BMC Toys: Rough Riders Reissue Confounding Color Conundrum

Posted by Jeff Imel on

A few months ago we staged a search and rescue mission for the BMC Toys San Juan Hill Playset molds. The search was a success, but the molds need a lot of repair and maintenance, so for the rescue part I decided we'd start with the Rough Riders figure mold, and get a bagged set of Rough Riders and Spanish soldiers produced for the Fall. The mold is still in the shop, but the details need to be finalized soon so everything is ready to move into production in time. One of the first things to figure out is what colors the figures will be. Originally, the BMC Rough Riders were a orangish tan and the Spanish soldiers were bright white:
BMC Toys San Juan Hill Hacienda Walls Rough Riders and Spanish Soldiers

These figures have been out of production for several years, so now is a good time to evaluate if the figures might be better in different colors. I started out by obtaining vintage Marx and Marx Recast Rough Rider figures, and matching them up with color swatches, and also researched the Rough Riders' and Spanish uniform colors.  Here's a digital mockup of BMC's Teddy Roosevelt in various colors:
BMC Toys Rough Riders Color Test

For the Rough Riders I'm currently leaning towards the same tan used for the BMC Toys D-Day British Soldiers and possibly also medium blue, maybe a shade darker or more muted than the original BMC San Juan Hill's 71st New York Regiment and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers. For the Spanish Soldiers I think a very light gray (off white) might be better than the bright white of the original. I have some test shots that were made in the very light gray color for a previous project and they look good.  Here's a mockup of what the figures included might look like:
BMC Toys Rough Riders Reissue Mockup Speaking of the 71st New York Regiment and 10th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, while digging through the BMC Toys archives I found that Bill McMaster has planned to reissue both in 2013 as bagged figures molded in light blue to match vintage Marx and current Toys Soldiers of San Diego Civil War figures. The plans were shelved when the molds couldn't be located.
BMC Toys 7th Cavalry and Buffalo Soldiers

Let me know what you think about colors for the Rough Riders vs. Spanish Reissue and possible future reissues of the other San Juan Figures and Playset.

 Tanks' for your help,

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  • I always paint my figures so the only practical color for me would be silver – for everything! Why, you ask? Because the bayonets and swords are first to lose paint and if the plastic is silver the result is not bad.

    JamesO'Connell on
  • I’d go with a kaki color for the rough riders. And for the Mexican soldiers, an off white. Those white clothes would get dirty. In old movies they end up looking light gray. You should modify one, and put him on a horse and say it’s Pancho Villa.

    Armando Dy on
  • I agree with the above. I’d point out that the US figures cast in red would make fair Canadian Mounties. They are also contemporary with the US Marines that defended Peking from the Boxers in 1905 or Pershing’s hunt for Pancho Via in 1916. By then, I think they’d have light green uniforms. The bandileers on the Spanish figures make them good candidates for South African Boers (dark blue) or Mexican bandits (in any color). Consider these figures for a new playset about the Mexican Revolution. You could obtain an existing 54mm train set, pile sandbags on the flatbed cars, and man them with police figures recast in tan to serve as Mexican Federalis. These BMC figures are very useful soldiers for battles of Victorian Era imperialism. Thanks for restoring them and good luck!

    Richard Medeiros on
  • Any appropriate tan will do for the “Rough Riders,” even though Federal Dark Blue would be at least half of the actual colors for the all but the Officers.

    The Spanish, however, should be a light/sky blue as the Rayadillo uniform lost all traces of the pin stripe over anything more than about 20 feet. For those who wish to paint their figures, this will make the Spanish FAR EASIER and that much more attractive.

    In a perfect world, the Yanks would all be cast in Dark Blue with Light Blue trousers, rather like the classic multi-color Timpo figures, but I appreciate that is not a practical choice. But any single color that would not have to be painted on castings would be a tremendously welcome advantage to those who paint, and should be no problem otherwise for those who do not.

    The (Virtual) Armchair General

    Patrick Wilson on
  • Marx recast colour as shown in your digital mock up for the Rough Riders and the original Dark Blue for the 71st NY and 10th Buffalo Soldiers. Powder Blue for the Spanish as this would most accurately depict what he ‘Rayadillo’ Blue and White pin stripe uniforms look like from a distance.
    Can you also produce these figures in a better quality plastic, the originals were a very cheap material that broke easily and couldn’t be glued very successfully when rifles broke. A softer plastic would stop any breakages.
    Did you find the moulds for the Machine guns that go with the original set also ?

    Les White on

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