No photo today. Instead, run, don't walk over to the web page for Cunnyngham Collectibles. Bookmark the page and keep your eyes for the first anticipated release of U.S. Civil War Confederates in the last quarter of 2009. If the photo of the prototype is any indication, these are going to be some quality figures.
Many kids who grew up in the 1960's and 1970's saw ads like this on the backs of comic books:
A lot of us just looked at them and wished we had the scratch to get them. At some point my brother and I were lucky enough to get our parents to order us a couple sets of these guys. I've heard some people complaining about disappointed when they got their soldiers, but we loved our sets and spent many happy hours setting these 1" tall figures and fighting imaginary battles. According to The World of Comic Book Toy Soldiers these figures came from Lucky Products or a "Nameless Mail Drop Company" and not one of the better known companies like Helen of Toy. Actually, the above page seems to cover this subject pretty well.
Even luckier, these little guys survived. Below are a few photos of them:
A couple of patriots pose in front of a pile of dead lobsterbacks.
The Continental Line. As a kid, I spent a lot of time getting these guys lined up just so. The figure are from both mine and brother's sets. That accounts for the different colors.
Here is a shot of all the poses. The British were just the same (except they were red, of course).
My pile o' toy soldiers.
Below is another ad for these soldiers with an actual photograph of them. Some of them look a little different than mine. Some of them, particularly the artillery and cavalry look like the much maligned "flats" that I hear resentful baby-boomer complain about when they talk about sending away for these toys.
Here's a fun page from 2004 that contains a review of a new incarnation of Helen of Toy's Classic Army Men Footlocker. Unfortunately, the 2004 version of Helen of Toy didn't seem to last. Below are some more toy soldier ads from the backs of comic books, click on them for larger images.
This vinyl covered suitcase set was released by Ideal Toys sometime in the early 1970's. I had this as a kid and really enjoyed it. By time I got this set, I think our Marx Ft. Apache set had been retired. Ft. Cheyenne served as a great satellite outpost to my Jean Hoeffler Ft. Independence set (I'd love to get my hand on one of those sometime). I've been keeping my eye out for Ft. Cheyenne, but every one I've seen for sale has had the vacu-form teepees or the blockhouse caps all smashed up. I got this one on Ebay for what I consider a bargain price. It did not have all the poses of the red indians, but I'm very happy with it.
According to the Toy Soldier HQ, the figures are all copies of figures by other makers: "The 45mm figures were made in Hong Kong and were not original Ideal poses but rather 45mm copies of various British company figures. The Indians are copies of; Crescent, Lone Star and Britians poses, while the foot cavalry are copies of Britains Herald figures and the mounted cavalry copies of Timpo poses." The cavalry figures I got with this set are molded in a light, waxy gray color. I still have a couple of them left from childhood set that are flat, darker gray and look much nicer.
I set this up on my dining room table and snapped a few pictures for you to enjoy.