Red Wolf (1984 Action Force)

It’s been a long while since I covered a figure from Action Force,  the UK’s sort-of cousin of GI Joe. The initial years of that line shared a construction style similar to Kenner’s vintage Star Wars line. Five points of articulation were common, as was a more pliable plastic. The figures have a completely different feel from the domestic GI Joe line, yet shared some vehicle molds.

Red Wolf was the driver of one of the Red Shadows’ exclusive vehicles, the frightening Roboskull. A sort of walking robotlike TIE Fighter vehicle, its most distinctive feature being a cabin compartment shaped like a human skull. Like the figure, the vehicle has a very freaky design that is akin to a nightmare inducing vision of Star Wars’ Imperial aesthetic. Red Wolf follows in the same direction, resembling a creepier version of an AT-AT driver.

Red Wolf features a unique chest mold, one that didn’t appear on any other figures. The helmet is quite wolf-like, with a pronounced snout and close set eyes. On the whole, it’s a very science fiction inspired design, a common element seen in the Red Shadows figures. After all, this is the same group whose membership included characters like MutonSkeletron and Kraken. Like those figures, there’s also an element of intimidation in the design.

While the GI Joe line’s Cobra forces were doubtless an evil looking group, the Red Shadows feature a stronger frightening aspect to them. Baron Ironblood, their leader, seems to have known the value of using emotions like fear and intimidation against his opponents. I don’t think even Cobra Commander or Destro would have thought of a walking skull for a vehicle design.

11 comments

  • Hey, the Pope just resigned! And Star Wars figures are again being offered with 5 points of articulation.

    In other news, Red Wolf reminds me of those old Fisher-Price figures from a bygone era, in particular their later sci-fi range. Bright colors and way out designs. One of these days I’ll get to collecting these guys along with regular Joes.

  • I have a couple of the old British BATTLE ANNUAL [i think] comics which features some of the ACTION FORCE characters. Give me the usual rubbish about snake eyes and stormshadow anyday!

  • Abdicated, technically. There’s no one for him to offer a resignation [i]to[/i].

  • Blasted site changes…

  • Does anyone know if Action Force existed prior to G.I.Joe’s relaunch in 1982? Neat figure, but it fits with Star Wars more than Joe….

    • As Palitoy Chief Designer, we were developing Action Force in 1981 as a smaller version of Action Man (12″ G I Joe in USA) at the same time that Hasbro were developing 3 3/4″ G I Joe, both unaware of each other’s plans. Both lines were released in1982. In Year 2 with a new marketing team at Palitoy in Coalville UK we re-conceived the range to be Baron Ironblood V Action Force. Because of our relationship with Hasbro we were able to add to the new concept some vehicles in different colour ways from GI Joe and included some of their figures because they sat better in the vehicles.

  • I believe action force predates joe. It may have been as early as 1979.

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  • Erm? Nope. Action Force debuted in 1982. It certainly didn’t exist in 1979 on toy shelves in the UK or Europe…haven’t you heard of ‘Googling’?

  • Having read your original post I’ll also say nope, Roboskull’s don’t ‘walk’, its a flying machine in the A.F. toyline and comic…you really need to use Google.

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