MINE WARFARE  
  Code Name: SCOUT  
 

Z-Force has a very weird spread of figures from a collector’s point of view. The Captain, Sapper, Infantry Trooper and Radio Operator figures are among the most common from the ‘Battle Action Force’ wave of figures; then there’s Quarrel, Wheels, Steeler and the Medic, who aren’t overwhelmingly common and can be pricey, but at the same time aren’t hugely difficult to track down. At the other end of the scale are Jammer and Gaucho, only packed with the Command Centre and likely to set you back around £50 each. Somewhere between the second and third brackets comes the Z Force Minesweeper, Scout.

He seems to be far and away the rarest of the single-packed straight-arm figures – while a very good condition Red Shadow can match him for price, that’s mainly due to the collectable nature of the line’s one truly convincing army builder unit. And that’s just for the bare figure – if you want the (unique to this figure) backpack and its’ full complement of mines, you’re looking at £30-40. Now, I’ve already got Tripwire to cover minesweeping, while in what I’ve read of the Battle Action Force comic Scout tended to go around shooting people rather than minesweeping, so saving £15 made sense to me.

Instead I’ve given Scout a generic submachine gun (I think the same one which came with the original Duke or Stalker figures) and a green version of the 1982 Ground Assault backpack, which I think hails from the Z Force Battle Gear set. This and its’ ladder probably come in handy for scouting out fairly small walls, I reason. Scout, though, isn’t hugely impressive. The red sleeves are a nice way of carrying over the Z Force colour scheme while not stopping him from looking quite different to the other figures in the unit, and he looks fine from a distance… But as you get closer, he’s something of a strange composite of existing figures – the Sapper chest just looks strangely out of place with red short sleeves, not pulling off the intended flak jacket look I suspect they were going for as the visible shirt collar is still green. Like anyone using the Commando-style torso, the sculpted grenades disrupt the harness of the rubber backpack too, and I've no reason to think the figure's intended accessory would fit any better than the substitue I've used.

The other Z Force figures, and to be honest the majority of the Palitoy straight-arm figures have impressed me in their way, ranging from the cool (Skip, Stakeout, Barracuda, the Red Shadow) to the functional if slightly bland (Breaker, Chopper). However, like the Sapper, something about Scout just doesn’t really come off. Unlike the Sapper he isn’t cheap, however, and is one for seasoned Palitoy aficionados only.

 

Action Force Scout
Action Force Scout
Action Force Scout
Action Force Scout