Marx Lane

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

Wild West Page 5 - Figures Manufactured Outside the U.S.
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.


Information on Marx playset figures produced outside the U.S. is hard to find, and documentation is even scarcer.  Collectors I have spoken with sometimes disagree on their understanding of these figures.  Information on this page is the most accurate that I have been able to develop at this time.  It is subject to change as I learn more.  I welcome anything that you might be able to contribute to this area.  Many thanks to those who have provided information and photos for this page.



Table of Contents for This Page


(click on name to move to section or other page)
This Page
Mexican Production - 6-inch Figures
Asian Production - Warriors of the World, GoldMarx,
     and Miniature Figures
Great Britain Production - 60mm Cowboys and Indians, 60mm Pioneers, 6-Inch Scale Figures
German Production -  Charmore and Heimo
Holland Production
Re-issues
Other Pages
Page 1 - 45mm Figures
Page 2 - 60mm Figures
Page 3 - 54mm Wild Figures
Page 3A - The Alaska Connection
Page 4 - Large Scale Figures
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 Marx Playset Boxes
Page 12 - List of Marx Wild West Playsets
Back to Wild West Table of Contents
Back to Main Table of Contents

Mexican Production
 
About 1952, according to Horowitz' book "Marx Western Playsets," Marx puchased controlling interest in the plastics firm Artefactors Plasticos S.A. in Mexico.  The company shipped some of its plastic molds to the Mexican plant and began producing toys under the name Plastimarx.  Plastimarx toys became extremely popular in Mexico, and the company became the leading retailer in the Mexican toy market.  Taking advantage of the lower costs of labor and overhead in Mexico, Plastimarx became Marx' most profitable branch.

Unfortunately, the company's production was made for domestic sales, with no export to the U.S.  Some toys may have been sold in other Central American or South American countries, but not in the U.S.  Despite their popularity, Plastimarx toys were produced in far less numbers than Marx toys made in the U.S., so Plastimarx figures are much less common in today's collecting market.  Although Plastimarx was part of Marx's sale to Quaker Oats in 1972, it was not part of the 1980 sale to Dunbee Cobex.  As a result, it was not a part of Louis Marx Co.'s bankruptcy in 1980.  Plastimarx officially went out of business in or around 1991, but may have halted or reduced production before that, though the next paragraph suggests production may have continued beyond 1991.

I have little information on Plastimarx or what specific items the facility produced.   According to a Mexican Marx Playset Figure Guide on Ebay (written by Mike, Ebay ID laparkamania), Plastimarx acquired a large number of Marx molds after the company closed.  The Guide states that a wide variety of re-issue figures from the molds through the mid-1990s, when Plastimarx was forced to sell the molds in the midst of a Mexican economic crisis.  Figures made by Plastimarx included wild west playset and various 6-inch figures.  Mike reports that the present mold owners are not using the molds, but continue to sell existing stock, most commonly as plastic party supplies.  Collector Bill Nevins has told me that Plastimarx made re-issues in the late 1980s and early 1990s that were sold in bins by Kay Bee Toy Stores.  He has heard that the plastic used was very brittle -- perhaps reground soda bottles -- and that 6-inch cowboys were a light tan and Indians were black.

I welcome any further information on Mexican production that anyone can provide.   On Ebay, Mike states that 1) Plastimarx ground off the Marx logo on the bottom of the 6-inch figures and replaced it with a similar Plastimarx label and that after Plastimarx sold the molds , these figures were made without markings.  Re-issues have often been made in bright colors not used for the original figures produced in 1964, ranging from a psychedelic pink to gold.  My earlier understanding was that Plastimarx' versions were produced in the 1970s under the Quaker Oats ownership, but perhaps the Marx logo was used at that time.  

The Plastimarx figures I own have the Plastimarx logo (see photo below) stamped twice on the bottom of their bases.  The number in the center of the logo appears to be a number assigned by Plastimarx to the specific pose.

Plastimarx 6-inch cowboy
Same as pose in 6-inch cowboy group on Page 4
Plastimarx logo on bottom of figure base

A large number of Marx re-issue figures and copies of all scales made in Mexico, can be found on Ebay, often in bags that resemble party favors.

 
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Asian Production

While most Marx playset and playset-related figures were produced in the United States, some of the company's figures were eventually manufactured in Hong Kong and, in a few instances, Taiwan.  These included figures ranging from approximate HO scale used for toy trains to 6-inch scale, as well as several playsets with the HO-scale figures.  Production was begun in Hong Kong in 1961 and some time later in Taiwan.  My understanding is that Marx did not actually have manufacturing plants in Asia.  Instead, they had administrative offices that contracted production out to small local companies, which produced toys at prices well below production costs in the U.S.  As a result, these were often of lesser quality also.  A variety of Hong Kong items are shown in the photo below, provided by Mark Hegeman.


The most common Asian-made figures fo
und today are Marx' Warriors of the World series -- called WOW figures by collectors -- which were for the most part manufactured in Hong Kong.  These figures were in 60mm scale and were hard plastic versions of playset figures already in production elsewhere.  Based on research done by Russian collector Max Epifantsev, the Hong Kong WOW figures were made with molds previously used by Marx facilities in England to make unpainted figures discussed later on this page.  

The Asian WOW figures were painted in a glossy, enamel-based paint and generally were marked as made in Hong Kong or Taiwan.  Groups
of figures included six to eight poses, and themes ranged from Chinese warriors to Vikings to West Point cadets.  For Hong Kong figures, the words "Hong Kong" appear inside a circle on each figure, generally on the bottom of the base; Taiwan figures have similar circles -- sometimes a sticker -- that reads "Made in Taiwan" with a Marx logo at the center of the circle.

First sold in 1962, the WOW figures included eight cowboy poses, eight Indians, and six wild west cavalrymen.  To the best of my knowledge, the WOW figures were never in playsets, but rather were sold in packages of one to eight figures. 
 Collectors are most familiar with figures sold individually in small boxes, as shown at right.  Each figure was given a ficticious name and an imaginative brief history, which was written on the back of a card inside the box.  The front of the card, as well as the box, showed a drawing of the figure and the figure's name.  The figures were carried in many dime stores and department stores in the U. S.

The wild west figure poses were the same as or very similar to several of the Marx 60mm cowboys, Indians, and cavalry shown on Page 2, but they were slightly smaller
.  For example, Strong Eagle (Indian Pose 8 below) is similar to the Indian in Photo 7 of the Camp Indian group, and Jim Ralston (cowboy Pose 1 below) is similar to the cowboy in Photo 7 of the Roy Rogers Ranch Cowboys, except that a rope has been added to his right hand.

WOW figure groups were produced in a series of three releases.  According to the PFPC Special Collector Edition of 1994, the first series released -- or Series I -- included the cowboy and the Indian figures.  Sales were brisk, so the company soon released Series II, which included the U.S. Cavalry figures.  A third and final series followed.  I have not seen specific dates of these releases.  The quantity of sets produced and sold dropped with each series released, so today the Cavalry figures are much harder to find and much more expensive than the cowboys and Indians.

An exceptional article on WOW figures with many photos is in
the PFPC Special Collector Edition (which explains why I own none of the Cavalry figures).

     WOW American Indians
Photo not available.
1.  Swift Bear
kneeling, wounded by arrow in side
2.  Black Kettle
dancing with rattles
3.  Long Bow
kneeling, shooting bow
4.  Slipping Bird
attacking with tomahawk raised
5.  Little Crow
running with tomahawk and rifle
6.  High Wolf
stabbing with knife

7.  Laughing Feather
dancing with club and bow
8.  Strong Eagle
standing, shooting bow

     
WOW Cowboys  
Photo not available at this time.
1.  Jim Ralston
walking with lasso and bridle
2.  Mike Riley
punching
3.  W.B. Foster
standing with whip
4.  Mike Nichols
twirling rope
5.  Jack Straight
standing, ready to draw pistols
6.  Bad Jack Mavis
standing with pistol and gold sack
Photo not available at this time.
7.  Roger Dawson
sheriff with pistols drawn
8.  Brown Bart
bandit with hands in air

     WOW U.S. Cavalrymen
 
As mentioned, the WOW Cavalry figures are very hard to find today.  I have seen very few on Ebay and do not recall that I have seen any in my searches at toy soldier shows.  I am greatly indebted to Mark Hegeman, who has provided the following photos of these figures in his massive collection of toy soldiers.

1.  Eddie Keene
kneeling, shooting rifle
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
2.  John Means
standing with pistol and bugle
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
3.  Reuben Sims
kneeling, shooting pistol
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
4.  Eben Jones
mounted, firing pistol
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
5.  Clay Dexter
defending with sword raised (no hat)
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
6.  Ken  Merrick
standing, shooting rifle
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Pose 5, Clay Dexter $55 April 2011 Ebay with card, no box

Complete WOW U.S. Cavalry group with boxes
Horse was not manufactured for Hong Kong WOW figures.  Horse shown is Marx horse made by Charmore of Germany with factory painting.
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman.

I am unsure which figure groups were made in Taiwan, but I have one Indian and two Civil War poses marked with the Marx logo on the bottom of their bases, reading "Made in Taiwan."  The Indian logo is a small, gold-colored sticker; the Civil War figures have the tiny logo impressed into their bases.
Indian advancing with tomahawk
(Still in package, though package appears to have been opened and then stapled shut.  Note that biographical card is included.)
Marx logo (sticker) on bottom of Indian's base

The Asian WOW figures were sold in various packaging other than the common boxes with individual figures and cards.  
Other boxes often had clear cellophane windows to show what was inside and included three or four accessory items.  PFPC suggests that accessories were added to improve declining sales of the figures.  Various box types are shown below.  One type not shown is a split-level box with figures on a top level and accessories on the bottom, which came from Taiwan.  Of course, other types of packaging may have existed.
    
The accessories in these boxes included pieces such as camp fires, furniture, animals, and undersized structures.  Most
were flat pieces made of fragile plastic, but nicely painted.  A camp fire, about two inches high, is shown at left, and other accessories are shown below.  Mark Hegeman swears that there were a total of 84 different WOW accessories (though not all wild west pieces)!  I have heard that some guys collect them, most likely the old timers who have everything else already!  Maybe Mark will make up a list of them for us some day.  I count about 20 or so in the photos below.




Cowboy with table, bar, and lantern accessories
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Cowboy with with wagon, hitching post, and dog accessories
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Indian with totem pole, pot, and alligator accessories
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Indian with goat, camp fire with pot, and primitive oven accessories
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

3-pack of WOW cowboys with accessories as shown at right
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Accessories from 3-pack of cowboys at left
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
3-pack of WOW cowboys with accessories as shown at right
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Accessories from 3-pack of Indians at left
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

Complete sets of WOW cowboys and Indians - box tops and contents
Photos courtesy of Mark Hegeman

Box of Six WOW cowboys, each in individual box
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Box of Six WOW Indians, each in individual box
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

6-Pack of WOW Indians with cards in envelopes on back side
Photos courtesy of Mark Hegeman

Blister card of six Hong Kong WOW cowboys
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Store display of cowboys and Indians
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman


     GoldMarx
Starting in 1963, Hong Kong produced several groups of 6-inch painted figures, similar to the Marx 6-inch unpainted figures shown on Page 4 of this web site.  Some figures were also made in Taiwan.  Sold as GoldMarx figures, they were made in hard plastic and exceptionally well painted.  Other than being painted, the figures can also be identified by the Hong Kong or Taiwan logo on the bottom of the base.

The painting was perhaps Marx'  best factory paint job.  Although a good deal of the paint is gone in the figures shown below, the fine paint job remains clear.  There were at least 11 GoldMarx sets, including one of cowboys and one of Indians.  The cowboy group included six figures, four the same as those manufactured in the U.S. (see Page 4 of this web site) and two that were different than those made in the U.S.  I believe the other two GoldMarx cowboys are the two additional 6-inch cowboys shown on Page 4 (one shown below, as noted in the caption), but I am not certain of this.  I believe the Indian poses were the same as the U.S. 6-inch Indians, but again am not sure.
Bottom of base on Hong Kong GoldMarx figure Bottom of base on Taiwan GoldMarx figure
GoldMarx wounded cowboy GoldMarx cowboy with two pistols drawn
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
GoldMarx cowboy preparing to draw
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
GoldMarx cowboy fanning pistol
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
GoldMarx cowboy turning to right
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
This pose was not part of the 6-inch cowboys produced in the U.S.  To the best of my knowledge, it was created in Mexico.  See Page 4 for a re-issue figure of this pose made in Italy.
NOT a GoldMarx cowboy
This photo was previously identified here as a GoldMarx cowboy.  Upon closer examination of the logo on the base, however, it is a U.S.-produced figure that has been painted by a collector.  Somebody did a super paint job!
Indian chief with right hand up
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Indian standing, firing bow and arrow
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
GoldMarx Indian throwing spear
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

    
Miniature figures
The Hong Kong facilities also manufactured a wide variety of small scale wild west figures and playsets.  I have previously listed these figures here as HO scale, and collectors commonly refer to them as such.  However, the many such figures I possess are not HO scale.  When you place the Marx figures next to figures made for HO train sets, you can tell the difference immediately.  In fact, while articles I have read often refer to them as HO scale, they also often state their scale is 1:72, which is definitely not HO.

First, HO scale is 1:87, which means that the figure of a 6-foot tall person (a common measure for determining scale) would be .83 inches or 20mm tall.  Marx' Hong Kong facilities made their miniature figures in what most toy soldier collectors would call 30mm scale, with the 30mm being the height of a "6-foot-tall" figure.  A 30mm scale figure is about 1-1/4 inches tall and 1:58 scale.  Actually, the figures I have range from 25mm to 30mm tall, still slightly larger than HO figures.

Like the Warriors of the World described above, the miniature figures are in hard plastic and painted; most poses are the same as or similar to the 54mm or 60mm Marx playset figures made in the U.S.
  I have not seen any complete listing of these miniature figures.  

The small figures were sold individually, in small groups of figures, and in playsets.  Sold individually, they were labeled
"Tiny Trader" figures and came in blister packaging (as shown below) that included cards similar to Warriors of the World, providing fictional names and biographies.  The PFPC Special Collectors' Issue of 1994 shows additional photos of "Tiny Trader" figures and states that they were sold in the mid to late 1960s.  The article suggests that based on their scarcity today, they were apparently not a big seller.
Store display of Tiny Trader figures
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Tiny Trader Little Crow
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Tiny Trader Bad Jack Mavis
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Tiny Trader cards on back of blister packages
Photos courtesy of Mark Hegeman

Using the miniature figures, Hong Kong also created one of my personal favorite Marx wild west items:  the miniature figures and related accessories in small groups, displayed in plastic containers with clear fronts and backed by a picture of imaginatively painted scenery.
 Titled "Miniature Marx Masterpieces" on the bottom of the case, the figures and accessories were glued onto a thin cardboard base that fit on top of the container bottom.  If you find miniature figures with paper residue on the bottom of their bases, it is possible that they came from one of these containers.

As far as the wild west theme, I have seen only six cowboy poses and six Indian poses in these cases, although I must admit that I have seen only about a third of the 36 or so varieties of the display cases.  Some of the 36 cases, however, have Civil War and farm themes.  The six cowboys are downsized poses from the 54mm Cowboys and 54mm Miners and Trappers groups.  The six Indians are downsized poses from the Marx 3-inch Indians.  I cannot explain why the company chose these poses.

The display cases were made in two sizes, large (series 6302) and small (series 6301).  The larger cases are about 2-1/4 inches high and 7 inches wide.  Glued onto the bottom is a card reading "Miniature Marx Masterpieces, Painted by hand by artists, No. HK-6302/XX, Made in Hong Kong," with the "XX" identifying the specific case number within the 6302 series.  Each specific case had the same figures, accessories, and background.  The smaller cases are similar, measuring about 1-1/2 by 5-1/2 inches.
 
HO-scale cowboys were sometimes sold in clear plastic display cases with a few accessories and a background painted on cardboard.  This case is HK-6302/11 and includes all six cowboy poses I have seen in these cases.

This smaller sized case is labeled HK-6301/15.  A small piece of the background is missing just to the right of the bar door.

The six HO-scale Indian poses in the larger-sized plastic case produced by Hong Kong.  Bottom photo shows typical card inserted on bottom of these cases, which include an item number (HK-6302/14, in this instance).

This is my favorite among the 11 display cases I have.  Numbered HK-6302/12, this one has not only all six Indians in the previous photo, but a beautiful night-sky background with two blazing campfires, along with five accessories, including a third campfire.

Smaller size case of Indians from Hong Kong (HK-6301/13).
Smaller size case of cowboys and Indians from Hong Kong (HK-6301/17).
Note Indian's bent spear!  The poor cowboys have no weapons and seem to be in a world of hurt!

Store display of miniature figures in clear plastic display cases
This store display is at the Marx Museum.  Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman.  Comparing this display to the cases I have seen, this is a display of the 6301 series, with 18 cases in the series.  The cases appear to be in numerical order, with the upper left farm case being HK-6301/1 and the lower right cowboys and Indians case HK-6301/18.  Note that the first six cases are farm, the next six are Civil War, and the final six are wild west.   There were at least 14 different cases in the larger 6302 series, because case HK-6302/14 is shown in a photograph above.  Perhaps there were 18 varieties in each series?


Box of miniature cowboys and accessories from Hong Kong
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman.  This larger box includes five cowboys, and each pose is one of the six poses that I have seen in the plastic display cases described above.

I am unsure how wide a variety of figures were sold individually or in the small figure groups.  However, a broad range of wild west figures were included in miniature playsets, which were popular during the 1960s.  Playset figures included cowboys, Indians, U.S. Cavalry, Alamo frontiersmen, and Mexican soldiers, most of them downsized versions of the company's 54mm, 60mm, and Warriors of the World figures.  Playsets also had numerous structures, wagons, and other small accessories.  As a
result, I describe the playsets in detail on Page 6 of this web site.  Eventually, I hope that page also serves as a relatively complete listing of all the Marx miniature wild west figures.

Based solely on the 50 or so miniature cowboys I have, there seems to be a difference in painting quality between the figures that were sold individually or in small groups and those in playsets (see photo at left).  The non-playset figures (like the right one in the photo) are generally well painted, and the painters must have had training and/or artistic skills of some sort.  Marx' claim of "Painted by artists" was reasonably accurate.  On the other hand, the figures that came in playsets (the one on the left) seem to be poorly painted, not by anyone who could be called an artist.  The eyes of many I possess are oversized black dots.


     Copies of figures made by other manufacturers
Finally, among the most unusual wild west Marx figures I have seen are the soft plastic, painted cowboys pictured below.  They are about 45mm scale.  Made in Hong Kong, these are copies of poses made by European manufactuers such as Crescent and Cherilea.  I believe I have seen a similar set of Indians on an Ebay auction.  This is the only instance I am aware of in which Marx copied another company's work.

The mounted cowboy is swinging a lasso overhead, and his horse is a separate figure.  He has small pegs on the inside of his legs that fit into holes in the horse to keep him firmly mounted.  Although this was a common practice by some other companies, it is the only time I know that Marx used it.
     
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Great Britain Production

Marx began manufacturing operations in Great Britain in 1931 at Dudley with its line of toy trains and proceded to produce a wide variety of its toys there.  The plant was moved to Swansea Industrial Estate in 1948.  Based on information presented below, it would appear that the facility did not begin manufacturing playset figures until the late 1950s, as Marx began phasing out 60mm scale figures in U. S. playsets.  However, despite their origin, the figures were never sold as part of a playset.  In discussions with other collectors, I have been told that the type of playsets that Marx sold in the U.S. -- with figures, buildings, accessories, etc. -- were never popular in Great Britain.  Instead, playset-type figures were sold individually or in small sets with no accessories. 

Perhaps the best-known wild west figures made at Swansea were similar to the 60mm cowboys and Indians made in the company's U.S. factories.
 According to an article by Paul Morehead in Plastic Warrior Issue 107, these were unpainted, soft plastic cowboys in pink and Indians in a more logical red.  To me , the "pink" looks more like a salmon color (thank goodness!); the Indians are a very attractive, deep red.  Paul cited 13 cowboy poses and 13 Indian poses, similar to, but not always identical to, U.S.-produced poses.  

Morehead reported that the plastic material used for the figures is more fragile than the material used in the U.S. figures.  
I can vouch for that, as I have had a couple fall apart on me, even though I have handled them carefully.  Notably, the plastic figures also sink when placed in water, like vinyl figures made in the U.S.  The article in Plastic Warrior does not show or provide descriptions of the figures, so I am uncertain what Paul's 26 figures look like.  Debbie Stevens has written several articles for Plastic Warrior magazine on Marx figures from the Swansea facility -- including one on the Marx 60mm pioneers from Swansea -- but she has not yet written one on the cowboys and Indians.

Based on research done by Russian collector Max Epifantsev and myself,
we believe that Swansea produced more than the 26 wild west figures that Paul wrote about.  In fact, Swansea may have produced as many as 46 different 60mm Marx cowboy and Indian poses.  These were made from 1) 60mm molds from the U.S. (or molds identical to them) and 2) molds with poses identical to the Hong Kong Warriors of the World (WOW) figures or German Masterpiece series (both shown elsewhere on this page).  

U.S. molds used were the Town Cowboys, the Camp Indians, and the Skinny Indians (all shown on Page 2).  These made 14 cowboys and 16 Indians.  Max, who knows far more about Marx molds and the technical aspects of molds than I do, is still uncertain which of various molds used to produce WOW-type figures was used at Swansea, or if perhaps the facility had their own unique mold of that type.  In any case, these molds produced 8 cowboys and 8 Indians.  Photos of the figures below are divided into these mold groups.


Not all of these figures have a manufacturer identification on them, and we have determined a pattern to this variation.  Figures from the U.S. molds have no manufacturer marking on them; the bottoms of their bases are blank, without even any pusher marks from the molding process.  On the other hand, those from the WOW molds have two round pusher marks impressed into the bottom of their bases, and one of those marks has a small Marx insignia.  WOW Indians without a base have the insignia of their back.  It takes a rather powerful magnifying glass to read the tiny Marx insignia, which is about a quarter inch in diameter.  I am still uncertain what all the words around the inside of the circle say, though I think I can make out the words Marx and Britain.  The insignia is so small that, without magnification, it does not even appear to be the usual Marx logo unless you know what you are looking at.  
Examples of cowboy (left) and Indian bases with Marx insignia used on some figures at Swansea.  

Perhaps the most interesting issue about these Swansea figures is that the use of both U.S. and WOW molds resulted in some identical or near identical poses.  For example, both the U.S. cowboy mold and the WOW mold had the "outlaw with hands raised pose," with slight differences.  Two other WOW poses are similar to those in the U.S. Town Cowboy mold, and another two are similar to poses from the U.S. 60mm Ranch Cowboy mold.  
I cannot identify any U.S. figures that resemble the WOW sherriff holding a pistol and bag of gold or the cowboy twirling a rope around himself.  While the U.S. mold includes a sherrif holding a pistol and bag, the two poses are very different.  As can be seen in the photo, the fellow's huge sherriff's badge is downright hilarious; the facial features rather resemble an African-American (as do those of the "standing with arms at sides pose).  

All of the WOW Indians are identical to poses in either the Camp or Skinny Indians groups, though slightly smaller.
Swansea figures made with U. S. 60mm Town Cowboy mold Swansea Figures made with WOW mold
 1.  Mounted with lasso 1.  Standing with whip
Similar to U.S. Ranch Cowboy figure - end of whip is much better done here.
2.  Mounted on bucking horse, one hand up 2.  Standing with arms at sides
Similar to U.S. Ranch Cowboy figure who has lasso in left hand
3.  Bandit mounted, shooting pistol
3.  Twirling rope
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev.
Photo not available at this time.
4.  Mounting horse

5.  Turned to right, firing pistol back
6.  Sheriff with two guns drawn 4.  Sheriff with two guns drawn
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
7.  Bandit with hands raised 5.  Bandit with hands raised
Similar to figure at left
8.  Sheriff with bag, pistol pointed forward 6.  Sheriff with bag marked "gold,"  pistol pointed to right
9.   Walking with harness 7.  Walking with harness and rope
Similar to figure at left
10.  Sitting, waving
11.  Sitting on ground, hit by punch
12.  Punching 8.  Punching
Similar to figure at left
13.  Kneeling with separate rifle
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
14.  Woman with basket

Swansea figures made with U.S. Camp Indian mold Swansea figures made with U.S. Skinny Indian mold Swansea figures made with WOW mold
Photo is not available at this time.
1.  Chief sitting, right hand up 1.  Mounted with spear
1.  Running, rifle raised
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
2.  Chief sitting, holding peace pipe
2.  Running, rifle raised

2.Dancing with rattles
3.  Dancing with rattles 3.   Advancing, tomahawk raised 3.  Advancing, tomahawk raised
Photo is not available at this time.
4.  Woman standing with bowl
4.  Dancing with club and bow 4.  Dancing with club and bow
Club had been broken off
Photo is  not available at this time.
5.  Woman walking with papoose
5.  Stabbing 5.  Stabbing
6.  Woman kneeling
6.  Kneeling, shooting bow and arrow
6.  Kneeling, shooting bow and arrow
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
Photo is  not available at this time.
7.  Standing, shooting bow
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
7.  Crawling with knife and tomahawk 7.  Standing, shooting bow
Photo is  not available at this time.
8.  Crouching, shooting bow 8.  Shot with arrow 8.  Shot with arrow
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev

In addition to the 60mm cowboys and Indians, Marx' Swansea facility in Great Britain produced 60mm pioneers and 6-inch scale cowboy and Indian figures, both virtually identical to the same figures manufactured in the U.S. (see Pages 2 and 4).  Similar to the cowboys and Indians above, the pioneers must have been produced after production in the U.S., because they are the final versions of the figures that include bases and the two revised poses (Poses 5 and 6 below).  
Compare the figures shown below to the 60mm pioneer poses shown on Page 2 of this web site.  Note the small base placed under the Pose 2 figure's front foot and the full base on Pose 3; these changes were made to the U.S. mold after original figures had difficulty remaining upright.  Poses 5 and 6 were created at the same time, being complete revisions of the original poses, as explained on Page 2.

Plastic Warrior Issue 133 includes an article by Debbie Stevens on the Swansea pioneers.  Debbie notes that the Swansea figures were made in a "fragile white plastic."  I can verify that; they almost look like chalk.  If you come across any, be very careful in handling them!  Based on the article, she is not aware of the figures' background explained on Page 2, but she does have a few amusing things to say of the figures.  My one addition would be that the pose "standing, firing pistol" appears to be using the pistol in his right hand to shoot down the Injuns, while holding a beer in his left hand.

A special thank you to dealer Steve Viccars in England for hunting down this set of figures for me, as well as several of the cowboys and Indians above!  The poor pioneer missus below has had a hard life.  During shipment from England, the tip of her rifle broke off.  Once repaired, as I prepared to take her photo, I dropped her, and the bottom of her rifle broke off.  This is unfortunately a perfect example of the brittleness of these Swansea figures.  Had I dropped a similar U.S. figure made of vinyl or plastic, it would have sufferred little -- or more likely no -- damage.  If you have or find any, handle with extreme care!
1.  Standing, firing rifle 2.  Kneeling, firing rifle
3.  Clubbing with rifle
4.  Woman reloading rifle
5.  Firing pistol
6.  Running with rifle


I have seen no written information on 6-inch figures produced at Swansea.  However, I purchased the three 6-inch cowboys below, as well as one of the Indians, on Ebay auctions, and all are clearly marked on the bottom of their bases with the "Made in Gt. Britain" logo shown.  The cowboy preparing to draw his pistol is in a beautiful red brown color, with just enough dirt on it to bring out the detail.   The other two are a light brown, similar to the color used for many U.S. 6-inch figures.  Based on Marx' production of six U.S. cowboy poses, I would believe that there must be three other Swansea poses out there somewhere.

The photos of 6-inch Indians include all six U.S. versions; note that five of them were provided by Russian collector Max Epifantsev.  The one that I possess is shown in Pose 5 below, and it is perhaps the best photo to observe the vibrant red color in which Marx made these Swansea Indians.  I think it is a much better color than any of those used in U.S. production.

The figures have have two circular pusher impressions on the bottom of their bases, with a circular Marx logo impressed into one.  The logo is similar to that shown for the 60mm Swansea figures above, except that it is larger.  The writing around the inside of the logo circle reads "Made in Gt. Britain" and the word "Toys" is immediately below the word Marx.

I am especially impressed by the sharp details on these figures, which remain clear nearly 50 years after they were manufactured.  For example, some rough play left the two-gun cowboy shown below with dings, scuffs, gouges, and pinholes.  At one time, he was also painted by his owner.  Yet, as shown in the close-up photos at right, figure details are still incredibly crisp.

Unlike the smaller figures that Swansea made, these large scale figures do not seem to be easily broken.  U.S. versions of these figures are shown on Page 4 of this web site.  
Example of cowboy base with Marx insignia used at Swansea 1.  Ready to draw 2.  Fanning pistol 3.  Two pistol drawn

Example of Indian base with Marx insignia used at Swansea
1.  Chief with right hand up
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
2.  Shooting bow and arrow
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
3.  Running with club and spear
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
4.  Chief running with tomahawk and knife
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev
5.  Throwing  spear
6.  Running, turned to right
Photo courtesy of Max Epifantsev

Marx' Swansea operations were purchased by Dunbee Cobex in 1967, which continued to produce toys under the Marx label until 1980.  The Swansea factory was closed in 1981.

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German Production

Marx dealt with at least two companies in Germany which produced wild west figures that were sold under the Marx label or were similar to Marx figures:  Charmore and Heimo.  Charmore was a subsidiary of Marx and Heimo was a separate German company.  I have heard that Charmore, which originally was created to manufacture perfume and other ladies' products, provided the administrative support and that Heimo actually produced all the figures.  However, I have no documentation to support that statement.

Charmore (or Heimo acting as Charmore) produced hard plastic figures sold under the Charmore brand in the late 1950s.  Made with molds from Marx,
its cowboy and Indian poses seem to be variations on 60mm figure poses Marx made in the U.S. (see Page 2).  On the other hand, Charmore's horses seem to be much more similar to Marx U.S. versions.  All figures -- four cowboys and four Indians -- were mounted.  These Charmore figures were poorly manufactured and often mis-shapen (see first photo below).  They also were rather badly painted with a flat paint.

Despite this, according to Playset Magazine Issue 49, these were the only painted, hard plastic figures that made it into a Marx wild west playset (except for miniature sets).  This was the Silver City #4268 playset, which was also the only playset to include two of the company's wild west town fronts, one with the jail and one with the hotel.   The set included the 12 cowboys and 4 Indians shown below:  four mounted cowboys and four mounted Indians, as well as the eight German "Masterpiece" unmounted cowboys.  

Based on the several figures I have from this group, the figures' hard plastic legs are commonly improperly formed, so that they are either 1) unable to stay upright on a horse or 2) impossible to properly mount on horses without risking broken legs.  The figures are impressed with the word "Germany" and a thick underline inside a small circle, the same as the Masterpiece figures shown later on this page and similar to the figures in the Holland section.  This impression can be seen in the photo of the running Indian horse below.
1.  Sheriff with pistol drawn
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
2.  Outlaw
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
3.  Waving hat
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
4.  Holding lasso
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
5.  Saddled horse running
6.  Saddled horse stopping
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
7.  Indian with spear
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
8.  Indian with rifle
9.  Indian with torches
10.  Indian shooting bow and arrow
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
11.  Horse with blanket, running
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
12.  Horse with blanket, stopping
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

In the 1950s, Marx facilities in Germany produced a series of figures called "Hand Painted Masterpieces."  Similar to Hong Kong Warriors of the World that were made in the 1960s, these were made (or usually were made) in hard plastic -- generally tan plastic for the cowboys and red brown for the Indians -- and painted with a flat paint, unlike the glossy paint later used in Hong Kong.  The Masterpiece figures were sold in boxed sets, as well as individually.  As with WOW figures, they did not appear in playsets, except for the one exception noted above.  Individual figures were sold as unpackaged bin figures, not in the individual boxes with fictional biographical cards used for the Hong Kong figures.
Comparison of German and Hong Kong figures
In each pair shown, Hong Kong figures to the left have glossy paint, Germany on the right use flat paint.  The shirt on the German cowboy second from left has been left unpainted and is the color of the plastic.

I hope that someone can provide me more information on German production!  Note in the photo below that the figures are stamped "Germany" on the bottom of their bases with a thick line under the word.  This marking is identical to the marking on the "Charmore" figures above and similar to that on figures made in Holland, except of course they were marked Holland instead of Germany (see Holland section below).  To me, that suggests that these figures were made about the same time.  The Holland plant apparently operated in the mid 1950s, and the Masterpieces would have been made by "Charmore" about that same time.
Imprint on bottom of bases
1.  Walking with lasso and bridle 2.  Punching 3.  Standing with whip 4.  Twirling rope
5.  Standing, ready to draw pistols 6.  Standing with pistol and gold sack 7.  Sheriff with pistols drawn 8.  Bandit with hands in air
Whoops, a pose change with figure looking to right!  No, most likely a molding error.  But I like the variation!
1.  Dancing with rattles 2.  Stabbing
Top of box with 8 Masterpiece cowboys (see inside of box below)
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Box of 8 Masterpiece cowboys
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman


As shown by the box below, Heimo definitely did manufacture Marx mounted Indians and horses almost -- if not exactly -- identical to the ones from "Charmore".  This seems to suggest that Heimo did make these figures all along.  However, this area remains an enigma to me, and I welcome any information you might have in this area.
Window box of four Heimo mounted Indians with horses
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman

Heimo also produced some soft plastic, painted cowboys and Indians, similar to the WOW figures.  Were these another version of the Masterpiece figures, but in soft plastic?  One of the figures I have in this style is not a WOW figure, but rather a mounted Indian like the ones in the box above.  The bottom of the bases on the figures shown below have small impressed markings which to the naked eye look rather like a Marx logo, but reads "Heimo."  According to veteran collector Paul Stadinger, Heimo marked figures to be sold in Europe "Heimo" and those to be sold in the U.S. "Germany."
Cowboy punching Cowboy with arms at sides Heimo logo pressed into the bottom of the figure base

Dancing with rattles Running with rifle overhead Mounted with spear

The following photos of soft plastic Indians are perhaps later issues or re-issues from the German mold.  The logo on the bottom of the bases is the underlined "Germany" in a small circle, and the poses are again the same as WOW figures.  Based on Paul Stadinger's comment just above, I wonder if perhaps these are Heimo figures that were imported into the U.S. and were not factory painted.  
Indians similar to Marx 60mm Camp Indians and Skinny Indians -- stamped Germany on bottom of base and perhaps re-issues from Marx Masterpieces series.  Note that there is damage to left hands of the green and yellow figures.

I have WOW-style cowboy figures similar to these Indians, but they have no Germany stamp.  I have been told that they are re-issues made in Hong Kong in the 1990s, and with no manufacturer or country marking.  I would believe that might be correct.  It's a complicated hobby!

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Holland Production

Thanks to Max Epifantsev, Mark Hegeman, and Larry Tomikel, I have some information to report here.  Otherwise, I could tell you just about nothing of wild west figures made in Holland.  I still have very little, and I am starting to believe that Marx' production in Holland facilities was limited and short-lived.  I base that solely on the scarcity of information I can find on it, so I could be wrong.

In any case, according to Mark, prior to Hong Kong's production of the Warriors of the World, the Holland plant manufactured wild west figures that are very similar to the Warriors of the World and to the German Masterpiece figures.  Based on that, I believe these were made in the mid-1950s.  They were made in a red brown plastic significantly darker than the brown used in Germany and, as such, are easily differentiated from other similar figures.  As shown below, some Holland figures had "Holland" impressed into the bottom of their bases, but Mark reports that some had the word stamped on in ink.  They were factory-painted, but it appears that much of each figure was left unpainted in the red brown color of the plastic (at least for those figures shown below).

Based on the overall quality of painting displayed below, I could understand why Marx operations in Holland were brief.
Standing with whip
Section of whip is missing
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
Standing, twirling rope
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
With Rope and harness
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
Cowboy punching
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
Two pistols drawn
Sherriff with gold bag and pistol
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
Imprint on bottom of bases
Photo courtesy of Max Epitantsev
Indian kneeling with bow
(feather is missing)
Photo courtesy of Larry Tomikel
Indian dancing with club and bow
Photo courtesy of Larry Tomikel
Indian dancing with rattles Indian shooting bow and arrow


Overseas Re-issues

This site is not intended to cover re-issues, but it seems that a large number of re-issued figures have been made both in and outside the U.S.  These vary in quality from very good to absolutely awful.  I have a few of these figures and have also received photos of others from collectors.  Perhaps as a way of showing the continuing world-wide popularity of Marx toys, I have decided to display some of these re-issues here.  At this point, the section is very brief, but I hope to expand it somewhat soon.  But not a lot....

As anyone with even the smallest collecting experience should quickly learn, Mexico is a source of endless re-issues.  
I am unfamiliar with specific companies that have manufactured these items or which specific items have been re-issued or copied.  As pointed out to me by Mexican collector Eduardo, there have been some rather nice figures made in Mexico, especially the larger scale figures.  Bags of various Marx figures -- including groups of wild west figures pictured elsewhere on this web site -- frequently show up in Ebay auctions, indicating that the figures were made "a few years ago" in Mexico from original Marx molds and that figures may have "a few minor broken parts."  

I have not purchased any of these items, but would be interested to hear from anyone who has.  Below are figures that I believe are Mexican re-issues.
6-inch re-issue Indian with a little revision of the head. I've heard of Paul Bunyan's Blue Ox, but this is a steer! 54mm Roy Rogers figures in many colors.  Cream figures at top are originals.

Collector/ seller Francisco Bulnes of Mexicco reports that the following train set was sold in Mexico in the later 1970s and early 1980s.  Bearing the Plastimarx label, I believe these were sold only Mexico and never transported to the U.S.  The set includes 60mm cowboys and Indians in hard plastic, a 60mm teepee in soft plastic, and an A tree.  The figures appear to be too large for the cartoon-like, battery-operated train.


Russian manufacturers have also produced a large number of re-issues.  Russian collector Max Epistantsev reports that
some of the Warriors of the World molds -- most likely the ones used in Germany -- ended up in Russia, and one or more manufacturers there have released some rather nice Marx re-issues.  He also states that some 6-inch figures have also been re-issued in Russia, including the pioneers.  Below are two of the eight WOW-type cowboys that were re-issues in Russia.  These are in black (lightened for the photo), but they also came in other colors.

Re-issue cowboys made from a WOW mold in Russia

Italy is another country from which there have been some very nice re-issues.  Italian collectors Giovanni Cordone and Maurizio Fontanelli have shared much information with me on toy soldiers from there.  Shown below are re-issues of 6-inch figures.  I'm not sure what company made them, but I like the logo!
6-inch re-issue figures made in Italy
Photos courtesy of Giovannia Cordone



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