|INTERNATIONAL SUPER AGENT|
|Code Name: ACTION MAN|
This is one of the more bizarre figures in G.I. Joe history, for its' backstory if nothing else. The original 12" G.I. Joe range was licensed to Palitoy for the UK market - they renamed the figure Action Man, and experienced huge success. The Action Man series was constantly expanded with new vehicles and uniforms (often replicating authentic soldiers from all manner of conflicts) and became a British cultural icon. Due to the sheer breadth and longevity of the line (the original ran until 1984) it's often considered superior to its' American forebear by aficionados. Palitoy even kept the brand when they followed Hasbro's lead and switched to 3 3/4" figures - Action Force packaging displayed the Action Man logo as well as its' own.
In 1996, the brand was then revived by Hasbro (who had bought out Palitoy in 1985), with the title character turned into a more fantastical super-spy. A CGI cartoon was produced by Mainframe in 2000, while Action Man gained an archenemy, Doctor X. The line was a respectable success in Europe, moving back to the 12" scale. In 2004, Hasbro decided to include a 3 3/4" version of the updated incarnation in the Toys R Us exclusive Night Force boxed set, keeping the name Action Man and adding a suitably grandiose filecard.
The figure itself is a recolour of the 1991 Tracker, which is a good choice considering the chest design and pouch layout. It says something that even with his orange, monogrammed tank-top Action Man is the least preposterous looking of the two. The camo paint is another nice touch, and while the resemblance isn't spot-on, it's near enough to the 'G2' Action Man to be recognisable as the chap he's intended to represent.
I do have a couple of complaints about him, though. Firstly, the weapons supplied with Action Man are a bit boring - a bog-standard assault rifle, and the same submachine gun originally issued with the Crimson Twins. Instead, I tend to fit him out with whatever slightly unrealistic stuff I have spare, especially anything from Rise of Cobra (as well as an original Beach Head backpack). The other problem is that, as was standard with the line at the time, he has a G.I. Joe graphic on his left thigh - this looks awful. Nevertheless, Action Man is a great curio, even if he's inessential.