Buying and selling Action Man uniforms and figures

Have a look in your loft!!! If you have any vintage Action Man figures or Action Man Accessories from the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s you wish to sell, please contact (put info@ before this address). Please describe what you have as accurately as possible and attach any pictures if possible. Most of what we buy end up on this site to provide a pictorial history of the vintage Action Man.

What to look out for when buying an Action Man

The Action Man figure is quite a tough figure as toy and many have survived in varying conditions. Many millions of figures were produced over the 1966-1984 period, and recently an increasing amount of the 'survivors' have fallen into collector's and trader's hands, and as a result, sparked an upward hike in prices for vintage figures in good condition.

An original painted hair doll from 1966 in typical condition will have slight surface scuffing, perhaps have a split or two between joints (see picture), have minor paint worn away on hair and/or eyebrows and the internal elastic looking rusty and less taught and may be a little floppy as a result. (twisting a doll a couple of turns at the waist will cure the floppiness by taking up some slack - check that this hasn't been done too many times!) Original Dog-tags add a great deal of value to a figure and boxes even more so. Earlier figures started with painted rivets (flesh colour) whereas this ceased after a few years. Also look out for chewed hands or feet - they didn't taste of anything but many a child would do this!

The splits found on limbs, rather than abuse, can be put down to temperature extremes, such as in a loft, where the two different plastics used for the limbs and the pins holding them together expand or shrink at different rates, causing pressure, and ultimately, hairline cracks. Care should be taken to assure that the figures have the correct body parts in the correct places - as all limbs should have separate left and right handed versions - some with markings on such as L4 or R4.

The early flocked hair figures (from 1973) with early gripping hands have more than a tendancy to have the hands go sticky, or perish and basically drop of the wrist pegs. This hand plastic compound problem was sorted by the time the figure got eagle eyes and the blue-panted dynamic body.

The dynamic figure dolls with eagle eyes (from 1978) commonly suffer from floppy or detached heads when the elastic properties of the internal neck connector tires - so its better to get one were this isn't a problem or has been professionally repaired. There are repair kits available, but it's a fiddly task but can be attempted. Flock hair is extremely hard wearing, but flock-loss can effect the heads, but only really as a result of overzealous playing at the hands of mischievous children (you know who you are).

Early figures: cracks at joints
are not uncommon

Too many twists in torso mean slack elastic - untwist and see if still taut

Late figures (1980s) suffer from heads parting company!

Here are some pictures with notes to help you identify some key differences between original Action Man parts and more recent reproduction parts made by 'Cotswold' amongst others. Although helpful, these reproduction pieces should never be valued as original. Some unwitting people have paid high prices for 'original' items only to find out later that repro pieces have been substituted. For instance original dog tags can fetch up to £40GBP, but a Cotswold reproduction tag costs just £3GBP.

Dog Tags

Original Action Man Dog-tag - all metal (tag aluminium feeling)
Reproduction Dog-Tag - Note 'CC CHINA' on edge and smaller links
Later phase Action Man Dog-tag - plastic/metal
1994 Dog tags (steel? with only slight indentation)

Hard Hands

Original 'painted rivet right hand. Rivet painted flesh/white colour and thumb nail on wrong facet
Original unpainted rivet right hand. Note 'R4' in palm
Reproduction right hand - Note thicker nylon wrist pivot and darker beige paint on rivet and more pronounced wrinkles

Gripping Hands

Original gripping right hand. Note trigger finger
Reproduction gripping right hand - Note large rivet, and lack of detail in palm and wider nylon wrist pivot


Original wording on UK Action Man in small of back from 1966:

HASBRO ©1964

Original wording on UK Action Man in small of back on dynamic figure from 1978:

EUROPE © 1975
PAT.NO. 1458847

Late figures (to 1984) Sharpshooter head versions with raised adam's apple:

© CPG Products

Geyper Man (Spanish version of Action Man). 1975-79
This body type had a large embossed "Geyper" logo on the small of the back, with "Made in Spain"
From 1979 a new blue trunks body type was introduced with no logo on and an "eagle eyes" but with painted eyes.
ALSO OF NOTE: Early American GI Joe has his copyright information diagonally on right buttock - see pic. these were also sold in UK toy shops to help with initial launch demand!

If searching for a picture of a certain uniform to see if the one you have is complete, a Uniform Period Chart will help you find the uniform/clothing and Equipment Manual it appears in, and year of availability.

GI JOE 40th Anniversary Figure

A 40th Anniversary Action Man was launched around 2005 which is very close to the original figure and includes Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Pilot. The Anniversary box is a shoe-box style 2 piece box, the lid in full colour, and the tray a brown card. In the picture the 'real' 1960's figure is to the left (value approx £45-£55), and the new reproduction figure (approx £15-£20) is to the right.

The new figure is an excellent reproduction of the original, only slight changes in production technology can differentiate them. The new figure is really made well and has the feel of real durability - much better in fact than the current Action man range! Standing a little taller, he has GI JOE dog tags 'by Hasbro' and "G.I.JOE™ ©2003 HASBRO, INC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED MADE IN CHINA' is reverse embossed diagonally across his right buttock.

A range of Anniversary period accessory cards in the first issue style (wood effect) has also been launched, again stating that is is 'ANNIVERSARY EDITION'. You should take care that you identify which is which when buying for good reason. Both old and new figures are both very attractive purchases, but there is obviously a great price differential between the two!