Friday, January 20, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 #20: Jamie West from Marx's Best of the West

  Yesterday we saw Jane West from The Best of the West series. Today we're looking at Jamie West.

  Jamie is one of two sons in the West family.
The painting isn't great on Marx figures. They were meant to be action figures, and those just weren't as detailed in those days. The sclera (the white part of the eye) isn't painted,and the hair isn't fully filled in.
Like all the Marx figures of this type, Jamie has painted hair with molded detail.

He's 9" tall.

  The same size as Skipper and her friend Ricky,(seen here with Jamie.).

Notice how much more detailed Ricky's face is.(And excuse the fact that he was in such a hurry to get his picture taken that he misplaced his shoe.)
Jamie is about 2" shorter than his mother Jane.

  As with everyone else in the family, Jamie has molded clothing. And,like everyone else, he also came with extra molded rubber clothing,like a vest, a neckerchief, and a of course, a cowboy hat.

He has the Marx logo on his back.
And some pretty nice detail in his molded clothing.

  He's fully jointed.

  One of the major problems with the Marx figures like these, is that the hands had a round knob at the end that fitted into the wrists,meaning they could be pulled out of the wrists.That's why so many of these figures are found without hands.

The hands are a bendable vinyl. They're firm, but moveable,so they can hold their accessories.

 Occasionally the heads fall off too. Marx remade some of their classic figures about 20 years ago. We bought Fuzzy a knight. He was great, with a full set of removable armour,and weapons. The only problem was, his head came off almost immediately! On the other hand, my childhood Mike Hazard is still in one piece. I fear he might shatter if I dropped him though. As I said yesterday, that happens with the old Marx figures.
  I'm sort of proud of myself right now. I know I keep saying I'm going to let go of some stuff, and I am. It's just not happening as fast as I'd like. I'm still having a hard time letting go of most things. While working on this post I decided that, although I've had Jamie in my collection for the past few years,and he takes me back to my childhood,(Or, more accurately, the childhoods of other people which happened to be at the same time as mine...),I don't really like him that much. I'm going to let him go! He'll be traveling out of here with his mother, Jane, so at least he won't be alone. If anybody is interested,the accessories are going with them.
Join us tomorrow for Shrunken Saturday.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 # 19 Jane West of The Best of the West by Marx

  Today's doll is Jane West, from Marx's Best of the West series of toys.

  Jane was introduced to the line in 1966, a year after it was introduced.
Even though I never owned any of this stuff as a kid, it's so familiar to me, and takes me back to my 60's childhood. The commercials were constantly shown during Saturday morning cartoons,and I think my cousins owned some of the figures. I definitely remember being around them.
 Jane was the wife of cowboy Johnny West, and the mother to their four children,Jay,Jamie, Janice, and Josie. (This family had a thing about 'J' names.)
Jane with son Jamie.

You can watch the commercial for the Best of the West HERE.

The Best of the West line was introduced to compete with Mattel's GI Joe. When Marx's line of military figures and their secret agent Mike Hazard (Read about my Mike Hazard HERE.) failed to do well against Joe, they decided they needed to go a whole other route, and they decided that route led to cowboys.
When I was a kid I always thought Johnny West was the kid.
The West line had horses,a wagon, a buffalo,a villain, Native Americans, and loads of accessories.

Jane stands 11" tall, and has a very jointed blue plastic body. The early 70's version of Jane has a salmon coloured body.

Jane's box claims 'she will pose for you 1001 ways', which I think puts an awful lot of pressure on Jane, and frankly, I just don't think she can live up to the claim.

  You can tell mine is not the first issue Jane, because, sorry to be blunt, but that one was much more homely than this version.

Original Jane. Poor Jane. She apparently made a trip to the frontier plastic surgeon and looked much different in later years.
Also, the first release Jane had brown soft accessories. They were changed to cream colour (Like these) later.

Because she's a female, Jane got lots of clothing changes, including a belt, three different hats, two different skirts,(fringed and unfringed) two different vests,(again, fringed and unfringed. You know sometimes you have those days where you feel fringier than others...),and 2 bolo ties.

Fringyness! Plus a bolo tie.The paper towel is so you can clearly see the vest, which kept rolling up on itself.

 Plus she also had girly accessories like a purse,a compact, and a lip stick! (In the old west? I thought only saloon girls wore 'paint' in those days!) The lipstick is particularly hard to find these days.
  Of course, she is a 'tough gal',so she also got a branding iron,spurs,a bullwhip, a gun belt,a Colt Peacemaker pistol, a Winchester rifle,a Derringer, a Bowie knife,and a strongbox.
Note the Bowie knife,strongbox, and branding iron.

But remember, she's female, so she also got a frying pan, a coffee pot, and a cup.(To be fair, I'm pretty sure Johnny came with this stuff too.)
That's a branding iron and a spur next to the coffee pot.
The thing I dislike about these figures is their molded on clothing. They must always wear the same pants, even though Jane came with a skirt.Even Jane's hair is molded.

Another thing is,sometimes the accessories were molded in some strange colours,or at the very least, in single colours,with no accent colours. At least the figures did come with lots of accessories though.
  These days the Marx figures have often become brittle with age.They develop cracks,especially around the joints. I once shattered poor Johnny West when he hit the floor after I tossed him to Emma and she failed to catch him.
  Tomorrow we'll see another member of the West family.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 #18 Steve Scout by Kenner

  Yesterday we saw Craig Cub Scout, since Cub's Scouts come before Boy Scouts. So today we're looking at Steve Scout, the Boy Scout doll, by Kenner.

  As I told you yesterday, there were four Scout dolls in the line: Steve and Bob Scout,(Bob was an African American), and Cub Scouts Craig, and Dave, an African American.(The two African American figures are harder to find.)

 At 9" tall Steve is 1/2" taller than Craig.

  Steve's Scout uniform includes the shirt, pants, attached belt,neckerchief,shoes.
He has the Scout emblem on his shirt and belt buckle. His belt buckle is starting to corrode.

The Scout emblem is on the back of his neckerchief too. His belt is sewn to his pants in the back.
  The body articulation is very similar to GI Joe.
His right hand is in the Scout salute position. Poor Steve's head has become very loose, and can't hold a pose any more. But his hip joints are super tight. So are Craig's so I think it's just the way they are. And I mean SUPER tight, as in, hardly moveable.
His hair is painted but with molded detail.

 The line began1974. It seems to have run for at least two years. There were an awful lot of things produced for a two year line! 

I mentioned yesterday that there were alot of playsets produced for the Scouts. When I said alot, I meant A LOT. There were over a dozen sets, and most contained a fair amount of items.
Pretty cool. I would have loved this set, and my kids would have too.
These guys aren't old enough to drive are they?

There's a load of good stuff in this set,including a campfire, a lantern,a sleeping bag, and cooking equipment.
There was a Scout command post that was nearly 3' tall. Kenner really went all out on this line. In addition to playsets,(Which came with a comic book adventure based on the set.) like 'Avalanche on Blizzard Ridge', and  'Warning from Thunderhead Weather Station', 'Danger at Snake River', and 'Search for the Spanish Galleon',there were also accessory packs like 'mountain medic', and 'metal detector'. I mean, this was some good stuff.

  Supposedly there was a series of  adventure costumes made called the Historic American Series. It included a couple of revolutionary  war era outfits called The Patriot and Drummer Boy, a cowboy outfit called Out West, and a fringed 'Frontier' outfit. I'm not really sure the outfits were actually produced, because I can't find any details about them, or any pictures besides the drawings in the booklet included with the dolls. I know there were plans for Civil War uniforms, both sides, but the line ended before that happened. But at least I found some mock ups for the packaging for those.

  The line only lasted a couple of years, from what I can tell. The general consensus seems to be that Boy Scouts were a dumb idea for action figures. They weren't as heroic and worldly as soldiers or science fiction guys. But looking at all the great adventure sets they made for the Scouts, I really don't think that's fair. If kids could identify with the Scouts, they could put themselves in their place and live the adventures through them. Maybe it just made their own Scouting adventures seem pretty pathetic. I will also admit that the complaint that alot of the Scouts adventures were things that would probably not  happen to real Scouts,(like rescuing people in the mountains,etc.),have some truth to them. But isn't that the point of play? One of the Scouts competitors was The Bionic Man. Now that stuff wasn't real either, but nobody seems to have a problem with The Bionic Man. Some things just aren't fair.

"Hey! We can rescue people!"
  Join us tomorrow for another doll.