BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #4

Posted by Jeff Imel on

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First up, I want to give a quick thank you for all the messages and feedback I've received. The stories and reference photos from Military Women and their families has been especially helpful and inspiring. I was really surprised when post cards and letters started arriving in my mailbox, and these are real live actual postcards with handwritten notes and postmarked stamps and everything :
BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Postcards

The past few weeks have continued to be bonkers around here, but the BMC Toys Plastic Army Women (and several other projects) have been progressing pretty much on schedule. I'm working on the crowdfunding campaign so we can start taking pre-orders in November, and I've already expanded the basic set from 4 to 5 different figures by adding a kneeling with rifle pose to the mix. Three new sculpts are in progress or nearly complete and include standing firing rifle, kneeling with rifle, and prone with sniper rifle:
BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Rifle Prototype Sculpture

All 3 figures are equipped with M14 rifles and have a version of a Military bun hair style. I chose the M14 because it has the look I had in mind for the project and fits in with the general time period of the uniform, a range of Cold War conflicts and the heyday of Plastic Army Men production. You can also see that each figure is unique and there's a bit of variety in body and face types. A lot of Plastic Army Men figures sets are basically all the same figure just posed and equipped differently, but we're going the extra mile to create a more diverse set of unique figures. The first figure sculpt has been cast in resin and is just waiting for the rest of the squad to be completed before being made into a steel plastic injection mold:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Captain Resin Prototype

The pathfinder captain figure shown above made her first public appearance at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show September 22nd. The folks who run the show made a special effort to set up an area right near registration for the display where attendees could see the prototype figures up close, sign up for the newsletter, and even get a complimentary Plastic Army Women button, magnet or pen:
Chicago Toy Soldier Show BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Display

The Chicago Toy Soldier Show gathers some of the most dedicated toy soldier collectors and dealers from all over the world. I received lots of encouragement from everyone I ran into, even grizzled collectors that I would have never expected to be supportive of a project like this. I heard stories from collectors and dealers alike who received calls from friends and family members who saw the story and were excited to share it with them. One gentleman received a call from a niece he hadn't heard from for a few years. This project has brought folks together in ways I never imagined. One kind of crazy thing that happened was Anayeli Ruiz from NBC5 Chicago interviewed me for a story that was supposed to air later that day, but just as she left someone drove a car into several stores at the mall across the street. Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt, but the breaking news prevented Anayeli's version of the Plastic Army Women at the Chicago Toy Soldier Show story from airing. She spent a lot of time on it so I was disappointed we didn't get to see it, but appreciate her efforts (that's the news biz for you!).

Media coverage has continued at such a frenetic pace I literally can not keep track of all the stories published. I'm actually thankful new interview requests have calmed down over the past few days as it's given me a chance to catch my breath (and write this update). Here are some of the media highlights since the last update:

October 20, 2019:
New York Times article by Mihir Zaveri: A 6-Year-Old Asks Why There Are No Female Toy Soldiers...

AVOW Magazine (American Veteran Organization of Women) article by Sheila L. Holmes and Christina Wilkinson: In depth cover story--"Finally!":

September 24, 2019:
USA Today by Sonja Halle: Girl begged companies for toy Army women...

September 23, 2019:
Good Morning America by By Katie Kindelan: Toy maker debuts female toy soldiers...

People Magazine by Char Adams: 6-Year-Old's Viral Letter...

September 20, 2019:
Parentology by Lauren Wellbank: 6-Year-Old Girl’s Viral Letter

Toy Tales by Joanna Hauser: The Friday Five: Jeff Imel

September 19, 2019:
Chicago Tribune by Darcel Rockett: Toy company answers 6-year-old girl’s plea with prototype reveal in Schaumburg

Forbes by Kim Elsesser: What’s Up For Women This Week...

September 16, 2019:
BoingBoing by Clive Thompson: Toymaker to produce line of plastic army women 

Smithsonian Magazine by Brigit Kat: ‘Little Green Army Men’ Will Soon Feature Female...

September 13, 2019:
MentalFloss by Jake Rossen: Little Green Army Women Are Coming...

If you're interested in this project and the upcoming crowdfunding campaign where you can pre-order and help expand the number of figures, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter:

BMC Toys Plastic Army Women Project

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Tanks' for your support,

Jeff at BMC Toys

 June 20, 2018: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project Original Post

August 9, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #1

August 30, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #2 (IT'S HAPPENING!)

September 8, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #3

November 8, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #5

November 28, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #6 and Happy Tanksgiving!

December 24, 2019: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #7 and Merry Christmas!

March 8, 2020: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #8

May 22, 2020: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #9

May 22, 2020: BMC Toys: Plastic Army Women Project: Update #10

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  • Actually I am very excited about these, and my son wants a couple sets of them. Even though he is all boy he likes female characters like girl Power Rangers and Black Widow. He also reads my comics and these will be female ’Joe’s’. He plans to paint any visible hair on one of the female officers to make her Scarlett. I swear, that boy has more imagination than I do.

    Edward Blackwell on
  • Outstanding! It is long, long overdue. Representation matters! Brave women have served in the military for decades. I’m so thrilled that little girls will get to play with more toys showing more careers that they can aspire to be when they grow up. Thank you!!

    Jennifer C. on
  • What a cool idea! About time! I always felt left it as a girl, looking at the toy soldiers and seeing they were all male. Thank you!

    Melissa Enger on
  • I’ve been collecting armymen for years, and Bill McMasters was a hero of mine. I’m so jazzed to see this rolling out finally, I can’t wait to buy them! the Greens look amazing!

    Brianne on
  • Dear Jeff, Greetings from Melbourne Australia. I worked with the Australian Defence Forces in a review on the treatment of women, and at that time I always had a simple question in mind: ‘would I be happy for my two daughters to join up for military career?’ Suffice to say it was a difficult question to answer, but I certainly grappled with the unconscious bias at work in the Defence Force, and also in my own assumptions about what makes a good warrior. I also remember, as a young boy, playing with plastic GIs while living in the States, and suffice to say it never crossed my mind at that time that soldiers could be women too. Having read about your move to plastic women combat soldiers, I just wanted to pass on my congratulations. These kinds of things have more power than we realise. To use a colloquial Aussie phrase ‘Good on you mate!’ Best wishes, Damian Powell

    Damian Powell on

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