Thursday, August 16, 2012

Comic Book Toy Soldiers: Lucky Toys 132 Piece Roman Soldiers Set



Here's the original ad from the back of the comic books:



Certainly colourful enough! Full of action and promise for the young reader.















A close up of the contents that make up the two Roman armies.



























The box an army arrived in long ago.











The contents spilled out. In this case, an incomplete army due to age and use.











Here's what you would have received, arrayed for battle. Sharp eyes will note the different hues of plastic, additions to flesh out a complete set from other partial sets I own. As with the Lucky Toys 204 Revolutionary War set, the plastic soldiers do vary in shades of colour.














Another view of the full set.















The Commanders. There were 4 in each set.

The Cavalry Banners. There were 4 of these.















The cavalry. 24 of these were in each set.



















Spearmen. 16 per set.

















Archers. 16 per set. These figures are in full Roman armour and are wearing rather short tunics.

















Slingers. 16 per set. These are a fanciful pose, full armour, a heavy spear and shield and a sling.














The Chariots, some of the nicest pieces in the set. There were 4 of these.
















The catapults, 2 per side. The ammunition is a feather light hollow soft plastic ball. There were 8 per side. These catapults don't really work. I imagine a lot of frustration arose as kids tried to fire them at their carefully lined up troops. Probably the ammo was discarded and rolled marbles took the place of this "artillery".










My favorite of the infantry poses, the 24 swordsmen per set. These closely resemble some of the fighting men depicted in the ad.














4 Trumpeters were in each set.




















Spearmen illustrating the different hues found between sets. Also, some sets like the man on the right, were of softer pliable plastic. Even today you can bend them and they bend back in shape. The man on the left is of a hard brittle plastic that snaps at the slightest touch. This isn't "plastic disease" as one finds with old Airfix sets. Rather it is the nature of the plastic some of these sets were made of. I suspect that these harder sets were later, as the detail is less than that of the soft plastic soldiers.




I painted a few of the brittle soldiers. At least on a wooden base, they stand some chance of remaining whole.

















A comparison. An Airfix centurion (who followed Mark Anthony to Egypt to train Cleopatra's hordes, judging by the shield) next to the chariot. It is close to 20mm in scale.












Mark Anthony next to a painted cavalryman. These figures, while flat, do fit in well with standard HO figures.














All in all they are a nice set for the nostalgic old man. The foot soldiers all stand about 1 1/2 inches tall from the bottom of the base to the top of the helmet. The cavalry are a fraction taller, usually just their plumes are above 1 1/2 inches. I found that the brittle soldiers had less flash and that their bases were flatter, so they stand better. The softer figures had some flash around the bases, and some bases are slightly warped, leading to catastrophic domino like collapses. In point of fact, it took me two tries and a glass of beer to steady my nerves just to line up the figures for the photos. I'm sure a lot of anguished and frustrated kids were heard yelling from the other room as their legions suddenly decided to lay down on the job.
























15 comments:

  1. I tell you what, Doug: the transformation is astonishing! Unpainted, those figures look unpromising: moderately horrible (though perhaps not without a certain charm). Painted, they look pretty dam' good!

    Are these to be painted as a single army, or are we looking at Roman Civil War here?
    Cheers,
    Ion

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  2. Hello! It's a shame there aren't any foes available other than other Romans in this scale. Painting them would be quite the winter's project. I first aquired some 20 odd years ago at a local flea market. I made a mould of the charging cavalryman and cast a dozen in lead. I think if I were to do a large set up, I'd make moulds and cast them in lead. Somehow flat soldiers look and feel best when they are heavy.

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  3. You did a great job painting them, Doug. They are rather fanciful designs, Hollywood Romans. These days I love semi-rounds and flats (the German kind), but wonder how I would have received my long-awaited Roman soldiers at 7 years old, feverishly tearing open the box only to find these rather chintzy troops inside.

    Anyway, really nice coverage of this set and if I ever enounter them on eBay, I'll bite if nobody bids me up to insane pricing. I'd love to see all these painted if you get around to it.

    Regards,
    Steve

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I'm now following your blog. You are an artist, no doubt!

      My first set of comic book toys was a double set of Helen of Toy's "Task Force". I lived in a small town in the country and I walked to the post office nearly every day and asked if my parcel was in. I drove them nuts. Finally a couple months later they arrived. I was dissapointed in that they were so small, and this initial impression was reinforced by sneers and comments from older siblings that I was ripped off. But, I sat down, read the rules and realized it was a pretty good game! I played quite a few solo games and a couple with opponents. I still have most of the figures, and have since added to them from other sets and "Fighting Ships".

      As for pricing on the Romans, most I find loose mixed in with bags of Airfix figures, just toys scooped into a bag and sold. As for sets, I paid at most $25 for one, but some people ask for double that. I don't know if they sell them at that price, but I set my own limit in the mid $20's.

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  4. Doug, thanks for the kind words about the blog, as well as the pricing tips. And congratulations of finding another box ! Now you can fight the Roman Civil Wars all out, Caesar vs. Pompey, 69 AD or other scenarios of your own creation.

    I do like the look of these Romans, the riders appear under scale but I think the infantry may fit in well enough with the 35-40mm tin flats.

    Regards,
    Steve

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  5. Doug, I just shared this blog of yours over at my Facebook Fan Page, https://www.facebook.com/michaeldhamersky.oncomics as I never sent away for the set. Thanks for sharing your pics / thoughts here in your blog!

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  6. Thank you Michael.
    I have other comic book sets and will endeavour to get round to posting them as well.

    I'm not on FB, mostly I spend time online at ebay.
    Thanks for commenting!

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  7. Had a orginal set for years--before they got lost of course...brings back a lot of memories

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  8. PS to last message...apparently the orginal toy dies ended up in Hong Kong...not only is the plastic differnt to the touch...but marked "Hong Kong"!

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  9. you know-painted they do look realistic..such as those battle panaromas recreations!

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  10. Sorry to disagree, but the catapults do shoot. You have to put the ball in and push back and let the catapult slide off your finger. I still have my set and the kids always want me to play "The Army Game". It takes about an hour to play and we say the winner is the one who has only ten figures left. If you knock over a general (on chariot) you also win.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the info! Good to hear that they toys are still being used by kids.

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  11. Wow, great find. They look great painted too. A good 10 or 12 years ago I stopped in a small, out of the way hobby shop (East Liverpool, OH) and bought a few 1/72s, and the owner told me about his own foray into plastic wargaming as young man, using "Comic book" Romans in the Airfix mile fort model. I think he must had those Lucky Toys soldiers.

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  12. I love the plumes on the helmets--not historical at all, but they ARE very reminiscent of renaissance paintings, whose depictions of Roman soldiers were always very fanciful--not to mention oddly similar to armor-styles then in use!

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    1. Hi Chris. I found a cheap dvd collection of old films that were made in Italy after WW2. They are in colour and in English or dubbed in English and feature large battles with Romans in armour that look like these little guys. I suspect that these Saturday matinee movies were the inspiration for these figures.

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