Z Force Radio Operator (1983)

Z Force Radio OperatorI just can’t get enough of these Action Force figures. Even though they don’t feature the extensive articulation we’re used to over on this side of the pond, the designs, sculpts and accessories are top drawer.

The Z Force radio operator incorporates several unique features. First off, under the removable cap sits a head sculpt that resembles the vintage 60s GI Joe/Action Man. I’ve always been reminded of the fuzzy headed Adventure Team figures with Hasbro’s 82-83 Breaker and Clutch figures, and to see Palitoy adapted the even earlier head sculpt around the same time is just amazing. They truly did shrink the old figures down to a smaller scale.

Even the figure’s kit gets attention to detail that echoes the larger scale, with a flexible backpack set that incorporates working straps rather than a back hole and post combo. The headset is attached to the backpack, and not only fits the head well, but also stores in a convenient little clip at the side. I love these practical little storage functions on action figures, especially when they actually work as intended.

The early Palitoy range may not play perfectly well with the o-ring style of the time, but these guys have a unique charm and appeal all their own.

Z Force Radio OperatorZ Force Radio Operator


  • Now there is an underated figure. Great paint job and accessories on him

  • Action Force characters have been put to use as green shirts for various playsets. My Z Force Radio Operator is hanging out with Breaker and Dial Tone in the ’83 HQ.

  • One of my all time favourites. He holds a special place in my heart as my Pa bought me one on the way to visiting my Mum when she was in hospital recuperating from an operation to replace her elbow joint due to her Arthritis…It was a cold Winter, back in around 1983…I wanted Radio Operator as he had a removable cap and I liked that sort of thing, I still do. The figure’s gun holding arm broke off and was re-affixed with a replacement some many years later…but now he’s somewhere in amongst the literal 100s of A.F. customs I created years back…Heres a link to one of my Flickr Albums featuring just some of my ‘stuff’…


    I’ve still got the Palitoy figures, well, replacements. Your one is a later issue, with better moulded hands and facial features made of a stronger, more harder plastic. In fact, I prefer the later iterations like these prior to Kenner Parker (who were part of General Mills, who owned Palitoy back then) marketed some of the 1983 – 84 Joes and Cobra’s as the ‘all new Action jointed’ Action Force from 1985 – 86, then Hasbro took over as G.M. had sold off their Toy Group whilst re-structuring and re-focusing on the domestic US and CA markets….but thats another story. Essentially, Hasbro lost nothing, they were being paid a royalty for the privilege of Palitoy / Kenner – Parker using their ‘stuff’…I’m sure by 1987, they were very, very happy to have it all, back in house…but I digress…

    I don’t own the re-paints, like Gaucho, Jammer, Dolphin, Moondancer, Blades, Hunter and Stalker, neither the vehicles from the Hasbro moulds or the Command Centre I see you seem to have Rob, I sold all mine ages back as cash, is indeed, KING…I do have the Roboskull, ShadowTrak and S.A.S. Boat Patrol and Silent Attack as well as all the Series 1 ‘mini Action Men’ and the respective figures from the A.F. teams, S.A.S Force, Z FORCE, Space Force and The unimaginatively titled…’The ENEMY’ (their official name, its only fans that call them ‘The Red Shadows’ and the old Battle Action Force comics did likewise…)…

    • Wow, thanks for the great background AF info. I’d love to cover the Roboskull on the blog, it’s such a unique vehicle.

    • Fantastic reply to a great article,slight correction however,they were indeed known as the “red shadows”and not just in the comic,a quick qoogle image search of the original palitoy red shadow card art confirms this,the words red shadow are clearly stated.

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