This was the symbol of quality for plastic soldiers when I was a kid. The Louis Marx company churned out numerous playsets on a variety of themes. The sculpting and animation of their figure, and the television or thematic tie-ins were so compelling that the imaginations of a generation of kids were sparked thanks to these marvels in 54mm.
I recently acquired this delightful, and well-played with group of twelve Fort Apache cavalrymen, and though they are of a later era, they will augment my growing phalanx of ACW troopers. (remember: if you have a beef with how I play, stay in your own yard). I think they will do nicely, especially in this very rich blue hue.
Dirt from the trail, or perhaps the previous kid who owned him, crusts the front of this jolly trooper as he lopes along on his standard Marx steed. The novelty of this figure is his very relaxed and natural pose, a nice break from the usual combat poses usually available in mounted figures. He looks like a member of that long line of Federal horsemen in the open credits of the John Wayne/William Holden film "The Horse Soldiers" (which heavily influenced this nine-year-old back in the day).
The bugler roused me from my reverie of the past with a call to arms. Wait a second, that guy, those cheekbones, that chin, they all look so familiar...
It's Chuck Connors!
This dismounted trooper, sword intact (unlike our hero above) is particularly menacing. I think that the sculpting and animation of all of these figures is quite outstanding and well thought-out. I particularly like his grasp on his scabbard, indicating he has just withdrawn that flashing blade.
"OOOf!" I hate it when that happens. This grimacing horseman has just received a slug to the chest. We can only hope for the best and trust to his otherwise robust state of health to pull him through (though I'm doubtful).
This refugee from a barbershop quartet sports both a trapdoor Springfield as well as a great looking handlebar moustache. Despite his profession of arms he looks quite the friendly fellow.
Sometimes the Marx treatment of that trapdoor Springfield makes it look a little too much like the M1 carbine of a much later era. Time travel, perhaps?
Drawing a bead on unseen enemies downrange, this stalwart cavalryman is well balanced and beautifully sculpted. Noteworthy are his trouser stripes and very convincing boots.
This man is obviously in a hurry. the animation and intensity of his gaze is absolutely outstanding, his revolver however, has an oddly truncated barrel.
Of all the troopers in the group this is the only one with chevrons...
in this instance, a corporal, on his way to a fight.
Leading the charge, afoot interestingly, is this officer with sword in hand and running pell-mell into the fray.
His glance to the side, however,, causes me to think he's just caught glimpse of a flanking force of the badguys.
That cavity in his chest may be a chilling freeze frame at the moment of impact. Or, perhaps, merely a casting flaw
This shot illustrates his shoulder-straps.
By the paucity of stripes and other indicators of rank, it is evident that these are actual soldiers and not a group of reenactors rendered in 54 mm. How many sergeants does one twelve-man squad need anyway?
Not only is this superb animation but the face has outstanding character as well. I really like this guy.
I think that this figure with neckerchief blowing in the breeze and fantastic balance may be my favorite figure in the group.
Marching-guy below, gave me pause:
There is something about these Marx troopers that's vaguely familiar...the open collars, suspenders, the distinctive non-Stetson hats...hmmm.
Odd that this pacifist sect would be so well-armed, kinda have to wonder what the folks at Marx had in mind.
This marching Anabaptist may be on his way to a communal barn-raising, mistaking, perhaps, his shootin' iron for his adz.
The casual pose of the mounted man in this group contrasts with the rearing Britains Deetail horse in the background. Sometimes it's nice to let the guys take a break.
In all, a very nice ebay find at a very low price. The bargains are out there, and the army continues to grow. Campaigning season may be only weeks away.