SHOCK PARATROOPER  
  Code Name: SPARROWHAWK  
 

The toy parachutist has been a staple of newsagent pocket-money and comic cover mounted toys for as long as anyone cares to remember. It’s been applied to more expensive toys as well – the G.I. Joe Skystriker, for example, used the same simple idea for its’ ejector seats. Palitoy had wheeled out deluxe versions for some Action Man figures, and so it was no surprise when a similar arrangement was rolled out for the first wave of Action Force figures, bundled with the US Paratrooper figure.

For the second series of the line, like just about everything else Palitoy had produced, the accessories were wheeled out again. Now they were marketed as the SAS Para Attack set, packed with an SAS figure. This figure was named Sparrowhawk, a recolour of the Mission Pilot figure also used as Chopper. Sparrowhawk can be differentiated from the latter by having grey camouflage markings and a grey visor – unlike Chopper, he wasn’t produced in multiple variants.

So there’s not a lot to really report about the figure, apart from that the camo works rather well, not to mention the fact that SAS Force have much more use for a paratrooper than a pilot (what with the line not actually having any planes for Chopper to fly; when SAS Force did get a helicopter, it even came with its' own pilot, Blades, and couldn't fit Chopper anyway, meaning the latter was still out of a job). And the parachute gimmick really is fun – the chute itself is actually made out of moderately thick vinyl rather than the polythene used on the Skystriker and other cheap versions - and there’s no strings either, just four soft PVC clips that attach securely to Sparrowhawk’s webbing. The webbing itself is nicely done – cumbersome enough to be believable, but not actually too clunky, though it does restrict the hip movement. I do like the little hole for a knife, though – nice touch. The only problem is that the two catches on the webbing break very easily. I’m onto my third set now they break so easily, and have just resorted to using clear elastic bands to keep the pack tight around the figure.

Sparrowhawk is probably the hardest to find of the straight-arm SAS Force figures, though he’s still fairly common as these things go. Paint wear to the visor and presence/condition of the accessories will also affect the price (obviously), and while the parachute is sturdy as these things to, they can still be difficult to find unripped. However, it’s great fun to have a go on out of an upstairs window, and good condition webbing holds the figure in very firmly – plus the solid Palitoy figures are unlikely to break or lose bits when in use. He’s no great shakes as a display piece (though he does outscore the relatively vanilla Chopper), but he is good fun for a good regression session.

Action Force Sparrowhawk
Action Force Sparrowhawk
Action Force Sparrowhawk
Action Force Sparrowhawk