Palitoy Toys

Palitoy logo early 80s.png
By Source, Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Palitoy” href=”Palitoy_logo_early_80s.png”>Fair use,

I wrote this piece about two years ago but decided to repost it for those who may have missed it the first time. There is an update at the end.

In March 2016 I received an email from Bob Brechin who was the Chief Designer for Palitoy and worked there from 1967-1984.

Palitoy was originally part of a large plastics company called Cascelloid which was started by a man named Alfred Pallet in 1919. By the 1950s toy sales were so successful that a separate toy division was created and named Palitoy after Alfred Pallet.

As well as producing their own toys Palitoy also made toys under licence for American companies including my own Tressy. Here our Palitoy Tressy dolls who do not look very different from their American Character cousins.

Action Man was another hugely popular toy adapted from the American GI Joe. Action Man became a distinctly British toy wearing British army uniforms and even Manchester United soccer strip. Bob was very much involved in the production of Action Man and other boys toys. Action Man differed from GI Joe in having flocked hair and the gripping hand which is now a feature of most action figures of this type was designed  by Bob while at Palitoy. Bob did not say so in his email but in another article I read it says that Bob modelled Action Man’s hand on his own.

FAVE Action Man

Photo by: Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka    license: Creative Commons 2.0 (by-nc) 

Other toys that were produced at the Palitoy factory during the 1960s were Spirograph, Airfix, Mainline Railways and dolls such as Tiny Tears and Pippa. For those that are not familiar with her Pippa is a 6.5 inch doll similar to Topper’s “Dawn” dolls.

Jasmine gail penny.jpg
By Source, Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Pippa (doll)” href=”Jasmine_gail_penny.jpg”>Fair use,

In the 1970s and 80s Palitoy manufactured Care Bears and the incredibly popular Star Wars figurines.

The Palitoy factory was in Coalville in Leicestershire, England. The company was bought in 1968 by US company General Mills and in the early 1980s their corporate strategy meant that production began to shift to Asia where it was cheaper to manufacture toys. By 1984 Palitoy had become essentially a marketing company with all production carried out elsewhere. The factory site was sold in 1994.

This brings me to the reason for Bob’s letter.  2019 will be the Centenary of the original company Cascelloid and in honour of that Bob has nominated the factory for a “Green Plaque”. This is an award given by the Leicestershire County Council to people and places of importance in the county. The award is decided by public vote so Bob is looking for support for the Palitoy factory site.

If you played with Palitoy toys as a child, and if you are British like me there is a good chance you did, I’ve  included a link that will give more information about the history of Palitoy.

Bob is also considering organising an event for collectors during the centenary year. If you know of other Tressy or Action Man websites or toy collectors groups Bob would love to spread the word so please feel free to reblog this post anywhere that it might be of interest.

This is a cool little film about Action Man, you will briefly see the Coalville factory site and Bob Brechin makes an appearance.

Here are some old Action Man commercials from YouTube.



Information – Star Wars Action Figures – Everything about Pippa


You may be interested to know that the Palitoy Factory did receive a “Green Plaque” from the Leicestershire County Council. It was unveiled late in 2017

For those who do social media there are several Tressy and Action Man groups hosted on Facebook.



  1. Thank you for a very interesting read, good memories of playing with my Tiny Tears and I have voted for the Palitoy factory 🙂


  2. Thanks a lot for the link to the commercials, they helped me to identify a male doll purchased in a fleamarket lot. Do you know of a Action Man site, that could be useful in identifying the clothes?


  3. Tressy is in my top Ten.I do have one of those Ugly 1996 Hasbro Action man figures, but as I got him at the swap meet today for very cheap think he will make a great Foe for my secret agents/Charlies Angel/Jakks dolls.I found something called Formative Int’l who also looks fearsome/foe type for $5 so couldn’t pass him up. I would love to find

    Liked by 1 person

    • Naomi and I both think the early Palitoy Action Man while not what you could call handsome was preferable to the later action figures who look really mean and ugly.


  4. ..authentic vintage Action Man figures..and Sean Connery to get my bond into the mix.I have Max Steele but I think Action man seems more agent-esque, and he had a horse..(Even if I can’t afford it on e-bay.


    • After initially copying GI Joe Action Man became much more British not only in his battledress but also wearing British military ceremonial dress including a kilt.


  5. Thanks ..had to wait for some estate business to clear before I got to the link..was Brilliant..and I found my bagpipe on-line for one of my Daughters x-mas dolls to hold, plus Welch and English and Scott dolls for my small tree! I have a wee willie winkie Shirley and a Cambles soup kid in a kilt as well.It seems to be a familiar theme with many different dolls.Plus Dolls rag in red check..I love when they can be rotated on display so I can see them more often.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.