Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tim Mee "Atomic Family" "People at Play."

Let me preface this article by stating that I do not remember this set of figures. Of course, I was not looking for these kind of figures back in the old days. My interest was soldiers, from ancient times to modern. The only civilian figures I wanted were 1/48 scale to go with my Lionel and Marx trains. And the Atomic Family is more than twice that size.

The "People at Play" set includes twenty-four figures in six poses: two adults, two teenagers and two children. The attire and hairstyle are of the 1960s. The give-away is the teenage boy’s hair. Anything earlier would have been short and possibly greased back with a handful of Brylcreem. The teenage daughter’s very short skirt also betokens the 1960s. And from here, the ancient principle of HoKee is in effect.

First, the father is casually dressed,. In his right hand he holds a pipe, and a claw hammer in his left. Most tasks involving a claw hammer are WORK, not PLAY. And for whom are hammers playthings? What, or whom, does he plan to hit with that hammer?

The mother is standing, wearing slacks and a loose blouse. He hands are gloved, and in her left she holds a flower pot and a gardening shovel. The shovel and pot look a bit too small.

The son looks like an average jock with his football and varsity-style sweater. He holds a football as if he is going to casually throw it. The teenage daughter is a typical cheerleader with mini-skirt and pop poms. By pom-poms I mean the things in her hands. As to that other set of pom-poms, both Mom and Sis are members of the Itty-Bitty-Titty-Committee.

The children are typical. The little girl is skipping rope and her kitty-cat sits nearby. That cat must be a statue because anyone jumping nearby would send a feline running. The girl is very well sculpted, by the way. The animation in her pose, from the hair to her feet, is good.

Little brother is about to throw a ball while his little dog awaits. The dog looks like a Ca-Ca-Spaniel. The boy has a baseball glove on his left hand. Who ever wore a baseball glove to play "fetch" with the dog? Does he think the dog will toss the ball back to him?

The children are proportionate. The teenagers and adults are tall and very skinny. Somalia skinny. This is why some enterprising toy soldier hobbyists are converting them into Zombies. And yes, this little set of 24 figures will give you at least 16 really good, skinny zombies.

A creative Large Scale model railroader would be able to convert the adults and teens into trackside figures for 1/29 and 1/30 scale trains.

Overall, the six figures have excellent sculpting insofar as detail, which is clear and crisp.. The children’s poses and the cheerleader are well-animated. The other three poses are standing still. They wear casual attire suitable from the mid-60s to the present. The hairstyles are nondescript enough that they could fit into a diorama from 1965 to the present. That is a good 50 years of being relevant.

My wife took a look at the figures and she liked them. Audrey has a good eye for things. The idea of a family at play appealed to her, as did the sculpting of the miniatures.

The Atomic "Family at Play" is molded in green and tan.

The Atomic Family figures are similar to other plastic families packed with the tin-litho dollhouses in the 1960s. The dollhouses by Marx, Wolverine and others featured colorful lithography. They came packed with plastic furniture and a few plastic family figures. Both people and furniture had minimal or no paint. The people tended to be stiffly posed and stereotypical of the 1950s and early 1960s. Apparently, the "Atomic family" were meant to supplement dollhouse figures or replace missing ones. They are sized well to complement the Marx sets.

How do I know this? After all, what would I have wanted with a dollhouse in the old days? It was not me. And I did not have an older sister. The person with the dollhouse was my younger so-called brother. (We were adopted. I came from Pennsylvania, a pretty normal state if you don't count the numerous bumpkins. He came from Ireland.) Yes, folks, I was the boy in the neighborhood who had the "sissy kid" as a brother.

My mother - also adoptive - thought he was wonderful. Me? Just the opposite. She did not want a normal boy. She wanted a "nice" boy. To her thinking, the kid who liked army men and trucks and trains was "bad." The one who loved dollhouses and play kitchens and toy ironing boards was "good." And to make it worse, I had to let him play with me. If he wanted to play with my friends and I, and we left him out, I would catch hell.

This was the kid who got the cardboard play kitchen in bright coral pink. He had the Dale Evans jeep and referred to it as his "surrey with a fringe on top." He had to have the Hartland "Dale Evans and Buttermilk" horse and rider. And he got a big Marx dollhouse with furniture and its hokey plastic family. Mom thought he was just the most wonderful, sweetest boy....

One day, while he was out somewhere, my friends and I found a more rational use for Weird Boy’s dollhouse. We removed the furniture and put in troops. There were snipers in the windows and on the roof. A tank’s barrel protruded from the doorway. We had our own toy soldiers battle of St. Lo cooking. And then he came home. He looked at us and screamed. You would think we destroyed the thing.

One of the things that gives me comfort is that I have no genetic connection to any of them.

And that is how I know that the Atomic Family would have been a good addition to one of the tin-litho dollhouses of the era. I used to see my brother playing with his two-story Marx house with its doorbell and such. Its dollhouse family had a man with a pipe, a woman in a long skirt, a boy, a girl and an infink. Or maybe two infinks. I do not know for sure. I checked out Toy Soldier Hq to see some of the figures. They showed the same set my brother had. I remember the woman because she reminded me of the Miss Moneypenny figure in the old Gilbert James Bond 007 play sets.

The Atomic family "People at Play" set is useful if you need civilian bystanders, Large Scale trackside figures or pieces to convert to make Zombies. Not bad for less than 50 cents per figure. And the best part is that they really paint up well. This is the kind of good detail that you do not always find in by-the-bag figures.

 To see these figures painted beautifully and how they match up with other types of similar size, check out Scott Lesch's album: Click here

To purchase these figures: Click here for Victory Buy

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