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 Muton, Skeletron 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.