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ISSUE 111: Marx Custer's Last Stand vs Indian Warfare

This issue we’re right on schedule as always, Corona Virus or no! The May/June issue is on its glossy full color way direct to mailboxes all across this great land, perfectly on schedule. We are thinking of you, hoping you are all safe and “better than expected” -- May I tell you a bit of what we’ve been up to?


The New “Authorized, Official Barzso Playsets Book is just wrapping up and being readied for the presses. It’s a glorious book (“Spectacular” is what Ron himself is saying) at 200 pages with over 650 photographs, our directive is “Every Set, Every Figure, Every Accessory – even the rarities and one shots.

It’s going to be a fabulous read even if you aren’t a Barzso fan, because you will see how his techniques and methodology literally changed the world of toy soldiers, and brought the detail and level of sculpting way up. It’s a fabulous read with its funny moments and all the disasters as one man struggled to do what none had done since Marx, and did it very, very well for 25 years of constant playset making.

Len Hardt is your tour guide; we added material and our own Atomic brand photography, and it is the only authorized, official source -- only after Ron’s excruciatingly thorough review and corrections and approvals.


We are very excited because with Len Hardt’s fine writing and storytelling – we answer the call of many collectors and “picked up the gauntlet” thrown down those who saw the need for us to do it now, while the records can be found, the manufacturer can answer all the questions, and the many mint boxed sets on display and their contents lists will give absolute proof of what each set is intended to be and where the variances are found. Our own Jim Clouse co-stars in the adventures with Ron, and familiar to collectors are Ron Lizorty and Ken Osen, here in their own spotlight. We are very proud of their achievements and believe this book is the perfect way to become intimately familiar with them in a most spectacular “Atomic” way. And by the way, all this premium content comes at the regular price – we are trying to hold the line at $39.95 glossy soft cover, and $59.95 and hefty hard cover (with that premium, velvety feel) of all our other titles. Yes, they fit right in with our other books being the same dimensions.


We also found time and put up a new video here on the website, thanks again to Jim Clouse – we call it the “virus video” but we welcome you to check it out from the comfort of your own homes, right here at Playset Central U.S.A.


This June we celebrate with you the 144th Anniversary of General Custer and the loss of the doomed but glorious 7th Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. Each year, like Pearl Harbor, the Alamo or end of WWII or the victories in Desert Storm, we should remember these milestones. Just a couple days ago, we had the 245th Anniversary of the “shot fired ‘round the world,” April 19, 1775. The day we stood up to the British at Lexington Green. I am happy to say we will revisit that when we thoroughly examine Marx’ Johnny Tremain playset at some point in the near future.

Now, we have the 144th of Custer’s Last Stand. We are happy to report a debunking – in the media no less -- of the there’d been “mass suicides” among the troopers. Now, they say they were mistaken – it never happened. Maybe they should have thought of that before they tried to besmirch a fine company of officers and troopers. No ‘skeletal evidence,’ they say. So where did they get their junk “evidence” originally? I’d be willing to bet most of us already knew that.


The June issue always inspires thoughts of Custer and the Last Stand in Montana, 1876. Marx never made an all-60mm (larger figure) Custer’s Last Stand playset, but this issue we feature their cross-over effort at depicting that crucial moment: The 54mm / 60mm No. 4779-80 Custer’s Last Stand playset, which has those fabulous 60mm wagons with their juicy accessories in soft plastic – and those 60mm pedestal figures of Custer and Sitting Bull. But wait – there’s a big mystery involved here. If you were a kid seeing the Marx demonstrator (which we show, of course, and it’s from George Kroll) there were some striking differences from the set.

Over the years, collectors have said it was the difference between the 4779 and the 4780. And it’s true, there’s a 4780 listed in factory records. But here’s a second mystery – we have never seen or heard of a real box with that number – so how does the demonstrator wind up intact in mint condition – with only one wagon and none of the other extras of the 4780 as listed in factory record – read all about it and see our conclusions in this issue.

Next, there is a wild relationship between this set and its close cousin, the Marx No. 4778 Indian Warfare. We discuss that and offer the very minty mint factory fresh sets side-by side thanks to the epic Rick Eber photos, and we have the MIB contents lists for TWO sets! Rather than reconfigure the Custer’s Last Stand set to depict the actual battle, the Marx demonstrator itself is our guide with George “Demo Man” Kroll and Rick Eber.

By the way, that’s George’s photo on our cover! It’s an exciting story because we get to examine the set, laid out as intended by Marx.


Also this issue, Big Pluses! Kathy Smith invites us to vacation in Ideal’s travel wonderland “Ideals Vacation City” and there’s a T. Cohn Naval Base follow-up to last issues T. Cohn forts story. We invite you to join collectors all over America (and in many parts of the world) to sit back, relax with a favorite beverage wherever you are safely ensconced, and have a good time with us.

Thank you so kindly for making us a part of your collection.


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