (although they need to ditch those old headsculpts... they're embarrassing!) (02/01)
- 21st Century Toys; One of the larger startup competitors to Hasbro; a lot of their goods were originally created and designed by Mike Maceda, a former customizer. They now produce a shitload of stuff covering many different eras. Think huge vehicles. (02/01)
- Dragon Models Limited (DML); This 1/35 scale military model giant is now an veteran trendsetter for the market, and their figure line started the trend of mega-articulated body and highly detailed outfits. Think WWII German. (02/01)
- Alfrex; Producers of the Samurai drama (Jidaigeki) series figures (Zatoichi & Yojimbo), amazingly articulated figures with authentic outfits & accessories. Web site is now in English, with direct sales (in Yen).
- Lanard's Ultra Corps; The guys who make the knock-off 3-3/4" Joes are now producing a 12" format figure with a sci-fi/adventure motif.
Box International; Kewl stuff-- Cy Girls, aviators, and those
modern guys with the "Custom Expression Mechanism". (02/01)
- Sideshow Toy; New to the 1/6th scene with incredible offerings: Frankenstein, Spinal Tap, with much, much more in the offing. (02/01)
- Hasbro; Duhhhh... everyone should
know this URL... Just type the word into your browser!
- Yellow Submarine Great WWII German weapon sets, like the ones I reviewed above... (02/01)
- InToyz Not much yet, but watch these guys... (02/01)
FROM DISTANT SHORES AND THEY WRITE WITH UNFAMILIAR RUNES
International; Fashion doll accessories from Japan. The quantity & diversity ensures a few hours of exploration fun.
- Cuties; You won't find too many gun-totin' dudes at this site, but then you wouldn't expect that from the site's name, would you?
FODDER JOE: Custom Joe usually begins life as Fodder Joe,
so that's a good excuse to list some of the online places to buy your
Dragon figures for dissection. A few caveats: This isn't intended to be
an exhaustive list, and I have no desire to turn it into one. (You only
need a few reliable vendors after all.) These are places I've ordered from and would order from again. I only list places which have secure
online ordering and take credit cards. My preference is USPS Priority mail because it's fast and cheap (usually 2 days versus 5 by UPS), but not all vendors offer it.
Some advice: Shop out-of-state unless you like paying sales tax. To speed up a UPS Ground delivery, find a vendor in a nearby state.