Toying With Nature

Todd Zingales + Museum of G.I. Joes, Hollis
Photo By Allegra Boverman.

When toy collector Todd Zingales was a kid, he favored the G.I. Joe Adventure Team figures, which included jungle, desert, mountain and ocean expedition themes.

Todd Zingales, a pastry chef for New Hampshire Job Corps, likes cooking up different scenarios for customizing his G.I. Joe collection. His basement workshop includes materials for painting, sculpting and even replacing flocked hair. He might turn a plastic Easter egg into a space helmet for a NASA astronaut, or use clay to turn a G.I. Joe’s face into a character inspired by “The Wizard of Oz.”

But Todd gets even more whimsical with his toys when he brings them outside the basement.

Pergatory Falls B8r Op 0

G.I. Joe enthusiast Todd Zingales recently sent his
action-adventure pal down Mont Vernon’s Purgatory Falls in a padded plastic barrel.

“My wife, Beth, has an obsessive hiking disorder and convinced me to join her in climbing the 48 4,000-footers in New Hampshire — and also the ‘52 With a View,’ which is every mountain in the state under 4,000 feet. Probably the worst thing I’ve done in my life. It was brutal,” he says with a smirk. “So to make things more interesting, everytime we’d go up a different mountain, I’d bring a different G.I. Joe.”

Photos of G.I. Joe admiring the idyllic scenery now decorate Todd’s workshop. His proudest feat is sending one of his action figures in a barrel over Purgatory Falls in Mont Vernon. The padded barrel featured modified packaging from the classic “Barrel of Monkeys” toy.

“When I was a kid, I’d zip my G.I. Joes down zip lines, dig trenches for them, have battles with the other kids,” Todd says. “So as an adult, if I can spend a few hours thinking about when I was nine, it feels pretty good.”

Note from the editor: Supercollectors Square

This profile appeared as part of a larger article in the September 2023 issue of New Hampshire Magazine highlighting some of the fascinating collectors and passionate collectors in the state.

To learn more about the other Granite State Super Collectors, click here.

Categories: Collector’s Collections