The first Adventurers with soft flocked hair and beards were invented by Palitoy in 1970. Hasbro released the Adventure Team Land, Sea and Air Adventurers in the same year, using equipment that was assembled and tested in the UK before being shipped to Hong Kong for mass production of both US and UK Adventurers.
Hands: Gripping hands weren’t invented until 1973, so all of the first Adventurers were issued with hard hands.
Hair: Action Man lads came with a choice of flocked blond or brown hair and beards but with no distinction other than ‘Adventurer’. The GI Joe Adventure Team lads had three options: blond hair for the Air Adventurer, dark brown hair for the Land Adventurer and red hair for the Sea Adventurer.
The flocked redhead was never produced for the UK market, leaving the Action Sailor with a choice of blond or brown hair and beard.
Eyes: A significant number of earlier Action Man ‘soft’ painted heads with blue eyes were used in Palitoy’s initial Adventurer production run. While most of the early Action Man Adventurers came with blue eyes, a rare brown eyed variant can occasionally be found. (psst. Geff has one)
GI Joe Adventure Team lads are pretty straightforward: Air and Sea Adventurers have brown eyes while the Land Adventurer has blue.
This reference chart was compiled to help collectors identify specific GI Joe and Action Man 1:6 scale accessories. Geff prefers to call them a work in progress, with room for additions, updates and the odd massaging of details. And photos. Lots of lovely photos.