It's only March, but 2020 has been a busy year already.
There are eleven new items released in the BMC Toys Classic Army Men Collector Series:
- Recast Ideal OD Bulldozer w/Driver & Louis Marx Ruined Building
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Army Camp Accessories 10pc Tan
- Recast MPC WWII German Infantry 36pc Charcoal Gray
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Military Base Accessories 44pc OD
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. WW2 US Soldiers 31pc Green
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. WW2 US Soldiers 31pc Black
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Landing Craft 4pc Blue & Gray
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Mars Base Camp 24pc Accessories
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Mars Outpost 20pc Aliens & Accessories
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Western Furniture 42pc Brown
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. WW2 Russian Soldiers 36pc OD
Some of these are just new color variants, but there's some interesting items as well.
The Ideal Bulldozer paired with the Louis Marx & Co. Ruined Building solved a problem I'd been contemplating. The building originally included a metal 'rat-trap' mechanism that would 'explode' the building when the door was hit with a shell from a spring loaded cannon. Spring loaded cannon that shoot small projectiles haven't been allowed in the toy market for decades, and I wasn't sure if the 'rat trap' mechanism would pass current standards. I was about to finalize production details for the Bulldozer when I got the idea to reincarnate the exploding building as a building ready to be demolished by the Corps of Engineers. I designed a sticker sheet for the set that includes 'Killroy was Here' graffiti and address number of '200' in honor of the Louis Marx HQ at 200 5th Avenue and I think the 2 pieces together make for a fun mini-playset.
The MPC German WW2 Soldiers are offered for the first time without holes in their bases. The holes were originally designed to plug onto pegs in some MPC vehicles and accessories, but were rarely used and the holes had a lot of flash due to mold wear and tear. It was more hassle than expected to close up the holes, but I think the end result is they mix in with other brands of soldiers much better now. I'm considering adding a second color, possibly Tan or Mocha.
The Military Base Camp includes 2 groups of Louis Marx & Co. accessories. The Training Camp Office Furniture looks like it came right out of the M*A*S*H office set. When you see these pieces your half expect Colonel Potter or Radar to show up at any moment. The rest of the set is the Western Town 'Jail Side' furniture group offered in Olive Drab Green for the first time (as far I know). I had originally thought that only half the pieces in this group belonged in an Army Men set as barracks furniture and supplies, but the rest of the pieces were too old-timey. The cost was nearly the same to include just part of the mold contents, and I realized that a lot of the pieces did make sense if you thought about the context of a larger Military base. A lot of the general store items would be at home in a mid-century PX store, and the tool display could be in a base workshop. The gun display could be in the armory or even be a display case of vintage Military artifacts. The roll top desk could belong to an officer or in the back of the PX, and even the printing press and wood block tray could belong to a small print shop on the base. I think it's a fun set and a great value with all the pieces so I'm hoping I can also offer it in Tan and maybe Gray at some point.
The Mars Base Camp and Outpost sets include some of my favorite pieces. I recall first seeing these amazing accessories shortly after reissuing the Tim Mee Galaxy Laser Team figures in 2012 (although I may have a dim memory of seeing them in a 'Galaxy Command' playset in the late 70's). Someone posted photos of the GLT figures set up on a table along with the Louis Marx & Co. 'Cape Canaveral' accessories and I was immediately hooked, but never thought I'd have the opportunity to run the molds. The Cape Canaveral group is worthy to be offered on its' own, but sometimes 5+2=10. Meaning that a cool group of pieces and a less-cool group of pieces can become really cool when paired together. That brings us to the 2nd group offered in the Mars Base Camp set, the Louis Marx & Co. 'Space Academy' Furniture group. These are some of the earliest space themed playset items ever made, and while a couple of the pieces are really great (mainly the control console) some of the classroom items are a bit boring. I wasn't certain I could offer the Space Academy items as a stand alone product that would be worthwhile, but pairing them with the Cape Canaveral items elevates both groups. I chose a Stainless Steel color as a nod to the new SpaceX rockets being made of Stainless Steel that have a decidedly retro-scifi look to them. I originally planned for the Space Academy pieces to also be Stainless Steel color but decided a pop of color would be better and I think they look great in red. I designed a sticker sheet that includes triple gas tank stickers based on the originals from 2 different eras of Marx space playsets (with enough differences they can't be too easily confused for originals) and created a few new stickers to accent the set just a little. The Mars Outpost set includes the Cape Canaveral accessories in a Bright Green and set of the R&L Astro-Nit Aliens in contrasting Purple. It's somewhat of a companion piece to the 'Alien Jungle' set released late last year. I have an idea to use these as part of a 'Mines of Mars' Playset along with the Louis Marx & Co. Gold Mine entrance molded in Red or other Mars-like color.
I'm getting ready to finalize production for the next round of BMC Toys Classic Army Men recast items. I'm estimating they should be ready around June:
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Gardening with Grandpa
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Doll House Traditional Furniture
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Doll House Modern Furniture
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Long Barrel Howitzer
The Gardening with Grandpa set is planned to include Farmer, Grandson and Collie 1:32 scale figures in Tan, rows of Green vegetables in with Brown bases, and some ranch fencing in White.
The Traditional Doll House Furniture set will include the Western Town 'Hotel Side' furniture in Cream color and the 'Colonial Furniture and Accessories' in Brown.
The Modern Doll House Furniture is planned to include the 'Skyscraper' accessory set in Mocha color and the 'Space Academy' set in Blue Teal color.
I'm also starting development on some more new BMC Toys Classic Army Men recast items. These might get into production during the summer:
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. German 88mm Artillery Gray
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Ranch Fence and Archway Set
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Western Fence and Gate Set
- Recast Louis Marx & Co. Wrought Iron Fence and Gate Set