SAS (Action Force)

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SAS
SAS Action Force (logo).png
Logo of SAS
In-story information
Type of business Special forces-based military unit

SAS Force is a fictional special forces military unit originated and designed by Palitoy as part of their Action Force range of 3 3/4 inch action figures and vehicles; similar to the G.I. Joe action figures and featured in a comic book series called Battle Action Force.[1]

Graphic Representation[edit]

SAS commandos shown based from the Action Force comics with their HK MP5 submachine guns.

The SAS characters and their representative figures and vehicles were based on the SAS and SBS special forces regiments of the British, New Zealand and Australian armed forces. The Action Force characters were devised around the time of the Iranian Embassy Siege (later depicted in the movie Who Dares Wins) when the SAS were extremely highly regarded in the British popular media.

Described in promotional material as:

"The behind the lines team, skilled in sabotage and disruption. They are usually the first to go into action against Baron Ironblood's fanatical Red Shadows"[2]

the unit was introduced as part of the second generation of Action Force (see Action Force – second generation) although there was a single SAS figure in the first generation of Action Force. The graphic representation of the SAS Force characters and vehicles borrowed heavily from their real-world counterparts by using the dark garb of the SAS and SBS units while on urban counter terrorism duties (and made popular by the Iranian Embassy Siege), although adding yellow for some of the armaments and insignia.[3][4] Despite taking its name from the SAS units of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, the SAS unit was written as a single multi-national fighting force including soldiers from Britain, the United States, Mexico, Canada, Iceland and Belgium among others.

In another departure from their real-life counterparts, the Action Force SAS unit was not entirely under cover or "behind the lines" (despite the promotional brief). The range included the overt Wolverine missile tank, multi-missile system and the Hawk attack helicopter. Despite the marine/aquatic function of Q Force (which also included military frogmen) the SAS unit included waterborne operatives such as Beaver and Stakeout, who specialised on inland and coastal waterways[5] whilst Q Force dealt with offshore marine scenarios.

The Battle Action Force back stories that followed the release of the figures (see Battle Action Force tie in), were more extensive than were the case for the other Action Force ranges, with the possible exception of Z Force. Capitalising on the popularity of the real SAS, many of the comic back-stories of the characters and storylines involved SAS Force. Indeed, after appearing in the first-ever Action Force story,[6] the SAS were the only Action Force unit that consistently appeared in storylines following the introduction of the third generation and the arrival of Cobra.

Three of the SAS characters had their own dedicated features exploring their back-stories: Quickfire,[7] Beaver[5] and Stakeout[8] whilst characters such as Blades[9] and Stalker also had dedicated storylines and frequent appearances in Battle Action Force.

The largest of the Action Force units, later releases ignored existing figures and their specialities and resulted in some duplication: for example, the Hawk helicopter was released with pilot Blades, notwithstanding the SAS range already included a helicopter pilot, Chopper. In addition, the unit included only marginally distinct SAS Commando (Quickfire), SAS Para Attack (Sparrowhawk), SAS Boat Patrol (Stakeout) and generic SAS Attack Trooper figures.

The figures were the least updated of the second generation of Action Force. Since the First Generation figures included SAS characters, the first wave of released figures were minor repaints, variations and repackages of the First Generation figures - for example the SAS Frogman, Pilot and Commando. Later releases were repaints of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles - including from the 'enemy' Cobra range (e.g. Hunter as a repaint of the 1982 Cobra Officer figure).

Both Hunter and Blades re-appeared as characters in the G.I. Joe universe over 20 years later with cameos in G.I. Joe: America's Elite issue #30. Blades then made a second appearance in 2009 to coincide with the G.I. Joe Convention of that year. This time however the character was re-released as both a toy and comicbook character although he was written in as a member of the "Special Action Force" (or S.A.F) and retconned as being British rather than retaining the American nationality of the original character.

Characters[edit]

Code Name Function (figure) Real Name Birthplace Serial number Primary military speciality Secondary military speciality File card or comic book 'Datafile' description Equipment Notes
None Attack Trooper Not applicable Not applicable Various Storm and siege Shock attack Selected from the most elite Military Forces around the world only the top 1% are even considered. Must be highly experienced but willing to learn via specialist training at Action Force academies. Must demonstrate the ability to move up through the ranks of SAS, and be able to operate as a member of the Team. breathing apparatus and a MP5 submachine gun Carded figure released as a generic SAS character.
Quickfire Commando Hans-Jorge Muller Munich AF 342998 Commando assault Hand to hand combat The best in his field. Ex-leader of German commando group. Trained to the peak of physical fitness, can attempt tasks well beyond normal capability. Instructor in Advanced Hand-to-Hand combat course at Bremen Military training school. Tommy gun and a plunge detonator Primarily a carded figure, variants were however also packaged with some vehicles. The Quickfire character was a principal feature in SAS comic book storylines.[7]
Barracuda Frogman Jean-Luc Bouvier Marseilles AF 342102 Underwater assault Sabotage Champion swimmer. Barracuda has vast experience in scuba diving and spent several years diving for an oil rig company. Joined French Foreign Legion to escape arms smuggling charge, where he swiftly became an expert knife fighter, and explosives expert. Joined Action Force when he left the Legion. Underwater breathing apparatus and flippers The action figure was an unaltered re-release of the First Generation SAS Frogman figure.
Chopper Pilot Pete Sanderson Oklahoma AF 342999 Helicopters Jets Stunt flier in Hollywood for MGM but left following disagreement with female co-star. Qualified instructor USAF in Helicopter and VTOL aircraft. Special training in HALO Assault Parachuting The figure was supplied with an ammunition case, a pistol and a yellow life preserver The Sparrowhawk figure (see below) is a repaint of the same figure which in turn is a repaint of a First Generation release.
Eagle Squad Leader Charles Richard Buckingham Middlesex AF 34698 Guerilla warfare Commando assault Son of a hereditary Earl. Eagle was educated at Eton, Cambridge and Sandhurst, where he won the Sword of Honour. After a brilliant Army Career he transferred to Action Force in search of more action. Familiar with all forms of Guerrilla Tactics and most weaponry used by military forces worldwide. Supplied with a MP5 machine gun, and grappling hook with rope. A straight repaint of the First Generation SAS Trooper figure including gas mask and hood, a direct copy of the uniform and equipment worn by the real-life SAS soldiers during Operation Nimrod which had occurred shortly before the figure's release and which resulted in the popular perception of SAS soldiers being dressed in such a way.
Stakeout Boat Patrol commando Albert Roger Jones Liverpool AF 342100 Seaborne assault Small arms Son of a Liverpool Docker. Jailed for armed robbery but released on condition he joined Action Force. Since then a reformed character and has made Assault Landings in small boats his speciality. Expert in use of small calibre weapons of all types. Supplied with the Boat Patrol pack (see below) which included a small armoured boat together with a M60 machine gun, pack, machete and plunge detonator. A direct repaint of the SAS Commando figure.
Blades Pilot of the Hawk helicopter Herbert J. Rotweiler American, Mid West AF 342153 Airborne Rapid Strike Close Quarters Battle Flying Kids called him "mother's boy" at school, but Action Force training turned him into one mean individual. Now a world-renowned air strike pilot, with a reputation for keeping a cool head in a crisis. Subsidiary training in small arms weaponry - can tell you a rifle's calibre from 30 paces. Accompanied the Hawk helicopter A repaint of the G.I. Joe Tripwire figure.[10] Blades was the first character from the Action Force range to be re-released in toy form and to appear definitively in a new limited edition comic to coincide with the 2009 G.I. Joe Convention[11]
Stalker Driver of the Panther jeep Ragnar Ragnarsson Reykjavík AF 342102 Rough terrain driving Heavy machine guns Three-times winner of Trans-Globe Rally, Stalker knows all there is to know about off road driving. Enlisted as a mercenary during Angola war. Evaded imprisonment after major battle by solo escape through African desert. SAS Force driver of Panther vehicle. Accompanied the Panther jeep A repaint of the 1982 G.I. Joe Snake Eyes figure.[12] Stalker is one of only a handful of Second Generation characters (together with Z Force's Breaker, Q Force's Dolphin and Space Force's Moondancer) whose codename is duplicated in the Third Generation 'AF' range.
Sparrowhawk Para Attack trooper Peter Van der Berg Brussels AF 342101 Shock paratrooper Automatic weapons Member of Belgium's crack display parachute team. Since transferred to Action Force following discharge on compassionate grounds from Air Force. Qualified expert in all NATO and Warsaw Pact automatic weapons. Hang glides in his spare time. Packaged with a working parachute attachment, machine gun, machete, ammunition box and detonator. Figure is a repaint of the First Generation US Paratrooper.
Hunter Driver of the Wolverine Chico Rodrigues Mexico City AF 342996 Missile assault Tank mechanics Ex-Mexican bandit, who stole from the rich to give to the poor. Given asylum by Action Force. However, he's still wanted by certain Mexican authorities - that's why he always keeps his mask on. Responded well to Action Force training, and looks certain to earn an early parole. Supplied with the Wolverine missile tank Figure is a repaint of Cobra and G.I. Joe figures from the United States, including the mold of the Cobra officer.[13] The equivalent Wolverine driver in the United States was the female, Cover Girl and a later Third Generation (AF) Wolverine was driven by Ton Up.
Beaver Pilot of the Silent Attack kayak Jacques-Peter Smith Ontario AF 342746 Waterborne Sabotage Night Attack Brought up on the banks of the river Hudson. Schooled in watercrafts at an early age. Recruited by the Canadian Special Forces for undercover patrol, where he learnt to shoot whitewater rapids. Action Force training has developed his silent, but deadly attack techniques. Silent Attack armoured kayak and submachine gun Beaver was another variant of the same Commando figure used for Stakeout.

Vehicles, weaponry and armour[edit]

Initially, in the first wave of release, in keeping with their "behind enemy lines" brief, the SAS Force had few vehicles. Later releases saw the introduction of more heavy weaponry – such as the Wolverine vehicle and Hawk gyrocopter.[4]

First release[edit]

  • Panther – a heavily armed jeep, driven by Stalker[14] The Panther jeep was the second such vehicle in the Action Force range in addition to the Z Force jeep. A repaint of the G.I. Joe/Cobra V.A.M.P. jeep,[15] the vehicle came with high octane fuel tanks, was armed with a dual 7.62 mm machine gun and was capable of towing the Mobile Missile System (below)
  • Mobile Missile System – a mobile surface-to-air missile battery. Not provided with a character to operate it, the MMS was provided with three large Patriot missiles[16] attached to a wheeled unit, capable of being towed by the SAS Panther jeep. The weapons unit was a re-issue of the G.I. Joe multi-missile system.
  • Boat Patrol – a small, rigid power boat, piloted by Stakeout. Actually a re-issue of the removable roof boat unit from the First Generation AF-3 jeep, the boat had an outboard motor (as well as a single oar) and a heavy machine-gun (in addition to the M60 machine gun provided with Stakeout).

Second release[edit]

  • Wolverine – A tracked tank-style missile launcher, driven by Hunter. A black and grey camouflaged tank, the Wolverine was another mobile missile system however in contrast to the MMS (see above) the Wolverine battery was intended to have ground-to-ground capability.[17] The vehicle was a repaint of an existing G.I. Joe vehicle of the same name, driven by Cover Girl. A later Third Generation release had a new driver, Ton Up.
  • Hawk - A one-man light helicopter, piloted by Blades[4] The aircraft was a black and yellow single seat helicopter, similar in design to a microlight helicopter or gyrocopter. The aircraft was still supposedly within the SAS stealth remit being capable of flying below radar and with non-reflective paint. Accompanied by four air-to-air heat seeking rockets and a nose-mounted rotary cannon, the vehicle was a repaint of the Cobra F.A.N.G. helicopter[18] released with the G.I. Joe range and later with the Third Generation. Piloted by Blades,[18] the range appeared to ignore the existing SAS helicopter pilot character, Chopper. Outside of the spacecraft of Space Force, the Hawk was the only aircraft in the First or Second Generation of Action Force.
  • Silent Attack – A kayak, piloted by Beaver[5][19] The black and yellow kayak included short-wave communications and an infrared searchlight. It also had so-called "integrated land transport" (i.e. wheels) and, confusingly for a craft with a stealth and reconnaissance function, a "team pennant". The craft was repainted for the Third Generation and packaged with the figure Recondo.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bob Brechin Chief Designer Palitoy 1967-1984
  2. ^ "Action Force S.A.S. Division". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  3. ^ "SAS Squad Leader at the Leicestershire City Council Museum's toy collection". Leicestershire County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  4. ^ a b c "Hawk helicopter and Blades at the Leicestershire County Council Museum's toy collection". Leicestershire County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  5. ^ a b c "Codename Beaver". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  6. ^ "Action Force". Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  7. ^ a b "Codename Quickfire". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  8. ^ "Codename Stakeout". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  9. ^ "Hawk's Challenge". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  10. ^ "Blades (UK/Europe)". Yojoe. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  11. ^ "SAF Copter with Pilot". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  12. ^ "Stalker (UK/Europe)". Yojoe. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  13. ^ "Hunter (UK/Europe)". Yojoe. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  14. ^ "STalker figure at the Leicestershire City County Council Museum's toy collection". Leicestershire County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  15. ^ "Panther". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  16. ^ "Mobile Missile System". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  17. ^ "Wolverine". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  18. ^ a b "Hawk". Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  19. ^ "SAS Silent Attack at the Leicestershire City County Council Museum". Leicestershire County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-21.