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That Weird Casino Sound

Boyd Wedin is too quick for him, though. He pinches Zedwick's head between his fingers and lifts him off the conference room table, giving the 'Pipe a closer look at the six-inch-tall "Real Hero" plastic figurine.

This ain't your daddy's G.I. Joe. Its detailed master paint job and packaging were done at Jazwares Inc., a toy company in Sunrise. The creators, including Wedin and Joe Amaro, have imitated Zedwick's distinctly handsome facial features, exposed knuckles, and realistically creased pants. According to the Army's website, the figurine's outfit is identical to the one Zedwick wore on the day he won the Silver Star during a deadly ambush of his platoon in Taji, Iraq.

Zedwick's plastic body is one of four that came from 3-D scans of real, live Iraq War heroes. The other figurines are likenesses of Maj. Jason Amerine of Honolulu, Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Wolford of Roseburg, Oregon, and Sgt. Tommy Rieman of Independence, Kentucky, all decorated war heroes chosen by the Army for its Real Heroes program. Selections are based on the soldier's courage under fire. The Army had already created the molds for the toys, but Wedin and Amaro got approval to collaborate on action figures to go along with the game.

Little Bullets
Little Bullets
South Beach, Davie
South Beach, Davie

"All the approvals come from the Pentagon," Amaro said with a quiet excitement. "They've offered us tours to the military bases. For me, when I was a kid, I used to love G.I. Joe. It's awesome to be working with the Army."

The four heroes are now at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair, aiming their guns at buyers from stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys "R" Us. Although they won't be the first action figures based on war heroes (the G.I. Joe brand has produced a few reality action figures, including likenesses of George S. Patton and war correspondent Ernie Pyle), they are the first from the Iraq War and the first to come with bio trading cards that tell the compelling life stories of the soldiers, who say they are thrilled to be memorialized in this way.

Let's face it, boys and girls. The people involved in this project are unabashed Army fans.

"My mother says I've been a G.I. Joe since I was 6," said Wolford, the Oregon sergeant, "I always wanted to jump out of airplanes and blow stuff up."

Now he gets his chance — in miniaturized perpetuity.

South Beach, Davie

While South Florida has never faced an emergency shortage of T-shirts that say "FBI: Female Body Inspector" or "Tell Your Tits to Stop Staring at Me," any tourist with the slightest bit of fashion consciousness (or self-respect) has always had to walk out of Wings with no souvenirs to memorialize his or her visit. Until recently, that is — when graphics artist/T-shirt designer Paul Jacober, feeling sorry for "the poor hipster who didn't have anything to buy," set off on a mission to recover Miami Beach cool. He created a line of T-shirts featuring Art Deco landmarks like the Delano Hotel and celebrity hangouts like the Shore Club.

Predictably, fashionistas snatched the shirts off the shelves of Lincoln Road boutiques. Jacober, seeking new inspiration, turned to... Davie. Having seen a Bruce Weber photo spread that was shot in the town (where the rodeo grounds are a huge attraction), Jacober whipped out a series of designs that incorporate horses, skulls, and Camaros. Next thing you knew, his Davie line of shirts had become more popular than the South Beach ones. That's Puerto Rican pop star Luis Fonsi sporting one on the cover of his new album.

"Hipsters gravitate toward that white-trash imagery," Jacober explains. "You might not always want to be affiliated with it in real life, but on T-shirts, it has an effortlessly cool vibe." In fact, Davie is even — Tailpipe winces to acknowledge it — sexy. Jacober says his friend, an Ocean Drive stylist, just did a photo shoot there. "You can put boys on motorcycles, and there's hay."

Could Davie be the next South Beach? "You know, it could be," Jacober says. "South Beach originally became cool because it wasn't cool. It was new and different. Davie could become cool — it's off the beaten path. Obviously, cool people would have to start going there, and there'd have to be something for people to do. But South Beach started out totally trashy and totally dangerous. The ugly kid can always become a cool kid." You want to buy one of the T's, you say? Sorry, the stores aren't stocking them yet. But try Jacober's website, — As told to Edmund Newton

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