Friday, June 18, 2010

Action Man French Resistance Fighter

This giant banner (13m x 16m) of France's General Charles de Gaulle was put up on the facade of Paris town hall two days ago to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the French General's stirring appeal on BBC radio from London to resist Nazism on June 18, 1940. The banner is a giant mosaic of 1,016 portraits of Compagnons de la Liberation (members of the French Resistance in World War II).

So I thought it would be most appropriate to blog on the Action Man French Resistance Fighter, part of the Action Man Soldiers of the Century series, first introduced during 1967/1968 when the 1/6 scale 12-inch Action Man figure was just beginning to take England and Europe by storm.

The French Resistance Fighter (Maquisard or Maquis) came dressed in black moulded beret, black sweater, denim trousers and standard black ankle boots. He would carry his Lebel revolver in his brown shoulder holster. He also was awarded the Croix De Guerre medal for bringing the fight to the Nazi Germans.

The Action Man French Resistance Fighter was also armed with a MAS 38 7.65mm submachine gun and a knife for cutting and slicing potatoes to make French Fries and Nazi Germans

The MAS-38 is easily recognizable due to its seemingly bent barrel assembly. This is because the receiver and butt diverge in alignment from the axis of the barrel by several degrees. To make the weapon compact its bolt recoils inside a tube running through the buttstock. [source: wiki]

This Action Man figure was the 1970 issued flocked hair version, giving the effect of a short "fuzzy" hairstyle. This "realistic hair" flocking technique was developed by Habsro's UK licensee, Palitoy and later passed on to his U.S. cousin, G.I. Joe. He also has the "Kung-Fu Grip", another innovation that had been developed in the UK for Action Man which was also borrowed by G.I. Joe. The hands were molded in a softer plastic that allowed the fingers to grip objects in a more lifelike fashion rather than the originally designed rigid plastic hands which has also been termed "nose pickers" because it seemed like that was what the hand were intended for.

Unfortunately, Kung Fu grip hands were made of a rubber prone to deterioration, and often the hands become discolored and sometimes, the fingers are prone to breaking off as well.

The Model 1892 Revolver (sometimes spuriously called outside of France Lebel Revolver in spite of the fact that Nicolas Lebel had already retired in 1890 and had died from heart failure in 1891) was a French service revolver produced by Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne as a replacement for the MAS 1873 revolver. Over 350,000 Mle 1892 revolvers were manufactured between 1892 and 1924, and they were used mainly as officer's sidearms in the French Army, Navy, and National Gendarmerie among others. [source: wiki]

Also included with the Action Man French Resistance Fighter was his fighting knife and camouflaged field communication set or radio set which consisted of headphones.

The headphones could be connected to a black Morse code unit by black coated wire. Both the Morse code unit and headphones could be stored inside the compartment housings of the radio set, whose lid could be opened.

Not many 1/6 scale French Resistance fighter figures are in the market. The most recent 1/6scale Resistant fighter garb we have seen was worn by one Lt Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) in full resistance fighter gear as he appeared in the 2009 film "Inglourious Basterds",  released by Hot Toys and posted HERE


fuzzfoot said...

Cool to see the classics here, along with the state-of-the art. Kung-Fu Grip *was* state of the art back in the day! Another good review.

alex teo said...

thanks fuzzfoot, i started with the classics and i still have a soft spot for action man :) these were made for children and were not termed "collectibles". The word didn't even exist until many many many years later when adults started collecting them