You all know them, you all had them, and most of you blew them up with firecrackers. Yes, I’m talking about plastic army men. These tiny soldiers of our childhood may have sometimes been blown up by young adolescent pyromania, but they were also at one time the core of gigantic backyard battlefields.
When I was kid all the plastic army men I owned were made in China. They were produced in masses and made with cheap inexpensive plastic. Twenty years later, that’s still how they are made.
For collectors it hasn’t always been that way. In the decades before I was in diapers, there were many plastic army men manufacturers such as Tim-Mee, MPC, and LIDO. These companies manufactured their soldiers in the United States and the quality was excellent.
One of the most popular manufacturers of plastic army men before my time, however, was the Louis Marx Company. Louis Marx Co. manufactured the best plastic soldier molds. The soldiers, vehicles, play-sets and accessories were made of quality plastic. The figures were also highly detailed right on down to their faces. It is because of this high quality and realism that they are still highly sought after today.
One of the best sets Marx ever produced was their Series II American G.I.s. These are commonly referred to as the “Medical” G.I. Set. According to Kent Sprecher’s amazing Toy Soldier’s HQ site, these molds were made from 1963 to 1980.
The most amazing of these molds is the soldier carrying the wounded soldier. It’s actually two separate figures. He is probably the hardest to find of the set today.
There are also three other wounded figures included in this set. One of these is a wounded soldier meant to lie on a stretcher. The stretcher bearers, the wounded soldier, and the stretcher itself are four separate pieces.
There is also a soldier being shot and a crawling wounded.
Besides the wounded, there are also other great soldiers in this set.
One of my favorites is this one with a pistol and an ammo can.
Overall the Marx Medical team is one of the most superb plastic soldier sets ever produced. Interestingly enough, most of the medical team in my collection was purchased at a local thrift store. Others were found on eBay, Toy Soldier’s HQ, and other online trades.
That reminds me, if you ever have a chance jump on over the Toy Soldier’s HQ. Not only is the site an excellent source of information, but you can also buy vintage Marx army men! What are you waiting for? Head on over there now and check it out!
All photos are taken by me