Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Real Superman


Superman. The real Superman. This figure looks like George Reeves, the man who played Superman in the late 1940s and early 1950s. For those of us over a certain age, this is the real Superman.

"...Look up in the sky, it's a bird, it's a plane, no... it's Superman!"

"Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound"

 He stands in that famous pose which was part of the opening of the Superman Show. At that point the announcer would say  "The never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way."

George Reeves stood in his Superman costume with Old Glory as these words were read.

Superman was not one of the buff cut Schwarzenegger type strongmen. He was the older style strong man with thick torso, and these days the muscle-heads* would think him out of shape. Nonetheless, he was our Superman.

But on to another story. Back in 1957, the Louis Marx company manufactured  one of its playsets with a tin-litho structure. It was a toy skyscraper, complete with toy office furniture, workers and accessories. All the desks have ashtrays on them. From the outside, it looked like a multi-storied skyscraper. Inside were four floors.  The first floor had a bank, a drug store, a lobby and an elevator to the roof. Second was a floor with offices, then a floor with a gym, and lastly a stockroom.

Wow! Exciting! In the words of our mentor, “Yes, indeedy, boys and girls!”

It was a complete flop.

How could the folks at Marx not anticipate that? If you have lived anywhere that skyscrapers abound, you might be wondering why anyone would make a toy one. In the movie "Big", the adult toymakers came up with a skycraper toy. The main character told them it would not sell because it was not fun.

Anyone can see that.
Skyscraper photo courtesy of Mike Prendergast. Warhorse Miniatures

One item could have transformed a boring skyscraper into an exciting playset. One item. One figure. And here he stands before you: Superman. A skyscraper playset might be a dull day of play, but add this one figure and it becomes a Superman playset complete with the Daily Planet building. All you need is a toy Lex Luthor, a handful of plastic play Kryptonite and two or three old-style thugs to fill it out. Yet even without Luthor and his goons, Superman turns a dull toy into a fun toy.

Marx intended to make a Daily Planet / Superman playset. The company had everything in place: building, figures, accessories and Superman. Licensing fees were too high, so they scrubbed that idea. Rather than scrap the whole thing, they made it without Superman.

This figure of Superman is unique. Copies of him have been recast. Recast? Aside from a few sample figures, he was never cast in the first place. This is a toy figure for a playset that never happened. And had it not been for collectors, he might never have been cast again.


The Warhorse Miniatures site is at

Superman Figure aquired from James Wozniak at

*people like Jimmy Caruso.

** Louis Marx was notoriously cheap about licensing. He even disliked giving a few train sets to executives from railroad companies who allowed him to use their logos and liveries. One has to wonder if that cheap streak was behind his inability to secure licensing for Superman.
Louis Marx’s philosophy insofar as products was to make them cheap but make them sturdy. He was always looking to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

OMOG Science Fiction / Space Supplement Available

The Science Fiction / Space supplement to the OMOG Advanced game rules can be downloaded here:

Have fun!

This is a set of ideas for running your own skirmish games. Much is still tentative.

You can download OMOG Advanced here:

There is a place to discuss OMOG and Shambattle games here:

Monday, September 4, 2017

Big Bucket of Zombies!

All the Zombies you can stand!

Arriving this morning was an unexpected surprise: a Big Bucket of Zombies - 100 pieces! Inside are Zombies, scared people, headstones and Zombie Dogs cast in light and dark gray. The figures are of the caricature type, though some of the poses are gruesome. Here is a great way to build an army of Zombies to play our Zombie Supplement to OMOG Advanced.

The tube is almost two feet long!
3 Female Zombies and 2 scared people at right.

5 Zombie males, one with an axe stuck in his head

Two Zombie dogs and kneeling Zombie eating entrails
Zombie leaving grave, slithering Zombie and two tombstones

In case you have not heard, we have posted a tentative set of Rules for a Zombie game. It is a supplement to our modern skirmish game rules, OMOG Advanced. The tentative Zombie Supplement to OMOG Advanced is available at our Shambattle and OMOG Facebook group at

These are a set of tenatative rules for a Zombie game supplement to OMOG Advanced (obtainable free at  and )

Saturday, September 2, 2017



Movies like Night of the Living Dead and television series such as The Walking Dead revolve around re-animated corpses that attack humans en-masse. Colloquially known as Zombies after the Haitian legend, these mindless monsters meander across the landscape. Most move in packs ranging from a few individuals to hundreds. They are motivated by food. Their food is any living being they can catch.

The adventures of the humans forced to fight these ghouls are the gist of the movies and TV shows. In some of the older movies, people took shelter and fought off marauding hordes. In other series, the humans had to fend off both the Zombies and human antagonists.

Zombies do not die easily. In most Zombie tales, they have to be decapitated or take a strike or shot to the head. That makes fighting them all the more difficult. And worse, in some stories, the bite of a Zombie is contagious. Those bitten will soon become Zombies themselves.

Naturally, the folks who make Army Men added their two cents and began making sets of Zombies. I bought a couple of these sets about three years ago. Yesterday, I found another set of Zombies for sale at the Freehold Dollar Tree store.
45mm Defenders

The first set of Zombies had a bag of figures about 45mm tall. There were two sides: blue colored human defenders and lime green Zombies. These figures had the most realistic proportions.
45mm Zombies

This next set by Imperial had 90 figures around the 54mm size. There were 45 Zombies in six poses and 45 “Zombie Responders” in blue. The Responders were Chinese copies of the Timmee M16 / Vietnam GIs in twelve poses. The Zombies were more caricature the realistic. The figures came in a clear plastic can.
54mm Zombies and Responders

The last set were bags if 14 figures each: two headstones, two Zombie dogs and ten Zombies. These were also caricature types. They were molded in stiff grey plastic.

Dollar Tree Zombies

In Night of the Living Dead, the Zombies were a spontaneous phenomenon that was getting under control the next day.

In The Walking Dead, the Zombie disease has decimated the population, leaving a world that is part post-apocalyptic and part dystopian. The Zombies are out of control and society has broken down into roving bands of people and various settlements made of armed survivors. There is as much or more conflict between groups of living humans as there are confrontations with the Zombies.

Scenarios for possible games using Zombies might be a battle between two of these dystopian groups amid roving bands of Zombies. Another could be a n attempt to rescue people trapped by zombies amid a land plagued by meandering Zombies. Then there is a game where each tem tries to make it to the other side of the board with as few casualties as possible, fending off Zombies along the way.

I am working on a Zombie scenario game for OMOG.