About Stewart’s Joes!
My love of these figures started in the 1960’s. As a young son of an US Army soldier who proudly served for 20 years I was extremely excited when Hasbro introduced GI Joe in 1964. Over the next 5 years I would enact battles in my living room with my ‘Joes’, Johnny West and Captain Action figures. The mixed genre never bothered me and my favorites would change over time.
As so often happened to young men of my generation, I ‘outgrew’ these toys when I turned the corner of my teens and sadly, they were lost to me soon thereafter.
I followed in my father’s footsteps and also proudly served in the US Army for over 25 years and in 1994 I rediscovered these great figures and started to get everything I could get my hands on. First with ToyShop ads, then fledgling Internet newsgroups and then through live auctions and eBay I amassed a pretty impressive collection of these three figure lines again.
With the influx of so many manufactures in the 12 inch figure market I quickly lost focus and ended up getting just about every new figure of any ilk that hit the toy shelves. At one point I had, easily, over 500 figures. Most of these I would never even open and just placed them on the shelf for display. This trend lasted until just recently when I took a good hard look at my ‘habit’ and decided to make a change.
So I asked myself, “What figures do you really like?” The answer came from memories:
As a child and in my own Army career I had the opportunity to travel the world quite a bit. I was often in London and would take every chance I could to see the ceremonies at Buchingham Palace and the changing of the guard. What a fantastic display of military pomp and circumstance! I remember vividly the splendid uniforms of the Grenadiers, Blues & Royals and the Life Guards.
My brother was and is an excellent model builder and painter and his passion was for anything related to the Germans of WWII. Not their warped political views but because of their uniforms and regalia. Arguably one of the ‘best dressed’ armies of history. He got the German Stormtrooper from Hasbro (part of their Soldiers of the World, SOTW) series and I was very envious. The figure and uniform were just so NEAT!
In the 60’s, I was a little young to understand the political ramifications of the Viet Nam war but even as I grew and understood those turbulent times I am very proud of our service men and women who served during those trying times. One of my earliest memories is standing at a bus stop holding my mom’s hand and watching my oldest brother boarding the bus that would take him to basic training and then on to Viet Nam. I would listen to SSGT Barry Sadler’s songs of the Green Berets and would watch John Wayne’s classic movie, “The Green Berets”.
Before I started my Army career I was conflicted on my career choice. Being from a small, rural town without any political connections, my application to West Point was turned down. I was pretty upset and was trying to ‘figure out’ what to do when I graduated from high school. I definitely did not have the money to pay for 4 years of college. So my choices were to go on active duty (I was a reservist at the time, went to basic training between my junior and senior years of high school), or to join a ‘police’ force. I seriously considered getting dual citizen ship in Canada and join the RCMP. Again, probably the uniforms but there honor, horses and ‘remote’ service locations really appealed to me. But, I decided to take a student loan for my first year of college and try for a scholarship through the ROTC program. Thanks to the powers that be, that’s what happened and as they say “The rest is history”.
Therefore, I’ve decided to concentrate on these figures:
That’s what this site is about. I’ll attempt to discuss the real life inspiration for these figures, their uniforms, the figure history and various incarnations of them. Along the way, I’ll learn and better my collection which I will also showcase.
So thanks for the long read and enjoy the site.
- Green Beret
- SOTW Germans
- Grenadier Guard
- Blues & Royals
- Life Guards
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police