ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

HM Armed Forces Action Figures

Updated on January 22, 2018

Following the success of the G.I. Joe Action figure, created and launched by Hasbro to the US market in the early 1960s, the UK toy company Palitoy bought the license to manufacture and distribute G.I.Joe to the UK and Australian markets and launched the, now renamed, "Action Man" toy range in 1966. Initially three dolls were launched - Soldier, Sailor and Pilot and went on to become once of the most popular Boy's toys during the late 1960s, 1970's and early 1980s with an expanding range of themes which mostly revolved around the Second World War but also included Astronauts, Football, Policemen and modern military. As with G.I. Joe, Action Men had a huge collection of accessories available including extra uniforms, weapons, animals & vehicles. The dolls and accessories continued to be popular until the early 1980s when Palitoy ceased trading and ultimately closed in 1984. Hasbro subsequently bought up the factory, moulds & copyrights from the administrators. The Action Man brand was relaunched by Hasbro, but similar to GI Joe & the Rise of Cobra, went for a more futuristic theme with comic and cartoon tie-in's. The core action figure, although still 1/6 scale, was changed significantly to before, but never really captured the imagination of the target generation, as had it's earlier predecessor.

Since the demise of Palitoy and the original Action Man range, there had long been a gap in the market for a quality military themed action figure series in the toy market (the adult collectors market had been well served in recent years). Then British Toy manufacturer - Character Options, entered negotiations with the British Ministry of Defence to license and manufacturer a range of Action figures based on modern British Armed forces. With the negotiations concluded, in May 2009 - to coincide with the V.E. Day anniversary , the HM Armed Forces Action Figure range was launched with the endorsement of the UK Ministry Of Defence (who will also receive an income from the sales, which will be used to further promote the Armed Forces) and with military top-brass and the figures real-life counterparts in attendance to promote the figures.

The first phase of the figure line consisted of eight 10" figures (slightly smaller than the standard 1/6 scale) and were created using digital sculpts of real-life serving members of the three military Services and in close co-operation with senior military figures to ensure absolute accuracy and consist of figures from the three military branches- Army, Royal Navy & Royal Air Force. Although the 10" figures appeared slightly smaller than the Palitoy Action Man, the detailing is exceptional and are far more authentic than their historic counterparts and with very fine details.

The initial launch consisted of an Army Infantryman, Army Armoured Infantryman, Army Mortarman, Royal Marine Commando , Royal Navy Frogman, RAF Falcon Display Team parachutist, RAF Winchman & RAF Fast Jet Pilot.

Additional Vehicles were also launched with the Army Battle Tank being the first (based lossely on the Scimitar) and an RAF Vertical Take Off and Landing Fast Jet, based also loosely on the (now decommissioned) Harrier Jumpet. the scale is very condensed (but in fairness, if it was the correct scale, it wouldn't fit through the front door and a small child could get injured in trying to lift!). A number of smaller accessories were launched including Royal Marine Commando Desert Raiding Party Quad Bike and Royal Marine Commando Stealth Canoe. In 2012, an Army Attack helicopter (based loosely on the Apache) was released along with a 105mm Army Field Gun.

HM Armed Forces Army Battle Tank
HM Armed Forces Army Battle Tank

In July 2009, Character Options launched an enemy combat opponent in the form of the "Enemy Mercenary". A fairly generic character with shades, grey fatigues, combat vest with pouches, Assault Rifle and sidearm. I'm sure Character Options would have liked to have issued a more "realistic" modern opponent, but in these days of PC, I guess they have to be careful to avoid controversy!   

HM Armed Forces Enemy Mercenary
HM Armed Forces Enemy Mercenary

 During 2010, further Action figures were launched including an Army Parachutist with a thrown and deploy parachute and an RAF Regiment Gunner. Also released was an excellent Royal Marine Commando sniper with "Hawk Eyes" (a clear reference to the original Action Man's Eagle-Eyes").

Royal Marine Commando Sniper with Hawk Eyes
Royal Marine Commando Sniper with Hawk Eyes

Later in 2010, the Arctic Mission range was released with a new figure in Arctic survival fatigues - Arctic Infantry Ski Patrol and also an Arctic Ski Doo with Royal Marine Commando in arctic camouflage (An Arctic Mission Forward Air Controller Equipment kit has also been released). Also, an additional vehicle was added to the range- the Jackal M-WMIK, which in real-life, is the heavily armoured replacement to the Land Rover, which is on deployment in Afghanistan. The Jackal accommodates three figures and features a rear 360 degree swivelling weapons mount for the 50 calibre machine gun and forward mounted General Purpose Machine Gun. The vehicle has realistic steering with jerrycans and mounted spare tyre.

HM Armed Forces Jackal WMIK
HM Armed Forces Jackal WMIK

Also in late 2010, similar to the Action Man series of old, CO released Six Equipment Sets which included uniform and equipment that enabled you to transform an existing action figure. The sets released were; RAF Pilot, RAF Military Police Close Protection Bodyguard, RAF Forward Air Controller, Royal Navy Rating Deck Gunner, Royal Navy Diver, Royal Navy Fire and Emergency. These sets offered good value for money (at around £10 each, as of May 2011, although the advertising on many retail sites has sometimes caused confusion, with customers assuming the action figure was included). Also released, is a basic equipment set consisting of standard Helmet, 2-piece uniform, boots, pistol and different weapons - SA80 Assault Rifle, Minimi Light Machine Gun and 50 Cal Heavy Machine Gun. A Basic Training figure with camouflage trousers and assault rifle is also available in what appears to be an Argos (UK) Exclusive. 

HM Armed Forces Equipment Sets
HM Armed Forces Equipment Sets

In 2011, with perhaps again, a nostalgic nod back to the Action Man of old, Character Options released three new Action Figures with Sound Effects (with electronic push button, rather than pull-string!) the new figures emit realistic commands and combat sounds. the new characters with the Sound FX option issued are Royal Marine Commando Night/stealth Ops (with camo face and light machine gun), Royal Air Force Police Dog Handler (with Dog) and Army Infantryman with ASM Rocket Launcher. While the figures are slightly more expensive (at around £20, as of May 2011), they are an excellent addition to the range. In 2012, a wind-up crawling infantryman was added to the range, however with a significant slow down of offerings in 2012,some heavy discounting (even on the Character Options website, as of August 2012, many of the uniform ranges detailed had been on offer at just £1.99 each!) and the range slowly disappearing from supermarket retailers shelves, it could well be the gradual winding down of the range.

HM Armed Forces FX figures
HM Armed Forces FX figures

The HM Armed Forces has filled a gap which the Action Man range left vacant, with action figures that are more detailed and technically accurate, For the price, the attention to detail is exceptional and the figures are increasingly popular with kids (both young and old!) and as eBay attests, the figures and accessories are becoming increasingly collectible. The figures retail at between £10 and £20 (UK) and vehicles up to £40(UK), although bargains can be found on the high street (Tesco were recently selling the mortar man figure at £4.99(UK) although not sure if this was a pricing error?) online and second hand on eBay and the equipment sets are regularly discounted with some supermarkets and online retailers currently selling these for around £5.00. These figures compare favourably to some of the much higher priced "Collectors" figures such as DID (Dragon in Dreams) who produce the awesome and extensive WWII detailed 1/6 figure collections (incidentally, DID produced a 40th Anniversary Action Man range for distribution by Modellers Loft, based in Bournemouth, England, who have acquired the reproduction rights) and Hot Toys Action Figures. The HM Armed forces brand has expanded to include role-play toys such has tents & uniforms and more recently, added the Character Building range which is similar to Lego mini-figures (& Lego compatible) with a range of HM Armed Forces mini-figures and initially an Army quad bike and Navy RIB initially.

During the course of 2014, it does appear that Character Options ceased production of the action figure range, although the lego style mini-figures continued for a while longer, but have also now ceased. While the ranges were briefly popular, they have sadly now been consigned, like Action Man, to toy history.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • kcent247 profile imageAUTHOR

      Kieran Clarke 

      9 years ago from Newton Abbot

      If you are in the UK, Tesco are currently offering many localised discounts on the HM Armed Forces line. I recently spotted in the Tesco extra store in Redruth, Cornwall HM Armed Forces equipment set and also Marine Sniper (with slight damage on box) on sale each for £3.47! Might be worth checking you local Tesco if you are interested in any HM Armed Forces Bargains?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)