Period: Flock Head
Dates: 1970 until c.1973
Cat No: 34806
Following the launch of the Action Footballer set in 1968, a greater range of 'Sportsman' kit colours were available on these separate cards in 1970. With these, one could make up their own favourite teams. There are a selection pictured and I have identified what they might have been based on the club colours found in Action Man Football Book This Football Book was also sold with key club information, tips and suggested kit combinations (see bottom). A boxed 'Sportsman' footballer figure was available from 1970-72. Palitoy decided to expand the footballer range and recreate the 'Famous Football Clubs' major teams from Division 1 of the Football League. In 1971 they introduced Manchester Utd, Leeds Utd, Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and West Ham Utd. In 1972 they added Glasgow Rangers, Newcastle Utd, Arsenal and Celtic. Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur had to wait until 1973 and represent the last (and possibly rarest) two football kits produced. The box side panel artwork on the Football Club boxes was illustrated by Derek Bown. Derek (or 'Bun' as he was affectionately known) was a Leicester City fan and loosly used inspiration from (local to the Palitoy factory) Leicester Mercury Newspaper photographs of Leicester players for the poses. He substituted the appropriate team kits for the First Division and created the iconic illustrations. The Clubs did not give official OK to use their badges, so Palitoy created their own versions..
ACTION MAN SPORTSMAN FOOTBALL KIT: Shirt, shorts, socks, boots, ball, Equipment Manual.
The Action Man football kits were available in many colour combinations.The orange shirt and socks are said to be rare. The 'current' Action Man figure at the time of launch would have been flock haired with hard hands. Painted head figure shown as an option. The shirts are often overstretched around the waistline, and can shrink vertically, revealing stomach on worst cases. The necks are large enough to get Action Man's head trough and so have a crome headed press stud at the back to close the gaping hole. Shorts can have very loose elastic. The zips in the tracksuit tops (issued only with the 'club' players kits) do not separate at the base, and so the best way of dressing Action Man is to put the tracksuit on over his feet and up as you would a boiler suit. As the tracksuits were hand finsihed, the circumference of the shoulder's bulk can be too tight to slide the waist of the tracksuit over on some examples. The figures are best displayed with tucked in shirts, in keeping with the trend of the time. Generally speaking it is preferable to have the figure wearing his plastic dog tag, generally issued at the time the football kits were avaliable. The (undersized) white ball that came in each set should have HONG KONG in relief on them. Boots were the same - as in there were no left and right feet. The Lapel badge is rare on most outfits. The metal back should not have a brushed metal appearance. It should also have HONG KONG inscribed on the back (very feint). The shirts featured only paper stickers and these are commonly tatty or missing. Buy replacements here