Z Force Infantryman (1983)
Here’s the Grunt of Action Force. Well, in the sense of an infantryman, at least. Unlike the relaunched GI Joe of the 80s, the Palitoy offerings included unnamed army builders on the “good guy” side of things.
I’ve become really smitten with the Palitoy Action Force figures. The combination of five point articulation with designs based on earlier twelve inch figures has appealed to both the vintage toy collector as well as the GI Joe history buff in me. The second year Action Force sub-team concepts are an even more interesting offshoot. Z Force, with its green/red and camo theme, fills the role of all-purpose military operations.
These figures feature beautifully detailed sculpts. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I think the five point articulation construction style lends itself to some of the most realistic sculptural depictions of the human form. The body structure isn’t interrupted by ball joints and rivets. The trade-off is reduced poseability, but I enjoy a good sculpt and paint job as much as incredible articulation.
Accessories are also quite detailed and useful considering the time of release. The MP5 machine gun is not only well detailed, but realistically scaled. The backpack is not a post and hole affair like Hasbro’s Joes, but rather a rubbery piece with straps that attach to the figure. The infantryman’s pack also features to top straps that can wrap around to hold the weapon to its top. Weapons storage is a wonderful thing.
The bits of red detail and camo on the Z Force figures adds just a touch of the fanciful that both ties the team together and keeps it from looking like just a bunch of fellas in green. There’s no confusing the Z Force with SAS Force, Q Force, or Space forces. Palitoy may not have created a treasure trove of iconic characters with its 1983 offerings, but they sure did branch out and brand the line effectively.