Canada gets it’s own military action figures

MCpl Shannon Thibodeau

MCpl Shannon Thibodeau has created the Canadian version of the American G.I. Joes action figure.

The American G.I. Joe series now has a Canadian counterpart: Heroes Force™ – Canadian Forces Action Figures.

Three soldiers – two in CADPAT and one in Arctic Camo, plus one navy figurine, each sold in their own box with viewing pane, were conceptualized and created by MCpl Shannon Thibodeau.   

A desire to honour his brothers and sisters-at-arms evolved from three tours – two in Afghanistan and one in Europe, and one long ride home from Afghanistan in 2004 accompanying two fallen brothers.

These figures are not just a toy, he says. “They are my gift for remembrance of all present and past military members.”

The idea of a Canadian military toy took hold when his son asked him why G.I. Joes don’t look like him.

He turned to friend and graphic designer John Sperry to develop illustrations of himself, which the action figures are modeled after.

Product development company Think Drink Inc. embraced the idea. Owner Scott Watson comes from a long line of military members and liked the idea of honouring Canadian Forces members.

“Scott ambitiously set the wheels in motion in both North America and in China to bring the product to market,” says MCpl Thibodeau.

After many modifications, a year of work, and countless pre-production samples, Heroes Force™  was ready to go to production in 2011.

The first production run was limited to 6,000 pieces.

“When my first edition arrived last November, I received an email from a nine-year-old boy. He asked me how he can get three army figures for himself and two of his little brothers. He said, ‘My father was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 and we are having a birthday party for him and I would like to get them for then.’ I made sure he had them,” says MCpl Thibodeau, an Aircraft Structures (ACS) Metal fabricator Instructor from CFSATE, 16 Wing Borden, ON.

One dollar from every sale goes to the Soldier On Fund. Last June he presented the first cheque of $6,600.

“Making money with this is not my goal,” he says. “This is for those who lost a father, mother, son, daughter, friend, or family member serving this country.”

Heroes Force™ action figures are for sale at CANEX locations across Canada, or order online at

Shelley Lipke, Staff Writer

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  1. sue bradford says:

    will you be doing any other uniforms,past amd present??what a great collection that would be!!

  2. Sean de L'Éveille says:

    saw a story about these action figures afew years ago… tried to find them and saw them the other day in the Canex in Halifax…. great job.

  3. We’ve heard many amazing stories from military people and it makes me proud to be Shannon’s faher. – V

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