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New postage costs for overseas orders

We’ve just implemented a new postage cost structure for overseas orders. This means that smaller, lighter items now cost less to send whilst being fully tracked and signed for on delivery. We have also added a flat rate for heavy orders over 2kg for Europe and the Rest of the World. We also hope to reduce this heavy parcel cost when Royal Mail’s new International Medium Parcel rates launch sometime this year.

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Favourite Things Of 2022

As it’s the end of the year I thought I’d run through a selection of my favourite toys and toy-related releases of the past 12 months!

1 – Action Man is back!

This one was a real surprise and seemingly released with very little fanfare or press but Action Man returned to action again this year after a brief hiatus with an new body and new outfits. My personal favourite is the Cadet Officer (sadly sold out at the moment) as it reminds me of the 1970s and 1980s Action Soldier with his green jumper and beret. I just wish the basic assortment had included a weapon. The new body is a vast improvement on the “t-rex” body of the 2019 releases and includes “hands that really grip” once again. Hopefully blue pants and “Eagle Eyes” will make a come back too but we did hear that accessory packs may be released in the future!

Action Man Officer Cadet action figure

2 – Roboskulls are back!

Another great surprise was the launch of a Kickstarter in 2021 by SKELETRON which is bringing the Roboskull MKII in to production. They had another surprise in store this year when they announced their Assassin Skeledrones were shipping 6 months early. I got my pack today and they are fantastic! Basically they’re the head of a Skeletron on a weird spider like body and they look incredible. There’s still time to pre-order your Skeledrones or a Roboskull MKII.

Assassin Skeledrones action figures.

3 – Total Action Force Vol. 2

Brian Hickey and Paddy Lennon released Total Action Force Vol. 2 this year and just like the original Total Action Force it is beautiful. Full of amazing photos and fascinating interviews about the G.I. Joe years of the Action Force franchise. If you missed out on Volume 1 then check out Paddy and Brian’s Kickstarter for the soft-cover edition.

Total Action Force Vol. 2

4 – Rad Plastic

Technically I think I got this bodacious book in 2021 but if I did it was just before New Year so it kind of counts for this year, right? Anyway, Rad Plastic is a coffee table book about the original Playmates Toys Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys, from concept to execution. The definitive history of the heroes in a half shell in toy form. It’s a great read and full of amazing concept sketches, behind the scenes photos and interviews.

Rad Plastic

5 – Bob Ross

This one is not strictly a toy but it is one of my favourite gifts, my talking Bob Ross bobblehead. It never fails to make me smile when I press the button and hear Bob’s words of wisdom, or something about squirrels…

I know it’s a short list but I did miss out on a few things this year such as the Action Force 40th Anniversary exhibition in Coalville and it’s related Kickstarter. What were your favourite toy related things of 2022? Let us know in the comments!

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Merry Christmas from Action Figure Supplies!

It’s that time of year again when we gather round the TV and eat our own body weight in mince pies (if we’re lucky enough to be able to afford food and electricity this year!) and we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your custom this year, either through this site or our ebay store.

We started the year with a lot of ideas and moving the site to a new software system back in June was part of those plans, along with writing at least one blog post a month. But here we are, just before Christmas, writing our second blog of the year! However we did achieve at least one of our goals, adding a new or improved 3D printed reproduction part to the site every month. Of course we have plans for many more to be added next year and we’ll certainly feature them in this blog. We also have plans for bigger projects so watch this space or our Twitter or Instagram accounts. We plan to be a lot more active next year on all our channels.

It’s been a strange old year, we’ve had some great highlights such a new Action Man figures, the 40th anniversary of Action Force and some amazing stuff from fellow fans to celebrate that milestone and some truly mindblowing products like the new Roboskull on the horizon. But there’s been some challenges too. Like all of us we’ve seen the cost of everything increase this year and thankfully we took some steps earlier in the year that’s helped us survive, such as changing our site’s hosting and software to something more cost effective. We also stopped buying in new stock from manufacturers such as Hasbro and Mattel. These lines were unfortunately proving to be no longer cost effective for us, especially as Hasbro opened their own ebay store and expanded Hasbro Pulse to Europe and the UK and undercutting nearly everybody who sold their toys in the past. I expect Mattel to follow suit shortly and fully embrace the direct-to-consumer model that Hasbro are using. We’re still going to stock some new lines such as Action Man but our focus is firmly on vintage toys now, not vintage toy lines.

Action Man Action Soldier 4th Generation

Finally we’d like to say that we’re sticking with Royal Mail for deliveries and we hope the striking Posties get what they’re asking for, they deserve every penny they earn and deserve better working conditions. That isn’t to say the strikes haven’t been inconvenient for us, they have, and the industrial action has had an effect on sales, especially this week in the run up to Christmas. Normally this week is one of our busiest as people buy last minute gifts and need them to arrive by Christmas Eve but this week has been very quiet as Royal Mail strike today and tomorrow, denting that last minute rush. Of course there are several other factors at work, such as the cost of living crisis, that are also contributing to a slowdown in sales so Royal Mail are not totally to blame.

We did, of course, try different couriers for our parcels this year but none were as reliable as Royal Mail. Evri (Hermes) were their usual rubbish selves, failing to turn up to collect parcels 2 days running and failing to communicate any reason why there was no one collecting. In the end we cancelled the labels and went with Royal Mail. Yodel were atrocious and “too busy” to collect from us and our local courier was too lazy to knock on the door when I had a delivery from another company. Twice, as we sat and watched him through the illuminated windows, he unbolted our side gate and left the parcel down the side of the building rather than knocking on the door. He could clearly see we were in the premises to receive the parcels! DPD, also too busy to collect and way too expensive. Anyway, rant over.

We’ll be open between after Christmas to dispatch orders and we hope you have a safe, warm and Merry Christmas and we look forward to helping you add to your vintage toy collections in the New Year!

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New site, new ways to pay!

The eagle-eyed regular visitors to our site may have noticed the site’s had a slight face-lift lately. We’ve moved the site away from Magento 2, our long-time software of choice to a new platform. This will enable us to grow the site more, give us more control over the site’s layout and content and more importantly offers some new features and a better shopping experience to you, our loyal customers.

You will now be able to pay securely by credit or debit card directly on our site, without having to log in to PayPal. We are still offering PayPal as a payment option though and both methods are now more secure than before (not that they weren’t secure before, they’re just more secure now). The site software is also regularly updated, unlike the previous software, so we’re on top of any cyber threats that might emerge and your data is safer from prying eyes.

The site also offers us the chance to add blog posts easier than before so we can keep you up to date with new developments better, show off our new products such as the 3D prints we have in the works and we hope to highlight the great work some of you customisers do too.

We’re also looking to add some useful guides to the site, repair guides and how-to guides, collecting guides and more.

The site is still under construction a little bit as we tweak the layout and shopping experience so do please bear with us if you spot any technical glitches and please do let us know.

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New & Improved 3D Printed Parts

Our latest batch of 3D printed parts have arrived from the printers. This time around we’ve got the GI Joe / Action Force Rapid Fire Motorcycle / RAM Cycle kickstand, more Battle Tank guns and some test runs of some new or improved models and some fifferent materials.

First up is the Shadowtrak missile, this time in black acrylic (left) rather than the standard sintered plastic (right). As you an see the acrylic plastic has a kind of waxy coating that needs to be cleaned off.

Repro Shadowtrak Missile in Acrylic Plastic

Next up is an improved version of the mines for Tripwire or the Z Force Minesweeper. The first attempt at modelling them wasn’t quite right, there was not enough detail in the finished print. After a few tweaks we sent this to be printed again. I’m much happier with these and will see what they look like painted up and varnished.

Repro Action Force GI Joe Mines

Next up is the SAS Panther steering wheel. Last time we printed it waaaaaaaay too big so this is a test version at (hopefully) the correct scale.

Repro SAS Panther steering wheel

The wheel turned out correct, maybe a millimeter too small. It looks good in place though:

Repro Action Force SAS Panther steering wheel

The next models are probably the very first 3D models I ever built and I’ve been tweaking and finessing the model for months trying to get it to print correctly and fit together nicely. This is the missile rack for the Z Force APC! The original features a split pin to hold the rack in place securely whereas I decided to build our version with a solid pin for ease and strength. It also makes removing the rack much easier with less chance of breaking the pin. The rack tilts and swivels like the original and has 4 holes for the missiles to slot in to.

Repro Z Force APC missile rack

Next up is another Action Force part and this one is a brand new model. Here’s the test print for the Q Force Swordfish missile arm, a piece that’s often missing or broken (like the original piece in the photo below). I’ll be painting and sealing this to get an accurate Q Force grey finish. Look out for this one to be added to the shop soon. Why not join our mailing list and be the first to know when new stock is added?

Here’s how the part looks painted up to (almost, grey paint was a little bit too dark) match the original part:

Repro Action Force Swordfish Part

Our final test print is for a part that’s almost impossible to get hold of at a decent price: chin guns for a vintage Star Wars AT-AT! This model was printed in solid white plastic to check the model’s printability and the fit on the AT-AT before we go in to production in transparent plastic.

Repro Star Wars AT-AT gun
Repro Star Wars AT-AT gun

For those of you wondering about our largest ever print mentioned in the last blog post… it didn’t turn out quite as we hoped. It wasn’t a disaster but it wasn’t a complete success and fixing the model is taking longer than anticipated. Hopefully we’ll be able to reveal it in a future 3D printing post soon.

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Reproduction Action Force Parts

Some time ago I began investigating the possibility of releasing a range of reproduction Action Force parts. Whilst there were some repro parts available they were mainly for the figures and not easily available. I have a small armada of AF5 vehicles without windscreens, Shadowtraks without aerials, windscreens and missiles, ATCs without missile racks and many more vehicles missing almost impossible to find parts.

I looked in to the usual route of casting existing parts but the whole process seemed expensive, long-winded and difficult. I then decided to find out if 3D printing was a viable alternative. At first glance it seemed like this was also going to be a non-starter as a quality 3D printer and the neccessary filaments would set me back a few thousand pounds. Then I remembered a website my brother told me about that would 3D print your designs for you. Now all I needed were some 3D models of the parts I wanted to print…

My attempts at 3D modelling up to that point had been abysmal. I tried to hire freelance 3D CAD specialists but no one wanted the job. So I decided to try my hand at 3D modelling again. With a bit of perserverance and some different software I was able to mock up some reasonable models in a few days. I uploaded the models, waited a few days and got my prints back from the site. These included the SAS Force Silent Attack Aerial / Z Force ATC aerial. Unfortunately I didn’t have an original to work from but it’s a reasonable facsimile. Other models quickly showed that some of the materials weren’t up to the standard I was looking for and some parts were just wrong by some margin as my original measurements were wrong. So I invested in a digital caliper and adjusted the models.

The second attempt included the first print of our reproduction Roboskull chin gun which turned out ok but the details were a bit shallow and needed improving. We also found out that the tolerances on the 3D printing process were a bit variable so some of our models arrived thicker than expected. More adjustments needed…

The next attempt was more successful and our repro Z Force Battle Tank gun came out great first time around. However the Shadowtrak missiles were too long and the holes were too short. The fourth printing followed soon after and the Shadowtrak missile was spot on, the new ATC seatbelt part came out perfect first time, the aerials were right but the new Escape Armour arm joint was too tight.

Repro Action Fore Shadowtrak Missiles

As you can see from the photo the reproductions are darker than the original as we can’t print in grey just yet. The surface is also rougher as the parts are created by fine plastic dust being glued in layers rather than injection moulding. The 3D prints can be filled and painted though for a smoother surface and a more accurate colour. We purposely make each reproduction slightly different from the originals so they are easily distinguishable. We don’t want anyone passing these parts off as the real deal. These parts are for display only.

Our fifth print run included our first try for the Rapid Fire Motorcycle stand which broke within 2 minutes as it was too thin. The SAS Hawk rollbar was a disaster but I was working from an existing roll bar that was in 3 parts. The GI Joe A.W.E. Striker steering linkage bar turned out fine though, as did the updated Roboskull gun.

Our latest delivery included my biggest howler to date; a SAS Panther steering wheel that was 10 times to big. I’d created the model “10 up” so it was easier to work on and forgotten to scale the dimensions down for the printer.

Repro SAS Panther steering wheel

Fortunately the Rapid Fire Motorcycle stand turned out great this time around and will soon be available in the store.

Repro Rapid Fire Motorcycle Stand
Repro Rapid Fire Motorcycle Stand

The Escape Armour arm joint was also ok but the GI Joe mines were not as sharp as I hoped for as the detailing is a bit shallow.

3D Printed GI Joe mines

With a minor adjustment these should be available in the store soon as well. They will probably be supplied in white plastic so you can paint them to match whatever version of Tripwire you need them for. A smaller version will also be available for the Z Force Minesweeper.

I still haven’t found a suitable, reasonably priced transparent printing method for windscreens but 3D printing technology is advancing rapidly and great strides are being made every month.

Next up is the largest 3D print we’ve attempted so far and another iteration of the Z Force ATC missile rack. We’re also looking to invest in a 3D printer of our own or even an injection moulding machine… We’re even looking at creating our own, brand new parts so you can customize your vehicles!

We have over 30 different parts in the pipeline and we’ve already had requests for some specific parts. If you have any requests for parts for Action Force, GI Joe, Star Wars or any line please let us know in the comments section below.