I have often heard the last decade referred to as the Second Golden Age of plastic toy soldiers. Perhaps this is true if one’s perspective is that of a “collectors” market where the key elements are the historical accuracy and life-like animation of the figures. Marx and a handful of others strived to meet these characteristics in the first Golden Age but there were many others, Bergen, Ajax, Timmee, MPC, Atlantic, Reamsa, Oliver and on and on whose figures lacked realism but nonetheless contributed to a vibrant market that was evident in every neighborhood toy shop. Of all these, only Marx produced an ancient themed playset with its Ben Hur, a theatrical tie in. I don’t count the Flintstones. Clearly, today is not a time when any kid can walk into any toy store or five and dime (remember them?) and find a variety of plastic guys on the shelf and take some home for 99 cents. Perhaps now is the kids’ golden age for computer games.
But if it is old geezers and geezeretts we are talking about, I’ll happily concede we are in a second golden age. Barzso, Expeditionary Force, Hat, Conte, CTS, TSSD, Paragon, Replicants, and a few others, some already gone or fading from the scene, have in recent years made some fine figures available including in the ancients category Hat’s Punic Wars sets and Conte’s “action figure” Greeks; sadly the cowardly Conte Persians never appeared on the field of battle. TSSD even came out with a full-fledged ancient playset of Romans and Gauls. I never! Happily for me, a lover of ancients, LOD has joined these ranks.
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The two chariots are in a soft light tan with four spoke wheels, typical of early chariots. I once read that these early wheels could not bear much weight and, consistent with that, these are light chariots just capable of holding their two man crews. The frames are also light and festooned with “ribbons” flowing in the wind of their charges across the plain and adding greatly to the feel of the period. There is a pivoted yoke attached to the front of the frame and this has hooks on either side for attaching to the studs of the horses mentioned above and shown in the photo. I do think the frame is a bit long and when attached to the horses it leaves quite a space between the front of the chariot body and the rear of the team. Perhaps this is an accurate, historical characteristic but I decided to shorten this gap by pulling the yoke off the front of the frame, drilling it out so a hole passed all the way through it and then cutting the upper frame piece to fit into it. The plastic used is bonded by superglue so, being sure the yoke was leveled to match up with both studs, I glued it on. This took no more than 3 minutes and you can judge if you think it looks better.
All in all, great stuff LOD! Thanks for adding to the second Golden Age in what is approaching my personal golden age. Much better late than never.
Tom Stark 2016