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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ideal - Toy Soldiers

Ideal was an American Toy soldier manufacturer which was in activley in business during the 50s through the 70s. They manufactured figures in the larger scales of 60mm - 70mm and complemented well those produced by other manufacturers such as Marx and TimMee. They produced a nice range of figures, addressing many historic periods, including the US Civil War, knights, US Colonials and British, Alamo,  Pirates, Cowboys and Indians, modern frogmen, navy, firemen, race track figures, and of course, WWII GIs. They also made a a nice range of accessories, including vehicles such as, wagons and stage coaches, farm vehicles, a pirate ship, a PT boat, Tanks, jeeps, trucks, and a very cool modern cargo plane, that fits other vehicles inside. And they also produced a complementary set of 'forts' to place the figures in, like a mdieval castle, the Alamo, Frontier forts, and so on, which made for very attractive and engaging playsets. As you can see below, one peculiar aspect of their figures is that some of their sets were made without bases. I only happen to have the WWII GIs to show in this post, but if you happen to be interested in seeing more of their figures, Toy Soldier HQ does a much better job at showcasing the range that they produced.

Ideal US Infantry - Part I
These guys are actually reissued Ideal figures. The originals are harder to come by and pricier, but for me, these guys are just fine. The sculpting on these figures is quite nice for the time when they were released. As you can tell, some of them are very similar to the TimMee series 1 figures, like the prone guy on the left. I am not sure who inspired who, but I suspect, the Ideal figures came later. One distinct feature of the Ideal men is that they come without a base. They simply balance themselves on their two feet, and they do it surprisingly well.

Ideal US Infantry - Part II
Here again we see a couple of figures very similar to the TimMee guys: the ones on the far right and left. These guys BTW are closer to 60mm than they are to 54mm. In contrast with the TimMee set, they included a few figures with a bit more action and movement in them, as illustrated by the second man from the right. Even the guy with the flamethrower is leaning forward in a good action pose. 

Ideal US Infantry - Part III
Here one can recognize the kneeling rifleman and the bazooka, although the rifleman lost his sniper scope in the Ideal set. One guy who fooled me for a bit is the one sitting with his legs apart. At first glance I thought he was a recast of the Marx figure, but later on a noticed that he does have a few significant differences, one of them being that his shirt is open down to his belly button. A rather unique touch. The man on the left, appears to be manning a machine gun. Unfortunately the set did not include it. Luckily I do have one or two spare ones that I can issue to him from other sets.

Ideal US Infantry - Part IV
This picture shows three more that might have been inspired by the TimMee set. The fourth man, firing from the standing position might have been inspired by the Marx guy. In any case, Ideal set was a nice, well sculpted and detailed set, and with 16 poses, a nice contribution to the hobby. I am glad I was able to finally lay my hands on them.

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part I
I just found this set while looking for some diver figures. It represents a boat carried a manned torpedo and a diving team. It was supposedly manufactured by Ideal, although I have yet to verify the claim. Still it is a nice little set to give the other divers figures in my army a bit of support. In terms of the nationality that is represented, it is not clear to me, although we could probably designate them as Italians as they were the most active in WWII in this type of operations. 

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part II
This is the skipper. Note tha the figures have a hole in the base which allows them to be attached to the boat. This is a nice feature if you actually deploy your boat in real water, which will keep the figures from falling over. 

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part III
One of the divers about to jump in. 

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part IV
The other diver taking in the view.

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part V
This is the only figure which is actually diving. I made him 'hold on' to the side of the boat to get a better angle for the shot. 

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part VI
The manned torpedo deployed in the water, with its diver riding it into action. The lever on the front of the torpedo is actually a crank which turns and twists a rubberband which makes the propeller turn when it is released. Nice mechanism, which again shows that this set was really meant to be deployed in water. 

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part VII
Manned-torpedo rider from the back.

Ideal Manned-Torpedo Launcher with Divers - Part VIII
This shot shows the ramp from which the manned-torpedo can be launched. 

Click here to see a post about other GIs
Click here to see some more GIs
Click here to see a post about US Armor


  1. Do they really stay up without bases...? My experience with Airfix figures with no base (the bazooka GI, the kneeling Japanese rifleman) was that they fell over with as much as a sneeze!

    Also, as an unrelated note, do you happen to know of any British infantry figures that are using a PIAT or Boys AT rifle? I have two operating bazookas (Airfix British Support Inf., Matchbox British Inf.) but these were only used by UK troops in Korea, not WW2.


  2. They do seem to be reasonably stable, except for one guy which did give me some trouble. But then again, I did not play with them for long.
    About the PIAT, the only one that I am aware of is the one that 21C Toys made with the British Paras set. You can take a look at it here:

  3. Nice review of WWII, Actually Plastic toy soldiers
    are very effective for educational field. because by the help of Toy soldiers we can identify that, this soldiers is belong to this country or that country. and how they look like.By the help of toy's we can teach our student regarding the WWI ans WWI.

  4. Hi Gang. Looking for Ideal 54mm Battle Group WW2 GI's. Including some seated figures, firing rifles, carrying artillery shell. Only saw them on Toy Soldier HQ site. Would really like to get them. If anyone knows or has please let me know. Carl.