Monday, 1 February 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: 50 Years of Action Man Part 2 (1992 - 2006)

Action Man may have sadly passed on during the 1980s, leaving us with a generation of toys that we fondly remember, however, in 1993, Hasbro relaunched Action Man to a new generation of kids. Gone were the realistic embodiments of the soldiers of the time and yesteryear. The Action Man that was a WW2 soldier and a 1960s RAF pilot were long gone. Instead, Action Man was now a mixture of James Bond, Eco-Warrior and Batman all rolled into one. 

While there were some figures that had a police or overall military feel, majority of them were Action Man taking part in various types of extreme sport, ranging from street luge, to bungee jumping, skateboarding, snowboarding, paragliding, go-karting, mountain biking, mountain climbing, journalism and even a subterranean driller. 

The main problem with this line, is the fact there weren't that many expansion and costume kits like there were in the 70s, instead they molded most figures in their respective outfits and gimmicks if they had one.

For example, with Hands Up Action Man, the only clothing that is removable are the khaki pants. The rest of the body is molded and the arms are stuck in that pose for his gimmick, which involves pulling a lever on his back and his arms raising to point the hand gun at an enemy.

Speaking of villains and enemies, unlike the 1970s figures which represented soldiers, but no actual war to fight, the 1990s Action Man had his nemesis, Dr.X who was a rogue scientist who had plans to take over the world with various schemes and plots. Each year, he'd be defeated and then come back with a new upgrade and body. Adding the villains and the various skills that Action Man has to do each mission made it feel very James Bond like.

By the end of the 2000s, Action Man had once again succumbed to changes in shopping habits. Hasbro were also letting the franchise die off slowly in favour of their new series, ATOM, which was part of the Action Man franchise. However, the 12 inch figures sadly died off to make way for the smaller ATOM 

Action Man made his return to the UK as a Tesco Exclusive in 2009 with a short lived toy run and was gone again within a year of returning. He hasn't been back on store shelves since then, has his time really done?