BMC Toys: To rescue George Washington and the Rough Riders

Posted by Jeff Imel on

Way back in 2015 when I began the process of purchasing BMC Toys, I was given a list of 'Active' molds. The list included everything that was in the BMC Toys product line in 2014, but was missing some items that had been discontinued for a few years. I already knew that the molds for the original Alamo, Yorktown, Gettysburg and Little Big Horn playsets would not be part of the sale (but that's another story). What I wondered is what happened to the molds for the "Battle of San Juan Hill" and the "US Presidents Series #1"? After some persistence, I learned that the molds had not been produced for several years, so they had been moved to long term storage by the factory. The exact location and condition was not known and it would be fairly expensive just to locate them, with no guarantee they could be located.

Finally, last December we organized a search and rescue mission for the missing molds. It took 4 guys at the factory a full week to find them, but it looks like they are all there. We won't be certain until they are opened up. That's the good news. The bad news is that they weren't stored properly and need a lot of work just to see if they can ever be used again. I've given the go ahead for work to start on reconditioning the Rough Riders figure mold to see if it's viable for new production. Here's what the figures in that mold looked like:BMC Toys Teddy Roosevelt and Rough Riders 1999 figures


The San Juan Hill set also included 71st New York Regiment, 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, and Spanish soldier figures. The Spanish figure mold is currently used for the Alamo bagged set and is in good condition. If the Rough Riders mold is OK, I think a bagged San Juan Hill set is a good possibility for Fall 2018.

The San Juan Hill boxed set also included this massive Hacienda building:
BMC Toys San Juan Hill Hacienda

Restoring all the molds for this building will be a big project, and even if everything goes well probably wouldn't happen until 2019 (if ever). That said, the interior walls are often used as bunkers and buildings for a lot of different eras, and those molds don't appear to be in too bad shape:
BMC Toys Hacienda Front Wall

I'm considering producing the walls and a stand alone accessory. There are a lot of possibilities for these wall pieces. I think the 4 walls molded in gray make a great bunker. A new flat roof so it's a complete building would make it even better. It could be used as a bunker, factory, or military hospital. A single side wall could make a great wrecked building with the addition of new damaged partial walls. Here's a better look at these walls:
BMC Toys Hacienda Interior Walls

I think these walls would also look great with a hip roof, but some sort of bunker configuration is a good possibility for fall 2018.

Another recovered mold is the BMC Toys US Presidents series #1. It included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. Here's what those figures look like:
BMC Toys US Presidents Series #1

These figures came in a blister package with a trading card for each President. I purchased a large number of these at a closeout price a few years ago, and they were fairly popular, so they might be worth producing again if the mold can be repaired. Bill had started development on Series #2. I have the original art that was produced for the Series #2 trading cards, but the project was never completed. My best guess is Series #1 wasn't popular enough at the time.

Two other molds that were located are the 2nd version Dead Horses and Civil War Split Rail fence. I don't have immediate plans for these, but they could be produced in the future as part of a Civil War accessory set along with sandbag stacks and gatling guns:BMC Toys Civil War Accessories

As always, I appreciate all feedback and suggestions.

Happy Presidents' Day!

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  • The split-rail/stone wall fence was the best accessory piece BMC ever made…. Bar none! I have probably forty of the originals…I bought the sets just to get them.

    Richard WIlliams on
  • I think what you are doing is great. I wish I could cast some army men. And the hacienda walls are very nice and any roof you come up with will do just fine. Or, no roof at all is just fine. That is what cardboard is for.

    Lee on
  • It is good you found the old molds. I like the Rough Riders hacienda. Hopefully, you will be preparing a whole new range of figures and accessories in the coming months,

    Thor Sheil on
  • You could make the chapel roof top of the Alamo, and place it on top of those walls. It would make a great Alamo playset. Just have some type of wooden looking scaffolding all along the inside of the tops of the walls. Kinda like a castle. That way soldiers could man the walls perimeter.

    Armando Dy on
  • I love the the Rough Riders playset. I requested it for several years before it was finally produced. It’s still one of my favorites. I believe the president’s series is the only playset I do not own.

    Braden on

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