TOY SOLDIER HQ INC - NEWS, REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY

Toy Soldier HQ Inc Web Sites

Toy Soldier HQ Inc Home Page
Toy Soldier HQ Inc Main Sales List Page


7/5/15 WINNECO, PALMER PLASTICS & PAYTON PRODUCTS

Collectors have been wondering how Palmer Plastics figures ended up in Payton Products header card bags. I think this explains it. Both companies were located in Brooklyn NY and undoubtedly used the same mold makers and suppliers and knew each other. The plastic toy industry had started to go into decline in the 1960s with companies such as; Thomas, Empire, Lido, REL, Archer, Auburn, Tim-Mee, T.Cohn, MPC & Banner being sold or quitting the toy business. In 1972 the owner of Palmer Plastics passed away and a group of investors convinced the family to let them take over the business. They set up WINNECO as a shell company to run the operation. The header card bag of Payton armymen and tank is marked; WINNECO, PALMER PLASTICS DIVISION and PAYTON. So it looks like Winneco took over Payton as well and this is probably when the Palmer figures were sold in Payton marked packaging. Everything collapsed and ended up in court and at some point in the mid to late 1970s both Palmer and Payton ended up being owned by HG Toys.

-

2/22/15 SELDOM SEEN CONSTRUCTION WORKERS

Auburn made three 60/70mm orange rubber like vinyl workers in the 1950s. They also made three different 54mm workers seen above in green and white soft plastic. man putting in a light bulb, man with jack hammer and man swinging pick. These were put in a window boxed road construction set and evidently in at least one farm set.

Also making some seldom seen workers was Lido who made the above figures in the 1960s. Six different workers were made in one mold and two signs (5 pieces) in a second mold. We think these may be the last figures made by Lido and only found about them after acquiring the catalog of molds Lido made when selling their business. They can be seen in the Spiegel 1965 Christmas catalog a year after Lido was sold.

11/21/14 MORE ON THE COMMONWEALTH DOLLS OF THE WORLD

In 1951 Commonwealth Products of Mass. released a series of small plastic dolls of the world in nice factory painted boxed sets. Some time later they either sold the molds or figures to a New York Co; DOLL BODIES INC. They packed thirty-two figures in a box with paints and special stands 32 DOLLS OF FAR AWAY LANDS. The customer would then decorate and display the figures. The box is decorated with their name and address; NEW YORK 10, NY. The use of a two digit Postal Zone/District Number in the address would place this set before July 1, 1963 when the US Postal Service went to the five digit number Zip Codes. We have also seen header card bags of remnants. Like many other molds the doll molds ended up in Mexico where they were produced for Rubenstein International in 2000 who sold them in small header card bags.

7/30/14 MARX FINALS TWO SERIES OF WILD ANIMALS

FINAL SERIES WILD ANIMALS

Pictures and information courtesy James Hayes.

Marx made two later series of wild animals. The first series made about 1962/63 in Hong Kong consisted of 23 different some what crude painted vinyl animals maybe 30mm scale and a cage. Each comes in its own box marked ANIMAL KINGDOM which are numbered on one of the small inside end flaps 1-23. The numbers on the outside of the box, 6505 - may be on first series boxes and 6506 - may be on second series boxes, and may have to do with the production runs but we are unsure. The second series was made in 1967 (at least some animals made this year were included in the 54mm scale Daktari playset) and in 1969 which is marked on the small boxes that are the same as the first series boxes. Second series production was in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Slightly better sculpting than the first series and also vinyl and factory painted. The cage was eliminated and a 24th animal, a hippopotamus added. Each animal comes in its own little box marked ANIMAL KINGDOM and/or WILD ANIMALS and once again numbered 1-24 on an inside small end flap. Both series have facts about the animals on the back of the boxes. Second series animals may be marked Taiwan or Hong Kong but like the first series animals do not have the Marx logo. Please note crude copies have been made. Also owners of boxes have stuffed them with other nonMarx animals for sale on Ebay.

7/16/14 CORRECTIONS TO THE TIM GEPPERT FIGURE GUIDES

ORIGINAL GUIDE

Page 2

AB50 Not Auburn, made by Ohio Art

AB51 Not Auburn, made by Ohio Art

Page 4

ID17 through ID 37 not Ideal, made by Andy Gard

Page 5

ID47-49 Not ideal, made by Renwal

Page 7

ID108 horse & saddle not made by Ideal, made by Andy Gard

Page 10 & 11

LD89-99 not made by Lido, made by Nabisco

Page 21

Mx333-338 not made by Marx or Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

Page 35

MX852 horse was not made by Marx but but a collector heating an 851

Page 38 & 39

MP87-91 not made by MPC, made by DK Toys & Novelties

Page 40

MP133-136 not made by MPC, made by Andy Gard

Page 41

MP161-166 not made by MPC, made by Palmer

Page 42

MP190-193 not made by MPC, made by Palmer

Page55

TM232 not made by Tim-Mee, best guess made by Irwin

Page 57 & 58

AR7 -12 not made by Archer, made by Ajax

Page 60

SUPERIOR is a marketing slogan used by T.Cohn so SP1-SP30 should be relabeled as T.Cohn.

Page 61

UN1-2 Made by Kelloggs

Page 61 & 62

UN3-8 Made by Werner

Page 62

UN9-14 not made by Marx or Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

UN22-25 made by Deluxe Reading

Page 63

UN36-41 made by Palmer

UN41-45 made by Processed Plastic

UN46-48 used with Eldon and Deluxe Reading fire trucks

un49-53 made by Lido

Page I

AB49A not made by Auburn, made by Ohio Art

LD99A-99D not made by Lido, made by Nabisco

Page IV

MX871-878 not made by Marx, made by Nabisco

Page VIII-IX

SP31-43 should be relabeled as T.Cohn

Page IX

RB13-18 not made by Rubenstein, made bu Nabisco

Page X

UN40A made by Palmer

UN53A made by Lido

UN54 made by Werner

UN55-57 made by Premier

UN58-59 made by Transogram

APPENDIX GUIDE

Page 1a

AB5 A-C not made by Auburn, made by Ohio Art

AB10G not Auburn, made by Houghton Mifflin

Page 8a

LD14A,C &D not made by Lido, made by Kelloggs

Page 9a & 10A

LD21H,I, K,L,M,O,P,R,T,V,X,Y &Z not made by Lido, made by Nabisco

Page 10a & 11a

LD24 A, B & C may be by Premier

Page 11a & 12a

LD43A-H not made by Lido, made by Nabisco

Page 21a & 22a

MX100A-F not made by Marx, made by Nabisco

Page22a

MX101A-J not made by Marx, made by Nabisco

Page 65a & 66a

AJ2A-I were sold by both Ajax and Thomas Toys

Page 67a

EL1A-E not made by Eldon, made by DK Toys & Novelties

Page 71a

RB1A-f not made by Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

RB2A-P not made by Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

Page72a

RB3A-F not made by Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

RB4A-F not made by Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

RB5A-R not made by Rubenstein, made by Nabisco

5/31/14 THE BERGEN TOY & NOVELTY - AJAX TOYS CONNECTION

Plastic toy companies started going out of business in the mid to late 1950s due to a variety of reasons. In 1958 Banner Toys bought out both Thomas Toys and Bergen Toy & Novelty. They started a subsidiary ALDEN TOYS to sell the exThomas toy line and folded the exBergen Toy and Novelty product line into the Banner Toys lineup. The smaller toy companies continued to struggle and Banner Toys filed for bankruptcy in the 1963/64 time frame and went under in 1966/67.

Ajax Toys started up in 1950 at the behest of William Shaland a major toy jobber/distributor in NYC. Shaland was the Father-in-Law to the owner of Ajax Toys and wanted the business set up to help distribute the toys he was acquiring from many sources. He was one of the early mold buyers and sellers. In the late Richard O'Brien's great book, COLLECTION AMERICAN MADE TOY SOLDIERS he has a nice section on Ajax Toys.

On page 334 he illustrates two sell sheets used by Ajax Toys. Of interest is that neither sheet mentions Ajax Toy but only William Shaland Corporation.

Looking at the sell sheets from left to right top to bottom there are; ROW 1 Ajax football players + Bergen civilians, ROW 2 Bergen or Ajax foot cowboys and Indians (they both made the same figures) and AJAX mounted western figures, ROW 3 Larger Bergen riders + Bergen or Ajax western, ROW 4 Smaller mounted western figures from either Bergen or Ajax, NEXT SHEET ROW 5 Ajax space figures + Ajax GIs, ROW 6 Bergen GIs + Bergen police and firemen, ROW 7 Bergen Ballerina, LIDO baseball players + Ajax baseball players.

Collector James Wozniak recently acquires a boxed case of 12 header card bags of exBergen Toy & Novelty toy soldiers. We had one of the same in stock;

Looking closely at the header card you can see the product number 155 matches the "Ajax" sell sheet's set of "155 - 8 piece soldier set". Of further interest we believe the the WSNY also found on the header card stands for WILLIAM SHALAND NEW YORK.

Comparing the bases of an original Bergen Toy and Novelty soldier and one from one of these header card bags you can see that the companies name is no longer in the middle circle under the base as it is in the original base on the left.

So we believe that Mr. Shalland either bought the ex Bergen and Lido molds or got product from Banner and Lido in a wholesale business deal, repackaged them and had his son in law sell them. It is also possible he owned the "Ajax" molds. Lido had gone out of business in 1964, but successors tried to keep the business going a few years. Shaland was the uncle of the owners and Lido would wholesale to other companies such as T.Cohn and Shaland may have bought their baseball mold. Ajax went out of business around 1970 so we think these sell sheets date to the 1965-1970 time frame but they could be a few years earlier.

5/24/14 ROCHE AUX FEES DAVY CROCKETT PREMIUMS

In 1976 reruns of the Disney Davy Crockett TV series in France were so popular that refrigerated desert (pudding & yogurt) manufacturer Roche Aux Fees gave away a massive set of over 40 pieces in four sets of figures and items based up the TV shows. One item was given away free in each 6 or 12 cup packages of product. The cups had stickers that could be mailed to Roche Aux Fees to obtain one of the four complete ten item sets. Also a cardboard or card stock Fort Alamo could be gotten from the company as well via the mail.

The human figures are about 60mm in scale and as you can see there are a lot of them. One French collector recounted to me the wild scramble to complete sets as the packaging was not transparent so he would have to carefully feel the package to try and figure out if it was a figure he did not have. All in all they did a nice job except they made the figures without bases so many do not stand well. They suggested that you glue the figures to small pieces of cardboard. There are a few accuracy issues. The American flag bearer from the Creek Indian war (episode 1)has 20 stars in a "Betsy Ross" circle design. In 1812 the flag only had 15 stars and I have not seen an example with the stars in a circle. The mounted American Lieutenant should been wearing a dragoon helmet not a tricorn. The Indian they call Black bear looks to be based upon the Red Sticks character also in episode 1, and I suspect the Commander Russel figure is Major Norton. The animals seem to be scarcer and you can see there are three groups you were supposed to cut apart (Beavers, birds and raccoons)giving this ten piece set 14 animals. I have yet to see a lance for the mounted Indian except in the brochure picture and perhaps it was deleted due to child safety issues. I doubt many of the cardboard Fort Alamos made through intact as well. I have confirmed they exist, but my French contacts can't come up with one. We have items for sale listed at our PREMIUMS page.

4/12/2014 POSSIBLE IDENTIFICATION OF THE CAMPING/PICNIC FAMILY

The hole in the ring bases of the Popeye figures rang a bell and I went and dug out my unknown camping picnic family. In the lower picture above, the Popeye Brutus is on the right and you can see the similarity so perhaps the family is also an Irwin product. We think the no base versions were made first and like Marx did with many of their figures, bases were added to make the figures more stable. The red mother looks to have had a further more complete base modification. If anybody has these figures in a catalog or marked package we would like to hear about it, but for now we think they were made by Irwin.

4/5/2014 HARD TO FIND POPEYE FIGURES CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED AS IRWIN.

Jim McGough was kind enough to share some pictures of his Irwin Popeye canoe. The canoe is clearly marked Irwin on the bottom of it's hull. I never like the MPC designation as I felt if MPC made the figures they would be more plentiful. The figures can be found in; red, blue and yellow and perhaps other colors as well.

3/21/14 MYSTERY BOAT AND DRIVER IDENTIFIED

In October of 2013 I posted pictures of the above odd speedboat with driver, and asked for help. Some one sent me a picture of a skier that went with the driver but my laptop died (please send again if you see this). I got a 1965 Andy Gard catalog that had a plastic boat pulling a skier. The picture is a drawing and not a photograph and looked different than my speedboat, but there were four or five other boats in the catalog so I was hopeful.

I started scouring ebay and was rewarded with finding a speedboat identical to the one in the catalog.

So we can be assured that the driver is indeed an Andy Gard figure although of poorer quality than their western, Civil War and armymen.

3//16/14 Geppert Guide update. Tim Geppert made an outstanding effort to classify US made plastic figures back in the 80s. As we have have learned more we can better identify small maker figures as follows; Geppert Part 1 Page 4 ID17-37 ACW, Cowboys & Indians not Ideal made by Andy Gard

Page 5 ID47-49 Cavalry not Ideal made by Renwal

Page 10/11 LD90-99 Baseballers not Lido, Nabisco cereal premiums

Pages 38-39 MPC 87-91 not MPC, made by DK Toys & Novelties of Brooklyn. Page 41 MP161-166 SCUBA not MPC made by Palmer

Page 42 MP 190-193 Circus not MPC made by Palmer

Page 52 TM130-131 Eskimos not Tim-Mee made by PAL

Page 55 TM232 Girl with hot dog not Tim-Mee made by unknown

Page 60 All figures marked Superior should be marked T.Cohn

Page 61 SP18-30 Spacemen/Aliens not “Superior” made by Lido

Page61/62 UN3-8 were made by Werner

Page 62 UN9-14 were cereal premiums perhaps sold later by Rubenstein

Page 62 UN15-21 were made by Stuart

Page 62 UN22-25 were made by Deluxe Reading

Page 63 UN36-40 were made by Palmer

Page 63 UN41-45 were made by Processed Plastic (who bought Tim-Mee in 1964/65)

Page63 UN46-48 firemwn were sold in both Deluxe Reading and Eldon sets, makers?

Page63 UN48-53 Hockey made by Lido

UPDATE

Page1 AB49A farm boy not Auburn made by Ohio Art

Page1 AB99A&B baseballers Not Lido , Nabisco cereal premiums

Page VIII SP31-43 Not superior made by Lido

Page IX RB13-18 were cereal premiums maybe later sold by Rubenstein

Page X UN40A Made by Palmer

Page X UN53A Made by Lido

Page X UN54 Made by Werner

Page X UN55-57 Made by Premier

Page X UN58-59 Made by Transogram

Geppert Guide Appendix

Page 1a AB5A-C not Auburn were made by Ohio Art

Page 1a AB10G girl calling not Auburn made by Houghton Mifflin

Page 9a LD21 K,L,M,O & P not Lido were Nabisco premiums

Pa>ge 10a LD21R,S,T, W,X,Y,Z not Lido were Nabisco premiums

Page10a LD24/25a,b &c may not be Lido, may be Premier

Page11a LD43/44a-h not Lido, Nabisco premiums

Page 67a EL1a-e Not Eldon, may be DK Toys & Novelties

Page71a/72a all Rubenstein were cereal premiums in England. Perhaps sold in the US in header card bags by Rubensten.

2/17/14

The above unknown Jeeps have tentatively been identified as being made by Saunders. Saunders founded abourt1946 was located in Aurora and was where Ross Bergman who later founded Processed Plastic in 1948 first worked in the Toy Industry. The jeep on the left has one set of rubber wheels marked Saunders. Saunders made a tank and other vehicles so unless other information surfaces we are going to ID these Jeeps as Saunders.

As you can see the Saunders and MPC jeeps look very similare and quite likely were made by the same mold maker.

2/17/14

These small Indians (45-50mm) turn up now and then but no one knows who made them. We have had the canoe in blue and yellow so the figure and canoe were probably made in the same mold. Rick Koch thinks he may have see it in an Irwin catalog. Does anyone have any information?

1/17/14

When making plastic objects molds need to be run at the proper time or temperature. Below is a pictures of a REL bandit next to one that came out of the mold too hot and shrank into a figure looking like the bandit's grandfather.

10/30/13

Octopi

Some one asked me "How do you tell a MPC from a Palmer Octopus?" When you see them side by side it is easy. The MPC octopus is smaller and has a narrower "belly" hole and is marked "Octopus" on the underside. Plus the MPC octopus has wider set eyes than the Palmer version. Both can be found in; green, blue, red and yellow. With the MPC also in orange and the Palmer also in tan and white. 10/18/2012

Odd seated figure.

The above figure has shown up every now and then over the years and no one I knew could ID him. I still don't know who made him but I know know how he was sold. He is the driver to a plastic speed boat as seen below. He plugs into the boat with a peg (hidden in picture by right leg) under his left upper thigh.

We have had him in; red, green, yellow and blue. The boat is missing it's windshield and/or flying top canopy. There are no markings on the outside or inside of the boat. Remains of a price sticker under the hull would indicate in may have been a bin toy with no packaging. Prior owner said the boat dated from the late 1960s to early 1970s so our best guess of the known companies would be MPC or Payton. Any help on manufacturer identification would be appreciated.

10/7/2012

XXX Powder barrels

Most of us know that Marx made XXX powder barrels for their playsets, but many do not know that Payton knocked off this piece. The picture above shows a light brown Marx XXX barrel on the left and three Payton copies on the right. To tell the difference note that the Marx barrels are made in hard plastic while the Payton copies are made in soft polyethylene plastic. Note the two ribs on the inside of the three Payton barrels. The Payton examples came with covered wagons and must have been in the covered wagon mold as they are found in bronze and flesh tan the two common colors used to make the wagons.

9/15/2012

THE MYSTERY OF MARX'S REISSUE MOUNTED ARAB.

The Captain Gallant playset made by Marx in 1957 had a nice set of ten Arabs in seven poses. Sadly the original mold has yet to surface and may have been scrapped. A few years ago one cavity making a mounted Arab turned up and has been run in reissue in a waxy white color. Careful inspection reveals that it is not the cavity used in making the figure for the Captain Gallant playset. As you can see from the above photo the reissue figure is shorter than the original silver figure pictured. In addition the original figure has straight legs while the reissue figure's legs are bent (perhaps to ride on a camel). Official factory documentation as seen in PLAYSET MAGAZINE shows that the mounted figure with sword was to ride the camel included in the playset. We can only assume that the reissue figure was a prototype used to help sell the idea to make the playset.

9/24/2011

MULTIPLE TOYMAKERS Beyond Tomorrow Lunar Space Station Playset

Made in 1976 by which time MPC (Multiple Products Corporation) had changed it's name to Multiple Toymakers a Division of Miner Industries. Set number 49/59885 the set comes in a small litho box and it was a big surprise to see it packed full of cool stuff. The contents listing on the front is not totally accurate but the box was packed full. It lists three hand painted space commanders and the set includes three Star Trek looking figures. MPC also put hard plastic hand painted figures in their King Kong and Planet of the Apes playsets.

An instruction sheet printed on both sides shows how most of the parts are assembled.

Of special interest to collectors is the set of Fireball XL5 vehicles and accessories made in red. These would make a nice addition to any collection.

The little yellow space houses made by Multiple are very nice and would add to any space diorama. The four legged yellow tub like devices are individual hover craft for the astronauts (thanks to Lynn Graves for clarifying this). The round Lunar Command Base was made cheaply and stapled together. Too bad they didn't put a little more effort into the piece. Collectors will love the blue rocket transporter (prime mover). The four barrel rocket shooter comes without springs (safety laws probably) so you will need to make a trip to the hardware store if you want to make them shoot. The larger rocket launcher comes with a spring so who knows why Multiple did not include the smaller springs. The figure assortment comes with the revised astronaut pose using a "rock grabber", and the pistol and rifle poses are not included as these astronauts seem bent on exploration not conquest. Overall a very nice set.

Above picture courtesy of Lynn Graves. You can see one of the individual astronaut hover crafts in the artwork to the right of the main window on the set to the left. The interior of the space command center can be see in the set on the right. 3/29/2011

COMMONWEALTH PRODUCTS, DOLLS OF OUR WORLD

Made by Commonwealth Products of Massachusetts (a commonwealth) these figures were perhaps made first but we think they were made due to the popularity of the Van Brode premiums. It is possible that the molds for both the Van Brode and Commonwealth figures were made by the same mold maker. In 1951 when first made they were sold painted in window boxes in sets of 12. The quality of painting varies and the figures can also be found unpainted in a variety of colors. The figures have bases with two raised diamonds on the underside as can be seen in the above picture on the right. Some countries have male and female figures but most do not. Some figures were used for more than one country such as; Alaska/ Eskimo, Early American/England, China/Japan boy, India/Sikh & Austria/Switzerland man. A total of 37 figures in 32 poses have been found to date, but there may be more. In later years the unpainted versions were sold in small header bags as seen below. It is also possible that there are two series or manufacturers. I have been told these were used as ice cream premiums with the two diamonds fitting into slots in the plastic holder and the surrounded by ice cream. You would then need to eat the ice cream to see which figure you got. These may also have been Nabisco cereal premiums. There was a Commonwealth Moulding Company in Australia and there be a connection with the US company. Distinct Asian poses have been found in Australia in lots containing poses identical those made in the USA. Perhaps a friendship stuck up during WWII led to a joint international operation.

The above group came from Australia with poses not made in the USA.

2/20/2011

Unknown Jeeps

Another mystery is who made the blue and red jeeps in the above pictue. They look like the love child of a Tim-Mee and MPC connection. Perhaps made by Saunders or Werner. Does anyone have one in a marked package?

2/12/2011

Miner Prehistoric Sets from 1981

MPC (Multiple Product Corp) was sometimes listed as being a division of Miner Industries. By the 1980s the MPC name was eliminated and toys were sold only under the Miner Industries name. The playsets usually had MPC items but sometimes they had other stuff as well as can be seen by the three Prehistoric sets (#1758) from 1981. The photo on the box shows the MPC dinosaurs and cavemen but the contents were pretty much different. The boxes do say "Contents may vary".

The boxes were still shrink wrapped until opened for this article. The boxes state over 70 pieces and half of those are cardboard punch outs and three vacuform terrain pieces. The dinosaurs & cavemen are a mix of pieces from former; Marx, Ajax, Nabisco, Dimensions For Children and MPC molds!

Set A Contents;

6 brown, 6 red & 6 gold Ajax dinosaurs.

8 silver Nabisco premium dinosaurs.

5 red MPC cavemen with hole in base.

1 red Marx caveman no hole in base.

3 brown Dimensions For Children cavemen.

So set A has 26 dinosaurs and 9 cavemen.

Set B Contents;

6 brown & 6 silver Ajax dinosaurs.

8 red & 7 gold Nabisco premium dinosaurs.

3 red MPC cavemen with hole in base.

3 red Marx cavemen no hole in base.

3 brown Dimensions For Children cavemen.

So set B has 27 dinosaurs and 9 cavemen.

Set C Contents;

6 gold, 6 silver, 6 red & 6 brown Ajax dinosaurs.

6 Nabisco premium dinosaurs.

9 red Marx cavemen no hole in base.

So set C has 30 dinosaurs and 9 cavemen.

No wonder collectors get confused. After 1980 there is no telling how many former companies molds were used by different companies in new combinations.

10/10/10

Noted Giant Plastic's collector Arlin Tawzer is looking for a little help. He has kept a record of the packaged sets sold by Giant and believes there are some sets he has not seen. Below is a list of the set numbers he has confirmed to exist. Can you help and any to the list?

XXXX = no set number on the package.

29 CENTS

515 Indian Uprising, 2 Bows, 4 Arrows, Card becomes a target

975 - Roman Legions - 2+ mtd, 25+ foot, this is one of the earliest Giant sets.

2901 - Infantry Assault (most likely, WWII)

2904 - Blue and Gray - 4 mtd, 12 foot, all assorted ACW.

2905 - Roman Legion - 2 mtd Romans, 13 foot.

2906 - Wild West - 1 mtd Cowboy, I mtd Indian, 12 or so assorted foot Cowboys & Indians.

2907 Vikings 4 mtd, 10 foot (includes standing with spear ship pose).

2916 - Mongols - 2 mtd, 15 foot.

2908 Space Men 24 Spacemen.

xxxx - Crusaders - 2 mtd, 15 foot assorted knights.

xxxx - Combat Soldiers - 25 figs.

39 CENTS

1431 - Pillbox Attack- WWII Pillbox, halftrack, cannon, 12 US Infantry foot.

1433 Blue Grey Raid (4 blisters) Cannon and caisson, 4 Horse team, about 20 foot, one blister empty.

9-3901 Canoe Race 4 canoes, 2 Indians, 2 Frontiersmen (figures larger scale about 30mm).

3902 - Napoleonic Dragoons - 2 mtd, 12 foot, assorted, caisson & cannon, double hitch.

3903 - Blue Gray Raid - ACW 2 mtd, 12 foot, assorted, cannon, caisson, double hitch.

3904 - Roman Legionaires - 2 mtd, 15 foot, chariot, most sets with silver & gold figures.

3906 - Viking Siege - 3 mtd, 15 to 20 foot, catapult with rocks.

3916 Firing Rocket Launch Swivel Action Launcher, 2 Rockets, 30 Soldiers.

3917 - Crusader Attack - Knights 3 mtd, 12 foot, catapult with rocks.

3918 - Mongol Attack - 2 mtd, 12 foot, firing cannon with shells.

3921 Space Monsters 4 inch diameter Flying Saucer, 20 Aliens.

3925 Pillbox Attack Pillbox, Jeep, Howitzer, 12 Soldiers.

59 CENTS

282 Ski Trails Game.

412 - Civil War Artillery Attack.

922 - Air Corp Missile Base, swivel base rocket launcher with two rockets & about 20 round base (NO Giant name)Hong Kong GIs.

930 - Army Attack Convoy with 4 take apart trucks with rolling wheels & 25 Giant GIs.

940 Army task Force 6 Take-apart Trucks and Soldiers.

960 Wild West 50 Cowboys and Indians.

965 - Wild West Wagon Raid - 20 to 25 foot 1 wagon, 1 double hitch.

980 - Chariot Attack, Roman Legion, 2 chariots with horses, 2 foot, 7 mtd.

982 Chariot Race 3 Chariots with Horse teams.

1632 - Westward Ho.

1636 - Cavalry Assault, ACW, - 3 mtd, 2 cannons, 2 caissons with 2 hitches each, 20 foot.

5925 - Napoleonic Artillery Attack - 3 mtd, 18 to 20 foot assorted, 2 each cannons, caissons, and double hitches.

5928 Wagon Raid 2 Wagons with 4 horse teams, 7 Mounted Cowboys and Indians.

5933 - Space (not sure of actual title) - 20-25 foot Astronauts/Spacemen, 2 Marx copy missile tanks in blue plastic.

5942 - Crusader Siege.

5943 Mongol Siege 2 Mongol Cannons, 5 mounted, 20 foot.

xxxx Combat Soldiers Team 50 Soldiers (Hong Kong only- round base).

Toy House carded set with Giant Figures - Fort Bravo Western Set Cowboys, Indians, Mongols, Fort Boone.

6634 Detective Cap Gun 79 CENTS

9881 - Aircraft Carrier - small carrier with 4+ small planes, in header bag.

1 DOLLAR

912 - Wild West Wagon Set - Two four horse wagons about 10 mounted and 20-25 foot cowboys and Indians.

940 - Army Task Force-6 small vehicles, 20 plus copies of Bluebox Army.

970 Wild West Wagon Set 2 Wagons, 16 mounted, 30 foot.

1012 - Attack Group - Four tanks + 20/30 GIs in 12 poses.

1015 - Battle of Waterloo-Napoleonic assorted, 8 mtd, 20+ foot, 4 cannons, 4 caissons,4 double hitches.

1016 - Battle of Gettysburg-ACW assorted, 8 mtd, 20 to 25 foot, 4 cannons, 4 caissons, 4 double hitches.

1018 - Battle of the Wild West; 3 covered wagons, fire wagon, about 8 mounted and 15-20 foot cowboys and Indians.

1019 - Viking Attack - 4 to 6 mtd, 20 to 30 foot, 2 catapults, 1 Viking ship.

1020 - Viking Raiders- 2 complete Viking ships, 12+ Vikings (none seated).

1030 - Baffle of Damascus- 1 castle with windows in front and tower pennants, assorted knights in silver and black, 6 mtd, 10+ foot. This set sometimes came with Romans.

1031 - Mongol Attack on Cathay - 4 mtd, 20+ foot, 1 Mongol castle.

1-1032 (Header Carded Bagged Set) Frontier Fort Fort with Block Houses, General Store, Indian Teepees, Cowboys, Indians, Wagons, Horses and Riders.

1038 (Header Carded bagged Set) D-Day Assault US Soldiers, Enemy Soldiers, Landing Craft, Pillbox Barbed Wire, Tank Traps, Cannons, Armored Vehicles (NOTE: set was opened - the figures in the bag looked like 35mm Plasticraft semi-flats).

1039 - Frontier Fort-1 fort with general store in header bag, 1 wagon, 10 assorted Cowboys & Indians foot, 7 mtd Frontiersmen (Pioneers).

1041 (Header Carded Bagged Set) Crusaders Walled City, Building, Catapult, Siege Tower, Crusaders, Enemy Warriors, Horses and Riders.

1104 - Beachhead Assault - Landing Craft swivel turret green tank, halftrack and cannon, tank trap, barbed wire, Marx copy Pillbox, 12 US Infantry, 12 German Infantry, came in a plastic box rather than blister card.

1108 - China Wall - 20+ figures (mostly foot, sometimes mtd included), Mongol cannon, Mongol castle. 1108 set also sold in a plastic carry case

1109 - Viking Attack (in plastic box instead of blister card) - 50+ assorted Vikings, 1 ship.

1133 -Battle of Carthage-1 castle with no windows or pennants, 1 four horse chariot, 1 firing cannon, 4 mtd, 17 ft Romans.

xxxx - Viking Ship

8/13/2010

EMPIRE PLASTIC LARGE 5-6 INCH 1776 FIGURES

Often misidentified these large 5 to 6 inch figures were produced for the 1976 bicentennial celebration by the EMPIRE PLASTIC COORPORATION of Tarboro NC. They were sold in header card bags and individually as "bin" toys (HOOKS drugstores 25 cents each). They were made of a slightly stiffer plastic than polyethylene, perhaps polypropylene, and are subject to breakage. They blend in well with the Marx six inch pioneers and Indians except for the bright colors. Empire Plastics of Tarboro NC where they were made could be the same company that started in the NYC borough of Bronx in about 1948 as the retail arm of Caldwell Molding. The NY Empire Plastics Corp moved to nearby Pelham in the 50s, and was an industry leader in producing small plastic vehicles and airplanes. They sold some of the first true plastic farm animals in 1948 and Caldwell supplied both Ohio Art and Allied with farm animal product or molds. Empire of NY faded about 1960 and Empire of NC seems to have started up about 1964/66, so the company may have just moved south. Any information to prove or disprove this theory would be greatly appreciated.

6/30/2020

MARX PLAYSET DISPLAY BOARDS

Marx collectors know all about display boards, but we thought others might be interested to learn about them. One of the Marx Toy Companies most ingenious marketing ploys was the development and use of the display board to help sell their playsets. An entire playset was glued and/or stapled to a decorated board to use as a display in retail stores.

Sears was one on Marx's biggest retail outlets and I can still remember the excitement of the Christmas toy department. I would stare and stare at the display boards and my parents could leave me there while they shopped and find me rooted to the same spot an hour later. Other companies such as MPC & REL were also known to have used similar marketing techniques but Marx was the master. One interesting fact is that these display boards were often produced before all of the molds used to make the final playset were ready. By the time the Gunsmoke set was being sold, Marx had made a new "54mm" steer mold that included two new poses. However when the display boards were made the Marx employees had to use what was available which was the "old snorter" steer from one of their "60mm" western animal molds. Most (if not all) of the Gunsmoke playsets made for sale got the animals from the new mold which also included a slightly more detailed version of "old snorter". Colors used in the playset sold could also vary from what was available at the time the display boards were made.

Among the hardest to find and priciest of the Marx playset character figures are the four that were included in the Gunsmoke set depicting; Chester, miss Kitty, Marshal Dillon and Doc. They routinely bring from $200-400 each when offered for sale. Like other figures on display boards they were stapled in position. The display boards were often sold at the end of the Christmas season at a discount (to get them out of the way). Of course most of them ended up in the hands of children and everything removed from the board and the board thrown away. It is not uncommon to find figures with staple holes in the collectors market and as the figures are not considered mint due to these holes their retail value is often less than 50% of the normal retail. Mike Handley snagged this gem off of ebay and noted display board collector George Kroll now owns it and provided the photographs. We thank them both for sharing with the hobby.

5/29/2010

GIBBS AUTOMATIC MOLDING COMPANY - CUSTER'S LAST STAND

Gibbs was a small molding company in Henderson Kentucky. We believe they made mostly auto parts but in the mid 1950s they made a unique Custer's Last Stand playset. It came in a can that advertised there being 80 figures, but we have found 84 different pieces pictured including; four yellow teepees with different artwork, 1 wagon in blue, 7 horses without riders (1 blue, 6 red), 17 horses with riders (2 blue, 15 red) and 55 figures on foot (25 blue, 30 yellow). Also included was a booklet on the battle and a map of the battlefield. The figures are roughly 40/45mm in scale and semiflat. They can be found in hard and soft plastic (some cans have a combination of both). The 7th Cavalry are in blue and usually the mounted Indians are in red and the foot Indians in yellow, but we have found a few foot Indians in red. The hard plastic figures are prone to damage and getting the cavalry horses in soft plastic still attached to their bases is difficult. We like the set as every figure was a different pose. Figure top left is usually assumed to be Custer. Of course the 7th did not have a wagon at the battle nor did they have swords which were left behind (so they would not rattle and give the troops away).

3/21/2010

MARX & MPC BLISTER CARDS

Most collectors are familiar with boxed playsets and header card bags as produced by Marx and MPC. In an effort to reach a large an audience as possible they used as wide a variety of packaging as possible including the following blister cards;

- - -

The Gallant Men card (based on a short lived TV series set in WWII) is unique as it contains dupicates of two of the five character figures from the TV show.

The MPC card contains the seldom seen Green Beret figures in what we assume are all ten poses. The card is dated 1967 and Multiple Products Corporation (MPC) is now known as Multiple Toymakers a division of Loreal.

Pictures courtesy Michael Jason, gitoys on ebay.

11/15/2009

Sinclair Dinosaurs

The Sinclair Oil Company gave away two different sizes of Tim-Mee toys plastic dinosaurs at their gas station back in the 1960s. In 1964/65 they sold large "Marx like" dinosaurs at the New York Worlds Fair. These World's Fair dinosaurs have confused collectors as they are similar to those made by both Marx and MPC (Multiple Plastic Corp). There are six different figures and the above pictures show three of them. The pictures were sized to each be nine inches long so the biggest dinosaur, the Brontosaurus, appears to be the smallest. They are slightly different than their Marx & MPC counterparts as follows; the Sinclair Brontosaurus has no marking (both Marx and MPC examples have name and size), the Sinclair Trachodon has a skin ridge up the back (Marx and MPC do not) and the Ankylsaurus shows poor separation of the head and body when compared to those made by Marx and MPC. They are made of soft plastic like the Marx and MPC figures and can be found in several colors. A good resource for the dinosaur collector is the book, DINOSAUR COLLECTOR by Dana Cain and Mike Fredericks, 1999. I got a nice copy off ebay. In the late 1980s and 90s after both Marx and MPC were out of business a company Spaulding Dinosaur Company (SDC) had molds from both companies run and sold them at some Sinclair gas stations. Thanks to Stad for pointing out the errors in the first version of this article.

10/26/2009

The Love Boat

Mattel made a playset based upon the the populat 1980s TV show "The Love Boat". It came with the figures seen above, the first six are hard plastic, factory painted and represent the ship's crew. They were the regular cast led by Gavin Macleod as the Captain Stubing. The single colored figures represent the weekly guest stars who usually had some travail but eventually found love aboard the boat by the end of each weeks show. They have three dress styles; formal, casual & bathing suits. Figures are about 50mm in size. Characters are marked under their bases; "C 1983, Aaron Spelling Prod. Inc". All figures are marked "MTC" on their backs which we assume stands for the Mattel Toy Corporatiion.

10/25/2009

Marx Civil War Playset Blue variations

One of the frustrating things about collecting Marx playsets is to try and piece together color matched sets of figures. It seems that just about every time Marx made American Civil War sets the shade of blue changed somewhat. Evident to the extent that one set got lavender blue figures (prone shooting figure above). The flat colors eventually gave way to waxy variations although some waxy figures showed up as early as 1960. The storage box medium blue color was first used about 1963 for large Fort Apache pioneer sets. The color of the CTS remakes seems to be between the Storage box and the 1970s Heritage sets colors.

9/21/2009 Up MPCs creek without a paddle

Most collectors are familiar with MPC's 3 peg canoe. It is a little over 12 inches long and was popular with children in the 1950s & 60s. Recently we acquired a giant sized canoe about 18 inches long with SEVEN pegs for figure attachment. Is it MPC? Yes Rich Fisher (no relation to the grocery) form Ohio got one bought at an Fisher Foods grocery store in Indiana. An Easter special set MPC made for Fisher Foods with the big canoe, two normal three peg canoes 9 1 blue, 1 red), ringhand pioneers and Indians. MPC, Tim-Mee and Remco among others sold special sets in Grocery stores for the Christmas and Easter holidays.

9/1/2009

Small plastic cars from the 1950s ID'd

Thanks to the input of Bill Hanlon and Tom Wiberg these cars can now be sorted out. From left to right;

Mohawk, military car marked "MOHAWK" no tow rings

Ideal, civilian sedan, yellow example many colors used marked under roof "IDEAL", tow rings front and rear. Soft plastic versions later sold under the Ringo Toys name with IDEAL marking blobbed over.

Pyro military sedans with heat stamped white stars two versions with license plates marked; DV4672 & DP7189. Second version has also been found as a civilian sedan as seen in black above and it is possible the first version will be as well. Cars have rear tow ring.

Wyandotte civilian sedan sold with All Metal Products Co. metal garage and probably other ways. Tom Wiberg translated the license plate "Y&." = Y AND DOT a clever play on words. Red example in picture other colors exist. Cars have a rear tow ring.

Empire civilian sedan. No markings or tow rings, rear passenger window more squared. Sold in small carded sets as seen in Bill Hanlon's book PLASTIC TOYS DIMESTORE DREAMS OF THE 40s & 50s (book also shows Wyandotte cars).

Any other cars exist?? Let us know.

7/28/2009

Does anyone have these animals in a factory marked package? Their mold was in the mix that the New Marx Company had and the pieces have been put together with Marx items in the past 5-10 years. The farmer looks sort of like MPC but we think he is smaller and better detailed than the MPC ringhands. We have got him in yellow and have seen the rooster in blue. Maybe Ideal or perhaps these are from a smaller company such as Eldon, Andy Gard or Premier. Can anyone ID them?

6/5/2009

MARX LANDFILL CHANGING THE COLOR OF PLASTIC FIGURES

The Marx factory, where most of its plastic playset parts were made, was located in Moundsville, West Virginia on the banks of the Ohio River. Due to it's closeness to the river and the resulting high water table a dump could not be located on the property. Playset items were made in mass quantity and Marx may have sold over 50,000 Ft Apache sets in one year alone. Often times there were leftover figures and accessories after a run of playsets was completed. Some of this stuff was given to local children, but most of it was trucked inland to several privately owned landfills! Yes they threw it out. At the time it was just considered cheap disposable leftovers. Over the years the peculiar chemisty in the clayey soil seems to have leeched out some of the colors and caused others to change. Some blue figures became a very nice vibrant blue, greens became darker green, tans became gray, and the ivory/cream figures (as seen above) seem to have undergone a progression from pale cream, to off white to ever darker grays. Years later locals began "mining" the landfills and have found just about every type of figure Marx ever made. Also included in landfill finds are test shot colors and other oddities. Know who you are dealing with to make sure you know what you are buying. Is a landfill figure worth as much as one from some closet? Hard to say, but the landfill finds have certainly added to many a collectors inventory

3/27/2009

INDIANAPOLIS TOY SOLDIER SHOW

FRIDAY

The troops are gathering, room trading is going on.

Tim-Mee, Bergen, Stuart, Britains and Ajax crowd this table.

Werner, Papco, Plast-O-Matic, Tim-Mee, Marx, MPC, Ohio Art and more.

3/14/09

MORE ON THE 45MM COWBOYS

Marx had a real problem with their smaller size 45mm figures standing up. As can be seen in the articles below, the early 45mm GI mold went through at least two changes to correct this problem. The 45mm cowboys were no different and the picture above shows the eight original foot 45mm cowboys in cream & tan vinyl next to later soft plastic multi color versions of seven of the poses. You can see that the later figures all have had their bases modified to become larger and more stable. Of interest are the three (of four) later additons to the mold (no man with 2 guns available for photo)laying down in front. All three have the earlier smaller bases which adds to the evidence that these poses were simply plucked form the Rodeo Cowboy mold (PL-359) to replace the mounted figures that were deleted. When first made these Rodeo figures did not have bases at all and went through one revision to add the smaller size bases to the standing figures (as can be seen in PLASTIC WARRIOR #97) before their transfer to the 45mm cowboy mold. The three sets of Marx 45mm space figures also gained bases.

3/8/09

JEAN HOEFFLER PREMIUMS

Jean Hoeffler was a plastic toy and figure maker in West Germany. Like many European manufacturers they made a wide range of figures depicting the American Wild West. Underneath the base of each figure is usually a W.GERMANY mark denoting the country of origin. By chance while looking at some horses I found one marked NIGRIN instead of W.GERMANY. I asked noted European plastic expert Andreas Dittmann if he knew what this meant and he was kind enough to explain everything to me. Like American makers Jean Hoeffler wholesaled figures to be used as premiums. The premium figures had the name of the company selling the product instead of W.GERMANY under their bases. Figure premiums were used by many differnt types of companies in Europe including; NIGRIN a shoe polsh maker, JAQUET a chocolate maker, COLONIL also shoe polish and TRIPP who made dog food. Andreas notes that except Jaquet all of the other premium figures listed above predate 1974 when new laws concerning give aways game into effect in Europe. So check your bases as these premiums can be worth up to five tines the value of a normal Jean Hoeffler figure.

2/21/2009

MARX 45MM COWBOY MOLD

Shortly after the Rodeo cowboys and animals molds were made Marx made a mold of slightly larger 45mm cowboys.

PL-398 THIN COWBOYS 20 Cavities Making 2 Sets

In the later "collector" years 14 different poses of 45mm cowboys have been discovered. The 45mm cowboys were not used much, being placed in a "Marxville" Western Ranch set (molds PL-434 to 437) and an obscure western playset, Cowboy & Indian Camp. These two sets came with only ten of the fourteen known poses. Since we know there are 14 different 45mm cowboy poses why did the early playsets only get ten poses and why are some poses harder to find? One explanation is as follows;

Here are all 14 figures with their "Geppert Guide" ID numbers;

And here are the ten cowboy poses found in each of the two sets the mold originally produced;

Each row is one �set� and matches what can be seen in Playset Magazine issue #2 in it�s article on the Cowboy & Indian Camp playset.. Both Eric Johns at his Marx Western figure site and PM#2 mention that the two mounted poses do not fit well upon the standard Marx 45mm horses. Below is a picture of a Marx rodeo 35/40mm horse, 45mm mounted cowboy and 45mm saddled horse. The cowboy fits nicely on the smaller horse but looks too big AND these rodeo horse even with partial bases do not stand well. Only because the cowboy is made of flexible rubber like vinyl does he sit on the 45mm horse and you can see it is not a good fit.

I think Marx knew they had a problem with one style of horses not being stable even with partial bases and the other available (standard 45mm) horses being a poor fit. This poor fit on the 45mm horses would be especially true if they made the cowboys in the newer stiffer polyethylene soft plastic. So Marx deleted the mounted figures (2 each a total of four) from the mold. They then needed four new cavities so they either up sized or we think simply took four cavities from the now useless Rodeo Figure mold, and inserted them in PL-398;

The new 20 cavity mold then looked like this;

I know of no time when Marx used these as �sets� but they were sold in header card bags. I have never had the two mounted poses in anything other than rubber like vinyl and I have never had the four new poses in anything other than polyethylene soft plastic (although examples probably exist). Changing the mold is how all of the figures coexist. The ranch house picture in Horowitz�s book showing figures of different colors was the result of a puzzled collector trying to put more than the correct ten poses into the set. The eight "common" foot poses were in duplicate, in both versions of the mold which is why they are easier to find. The two mounted figures being deleted and the four rodeo poses being in the later version of the mold only once means that fewer of these six poses were made and making them harder to find in today's collector market. Note that figure stability was a problem for the smaller size figures and Marx either made new molds or modified existing molds to alleviate this problem. The eight original early vinyl foot 45mm cowboys have smaller bases than the later soft plastic versions as Marx tried to make them stand better. This could be another clue that the four final foot poses were simply removed from the old Rodeo cowboy mold without any further base enlargement and inserted into the 45mm cowboy mold. Below is a picture that shows the progression of improvements Marx made from no bases to a big base for the 45mm GIs to allow them to stand better.

2/17/2009

MARX RODEO

Marx made many figures but the rodeo figures and animals have been one of the mysteries. Apparently they were never produced for retail sale in the USA and eventually the molds were shipped to Europe where some were produced at Marx facilities or partners in both the U.K. and either Holland or Germany. PLASTIC WARRIOR #97 has pictures of painted examples that turned up in the U.K. Here in the US they had been hard as hen's teeth to find until a lucky collector obtained a horde of over 300 pieces from a former Marx employee. Pictured above are examples from the big find. Sixteen poses of humans, four horses and two steers all made in a rubber like vinyl. Searching the Marx PL mold list it was easy to find the two molds these figures were made in;

PL-359 Rodeo Cowboys 21 Cavities making one set

PL-360 Rodeo Animals (thins) 20 cavities making 2 sets

Once source felt that the PL numbers were too high for these crude figures and perhaps the molds had been made before there were PL numbers. We believe the PL numbers to be accurate. When Marx started making figures about 1950, they began with 60mm figures for their; doll houses, gas stations, ranch and farm sets. Due to the popularity of the figures with the children, Marx made smaller figures to get more from the same amount of raw material used. The first playset with the new smaller 40/45mm figures, Army Training Center, appeared in the 1951 Sears catalog. The molds used for the new small army men were;

PL-357 Thin Soldiers 16 designs 22 cavities (incorrectly says 2 sets when 22 figures was 1 set).

PL-358 (& 358A) Sitting Soldiers 16 cavities

Marx used the word "THIN" in their PL list several times and it always denotes the smaller figures and if used with animals like the Rodeo or Circus "thins" the animals were not fully rounded. As the army men molds must have been made in 1951 we can assume that the Rodeo molds being the next two PL numbers in sequence were also made in 1951 making them an early set of figures. Interesting to note that we have found 16 rodeo figure poses which matches the 16 poses made in the Thin Soldier mold made at about the same time. The figures in both sets are somewhat crude and not up to later Marx standards. Marx was well known to make duplicate figure poses in their molds and in addition to the Thin Soldiers & Sitting Soldiers molds the; Camp GIs, Rex Mars Space Figures and Tom Corbett figure molds made about the same time all contained duplicate poses. So we think the above picture contains all of the figures and animals in this set. As many as five figures and four animals may have been duplicated in their respective molds, but unless the molds are ever found and run it is hard to say which ones were in multiples. Although with ten animals the set would need 7-10 mounted figures so it is a good bet most of the mounted poses were duplicated. Good luck trying to find some of these figures. The ones in the big horde did not stand well, even after small bases were added to the foot poses which was probably why they were never (we think - do you have any??) produced and sold in the US. Likewise the army men made at the same time did not stand well either and Marx revised the mold (or made new molds) several times as the figures first got small thin bases and finally larger more stable bases (see below).

12/13/2008

EVERYBODY COPIED EVERYBODY

It never ceases to amazes me that so many of the toy companies copied each other. Even Marx the biggest toy maker in the 40s-60s copied other makers as can be seen above. They made flat window boxed sets of painted cowboys and Indians at their Hong Kong facility in the 1970s. They had previously made probably 50 or more each unique cowboy and Indian poses of their own but for these window box sets they copied figures made by several British companies; Britains, Crescent and Lone Star. The figures are unmarked and it took the acquisition of boxed sets to properly identify these figures.

12/5/2008

PIK-A-TOY

To help keep us confused toy wholesalers/jobbers would buy product from manufactures and then put the toys in their own packaging. The above photo shows an Atlanta Georgia firm Pik-A-Toy's efforts. From left to right they are selling; Ajax hard plastic GIs, MPC wild animals, Payton large ACW figures (in Payton marked bag with their own headed stapled on top) and the baseball figures we have seen in header bags by Plast-O-Matic another possible wholesaler/jobber.

8.00 PIK-A-TOY header with MPC gorilla, camel & Rhino.

12/2/2008

CALDWELL AND EMPIRE PLASTIC CORPORATION

Slowly but surely I had a gallon zip lock bag filling up with hard plastic farm animals that no one could identify. As usual it was the trick in finding the right person to ask. In this case success was made after contacting Bill Hanlon noted author of PLASTIC TOYS DIMESTORE DREAMS OF THE 40'S & 50'S the hobbies best resource for information of hard plastic toy vehicles from the 1940s and 50s. Bill was able to identify my animals and provided me with the following early ads from 1948 & 49. His earliest information has Caldwell Products in business by 1946 in Canada, but as you can see by 1948 they had opened operations in the US in the New York City borough of the Bronx. Caldwell Products primarily wanted to make molds for other companies but to sell some of their own product they set up a subsidiary at the same address, EMPIRE PLASTIC CORPORATION (they were after all in the Empire State of New York) in 1949. So now the search was on to find more products. Bill's excellent book shows that Empire Plastics sold small; cars, construction vehicles and a steam train. More of these can be seen at the web site listed for Caldwell/Empire in the all other US made A-O page.

1949 DOW ad copy -

As you can see Empire sold a range of toys made for them by Caldwell. The vehicles sold in the large flat box were also sold by Vibro-Roll. At some point in the early 1950s Empire Plastic moved from the Bronx location to Pelham (Pelham Manor) a short distance away. Perhaps the peak of their success was the nice model kit of the White House made when Dwight Eisenhower was president somewhere between 1953-1960. The kit is a mixture of hard plastic, vacuform plastic and heavy cardstock pieces. Please note small yellow sedan was made by IDEAL and snuck in the picture.

Above are the four larger farm animals made by Caldwell in 1948 making them some of the earliest plastic figures in production. Ads tout the plastic used as "eye-appealing Lustrex" and "colorful Lustron" among the early hard plastics used in toy manufacturing.

Here are the smaller farm animals. The larger dog in the picture seems to have been a bin toy, but we have seen the other ten animals sold together (see below). The colt, calf & pig along with the larger horse and cow may look familiar to farm playset collectors. Variations (walking poses & horse with shorter tail) were made by Caldwell Products for the Ohio Art Toy Company about 1951 to be included in the Ohio Art farm playsets.

Of course with anything as early as the late 1940s mysteries always occur. The first ten years or so after WWII there seems to have been a lot more cooperation, swapping and trading between the smaller toy companies than existed later. The above picture shows one result. The 1950 Christmas catalog picture from Spiegel shows a mixture of; Caldwell, Allied and Bachmann Brothers (Plasticville) pieces being sold together. Searching we have found a couple partial sets including one that also included a Bachman Brothers Plasticville barn. We have no idea how all of the pieces ended up being sold together. Caldwell may have sold the smaller animal mold to Allied, but that is only speculation. You might also note the cat and red dog are Thomas Toy poses. Did Caldwell make the mold cavities for these animals?, copy Thomas? or Thomas copy Caldwell? We have no hard information but will iterate that Caldwell Products was in the business of making molds for other companies.

Another mystery. Who made all these sedans? The blue sedan although unmarked is identical to those seen in Bill's book as being sold by Empire Plastics and has no tow rings, the red matches the one shown in Bill's book as sold by the ALL METAL PRODUCTS Co. (license plate marked Y&.)and has a rear tow ring. The black and the military car next to it both have a license plate marked DP7189 and are identical except the color and the white star heat stamped on the military version sold by PYRO. The other military car with white heat stamped star also sold by PYRO has a license plate marked DV4672, and both license plate styles have a rear tow ring. The yellow sedan is marked IDEAL and has tow rings on both the front and back. Later versions of this car in soft plastic were sold by RINGO TOYS and have the IDEAL name blobbed over. The military car on the left with raised star on the roof is marked MOHAWK and has no tow rings. Caldwell Products could have made some or all of these cars. Empire Plastics seems to have faded from view in the late 1950s, BUT by the mid 1960s an EMPIRE PLASTIC CORPORATION was doing business in Tarboro North Carolina. Empire would be an odd choice for a name in North Carolina and perhaps the original company moved south. The North Carolina company made some toys but seems to have specialized in blow molded Halloween and Christmas out side decorations. Any corrections or further information would be gratefully received.

11/24/08

MORE ON THE MPC INDIAN CANOE

Here is a picture showing the actual packaging of early MPC Indian canoes. The first canoes (as seen in the 1955 ad below) had three of the Indian standing shooting a bow, while all three poses (all Tim-Mee copies) came on a blister card (above picture missing the backing card). MPC reworked the mold so that all three figures would have bases (note original kneeling Indian lacks a base) and could be used with the canoe by drilling holes through the bases. The Indian kneeling is usually found with a base so this change must have been early.

11/09/08

GIANT PLASTICS UNMARKED GIS

Not all Giant Plastic figures were marked "GIANT". The above round base soldiers (some look more British than US as they were based upon British 54mm soldiers made by Crescent) are only marked "HONG KONG" under their bases, but you can see them in the two packages clearly marked GIANT. It is possible other unmarked "HO" scale figures that came from Hong Kong were also early unmarked Giant Plastics products. Does anyone have other unmarked figures in the original packages?

8/24/08

CLEANING RUBBER LIKE VINYL FIGURES

Figures made of rubber like vinyl by makers such as; Marx, Auburn and Ohio Art, due to the porous nature of the vinyl, can pick up lots of dirt and grime over the years. We were told that an easy method to remove this dirt was to soak the figures in bleach. We took ten dirty animals and conducted a small experiment. We put them in a glass jar, filled it with Clorox bleach and let them soak for fourteen hours. We removed them, rinsed them off with water and scrubbed each animal for about 30 seconds with a toothbrush. The result was amazing as 90-100% of the dirt was removed. Please see the before and after pictures below.

BEFORE

AFTER

The bear upper right had been painted and will need a different method of cleaning (maybe a 409 soak). PLEASE BE CAREFUL if trying this method as bleach is a harmful agent.

8/8/08

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME - PART 1

Many companies made plastic sports figures in the 1950s-70s. Early on baseball, as "America's Pastime", seemed to garner more attention than other sports although football eventually caught up. One company made a set of six baseball figures in about a 60mm size. Painted hard plastic versiions exist as do unpainted soft plastic figures. At this time it is still uncertain who made the molds but at least one retailer of the soft plastic players was PLAST-O-MATIC who offered them for sale in header card bags.

7/27/08

35mm Plasticraft GIs ID'd

From a 1965 catalog we have been able to ID a group of 35mm semi flat GIs as being made and sold by Plasticraft. The catalog pictures are not very sharp but if you look close you will see some of the poses. The set has six different GIs and we have found them in greens and blue. We can not be sure that the mold originated with Plasticraft as they bought molds from other companies and are known to have produced items that were formerly made by; Archer, Carzol of Canada and Renwal.

7/19/08

MPC Canoe

MPC made a nice 13 inch long canoe in the 1950s (Ad above is from March 1955). To help confuse collectors they made copies of three Tim-Mee Indians to man their canoes (each with a hole in their base for attachment to a canoe peg). These figures are easy to separate from the original Tim-Mee versions. The Tim-Mee scout & kneeling shooting bow Indians DO NOT have bases (odd note MPC blistercard in ad shows kneeling figures without bases. We have never seen MPC kneeling bowmen without a base but they must exist). Also the Tim-Mee standing shooting bow Indian is wearing a shirt and has but one feather in his headband, while the MPC version has NO SHIRT and TWO FEATHERS in his headband. Tim-Mee did make a canoe but it was only about six inches long and came with a solitary paddler (PPCo updated this small canoe about 1970 after they took over Tim-Mee in 1964). The MPC Indians were also sold without the canoe and these figures will NOT have a hole in their base (as none was needed). MPC made their Indians in; red, green, yellow, blue and other colors. Tim-Mee did NOT use blue. The two yellow Indians below may be later canoists by MPC but we have yet to find them in any marked package to confirm maker. -

6/19/08

Lido vs Premier

The large 3 1/2 inch figures in the photo above were put in the Lido section of the seminal Geppert Guide. However we were able to get a copy of the Lido Mold catalog offering their molds for sale circa 1964 when they were going out of business. The catalog offers 458 molds, but the big cowboys and indians are not there. The catalog has all of the Lido figure molds you would expect with the exception of the WWII German and Japanese infantry molds. These figures were made near the end of Lido's life and may have been made at the Lido Hong Kong facility. The catalog was only for molds here in the USA. The absence of a mold for the larger cowboys and Indians might indicate that these figures were made by Premier. Premier evidently used the same mold maker as Lido when they had a set of 45mm cowboys and Indians produced. With the exception of two cowboy poses the rest of the Premier figures are close copies of the Lido figures. The mold maker probably used the same master figures to make the molds for both Lido and Premier. So it is possible that the 3 1/2 inch figures were made by Premier, or if Lido made them perhaps the mold was made in Hong Kong. Does anyone have these larger figures in a marked package??

5/7/08

Raining cats and dogs

The above cats and dogs are often found with the Marx pet shop dogs when buying vintage collections. As they can be found in roughly the same rubber like vinyl as the Marx dogs there has been some confusion as to who made them. Noted dimestore plastic expert Bill Hanlon was nice enough to provide us with the pictures of the carded examples seen above and we can see that Thomas Toys was the maker of these pets. They are most commonly found in rubber like vinyl but the first two cats and dogs on the left side of the picture are made of hard styrene plastic. This not unusual as in the early 1950s manufacturers tried what ever plastic came along. Also if you look closely at the two dachshunds you can see that the one in the top row has a collar while the one in the lower row does not. They match up well with the Marx dogs and are popular with collectors.

4/23/08

Plastic figures with sex appeal?

Although most Marx collectors like the war related figures Marx also made quite a few civilians for doll house sets and other purposes. They made a few figures that would raise eyebrows in the 1950/60s such as their campus cuties. The above picture shows two of the harder to find Marx pieces. Noted plastic figure expert Rick Koch supplied the following information on the larger figure on the left wearing a bathing suit. "The Seated Girl is part of a Set of 2 Different that came in Soft Plastic in a Brown Play Set Bag marked Erie Beauties and in Hard Plastic as Part of a Cabin Cruiser Boat Model". The smaller 54/60mm nude girl on the right was never released for sale by Marx although we have heard that Louis Marx would hand them out as gag gifts. This would have had quite an effect in the 1950s when things were much more conservative than now. The gray nude above is a reissue/recast done in the 1980s/90s. Reissues have also been made in silver. The Erie Beauty pictured above was found at the old Marx landfill.

4/12/2008

Above is a picture of the eight Timpo Viking swoppet poses (8 different upper bodies, 3 different leg styles) as taken from Michael Maughan's fine book TIMPO MODEL TOYS 'THE A TO Z OF TIMPO'. This book covers in detail the Timpo swoppet figure line with great information and pictures, and is very worthy of being in your collection if you can find a copy. He mentions that the figure in the top row left "makes a good commander", but you can make that designation for just about any of the poses. I have never seen any packaging that labels any of the figures as a chief/leader/commander and many of the collectors I deal with like to call the man with the Sutton Hoe Mask (close up in picture on right) the leader/chief/commander. The man with the Sutton Hoe Mask (also called a Gjermundbu style helmet with spectacles guard by armor dealers), the archer and the man blowing the horn are the only figures wearing authentic "Viking" helmets. It has now been proven that Vikings did not put horns on their helmets when going into battle (some helmets with horns were used in religious ceremonies). Unless Timpo documentation exists that says otherwise you are free to call any of the eight poses your chief/leader/ commander.

Plasticraft Pirates. The pirates were sold individually in counter boxes in metallic colors and then later in primary colors. You could also buy them as part of a painting set with the pirates in a flesh (peach) color. Later production brightly colored examples also exist and may have been made by who ever got the mold after Plasticraft went out of business.

After Lido went out of business T.Cohn had to make their own figures for their western playsets. About 1968 T.Cohn went out of business and their playset molds were obtained by Brumberger. Brumberger catalogs as late as 1979 still show the figures being produced.

3/17/2008

1. Mold PL-330 Huntsmen.

On the Marx Master Figure list as provided by Glen Ridenour for the PFPC Special Edition as 0844 Kentucky Fox Hunt people.

2. Mold PL-331 Hunt Animals.

Also on the Marx Master Figure list as 0842 Kentucky Fox Hunt animals

These figures are not easy to come by. I have seen them in a header card bag and I do not remember seeing any additional figures in this bag. We do know that thanks to Francis Turner's fine article in PFPC #69 that the fox hunt people and animals were found in the Marx Country Split Level Doll House #6990. Also in this article Francis mentions that the seated "special town" cowboy found it's way into many of the Marx "deluxe" doll house playsets over the years and that the only way to get the cream soft plastic version was in a doll house. He also mentions the farm boy with bucket was also in the unusual cream soft plastic in this playset.

After his discussion of these two odd figures Francis then goes on to talk about the "final set of figures" placed in the doll house, the Kentucky Fox Hunt figures. At no point does he include the farm boy or seated cowboy in any discussion of the fox hunt figures. A picture in the article does include the seated cowboy with the fox hunt figures but makes the point of saying "the separate Western Town specialty figure is at far left". At no point in the article does Francis or any editor say that the two odd figures were part of the Kentucky Fox Hunt set.

Does this mean the two figures were never incorporated into the fox hunt mold? NO, anything is possible. We know Marx made copies of two of their 54mm Marines (flamethrower and grenade thrower) and put them in the "Medical GI" mold so it is certainly possible that they made copies of the farm boy and seated cowboy and put them in with the fox hunt people. Francis Turner who owns the Marx Museum (go see it) in Moundsville WV has the most extensive collection of Marx documents and perhaps he could find some information either supporting or disproving the idea of the two figures ever being part of the fox hunt people mold.

There is no telling when or who made the blue examples I got as at least one of the groups who bought some of the molds at auction was reported by PFPC as having made test shots. If anyone has any blue fox hunt people that might add some credence to their being in the same mold. In Francis's article about the doll house he mentions that not only were the fox hunt people made in cream but so were the swimming pool kids, children with nanny group, family group and the two odd poses. So maybe these two odd poses were made in one of those other molds...

Tom Terry editor of PFPC mentioned in a footnote to Francis's fine article that he had test shots of stable accessories he "assumes" were to accompany the fox hunt group. Even if documentation exists giving the proposed contents for a Kentucky Fox Hunt playset it does not mean the two odd figures were in the mold with the fox hunt people.

I assumed that anyone who collects Marx playsets would know that the figures were put in bags. Marx employees didn't throw anything into a set (unless mad) and I am sorry I so confused this other person. However I have seen horses loose in playsets but never humans. Playset Magazine did a nice job of giving us a time line of when certain types of bags were used by Marx.

2/17/2008 MARX mold survivors

Figure molds can be made in several fashions. One way was to make individual cavities that were then placed in a frame. Marx made many molds in this manner, and most stayed the same throughout their life span. However Marx could take cavities out and put them to other uses. The above four figures were all removed from their original molds or were copies Marx made for other molds. The seated man is from the "Special Town Cowboy" mold and the boy with bucket had been in the 60mm farmers mold. These two figures were run in a cream color and inserted into one of Marx's largest doll house playsets that also included the fox hunt set and nursery children figures. As the doll house playset they were used with also had the figures from the dollhouse children, swimming pool, playground and one of the family sets you could just as easily assign the two figures to one of those groups. We will need to wait factory documentation or the original molds surface in the recast marketplace to find out if these figures were in any of the molds used in the doll house set. The lady jungle hunter and missionary were in the early jungle figure mold but were removed and replaced by the younger woman walking and the seated jeep driver for later jungle sets. The revised jungle figure mold ended up in Mexico where recast/reissues have been made in many colors. The two discarded figure cavities were located by Glencoe models and run in a waxy cream.

1/11/2008

LIDO the copier gets copied

Lido copied the figures of other companies many times, but here is an example of someone copying them. A couple of foot knights and one mounted knight have confused collectors for years. They looked like some of the Lido poses but were just a bit different. It turns out they were made by Transogram and were part of the sand castle set seen in the above picture. The set contains the figures & horses and parts of a castle; gate, tower tops etc that could be used to help make a sand castle while at the beach or in the sandbox. The box is set #1949 and was dated 1956. As of this writing the set is for sale by ebay seller oldtoystoreusa, item #170061600311. This mint in the box set would be a great addition to anyone's knight collection.

12/15/2007

MPC has a Cow

One of the odd things about MPC farm sets was the lack of any cows. Like other toy makers MPC eventually set up operations in Hong Kong and this 1967 header card set shows one result. Down on the bottom of the bag is a orange cow. Although the header card states "Made in USA", and indeed most of the set was made here. The orange cow however is marked HONG KONG under it's belly. It is nice to see MPC get a cow. We like MPC as they date many of their sets and this header card is dated 1967, and we also see at this time MPC was a division of the Loral Corporation. How many of you when driving alone, when no one is around, still moo out the window at cows in the field.....fess up we know you do it.

11/2007

THE ODDEST GI MADE BY MARX?

The above picture shows what in our opinion is the oddest (dumbest) GI pose made by the Marx toy company. This 60mm figure was part of the not easy to find "medical" figure group and has been described as "unrolling a bandage". However upon close inspection you can easily see he is actually peeling a potato! Maybe he was helping make a Thanksgiving dinner for the front line troops. When two kids were choosing up sides for their toy army battles I am sure this guy got picked last and bumped off first. Of course you could always pretend he was holding a grenade or maybe ammo for a spudzooka. The 60mm Medical figures were only made for a few years circa 1952-54 and are hard to find. Old originals were made in rubber like vinyl, but some later soft plastic ones exist as well. Caution must be taken when buying as RECASTS have been made.

9/1/07

DID TIM-MEE SUPPLY ANIMALS TO OHIO ART?

A recent boxed Ohio Art farm playset has come to light that is a real puzzle. Set No. 88 with series 2 hollow belly animals that were made of an odd semi soft plastic. We think this was a similar plastic as used with the series one flat Ohio Art farm animals and dates this set to about 1952-54. Hard styrene plastic plastic animals in bright colors were used circa 1953-56 and soft polyethylene plastic animals 1956-1974. These sets should have 18 animals but this set only came with seven Ohio Art animals; 2 horses, 1 colt, 2 sheep & 2 pigs. However it also came with!! 28 Tim-Mee short hair "camp" dogs (including one rust example that has the army medical pouches - front row in picture), 1 Tim-Mee cow and 28 Tim-Mee calfs!! It would be easy to say that someone had just added these animals to the box in later years, but..... these dogs and calfs are not easy to come by. They were originally made to go as add ons to the Tim-Mee cowboy and Indian sets. An early 1950s Tim-Mee ad seen below.

In all my years as a collector and dealer I have never had so many of either of these poses. Plus there are odd colors (army green calfs etc...). We have two guesses at this point.

1. Ohio Art ran into to trouble producing their own animals and bought these animals from Tim-Mee wholesale. The two companies were close Ohio Art in NW Ohio and Tim-Mee near Chicago.

2. A Tim-Mee employee had assorted test shot animals that he added to his child's Ohio Art farm set.

Anyone else have any ideas??

8/5/07

CANOE INDIANS

Can you identify the maker of these two "canoe" Indians. They are 60mm and their bases have holes to allow them to be attached to the big 3 peg MPC canoes. So maybe MPC made these Indians? After years of looking we still have not been able to find a marked MPC package with these two Indians in it, so we think they were made by someone else. Does anyone have these in a marked package?

7/5/07

FAIRY TALES CAN COME TRUE PART II

Another figure collecting mystery. These roughly 60mm children's tales figures are made of bight colors and most figures have one or more accessory pieces. We have no idea who made them but think they date to the 1960s. Can anyone help?

1/21/07

FAIRY TALES CAN COME TRUE

Bob Wilson of the Phoenix Toy Soldier Company told me the small fairy tlae figures I had were made by an obscure firm Emenee, but then Rick Kock noted figure dealer and collector told me they were made by Transogram. Who was right? It turns out they both were!

EMENEE/TRANSOGRAM

Figure grouping and Transogrampackaging photos curtesy of Rick Koch.

These figures were designed by Marcel Jovine the man who also designed the visible man & woman kits for Renwal. He later found fame designing various medals including those used in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Born in Italy Mr. Jovine was in the Italian army in WWII and was captured by the allies in North Africa and sent to the USA as a POW. After the war he stayed in the USA and pursued his love of sculpture. The Emenee Fairy Tale figures were produced in 1951. They were part of the "Once Upon a Time" series by the Emenee Toy Comapny (thanks to Bob Wilson of Phoenix Toys for pointing this out). Ememee mainly made toy musical instruments, but made other odd toys such as a Munsters mold set as well. Each little Once Upon a Time window box would hold the figures and accessories from one fairy tale along with a copy of the story. These early 50s figures were made of a rubber like vinyl and some had painted highlights. Like most eastern US toy companies Emenee had an office/showroom in the Toy Building at 200 5th Avenue in New York City. Paul Stadinger has also found the figures in a series know as Playbook in which six fairy tales are each given there own small book/box and dated 1958. The six fairy tales in this series are; Vol.1 The Three Little Pigs, Vol. 2 Little Red Riding Hood, Vol. 3 Jack and the Beanstalk, Vol. 4 Hansel and Gretel, Vol. 5 The Three Bears and Vol. 6 Cinderella. There is no manufacturer on these boxes, but the pictures at Paul's site show that the figures do not seem to be painted and they look like they are made of polyetylene. At some point Transogram (thanks to Rick Koch for this information) either leased or bought the molds and in 1963 released the figures in a polyethylene soft plastic as part of their "Story Time Erasable Coloring Set" series. We are uncertain how many different pieces were made but have seen the number "65" on back of the "grandmother" and some pieces apparently do not have a number. The older Emenee figures (some accessories were a stiffer plastic) were made of rubber like vinyl and factory painted (competition for the Marx fairykins?), while later Transogram figures are unpainted and made of polyethylene soft plastic. Both Emenee and Transogram seems to have kept the figure colors the same over the years. In the 1980s copies without numbers and marked HONG KONG were made but we are unsure of who made them or how they were sold. We have thought that as Lido had operations in NYC and made figures for many other companies that they may have made the molds for Emanee. Also when Lido sold ex owner Effrem Arenstein set up a company in Hong Kong that made copies of figures including Timpo's swoppets that they wholesaled to Transogram. So perhaps they made the original molds or copied them, but at this time there is no hard evidence to support this theory.

11/13/06

Thanks to John Keller of Boston for finally giving us an ID and sharing photos of his mint in the box set seen above. Turns out these figures are actually by Processed Plastic (who took over Tim-Mee in 1964). As PPCo mainly sold items one at a time dor under $1.00 we believe this large set was only sold as an exclusive by one of PPCo's big customers. As the box is marked AURORA IL this set was probably sold around 1962-65.

1/16/06

Gay Toys made a blow molded barn with window insert. It was filled with 8 different kinds of farm animals made in white soft plastic. Four of the animals seem to be based upon Auburn.

12/20/05

IDENTIFIED AS SOLD BY TUPPERWARE. Made for them by Dart Industries in 1971. Here is a quote from the original box; "BUSY-BLOCKS by Tupperware bring an exciting new world of fun and education to children of all ages. As the child grows, so do the play and educational features. Stacking blocks, mini toys, puzzle patterns and the alphabet, from A to Z, make BUSY-BLOCKS a toy that can be enjoyed over and over as the child grows. Each block opens and closes to store the alphabet toy pictured on the block, so children learn and enjoy while they play. And, the unique puzzle patterns let children use and develop their imagination and creativity. BUSY-BLOCKS is another fine toy from Tupperware... where quality is a matter of pride".

There must have been a child safety issue as there are two different styles of bases with one being larger and more elabrate with projecting "points" while the other is a simple rounded rectangle.

-

26 hinged A to Z alphabet blocks in yellow, red or blue. The blocks have a capital and a small letter on one side, a picture that represents the letter on another side, 2 sides with "puzzle patterns" and 2 sides with diagnal stripes. There are also 26 green plastic figures which correspond to the pictures on the blocks and representing each letter of the alphabet (Airplane, Boat, Camel, Dog, Elephant, Fox, Giraffe, Horse, Indian, Jeep, Kangaroo, Lion, Monkey, Nurse, Owl, Pig, Queen, Rabbit, Seal, Train, Unicorn, Violin, Whale, Xylophone, Yacht, and Zebra).

8/21/05

54mm Horses Without Saddles

Something of a mystery happened as I went to sort out the Marx 54mm western horses. Although Tim Geppert's seminal plastic figure guide lists a 54mm bareback horse running with its head turned to it's right I had none in my collection of 12 bareback runners. Tim confirmed that the horse did indeed exist so I asked the good members of the Yahoo Marx Playsets group if anyone had one as I wanted to see if the front legs were a mirror image to those made with the bareback running horse with it's head turned to it's left. If the legs were the same it might mean that the rare head right horse was simply pulled out of the mold too hot and the head then reshaped as it was cooling. If the legs were mirror images it would confirm that mold PL-865 had contained a distinct head right running horse at one time and it was then removed either due to damage or to reconfigure the mold to make horses with all of their heads turned in the same direction for use in the Ben Hur playset chariots (would not look right to have the horses pulling in different directions). Marx sold these 54mm bareback horses in the small red polka dot boxes in sets of eight so it is even possible that the mold was changed from 6 cavities to 8 cavities. Checking with some of the people who have access to surviving Marx records, we have not been able to find anything to confirm or deny what might have happened. It may be that as the horses were bagged in groups of eight for the Ben Hur sets, that Marx used the same bags to put into their red polka dot boxed horse sets. As there were three runners in the six cavity mold at least 1/3 of all runners should have their head right unless something happened. Most of the people at the Yahoo Marx Playset group were very helpful and looked through their collections and we found 60 running horses head left and 2 head right so obviously something happened for what ever reason. If you have a 54mm bareback horse with it's head turned to it's right please contact me.

1/31/04

NEW NIGHTLIGHT FOR TOY SOLDIER FANS!

Just what your wife wanted!!! Yes the ability to turn over in the middle of the night, look up and see toy figures glowing at her! Odemars has made a small run of it's Historical Characthers figure set in glow in the dark plastic.

8/11/03

I Like IKE ------ But not as much as Louie Marx

Louie Marx must have loved Dwight David "IKE" Eisenhower. We have now found five different unpainted plastic versions of the former US President. Several painted versions also exist. Although Roy Rogers may give him a run for his money, we think Eisenhower leads the way in numbers of different charactor representations (Roy probably had more poses)made by the Marx Toy Company. The "IKEs" run from 65mm down to "HO" scale 22mm in size. The 38mm Figure done in cream was given away with the elephant as a campaign token. We have these at $5 each, except with elephant which is $6.

7/5/03

Speaking of train sets, we have had another interesting one come through the HQ. The Bachmann M*A*S*H 4077th Supply Train set has a great set up of cardstock punch out tents to recreate the famous TV show MASH 4077th camp. Although there was no train in the show, there is one here now! Plus you get a hard plastic jeep and helicopter. Unfortunately there were no special character figures made or even military figures included in the set. As you can see from the above picture the set comes with the standard Bachmann 24 piece train figure set in both white and army green (total 48 figures)

Still an interesting set for the HO scale enthusiast to try and find.

6/7/03

Certainly seldom seen and can be considered rare in the 1/72 collecting world are the four characvter figures of the TV show A-TEAM that were included in the TYCO "A-TEAM ACTION TRAIN SET". The figures are hard plastic and made in black (or very dark green). MR. T the celebrity that played B.A. Barachus cut quite the figure with his tons of gold chains and mohawk haircut. With his famous "I pity the fool" line. The train set also includes an A Team van and train + assorted Hong Kong tanks, jeeps and copies of Airfix GIs in metallic blue. Plus a couple of paratroopers and a helicopter made this quite the action set. The box is dated 1983. The bad news is the set is now scarece and runs for $150 and up in mint condition.

5/3/03

Speaking of copies we just came across a copy of a MPC GI ringhand figure mad by CARZOL of Canada.

-

From the marking we can see these figures were made in Canada but knbow little about the company. Can anyone help us? Please see below for an up date on SOLPA.

4/18/03

Currently in the "HO" marketplace there is a good deal of commentary on the practice of making copies of another companies figures. Ever since there have been plastic figures there have been copies. Almost all of the figures made in Hong Kong/China over the past 50 years have been copies of someone elses figures. Due to their quality most remain low priced. The exception of course is the GIANT brand whose figures can be quite pricey. The molds BUM uses are actually old and the figures quite crude when compared to the mostly Airfix originals copied. Most people buy the BUM sets for the unique accessories and throw the figures out or consign them to lowest place in their collection. Archipelago has several sets that contain new, converted or altered poses that are quite unique and should be duly noted and reviewed by anyone who covers "HO" scale sets. What about the ROCO WWII figures? They are copies of MONOGRAM. What about the Priesier 1/87 some are copies of Elastolin, some are copies of Revell (or the other way around). Based upon my many years a dealer I can state that the collectors who have bought BUM or Archipelago sets already own the original manufactured figures and that these lines of copied figures have had absolutely no impact on my sales of the original sets. How many companies made copies of the Britains 1/32 khaki infantry? I must have figures by 5 or 6 companies who copied these figures. A disservice is done to the collecting community by ignoring these companies. I realize of course this is a matter of some debate but thought I might show the other side of the argument. Of course many people will both agree and disagree with what I have just written. No matter what you think I respect your opinions and am happy to live in a country where we are allowed to have open debates on topics regardless of their importance in the greater scheme of things.

5/3/03

SOLPA UPDATE

THANKS FOR THE INFO ANDY!!!!!!

I suppose that the Solpa logo derives from the family name of the owners until today, Solakidis brothers. The company started its production of toy soldiers in the late 1970's, and it dominated the Greek toy soldier market for over a decade, ceasing toy soldier production in the beginning of 90's. The Solpa toy soldiers and their boxes are copies of the first Airfix 1/32 range, with the exception of the Knights set which was copied from the Timpo range of the late 50's. Solpa was because of its low price and rather qood quality of copying - a major competitor in the greek market for the imported toy soldiers, such as Britains Deetail range, Timpo, Airfix originals, Atlantic and Matchbox.

For more information you can contact the company at:

Solpa - A.Solakidis Bros S.A.

Kythnou 2

185-41 Kaminia

Piraeus

Greece

http://www.solpa.gr

Email: solpa@otenet.gr

PS. A few boxes, although they have the same type of logo, cover and content, instead of the yellow Solpa lettering in red font have the word Petalo (the greek word for horseshoe) and the image of a horse shoe, both in yellow. I do not know for sure, if this was another company, or just a change in the Solpa company logo. There was also a kit which is not included in the Solpa leaflet, and that was the (Airfix) British uards band in light blue box.

4/11/03

As always we cheerfully admit we do not know it all. We have obtained two sets of figures from a company we had never heard of, SOLPA. Made in Greece the two SOLPA sets we have both contain copies of Airfix figures, The Russians are pretty good, but the Greek Marines (Airfix Modern Germans) have alot of flash. Each set contained 24 figures and two small rafts. From the small flyer enclosed in each box you can see they have/had an ambitious line of sets. We would appreciate information on this comapny if anyone can provide it.

SOLPA Flyer

- SOLPA Russian Infantry, 24 figures + 2 small rafts. Figures are copies of Airfix Modern Russian Infantry

- SOLPA Greek Marines - 24 Figures + 2 small rafts. Figures are copies of Airfix Modern German Infantry.

Email: sprecherko@aol.com