Back in the 50s and 60s, there were several types of toy figures sold in bags. In my neighborhood, the most common ones in the late 50s through the 60s were Tim Mee, Lido, Payton and MPC. Of course, we only knew two of the brands then: Tim Mee and MPC. The others were not known by brand. Indeed, some of the sets were sold under other brands.
The types of figures included "modern" soldiers, Cowboys & Indians, Knights, Civil War guys, spacemen and astronauts, dinosaurs, and farm animals. Modern soldiers included troops from World War II to Vietnam. Marx playsets were a bit more expensive and some kids received them as Christmas gifts. (The only ones I received as gifts were an early Fort Apache and an early castle with knights. Others I bought when I was older.)
Tim Mee soldiers had based on which to stand. Lido’s figures only had flat feet and were easily topples. MPC at the time were mostly "ring hand" figures with separate weapons. Kids either loved them or hated them. There was no middle ground.
Some of us inherited other soldiers from older brothers and cousins. The thick, bulky soldiers and spacemen by Ajax, Archer, Beton / Bergen and Plasticraft were no longer on store shelves in my area. by 1960. By the same token, lead soldiers were also inherited by a few of us. They stood out because they looked very different from the more proportionate Tim Mee and Lido figures.
Recently, Processed plastic, maker of Tim Mee, sold its assets to J Lloyd, a toymaker. Jeff Imel has worked with them to remake many of the Tim Mee favorite figures. Jeff provide several sets for me to review, and here is the first part of it.
The first one is just plain Soldiers. 100 Pieces. A long bag with 100 of the M-16 Army Men in tan and green plastic. What can I say about these guys? They have been around for 47 years now. Dressed in uniforms of the 1965 to 1980 era, they come in a variety of poses. Mot of the classic poses are there.
Next is Galaxy Laser Team, their later 1970s set of space figures. Included therein are a couple of NASA-type astronauts, a couple of the type that copied either the 1970s Buck Rogers series or Star Wars’ rebels. There is also a girl at a console who looks like a member of the Star Trek’s Enterprise crew. Topping out the characters is a small, washboard-like thing that is supposed to be a small robot, a character with a clublike weapon who resembles Darth Vader, and a furry, antenna headed creature with a space rifle who looks like Chewbacca. One oddity is a turtle-like creature with lobster claws. Last of all is a craft that slightly resembles a Star Wars X-wing.
Galaxy Laser Team was obviously made to capitalize on the Star Wars movie. Unlike the official figures sold in store, this space-opera-in-a-bag was cheap. For the price of one of the official figures, one could get a bag or two of Tim Mee’s contribution to the space fantasy genre.
Next is the Combat Patrol. That is the name it is sold under now. It has a pair of Jeeps and two cannons. These jeeps and cannons were very common in the old days. Usually, Tim Mee would pack one vehicle or cannon into a bag of soldiers. You might get a jeep, cannon, armored car or tank. The jeep itself is a standard type used rom the 1940s to the early 1960s. Technically, the vehicle that superseded it was the "Ford Mutt:", but GIs continued to refer to them as jeeps.
The cannon here looks to be based on a 75mm or short 105mm gun, or maybe the Britains 25 pounder. In Civil War sets, all they did was put red spoked wheels on the same cannon. It actually looked more like a World War I French 75mm gun when they did that.
The Frontiersman set is a bunch of fellows who could be Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett types. There are some mounted poses, but the current Tim Mee does not have the old horse molds, so none are included. These figures are great as scouts and riflemen for French & Indian war, the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Alamo. They go good with larger figures like BMC’s Revolutionary War soldiers.
The Cowboys and Indians set shown here baffled me at first. I did not recognize the cowboys and only half of the Indians. Why? The old molds were discontinued and a new mold was used around 1970. By then, I was not into Cowboys and Indian, being more into hobby figures at the time. These are very tall figures, ranging up to 3 inches for a standing man. If you have Large Scale trains such as Aristocraft or Hartland Locomotive Works, especially Western railroad type equipment, these figures are the right size. Just paint them up or convert them to other poses.
Last of all are People at Play. I never saw this set in the stores. Then again, I would not have been looking for these type figures. What you get is a "family" doing things like throwing a baseball, cheerleading with pom-poms, jumping rope and other leisure activities. I guess the father is working in his home woodshop, because he has hand tools. They are closer to 54mm size.
Here is where you can get them: Victory Buy
Tomorrow we will start opening bags and looking at what is inside.