This is one of my favourite series of kitbashes. As you can see above, I like them so much I even designed their own logo for them.
Since posting them first time around, I've made a few tweaks and revisions to some of the guys and eliminated one guy completely as a bad idea.
And yes I know the SAS wore grey berets not black, but this is my totally fictitious, completely made-up SAS Elite Force, a fantasy kitbash that I envisaged as a sort of elite special unit within the SAS.
And they wear black berets - so there!
The idea came about when sorting through my spares box and I noticed a couple of sets of SAS webbing and a pair of jumpsuits with no other matching kit. I also noticed a huge amount of spare black berets from the Action Man Talking Commander.
Shortly after, I saw some SAS insignia, including beret sized ones, on eBay and an idea was born.
It started off with these two Commandos. Both are wearing identical kit; SAS jumpsuits, webbing and M16 rifles from the SAS Parachute Attack set, berets from the Action Man Talking Commander, tall boots from the Action Pilot basic figure, standard issue Hasbro/Palitoy grenades and the flashlights are GI Joe Classic Collection kit, making the kitbash all Palitoy/Hasbro.
I liked the look so much, that this was what moved me toward making all of my kitbashes with 100% Palitoy/Hasbro/Geyper (with a bit of Hasbro-style Cotswold) kit, where possible,to achieve an "in house" look, whereas before in my kitbashes, i freely mixed Dragon and other kit with Palitoy and Hasbro gear.
I also made up my mind not to use the standard SAS gas mask and flash hood on any figure as that look was too closely associated with the official SAS range, so these two guys established the trademark look for the series that I developed to distinguish them from the standard SAS range.
First of all the figures used were Action Man Footballers with the long sideburns hairstyle, tall boots were always used instead of the standard SAS issue short boots and of course the black berets with SAS insignia replacing the Talking Commander beret badge.
Next up was this training instructor, influenced by the Action Man Field Training Exercise uniform. Initially he looked like this...
...but I was never happy with the black polo neck as it made him look too bulky, so now he looks like this...
The jumpsuit is an old Red Devil jumpsuit dyed black and the yellow ascot (in a perfect shade of SAS yellow) and black belt are by Cotswold. Initially I'd used vintage black SAS belts from the SAS Outfit set on some of these figures, but they looked a bit thin and somewhat flimsy compared to the much more slick looking Cotswold belts. The ammo pouch is from the SAS Outfit card.
The shoulder holster is a GI Joe Adventure Team piece and the black pistol is from the SAS Outfit card, making the pistol and the ammo pouches the only official SAS kit used on this figure.
Once again the tall Action Pilot boots and the dagger and scabbard from the Action Sailor Frogman set.
My next recruit was this marksman/sniper. Initially I announced him as my final Elite Force 'bash as I'd run out of beret sized insignia, but the bug had bitten and I was soon hunting for more.
The splendid SA90 rifle is from the SAS Secret Mission set.
The body armour and leg ammo pouch are both by BBI.
Next up was this Turbocopter Pilot.
This spiffy looking black version of the turbocopter is from the GI Joe Adventure Team 'Black Widow Rendezvous' set. I'd just purchased this on eBay and was waiting for it to arrive, when, spookily, another forum member posted almost the exact same kitbash as the one I was planning. I guess everyone loves those men in black!
The helmet is from the SAS Parachute Attack set.
The gun is from the SAS Outfit set and the webbing is from the SAS Secret Mission set and is different webbing from the Parachute Attack webbing.
(I've just suddenly realised on looking at these photos that this guy is the only team member with no SAS insignia! I must remedy that.
As these guys were shaping up into a unit, I decided that I'd better kitbash them a Commanding Officer, so I came up with this guy.
The superb sweater is by ACI Toys and the gun and holster is from the SAS Outfit set. Notice that I've added a black holster tie to it as the original came without a tie.
The black shirt dickey is by Cotswold Collectibles and avoided the problem of the figure looking too bulky with a full shirt under the sweater. The belt is also by Cotswold and the ammo pouches are from the SAS Outfit set.
The final addition was a pair of Action Soldier pants dyed black. A simple kitbash, but one of my favourites.
So far I'd covered the land and the air, so I decided I'd better get some cover in the water so I came up with this Scuba Diver.
The vest and shorts came from a GI Joe Collectors Club free membership figure that came clad only in those. The belt is by Cotswold and the belt pouches and grappling hook are from the Underwater Attack set.
Air tanks are from the SAS Underwater Attack set as is much of the kit, as I'd accumulated quite a few spare pieces while putting together a complete original set.
The black dagger was a piece of Soldiers of the World kit (not Hasbro/Palitoy SOTW) that was just crying out to be an SAS piece.
Face mask, once again, from the SAS Underwater Attack set.
Life vest from the Underwater Attack set and, flippers are from the Action Sailor Frogman set and the gun is from the SAS Outfit set.
Next up is this sharp looking Pilot kitted out in the standard SAS jumpsuit with a life vest from the SAS Secret Mission set and gun and holster from the SAS Outfit set, again with an added black holster tie. The belt is by Cotswold and the flashlight is GI Joe Classic Collection.
As for that splendid black version of the Scramble Pilot helmet, this was a piece I never new existed until I came across it on eBay. This is a pretty rare Action Man piece and was in fact the original helmet that came in only a few often very earliest SAS Parachute Attack sets, before it was replaced with the more familiar helmet with the internal visor.
It is shown in Kevin King's book, but at the time I hadn't noticed it as I'd skimmed past it, as I already had that set in my collection.
The yellow ascot comes from Cotswold Collectibles and is one of their many colour variations of the original GI Joe MP red ascot.
As a finishing touch I added a black air hose from the Battle of Britain Pilot set, instead of the standard orange one.
At this point I should mention, as I said at the start of the thread, the one kitbash in this series that I abandoned as a bad idea. That was this one that I christened 'Chemical Attack Trooper'.
Initially I was very impressed with him, as were many on UAMHQ when I posted his pics, but within a day or two after looking at him with the rest of the guys he seemed out of place. I think he was too OTT with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in. So, apologies to all fans of this figure, but he's been recycled.
However, there were elements of the look that I liked and I kept mulling over a replacement along similar lines, but something simpler and cleaner looking. One of my niggles with the original was the unbalanced look of the figure. Top heavy with kit above the waist, but just boots an pants below, leaving the bottom half looking a bit weedy and spindly compared to the top.
One thought that occured to me was that perhaps some black Space Commando boots would have given a bit more bulk to his lower half; then - EUREKA!!!
SAS Elite Force Space Ranger. A special team established within the SASEF to undertake those anti-Zargonite missions too dangerous even for the Space Rangers.
Standard SAS jumpsuit, with gloves boots, laser rifle and helmet from the Space Commando set.
Initially I had used a Space Ranger Patroller black helmet, but the yellow "light" on the Commando helmet struck me as a perfect compliment for the SAS insignia.
The black tabard is in fact the SAS Basic Figure's flak jacket turned inside out to hide the pockets and ribbing, etc, to give a more streamlined look.
The pistol is from the Space Patroller set and the holster is from the Action Man Cowboy figure, with the belt hidden under the tabard so as not to show the bullets and buckle on the belt.
Finally the chest pack and harness are from the SAS Parachute Attack set, with the pack turned upside down to more prominently display the SAS insignia (and to make it look less like it's the Parachute Attack pack!
And finally, I've saved my absolute favourite guy to the end. This Night Mission Commando dressed for cold weather maneuvers.
This one was areal labour of love as most of the kit was custom made for me. The parka and pants are black versions of the GI Joe 'Fight For Survival (AKA Action Man Polar Explorer) outfit.
I came up with the idea for the uniform and asked asked the very talented lady who ran the now sadly defunct Project Are, if she could make me an all black version of the Polar Explorer parka and pants combo and she said "Sure, no problem". Little did I know that the end result would look so spectacularly cool!
Belt is by Cotswold and the ammo pack and M16 are from the SAS Parachute Attack set.
Grappling hook is from the SAS Outfit set and the superb backpack is another wonderful Project are piece, which she already sold in a series of very bright day-glo colours. Once again I asked if she could make me one in black.
Wrapped up against the elements.
Binoculars are standard late issue Palitoy/Hasbro and the black turtle neck dickey is also from Project Are.
Not only my favourite figure in this bunch, but also one of my favourite figures in my entire collection. Not because it was an original idea of mine, but because the end result was so damn good, thanks to that talented woman at Project Are.
And all for the princely sum of (wait for it) $30 dollars for the uniform and backpack!!! Yer actual bargain!
The squad assembled...
And with the C.O. and the two guys that started it all...