It's happening! BMC Toys is going to produce a set of Plastic Army Women figures within the next year.
Before we get into the details, I should recap for folks who just learned about the project from the 'On the Road With Steve Hartman' story from tonight's CBS Evening News. Here's the story so far:
I've been kicking around the idea for a set of female toy soldiers with friends and family for at least 3 years. Everyone liked the idea, but a new set of original figures is a big project, so I put the idea on the back burner, until...
June of 2018 I received an email from JoAnn Ortloff, Fleet Master Chief (Retired), US Navy. She was looking for female toy soldiers for her granddaughters, and made a compelling case for why Plastic Army Women should be produced. I spent a good chunk of a weekend putting together the basics for the project, set up an email list, wrote a blog post, and got some art made to illustrate the idea. Initial response was very positive, but my schedule and budget for the year was full, so not much happened until...
Early August 2019 I received a copy of the letter from 6 year old Vivian asking "Why aren't there any girl army men?". I responded to Vivian's Mom to let her know about the BMC Toys Plastic Army Women project. Soon after, I started to get inquiries from reporters, including CNN and Entercom Communications. With the new attention, I posted an update with some new concept art and customer feedback I'd collected over the past year. The story of VIvian's letter spread throughout dozens of local media outlets, and BMC Toys was mentioned in a lot of them. Then, a national television network called to talk about running the story. I figured I'd better get the project moving along just in case, so I commissioned more art, requested rush quotes from my factory partners, and even hired a sculptor to create a prototype. The producers of the show decided not to do the story, and new local media stories died down, so I thought the media attention was pretty much over until...
August 19th I received a call from a producer at CBS News. They were considering airing Vivian's story for 'On the Road With Steve Hartman,’ which airs at the end of CBS Evening News on Friday nights. After an informal phone interview (where I babbled for nearly an hour), they requested an interview with me at the factory in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where we produce some of our toy soldiers. I thought it would just be a cameraman and maybe a producer to get some background for the story, but it was Steve Hartman who showed up! He and his cameraman, Bob, spent the whole afternoon hanging out with us at the factory in Scranton. Steve, Bob, and producer Roxanne were all super cool, incredibly nice, and very easy to work with. I'm writing this before seeing the story at the end of the news tonight, but it seemed like they were really happy with how the story was turning out...
Which brings us back to the announcement at the beginning. All the media attention, increase in the newsletter subscribers, and positive support in general have led me decide to definitely produce a set of Plastic Army Women. I have a budget in place that will allow for at least 4 different poses and will be offered in a pack of about 24 figures. I'd like to expand the number of different poses, but that will depend on how much support the project receives over the next few weeks. I likely just announced it on TV, so I pretty much have to follow through (and couldn't be more pleased about it).
I'll conclude this update with some of the new concept art including a first look at the brand new figure sculpt. I will post an update soon that discusses details like regulation hair, time period, poses and other design decisions before moving forward. Nothing has been finalized yet, so I appreciate any and all feedback:
...and please subscribe to the newsletter to let me know you support the project (it really helps):
Jeff at BMC Toys
Update August 31, 2019
Here's the CBS News Story:
A really nice follow up story from Connecting Vets: https://connectingvets.radio.com/articles/green-army-women-toys-could-be-available-christmas-2020
June 20, 2018: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project Original Post
August 9, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #1
September 8, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #3
October 20, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #4
November 8, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #5