REL PLASTICS was a mold making company that started up in the 1940s by Larry Fattori son of Lazzaro Fattori. In 1936 Lazzaro imported what might be one of the first plastic injection machines into the US. Larry bought into the idea and in the 1940s started a plastic molding company. Using the initials of the first names of his sisters Rose and Ester and himself he named the company REL. REL made molds for the home and auto industries. In 1948 REL started making molds for toys. To sell the toys from their molds a subsidiary was created, the Plastic Art Corporation. They compressed the name to PLASCO to use as a marketing slogan. REL made and sold tea sets and doll house furniture for girls and western themed figures and playsets for boys. They originally used styrene hard plastic but an ad from a 1957 Dearth's Hobby & Toy center has a western playset touted as being "made of soft, rubber like unbreakable plastic". Other toy companies like Lido Toys and Archer also switched from hard to soft polyethylene plastic in the mid 1950s as it was safer for children to play with. About 1963 REL stopped making toys to concentrate upon the auto industry. They went out of business in the early 1980s.

Early 1950s figures may come with swirled plastic and factory paint. Some figures may have yellow paint applied at factory as flesh! Earlier figures (1951-56) are hard plastic while later ones (1957-63?) were made in soft plastic. The stagecoaches, wagons, caissons and cannons were made of hard plastic and can suffer from heat warping after years of storage in attics. We have found the caissons and cannons in soft plastic but are unsure if the wagons were ever made in soft plastic. Plastic Art had a nice line of plastic tea sets and doll house furniture, but the western themed sets seem to have become the companies most popular sellers (at least for boys). The western figures were sold in header bags, small and large boxed sets.

Above are two store demo boards to entice youngsters into begging their parents to buy them a REL set (circa 1956-60). Both have spring loaded pellet shooting cannons (with ammo) which are not very common in REL sets. Pictures courtesy Tracy & Glenn Salyer.

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The Cowboys

Kit Carson set picture courtesy Gregory Urbach.

Rel Foot Western Figures

Rel only made three foot western figures as seen above.

Hard Plastic $2 each, Soft Plastic $1.50 each

Sheriff hands on pistols; HP; 1 gray brown swirl, SP; NONE.

Bandit w/ 2 pistols; HP; 2 gray/brown swirl, 6 red, 4 lighter grays, 3 gray bluish with swirl, 1 silver, 4 darker grays, 4 translucent brown, SP; 1 pink, 2 red, 4 blues.

Cowgirl w/ hat in hand; HP; 1 silver gray, 2 gray brown swirl SP; NONE.

Rel Mounted Cowboy

Rel only made one mounted cowboy pose. Usually seen in red, yellow, blue and gray/silver. The blue and gray figures were also used in ACW sets. The HP (hard plastic) examples often have some factory paint.

$1.50 Each

Cowboy mounted with brim hat:


HP; 2 blue with paint, 2 gray no paint.

Mounted Cowboy

Indian Braves set picture courtesy Gregory Urbach.

Examples of Rel Indians

Most of the Rel Indians we have seen are soft plastic, so it is probable they were the last figures made.

$2.00 each

Mounted Indian w/ tomahawk, SP; 2 darker blues, 2 lighter pale blue, 3 pinkred, 1 dark blue swirl, 1 black, 2 pale yellow, 2 yellow.

Indian chief standing w/ arms folded over chest; HP; 1 yellow, SP; 2 pale yellow, 1 greenishyellow?, 1 pale orange, .

Indian advancing holding tomahawk; SP; 2 pale yellow.

Indian mounted shooting bow; SP; NONE.

Rel Pioneer

3.00 Mounted Pioneer (Davy Crockett), SP; NONE.

Gray cavalry picture courtesy Gregory Urbach.

Rel ACW/Cavalry Figures

Earlier figures are made of hard plastic and often have a bit of paint applied (yellow as flesh!! seems common). The hard plastic figures can be found in both blue and gray colors and were used in ACW playsets. Most of the soft plastic figures we have seen are blue and were probably sold as plains cavalry. Also pictured above is the generic rubber saddle used with Rel mounted figures.

Mounted Figures $1.5 each unless notes

Civil War mounted with kepi;

SP 1 lighter blues, 10 darker blues.

HP; 10 dark aqua blue.

2.50 Walking, ring hand; HP; NONE SP; 1 lighter blue, 1 darker blue, 1 gray.

2.50 As if throwing?, HP; NONE, SP; 1 darker blue, 1 gray.

3.00 Kneeling shooting, HP; NONE, SP; 1 gray.

NONE Mounted kepi figure Your choice of figure + saddle and horse (may or may not have harness, REL used the harness horse for wagons and mounted figures).

Rel Wagon Drivers

Rel made two generic seated figures to man their wagons and caissons. The driver is wearing a hat while the "shotgun" is holding a shotgun down by his leg. Many fanciful hard plastic swirl color variations exist. We have never seen the soft plastic versions in blue. A dark charcoal gray/black is the most common soft plastic color.

1.50 Wagon driver

Hard Plastic; 1 off white, 10 mostly grays/browns some with paint & some with swirls.

Soft Plastic; 2 white, 9 mostly darker colors.

1.50 Wagon seated shotgun guard

SP; 1 white, 10 mostly darker colors..

HP; 16 mostly grays/browns some with paint & some with with swirls.

Rel Horses

Rel made two horses, one for mounted figures and one for the wagons and caissons with harness straps. The pose is the same. There are two slight versions of the horse used for mounted figures. The middle horse in the picture has a slight protrusion after the front leg. Many fanciful swirl plastic colors can be found.

1.00 EACH horse with molded on harness

SP; 30 assorted colors.

HP 3 assorted colors.

1.00 EACH horse without harness

SP; 20 assorted colors.

HP; 10 assorted colors.

3.00 Vinyl saddle, NONE.

Rel Caisson and Cannon

The cannon barrel does not lock in place and has often been lost over the years. Mostly made in hard plastic but in later years some were produced in soft plasticmas well.

NONE - Cannon, blue body and yellow wheels, blue barrel, black hubcaps.

NONE - REISSUE cannon and caisson (black bodies and hubs and white wheels) + 2 horses and both riders in cream SP. ()

Rel Wagons

Like the nice Rel stagecoach the wagons front two wheels are attached to the separate wagon tongue. Wagon tongues exist for teams of two or four horses. Wheels were originally held on by "hub caps". This was eventually changed to a wheel with hub extension molded as one piece. Some wagons have words on the covered top (as seen above). The wagons have not fared well over the years as heat tends too warp them. The mold still exists and recasts/reissues have been made since about 1995.



4.00 Blue two horse hitch with wheels. (1)

REL made a number of one sided western accessories. Payton also sold identical fence pieces.

Original Pieces

4.00 Full Tree, green. (NONE)

4.00 Less full tree; NONE.

3.00 Larger Cactus, green. NONE.

3.00 Smaller cactus, green. NONE.

1.00 Larger fence piece, SP; 1 tan

1.00 Smaller fence piece, SP; 3 brown, 3 tan.

Reissue Pieces

2.50 Full Tree, green. (1)

2.50 Less full tree; (2).

1.50 Larger Cactus, green. (NONE).

1.00 Smaller cactus, green. (2)

4.00 Vacuform campfire. (NONE)

3.00 Vacuform Rocks. (NONE)