BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

1982 - 2012! 30 years old and still kicking!
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BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:12

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Blood for the Baron 30th Anniversary Q&A Session

001) Was there any choice in which US characters and vehicles were to be incorporated into the line or did Hasbro say you are going to use X mold etc.?

The choice of which characters and vehicles from Hasbro were in the line came mainly from the Brand Manager of Action Force. Design had input on choice and we chose the colour and designed the decoration and decaling.

002) How were the colour schemes determined?

Design Department originated the colour schemes, mainly between me and the modelmaker, who would do the spraying and decoration.

003) How much interaction did Palitoy have with Toltoys in Australia and New Zealand?

I will have to pass on this one – respective Marketing Departments would have been the link.

004) Did Dave Tree find all the Prototypes?

Definitely not. Most of the figures that you guys call prototypes are actually samples of “first shot mouldings” when the moulder tries out the tools and runs a few off in a coloured plastic they have handy. They would be passed over to Design and they were used to test fits and assembly, etc; and maybe some sprayed up for photography. The submarine vehicle with the large pair of claws is not a Palitoy item. I have checked with the Palitoy designer who made the original prototype of Sealion before we passed it to an outside design studio for styling the production item, and he definitely has no knowledge of it. I have a selection of figure prototypes of the Year One figures which are made from moulds taken from the original clay sculptings and these are made of metal or epoxy resin. They were used at the Toy Fair in 1982.

005) Did you have a military advisor or just do all the research yourself/with your team when designing the :AFLogo: and :enemy: ranges?

We did not use any military advisor. As you know the first figures were based on 12” Action Man and we did visit places like the Household Cavalry barracks in London when we did the Ceremonial outfits for Action Man.

006) Did you have any Russian - or Georgian - speakers on your team, or were the characters used on :enemy: vehicles completely random?

I studied Russian at school and when we put together the Enemy team I thought it would be cool to use the Russian alphabet for vehicle decals. The use of the letters are completely random.

007) Similarly, who wrote the bios? And developed all the detailed schematics?

The Brand Manager wrote the bios.

008) How much contact did you have with the writers and artists of Battle Action Force?

Marketing had all the contact with Battle Action Force.

009) Would :enemy: have eventually got a Soviet air cushion assault craft like in Operation Bloodhound?

Pass on that one.

010) Why were there no :AFLogo: or :enemy: helicopters like a Lynx or Chinook or Soviet Hind?

Pass on that one.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:13

011) How influential were reference books like the Osprey series in helping you create characters?

Not familiar with Osprey.

012) Would it have been feasible to produce a :sas: Harrier and C130 and how much would it have cost on the shelf?

Very doubtful we could have produced an acceptable Harrier economically.

013) It is said that the brass mould of the Roboskull was based on your skull: what other gothic features of the Roboskull were inspired by yourself or others?

Roboskull based on my skull? – that made me laugh. The Action Man gripping hand is based on my hand because I sculpted the hand with my right hand, looking at my left for inspiration. Perhaps that’s where that myth came from. I sculpted the original prototype of the Roboskull in clay with added plastic bits, but it wasn’t based on anything; only I thought the Enemy team needed a fantastic looking vehicle, so I was inspired by the skull and cross bones logo. My first sheet of rough sketch concepts included all sorts of vehicles with a skull theme, but I think I may have been inspired subconsciously by the Star Wars Tie Fighter when I finalized on a flying vehicle. Some people say it is an adaption of the Kenner Tie Fighter but is not, as you can see if you closely compare them. I presented to marketing who immediately wanted us to get the product out as soon as possible so I worked, unusually, directly with engineers and modelmakers concurrently to shortcut the process. During this phase I worked out the finer details, and was inspired by the architecture of Gothic cathedrals when it came to developing the wings.

014) What other toys would you have produced if Palitoy had remained intact and created a fourth wave of :AFLogo: :enemy: vehicles? Did you have any plans?

We didn’t have anything in the pipeline before the Design Department closed down in 1984, except some crazy figure prototypes, the SWS Team that may have been considered, and a vehicle for the Space Force that didn’t make 84 range, but I would have liked to have had a go at designing an Enemy HQ based on a similar construction as the AF HQ. I would have expected to include skull-like qualities to that.

015) What is the inspiration for the :enemy: Shadowtrak, it's very chunky? Or even for the AF5 for that matter...

The AF5 was designed by an outside design agency and developed for tooling in the Design Department. When a new marketing team was in place in 1982, and we were briefed to turn Action Force from the original Action Man inspired range into the 5-Team fantasy concept, we had to adapt existing tooling, as we were not allowed much in the way of investment into new tooling. We ( Marketing and Design ) looked at our vehicles and the Hasbro G I Joe vehicles and decided which ones should go in each team. The AF5 was recoloured and we had a bit of cash to tool some additional components to turn it into the Shadowtrak.

016) Oh yeah and who built the motor in the :zforce: tank? it could drag anything anywhere.

Pass - Tank was a Hasbro design.

017) Which toy was your favourite? If the Roboskull, which was your second favourite toy? And which figure?

You are right, Roboskull is my favourite. I also came up with the idea of the Triad. I did some rough sketches of the Craft showing how the wings on the “mothership” could be twisted to form different versions and how the two “pup-craft” could detach from the mothership. I passed my sketches to our modelmaker who constructed the prototype.

018) If the line was still going strong today without Hasbro's involvement what sort of things would you have liked to see in the line?

Obviously development would have depended on the range being successful, and I think it was at the stage when Hasbro’s figures replaced the Palitoy straight limbed figures. So firstly I would have liked to see the Enemy base put in the line. The Muton was a bit of compromise based on the old Deep Sea Diver, so dropping him for a better robotic character would have been on the cards. That would have made a good story in the comics – Muton Mk2. We had designed to prototype stage a troop transporter for the Space Force which never got into the 1984 range so we would have seriously looked at that. I think we would have looked at developing the Red Shadows in some way. Finally, I had thoughts of a smaller flying one-man flying craft to complement Roboskull. ( Perhaps someone could put their mind and skills to that ).

019) If Hasbro was involved which characters would you like to have seen incorporated into the AF line and which group would they go into?

I will pass on this one.

020) With some AF figures turning up courtesy of the Cons and Figure Subscription Service is there one character that you would like to see done in a modern era style.

Ditto
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:19

021) Same question but for a vehicle

Ditto

022) What is the skull in the Red Shadow logo from? Is it a Kraken?
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Doubtful if it was a Kraken skull, although it does look a bit alien. Kraken didn’t enter range until Year 2 of Baron and the logo was already out.

023) Is there any truth to the rumour that Skeletron is a dead Kraken?

Skeletron is not a dead Kraken. It’s a robotic endoskeleton ( a la Terminator ) constructed in a composite carbon based material.

024) Were the Krakens sea monsters or aliens?
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Kraken is a mutation, based on the DNA of lizards, fish and humans, spawned in The Baron’s secret laboratories. I thought of the name Kraken from the book I had read when I was young, by John Wyndham, which was about alien creatures that had come to earth and lived under the sea. But if you “google” it you will find that they were ancient norse sea monsters

025) Is there any connection between the Red Shadows and the Action Man Zargonite range?
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No connection with Zargonite.

026) What happened to the cardboard Space Force playset in the 1983 Palitoy catalogue? Do you by any chance have the image templates, please?
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The Space Force “playset” you see in the catalogue is actually part of the display at the Toy Fair. It was a one-off and no records were kept.

027) What do the initials for :qforce: Q Force and :zforce: Z Force stand for?

Q stands for Q in AQUA. It looked better as an insignia than A. There was a Z Special Unit in WW2 and we thought Z was a suitable letter for the team’s logo.

028) Why is there a Star Wars Scout Walker hatch in the middle of the Sealion?
Image Image

Well spotted ! I have asked the designer of the original prototype who says he pinched it from a Star Wars vehicle when he made the prototype. When the external design agency restyled the Sealion they copied this part on the prototype when they made their model.

029) A few BFTB forum members swear that the Skeletron mailaway figure came with a bio that he was once an Action Force General, while other members swear it didn't happen. Could you shed any light on the rumour, please?

Can’t shed any light on that one.

030) There is a variance in the 1983 figures that were sold in 1984. The hands are of a different mould with better grip, the plastic feels more rubbery and some of the colours are slightly paler. The most significant difference is the Red Shadow figure. The 1984 release has a slightly smaller head with a less pointed beak, and the paintjob for the eyeslits has none of the menace of the original. Was this a deliberate change or an accidental by-product of possibly using a second production facility?
Image Image

You are probably right in your last sentence. If a new tool had been made the toolmaker may have used a moulding from the first tool, and if so there would have been a shrinkage factor which would mean the second head would be slightly smaller.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:19

031) In the BFTB toys archive is a promotional Roboskull blueprint that differs from the one boxed with the toy. On the back is a handwritten signature for Baron Ironblood. Do you know anything about this piece and please could you share if so?
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I produced the Roboskull blueprint for Marketing to use in promotions. I believe at some promotions they had Baron or Red Shadow characters signing various things.

032) The Special Weapons prototypes have been source of joy for us at BFTB, especially your photographs of the initial design. The vehicles all bear the logo SWS, but the repainted figures all came in bags labelled Special Weapons F. Speculation is that SWS stood for Special Weapons Service, while Special Weapons F was shorthand for Special Weapons Force. Please could you clarify this and shed any light on the change?
Image Image Image Image Image Image

Special Weapons Force was the working name when we developed the team, but SWS was chosen because it looked better as a logo. It could be Special Weapons Service, but more likely Special WeaponS.

033) We would love to know more about the Special Weapons line. Why were they axed?

Special Weapons just wasn’t wanted by Marketing to complete the line. See 14.

034) Were there any biographies for the five Special Weapons figures? Please could you give us as much information as you can remember!

Can’t remember.

035) The 1984 Action Force TV adverts featured animations. Were there any plans to make an Action Force cartoon?

Not that I am aware of.

036) The first known example of the battle cry "Blood For The Baron!" is in the promotional mini-comics given away with Battle, Eagle and Tiger. Do you know who came up with it, please?
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Not aware of that either. I would guess it was from the writer of the comic.

037) Which is your favourite Battle Action Force story and why? Do you have a favourite writer or artist?

Every week the publisher sent me a copy of Battle Action Force, which I put away and still have somewhere, but I never read them.

038) Were you involved with the 1983 and 1984 Red Shadow, SAS and Z Force characters reappearing in the 1985 era Battle Action Force comics? Was that a result of fan pressure or is there more to it than that?
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I was not involved, mainly because I was no longer at Palitoy in 1985.

039) GI Joe comic writer Larry Hama has a figure based upon him; Tunnel Rat. Do any of the Action Force characters have a connection with you?
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None of the characters have a connection to me, except possibly the Boffin who never appeared in the range, but I would like to think I am inside Red Wolf flying the Roboskull.

040) What is your opinion of the 2005 Red Shadows comic characters created by Devil's Due Publishing?
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I will have to pass on this.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:30

041) What is your opinion of the 2010 Red Shadows box set from the GI Joe Collectors Club?
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Jim Marshall kindly showed me his Red Shadows set ( that was very good of you guys ) and I must say I was very impressed, as I was with his Baron.

042) How many people were involved with the concept, design and production of Action Force? Please could you give us a quick breakdown of the Palitoy team structure?

The Palitoy Action Force “Task Force” in 1982 was myself, responsible for day-to-day control of new products reporting to Director of Design Department, and the team included a design engineer who liaised with a production engineer, a tooling manager and his assistant responsible for tooling aids/patterns, a designer responsible for decoration, a designer responsible for accessories and packaging, an design engineer responsible for sonic welding and assembly, an design engineer checking drawings and standards, and a production engineer responsible for work study. I was responsible for commissioning and directing an external sculptor of the figures, and the Design Director commissioned the design of the AF vehicles with the outside design agency.

043) Had Palitoy continued to design and produce Action Force into 1985, would the range have continued to expand using the four teams and enemy, or would here have been additional elements introduced?

Difficult to answer this one. General Mills were cutting costs and decided to close down the Design Department and use Hasbro developed product for Action Force in 1985, keeping a few Palitoy vehicles e.g. Roboskull and Sealion in the range.

044) Clearly a lot of thought went into the range. Was Action Force a labour of love, or just another job?

For me it was a labour of love, especially when the new marketing team wanted to change the concept for 1983 into teams; and we were able to be more creative.

045) Are there any Action Force toys or figures that you dislike, or would like to have done differently?

No.

046) What would you say is the pinnacle of your work?

Definitely, the Roboskull.

047) What did you do after Palitoy closed?

I went to work at Spears Games as Design Manager for 6 months, after I worked as a design consultant on Robotix for MB. In 1985 my old managing director from Palitoy was employed by a Dutch company to set up their branch of toy marketing and design in England, so I worked with him and other ex-Palitoy colleagues for a few years before the Dutch got out of toys. Three of us bought the marketing/design part from the Dutch and set up our own toy development company for a few years.

048) Do you know who currently holds the copyrights to the Red Shadows and Action Force toys and characters? Do you know who currently holds the copyrights to the Battle Action Force comic strips?

That’s a tricky one. I would guess that Hasbro has the copyright to the toys.

049) If you had the means and the opportunity, would you like to create more Action Force and Red Shadow toys?

Wouldn’t mind being involved on some sort of consultancy basis, but I think you guys have all the energy and drive for developing new ideas, as you have shown.

050) How did you find http://www.bloodforthebaron.com?

I found BFTB site by googling Action Force one day. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how much enthusiasm there was still out there for Action Force.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:36

051) Is there anything you particularly like or dislike about the site, or think should be done differently?

No, not really. I did find it difficult moving around the site at first.

052) Would you consider honouring us with an appearance at RORC4?

Of course ( if I am not out of pocket )

053) What was the story I missed at your talk regarding the strawberry smelling batch of Action man figures?

When we produced the Action Man SAS outfit we had to do it in a great hurry. When the first packed outfits came in from Hong Kong the quality control manager alerted us to a problem. When a pack was opened there was a strong smell of strawberries. It transpired that the factory in China who moulded the black SAS components was also moulding Strawberry Shortcake toys for us and Kenner. The whole factory smelled of strawberries. Their quality control personnel couldn’t smell it because they had got used to it. So somebody must have put the strawberry essence in the PVC for Action Man without realising it. It was panic stations because marketing wanted to get the product out for Christmas sales. It was solved by one of my colleagues putting the plastic components in the ovens that made the dolls heads. The heat removed the smell.

054) What was the inspiration for the Red Shadow helmet / face piece on the German stormtrooper head?

No inspiration really. We had to use existing figure parts to come up with the new range in Year 2 so we chose the German Stormtrooper for the Red Shadow figure and wanted to change it to be more menacing. The modelmaker took a head moulding and modelled the mask on which was then sent to make a new head tool. Of course we then moulded everything in red and the eyes were tampoprinted.

055) What are the origins of the letters Q & Z being chosen for the infantry & naval forces ?

See 27

056) Does the :enemy: logo have any link to the Capt Zargon badge?

No

057) Who first originated the idea of shrinking down the most popular Action-man outfits & were there ever any plans to expand on that basic concept for a second year?

This was the brief from the Brand Manager at the time. We didn’t have any plans to extend in Year 2 because he left the company and a new Brand Manager was in place. I suppose he wanted to make his mark on the company so we were really pleased when he wanted to go the Team route.[/color

[color=#FF0000]058) If Palitoy had of continued the line in which direction would you liked to of taken the :enemy: figure & vehicle designs..for instance, would you of developed them into being even more fantastical/science fiction like creations?


See 18

059) What were Friday afternoons really like at the Palitoy factory?

Good question. Can’t remember. I am sure we weren’t eager to get away.

060) Have you taken a look at the custom toys that are produced by adult collectors today and what do you think of this homage to the original range?

I really like some of the customs and I feel honoured that there are people out there who are excited enough about Action Force to keep the story going.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:41

061) Did you take any of your favourite designs home after your time at Palitoy came to an end and what were they? Do you still have any of them to this day, to remind you of your work?

I think I still have the very original prototype of the Roboskull somewhere ( I do have some of the concept sketches for it and for the Triad ); and I have a collection of the prototype resin and metal figures that were used for the display at the Toy Fair in 1982, which were dumped and I managed to salvage them.

062) How do you feel about Action Force after 30 years?

See 60. I feel that it was a great toy line and if General Mills hadn’t changed their marketing policy, and Hasbro hadn’t produced G I Joe, it would have developed. But that’s life.

063) Was there a plan to introduce an Action Force air force if the range had continued?

No

064) What is the proudest / fondest memory of your time working on Action Force?


When I put Roboskull and Skeletron in front of the New Products Committee and their reaction.

065) Was the introduction of Hasbro figure and vehicle moulds to the series 2 range, a Palitoy Design Team decision, or the result of corporate pressure from Palitoy's parent? Would we have seen a higher level of unique designs if you'd had your way?

No, there was no pressure from General Mills, but there was a need to keep tooling costs down; and having the access to Hasbro’s vehicles was too tempting.

066) Mr Brechin, how did you first get involved with the toy industry & did you continue to work in the toy business after the Palitoy company closed down?

I have posted this answer on the VAME site, but briefly I studied product design in Birmingham and was working there when I saw an advert for a toy designer at Palitoy. I started there in 1967 and left in 1984 when the Design Department was closed down.

067) Is Red Laser a ninja?

Pass.

068) Do you still consult on toy design and production?

No. (Myself and two colleagues had a design consultancy in the 90’s)

069) If not, what would tempt you back?

Nothing

070) Was there a reason that Baron Ironblood's head is molded after the 12" Action Man head? Perhaps some revenge for the toy line being shrunk down in size?

Baron’s head is the same head as the Officer from Year 1 which was moulded to look like Action Man.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:46

071) Was Ned Kelly's helmet the inspiration for Baron Ironbloods mask & did you ever consider making his head sculpt a non removable helmet ?

You are correct; Ned Kelley was an inspiration, as were medieval knights. It was considered as a non-removeable helmet and after a lot of discussion with Marketing we went with a separate helmet.

072) A selection of Star Wars figures, weapons & vehicle parts were used not only to create the Action Force prototypes but also on the finished items...e.g. Baron Ironblood with Han Solo's blaster & the hatch of the Sea-lion... did you have to seek permission from Kenner for using them?

We probably did, but being part of same toy group it wasn’t a problem.

073) Did the Palitoy re-paints, of the Hasbro figures & vehicles (e.g. S.A.S.Panther), come from the same factories (& tooling's) that produced the American G.I.Joe toys?

They probably did.

074) What was the language used (or inspired by) in The Black Major's code-book & Enemy vehicle signage?

See 6.

075) Was the majority of the design work, for Action Force, carried out 'in house' by Palitoy or was it mainly outsourced &, if so ,how closely did you work with these companies?

For Action Force we used three outside design sources. A sculptor for the figures, a toy design company for the three original AF vehicles, and the Sealion in Year 3 , and an artist ( who produced the packaging artwork ) to produce the artwork for the HQ. The majority of the concept work and modelmaking was done inhouse.

076) If Action-Man hadn't of been discontinued, would we of seen 12" versions of Action Force characters & uniforms?

We did in Year 1. But when we conceived Baron and the teams we wouldn’t have gone back to Action Man for inspiration.

077) Did Palitoy keep a close eye on the I.P.C. Action Force comic such as demanding story changes or suggesting story lines?

Pass. Marketing.

078) What were the design processes for individual Action Force figures...did you work from concept drawings & did the artists sculpt at a larger scale, for detail reasons, than the final product?

I produced design concepts in sketch form and then briefed a sculptor to make actual size models. He made moulds from which castings were made for samples and also for tooling aids to send to toolmaker.

079) The head & weapons were superb reproductions of the Action-Man originals, were they direct copies reduced in size?

See 70

080) The Action-Man (& Action Force) 'Special Team' bullpup rifle's a pretty accurate copy of the real weapon. Did you have anything to do with creating this accessory & if so can you remember anything about it..such as if you would of had access to the real thing or would of worked from reference photographs?
Image Image

I will have to pass on this at this stage.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:46

081) Did you guys, in Palitoy's design dept, feel in any way constrained by having to create many Action Force charactors with the limited library of body sculpts & large use of repaints involved?

Of course we did. But it was a challenge. For Year 3 were able to be more creative.

082) A lot of Action-Man collectors seem to blame Action Force's success for the demise of their hero, what are your feelings towards the subject?

No it wasn’t Action Force that led to demise of Action Man, it was Star Wars and the cost of plastics ( which are derived from oil, and we know what happed to oil prices during the late 70’s )

083) Were you & the Palitoy company caught by surprise at just how successful, & large a slice of the toy market, Action Force achieved in it's first year?

No not really. We thought we were on to a good thing having seen success of Star Wars; and in first year the Action Man logo ensured public acceptance as a lot of toys at the time were supported by characterisation.

084) Before the plug was pulled, how far advanced were the companies plans for 1985's Action Force range? Were any designs finalised, or concept models, produced for the ranges continuation?

No, in 1984 the Design Department was closed down and Marketing had a ready source of vehicles and figures to call on from Hasbro.

085) In the past Hasbro took a couple of Palitoys design innovations (Flock hair & gripping hands) to the Action-Man & used them for thier own G.I.Joe figures...how close was the working relationship between both companies & did this continue with Action Force in any way?

There was a very close relationship between Palitoy and Hasbro whilst 12” G I Joe was being produced in the States. When Joe was discontinued we somehow didn’t have the same relationship. That is why we both were working on 3 ¾” ranges in 1981 without knowing it.

086) Did Hasbro send you any early 3 3/4" G.I.Joe toys or prototypes, before they were released @ retail, for evaluation by Palitoy for incorporation into the Action Force line?

Yes, they did. I had a complete set on carded figures which I gave to my son who sold them on to an American collector. I believe I still have some preproduction samples in polybags that came over before the carded samples. I do have a set of photos that were sent over of their initial range.

087) In the early 80's the famous Airfix brand was part of the Palitoy company, were you involved with the classic model company in any way?

When Airfix was bought by General Mills four of its designers came to Coalville in our department to continue their work.

088) What's your personal favorite toy, of any kind, you've worked on in your career?

It has to be the Roboskull, but I am proud of the Action Man Ceremonials.

089) How did you and other colleagues feel when Hasbro took over and pretty much ended the original Action Force line?

It was after I left the company and trying to develop a new career. I had no feelings really because it wasn’t the Action Force we had created. I was chuffed they had included Roboskull and Triad in 1985 so I was a bit sad when they dropped those.

090) Where would BFTB stand on creating an exclusive Palitoy re-release figures for it's own conventions?

Pass – you will have to get some legal advice on that one.
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Re: BFTB Exclusive - Bob Brechin Q&A Results

Postby The Baron » 16 Dec 2012 19:59

091) I think Action Man came with four different hair colours, Black, Brown, Blonde and Red/Auburn, why did almost all of the Action Force Figures have black hair?

Don’t know, but I guess cost ( It would be cheaper to keep a standard colour. Different hair colours have no marketing value on such a small figure )

092) I came across a Palitoy section on Friends reunited recently. As you can see from the link below someone claiming to be the Chief designer at Palitoy has commented on the HQ. Is this Bob or another of member of the team? http://www.friendsreunited.co.uk/palito ... 1401164e2f

That’s me !!

093) Did the writers of the original Battle Action Force promo story know about Special Weapons Force?
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
All of the vehicle designs used in that strip are based upon the prototypes seen in the 1983 catalogue. The Cosmic Cruiser and Swordfish are the same as the catalogue prototypes, not to mention the Space Force base!
Image Image Image Image
Clearly the artist worked from these photos, is there a good chance that the SWF photos were also included in their source material? The backdrops would indicate that these photos were taken at the same time.
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My reason for asking is that in the very first Action Force comic strip, in his very first appearance, in his very first word balloon, Baron Ironblood says:
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That is too much of a coincidence! Could it be that The Baron stole his technology from Special Weapons Force? Did Boffin create the Laser Exterminator?


You might well be right. The Action Force Brand Manager briefed the comic people.

094) I know a lot of research was carried out to make some of the Action-Man uniforms & vehicles as authentic as possible, what kind of research was involved in creating the Action Force kit?

No research. It was all conceived by me, the Brand Manager, and the designers/modelmaker.

095) The prototype figures of :hawkwind: & :blastoff: featured removeable helmet designs, yet the finished items were one piece items..was this change due technical or price reasons?

Those figures changed for cost reasons.

096) Was any kind of visual & other types of reference material (of Action Force toys) would of been given to the artists & writers of the comic to use, would of they received actual toys or just pictures, blueprints & charactor file cards to work from?

They would have had toys if they were in production but in the early days they would have got the details off the character file cards, written by the Brand Manager based upon our info, and photos of prototypes; and if they were unavailable drawings.

097) Also did any of the creative team who were working on the comics ever suggest ideas for new characters & vehicles that could of been produced as toys?

Nothing came through to Design via Brand manager.

098) Was any market research done for Action Force, such as asking children what they would like to see & would play with?

Market research was within the Brand Manager’s remit, but I never had any conversations with him or was asked to provide samples.

099) Who had final say upon the finished designs & items that did or didn't get produced?

We in Design would come up with the concepts and ideas and present them to the New Products Committee, comprising Directors of Design, Marketing and Sales plus the Brand Manager for Action Force, but when it came down to it Marketing would have the final say because they knew the market.

100) A lot of the larger (& higher price range) playsets & vehicles (Z Force H.Q. & A.T.C.) were repainted Hasbro products... did Palitoy ever have any similer ideas, or concepts, for that were abandoned (or had to be scaled down) due to high projected production costs & recommended retail price?

I remember we did have one good idea for a Space Force Troop Transporter than didn’t make it in 1984.

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