Mail-order ads for toy soldier sets were routinely found in the back pages of popular comic books throughout the 1950s – 1980s. Marketed by a variety of seemingly inter-related companies, including Lucky Products Inc., the sets were delivered in a “footlocker” that could often be personalized by the purchaser.
Each set was a mix of soldiers and vehicles. Individual pieces were made of thin, hard plastic and mounted on a base. While the sets gave off a “larger than life” vibe in the ads, the reality was far different. Figures and vehicles were decidedly two-dimensional, a concept known as “flats” in the plastics world. This 2D effect made each piece thin, somewhat brittle, and prone to falling over, much to the chagrin of the kids who eagerly waited by the mailbox for their footlocker to arrive.
To this day, various permutations of these sets continue to have a high nostalgia factor and routinely pop-up for sale on eBay.
Remember the toys and games of years past through vintage advertising – for better and for worse!