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

 
Appendix H-3 - Playset Accessories
of the American Revolutionary War

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Table of Contents

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Buildings
Stockade
Terrain pieces
Fence
Flags
Cannons
Small Accessory Groups
     
Other Pages
Page 1 - Playset Figures
Page 2 - Other Playset-related Figures
Page 4 - List of Playsets
     
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Buildings

     Tavern

From the outside, this lithographed building made of pressed steel (commonly called tin) appears to be an English-style pub with the name "Sons of Liberty."  There is no question that rowdy American rebels frequent it.  Inside, however, the lithography makes it look more like a formal room in the house of an English gentleman.  
Besides the two lower windows in the front, the inside shows another window on the left (as you look in from the back) and a fire place on the right.  Overhead is a chandelier, and on the walls are three paintings, two of white-wigged aristocrats and one of a typical English landscape.  

The building
measures 10 inches wide, 4 inches deep, and 6-1/2 inches to the peak of the roof, with another half inch for the chimney.  It is three sided with a floor and an open back.  Unlike other 3-sided Marx buildings, this one has a partial back, leaving an opening on the backside of about 9-by-3-1/2 inches.  That's still plenty of room to set up your Colonial furniture and place figures inside, and the partial backing provides a little extra support for the building.

As most Marx structures, it is a smaller scale than the playset figures; though a second story is shown on the front, no second floor is shown on the inside lithography.  Interestingly, the building is identical to the one Marx included in its nativity set, with the only differences being the tavern's chimney and, of course, the lithography.

Overall, it is an attractive piece and provides the perfect setting for a good anti-King, give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death speech.

     Click here to see a view of the complete back.  Or click here and see a close-up of the back.    



     Two-story blockhouse

The Revolutionary War playset #3408 and Fort Mohawk playset, both issued in 1959, had some very different accessories than previous sets.  They did not include the tin litho taven, tin litho rock walls, or tin litho flag.  Set #3408 did not even have the Revolutionary War cannon (as described later on this page).  However, they did introduce an attractive 2-story, self-standing blockhouse.

The large blockhouse came in seven pieces and was relatively easily snapped together.  Both the inside and outside are nicely detailed, with an open back that allows access to the inside.   It came in hard plastic, both tan and dark brown.  The Fort Mohawk blockhouse -- I am unsure whether it was tan or brown -- had the name Fort Mohawk heat stamped on the upper front in yellow; the #3408 set version had no name on it.

This block house was used in a few other playsets, such as Fort Pitt (also in 1959) and Fort Apache.  Like Fort Mohawk, the Fort Pitt blockhouse was heat stamped Fort Pitt.  The Fort Apache one had no name on it -- though it has an undetailed portion of the front facade to stamp a name -- and added a hole in the top of the cupola to place a flag pole.

The blockhouse shown below is the one from a Fort Apache playset, but except for the name looks identical to the Fort Mohawk version.

2-story stand-alone blockhouse
The Fort Mohawk playsets included the stand-alone blockhouse version shown at left.  In the other Revolutionary War set that included this blockhouse, there was no name heat stamped on the front, but unlike the Fort Apache version shown below, the blank name space was fully detailed as logs, the same as the rest of the blockhouse.

Fort Mohawk version photo courtesy of collector Butch Parker.
Version of stand-alone blockhouse used in one Fort Apache playset. (front and back views)
Note that in the Fort Apache version a hole for a flag pole is located in the top center point of roof (not seen in photos), which the Revolutionary War versions did not have.
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
$115 October 2012 Ebay very minor damage

     Cabin with center chimney

This is one of the most difficult to find Marx tin litho buildings, another #3408 oddity.  It came only in that 1959 playset, two in each playset.  It was never used in any other playset.  If you can find it you are doing good, if you can find it for sale you are doing excellent, and if you can find it for sale under $200 you are performing miracles.  It's the only Marx cabin that has a center chimney, the same as the tavern above.  Otherwise, it uses the same pattern as the down-sized cabin in Wild West playsets, and its litho is also pretty much the same.
Cabin with center chimney.
Top photo courtesy of David Schafer.
Recent Price Line
Cabin with center chimney $255 March 2011 Ebay
Cabin with center chimney $430 Sept 2011 Ebay "mild surface rust on roof" and missing back bar - good price for seller
Cabin with center chimney $158 October 2011 Ebay Great price for buyer




Stockades

   
 Jungle stockade

This fort was first used in Marx Jungle theme playsets and later in Daniel Boone sets.  The gate and walls are noticeably smaller than Fort Apache pieces, and Marx used it in playset #3408, most likely to reduce costs.  The 54mm figures could almost look right over the top of the stockade walls.     
Jungle-style fort gate Jungle-style fort wall (ouside)
Inside of wall without rampart Inside of wall with rampart


       Fort Apache Stockade

According to Issue 3 of the magazine Toy Soldiers and Collectibles, the 1959 Fort Mohawk playset had a Fort Apache style stockade with a gate and nine walls.  The gate reportedly was the same as the basic Fort Apache gate, but had no name above it.  The gate and walls below actually came from a Fort Apache set, but except for the name over the gate, they look the same as the items that would have been in a Fort Mohawk set.
Fort Apache gate
Fort Mohawk had no name over the gate.
(PL-342)
Outside of Fort Apache style wall
Inside of basic Fort Apache style wall
(PL-890)
Inside of Fort Apache style wall with rampart
I am not positive that Fort Mohawk had walls with ramparts.
(PL-341)




Terrain pieces

All trees used in the Revolutionary War playsets had been used earlier in Wild West, Civil War, and other sets.  Commonly produced in hard plastic in the past, they were revised to soft plastic here.  The 1972 Heritage set included only the "stand of four trees," which Marx made to be broken into two 2-tree pieces.

     "A" tree
     PL-524


     Trees and Stumps
       PL-332 and PL-332A
Dead tree Large stump Small stump


     Stand of trees (sometimes called Northern trees)
       PL-?

These trees were used in only one Revolutionary War playset, the 1972 Heritage set.
Stand of four trees (Made to be divided in middle if desired)


     Rocks

Rocks were plentiful in Revolutionary War playsets.  The two boulders shown below were recycled from numerous Wild West sets, having been been in use from the early 1950s.  Two of the rock piles shown were included in some Civil War sets, but the "rock pile with no bulge" was new in this set.

The names for these rocks were created by Tim Geppert in an article in PFPC Issue 22 that provided information on Marx rocks and trees.

Large boulder
3 inches wide, 1-1/2 inches tall
Small boulder
2-1/2 inches wide, 1-1/4 inches tall
Rock pile with no bulge
2-1/4 inches wide, 1-5/8 inches deep
Rock pile with center bulge
2-1/4 inches wide,  2 inches deep
Rock pile with left bulge
2-1/2 inches wide, 1-/7/8 inches deep



Fencing
 
Revolutionary War sets were inconsistent in fencing, with at least three types of fence included in one or more of the sets.  
 
     Split Log Fence

       PL-147
The split log fence shown below is from Wild West sets.  As many as six pieces were included in the earliest Revolutionary War sets in white or cream.  It is 6-1/4 inches wide and 1-7/8 inches high.


     Tin litho rock walls and corner posts
       PL-?
The tin litho fence or wall below -- with the lithography created specifically for Revolutionary War sets -- was clearly the most attractive, but also the most expensive to make.  With different lithography, the wall had previously been used as castle walls in Medieval playsets.  The tin litho part is a long 10-1/2 inches wide, 1-3/4 inches high, and 3/4 of an inch deep.  The two plastic end caps add about 2 inches to the length, as well as a small amount to the height and depth.

For some reason, Marx made end caps that could be attached to only one tin litho wall, so that the two walls included in a set could not be connected to create one long wall.  As shown below, the backside of each cap had slots for three tabs on the tin litho wall, at the top and on each side.

While a nice item, the color is a bit odd, in a very light shade.  The end caps -- though they do not look like it in the first two photos below -- are flesh, and the tin litho wall is a light yellow/flesh/tan.  I'll never understand why Marx used the color "flesh" so much!
Photo not available.
Tin litho rock wall - one side, with end caps attached
I'd call this the front side.
Tin litho rock wall - the other side, with end caps attached
I'd call this the back side.
End cap, front and back
Three slots in back are for tabs on tin litho wall.  End cap shown is re-issue.

     Plastic rock walls
       PL-?

In the 1972 Heritage set, the tin litho walls were replaced with six low plastic rock walls, which were also in the Marx Flintstones Play Set, and therefore are often called the Flintstone walls.

The walls are just under 8-1/2 inches wide and about 3/4 inches high and deep.  Re-issues exist.  





Flag, pole, and earthen base
     PL-346

Of seven Marx playsets in the Revolutionary War theme, five had Marx' usual tin litho flags.  The company's playset set #3401 (the smallest of Revolutionary War sets) and #3762 (Fort Mohawk) came with an authentic-looking 13-star flag.  A Sons of Liberty flag -- an imaginative flag created by Marx -- was in three sets:  #3402 (the Johnny Tremain set), #3404 (the set with the most figures in it), and the Heritage set.  Veteran collector Josh Petrie reports that he has occasionally seen the Sons of Liberty flag in #3401.  The other two sets had no flags.

Flag poles and bases were in hard plastic gray.  They were the versions created earliest by Marx, round log poles with rock pile bases.  The bases are about 3/4 of an inch tall, and the poles are 6 inches.  The tin litho flags are on the standard Marx flag.

The unfortunate Bristish Army had no flag in the world of Marx.
Songs of Liberty flag
Photo courtesy of Mark Novack, Ebay brtcarguy
13-star flag
Photo courtesy of Rich Eber
Rock pile flag base
Flag pole
Flag pole with 13-star flag
Photo courtesy of Rich Eber





Cannons

     Revolutionary War Cannon with accessories
     PL-876

One of the best things about the Revolutionary War playsets was the new ornate, firing cannon created for them.  It is larger and more attractive than the standard Fort Apache cannon (see below) and was molded in a gold color.  They are hard to find today and not cheap when you do find them.  An original cannon shown below -- graciously provided by Kent Sprecher -- is from Marx' 1972 Heritage Revolutionary War playset, a later set that did not quite get the gold color right and did not include the firing mechanism with the cannon.

Cannon accessories are shown below, though the cannons balls to be fired from the cannon are not pictured.  This is the one Marx cannon that actually needs the ramrod in order to push the ball into a firing position!

Re-issues are much less expensive, but come in silver and do not fire. 

Two views of gold Revolutionary War cannon from Johnny Tremain Play Set
Photos courtesy of Mark Novack, Ebay brtcarguy
Revolutionary War cannon
From Marx Heritage playset.  This 1972 set did not get the "gold" color quite right and did not include the firing mechanism, which should be seen at the back of the cannon barrel.
Revolutionary War cannon
Re-issue item, non-firing.
Bucket, pile of cannon balls, and tray to hold loose cannon balls
Re-issue items.  What appear to be oblong cannon balls appear round when viewed normally from above the pile.  The tray holds cannon balls that can be fired from the cannon (not pictured).
Cannon ramrod and swab
re-issue items
Recent Price Lines I have noticed
gold cannon, firing version $51 April 2013 Ebay no shells included

     Fort Apache Style Cannon
      PL-411

Starting with Fort Dearborn and Fort Apache sets in 1953, Marx included this firing cannon in many of its play sets.  
As shown in the photo below, the cannon had a wire mechanism that fired miniature cannon shells.  The cannon and shells were made in hard plastic; Revolutionary War sets cannons were either black or gray.

The 1972 Sons of Liberty Heritage set included a non-firing cannon without a spring, but was otherwise identical to the original cannon. This was most likely due to safety precautions and/or to reduce playset costs.  The wire mechanism used to create a "firing" cannon is easily lost, so that many cannons manufactured as the firing version are now missing these wires.

The cannon is about 1-3/4 inches high and 4 inches long; the sprue of shells is also 4 inches long.  I know nothing about cannons (even though my father was an Army artillery officer), but this Marx cannon is commonly referred to as 12-pound cannon.

Firing cannon (with wire firing mechanism)
Cannons in Revolutionary War sets were either black or gray.
Sprue with 10 shells
Shells were either black or gray, matching the color of the cannon.

Non-firing cannons were used for Heritage playset
Same as firing cannon, but without spring.



Small accessory groups

     17-piece Revolutionary War Group
       PL-875

This new accessory group had 17 pieces that made up of 11 different accessory items.  Duplicates were included as indicated in parentheses below the photos.  For most sets, pieces were in a hard plastic and a unique color that collectors call "rose-maroon."  Those in playset #3408 from 1959 were sometimes in light brown, and 1972 Heritage playset accessories were in what PFPC Issue 32 calls a "waxy dark brown."

At a quick glance this looks like a nice group of accessories, well made and creative.  Unfortunately, many of them are far too small in scale for the figures.  The chairs and spinning wheel are especially absurd.  Moreover, what is one to do with chairs,  stool, a table, a stretcher, and a spinning wheel when there are absolutely no figures that relate to them.

They are nice as background material -- or perhaps used to bar the door from a horde of British Redcoats -- and they can also fit nicely into other playset themes, including the Wild West and the Civil War.  The table is a nice touch with papers, ink well, and feather pen.  The cauldron, stack of muskets, and stretcher are also well done, with the stretcher molded to resemble a rough woven cloth

It's just too bad that they were not made a little larger and that a few figures were not made to utilize them.


1.  Lantern (2) 2.  3-legged cauldron
re-issue item
3.  3-legged stool (3)
original rose maroon on left, re-issue brown on right
Photo of original courtesy of Rob Colwell
4.  Stack of muskets
re-issue item
5.  Table with quill, ink well, and papers
in original rose maroon
6.  Narrow bench (2)
in original rose marron
Photo courtesy of Rob Colwell


7.  Small ladder back chair
in original light brown
8.  Rocking chair (chair plus two rockers)
in re-issue brown
9.  Stretcher
Top photo is original in rose maroon; bottom is re-issue in brown.
10.  Spinning wheel
in original rose maroon
11.  Hitching post
original rose maroon
Photo courtesy of Rob Colwell
11.  Hitching post
original light brown


     10-piece outdoor stockade group (makes 8 items)
       
PL-351

This group first appeared in Fort Dearborn playsets in 1951.  Based on later use in numerous Wild West playsets, it has come to be known as the stockade or Fort Apache outdoor accessory group.  The pieces were made in brown or gray hard plastic.

The dip well and cooking fire are particularly fragile pieces.  Each is a 2-piece item with a base and upper portion, and the pegs on the upper portion that are inserted into holes on the base are frequently found broken today.  On the other hand, many are found with the two pieces glued together.  The small powder barrels are hard to break and now seem to be the most readily available piece in the group.  The axes and anvils in stumps and log piles are also easily found today, because they also were included in other accessory groups.

1.  2-piece dip well 2.  2-piece pot hanging over fire
3.  Anvil on stump
4.  Axe on stump
5.  Log pile
7.  Powder barrels (two)
Closed top with XXX Powder XXX written on it.
8.  Butter churn



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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.