Action Man Brit Paratrooper
My second Action Man was the British Paratrooper. I picked up a figure
and this uniform from a place in Leicesterchire, England, that was a toy liquidator.
I forget what I paid for the figure and outfit, but I think it was around
$3 after the exchange rate was figured in. I liked it so much, I picked
up a second one with brown hair. The shipping from the UK was more than
the price of the figure... how could I go wrong? I wasn't keen on the vinyl
web gear, but during the Great Joe Depression of the late 1980's, it was
The figure's eyes moved left and right via a little lever on the back of
his head (pic at right). The Action Man you see in this picture is actually
a TCAM... more on that later.
Notice the bayonet that slides into a sheath on the side of the ammo pouch
in the pic at left? It can also fit in the loop in the back of his Y harness
as seen in the pic on the right.
This is a great figure and had lots of play value. Unfortunately, over
time, his thighs got floppy and he couldn't stand very well. This guy actually
has a Hasbro Timeless Collection KFG Man of Action body under his genuine
Action Man moving eye head. I'll include details on the headswap later on
down this page.
In the pic at left, you can see the bayonet in the mounted position, as
Action Man's eyes carefully scan left and right for any sign of impending
Action Man French
The Action Man French Resistance Fighter is a really interesting set. It's almost identical to the Hasbro version, although the sweater is made of a tighter, nasty nylon weave with a huge collar (which is actually better to poke a fuzzhead through, however). In this pic, the French getup is modeled by a TC MOA fuzzhead (he was a body donor to the Action Man in the pics above). Then I was left with an extra fuzzhead MOA noggin around. Fortunately, I had a spare Aussie Jungle Fighter body with that terrible headsculpt, so I swapped it and got a hard-hands TC MOA fuzzhead. Since the difference between the early Joes and Action Man figures were negligible, I figured it'd be acceptable to stuff the uniform with this guy for the pics.
In the pic at right you can see the extra stuff that was part of the French
Resistance Fighter set. I confess that I added the grenades, medal, and knife
(actually a German bayonet if you look closely) that are vintage Hasbro items.
The radio is pure Action Man, though.
Compared to the Hasbro version, this French radio is terrible. Take a look at those hinges! Ick! Bend those babies back and forth a few times and they'll snap. The latch (at the left) is awful, too. I thought the Hasbro version of this radio set was bad until I picked up this Action Man version. The Palitoy folks took a bad idea and made it worse!
The Palitoy Lebel revolver is interesting. You can tell the Palitoy version
from the Hasbro version by the oversized lug underneath the barrel. Otherwise,
it's indistinguishible from the Hasbro version. Hmm... I hope I dug the right
medal out of the junkbox when I put this outfit together... I didn't accidentally
pick up an Order of the Kite medal now, did I? ;-)
Action Man US Machine Gunner
The first Action Man I picked up was the US machine gunner. I decided I
liked the Action Man figures, but I paid $35 for this guy and thought the
collector prices were simply too steep... then I found the toy liquidator
I mentioned at the top of this page - and bought a second machine gunner for
three bucks. They averaged around $17 each, so that was acceptable.
The US Machine Gunner's web gear was all vinyl. The patches were ironed on, it seemed. Note the canteen holder; the canteen is inserted from the hollow backside of the canteen pouch attached to the vinyl web belt. The bayonet slips into the molded frog that's also attached to the belt.
At the left is a pic of the most intriguing aspect of the Action Man muscle body figure... a tab on the neck that holds the head in the "sniper" position. This is great if you're trying to pose the figure prone. The Action Man head is mounted with a thick, clear elastic, so pulling it over the tab on the neck is no problem.
At the right is another pic of the web gear and a better view of the bayonet
and frog. If you trim down the blade on the French knife, it'll fit nicely
in the AM bayonet sheath. I picked up a few extra bayonets and AM sheaths
and made a frog out of leather so I could add it to any ol' Joe's belt.
Maybe I'll add pics of that someday.
The .30 MG that came with this set appears to have come straight from the Hasbro mold, only it's black. The tripod is definitely a Palitoy version. The little leg in the center of the pic at right snaps into the front of the fixed legs forming the tripod.
Action Man Mountain Climber
This figure was sort of an accident. At the San Antonio Joe convention,
there was a ton of Action Man strewn around in a pile... the famous Joe Mosh
Pit. I found all of these parts in a couple of minutes of digging. I also
got the rope ladder and camping stove, but my kids were playing with them
when I took the pic at left and I couldn't get 'em for the photo. Sorry.
The boots in this set are no-kiddin' lace up boots. The socks are fake... I made them out of some yellow fabric sewn into tubes to form socklets. I'm not sure what else was supposed to come with this set, but the kids have had a lot of fun with it, since it's kinda "Adventure Team"-ish.
The Action Man Mountie is a really groovy outfit. This is one that's never been played with, because it's so purty I'd hate to mess it up.
The hat is hard, brittle plastic. The belt is thin vinyl. The holster is
the same as a standard vintage Hasbro .45 holster, only it's brown. See
the little black stripes on the belt in the pic at right? Those are belt
loops to hold the Sam Browne up where it ought to be. The lanyard hanging
from the pistol is a little bit of a mystery. I recall seeing pics of British
officers in WWI wearing lanyards around their necks, but this one's too short
for much of anything - unless it's just a wrist strap or for decoration.
Here's the mountie's pistol showing the lanyard attachment. It seems to be attached with a Palitoy invention - a highly detailed high tech hole drilled through the butt of the pistol's grip. One interesting detail of note is the pistol itself. It's painted silver and the grip is (poorly) painted a goofy shade of light brown. The pistol has a lot of plastic mold flashing and the finish is bumpy and lacking crispness, so this was either poorly made or it was made from very old molds that were practically worn out. Still, it's unusual and peachy to have in the collection!
Headswapping Action Man's Noggin to TC Body
My blonde AM guy had floppy thighs and wouldn't pose any more. The
new TC KFG hands look a lot like the Palitoy grippy hands (although the Palitoy
hands are several orders of magnitued BETTER than the Hasbro version, new
or old). I had an extra clearance Black Spider TC Joe body on hand, so I
decided to see if I could get the AM moving eye noggin to fit.
The AM guy doesn't have a "normal" TC neckpost. Instead it's a goofy elastic arrangement that holds a peg-shaped thang the head slips over. Removing the head from the peg thang was easy. I didn't bother to heat the head, just slipped the edge of my li'l' swiss knife's nail file between the peg and the outer head (you can see the line of demarcation, as the plastic is a different type). This was by far the easiest head removal I've ever done. The peg and elastic arrangement remained 100% intact so I can remount the head on this body if necessary in the future. The head itself has all of the moving eye mechanics inside and doesn't require the inner sleeve for anything. The neck is almost the same diameter as a TC head. Next I removed the Black Spider TC guy's fuzzhead from the post. This was probably the hardest removal I've done. Man! That sucker was really on there! Note to self: don't bother trying to headswap the fuzzies... the potential for damage to the fuzzhead is too high and it's too much work! Next, I mounted the MEMBPAM head on the TC body in the normal manner, but it wouldn't fit. I had to horizontally cut the neckpost off between the two lower rings. This didn't leave much of a neckpost to mount the new head onto, but it was enough to hold the new head on tight. The head fit a little loose because of the variation in neck hole diameter between the AM head and the MOA head - structurally it was alright, but it turned left and right too easily for me. I removed the head and added a layer of ol' fashioned masking tape around the diameter. The tape didn't do anything that was significant from a structural point of view, but the head now had a pleasing degree of friction as well as structural soundness. Again I gave it the "swing it around the room" test, and it was swell! I actually like the "TC AM" guy better than the original!
This jacket was probably part of some Action Man set. I've got another
that has the Union Jack flag sewn onto the front pocket, but it's in pretty
rough shape compared to this one (that's had the flag removed). Not wure
where I got this, but it's got great AT potential. (Side note: this is the
same hard hand fuzzhead as modeled the French Resistance Fighter outfit,
above.) These jackets have a lot of usefulness for a variety of AT adventures.
Paired up with Coastie trousers and vintage-style "Then and Now" boots,
and a yellow scarf (or yellow T-shirt from the Blue Angel set), and he's
ready for all sorts of northern adventures.
This rope launcher is a pretty cool toy. It has a range long enough
for the rope that it comes with. The projectiles are designed with a flexible
plastic tail to attach to the rope. The plastic tail slides down a slit
in the bottom of the launcher tube, so it won't interfere with the launch.
The projectiles have hooks to catch on any available protrusions and a suction
cup that sticks on glass or other smooth surfaces. Neat toy!
The Action Man dog tags are quite different from the
Joe dog tags we're used to... at least THIS particular generation of AM tags
are. They're plastic and have stickers you add to the front and back. Interesting.
At left is the front, at right is the back of the dogtag.
This pistol is an interesting little odd ball
that ended up in my Action Man stuff. I think
it came on a carded set along with a rifle or something. I don't know why
THIS pistol didn't come with the Mountie!
This almost isn't worth adding, but I will anyway. This sten is practically
indistinguishable from the vintage Hasbro except for the way the sling attaches
and the material from which the sling is made. The Palitoy version has two
tabs upon which the vinyl strap is added, unlike the elastic and metal ring
arrangement of the Hasbro sten. There's a version of the vintage M-16 that
shares this sling arrangement, too... only the M-16 is molded in a weird
blue shade with a painted stock. Next time I run across the M-16 in our
junkbox maybe I'll add it to this page just for kicks.
Action Man is pretty cool. I probably would've picked up a lot of this
stuff if it'd been available in the US.