The Combat Soldiers are the old Lido American troops, cast from original molds. Even better, the molds have been restored. The current run of figures do not have the flash that some of the Tootsietoy reissues had. They are crisply molded, just like they were back in the old days. This set has ten different poses of World War II era American infantrymen.
We used to call these soldiers “flat foots”. Instead of having a base, their feet were flat enough to stand on a smooth surface. And for all the collectors’ talk of Marx figures, these flat-foots were the most common army men. They were in toy shops, general stores, and anywhere else small toys were sold. We had bushels of them! The only toy soldier set that has been more prolific is the Tim Mee M16 soldiers, which have been produced, copies and clones in greater abundance than any other plastic soldier. Even then, the Lido figures were more common well into the 1970s and had been reissued a few times since..
Plastic soldier collectors who want a good representative set of the Lido flat-foots would do well to acquire the BMC reissues. And with originals selling at a dollar apiece or more, the BMC recasts are a bargain.
One of the anomalies of this set is the four of the figures are identical to those in the old Marx 60mm infantry set. The main difference is that the Lido helmets have simulated netting molded on them while the Marx ones are plain. Apparently, both companies used the same sculptor.
The person who designed the flat-foots was on to something. As kids, we loved them. We could fit them in toy trucks and tanks, for instance. W could easily place them in the little foxholes were dug for them in the dirt. And for casualties, we just knocked them over. The Lido soldiers were perfect for indoors and outdoors.
As for Marx, I need to clarify things here. Marx was sold mainly in toy stores and catalog sales (Sears, Monkey Wards, etc.). It was only later in the 60s that they appeared in some 5&10 stores like Kresges. Marx cost more. Lido and Tim Mee soldiers could be anywhere. They would be in general stores, corner candy stores, groceries and similar places. They were ubiquitous. Add that fact that many of our parents were Depression babies and looked for the cheapest things they could get. Bags of Lido, Tim Mee and Payton army men were cheap. In those days, a bag might cost anywhere from 19 cents to 29 cents. Two boys could pool their allowance, buy a bag an then “divvy them up.” And we could get them tight in the neighborhood. The nearest candy store or corner grocery was never more than two blocks away.
(Back then, corner stores often carried a few small toys and other things. Today we call them ‘impulse buys.”)
The Lido figure and the Tim Mee World War II soldiers had some great poses. The thing about Lido’s flat-foots was that the individual figures also had character. Along with dynamic poses. they had faces that were distinct. For instance, the officer waving his pistol looked like he was talking our the side of his mouth. (I tried that and got in trouble.) The bayonet guy looks like he is about to give a Japanese a dose of bayonet therapy. And the fellow with rifle overhead might be about to smash a latter day Hessian with a rifle butt, or cross a creek.
The BMC reissued Lido soldiers are a great asset for the plastic soldier collector. They look like they did 60+ years ago thanks to the restored mold. It is a good set to have. Likewise, those who enjoy painting toy soldiers can have a lot of fun with these guys. They are army men with character. Lido army men are essential to anyone who considers himself a collector of plastic soldiers
For more info about the original Lido soldiers, check here from the Army Men Homepage:
You can order the BMC reissued flat-foot army men here: