Marx Lane
An Inventory of Marx Playset Figures and Accessories
Manufactured from 1951 to 1979

Appendix H - Introduction to Playsets
of the American Revolutionary War

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Table of Contents

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Page H-1 - Playset Figures
Page H-2 - Other Playset-related Figures
Page H-3 - Playset Accessories
Page H-4 - List of Playsets
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Revolutionary War playsets were late comers to the Marx playset arena, with the first sets not issued until 1957.  They were also short-lived, with six of the eight versions released by the end of 1959.  As a result of this limited run, they are more difficult to find in today's collecting market than Wild West or Civil War sets.

To me, the most surprising thing about the company's Revolutionary War playsets is that in 1976 -- the much-celebrated 200th anniversary of our nation -- Marx (then owned by the British company Dunbee-Combex-Marx)
did not even attempt to dust off its idle Revolutionary War molds and use the free publicity to sell what surely would have been thousands of playsets.  I realize that the company was enduring financial problems by that time, but was it so bad that such an obvious marketing ploy had to be ignored?  Perhaps so....

Of course, if you specialize in collecting Marx Revolutionary War playsets, you are fortunate.  The company sold relatively few such sets with a very limited number of figures and accessories.  Given a few months, you should be able to amass a reasonably complete collection with a reasonable outlay.  Just remember that the small number of playsets made has led to a relatively small number of playset items on the market, which keeps the prices a bit higher than some other playset themes.

On the other hand, it is rather sad that Marx did not do a better job in this very meaningful theme.  While toy soldier publications note that Marx did not produce more playsets in this theme because they did not sell well, I think the real problem was that Marx never devoted the time and resources to this area that it did to other themes, such as the American Wild West, the Civil War, knights and castles, space adventures, service stations, farms, etc.  I find it very difficult to believe that us kids of the 1950s and 1960s would not have craved well-made Revolutionary War playsets in the same way that we coveted Fort Apaches, Battles of the Blue and Gray, and World War II Battlegrounds.

I cannot explain why this was, and some collectors will undoubtedly disagree with my thoughts.  However, you need only note that Marx produced just six poses of Revolutionary War British soldiers to suspect that something was not right.

Someone at Marx -- perhaps Louis himself -- simply did not support the Revolutionary War theme during the Golden Era of Playsets.  Certainly the sets that were made included a few nice pieces -- a beautiful gold cannon, the Johnny Tremain character figures (though in just one playset), the tin litho tavern -- but overall, the sets must not have received sufficient internal support.  A so-so ten continental soldiers, a measley six British poses, no playset poses of real Revolutionary War characters, no playset allusions to Washington's famous Crossing of the Delaware, no wagons, no small accessory sprues, a stockade in only two of seven 54mm scale playsets (and that one dreadfully small for the figures)...this does not add up to a success story.

And a success it was not.

Marx Revolutionary War playsets are featured in PFPC Issue 32 and in Playset Magazine Issues 39 and 40.

Contents of this web site may not be reproduced or duplicated for use on the Internet or for commercial purposes without permission by Eric Johns.