Action Man (McDonald’s 2001)
By Past Nastification
If James Bond and David Beckham (you know, the husband of Posh Spice) had a baby, it would be Action Man. Handsome AND extreme, Action Man of the 90’s/00’s was a secret agent/non-traditional sports enthusiast. There were cartoons and 1:6 scale figures, but I don’t really know much about them.
Action Man has popped up twice directly linked to our 1:18 scale GI Joe. The first was the 2004 stanky head-to-toe repaint of Tracker. The second was as part of the 2017 “Revolutions” convention set that painfully shoehorned all Hasbro properties into one universe. (I’ll rant about this concept another day.)
But completely untethered to GI Joe, Action Man was released in 2001 as a McDonald’s toy. This figure is Action Man himself, “Action Man Mountain Climber”. Wearing a red sweater and black pants and a backpack, straight from an REI store, he looks mountain climber-y enough. The figure came with a rope winch attached to a clip (which I don’t have to show you). This is the only one of the eight McDonald’s figures that looks remotely passable on a shelf next to GI Joe figures.
The sculpting on this figure looks like it was meant for two different figures.
The body is simple, with only moving arms and neck. The design has a doughy look and oversized cartoonish hands. The legs are in a permanent “Where is the bathroom?!” stance, making poor Action Man look like he wasn’t able to gulp down Pepto Bismol in time to prevent a toilet emergency. (I don’t know if the British use the word “bathroom”, or if they have Pepto Bismol or even toilets. Action Man is on American soil now, thanks to McDonald’s, so he can learn our ways. Lesson #1: if you eat at McDonald’s, you might want to learn where the bathrooms are ahead of time.)
The head, though, is quite good. Featuring the squinty eyes, high cheekbones, and lantern jaw we’d expect of the high testosterone Bond-Beckham lovechild, it’s topped off with perfect- really, just perfect- hair. I’d be willing to bet that customizers have used this head for Bond or Action Man customs.
This figure isn’t as detailed or as well sculpted/scaled as the McDonald’s GI Joe figures. But it feels truer to the Action Man character than the ARAH Tracker repaint did. That’s something. I just don’t know what.