Airfix Eagles

Airfix, most famously known for its model kits and miniature soldiers, also delved into the world of action figures a bit.

Why cover the Eagles line here at JAD?  Because of its similarities to both the original 1960s Joe line’s military subjects, and its even closer similarity to the Palitoy Action Force line of the early 1980s.

The series offered rescue-themed generic characters as well as military types. Stylistically unique, the figures weren’t as poseable as some, in fact they were a bit more stiff than Kenner’s Star Wars figures. Below the waist were wire legs covered in rubber pants. Seriously. 

I wonder whether this series had any influence on Palitoy’s decision to shrink its Action Man line to create Action Force. After all, we see similar themes within the two toy ranges. More likely however is the influence of Kenner’s Star Wars. It seems every product of the day was getting in on some kind of sci-fi action. 

Eagles introduced Captain Eagle, Sergeant Secret and Dr. War. The two heroes look like they would be at home in a mod 1960s Italian space opera, and the villain gives off a distinct Microman vibe. Maybe it’s the vac-metal and firing missiles.




Ealges - Dr. War


  • Funny you should mention space opera. Dr War does look like a villain from a star wars rip off

  • The wire legs sound absolutely terrifying.

  • Kinda neat in that they’re so far off the Joe mark, they’re not even knock-offs but a toyline all their own. I find the hand-hewn EAGLES display charming.

  • General Mills Products Corp / CPG in the US owned Airfix, Denys-Fisher, Kenner and Palitoy amongst others back then…The Eagles were derived from Airfix’s German Sister company Plasty, later Airfix-Plasty and sold as Action Stars. While the figure moulds were the same, the line was much much larger than Airfix Eagles and based on realism, i.e. themes included Divers, Builders, Safari Explorers, German Police, Wild West including bearded Sherriff, Red Indians, Horses, German Fireman, accessory packs, UN MILITARY (this was post war West Germany remember), Space Explorers etc…the line even had vehicles like Jeeps, Boats, a towable compressor for the Builders. Some of the figures barring colours were fairly identical to their Eagle counterparts i.e. the Action Stars deep sea diver was white, the Eagles version in a black suit…

    The line, Action Stars, was also called “Super Bill” and available on blister card and the figures slightly differed, there was a Fisher Man in that iteration…Action Stars was very much a West German toy, the Police and Fireman stuff clearly illustrate that…

    Airfix UK adapted the line, created the Eagles storyline and even made new accessory sets to compliment each figure, i.e. the Emmergency Medic could be bought a corresponding accessory set (SEE catalogue as per post); Captain Eagle, Sgt Secret and Dr War were never part of the Action Stars range…the characters barring reuse and recolour of the moulds were new creations for the UK…The helicopter, Paratrooper, Deep Sea Diver, Military Policeman, Motor Bike (with new added Eagle body faring), to name but a few were derived from the Action Stars range…Dr War and Sgt Secret are two of the rarest in the Eagles range. The prototypes in the catalogue look much better than the actual product and this is evident of Dr War – his helmet doesn’t fit on properly and his arms don’t fire missiles as suggested…his face is a reuse of the Red Indian Action Stars figure.

    The line in the UK didn’t last long and Dr War and Sgt Secret only had limited production runs and weren’t distributed as well as the other Eagles figures.

    You can still buy Action Stars figures on eBay mint in box from Germany as they seem to have sources of new/old unsold stocks. I should know, I’ve bought loads. The only Eagles things I have are the Emergency Medic and his corresponding Earthquake related action accessory set…

    The Action Stars I own are:

    Apache Indian,
    Sioux Indian Chief,
    German Boat Policeman,
    German Riot Policeman,

  • Brian Artillery

    I loved Eagles figures. They were well made, but quite fragile. The legs were a bit more sophisticated than you state – they were actually jointed polypropylene armatures, with ratchet joints on the knees, so that the legs would stay posed against the stiff plastic of the trousers. The hip joints were articulated so that the legs could be opened to ride a horse or motorcycle. I never saw any of the ‘bad guy’ figures, possibly because Airfix were on the start of a slide into receivership. I loved the playsets, the mummy and the pipeline set being my favourites, simply because they were so nice and odd. I used to play (I was a bit too old when they came out, but they were irresistible) with them alongside the similarly sized ‘Micronauts’ figures. I’d like some more, I think, or, at the very least, the mummy case and the pipeline.

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