20th Century Toy Collector

Yo Joe!

Action Force – Zartan

In the US G.I. Joe came before Transformers. In Europe it was the other way around. Transformers were introduced here in 1985 and G.I. Joe didn’t get an official introduction until 1987. But that doesn’t mean that G.I. Joe action figures and vehicles weren’t available here! An English company called Palitoy had already been selling 3.3/4 inch action figures in Europe since the early 1980’s under the name of Action Force.

Action Force action figures – Palitoy


At some point Palitoy started licensing Hasbro’s G.I. Joe line and releasing it in Europe under their Action Force moniker. Here’s an example of that: Zartan and his Swamp Skier! I found this item online about a week ago and whipped out my credit card as fast as I could to make it mine. Just check it out:

Action Force Zartan – Palitoy (1985/86)

“G.I. Joe invades Europe”

I’m not 100% sure of the year above item was released, because there is no date information on the packaging, but judging by the release of the original in the US (1984) I’d guess Palitoy released the Action Force version of Zartan in Europe in 1985 or maybe 1986.

By 1987 Hasbro had acquired Palitoy and decided Europe was ready for a proper G.I. Joe invasion and introduced the line here as an international fighting force.

European launch of G.I. Joe – from pack-in catalog (1987)


The reason why I was so interested in this Action Force version of Zartan is because I scored the 1987 Dutch version of Zartan not too long ago. Here are both versions shown together. The new and the old! Check out the original article on Zartan that I wrote here!

Zartan – European Action Force and G.I. Joe versions



posted on December 20, 2011 by 20th Century Toy Collector in Action Force,G.I. Joe and has Comment (1)

One Response to “Action Force – Zartan”

  1. Philip Ayres says:

    You just need the UK 1987 Action Force logo on GI Joe art version to complete the set!


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