Saturday, February 15, 2014

Toy Soldier Saturday: MARX Men from U.N.C.L.E. (and Thrush)


In the '60s, Marx had a whole line of 6 inch figures that were sold individually in dime stores. There were cowboys, Indians, pioneers, cavalry, knights, vikings, WWII soldiers representing several countries, astronauts, superheroes and others. These U.N.C.L.E. guys from 1966 were part of a target game, and came with cardboard buildings. Don't know if they were ever sold individually or not. Far as I know, Illya and Napoleon (along with Mr. Waverly, below) were the only 6 inch character figures Marx ever made. As usual, they did a dang good job on the faces. 













I possess only the five figures shown above, but there were several more. Most, but not all (including Mr. Waverly), are pictured below, courtesy of various eBay dealers.







More Toy Soldiers HERE.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had the Solo and Illya figures, which, iirc, were sold individually at our local dime store. I don't remember ever seeing the Waverly or T.H.R.U.S.H. agent figures, whether individually or in a set. As I recall, the 6" figures (including cowboys, Indians, and soldiers) were always sold individually, while the 54mm figures were in bagged sets.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the U.N.C.L.E. agents, I never saw any Marx figures based on specific characters from TV, movies, or comics. But there was a six-inch Western hero holding a Winchester lever-action rifle as if shooting from the hip. Whether intentional or a coincidence, it strongly resembled Chuck Connors as the Rifleman.

Evan Lewis said...

Marx did a nice 54mm Lucas McCain figure for their Rifleman playset, which is now incredibly rare. I have the Mark McCain figure, but I always hated the little snot.

Anonymous said...

I've never seen any 6" Marx figures based on licensed characters, except for the men from U.N.C.L.E. I've seen photos on the Almanack of play sets with 2-3" figures based on Zorro, the Lone Ranger, the Rifleman, and maybe some other TV Westerns. Sometime around 1964-65, MPC did a "Space City" set based on the TV sci-fi kids' show "Fireball XL5." It included soft plastic 2-3" figures of the characters (e.g., Colonel Steve Zodiac, Dr. Venus, Robert the robot). In 1966-67, during the Batman fad, I saw an ad in a Sears catalog or something for a Batman set, with 3" figures of Batman & Robin, and some villains. There was also a 4" metallic blue Batman figure with a parachute.

Anonymous said...

And, yeah, Mark McCain could be whiny and annoying. The character probably only existed to ask dumb questions so Lucas could deliver some moral or proverb at the end of each episode.

Richard said...

Is there much of a market for this stuff? Could you sell the figures and clean up?

Evan Lewis said...

Unlike some Marx stuff, these are still fairly reasonable. Search "Marx Uncle" on eBay and you'll see. But watch out for recasts. I'm pretty sure those silver ones are phonies.

Anonymous said...

fwiw, the Napoleon Solo figure that I had in 1966 or '67 was dark blue, and the Illya figure was light gray (but not silver).

ZenPupDog said...

I have the board game. Never saw this. I do have Robert Vaughn and David McCallum's signatures somewhere though.

Cap'n Bob said...

The Marx cowboy firing a rifle from the hip isn't Lucas McCain. The rifle doesn't have his signature looped cocking lever. Marx did make large monsters that I think had Universal copyrights: Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolfman. In their 5-inch size they had Davy Crockett, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and Pat Brady.

Jim said...

I just wanted to say a few words about the recast Marx 6 inch figures. I sell all 12 Man from UNCLE figures as well as many other 6 inch figures. I also sell many other recast toys, primarily Marx. Most of these I bring in from Mexico where they are made using the original Marx molds. They are made using technology from the 50s. It's not fair to call them phonies. As a importer I clearly market them as new production and always sell them as such. A new casting yes, not a phony. I personally think its amazing that so many of these molds have survived and even more so that they are in production.

Jim Reed said...

I want a Napoleon Solo figure by Marx. But finding one in my budget may be impossible. Anyone know where i can get one for $5-$9?

Terry Betts said...

I had the entire dart gun play set these figures are associated with back in the 60s. My parents bought it for me for Christmas out of the Sears catalog (talk about nostalgia!) The original figures came in two colors as I recall. Some in dark blue, some in brown. It was impossible to figure out who was UNCLE and who was supposed to be THRUSH by the colors. Some of the blue figures clearly looked like THRUSH agents based on the pose and the weaponry and some of the brown figures looked more like they would be UNCLE agents but it all seemed pretty arbitrary especially to my 8 year old mind. The "city" that came with the game was made out of cardboard and had flat roofs and fire escapes etc.. you could set the figures on and shoot them over with the dart guns that came in the set. As I recall, the cardboard city, fragile as it was, did not last past the first summer we played with it but we played with the individual plastic figures for years. I bought almost an entire re-casting of the set about 15 years ago in off white. And except for the color change they were exact duplicates of the figures I played with as a kid. Still have them in a box out in the garage. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!