Since World War 2, the world has been relatively peaceful (as in no new world wars) and the crises that have erupted have been much more complex. The nature of military action has changed, and part of the change has been the promulgation of more elite units and special forces. These special forces are the heart of the eponymous toy line from Plan-B Toys.
The line's genesis came at the late Resaurus company but now continues on with Plan-B Toys. Plan-B acquired the licensing and tools from Resaurus after they developed it there. The first mission of the series was split between Navy SEAL's and Green Berets along with a trio of accessory packs. The second mission was produced under the Plan-B banner and had a broader mix of services and units and even included a mercenary to fight it out with the forces. Mission 3 is exclusive to Game Stop and only has three figures, but adds in a Marine to the line. The next expansions will cover fire and other emergency personnel and World War 2 figures.
Military action figures are an old concept, and Plan-B has embraced this as the cornerstone of their line of modern military figures. One thing that makes the Special Forces figures unique is the scaling of the figures, based around six inches. To the average toy collector this is a no-brainer since the majority of action figures today are around six inches tall. However, it seems that all the major military figures are either 12" or 3-3/4" tall, so they can't fit in well with other lines like Marvel Legends. Not so with Special Forces, and they can make effective hired guns or military support for your other figures.
There are several features common throughout the three missions of Special Forces figures. They are all compatible with one another, and all the weaponry and gear can be interchanged. They all have interchangeable heads, and the heads work with all the figures in the line and the web gear is removable and interchangeable. The holsters are designed to hold the pistols and silencers and all the weapons fit in the figures hands. All the figures pack the same articulation, with ball jointed shoulders, bicep twists, wrist twists, neck twist, waist twist, thigh swivels and knee, elbow and ankle joints. Future figures in the line will incorporate ball-jointed hips, like the Emergency and World War 2 figures. The figures are built and designed for play, so play with them!
Click on a picture below to see more pictures of that action figure.
Marine Force Recon
The US Marine Corps has a motto - semper fidelis, meaning always faithful (something that would instantly disqualify former President Bill Clinton). This mantra (often shortened to just semper fi) is telling because you will never find an ex or former Marine. Ever since the service was founded in late 1775 as the Continental Marines (since it actually predates the formation of the United States), once a Marine always a Marine. The Marines are an amphibious unit, fighting on the land and the sea (as well as in the air after flight was introduced at the dawn of the 20th century). The dirty little secret of the Marine Corps is that they are part of the Department of the Navy, and so they miss out on having a Secretary.
The Marines may be few and proud, but the members of Marine Force Recon are fewer. The main function of Marine Force Recon is (as the name might imply) to gather reconnaissance information to support other combat troops. The Marines may also make post-combat recon runs, be used to target smart weapons (like laser-guided bombs) and may engage selected targets or small raids. They are an all-purpose unit in an all-purpose service who cover, well, all-purpose jobs.
Basic mission training can be grouped into two major categories - deep recon and direct action. Training begins with a 6 month individual training phase, then another 6 months of deep reconnaissance training, followed by 6 months of direct action special operations training. During the months of training, Marines will receive instruction in reconnaissance, combatant diver, Army Basic Airborne training, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE). They are further trained in a variety of other combat skills because most of their missions will be deep in enemy territory and without other support. The job requires the Marines to be self-sufficient and self-reliant when in most missions they will be outnumbered.
Marines like to be prepared, sort of like boy scouts except they don't get merit badges. Instead they carry around a lot of weaponry and equipment. The M16A2/M203 is an assault rifle coupled with a grenade launcher for the times that bullets just aren't enough. The M16A2 is the workhorse of the US military, seeing extensive use in all the services as a versatile and proven weapon, especially when combined with a handy grenade launcher. A Sig Sauer 9mm P226 is perfect for intimate moments in case the enemy is able to elude the rifle and grenade launcher. A pair of frag grenades and a pair of smoke grenades are included, as are a map, canteen, flashlight and the AN/PRC field radio - useful for reporting deep reconnaissance findings.
Green Beret Q-Course Instructor
The training that special forces undergo is both rigorous and rewarding, and is only available to a select few in the US military. To qualify for training a soldier must be male, and have experience in the military, preferably in combat arms. Along with a recommendation the applicants will attend the Special Forces Selection and Assessment Course (SFAS) to be screened for the Q-Course. Once they've made it through this, the fun begins.
The Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC), or Q-Course, is a six month to a year course in a variety of disciplines in unconventional warfare. The school is tough, and covers areas like demolition, medical training and combat arms. Generally, 30% or more of the people who start the Q-Course do not complete it. The course is instructed by Green Berets and upon completion the applicant is entitled to wear the green beret as a member of the elite group.
The Green Berets began life in 1953, though the Army was reluctant to make the headgear official (but eventually did so in the early 1960's). The Green Berets are known as 'quiet professionals', and they are usually called upon to carry out secret missions far from home, with little or no official recognition. President John F. Kennedy was a supporter of the unit, and Green Berets pay homage at his tomb on the anniversary of his assassination.
In order to facilitate training over such a broad range of weapons and environments, the instructors needs to be prepared for anything. The man carries a ballistic vest, a pair of dive fins and a box of 7.62 mm NATO rounds. The box of rounds is an odd choice because none of the weapons the Green Beret comes with use 7.62mm ammunition. Those are the least harmful pieces of equipment, because he's also got an M4A1 carbine assault rifle, FA-MAS assault rifle, MP5-SD3 submachine gun, a Sig Sauer P226 pistol and a SOCOM mk 23 pistol. Both pistols fit into the holster at his side, where you'd better hope they stay.
Delta Force Sniper
Delta Force is one of the elite units that comprise the American military that operates outside the US as a counter-terrorist unit. The unit's existence was denied for years by the US Government, but they do exist as a part of the US Army. The unit has worked secretly for years in a variety of missions, the most publicized recent one being in Mogadishu, Somalia.
The training and equipment for members of Delta are all top-notch and among the best in the world, and that training would be useless without the most valuable equipment - the Delta soldier. Soldiers are usually taken from other Special Forces and Rangers, and then trained in counter-terrorist disciplines. Their training and organization is based on the British Special Air Service (SAS) who fills a similar role for the crown.
There has already one Delta Force figure in the Special Forces line (in series two), but this Delta Sniper is modeled after the men and equipment seen in the movie 'Black Hawk Down'. Two of the Delta Force snipers from that story are MSgt. Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart, who were both posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their selfless acts in Somalia.
To be a sniper you need a weapon designed to kill from as far away as possible, and the Haskins Sniper Rifle is the perfect way to reach out and hurt someone. The effective range of the weapon is over a mile, and with .50 caliber ammunition you only need to hit once. Modern snipers do not just hide and shoot from a distance, and they're highly trained in close combat. The Delta Sniper carries the SOCOM Mk 23 pistol with a silencer (and both fit into the holster at his side) and an MP-5N submachine gun. He also carries explosives - one smoking and one frag grenade, a canteen, map and binoculars. A handy camo net is also included to keep this sniper from prying eyes.
One special feature to note on the Delta Force sniper is that on his left boot he has his blood type written out. For this soldier he's O Negative. The Delta members do this to make sure if they are injured in combat they can more easy and quickly match their blood types.
At the 2003 Toy Fair, visitors to the Plan-B Showroom were given head by the co-presidents of the company. Well, heads rather. When the line was being designed at Resaurus some of the sculptors decided to take some liberties while sculpting heads for the various figures. It is much easier for a sculptor to make a head with reference, and so they often use themselves or co-workers as their victims. The five heads in the baggie represent five people who were instrumental in the Special Forces line. They aren't the only people involved, but they were immortalized in plastic much as the creators of the 3-3/4" GI Joes were. All five heads are also available in the accessory packs for Special Forces that were released by Resaurus.
Jay and Chris Borman and Tony Simione are the three Co-Presidents of Plan-B Toys. Jon Matthews is a sculptor who does work for Plan-B and his work has also been seen in products from Palisades Toys and Wiz Kids. Shawn Knapp is known in the toy industry for his work on props and accessories.
Pictures of the Marine Force Recon
Pictures of the Green Beret Q-Course Instructor
Pictures of the Delta Force Sniper
|Where to buy Mission 3: The Special Forces Mission 3 action figures are exclusive to the GameStop chain of retail stores.|