About Me

My history with Action Man

About me

The Early Years

I discovered Action Man around end of March 1994. At this time I was a happy, Lego-playing, 8 years old French kid.

I always wanted to dress and gear up my action figures so this new toy was the perfect match ! I can recall wanting badly the Ken beach short my cousin got for her birthday from my mother in order to dress my "He-Man Battle Punch" figure ! (spoiler : I tried some years later and it was a total failure !)


The first time my brother and I played with Action Man, he got the "Scuba Diver" and I got the less expensive "Night Creeper". My grand-parents wanted to spent equal money between us, so they offered me an extra mission gear kit : "Basic Training". I don't remember the adventure we played but it was spring and warm enough outside to let us play on the terrace.

We soon expanded our newly begun collection : there was Easter coming soon as well as my brother birthday.

He got our first vehicle "Mission Raft" and we got a bunch of kits : "Desert Mission", "Combat Kit", "Outdoor Survival", "Fighter Pilot".

One evening, our Dad brought after work two magnificent "Battle Force" boxes. We were happier than ever !
Then, "SWAT Police", "Climbing Kit" and of course the evil "Doctor X" followed this year ! I only realize by writing this down that we were totally spoiled kids...

For Christmas my brother got the "Taurus 4x4" (so we could replace the old washed-out orange Barbie camper our grand-mother found in a second-hand supply).
Santa brought me "Space Commando". Needless to say that this night, he watched on me while I was sleeping, defending my bedside table from potential nightmare attacks !


It's a bit mixed up in my memory but I remember getting "Crimson Warrior" for my birthday. I got "Warpaint Warrior" in June. 1994 ? 1995 ? I don't remember...

At this time, we made our friends discover the Hasbro line and they began asking their parents to buy them some Action Man. We had a lot of fun playing alltogether. One day, we were playing outside when it began to rain like hell. My grand-father quickly opened three large sunshades to keep us dry !

The AM Headquarter

At the end of 1995, our two grand-fathers worked together as a team to build this fantastic opening doll house for our beloved action figures. One did all the woodwork and the other one did all the interior and furniture (every tile on the roof was pyrograved!). The house had all the modern accomodations : a large garage (the 4x4 Taurus Jeep could fit in !) with huge super-computer, a bedroom with bunk beds, a kitchen with table and seats and an attic for all the rifles ! We got this fantastic gift for Christmas 1995.

(see how Dr. X is trying to kidnap ActionMan's wife and kid !!! 😱)


This year, we expanded our collection with the next waves of the AM line : "Mission Extreme", "Rapid Fire", "Urban Hero", "Biker Kit", "Guerilla Set", "Operation Pilot", "Special Police Kit", "U.N. Kit", "Ninja Kit", "Undercover Set", "Swimmer", "V.R. Vision" ( with l moving eyes ! ) and the latest "Toxic Guts Dr.X"

My brother got "Special Forces", "Electronic Kit", "Operation A.T.A.K.", "Crimebuster & Raid", "L.S.V. kit", "Biker kit"

Just before summer, I got very sick with a major asthma crisis. I remember very well getting "Cannon Assault" while at the hospital. It was also the time the cartoon aired on TV, I tried to watch every episode even if I preferred Batman the Animated Series. I read some (badly drawn) comics at the hospital library, one of them being an adaptation of "Raider of the lost ark". I designed some ideas on paper to create my custom Action Man Indiana Jones. When getting out of the hospital, my grand-mother sewed the white shirt and beige pants and my mother a grey leather hat ! The figure can be seen at bottom left of the "sitting in row" AM picture. One can also spot on the top-row my young attempt to make a custom "Multigun" figure with available parts, months before it was officially released by Hasbro !


I was entering middle school, playing more and more video-games and was left a bit disappointed with Hasbro putting more and more plastic in the figures. When "Hand's Up" came out I was really disappointed. A shirt I couldn't remove ? They killed the concept...

"Snowboard Extreme", "Multigun", "Knuck" and "Natalie" were my last figures of these years.

At this time I was making my first videocamera movies with my friends. Action flicks inspired by movies we saw on TV or at the Cinema.

The costume were often inspired by our favorite action heroes. Action Man was no exception !


While being at middle school I got a lot less Action Man, but I still enjoyed a lot playing with my brother, even if my friends were making fun of me "playing with dolls like a baby".
With my brother we re-created adventures inspired by the movies we watched at this time : Sniper, The Matrix, Armageddon...

I remember getting : "Operation S.O.S", "Sport Extreme",

while my brother got : "Operation T.A.R.G.E.T.", "Jet Pilot", "Sport Extreme", "Space Mission", "Kung Fu", "Ninja Kick", "Roller Extreme", "Crossbow", "Mission 2000", "Operation Camouflage"


While growing up, my brother and I needed more and more realism and gigantism to help us believe into the adventures we created. Building decors and assets often took us much more time than the effective play !

Having been very impressed by the FPS game "Soldier of Fortune", we created its AM incarnation : John Mullins. Glueing some freshly cut hair under the nose of the figure, made a perfect mustache ! This figure then became the main protagonist of all our stories and it was for me a way to keep my brother interested in playing with Action Man as he was always playing the hero and commander of all the figures (and therefore never died !). He played so much with this figure that he had to replace the clothes and parts from time to time. Because my brother was painting Warhammer units, he began customizing AM weapons by repainting them.

Still making short home-movies with my friends, I used Action Man figures to shoot stunts like parajumping !

In 2001, we stopped getting AM figures but instead our grand-mother bought us sometimes some « Ultra Corps » or « World Peacekeepers Power Team Elite » figures



Back into business !

After a (very short) gap in my AM interest, I finally made it to my 18th birthday and was an "adult" in regards of French law. That meant getting my own Mastercard. I discovered eBay and PayPal. Back then, purchasing from the U.S. was quite affordable even for a young student. As I always wanted the "Sgt. Savage" 12" action figure (discovered in a commercial pre-roll on a retail VHS bundled with a 8" GI Joe I gifted a friend for his birthday), I won my first bids online and got quickly addicted while discovering at the same time that Hasbro not only made "Action Man" but also "GI Joe". This year, I got into serious collection by purchasing a lot of GI Joe 12" accessory kits and boxed figures. When getting back to my grand-parent's house, I had a lot to sort and gear up !

Having an extraordinary upgraded collection, my brother and I went for one last time into a play frenzy to be remembered as one of our greatest AM adventure against Dr. X (and all his newly acquired friends : Destro, X-Robots, Cobra soldiers, etc).

I also began to take pictures of the figures, crafting ridiculous decor to put them in !


Time to gain some room !

For all those years, our action figures were stored in my grand-father office. Now that we (and the collection !) had grown up, he rightfully asked to reclaim some space on his shelves.

The idea was to hang all Action Man on the wall that surrounded the fuel tank of the house heating system. For two years they were displayed like this in the garage; raising curious interest in all the visitors !


This display of fortune didn't last long as problems were rising : spiders were using the AM to build gigantic webs, the sun began to discolor some parts, the figures were loosing their weapons that tend then to disappear, etc.
On the other hand, my collection was still expanding and the wall was already overcrowded !

Summer of 2007, we unhooked the figures to put them in large plastic container boxes. Rubber bands were used to fasten all the accessories that came with a given figure ( what a bad idea would I later figure out ! )


Having studied photography between 2006-2009, I spent three full visits to my parents to capture all my figures in a small still life flash studio. This way I found a way to keep all the figures "with me" despite living in a small flat. Having pictures would also prevent me from buying accessory sets or figures twice or worse ! (which happened a lot).

During the 2010's every time I had 5-10 new figures, or made modifications to existing figures, I tried to keep my picture listing up-to-date even if I hadn't always the time to set-up a nice photography setting.


In 2009, the movie GI Joe, Rise of the Cobra hit the theaters and although it was quite a bad movie, I was very excited to discover the most faithfull incarnation to date of my favourite hero on big screen ! ( previous one being Street Fighter )

In 2015, I discovered the fantastic documentary "Marwencol" by Jeff Malmberg presenting how Mark Hogancamp uses his Action Man to heal from a brutal beating. This documentary later gave birth to Robert Zemeckis' adaptation "Welcome to Marwen".

Mark Hogancamp and his action figures
photographed by Tim Knox


All my figures were moved from my grand-parents' house to my parents'. Everything is sorted out by theme or by year. When inventoring all the Action Man, I discovered that some plastics melted onto the clothes destroying them. Also the rubber bands (remember?) fused with the fabric of some clothes too. I had to purchase a lot of elements again to make my loose Action Man look pristine. Time is really the enemy ! All the scuba rubber equipment totally dried making if crispy like Pringles.


In 2022, I discovered Vinted and dove again into Action Man, gathering the latest figures of the line that initially didn't trigger any interest in me. The 2008 ones especially ! I also found out that one could buy 1/6 scale equipment for a few $ on AliExpress. That was really a kitbasher dream ! I began assembling custom heads on AM bodies to replicate my favorites movie heroes from the 90's (Batman, Solid Snake, John Matrix, Rambo, Duke Nukem, John McClane, etc...)

I also got into vehicles by first purchasing a brand new Taurus 4x4. I also had to purchase three loose Team Truck H.Q. to get all the parts...when finally finding an unopened mint in box one for 50€ !

As my collection was getting too big, it was also time to begin selling all the doubles and figures I didn't want to keep anymore. Making new collectioners or kids happy is part of the fun !!


To be continued