3. Over here
1966 saw a UK company spotting a good thing when it saw one and grabbing the rights to make a licensed copy of the G.I range in the UK.
Palitoy, based in Leicestershire, marketed the British versions as Action Man, since the "GI" term wasn't exactly common (even despite the crowds of them who arrived in the country during World War Two).
UK kids got to enjoy Action Soldier, Action Sailor and Action Pilot, who were available with a choice of Blond, auburn, brown and black hair.
As with anything that's popular, a war quickly broke out as competitors scrambled to get their own version on the shelves.
Just like their Barbie take-off Sindy, Pedigree Toys rushed out Tommy Gunn, an entirely British soldier figure, which boasted better quality accessories.
Despite this, it simply couldn't compete with the dominant Action Man and only lasted a couple of years before raising the white flag in 1966, alongside many other, cheaper knock-offs.
Action Man, meanwhile, continued to develop, becoming more and more British as he crept into the 1970s.
While he maintained a military theme, AM also span-off into sportsman and adventurer themes as Palitoy sought to make him different from the G.I. range.
And William AG Pugh, head of the toys' development for Palitoy, drove the innovations further, with the launch of gripping hands, the flocked hair and the eagle eyes, which would make their way across the pond shortly after.
One other aspect where the UK range towered over its US relations was the Ceremonial Range, with the likes of the Horse Guards featured in full regalia. It helped, of course, that we have much more pomp and circumstance over here...
Action Man served until 1984, when Palitoy closed down. He made a brief comeback in the early 1990s (no coincidence that the first Gulf War was happening), but between 1996 and 2006, the name has mostly been used by Hasbro to churn out adventurer figures with plots and vehicles to match.
Stories would take over in the US, too...
Next: Death and rebirth