Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Marx Miniature Knights and Castle Playset - Pt 3

This final post for the Marx Miniature Knights and Castle playset includes the figures and accessories which came with the set.

My normal modus operandi is to take a series of photos for each individual pose, but quite frankly I jus didn't have time to do that. Perhaps I'll be able to do it sometime in the future. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

 I'm not sure how many of the little balls came with the set originally: 6? 8? I only have one. The Marx catapult was produced in a couple of different sizes for other castle playsets

I believe the original set came with six pine trees. In my box there was a broken stump and one lone piece to a sixth tree. I remember when I first broke into HO scale model railroading and ended up with a bunch these soft plastic modular trees. At the time they just looked too funky for scale model work and I quickly discarded them for more 'realistic' looking trees.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Marx Miniature Knights and Castle Playset - Pt 2

Marx's Miniature Knights and Castle playset castle really is a niceldesigned toy. The only big drawback - and one I seem to recall as a youngster - was that the walls, specifically the front wall next to the gate, was too long. That meant it didn't sit in the channel molded onto the base for it. However, once the castle is assembled you don't notice. 

It's not a very large castle to be sure and has a footprint similar to the tiny outpost castle which is close to my wife's old home in Germany. Burg Hartenfels sits on a hill on the edge of the town of Hartenfels and overlooks the road and valley from Maxsain to Hartenfels. It was a very small edifice and could only house a small garrison of soldiers who probably actually lived in the town itself. The Marx toy measures 11 1/2" (29.21cm) W x 8 1/4" (20.95cm) D x 9 3/4" (24.76cm) H to top of tallest tower.

The locals call this the Schmandippe (Butterchurn) and the tower could be seen from my wife's old house in Maxsain.

Courtesy: Von MyName (El tommo (talk)) - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Courtesy: Von Wolkenkratzer - Eigenes Werk, CC-BY-SA 4.0,

Courtesy: Von MyName (El tommo (talk)) - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The base of Marx's castle has a road leading up to the drawbridge. There is a small pond in front of the drawbridge. There are four crenelated walls plus the drawbridge wall. Only three of the five towers have cupola roofs and each roof has a yellow soft plastic flag or penant with a red cross painted on (although the crosses on mine are nearly all worn off), The towers are of two & three piece construction: round tower, crenelated tower top, roof (on three towers)

My sample has asmall chunk broken off one of the tower tops due to catapult bombardment I suspect! 

 There is a tiny chain attached to the drawbridge but mine is broken. However, the force fit of the drawbridge against the wall allows it to stay in any position I want for now

 Here's the winch the drawbridge chain would normally be attached to

Monday, February 19, 2018

Marx Miniature Knights and Castle Playset - Pt 1

"Painted by Hand by Artists"

That catch phrase is something I remembered from childhood on.  One could see it on the box tops of hard plastic miniature sets and figures Marx produced during the sixties describing the treats that little Johnny would see upon unboxing his shiny new toy. However, I remember thinking after unboxing my Knights and Castle playsets that those 'artists' must have been beginner's! hahahaha Even as a kid the, not so precise, detailing of the figures had me scratching my head but the set was fun nevertheless and the whole 'artist' thing was ignored mentally.

One of the biggest reason I got into toy collecting was a way to reconnect with the wonderful toys of my childhood. My dad was the only one who had a job in the family and he was just a working-class stiff but there was enough money for good presents on birthdays or under the Christmas tree. Often times the treasures were ordered by my mother through the pages of Sear's wishbooks, or J.C.Penney's, Montgomery Wards, or Spiegel catalogs. Also, either the Roundy's supermarket or Rexall drugstore across the street would have their share of header bag and carded toys to keep the little brat (that would be me BTW) quiet for a second or two. A bonus of having Roundy's across the street was that they also carried large boxed playsets during the holidays (and perhaps off-&-on during the year as well). It's where mom bought my Deluxe Reading Operation X-500 playset and probably my Eldon Fire Chief playset.

Well, just recently I made a major reconnection by being able to pick up this Marx Miniature Knights and Castle playset. These things tend to get stupid pricey but I was able to not have to rob a bank to afford this one. It has only two flaws that I could detect. A chunk is missing out of one of the towers (I chalk it up to damage caused by catapult bombardment) and the drawbridge chain is broken. Otherwise it's in decent shape. On of the things I do remember as well were the ill-fitting wall segements. Most notably the front wall next to the gate. It is just a tad (perhaps only 1/16 or 1mm) too long. That means the wall section doesn't snuggle down in the channel it's meant to fit in and rides on top slightly. With a little finessing the castle does assemble well enough as you can tell by the photos.

The set consists of:
-Castle Base
-Castle (1 gate, 4 walls, 5 towers - only 3 with cupola's)
-3 Cupola flags
-2 Opposing Armies in silver and gold
   --4 mounted knights each (8 total)
   --12 foot knights (24 total)
-2 Oak trees
-6 Pine trees (my photos only show 5 as one of the stumps in my box was broken - I used the branches from it to make one tall tree)
-1 Catapult w/shot ( my setonly had one round ball left)

The knights measure 35mm high from bottom of base to top of head (not top of helmet plume)

We'll feature the photo breakdown in the days to come. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Keystone Fire Station No. 247 1950 - Marx look-alike - Redux - Pt 4

So here's the last of the Keystone Manufactuirng Co. Fire Station with Burning Building set. This Hook-&-Ladder truck uses the same body casting as the pumper featured yesterday and it too is a rare survivor of Keystone's power launch feature! Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina