Marx Lane

An Inventory of Marx Playset Figures and Accessories
Manufactured from 1951 to 1979

Wild West Page 3 - 54mm Figures
Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.

Table of Contents for This Page

(click on name to move to section)
This Page
Alamo Frontiersmen Zorro Figure
Alamo Mexicans (shako hats) Zorro Character Figures
Zorro Mexican Soldiers (round hats)
Wyatt Earp Character Figure Wagon Driver with Whip
Jim Hardie Character Figure Rifleman Character Figures
54mm Indians Gunsmoke Character Figures
54mm Cowboys Johnny Ringo Figure
54mm Roy Rogers Characters Reverse Confederates
54mm Lone Ranger Character Figures Centennial or Medical Group figures
54mm Additional Indians Falling Horse and Rider
54mm Miners and Trappers Long Coat Cavalry
Wagon Train Character Figures Boonesborough Pioneers

54mm Cavalry

Other Pages
Page 1 - 45mm Figures
Page 2 - 60mm Figures
Page 3A - The Alaska Connection
Page 4 - Large Scale Figures
Page 5 - Figures Manufactured Outside the U.S.
Page 6 - Miniature Playsets
Page 7 - Uncommon and Other Miscellaneous Figures
Page 8 - Horses, Cattle, and Other Animals
Page 9 - Forts, Structures, and Terrain Pieces
Page 10 - Accessories
Page 11 - Wonderland of Playset Boxes
Page 12 - List of Wild West Playsets
Back to Wild West Table of Contents
Back to Main Table of Contents

In 1956, Marx began to downsize its figures.  In a transition that took several months, the 60mm figures were replaced with new, smaller 54mm figures.  According to Playset Magazine, this allowed the company to provide more figures and accessories in playsets without increasing costs.  This "piece count" was used by toy companies to market such products.  During the transition, many playsets were issued with figures of both sizes, as well as the older 45mm figures.  Even after the change was complete, Marx continued to include more than one scale of figures in some playsets.  However, from 1957 forward, the overwhelming percentage of figures included in Marx wild west playsets were 54mm scale.

Alamo Frontiersmen

The first set of 54mm figures that Marx created was a group of American pioneers and soldiers for its Davy Crockett at the Alamo in 1956.  Unfortunately, the company had to fill promised orders of the playset -- based on Walt Disney's Davy Crockett movie with Fess Parker -- in late 1955, before the new figures were ready.  Or at least most collectors believe that is the reason that the initial Alamo playsets were rushed out with the old 45mm Fort Dearborn cavalrymen defending the Alamo.  This changed with the new Alamo frontiersmen figures the following year.

The group includes nine 54mm Alamo defenders.  
The mold has ten cavities, making up a complete set of the frontiersmen, including a duplicate pose of the mounted swordsman.  Marx included only the one mounted pose in the group, which seems logical since it is unlikely that the Alamo's defenders had much use for cavalry.  These figures undoubtedly were in thousands of Alamo sets and, eventually, were included as part of many other Marx wild west playsets.  

They were initially issued in silver and light tan, but were produced in many other colors, including an inexplicable green in Marx' Comanche Pass set in the early 1970s.  I initially wrote here that this was called either lime green or pea green, but now that I have 25 or 30 of these figures, I see that Marx actually produced the figures in at least two different shades of green (whether on purpose or simply by accident, I am not sure).  As shown at right (if your computer is able to handle the color difference), the figure on the left is a light yellow green (lime), while the one of the right is a slighty darker pea soup green.  If you buy a few of these guys from different Comanche Pass Play Sets, you should be able to see the difference much more clearly.

The obvious question about this set is "Which one is Davy Crockett?"  The generally accepted answer is the
coonskin-capped pioneer swinging his rifle like a club (Pose 2), mimicking the Disney movie's final battle scene that fades away as a lonesome Davy whales away at the insurmountable Mexican hordes.  However, in addition to this group of figures, many Davy Crockett Alamo sets included a 45mm Davy Crockett character figure (see figure at bottom of Page 1 of this web site).  But the 45mm version is a peaceful figure, standing quietly with his rifle held across his chest, and us kids were convinced that the figure walloping Mexicans with his rifle was the real Davy Crockett. 

Overall, the figures are not an exceptional group, but there are -- other than the rifle-swinging Davy Crockett -- at least two of interest.  Perhaps the best known figure of the group is the turkey man (Pose 8).  While 8 of the 9 poses are firing and slashing and clubbing and running, turkey man is casully walking along with his rifle held across his shoulders, bringing home the bacon...uh, well, the turkey.  I am at a loss as to why Marx included him in this group.

The other notable figure is my personal favorite from the set, the bugler (Pose 5).  This is no laid-back, don't-hurt-me-I'm-just-a-musician bugler.  Still holding his bugle in his left hand, he has has been given an Errol Flynn pose, engaged in heavy sword play with some unsuspecting Mexican soldier who assumed he could easily take down the bugler.  He was obviously wrong.

One final note on the group: no less than four of the figures are wearing coonskin hats, including Turkey Man.  The hat was the trademark of Davy Crockett, though I am not sure if this is true or if this was simply a made-for-the-movies invention.  It's extremely doubtful that nearly half of the Alamo defenders wore coonskin hats.  On the other hand, I'm sure that putting four guys in those hats served to spur the sales of the fake-fur coonskin hats to us kids!  You can still buy them at Disneyland.
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.

1.  Mounted, with sword 2.  Clubbing with rifle
(unofficial Davy Crockett)
3.  Standing, firing rifle
4.  Kneeling, firing rifle 5.  Advancing with sword and bugle 6.  Running, rifle in right hand
7.  Running, rifle in left hand 8.  Walking with turkey 9.  Walking with rifle

Hard plastic re-issue figures in green
Note tiny head on axe of figure on right.

Alamo Mexican Soldiers (shako hats)
PL-726 and 726A

At about the same time that the 54mm Alamo defenders showed up, Marx also released 54mm Mexican soldiers in the Alamo playsets.  However, similar to the Alamo defenders, these Mexicans figures were not included in the first Alamo playset.  Most collectors believe that the mold was not ready in time for the playset's initial release.  So, in what has to be Marx' most blatant "error" set, the company tossed in 45mm Fort Dearborn Indians to beseige the Alamo.  Or so the long-standing legend goes.  Playset Magazine has recently pointed out that Marx may have had other reasons for the Indian attackers.  According to the magazine, 1) Marx received the mold in plenty of time to produce Mexican soldiers, 2) the company may have formulated the playset around the new Davy Crockett Indian Fighter television show, and 3) the decision was not last minute, because Marx went so far as to actually illustrate the box with Indians.

Although I have no idea what may have gone wrong with the mold or how long it takes to prepare box art, I find it hard to believe Marx would intentionally market an Alamo playset with Indians.  The company could have easily produced a Davy Crockett Indian Fighter playset with one of their existing cabins instead of the Alamo, as well as creating a box labeled Dave Crockett and the Indians.  In light of the need to capitalize on the Davy Crockett movie before us kids moved on to a new hero, I tend to believe that the Mexican figures were not ready, Alamo playsets had been promised to retail outlets, and Marx decided to go with the Alamo one way or the other.  In any case, this glaring historical inaccuracy involved only the very first playset version (#3530), and the Mexican figures appeared in all other Alamo playsets, even in later 1955.

blue Mexican soldiers were manufactured in PL-726, and cream soldiers (as well as the 45mm Davy Crockett shown on Page 1 of this web site) were made with PL-726A.   The group includes six poses, but the molds have cavities for 10 Mexican figures.  Playsets included groups of 10, one each of the six poses, plus one extra "standing, firing," one extra "advancing with rifle lowered," and two extra "walking with rifle in right hand."  Collectors refer to these Mexicans as the shako hat Mexicans, because of their tall, conical uniform head gear.  Marx added a second set of Mexican soldiers for its Zorro playsets in 1958 (see PL-970 later on this page); those are identified as round hats, because of their sombrero head gear.  The round hats were included in some later Alamo playsets, and the shako hats were included in at least one version of the Zorro playsets.

Marx also produced these figures in a waxy light blue for their Alamo "Heritage" play set in the early 1970s.  The color pretty much swallows up the figures' details, and most collectors avoid the figures in this color.  Photo 2 below is a photo of a "Heritage" figure, but the photo has been darkened and manipulated to improve the photo quality.

Personally, I find this a rather boring set of figures lacking any spark of imagination.  Its six poses are run-of-the-mill fighting poses that had been manufactured by dozens of toy companies for years.  My only concession might be Figure 3 below, which is a unique Marx figure in that it's rifle is aimed upward (toward the Alamo defenders positioned on the walls).  Moreover, for any kid re-enacting the battle, the playset painfully lacks anyone who can serve as the Mexican commander Santa Ana.  As mentioned in the previous section, my childhood Alamo playset was the version with Indians, and I like them "way better" than the Mexicans.

On the other hand, collector John Pyle has pointed out to me a very interesting fact about Pose 1 below, so perhaps I should add it as another pose of interest.  I -- and many others -- have always believed that this fellow is meant to be climbing a ladder placed against a wall of the Alamo.  Based on photos I have seen on Ebay, many other people believe that he is intended to be mounted, the odd positioning of his upper body perhaps suggesting that he has just been shot or is dodging gunfire from the Alamo defenders.  John, however, informed me that he has discovered the pose fits perfectly and rather firmly when placed atop a thin Marx Alamo tin wall, as if he is climbing over the wall without the help of a ladder ("We don't need no stinking ladders!").  His left hand is on top of the wall, and his right leg is already over the wall -- see photos of this positioning below.  This positioning also explains his awkward pose.  I was amazed at how perfectly he fits there.  Try it out!

In mid-2007, Playset Magazine valued metallic blue figures in good condition at $4 to $6 and cream ones at $8 to $12.  Figures in near mint condition could cost double that, but you can find ones in nice played-with condition for a little less.  The less popular "Heritage" play set figures in light blue are also less expensive.  Check to be sure the plumes are still attached to their hats!  

     Click here to see horses related to these figures.

1.  Climbing over wall with rifle 2.  Mounted with sword and rifle 3.  Standing, firing rifle
4.  Clubbing with rifle
(in the more expensive cream color)
5.  Advancing with bayonet 6.  Walking with rifle in right hand
Correct placement for Pose 1, climbing the wall with legs straddling the top of the wall and left hand on wall, based on collector John Pyle's input.  I don't know if Marx intended it that way or not, but he fits perfectly in this position.

Wyatt Earp Figure

This lone 54mm Wyatt Earp figure was included in Wyatt Earp Dodge City Western Town playsets first sold, according to Playset Magazine Issue 66, by Montogonery Wards in 1957 and the following year by both Wards and Speigel's.  The playset was based on the television program The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which lasted from 1955 to 1961.  The Marx figure is an excellent representation of Hugh O'Brian, who played the role on the show, and looks nothing like the real Wyatt Earp.  The figure is holding a Buntline special used by Earp on the television program, a .45 pistol with an extra-long barrel for extra power and accuracy.  Some historians believe Wyatt actually used this long-barreled weapon that journalist Ned Buntline had made specifically for him and other legendary wild west notables, but others believe that such a pistol never existed.

Wouldn't it have been nice if Marx had produced figures of the entire Tombstone gang?  All five Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Johnny Behan, John Clum, the Clantons, the McLaurys....  Or at least the Earp brothers?  Alas, being a business rather than a toy collector, Marx was out to make money, and by using its standard wild west town and adding one extra figure, it was able to  cheaply create an entirely new product.  Of course, that type of production efficiency is one big way that Marx stayed in the business for so long!

I must admit that I do not recall ever seeing this television show, and collector Ed Dutcher has pointed out that -- except for a 5-show finale -- Bat and Doc were the only regulars on the series other than Wyatt.  Moreover, there was a separate Bat Masterson television series (Bat played by Gene Barry), and TV moguls considered doing a separate show on Doc, with Adam West protraying Doc.  So Ed figures that "legal hassles would have been enormous" to include additional character figures.  I bow to his superior knowledge, but still long for the Giant Wyatt Earp Play Set!  

While this figure was produced in the standard cream color of most character figures, it has also been found occasionally in black, gray, and tan.  As with many figures, the gray ones may be discolored cream figures that have been dug up at a Marx dump site.

I have not seen any re-issues or copies of this figure.

1.  Wyatt Earp
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Wyatt Earp figure $62 May 2011 Ebay

Jim Hardie Figure

The Jim Hardie figure was included in Marx' Tales of Wells Fargo playsets introduced in 1959.  The playset was based on
the television program by the same name, which ran from 1957 to 1962.  Jim Hardie, a Wells Fargo agent played by Dale Robertson, was the only regular cast member in the program and the only unique figure included in the playset.  A few other regulars were added to the show in its final year, but Marx was no longer producing the playset by that time.

     The playset was an exlusive for Montgomery Wards, but unfortunately it was not a big seller and was produced for only one year.  In the same year, Marx debuted a western-styled train set and sold some Tales of Wells Fargo play sets that included the train set, with "Tales of Wells Fargo" lithographed in gold on the side of the train's tender.  To the best of my knowledge, this was the company's only wild west play set that combined a play set with Marx' popular train line.  This tactic was apparently not successful, as I am aware of only three other times that the company considered combining its play sets with its train sets.  Two were actually released:  a Cape Canaveral playset and a military Training Center playset.  In addition, according to one Marx expert, the company considered production of a large circus play set 
that included a Super Circus play set and a circus train.  The idea of a circus train would certainly have attracted me as a child, but unfortunately that one never reached the production stage.

The Jim Hardie figure is 54mm and was produced in a cream color soft plastic.  It is somewhat unique in that Agent Hardie is a lefty.  Because of the relatively small number of play sets sold, the figure is a bit difficult to find.  However, it is occasionally up for auction on Ebay and seems to sell in the $60 to $90 range.  This is a pretty large range and has not seemed to be based solely on condition, which suggests to me that the value of a rather scarce figure depends quite a bit on such other factors as the seller's reputation, who knows it is for sale, and how badly somebody wants it!

I have not seen any re-issues or copies of this figure.
1.  Jim Hardie
Recent Price Lines I Have Noticed
$125 April 2011 Ebay high bid
$52 April 2011 Ebay A good deal for the buyer!
$66 June 2011 Ebay good condition
$123 June 2011 Ebay Price seems to be all over the place!
$56 Sept 2011 Ebay good price for buyer
$74 Sept 2011 Ebay
$65 Sept 2012 Ebay

54mm Indians

This group and the following cowboy group were the first non-Alamo wild west figures in the new 54mm size, both in 1957.  The Indian group includes nine poses, though the mold itself included 16 cavities.  Six poses were duplicated, and a totem pole was also in the mold (see Page 8 of this web site).  Early figures came in flat yellow and a blood red.  Yellow and red brown were eventually the most common colors, though the Indians were produced in many different colors, including cream, several
shades of butterscotch, other shades of brown, and a color that collectors call red wine.

The figures are nicely detailed, though a bit smallish and rather fragile (especially the bow strings).  Pose 1 below is especially difficult to find with all three single feathers on the lance still attached, in particular the one near his right hand.  I am not sure whether this is because us kids broke it off in playing or the mold was eventually changed to delete this feather.  Despite this fragility, the set has some nice action poses with Indians firing arrows and rushing into battle.  Unlike earlier Marx Indian groups, none were armed with a firearm, though this changed when one of four new poses added to the group in 1958 brandished a rifle (see PL-919 below).

This set was first issued in Fort Apache playsets and continued through the 1970s as the basic Marx Indian set.  The figures are common in the collector marketplace, both as originals and re-issues.  They are relatively inexpensive.

     Click here to see horses related to these figures.
1.  Mounted with feathered lance 2.  Standing,  holding bow and lance 3.  Standing, shooting bow
4.  Walking with tomahawk and scalp 5.  Kneeling, shooting bow 6.  Standing with lance and shield
7.  Running with tomahawk and shield 8.  Dancing with drum 9.  Running with club
Blister card of 54mm Indians with tepee (made in same mold) and 60mm Sitting Bull.
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman.

54mm Cowboys

With the transition to 54mm scale, Marx released a new set of nine 54mm cowboys in 1957.  These appeared in Roy Rogers, Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, western towns, and similar playsets.  
For playsets that included a wagon, the mold was eventually revised (PL-833A) so that a wagon driver (Pose 10) replaced the mounted outlaw pose (Pose 3).

Marx manufactured the early figures in tan, gray, and cream, and later in red brown.  The poses were issued in powder blue in Gunsmoke playsets, and Playset Magazine values figures in that color at $75 to $100.  Re-issues have been made in gray, tan, brown, and yellow, as well as don't get too excited if you happen to stumble across one in a light blue.  As with the 54mm Indians above, the cowboys are common today, both original and re-issue.

Like the its 54mm Indian counterpart, this set has some good action poses.  Five of the nine figures have pistols drawn (including two outlaws), as well as one with a whip, one preparing to use a branding iron, and a very determined-looking mounted roper.  Yet, being a peace-loving guy, I am sorta hooked on the guy who is standing guard with his rifle held loosely across his chest (Pose 9).  I'll admit that he is usually the one that the bad guys sneak up behind and knock out with the butt end of a pistol just before they rustle the entire herd of cattle, but I can't resist that "It's a great day to take a nap" pose.

Most of these figures were eventually combined with PL-1014 into PL-1528, which had 32 cavities.

     Click here to see horses related to these figures.
1.  Mounted, with lasso 2.  Mounted sheriff, pistol in right hand 3.  Mounted outlaw
4.   Standing sheriff, pistol in right hand 5.  With branding iron and rope 6.  Standing with whip
7.  Standing with two pistols drawn 8.  Standing outlaw 9.  Standing, rifle held across chest
10.  Wagon driver

54mm Roy Rogers Character Figures

In 1957, Marx introduced this new 54mm group of Roy Rogers character figures.  The characters are the same people as the 60mm group, but the mounted Roy is now brandishing his pistol, Dale is waving, and Bullet is standing.  Pat Brady's hat now seems to be firmly on his head (he was holding it on in his 60mm pose) and he is armed with a hammer in his right hand.  The smaller figures were a result of the company's overall downsizing of its playset figures from 60mm to 54mm.

The mold had 12 cavities, making three sets of the four figures.  The soft plastic figures were made in the usual cream color.  Dale's and Pat's names are imprinted on the bottom of their bases; Bullet's is on his belly.  The mounted Roy is very similar to the 60mm version -- other than having already drawn his pistol -- but the group does not include a standing pose of Roy.  Bullet is exactly the same dog as Rin Tin Tin included with the 60 mm Rin Tin Rin group (see PL-781 on Page 2), except for the name on his belly.

The group was included in both Roy Rogers ranch playsets and Roy Rogers Western Town playsets.  Today original figures from this group are relatively easy to find, as well as re-issues from Mexico made in assorted bright colors of hard plastic (see group photo below).

And by the way, as noted on Page 2 of this section, I do realize that Roy Rogers was a 20th Century cowboy (as evidenced by the Nellybelle jeep), but I have decided to overlook that fact and include him here with Marx Wild West figures, even though the overall title of the web site is 18th and 19th Century America!
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.

1.  Roy Rogers 2.  Dale Evans

3.  Pat Brady 4.  Bullet

Re-issue figures made in Mexico
Horse is original.

The photo below -- courtesy of Jim McGough -- shows Marx' metal Roy Rogers horse trailer and plastic jeep Nellybelle.  The jeep was included in a few Roy Rogers playsets, but the horse trailer was only sold separately.  If you are into Roy Rogers, you can create quite an elaborate ranch around him with the many Marx Roy Rogers items!
Roy Rogers horse trailer and jeep Nellybelle.  The jeep was included in some play sets.  The trailer was sold separately.
Photo courtesy of  Jim McGough


54mm Lone Ranger Character Figures

In addition to the three 60mm Lone Ranger character figures included in playsets (see PL-497 on Page 2), Marx produced smaller Lone Ranger and Tonto figures that were available only in 1957 and only as cereal premiums.  They were never in playsets or any other store sales.  These figures were part of a set of Marx figures and cardboard buildings that could be purchased for 50 cents with a mail-in coupon from a Cheerios box.  The Lone Ranger is mounted, but now firing his pistol straight ahead; Tonto is standing with his arms crossed in front of him similar to the 60mm figure, but has no feather in his headband.  Tonto's base has his name inscribed on the front of it.  Both figures were cream.

The 22-piece set also included figures in some unique colors that many collectors believe were available no where else:  54mm cowboys (PL-833) in a dark brown and the standard 54mm running horse in white.  Tonto stands 54mm high excluding his base, and the Lone Ranger appears to be 54mm if he sat straight up in the saddle.  However, the Lone Ranger is much thinner than the Tonto figure and, therefore, appears more suitable to the company's 45mm figures than the 54mm ones.  He also seems to fit a 45mm horse better than the 54mm horse.

These character figures were rare until hundreds of them were found in warehouse stock sold after the Marx bankruptcy.  I guess that would indicate that 1) someone at Marx goofed and failed to send a load of the figures to General Mills for the cereal premium, 2) the cereal premium program did not go well, or 3) Marx initially produced the figures to go in a 54mm Lone Ranger playset that was never produced.  The figures are still somewhat difficult to find; you can probably pick up Tonto for around $10 or $20, but the Long Ranger will be a bit more.

I have not seen any re-issues of this group.
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.

This photo is not currently available.
1.  Lone Ranger - cereal premium 2.  Tonto - cereal premium

54mm Additional Indians
PL 919

In 1958, Marx introduced four new poses for its 54mm Indian set.  The new mold for these poses included the already existing nine poses from PL-787 (see above), the four new poses, and duplicate poses of the Indian with lance and shield and the Indian with tomahawk and shield.  Marx continued to use PL-787 at the same time, causing some variation of figures included in playsets.

Because these Indians join the original nine poses in the 54mm Indian set from PL-787, I have numbered them below as 10 to 13. 
Re-issues exist. 
10.  Running with tomahawk and rifle  11.  Running with club and bow
12.  Sitting with peace pipe 13.  Shot with arrow

Go to top of page 


54mm Miners and Trappers

To expand their 54mm cowboy set, Marx created this 12-pose set of miners and trappers, initially as part of its gold mine theme playsets.  The original mold had 17 cavities, including 16 figures and a small sack for the miner with his right arm raised (Pose 3).  It included the trapper holding a fur (Pose 12), but did not include the Miner with a pan on stick (Pose 2).  It also included duplicates of the miner walking with a rifle and lantern (Pose 4), the cowboy drawing his pistol (pose 5), and the sheriff holding a pistol in his right hand pointed forward (Pose 6).  Marx made two revisions to the mold, PL-1014A and PL-1014B.  The revised molds also had 17 cavities, but slightly different contents, including the miner with pan on stick and not the trapper holding a fur.  
Did Marx purposefully try to make things confusing for us collectors?  

This set is nicely detailed and offers a nice variety of poses, including several obviously involved in the mining or trapping activities, five carrying or preparing to use pistols or rifles, and two cowpokes in a fistfight.  
Collector John Pyle has pointed out to me that the gold miner in Pose 2 fits perfectly with the sluice-cradle included in the playsets.  Thanks to John, I have added him in what appears to be his intended positioning with the sluice-cradle in the gold mine section of my web page on Marx Wild West Buildings and Terrain Pieces.  

The original figures are relatively common in today's market; the trapper holding out a fur (Pose 12) is the scarcest, because it was not included in as many playsets.  
The bag that was meant to be held by the Pose 3 figure is virtually impossible to find today, because it was quickly lost by us kids back inthe 1950s due to its size, which is about an inch by a half inch.  It came up in Ebay auctions twice in early 2009 and went for about $100 each time.  The sitting pioneer (Pose 13), similar to the sitting Indian in PL-919, appears to be significantly smaller in scale than the other figures.

Though not a favorite set of mine, I enjoy the "old prospector" (Pose 9).  It's possible he has just robbed the bank and is making good his escape, but I prefer to think that he has recently arrived in town with his bag of gold and is simply protecting what is his.  Either way, he's got a lot of character for a plastic figure and is a nice figure for an action diorama.

Most of these figures were eventually combined with PL-833 (see above) into PL-1528, which had 32 cavities.  Re-issues exist in large numbers.
1.  Walking with jacket and shovel 2.  Holding pan tied to stick
3.  Holding lantern and separate bag
Separate bag not shown.
3.  Miner in photo at left with bag
Photo courtesy of David Schafer
That elusive little bag!
Photo courtesy of David Schafer
Recent price lines I have noticed
Miner with bag $89 August 2012 Ebay

4.  Walking with rifle and lantern 5.  Drawing pistol 6.  Sherriff, pistol in right hand
7.  Fighting, hat on 8.  Fighting, no hat 9.  Old man with pistol and bag
10.  Walking, rifle cradled in right arm 11.  Rifle held at waist 12.  Standing, fur held in arms
13.  Sitting on ground

Wagon Train Character Figures
Two 54mm character figures were included in Marx' Wagon Train playsets, which were first released in 1958.  The play sets and figures are based on the popular Wagon Train television series, which chronicled the adventures of a wagon train as it traveled from Missouri to California.  The series ran from 1957 to 1965.  
The figures, made in a cream color, represent the wagon master, Major Seth Adams, and the wagon train's scout, Flint McCullough.  Some figures in gray have been dug up at the Marx dump site, probably discolored cream ones.  They are finely detailed and are exceptional likenesses of the actors who protrayed these characters, Ward Bond and Robert Horton.  The mold made one figure of each pose in soft plastic.  
Due to the small number of Wagon Train play sets produced, the figures are difficult to find and somewhat expensive, Seth Adams more so than Flint McCullough.  This apparently is because Marx stopped including the Seth Adams figure in its play sets after Ward Bond died and the character Seth Adams did not appear in the final episodes of the show.  Seth Adams is one of my favorite Marx wild west figures.  To me, his pose seems to be more along the line of what "normal" folks would be doing back in the days of the wild west, rather than the shoot-em-up poses, which of course all of us kids loved in the 1950s.  In looking for a good Seth Adams figure, Rick Eber notes that you should be sure the whip handle with the small ball on the end of it is present (see photo below); it is easily broken off.  Also be sure that the rifle is relatively straight; it's hard to find one that is perfect.  A Marx Seth Adams in good used condition sold on Ebay in December 2008 for $78, but I have seen them sell for up to $100 or so.  Flint is much cheaper.
Wagon Train playsets are not cheap either.  They include multiple and sometimes colorful wagons.  According to Playset Magazine, one playset in mint condition sold at auction for just more than $15,000 in late 2008, a price undoubtedly reached due to a gotta-have-it bidding frenzy.  To date, that is the highest known price paid for a Marx play set.  If you have a mint Wagon Train playset to sell, I'd suggest you start the bidding at no more than one-third of that amount.
I have not seen any re-issues of these two figures.
1.  Major Seth Adams 2.  Flint McCullough
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Seth Adams $90 June 2011 Ebay
Seth Adams $160 June 2011 Ebay clean split in rope, high for a broken figure
Seth Adams $200 June 2011 Ebay
Seth Adams $102 Sept 2011 Ebay
Seth Adams $104 Sept 2011 Ebay
Seth Adams $90 Jan 2012 Ebay
Seth Adams $85 Feb 2012 Ebay
Seth Adams $78 June 2012 Ebay

Zorro Figure

This figure was the centerpiece of Marx' Zorro playsets, which were first sold in 1958.  The playsets were based on the television series Zorro, which was produced by Walt Disney.  The series lasted only from 1957 to 1958, and the the playsets were featured in Sears' 1958 Christmas catalog and then discontinued.  Marx, however, sold Zorro sets again in 1965 when the television series was re-run, and this set (#3758) is the easiest of the Zorro sets to find today.

Unlike the cream color of most Marx character figures, Zorro was manufactured in a soft plastic black, the prominent color of his actual clothing.   While other manufacturers fancied up their Zorro figures with detachable swords and capes, the Marx figure was made in one piece with a rather sturdy sword and Superman-style cape flying out behind him.   A Zorro figure and and black running horse in good condition (see lower right photo) sold on Ebay in February 2008 for $77 with 10 bidders.  I was fortunate enough to find one about a month later on a rearing horse for about half that price.  

Again, unlike other manufacturers, Marx did not make a horse specifically for its Zorro figure, but rather manufactured Zorro to fit on its standard 54mm horses with molded on saddles.  He is most often seen on the rearing horse pose.

I have not seen any re-issues or copies of this figure.
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.
  Zorro, front view Zorro, side view
Zorro, mounted on rearing horse Zorro, mounted on running horse
Photo courtesy of E-SELL4DOLLARS on Ebay.


Zorro Character Figures

In addition to Zorro, the Zorro playsets included five other character figures from the television program.  These included:
The 54mm figures are extremely well detailed and realistic; if you look closely at the photo of Don Alejandro below, you will see the exceptional detail on his shirt and vest.  The figures originally were manufactured in a cream soft plastic.  The 1965 playset #3758 included waxy cream or white figures and, occasionally, ones that were a waxy bright yellow.  I have never seen the yellow ones.  Figures have also been found in gray, and these are generally believed to be discolored cream figures that have been dug up from company landfills after the Marx bankruptcy.

I have not seen any re-issues or copies of this group.
1.  Bernardo 2.  Don Diego 3.  Don Alejandro
4.  El Commandante 5.  Sergeant Garcia
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Don Alejandro $40 June 2011 Ebay good condition
Bernardo $46 June 2013 Ebay
Don Alejandro $39 June 2013 Ebay
Don Diego $38 June 2013 Ebay
El Commandante $38 June 2013 Ebay
Sergeant Garcia $40 June 2013 Ebay


Zorro Mexican Soldiers (Round Hats)

These figures were created for the Zorro playsets, and their sombrero hats (called round hats by collectors) suggest that they are modelled on soldiers from the Spainish Colonial period.  However, after first appearing in 1958, they were later used in Alamo playsets, alongside Marx' original Alamo Mexican soldiers with Shako hats, which represent the later period of Mexican independence.

The 54mm figures were issued in a deep or dark sky blue soft plastic and powder blue soft plastic in the 1958 Walt Disney's Zorro Playsets.  Sets issued in 1965 included figures in various shades of blue.  They are a vast improvement over Marx' shako Mexican soldiers, being well detailed and inlcuding a wider variety of poses.

Re-issues exist.
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.

1.  Mounted with lance/flag 2.  Mounted with sword 3.  Standing with sword in fighting position
4.  Advancing with bayonet 5.  Standing, firing rifle 6.  Standing with pistol
7.  Running with rifle 8.  Standing with sword overhead 9.  Walking with rifle in right hand
10.  Standing with staff in right hand

Wagon Driver with Whip

This figure first appeared in Marx' Wagon Train playsets in 1958, with no less than three in each set.  It subsequently was in many playsets that had wagons, including Custer's Last Stand playsets and some larger Fort Apache playsets.  The soft plastic 54mm figure was produced in both a soft plastic cream and, less commonly, a powder blue color.  He also made an appearance in a pea green or lime green color in Marx' Comanche Pass playset in 1974 (notably two years after Louis Marx sold the company).  Wearing what appears to be a cavalry hat, the driver closely resembles the 7th Cavalry group listed below under PL-1449 and is sometimes incorrectly assumed to be a part of that group.

The blue one shown below is in good used condition and cost me $70 in 2008.  The cream and pea green ones cost half that within the next year or so.  I would think that the pea green one might be harder to find, since that color of figure appeared almost exclusively in the Comanche Pass playset, though it popped up in the Red River playset in 1978.  On the other hand, the blue color goes well with the rest of the blue cavalry figures, while it's sorta tough to figure out how to use a pea green cavalryman.  And the details of the figure stand out much better on the blue and cream figures.  I believe cream figures are the most common.  

In any color, it is a hard figure to come by, especially with the whip intact.
 The whip is thin and fragile, and it apparently came out of the mold in a variety of shapes, as seen below.  The pea green whip below is obviously shorter than the others,  but the end of the whip is nicely rounded and appears to have come out of the mold that way.  Since the mold had been around a few years by the time it was used for the Comanche Pass playsets in the 1970s, that seems very possible with usual wear and tear on the mold.

Re-issues exist.
1.  Wagon driver with whip -- blue, pea green, and cream

Recent Price Lines I have noticed
$61 October 2011 Ebay cream
$56 October 2011 Ebay cream
$61 March 2011 Ebay cream
$47 June 2012 Ebay cream
$61 June 2012 Ebay cream
$47 June 2012 Ebay cream
$48 May 2013 Ebay cream


Rifleman Character Figures

Marx' Rifleman Ranch play set was based on the television series The Rifleman, which ran from 1958 to 1963.  The program told the story of New Mexico homesteader Lucas McCain working to make a living off his ranch and to raise his son Mark.  Chuck Connors played the role of Lucas, and Johnny Crawford was Mark.  The Marx playset was released in 1959.

There are two character figures in this set, Lucas and Mark McCain.  The 54mm figures were cream and their names are imprinted on the bottoms of their bases.  Gray figures also exist, probably from the Marx dump.  Marx also included a 3-1/4-inch character rifle with the play sets, a representation of the special Winchester rifle used by Lucas in the program.  The small rifle has a working cocking lever, the trick that allowed Lucas to out draw most everyone else.  The mold made one figure of each pose, plus the rifle.

Both figures have a tale to tell.  According to collector Bob Lancellotti,
the Lucas pose generally is considered not quite as cleanly molded as most Marx character figures.  In addition, several collectors have noted that there is often a molding error around the front waist area of the figure.

Rick Koch had an opportunity in early 2009 to examine the mold used to make the figure and reports that the molding problems apparently were caused by the complexity of the mold.  Unlike 2-piece molds which Marx used to make virtually all its playset figures, the mold for Lucas is in three pieces with a sliding insert.  According to Rick, "The Lucas McCain mold cavity is a 3-piece cavity with a sliding insert.  This means the cavity is more complicated to run.  The insert in the mold is around where he holds the rifle.  If the insert was not perfectly matched when molding, you get (the molding error)."  As a result, a large number of test shots and reject Lucas figures were found in warehouse stock when Marx closed its doors, and Rick believes that the majority of Lucas figures that are now put up for sale come from this stock.  Buyer beware!

Rick reports that the molding error can vary from small to very significant.  It affects the figure's body and clothing just behind the rifle between Lucas' two hands, as well as the positioning of the rifle in the same location.  Viewed straight on, the molding error is not always readily seen, but on close inspection it is.  If you look closely at the second photo of Lucas McCain below, you will see a dark crease in the plastic running from the figure's chest down to his waist, just to the right of his shirt buttons.  The third photo -- taken from above the figure -- shows that the line originates in a discolored splotch of mis-molded plastic in the figure's crotch area (ouch!) and that the figure's rifle also takes a sharp bend in the same general area.  

As for Mark McCain, some time before the Rifleman play set went into production, the pose of Mark was holding a rifle in his right hand.  However, the toy company decided to remove the rifle.  Some say that it was Louis Marx himself who made that decision.  Again, some say that it was because he did not want to have a young boy holding a rifle; however, that had not been a problem with Rusty in the Rin Tin Tin play sets.  Perhaps he got one too many parent complaints about Rusty?

Marx did produce a few prototype figures of Mark with the rifle, and the photo below is one of them, which Rick Koch auctioned off on Ebay in early 2009.  
You can also see one of these rare figures on Francis Turner's web site.  While most of the figures on Francis' site are up for sale, he states that this one is not, so I assume that it is displayed in Francis' Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville, West Virginia.

The winning bid on Rick's auction was $4,550 plus $4.75 postage.  That's more than twice the price that a Johnny Ringo figure sold for (see below), but it's not fair to compare the two, since the Mark McCain figure never went into production.  A former Marx employee told Rick that fewer than 15 such figures were made.  I tried to get a bid of my own in when the price reached about $500 -- just to say that I had led the bidding for a short time -- but my $551 bid was outdone in a nano-second by someone who had already put in a higher bid.   I was sad and glad at the same time:  sad that I could not say I had led the auction for at least a few minutes, but glad that I would not have to tell my wife that I had spent $551 for a 2-inch-tall cowboy made out of plastic.

The two figures from the play set sold together on Ebay in early 2009 for $148.  Lucas is the more expensive, if in good shape.  Bob Lancellotti states that Lucas figures with a relatively small molding error sell in the $55 to $60 range.  A Lucas figure reportedly in fine shape sold on Ebay for just $58 in July 2010, perhaps a sign of the country's continuing economic difficulties.

As with most of the Marx character figures, I have not seen any re-issues or copies of these two figures.

1.  Lucas McCain
Photo provided by Ebay's toysbill
Lucas McCain with molding error, mostly hidden in front view
Common molding error on Lucas McCain figure Oversize Lucas McCain rifle
Photo provided by Dan Brogan.
2.  Mark McCain Mark McCain with rifle
Photo provided by Rick Koch, Ebay toy-hood.
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Mark $40 June 2011 Ebay
Mark $31 June 2011 Ebay
Mark $23 June 2011 Ebay mint, but misidentified
Mark $52 June 2011 Ebay
Mark $57 June 2011 Ebay
Lucas $75 Sept 2011 Ebay good price for buyer
Lucas and Mark $139 December 2011 Ebay
Mark $42 June 2013 Ebay


Gunsmoke Character Figures

Marx' Gunsmoke play set -- which included character figures of the four prominent regulars on the popular television show -- was sold in 1960 and 1961.  That's it.  For whatever reason -- perhaps the cost of production rights -- although the long-running television show Gunsmoke debuted in 1955, Marx did not turn out its play set until the brief era of television wild west programs was already on the decline.  As a result, sales were disappointing, and the play set lasted only two years.

Today these four character figures are among the most difficult Marx wild west figures to find and, therefore, very expensive.  In 2005, Playset Magazine valued the Matt Dillon figure in perfect condition to be worth $700 and the other three in the same condition to be worth $350 each.  In February 2009, dealer Dan Brogan put the four figures in near mint condition up for auction on Ebay.  Matt went for $540, Kitty for $413, Chester for $233, and Doc $228.  More recent prices -- a bit lower -- are shown below the photos below.  The sad news is that the 1961 Sears catalog advertised the entire playset for $5.66.  That's a pretty good rate of return, even without calculating the value of the other 76 pieces in the set!

The mold had four cavities, one for each pose.  The 54mm figures, as most Marx character figures, were produced only in a cream color.  

To anyone who knows the Gunsmoke television series, the figures are easily recognizable, and in my opinion, the best wild west character figures that Marx made.  And Miss Kitty is arguably the best female wild west figure that Marx made.  Do you get the feeling that I watched and enjoyed the television program?  Well, I did.  But these are still four excellent figures.

Of course, at those prices, I do not own any of these figures.  The photos below show good representations of Marx' figures, but are actually copies made by P&P Productions.  Collector Ed Borris has recently corrected me on my previous statement that re-issues have not been made of this figure group, showing me re-issues made many years ago in Mexico.  Ed noted that these re-issues may have been made when Marx was still in business, after the company ceased production of the Gunsmoke playset and shipped the molds to Plastimarx in Mexico.  The re-issues seem to have been sold only in Mexico.

I have not seen any other re-issues of the group, so I would assume the mold is lost or stored away and forgotten.  The P&P copies cost me $65 in 2007.  Unfortunately, P&P has since halted operations.
1.  Matt Dillon
Photo is of copy by P&P Productions
2.  Chester
Photo is of copy by P&P Productions
3.  Doc
Photo is of copy by P&P Productions
4.  Miss Kitty
Photo is of copy by P&P Productions
The Gunsmoke Characters - Original Marx
Photo courtesy of Bill Sanburn, Ebay ID williams7344
Display board used in store as advertising for playset
This original Marx demonstrator board was presented by Gene Kroll at the 2011 Marx Convention.  Colors of figures and accessories are not identical to those used in the final production set.
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Matt $500 February 2011 Ebay
Kitty $230 February 2011 Ebay
Kitty $240 March 2011 Ebay
Doc $175 February 2011 Ebay
Chester $175 February 2011 Ebay
Matt $198 July 2011 Ebay good condition, low price
Chester $97 July 2011 Ebay good condition, low price
Doc $150 Sept 2011 Ebay
Chester $100 Sept 2011 Ebay
Chester $150 November 2011 Ebay
Chester $111 December 2011 Ebay
Matt $416 December 2011 Ebay
Chester $150 February 2012 Ebay
All four characters $2,025 March 2012 Ebay
Chester $75 July 2012 Ebay Good price for buyer

Johnny Ringo Figure

This pose may be the most dramatic of all Marx wild west figures.  Today, it is definitely the rarest character figure and most expensive wild west figure that was sold by Marx.

The figure, of course, comes from the Johnny Ringo Western Frontier Play Set, which was sold only in 1960 and 1961.  
Marx rushed out the playset in hopes of capitalizing on the popularity of the Johnny Ringo television show, which debuted in mid-1959.  Unfortuantely, due to Hollywood in-fighting, the show lasted only a year, ending six months before the playset first appeared in Christmas 1960 catalogs.  Marx was forced to cut short its anticipated production.  As a result, the Johnny Ringo figure has become one of the rarest of all Marx figures.

Though based on the television show, everything in the set
had been included in previous playsets, except the one figure and a small plastic sign pointing the way to Ringo's town, Velardi.  The cowboys (PL-833), the trappers and miners (PL-1014), the Indians (PL-787), and the tin lithographed cabin and other accessories had all been parts of such playsets as Gunsmoke and The Rifleman.  

The 54mm soft plastic figure was produced in a cream color.  
The figure is marked on the bottom of its base, but not with the Marx logo.  Instead, the inscription reads Johnny Ringo and has a copywright for Four Star Productions.  The small mold made only the one figure.      

Collectors today will pay several hundred dollars for this figure.  In October 2007, one sold on eBay for $1,815.  That was a record price for an individual Marx figure, according to Playset Magazine (disregarding the never-sold prototype Mark McCain figure with rifle cited earlier on this page).  One in "good" condition with minor damage -- along with about 25 common 54mm figures and one wagon -- sold for $885 on Ebay in December 2008.  (That auction also appears to have included the seldom-seen small bag that was made to be held by the 54mm miner/trapper in PL-1014, Pose 3, above.)  If you have to have Johnny, you can buy a copy -- or also a similar mounted Johnny Ringo figure -- made by P&P Productions for much less.

Of note, in 2001, an extremely rare mint Johnny Ringo playset was put up for auction on eBay.  Ten days later, it was won for a bid of $8,988.  The winner was Don Durant, the actor who portrayed Johnny Ringo in the television show.  With the Johnny Ringo figure available no where else, it is a very popular set; in June 2009, 65 bids were placed on Ebay for a nice well-used set, which was incomplete with some pieces broken.  It was won for $2,311.  As noted below, a near mint Ringo figure alone sold on Ebay for $2,100 in May 2011.

I am not aware of re-issues of this figure, though P&P Productions has made copies as shown below.
Johnny Ringo
Figure for photo provided by Rick Eber.
1.  Johnny Ringo (front and back)
Photo is of copy made by P&P Productions.
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Johnny Ringo figure $2,100 May 2011 Ebay good price for the seller
Johnny Ringo figure $1,227 May 2011 Ebay
Johnny Ringo figure $1,000 Sept 2011 Ebay
Johnny Ringo figure $510 October 2011 Ebay minor damage
Johnny Ringo figure $720 March 2012 Ebay excellent (23 bids)
Johnny Ringo figure $850 May 2012 Ebay Buy-it-now sale

Reverse Confederates

As many of us realize from the movies about the wild west (which we all know are totally true), many rebel soldiers headed west once the war ended to gainfully use their battlefield experience.  Oddly, Marx mimicked this logic by using Confederate figures from its Civil War playsets as U.S. cavalrymen in at least one of its Custer's Last Stand playsets, #4670, sold only in 1963 by Sears.  Today, collectors refer to these rare figures as "reverse confederates" because, of course, they had to be manufactured in blue rather than gray for the Custer playset.  The Civil War "medical group" or "Centennial" figures (see following section on PL-1093) were also used in the Custer playset, but these had already been issued in both Union blue as well as Confederate gray for the later Civil War playsets.  

The 54mm figures were a soft plastic powder blue, though there seems to have been some variation in color, as shown by the darker blue in Pose 5 below.  They are now difficult to find and expensive.  
In a 2008 issue of Playset Magazine, one seller advertised a complete set of 15 reverse confederates covering all 10 poses for $550.  In November 2009, Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill, discovered a complete set in their parents' house and auctioned them off on Ebay for $540, including postage.  They were kind enough to provide us photos before sending them away, and all but one of the figures shown below were part of that unexpected treasure.

The obvious question here would be why were the Confederate and not the Union poses included in the Custer playset?  In Playset Magazine Issue 3, Rick Eber points out that Marx probably chose the Confederates because these poses show more action than the Union poses.

Re-issues exist. 
1.  Marching
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
2.  Shot dropping pistol
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
3.  Running with rifle
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
4.  Advancing, rifle across waist
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
5.  Standing, reloading 6.  Officer with sword overhead
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
7.  Calling with rifle overhead
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
8.  Standing, firing rifle
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
9.  Kneeling, firing rifle
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill
10.  Standing with flag
Photo courtesy of Jill and Karl Lorenz, Ebay trekrjill

The Centennial or Medical Group

Marx refered to this group as the medical group, rather an odd name for it.  Of the 12 poses, four are wounded and one is a stretcher bearer, but the other seven have nothing to do with the medical profession (other than perhaps rendering an opponent in need of medical care).  Most collectors today refer to these poses as the Centennial figures, because they first appeared in the Giant Blue and Gray and the Sears' Civil War Centennial playsets, both sold in 1961, 100 years after the start of the Civil War.

The 54mm Centennial Group was in
at least one Custer's Last Stand playset (#4670) in a soft plastic powder blue.  They appeared as both Union (blue) and Confederate (gray) in Civil War playsets.  The figures are very well done; Pose 1 below has to be my favorite, though the more peaceful Pose 2 is also nice.  I think Pose 2 reminds me of my father, who was an advance artillery officer in World War II.  The wounded and bandaged Pose 12 is very well done and includes his left hand holding onto the stretcher he is lying in, but the figures I own have their hands out too far to make the contact with the edge of the narrow stretcher.

As Rick Eber pointed out in Playset Magazine Issue 3, these figures were undoubtedly added to some Custer playsets to get in additional wounded cavalrymen.  Another question might be if there is any way to tell the blue figures that appeared in the Custer playsets from the Union figures in the Civil War sets.  I would invite the experts to comment on that one.

Re-issues exist.
1.  Officer running with sword 2.  Kneeling with binoculars 3.  Shot, dropping rifle
4.  Sitting, head wounded 5.  Artilleryman with bucket and ramrod 6.  Sitting, arm in sling
7.  Clubbing 8.  Drummer
(Two drum sticks held in right hand.)
9.  Crawling with rifle
(Figure is shown upright.)
10.  Bayonetting 11.  Stretcher bearer
12.  Lying wounded for stretcher
13.  Stretcher

Falling Horse and Rider

Based on my review of several articles in Playset Magazine, this pair of figures first appeared in Marx playsets in 1963.  In that year, they were included in Giant Fort Apache (#6063), Custer's Last Stand (#4670), and Battle of the Blue and Gray (#4744).  The figures also appeared in later versions of Fort Apache and Civil War playsets.

The 54mm soft plastic horse and rider were manufactured in both cream and gray in Fort Apache playsets, in cream for Custer's Last Stand, and usually or perhaps always in gray for the Civil War.  I believe that they may also have been manufactured in blue, but if so, I do not know which playset that color was in.  In the Custer playsets, the cream-colored Falling Horse and Rider are a stark contrast to the rest of the 7th Cavalry's blue colors.  Perhaps, the poor fellow and his horse  1) have been scared to death, 2) have completely bled out, or 3) actually died several seconds earlier and are now nothing more than ghosts of themselves.

The Falling Horse and Rider are considered by many collectors as the most beautiful and artisitic of all Marx playset figures.  I will not disagree with them, but being of soft heart, I feel sad to see a horse going down.  Even some of us vets turn mushy in our old age!  Overall, these figures did not appear often and, therefore, are rather expensive today.  

Though two separate figures, they are definitely a couple and are not often seen separately.  They also are difficult to photograph separately, because the poses look a bit absurd alone.  So I have taken the photos with them together.  May they rest in peace.
I previously noted here that re-issues exist, but I have been reprimanded by veteran toy soldier collector Paul Stadinger, who reports that they are copies, not re-issues.  According to Paul, the more recently manufactured figures are made from a mold that was created by M. S. Oliver, who spent quite a large amount of money to perfect the mold.  The maroon copy that I have (see photo below) looks extremely similar to the originals I have.  I believe it may be very slightly smaller and may lose a tiny amount of detail, but overall is an extremely nice copy (and much cheaper).  I believe they are available in such colors as white, cream, blue, gray, and tan, as well as the maroon below.  They are stiffer and notably shinier than the originals.
Falling Horse and Rider
Rider and horse are separate figures.
Falling Horse and Rider
Re-issue figures made in Zouave maroon.  French Zouave troops, wearing colorful uniforms, took part in the American Civil War.  
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
$75 March 2012 Ebay cream

Long Coat Cavalry

This set of cavalry -- known to collectors as the Long Coat Cavalry -- was first sold in 1964 in larger Fort Apache playsets.  
Unfortunately, these figures arrived too late to be included in the Custer's Last Stand playset (an ironic fact, in light of Custer's actual fate), but was included in larger Fort Apache playsets.  The group appears to have been a premium for those rich kids that got the big playsets and was not produced in large numbers.  Today the original figures are hard to find for sale and somewhat expensive.  

The set includes five poses, though playsets initially included five of the unarmed rider pose.  The mold had 18 cavities, making two sets of nine cavalrymen.  In 1967, the mold was changed to delete the sergeant with raised revolver pose (Pose 4 below) and a sixth unarmed rider was added to the group of nine.  Why?  Were the sergeant cavities damaged?  Perhaps one was, but doubtfully both of them.  Read on....  

The 54mm figures were produced initially in powder blue and later reportedly in teal, aqua, and more rarely metallic blue.  I am uncertain exactly what differences the designations teal and aqua names indicate.  I have seen what I would call turquoise, so perhaps one or both are that color.  I have one in silver, but I believe that one is a re-issue.  At the big OTSN toy soldier show near Chicago in 2007, I saw a complete mold set of the figures with horses in a less than desireable color (teal or aqua?) for $85, about as cheap as you can expect to pick them up.  A powder blue set was going for more than $200.  
According to Playset Magazine, collector Rob Cottrell has observed that the unarmed riders (Pose 5) can be armed with swords from Marx accessory sprues.  The swords fit perfectly into their right hands.  Was this what Marx intended all along?  Well, I would have to say probably not.  Although you cannot see it in the photo below, the cavalryman in Photo 5 below has a scabbard tucked behind his left leg and his sword is clearly in the scabbard.  I have heard of cowboys packing two guns, but never of cavalry packing two swords.  His right hand is in a rather odd position, so perhaps it was intended to be holding the reins, though of course Marx 54mm cavalry horses were not made so that riders could hold the reins.  In any case, I'd say if you need fighting cavalrymen for your setup, put those swords in their hands!

The bugler (Pose 2) and empty-handed rider (Pose 5) are similar to poses in the 7th Cavalry group described below.  However, they are easy to tell apart if you know the differences.  The Long Coat cavalryman is aiming his bugle about 45 degrees to his left, but the 7th Cavalry bugler is aiming it directly to his left.  As for the guys with two hands free, just remember that the 7th Cavalry rider is the one with suspenders and his right hand molded onto his holster.

It's a small group to pick a favorite from.  The swordsman with sword held high, leading the charge, is an obvious choice.  The sergeant, pistol pointed upward, scanning the encircling mass of Indian warriors, seeking out a target, is a close second.

Three of the figures have been re-issued in hard plastic blue, light blue, metallic blue, and gray: the flagman, the swordsman, and -- interestingly -- the sergeant with raised revolver, who was dropped from the Marx-manufactured group in 1967.  Made in a hard plastic, the re-issues do not measure up to the originals.  Since the bugler and unarmed rider have not been re-issued, I would assume that these mold cavities have now been lost or damaged.
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.
1.  Mounted, pistol raised 2.  Mounted bugler 3.  Mounted, sword pointed forward
4.  Mounted with flag in left hand
Re-issue figure
5.  Mounted, unarmed
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Mold set of 9 figures with horses (four duplicate unarmed riders) $172 June 2011 Ebay powder blue figures

Boonesborough Pioneers

In 1964, Marx produced these nine 54mm figures for its Daniel Boone Wilderness Scout playsets, which apparently were intended to take advantage of Walt Disney's popular Daniel Boone television program, again starring Fess Parker.  However, except for the name Daniel Boone, nothing in the playsets suggested any tie-in to the television show.  
My best guess would be that Marx created the playset hoping to negotiate a link to the Disney television series, which ran from 1964 to 1970.  If so, for some reason, that did not work out.  Notably, Marx did not designate any of the poses to represent Daniel Boone or Fess Parker.

In any event, the play sets sold poorly.  They were small, and the three known variations were sold only in dimestores and local toy shops, not by major retailers such as Sears and Wards.  Moreover, the playsets did not always contain all nine figures -- sometimes as few as two -- and often included instead figures from the Alamo frontiersmen group (PL-745).  In fact, as pointed out to me recently by Russian collector Max Epifantsev, Horowitz's book "Marx Western Playsets" includes a copy of a Marx mold sheet for a PL-745A mold with the two mounted Alamo figures replaced by Poses 1 and 8 below.  According to Kent Sprecher, this mold was used when the Boonesorough Pioneer mold was not ready in time for initial production of Daniel Boone playsets.

As a result, the original pioneer figures are difficult to find today.
Rick Eber notes that another reason for the scarcity of original Boonesborough figures is that they are more brittle than most Marx soft plastic figures and break easily.  Figures were made in soft plastic and were light tan or carmel or butterscotch in color, depending on which expert you talk to.  I think that all three of these are simply different names for the same color.  And that is one reason why I am so confused about the colors used by Marx!  

On the other hand, re-issues of the figures are rather plentiful.  They have been re-issued in many colors, including the soft plastic red brown and hard plastic tan shown below.  They have also been re-made in dark green, light blue, gray, silver, and probably a few other colors.  Kent Sprecher reports that it can be especially difficult to tell original Boonesborough figures from similar-colored re-issues.  Rick Eber recently pointed out to me that you can tell the originals by their very bitter smell.  In fact, if you hold them close to your nose and breathe in strongly, you will get an odor so bitter than it makes you momentarily naseous.  I can guarantee that based on my own experience!  


A partial Boonesborough playset that included the vital parts (with all nine pioneer figures and the block house with the name on it) sold for $245 with 19 bids on Ebay in February 2008.  On the other hand, I picked up the originals shown below along with several others that are broken (another suggestion that they are original) rather cheaply on Ebay, probably because everyone else figured that they were re-issues.

The poses are finely crafted and well detailed.  The re-issues shown below are nicely done also.  Notice even the wrinkles in the shirts of figures turning one way or the other.  However, the poses offer very little that is new to the Marx pioneer population, and most are obviously based on poses from prior groups of figures.  There is, for example, the set's usual standing and firing rifle, the inevitable clubbing with rifle, the group's version of the Alamo turkey man -- which in this case is pheasant man -- and the pose that is generally accepted by collectors to represent Daniel Boone (Pose 1), similar to the 45mm Davy Crockett with his rifle cradled in his arms.  It's a nice set, but I'd be hard pressed to label any pose a favorite.

1.  Standing with rifle cradled in arms
(unofficial Daniel Boone)
1.  Standing with rifle cradled in arms
re-issue figure
2.  Standing, firing rifle
3.  Standing, firing pistol
re-issue figure
4.  Standing, clubbing with rifle
re-issue figure
5.  Running, rifle in left hand 6.  Walking, left hand raised
re-issue figure
7. Attacking with knife and axe 7.  Attacking with knife and axe
re-issue figure
8.  Shot with arrow
re-issue figure
9.  Walking with pheasant

54mm cavalry soldiers (7th Cavalry)

It was not until 1968 that Marx produced this long overdue set of 54mm U.S. cavalrymen for its Fort Apache playsets, including its Carry-All Fort Apache playsets.   The mold included 32 cavities, making two sets of 16 poses.  The figures were made in various shades of blue, including powder blue, turquoise, and a bright waxy blue.  Originals are readily available today, with dismounted poses costing no more than $2.

When Marx produced its Battle of Little Bighorn playset in 1972, it added a figure of General Custerto the mold (PL-1449A), removing one of the duplicate marching poses.  According to PM Issue 4, the prototype of the figure was based on actor Wayne Maunder's portrayal of Custer in the 1967 television series "The Life and Legend of Custer."  Marx may have intended to create new playsets and other products based on the series, but that idea went south when the series was cancelled after only 13 episodes.

As a result, the figure did not make its debut until the 1972 Little Bighorn set, which was sold exclusively by J.C. Penney and was the only playset to officially include the figure.  However, Marx occasionally slipped the Custer figure into a few Fort Apache Carry-All playsets, which is why smart collectors take a close look at the photos of all those Carry-All sets that come up for auction on Ebay!  At any rate, although Marx cavalrymen in good shape are readily available for a couple of dollars in today's toy soldier marketplace, the Custer pose is one of the hardest Marx wild west figures to find.  On Ebay, Custer figures sell for $200 to $300, and I saw one go for $565.  
If you lack the money but must have a Custer figure to lead your troops, copies are available from P&P Productions for much less (see second Pose 17 below).

Of particular note, this group of figures was the last set of wild west figures created by Marx.  Similarly, General Custer was the last character figure the company created.  
Marx continued to produce wild west playsets with the existing figures through the late 1970s.  Other companies have almost continuously manufactured and sold re-issues or copies of the figures since then.  But Marx created no new wild west poses.

It is a superlative group for the last set, as the figures are finely detailed and are sculpted in imaginative and realistic poses.  They are one of the best 54mm groups that Marx produced.  With such a variety of poses to choose from, I decline to pick a favorite.  Of course, Custer rules the roost!

Re-issues exist.   P&P Productions has made copies of the Custer figure (Pose 17).
     Click here to see horses related to these figures.
1.  Mounted with flag 2.  Mounted with sword 3.  Mounted bugler
4.  Mounted, arms at sides 5.  Running, sword in left hand 6.  Fighting, sword in right hand
7.  Running, rifle in right hand 8.  Running, pistol in right hand 9.  Clubbing with rifle
10.  Standing, firing rifle 11.  Kneeling, firing rifle 12.  Shot, dropping pistol
13.  Standing bugler 14.  Standing with rifle across chest 15.  Walking with rifle on shoulder
16.  Walking empty handed 17.  General Custer
Original in turquoise
17.  General Custer
Copy made by P&P Productions
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Custer $255 June 2011 Ebay excellent condition
Custer $281 June 2011 Ebay
Custer $405 Sept 2011 Ebay light blue - from collection of the late Tom Terry, publisher of Plastic Figure and Playset Collector magazine
Custer $195 October 2011 Ebay excellent played with condition, good deal for the buyer
Custer $238 June 2013 Ebay

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