Staff Sgt. Robert Dollaway holds a prototype of an action figure that bears his resemblance during the Open House at the Riverdale Armory.
Four New Jersey National Guard members are just months away from becoming part of ongoing national action figure line that will be available at most retailers. "When I first saw it I couldn't stop staring at it. It was amazing how close it looked to the real thing - to the real me. When you see it yourself, that's the real surprise," said Staff Sgt. Edwin Tejada, a battalion Soldier and now an action figure commenting on the small statue. "It's quite exciting actually, something you would normally dream about as a kid. Who were these people? Where did they come from?"
The action figures, standing six to seven inches tall on average, are sculpted and created with such accuracy in detail. Some readers may think that translates to hair and eye color matching the intended subject; on the contrary, think again and turn that microscope up a bit. Think accuracy so realistic that the makers of these military action figures captured the nook in a chin or the definition of a cheek bone.
What makes this standard of precision so achievable is the state-of-the-art image recording system used to copy the subject. After the first four Soldiers had their portraits scanned, their image was reproduced and uploaded into a computer and used as templates for the Army figurines appearing in this ongoing series.
"I feel like the most scanned person in the world," said Staff Sgt. Robert Dollaway, and he just may be. Dollaway, one of two Soldiers from the battalion now an action figure, was also the first New Jersey Soldier to sit and lend his likeness to this project.
"One of the best parts about this is that they use actual Soldiers to get the details correct," said Dollaway as he stood next to the hand painted prototype of him worth $35,000.
Perhaps the only imperfection one may discover after close inspection is the figurines lack of unit identification. Since the project is not officially authorized by DoD, the well-known unit patches were not included.