Period: Painted Head
Cat No: 34703
The green-painted wooden Action Man Kit Locker is a fairly rare piece, only featuring in the 1968 Equipment Manual, but a fantastic addition for anyone's collection. On the Kit Locker's lid were white painted panels - ready to accept personalisation of the box with name, rank and serial number. Inside, a plain light brown vacuum molded tray rested at the top level. The underside of the box lid had a heavy paper label, with an artist's illustration depicting the tray filled with a range of the Action Soldier's early combat accessories (all available separately). Like a jigsaw puzzle it must have been fun filling each compartment until finally completed. Under the removable tray was enough room to safely store one Action Soldier in his original box.
An early leaflet included with the US GI Joe products described the 'Official Footlocker' thus:
"When you have selected your first uniforms to start your GI Joes in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, you are ready for this handsome, authentic, true to scale G.I. Joe Footlocker. It is a replica of what every real-life GI Joe uses for storing his uniforms, equipment and weapons. You will love it, your parents will appreciate it. Stores all your GI Joe equipment, keeps everything in place. It's big, over a foot long with plenty of storage room for all GI Joe gear and uniforms. The official GI Joe insignia is stamped in the cover, and there is special 'stencilled' are for individual name, ranks and serial number. #8000 G.I.Joe Footlocker - Price $4.00"
Wooden Kit Locker Box with plastic tray. Artist's Illustration depicting: One pair tall brown boots, binoculars with elastic strap, first aid kit, M1 Garand (elastic strap), Carbine (elastic strap), bayonet, Colt .45 pistol, holster with red leg tie, helmet (minus netting), field telephone, green cap, canteen and cover, entrenching tool and cover, pistol belt (with slider) with two cartridge sections, mess tin with knife, fork, spoon within.
The Wooden constructed Kit Locker is of a GI Joe designed 'Footlocker' design, and is fairly robust. The walls are a softwood, stapled together. The lid and bottom are a hardboard that's trapped in a routed out channel in the walls. The plastic vacuum-formed tray, can easily be cracked at the edges, and all to often are missing. Reproduction plain trays and repair kits are circulating. It is said that the trays that came with GI Joe versions have a variation of wood grain effects, plain, or marble effect. The Action Man version is thought to be in most cases plain. This is not definitive though, and much cross-pollination was observed during the early stages of Action Man in the UK and subsequently by collectors. In the Equipment Manual of the time (US origin pictures?) it shows this as wood grain. Green or plain rope handles (knotted on the inside) and brass hinges and catches also feature. The paper label on the underside of the lid, being a heavy paper is susceptible to cockling and can be damaged (buy replacement here). The hinges can rust fairly easily when stored in less than favourable conditions. Depicted on the lid illustration (of US origin) is a much prized rarity - a field telephone case in green/light green camouflage combination - the more common GI Joe version was a brown vinyl with green camo patches. In the UK the field telephone for Action Man was only ever tan vinyl (or light grey for Air Police). Every other accessory could be obtained as pictured. There are at least two securing catch types in these images - possibly one type for GI Joe, one for Action Man.