Escape from Colditz 1974
Period: Flock Head
Cat No: 34152
Escape from Colditz Description:
Originally launched in 1974, the Action Man Escape from Colditz Set was part of a range built upon the success of a BBC TV series about the exploits of a group of prisoners of war held in Colditz Castle during World War II.
The Escape from Colditz box set included the uniforms of the Escape Officer and a German Sentry - basically a paired down German Stormtrooper, along with detailed Colditz accessories, including a self- assembly German cardboard sentry box with barrier, and forged escape papers.
It was an exceptional piece to own as a child and fired the imagination. The set did not contain any figures. There are some early boxes with the (also separately available) German Camp Kommandant listed and included in favour of the more common German Sentry. A sticker was later applied over this wording, progressing to the more common printed box seen below. Miniature forged currency is thought to have been included only in early boxes. The 16 page illustrated booklet was written by Major P. R. Reid for Palitoy, himself a famous escapee, and author of books describing his time at Oflag IV-C (Colditz Castle) and also being the inspiration for the film 'The Colditz Story'. Major Reid also devised a very popular board game by Gibson Games and licensed to Parker Brothers at the time named 'Escape from Colditz' with similar colourisation to the box art and two items were shared with this game. It was to later have the increasingly contentious Swastika removed from the lid and cards.
Action Man Escape From Colditz Set:
ESCAPE FROM COLDITZ SET:
Escape Officer: Wool hat, cap, greatcoat, scarf (replacements available), trousers, boots, Identity tag, compass, torch, mug, rope, self assembly card suitcase, Attache case (with wooden stock, Luger pistol, barrel, transmitter and mic and instructions inside), red first aid box, countryside map (replacements available), map tube.
German Sentry Uniform: Helmet, tunic, trousers, jackboots, belt with ammo pouches, luger, holster, 'Schmeisser' machine gun.
Accessories and paperwork: Prisoners' Red Cross parcel box, cardboard sentry box and barrier and instructions, card directional signs, card suitcase and assembly instructions, escape map (of wider locality), forged documents card sheet, forged currency (thought early versions only), Colditz information booklet, star card, Equipment Manual.
The Action Man 'Escape from Colditz' Escape Officer was equipped with a green attaché case was ingenious (GI Joe's Secret Agent had this Mission Impossible inspired piece. Inside the components would clip together to form a makeshift rifle - made from a stolen Luger, wooden stock and rifled barrel and other scavenged parts whilst incarcerated one assumes.
The Action Man Escape Officer had a choice of head-wear - either the Army Officer's cap for role call or a green woollen beanie hat for his escape attempts. His scarf was the muffler from the Talking Commander / Field Commander of the time (replacements available here) . The 'current' Action Man in 1974 had flock hair and gripping hands (introduced in 1973). N.B. The British Escape Officer uniform is shown on an earlier painted head Action Man figure dated between 1966-1969 for display.
The German Sentry uniform supplied was similar to the Soldiers of the World German Stormtrooper of the period. The Colditz variant of his clothes are turquiose in colour, lighter in weight and some have commented shinier than the Stormtrooper. It is generally acknowledged that the sentry uniform was supplied without the Stormtrooper style backpack, iron cross, and stick grenades - perhaps more in keeping with a non-combatant guard. The helmet has sield paper stickers (replacements available). Many of the tunics associated with this set also had notably bright green transparent buttons. The eagle sticker can fall off of this era tunic. (replacements available)
Worth noting is that the Parker board game also had the same cardboard Red Cross box (very slightly lighter and not as warm in colour as the Action Man version), and the Colditz booklet by Major Reid (marked L349 as opposed to Action Man version marked L352 with map on back).
Action Man Escape From Colditz Set
Action Man Escape from Colditz Booklet by Major P.R. Reid
Action Man Colditz Assembly Instructions