Marx Lane

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

 
Appendix K-1  Figures of The Middle Ages
(Including Robin Hood and Vikings)
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Table of Contents

(click on name to move to section)
First Series Knights - 54mm
Prince Valiant Character Figures
Robin Hood and His Merry Men - 60mm
Richard Greene Robin Hood Character Figures
Vikings - 60mm
Second Series Knights - 60mm
54mm Knights
54mm Vikings
Animals
Warriors of the World
6-Inch Figures
Miniature Figures
     
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For the most part, figures on this page are shown in approximately proper proportion when compared to other figures.  The primary exceptions to this are 1) 6-inch figures, which are decreased by about half and 2) some photos which I have obtained from other people. 


First Series Knights - 54mm

By the time that Marx moved into playset production, the Medieval era with its armored knights had been a popular theme among European toy makers for many years.  Marx did not take long to add the theme to its playsets, releasing its Medieval Castle Fort in 1953.  The set included what collectors now refer to as the First Series or First Issue Knights.  This group had 10 poses and came almost exclusively in metallic silver vinyl.  The figures were produced initially with no bases, but the company soon added bases to several figures to help them remain upright.  The 54mm knight horses shown later on this page also came in these early playsets.

These initial knights were poorly scuplted and a far cry from the beautiful Medieval figures that Marx manufactured later.  Playset Magazine Issue 25 states, "The poses are crude examples from the early playset era with very poorly sculpted detailing.  Facial features, for instance, are almost non-existent, and the limbs and torsos make them appear as if they are suffering from malnutrition...."  Despite knowing little about knights' proper attire and fearing the wrath of Marx purists, even I have to say that some of these guys are downright laughable (see Pose 9)!

1.  Mounted with shield, separate lance held upward 2.  Mounted with separate lance, no shield 3.  Mounted with flag

4.  Sword held to rear (no base) 4.  Sword held to rear (with base)

5.  Guard with lance 6.  Guard with sword 7.  Sword held downward with tri-corner shield


8.  Swinging club (small base support) 8.  Swinging club (with base) 9.  Pointing, shield in left hand


10.  Advancing with sword overhead (no base) 10.  Advancing with sword overhead (with base)

Lances for 54mm figures in Poses 1 and 2
Top one is silver, bottom one is green.  Lances appear different size due to camera angle; both are 3-1/4 inches long.  




 Prince Valiant Character Figures - 60mm
  PL-

Marx did not take long to drastically improve its knight population.  In 1954, 20th Century Fox released the movie Prince Valiant, based on the popular comic strip of the same name.  Obviously seeing an opportunity to improve Medieval playset sales, Marx obtained a license to produce Prince Valiant character figures.  The company added five character figures to the existing First Series Knights and added the name Prince Valiant to its box covers.  

Unfortunately, the Prince Valiant Castle Fort set was not released until 1955 when the movie's popularity was already declining, so the Prince Valiant version was produced only that one year.  Marx also sold these five figures individually and in boxed sets.

As can be seen in the photos below, these figures include good detail and are very popular among collectors today.  Despite their short manufacturing life span, they can be found without too much effort and usually will not set you back more than $20 or so, except for the Black Knight with his helmet tassel intact (which is hard to find).
1.  Prince Valiant
2.  Aleta
3.  Sir Gawain
4.  Boltar 5.  Black Knight
The figure in a cream color on right is rare, and the photo is courtesy of David Schafer.  Even a Black Knight figure with a complete helmet tassle is hard to find.

Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Set of all five figures $81 November 2011 Ebay Great deal for buyer, Black Knight even has tassle






Robin Hood and His Merry Men - 60mm
PL-740


Building on its knights and castles theme -- and perhaps seeking an enemy for them to fight -- Marx produced its first Robin Hood playsets in 1956, supported by the popularity of the television show "The Adventures of Robin Hood" starring Richard Greene.  Similar to the Prince Valiant figures, these Robin Hood figures are beautifully done and are among the company's finest figures.  The group includes five character figures plus five Merrymen, generally in light green or brown.

Note the similarities between poses 6 and 7, 8 and 9, 10 and 11, and 12 and 13.  I would think this must have been a money-saving effort on the company's part to create two poses with minor variations made to one pose.

Despite limited production (the company changed to 54mm figures within a year -- see below) and popularity among today's collectors, most of the Merrymen can be found today in good condition for less than $10, with the character figures running a bit more.  Robin Hood himself will cost more, because he is hard to find in good shape (probably because he was the one that got the most play time).

1.  Robin Hood, shooting bow and arrow
2.  Maid Marian 3.  Sheriff of Nottingham with sword and knife

4.  Friar Tuck, holding staff
5.  Little John, holding staff across chest

6.  Lunging with sword
7.  Lunging with knife

8.  Walking with arrow and bow 9.  Standing with bow, drawing arrow

10.  Blowing horn, with bow
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
11.  Calling, left hand on hip


12.  Holding staff overhead
13.  Holding staff at side


 

Richard Greene Robin Hood Character Figures  - 60mm

While all of the company's Robin Hood sets benefited from the Robin Hood television show, Marx also obtained a license to produce playsets directly tied to the show.  The box covers read "Official Playset, The Adventures of Robin Hood."  The only significant difference from the company's other Robin Hood sets was that the character figures were changed to resemble the television program actors, as shown below.  

These character figures are among the finest figures that Marx made and are extremely popular among collectors.  Today, they are the most difficult to find among the company's Medieval playset figures and are very expensive.

While manufacturers have re-issued most of Marx' Medieval figures, I have never seen re-issues of these Richard Greene figures.
                                                                  
All photos below are courtesy of David Schafer.
Photo not available at this time.
1.  Robin Hood, holding bow and arrow at ready
(based on actor Richard Greene)
2.  Little John, staff held up to swing
3.  Friar Tuck
4.  Maid Marian 5.  Sheriff of Nottingtham
All photos above are courtesy of David Schafer.





Vikings - 60mm
  PL-

These 60mm Vikings were never included in a Marx playset, but would certainly have made a formidable foe for the company's knights.  Manufactured in soft plastic silver, red, and green, they were sold individually and in figure sets.  Later, the molds were used for the company's hard plastic, painted Warriors of the World (see later on this page). 

As shown in the photos, they were well sculpted.  Today they are difficult to find and in good condition will cost $20 and up.  Note that two of the figures shown below are re-issues in brown.

1.  Mace overhead, shield in left hand
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
2.  Preparing to throw spear
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
(re-issue)
3.  Holding club and shield
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis

4.  Standing bare-headed, holding spear pointed toward ground
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
5.  Fighting with axe and shield
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
6.  Standing, shooting bow
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis

7.  Fighting with sword overhead and shield up
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
(re-issue)
8.  Standing with helmet, spear pointed toward ground and holding shield
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis




Second Series Knights - 60mm
PL-712

To match the improved sculpting and slightly larger scale of the Robin Hood figures, Marx released its "Second Series Knights" with its Robin Hood playsets.  The figures are again extremely well done, far beyond the crude knights that the company sold just three years earlier.  The group includes 11 poses plus a lance for the mounted knight with a ring hand, again manufactured almost exclusively in metallic silver.

The foot figures in good shape can usually be found for less than $10.  The mounted figures will cost more, particularly the one swinging a ball and chain, which is very diffuclt to find with the ball and chain intact.
1.  Mounted with shield, separate lance 2.  Mounted with shield and ball and chain
Photo courtesy of David Schafer.
3.  Standing with spear at waist pointed forward

4.  Holding axe overhead
5.  Firing crossbow 6.  Holding small sword, shield against body

7.  Holding sword and shield, looking down
10.  Holding sword and knife 11.  Swinging club

7.  Holding sword and long axe
Blade of long axe is damaged.

10.  Advancing with sword and shield
                                                                          



Robin Hood and His Merry Men - 54mm

For reasons that will forever remain unexplained, after releasing its 60mm Robin Hood playsets in 1956, Marx began to sell its 54mm Robin Hood playsets later that year, continuing to manufacture them through 1957.  These sets included this new group of 14 figures, made up of six character figures (including the Minstrel) and eight Merrymen.  Poses were varied and imaginative (see photos below), and sculpting was very well done.

Character figures were most often made in cream soft plastic and Merrymen in tan or light green.  To oppose them, Marx reverted to its older group of ugly 54mm knights.

This group has been extensively re-issued in a variety of colors, including a green that I am very fond of.
 1.  Robin Hood with sword forward, bow in left hand
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis 
2.  Maid Marian 3.  Friar Tuck with scroll

4.  Little John with staff at side, ready to swing
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
5.  Sheriff of Nottingham, sword overhead
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis

6.  Minstrel with harp
7.  Squatting with bow 8.  Standing, shooting bow

9.  Advancing with staff and knife   10.  Blowing horn, with axe 11.  Jumping from tree, with sword and knife


12.  Carrying rock 13.  Running with chest and bow
14.  Holding arrow and bow
                                     



Knights - 54mm
PL-1246


In 1965, Marx revived the Medieval theme playset with its Knights and Vikings playset, which included new groups of superbly detailed figures in 54mm scale.  Molded in silver soft plastic, the details on the figures are much more crisp that those in either of the two previous groups of knights.  Unfortunately, the group included only seven knight poses.  The 54mm horses were resuscitated for the
one mounted knight pose, which alas does not have his lance pointed forward, ready for the kill.  What fun is that?

It is almost sad to think what might have been, if Marx had produced two or three times as many poses in this same size and quality (see the 54mm U.S. Cavalry and 54mm GI groups on other pages of this web site).  Though well done, figures from this group are readily available today, not very popular with collectors, and those in good shape should cost only a dollar or two.  

1.  Mounted, holding lance with pennant   2.  Pointing, with shield
3.  Swinging ball and chain


4.  Sword held forward with shield in left hand
5.  Holding axe overhead 6.  Standing, holding lance with pennant

7.  Advancing with halbred
                                 




 Vikings - 54mm
  PL-1247


Opposing the 54mm knights above, the Vikings are equal to them in fine sculpting and detail.  In soft plastic light green, the group has nine poses and forms a small, but formidable-looking, army.  Like the knights, these figures are readily available today and should not cost more than a dollar or two.

1.  Holding axe in right hand 2.  Holding axe overhead
3.  Swinging axe with both hands

4.  Standing, sword in right hand, pointing downward
This figure appears to be  the Viking leader.
5.  Running with axe and sword
6.  Advancing with knife and shield

7.  Swinging sword backhanded, shield in left hand 8.  Throwing spear 9.  Advancing with knife and club
                                     


 

Animals

  Horses for Knights - 54mm
     PL-433

These two horses were in playsets that included the 54mm knights, both the 1953 and 1965 versions.  They generally came in cream or black.  They have been re-issued in several colors of hard plastic.
1.  Running
 
2.  Standing Oh, yes, Marx' Medieval figures have definitely been re-issued!  Some of the re-issues are pretty well done, but red horses are getting a little far out!

  Horses for Knights - 60mm
     PL-713

Made for the two 60mm mounted knights, these horses are perhaps the most beautiful animals that Marx made in 60mm scale.  To the best of my knowledge, Marx made them only in a cream color.  They have been re-issued in several colors of hard plastic.

When topped by one of the two mounted knights, these animals make a striking duo.  They are much sought after by collectors today and will cost well more than knight figures (except for the mounted knight with ball and chain).  Look over purchases carefully, as reins and stirrups are often broken (see Photo 2 below).  
1.  Running
2.  Standing

  Stag
     PL-770

 
A nice touch and a great pose, the stag came with 60mm playsets.  Very well scuplted, it is a popular figure and can cost $20 to $30.
Stag
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
stag in a nice brown $23 November 2015 Ebay

                             



Warriors of the World (WOW)

In the 1960s, Marx' Hong Kong and offices made about 40 groups of hard plastic, painted warriors called Warriors of the World (WOW).  A few were also made in Taiwan.  These 60mm figures, which often used existing figure poses, were sold individually for the most part, but in some cases as small figure sets.  Themes ranged from cowboys to Roman and Chinese soldiers.  

Rather surprisingly, Marx made neither WOW knights nor Robin Hood figures.  However, the company did make Vikings, using the same Viking poses they had created about 10 years earlier for soft plastic figures (see above).  Included in the first series of WOW figures, they are among the more common to find, but are also very popular, so remain a bit pricey.
1.  Fighting with mace overhead and shield
2.  Throwing spear
3.  Standing with spear pointed downward
4.  Fighting with club and shield
5.  Fighting with sword and shield 6.  Gustaf, standing with spear and shield
7.  Shooting bow and arrow
Photo courtesy of Dave Poll, Ebay ID Apollotoysoldiers
8.  Fighting with axe and shield

Although Marx did not make its knights in the WOW series, if you want painted knights you can find them made in Marx' British and German facilities.  I am not sure of the specifics of these figures, but they were made in both hard and soft plastic.  The poses shown below are from the company's first series of knights (54mm) shown above.  

British-made figures are stamped with the Marx Swansea logo on the bottom of their bases, and German figures that I have are stamped Heimo.  Some German figures may be stamped Germany, but I am not certain.

Example of hard plastic painted knight
made at Swansea
Example of soft plastic painted knight made in Germany
(front and back views)





6-Inch Figures

In the early 1960s, Marx began to release a series of 15 to 20 groups of 6-inch figures in various themes.  Included were such popular figures as Disney characters and astronauts, as well as more obscure topics such as World War I French soldiers made by the company's European facilities.  Made in soft plastic, groups consisted of six to eight poses, with many of the poses the same as existing smaller scale figures.  The company made 6-pose groups of both knights and Vikings, but not Robin Hood.
  

     Knights
1.  Advancing with halbred 2.  Standing in on-guard stance with sword and shield

3.  Holding mace overhead 4.  Sword raised overhead in left hand

5.  Axe raised overhead in right hand 6.  Pointing, holding shield


     Vikings
1.  Holding sword, with winged helmet
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis
Rylev (Den71is@gmail.com) 
2.  Holding knife and club
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
3.  Swinging axe
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
4.  Blowing horn, with spear
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
5.  Holding sword overhead
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev
6.  Holding spear downward and shield
Photo courtesy of Russian collector Denis Rylev


  Goldmarx

In the 1960s, Marx' Hong Kong offices produced a relatively small number of finely painted 6-inch figues that are called Goldmarx.  These are not done in the usual slap-dash paint job that many Hong Kong figures received, but were carefully painted with some artistic flair.  Knights and vikings were among the few themes that were made.  They are very attractive figures and can often be seen up for auction on Ebay.  Those in good shape are expensive, and off the top of my head I will say they will cost you $20 up to much more.

Notably, while most all of the Goldmarx figures were made using the same molds as the company's 6-inch figures, the knights are entirely different poses that the 6-inch knights shown above.  Some or perhaps all of them were based on poses in the Miniature Knights and Vikings playset shown below.

Knight with axe and shield
Knight with mace and shield Knight with sword drawn
Knight with separate lance and eagle helmet
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Knight with separate lance and shield
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman
Knight with separate lance and shield
Photo courtesy of Mark Hegeman


A photo of all the Goldmarx Vikings can be seen on page 21 of Playset Magazine Issue 13.
Viking with mace and shield Viking with spear and shield


Miniature Knights and Vikings

In the mid-1960s, Marx sold a variety of miniature playsets that were approximately HO scale.  Made in the company's Hong Kong offices, these included many figures that were smaller versions of existing poses.  The figures were made in hard plastic and painted.  Due to their tiny size, I cannot believe that they were overly popular among kids in the 1960s -- though the catalogs made them look very attractive -- and they have only luke warm interest among most collectors today.  However, complete sets in good condition can still cost $200 and up.

Marx made only one playset of most themes, and the Knights and Castle set is the one in a Medieval theme.  All photos shown here were provided by Frederick St-Pierre, Ebay ID pickedtoday.






Castle, figures, and accessories from the Miniature Knights and Castle Play Set
Photos courtesy of Frederick St-Pierre, Ebay ID pickedtoday.  Not all figures and accessories shown.
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
Knights and Castle Playset $94 November 2011 Ebay good condition, near complete





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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.