Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Standard toy Soldier Poses: the Dead Guy

Combat causes casualties. Infantrymen know this all too well. A fact of life in combat is the possibility of getting wounded or killed.

Several makers of toy soldiers decided to illustrate this in miniature. Included in the set of riflemen and machine gunners and grenade throwers was a tragic pose .He is "the dead guy." He is posed either lying on the ground or staggering back.

For kids, the dead guy was perhaps the most useless figure of all.

Herald was one of the first with a Dead guy. He is a soldier in 1950s kit with SLR rifle in hand. His free arm is raised and he is bent backwards. The intent it to make him look as if he had just caught a bullet.

Marx followed suit with an officer in a similar pose, albeit armed with a pistol. The same set had a crawling guy holding a bandage over his chest. Not quite Dead, perhaps, but in the same category as far as toy soldiers. Useless, as little boys see it.

Several companions made casualties of "enemy" figures/. Marx produced a Japanese soldier being hit ands a fallen German casualty. British makes did the same in their German toy soldier sets.

Realism or a useless addition? The Dead guy is for diorama makers. Those playing with plastic or metal Army men have no real place for him.


  1. Very original post Mr. Sheil! It's true that children don't like "dead guys". In my case, I did bring that back from my childhood...I hate "dead guys"! It's "dead wood" for the war gamer I am ;-)

  2. I've never liked the dead guy, for pretty much the reasons you adduce. As far as i am concerned, the dude that has been knocked over or otherwise shot is the KIA or WIA or possibly simply MIA. I still kinda like to leave the casualties littering the stricken field. It evokes two conflicting feelings: the horrible carnage that battles can wreak; but also a sense of a real fight having taken place. Probably fairly typical of one who has never seen - and hopes never to see - real military combat.

  3. As a child in the 70's, I actually liked the wounded and "dead guy" figures from the Marx set, including the one on the litter. Perhaps it was the detail. I was the target age for the Army men and even at that young age, they stood out as unique. Later, with my action figures, like Mego Star Trek or super hero figures, I would often prefer to apply battle damage. There was always something more realistic, or perhaps at that age I saw it as heroic, to have a figure in that condition, yet still survive. But looking back that far, it is difficult to know where my head was for sure. But I absolutely recall those Marx Army Men with wounds, etc. They are what brought me here. And as an adult, I am surprised they included them in those sets. Something that certainly wouldn't happen today.