Action Man Parachute Regiment
Palitoy introduced the Parachute Regiment soldier in 1970. He was one of three new outfits in a series called 'Famous British Regiments'. The other two were the Argyll & Sutherland Highlander and the Grenadier Guard. Others joined the collection in the 1970s. The Parachute Regiment uniform was the most long-lived. It remained in Palitoy's catalogue until the 1980s.
The 'Para' joined the Red Devil, from the Parachute Regiment's Display Team, which Palitoy introduced in 1969. Palitoy was developing a British line-up and moving Action Man away from his GI Joe roots.
Other uniforms in the series were:
- Royal Marines (Dress Uniform No 3) 1971-2
- Life Guards (Household Cavalry) 1971-6
- Blues & Royals 1971-3
- 17/21st Lancers 1972-3
- 34138 Royal Military Police 1972-6
- 34137 British Army Officer 1972-7
- 34129 Royal Marines (combat uniform) 1971-3
- 34130 Royal Marines (mountain/Artic uniform) 1971-8
Uniform and equipment
Unlike the Soldiers of the Century series, the uniform and equipment were sold as a complete package only.
- 34124 - Parachute Regiment complete outfit (1970-7)
- 34301 - Parachute Regiment complete outfit (1978-84)
The uniform and equipment:
- Combat jacket
- Trousers and puttees
- Belt with ammunition case
- SLR Rifle, bayonet and bayonet case
- Pistol holster
The Para's boots had real-laces unlike other Action Man uniforms. There were a couple of minor revisions to the uniform.
In 1971 the puttees became orange instead of khaki. In 1976 he got a plastic beret instead of the original cloth one.
In 1971 he also got a special equipment pack No. 34131 which contained a parachute, pack, harness, goggles and a helmet.
How realistic is the Parachute Regiment uniform?
Palitoy based the Parachute Regiment uniform on the current (1970) British uniform.
The jacket was modelled on the 1959 pattern Denison smock. The smock was developed from a wartime smock which the Paras wore over their equipment, but under the parachute harness. The 1959 version was shorter, less baggy and fitted like a normal jacket.
The Denison smock had woollen cuffs, four patch pockets and a zip fastener. It was in a camouflage pattern.
Palitoy's version is not too bad. The cuffs are accurate and the pattern does not look too bad. It is let down by the pockets. Only the upper ones are patch pockets, the other two are just flaps. On the real uniform they were also at an angle.
The belt looks reasonably accurate. I'm not sure why the muffler is beige. The one worn by the Action Man soldier (1973 version) is a better colour.
Overall it gives a good impression of a Parachute Regiment uniform, but is not accurate to the last detail. It is a better interpretation than the German Stormtrooper uniform.
How much is my Action Man Parachute Regiment uniform worth?
- Complete uniform including figure - £80 to £150
- Complete uniform without figure - £50 to £80
- Part uniform without figure - £15 to £30
- Jacket - £10 to £20
- Trousers - £3 to £5
- Beret - £7 to £10
- Boots - £10 to £15
- Puttees - £20
- Muffler (scarf) - £5 to £10
- Pistol - £3 to £5
- Holster - £5
- Belt - £5
- Bayonet and scabbard - £10 to £15
- Rifle (clean with no damage) - £5
Should I buy a complete Paratrooper outfit or build it up?
To buy the whole outfit from scratch I would budget:
- Jacket and trousers £15
- Boots - £10
- Beret - £10
- Belt with holster undamaged - £10
- SLR rifle - £5
- Puttees - £20
- Muffler - £5
- Boots - £10
This assumes some canny shopping on eBay to get the cheaper end of the price range. You will need around £85. So instead it is better to look for a complete or part-complete outfit. You should check that the expensive items are included, especially the boots, beret and puttees.
Some of the items are quite common as they were used on multiple Action Man outfits. These include the trousers, belt, pistol and holster. The boots are unique to the Parachute Regiment uniform, but you could substitute generic ones. The jacket, beret and puttees are also unique to this uniform.
The decals, including the cap badge, are available as reproductions. As is the muffler.
More on Action Man
- Action Man history and introduction
- Action Man outfits and accessories
- German Stormtrooper
- German Staff Officer
- British Infantryman
By Steven Braggs, March 2021