Where have Action Man's gonads gone?

Look, if I were a boy – and you’ve got to admit, I am still pretty puerile – there’s only one place I’d want to send my Action Man right now. And that’s Helmand.

Whatever its rights and wrongs, our latest Afghan adventure is the most exciting, testing thing that has happened to our military since at least the Imjin River. And while our chaps and chapesses are there, the very least we owe them is to thrill to their magnificent adventures, their courage, their self-sacrifice and their endurance and to support them in every way we can. Including through the medium of sandpit action-doll-figurine-play.

Which is where Action Man comes in. Or ought to. What Britain’s boys ought to be saving up their pocket money for right now is the full exciting new range of Action Man in Afghanistan kit: the sniper scout; the para; the Royal Marine;the mortar crew; the medic; the sapper; the chopper pilot; the strike jet pilot; and of course, the Terry Taliban figurine with RPG, black turban and black eyeliner. For Christmas, obviously, they would be begging Mum and Dad for the Chinook or the Scimitar with working 30mm cannon which cuts the Taliban figurine in half with realistic Action Blood And Gore (TM). Girls could join in too, with Action Girl Dog Handler; Action Nurse; Action Hot Blonde Danish .50 cal machine gun chick.

Except they can’t of course because Action Man doesn’t do that kind of thing. Not the new range anyway. Instead, there’s Action Top Hair Stylist (with curlers, tongs and realistic Snip Action (TM) scissors); Action Interior Designer (with realistic Roving Bitchy Expression (TM)); Action Playgroup Worker (with colourful dungarees); and Action Man Who’s Just Found A Big Spider In The Bath (with realistic “Eeek” sound and running motion.

Well almost. The bit about him ditching the military kit is true anyway. And unbelieveably the toy industry is trying to spin this as a positive thing:

David Smith, editor of toy news website ToyTalk, said: ”It’s great to see Action Man back on the shelves.

”Even though he’s now been honourably discharged from the armed forces, he remains an iconic brand and has new battles to fight to protect the environment.”

Time, I think, to do what we used to do in my day when an Action Man had worn out his welcome. Reach for the air rifle. And make sure to use dum-dum pellets.