Miniatures Louis Marx' "Warriors Of The World" Union & Confederate Soldiers From The 1960's

James N.

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I recently featured a thread on the familiar Battle of the Blue & Gray "play sets'' produced by the Louis Marx Company from the 1950's through the 1970's; these were their predecessors and date from the mid-1950's though they didn't appear in this exact form until a decade later in the mid-1960's as part of a much larger series featuring soldiers from many ages and nationalities. The Warriors Of The World each came wrapped in tissue paper in its own colorfully lithographed box, along with a "collectors' card" featuring a picture of the soldier on the front and a (usually) made-up "biography" on the back. These were sold in the "better" 5 & 10 or variety stores for twenty-five cents each!

Above, the set of seven Confederates along with a figure of Gen. Lee, not part of the Warriors but available in another iteration, a large box set containing all the figures plus Lee; below, the six Union soldiers plus Gen. Grant:

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James N.

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I only have about half the original boxes; there were six different Union soldiers and seven different Confederates; the reason for the discrepancy will be explained later. As can be seen, in addition to the spurious identities there is also a Confederate General Longstreet - why they thought this apparent staff officer should represent Longstreet - not to mention why Longstreet instead of the better-known and more colorfully-named Stonewall Jackson - remains a mystery! Most boxes were the same size, but in the case of some like the marching Confederate it was necessary to have a taller box to accommodate his bayonet.

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The Union Soldiers
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The Confederate Soldiers
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The mini-biographies are in most cases plausible with a few notably unlikely instances; at least they got the facts about Longstreet's biography correct! (The numbers written on the cards corresponded to ones on the ends of the individual boxes.)

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Kurt G

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I only have about half the original boxes; there were six different Union soldiers and seven different Confederates; the reason for the discrepancy will be explained later. As can be seen, in addition to the spurious identities there is also a Confederate General Longstreet - why they thought this apparent staff officer should represent Longstreet remains a mystery! Most boxes were the same size, but in the case of some like the marching Confederate it was necessary to have a taller box to accommodate his bayonet.

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The Union Soldiers
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The Confederate Soldiers
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The mini-biographies are in most cases plausible with a few notably unlikely instances; at least they got the facts about Longstreet's biography correct! (The numbers written on the cards corresponded to ones on the ends of the individual boxes.)

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Was the General Lee figure the same one that came with the battlefield sets ? I remember Lee and Lincoln (?) and a couple of others in the Battlefield set from the early 1960s.
 

James N.

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As usual with Marx' figures, the accuracy of details is better-than-average for what were mere toys and the paint jobs are reasonable as well.

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To most toy collectors the phrase "Dime store figures" refers to those sold individually in bins in 5 & 10 and variety stores, usually in the immediate post-WWII era; usually these were metal castings by well-known makers of the time such as Mailol or Grey Iron. The originals of these particular Civil War soldiers appeared in medium blue and gray vinyl plastic and were sold for ten cents apiece in open bins. These below are ones I bought in the mid-1950's and subsequently painted; some have remained as they were when purchased, whiile others have become brittle and have broken like the soldier loading and ramming his rifle. Note especially the two rider figures - they (and another mounted Union officer who has unfortunately succumbed to time!) "explain" the fact there are six Union and seven Confederate Warriors - for some reason the company chose not to include them, presumably because there weren't any horses for them! (The Union rider is another "casualty" to time - originally he was a guidon bearer, but his flag broke off!) Generally as a rule of thumb there were EIGHT different figures in Marx' assortments at this time.

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James N.

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Was the General Lee figure the same one that came with the battlefield sets ? I remember Lee and Lincoln (?) and a couple of others in the Battlefield set from the early 1960s.
No - these were created to include with boxed sets of soldiers sold through Sears and Montgomery Ward's catalogues and stores. other combinations included Gen. Custer and Seventh Cavalrymen; Teddy Roosevelt and Rough Riders; Gen. Patton and WWII soldiers; Gen. Rommel and German WWII soldiers; George Washington and Revolutionary soldiers; Commodore Perry and War of 1812 sailors; and others I don't now recall. The 1950's Blue And Gray set's Lincoln, Grant, and Lee were slightly smaller-scale figures that were joined in 1961 for the Centennial by a *new* Jeff Davis!
 
I only have about half the original boxes; there were six different Union soldiers and seven different Confederates; the reason for the discrepancy will be explained later. As can be seen, in addition to the spurious identities there is also a Confederate General Longstreet - why they thought this apparent staff officer should represent Longstreet remains a mystery! Most boxes were the same size, but in the case of some like the marching Confederate it was necessary to have a taller box to accommodate his bayonet.



The Union Soldiers



The Confederate Soldiers



The mini-biographies are in most cases plausible with a few notably unlikely instances; at least they got the facts about Longstreet's biography correct! (The numbers written on the cards corresponded to ones on the ends of the individual boxes.)
"General Longstreet" looks more like Colonel Sanders! :D
 

James N.

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I don't remember ever seeing these before. How did I miss them? I can't help but think we had better toys in the 50s than the kids do now.

John
The Union and Confederate soldiers were only the tip of this particular iceberg; in addition to them there were: Roman legionnaires and gladiators; Vikings; American and British Revolutionary War figures; U.S. and Mexican soldiers from the Mexican War; Rough Riders; 7th Cavalrymen and Indians; War of 1812 sailors; U. S., British, and German WWII soldiers; U.S., French, and German WWI troops; and even then-contemporary 1960's NATO soldiers, one each from several different countries . There may have even been others I no longer remember but those were all ones I had at least a few of; the ones pictured here are some of those I saved intact. The only set I have complete with all the boxes are the eight WWII Germans!

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James N.

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I would never have expected War of 1812 sailors .
The stories on the back of cards had a lot of references to the Battle of Lake Erie, so I suppose the white hard plastic "commander" figure for them when they were sold by Sears and Wards in soft plastic boxed sets was probably Oliver Perry. And unlike most of other wars, there was no "enemy" for them (or the Rough Riders) to "fight."
 

James N.

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I recently featured a thread on the familiar Battle of the Blue & Gray "play sets'' produced by the Louis Marx Company from the 1950's through the 1970's; these were their predecessors and date from the mid-1950's though they didn't appear in this exact form until a decade later in the mid-1960's as part of a much larger series featuring soldiers from many ages and nationalities. The Warriors Of The World each came wrapped in tissue paper in its own colorfully lithographed box, along with a "collectors' card" featuring a picture of the soldier on the front and a (usually) made-up "biography" on the back. These were sold in the "better" 5 & 10 or variety stores for twenty-five cents each!
I noticed in the picture above showing the box the German soldier came in the price stamped in red ink: 19 cents!
 

James N.

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I don't remember ever seeing these before. How did I miss them? I can't help but think we had better toys in the 50s than the kids do now.

John
I think almost all toys today are merely commercial tie-ins for things like action movies, etc. I believe "our" toys were more educational - like these - and geared more toward imagination and creativity.
 

Cavalier

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James N. That's an impressive collection you have there! When I became a teenager my three main interests turned into girls, girls, and girls, although not necessarily in that order. However I took good care of my figures, even then. I wish I had some of the ones you picture here however. I have only my Britains, or most of them anyway.

And the cards with guys names, fantastic!

John
 

James N.

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I would never have expected War of 1812 sailors .
On the "nautical" theme, I've also remembered there was also a series of pirates - and possibly cowboys too. Similar to General Longstreet and some of the Indian Warriors many of the pirate figures were assigned the identities of actual pirates like Captain Kidd and Blackbeard. (No Jack Sparrow though!) Many of the WWI and WWII Germans also had names that were slightly altered from those of actual military or political figures of the time represented.
 
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R. Porter

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I had all the Confederate and all the Yankee Warriors of the World. I also had some pirates and U.S. Army WW2 guys and a sailor. I might have had a Viking but I don’t remember what else. Marx, by far, had the best sculpted figure and the best accessories. For the larger figures I only wanted those by Marx although Auburn has some nice ones too, but they were made of rubber. I always wanted a Marx Civil War Blue and Gray playset but never got one. I did get a western themed one, three WW2 ones and one for the Untouchables. I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch the Untouchables but the playset was really neat. I also got an HO scale Marx Blue and Gray playset. The figures in these seemed to come from the Warriors of the World poses. They fought with my plastic Airfix Civil War soldiers. I spent hours and hours with those soldiers and on a nice day I would take them to the bottom of the back yard near the lake where my mom would plant some of her flowers. I would build earthworks and bunkers for them and occasionally slide a shovel blade under a section of the defenses and jump on the handle to make an explosion (the Battle of the Crater took place only about 25 miles away near Petersburg). One day my mom was showing a neighbor some of her plants when the neighbor saw some of the earthworks I had made. She pointed to them and asked my mom, “What makes holes like THAT?” I think she was afraid that whatever did it would start digging in her garden too.
 

Cavalier

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There was a company called S.A.E., I think, that made beautiful sets of metal civil war figures in a smaller scale. I was given one of Union infantry and one of Confederate infantry when I was about 10. Never saw any of them other than those I recieved.

John
 

Morrow7x

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Wow! Blast from the past!

I had a ton of Marx figure hand-me-downs from some slightly older cousins. No boxes or anything and they were all quite play worn.

It's neat to finally see who made them and how they were originally sold.

Ooops....we used them as bb gun targets in the 60s....

At least I still have the bb gun!
 

Pat Answer

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I think almost all toys today are merely commercial tie-ins for things like action movies, etc. I believe "our" toys were more educational - like these - and geared more toward imagination and creativity.
I believe, speaking as a 70s child and thus on the very tail end of the availability of these gems, that you are quite right. 😁 Even Lego has become a movie franchise. 🙄

The only toy sets my kids had that weren’t related to some TV show (e.g., Thomas tank engines) or movie (Cars) were the Blue and Gray soldiers and Lincoln Logs we brought back from Gettysburg. I guess I should be glad they were a hit for a couple of years until video games took over.

Sigh. It’s a different world, alright.
 

Kurt G

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I had the Blue and Gray set in the early 1960s . All of my friends had WW2 sets and I had one as well . Fireworks were illegal in Michigan so you had to know some one who brought them back from Canada or Ohio . If you did set off a smuggled firecracker the neighbors were likely to call your parents , so our plastic soldiers lead fairly safe lives . Back then during the summer your bike was very important . You could ride long distances and the city was safe back then . The rule was always be home when the street lights came on . Now days you rarely see kids playing outside .
 
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