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"'Comic Book' flat figures" Topic

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Lee Brilleaux Fezian27 Mar 2016 4:54 p.m. PST

At Cold Wars I acquired a collection of 30mm-ish flat figures for the American War of Independence from the estimable Bob Piepenbrink. He'd had them since the early sixties, and had painted them neatly in block colours. They aren't nearly as detailed as the classic German tin flats, but I like them a lot.

These were originally sold by enticing (often misleading) ads on the back of comic books. Apparently American kids expected 'army men' rather than flats. These are actually very charming, with flat cannons, made in hard plastic. Apparently later versions were more likely to be soft plastic, more rounded, and not as nicely detailed.

Anyone know much about these figures? I'd be interested in finding some more, if I could.

Doc Ord27 Mar 2016 5:03 p.m. PST

I ordered some when I was a kid -for 2.00 I think. I remember being disappointed at them being flats. I remember Indians, Hessian grenaders, regulars and dragoons in blue and red.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian27 Mar 2016 5:04 p.m. PST

Always wanted them, never got them

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2016 5:05 p.m. PST

Yes, those flats were much more detailed than the round, softer plastic versions. I remember Medievals and Romans as well.

nevinsrip27 Mar 2016 5:15 p.m. PST

Made by the Helen Of Toy company. Later Lucky Toy. They made dozens of different sets that sold mail order. Romans, Knights, ACW and loads of WW2 ships, planes, convoys and battle troops.

Mex, Google Helen Of Toy there are groups and collector sites devoted to the flat figures.


The AWI flats were discontinued and replaced by soft plastic HO figures that you can see in the following link.
They were made by Giant, a company that produced hundreds of figures and sets from every period imaginable. These were sold, usually on cardboard, in every small store in America.

Giant also has a huge toy soldier following and mint on card sets can go for a tidy sum.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian27 Mar 2016 5:34 p.m. PST

Interesting link, Bill. I note that the Giant 'Revolutionary War' set (No 21) is an obvious successor to the figures I have, having the same slightly odd officer pose, but in a more rounded style.

cavcrazy27 Mar 2016 6:03 p.m. PST

I still have some of the ACW and Roman figures, all HO, not the flats.
I remember having to wait 4-6 weeks to get my Revolutionary War figures in the mail…..Great memories of childhood.

phssthpok27 Mar 2016 6:46 p.m. PST

Yeah,I had those too; painted and mounted them for gaming passed them on to my brother, he may still have them.

Gone Fishing27 Mar 2016 7:09 p.m. PST

I remember them well. Along with some other "comic book treasures" like Medievals, Romans and a coffin-shaped bank with a glow-in-the-dark skeleton that would reach up and grab any coin put in the receptacle, those AWI figures were some of my favourite toys as a boy. Good times!

Hafen von Schlockenberg27 Mar 2016 7:32 p.m. PST

I had the flat WWII box about 1956. Needless to say,the ships were a different scale from the soldiers and sailors.

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2016 8:01 p.m. PST

I still have a lot of my flat Romans

Brian Smaller27 Mar 2016 8:29 p.m. PST

For me it was those Cowboys and Indians. I had heaps of them. I thought I had gone up a few social levels when I got Airfix ones.

OldGrenadier at work28 Mar 2016 3:44 a.m. PST

A good friend of mine bought the naval battle set. We played with it until all the ships were lost to the carpet monster and the cat.

cosmicbank28 Mar 2016 5:12 a.m. PST

Comic book ads were my gateway drug to wargaming also my Civil War set got me start in about 1967.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2016 5:14 a.m. PST

Still have my naval game from them…and all the pieces. Did have the Romans as a kid.

boy wundyr x28 Mar 2016 5:29 a.m. PST

This site has some good info on them too (and dangerous pictures!): link

Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2016 6:22 a.m. PST

I had a set of Gen. Custer and the battle of Little Big Horn. They were flats and very nicely detailed also. They came in a round tube. Don't remember who made them but they were my favorite back then.

nevinsrip28 Mar 2016 10:33 a.m. PST

Doug These were GIBBS figures that included 100 poses, no two alike, in the tube. Highly, highly sought after by collectors due to them being pulled off the market as too violent for kids. Here's the full set:


I have been collecting plastic figures for over 50 years.
Any questions, I can probably help.

John Leahy28 Mar 2016 11:25 a.m. PST

I remember playing with my Roman sets in the backyard in '67-68. I still have some of the American Rev troops lying around.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2016 11:44 a.m. PST

That Custer set was great. One of my all time favorites as a kid.

nevinsrip28 Mar 2016 12:17 p.m. PST

The Custer set had over 1/3 of it's figures either dead or wounded. I believe that there is even a trooper being scalped by a corresponding Indian pose.
Kids loved 'em.
The PC police, not so much.
They were pulled for the same reason that you see pink and yellow plastic army men.

Anyway, here's a site that shows your AWI figures, all painted up, Howard. Surf through this site. It's probably the best info on comic book flats that you will find out there.

Doug has lots of pictures of all the sets along with advertising and actual boxed sets. Anyone interested should head over there
and look around. Great stuff.


Cyrus the Great28 Mar 2016 2:54 p.m. PST

I had the Romans, the AWI, the Civil War and the WW II sets.

11th ACR28 Mar 2016 10:07 p.m. PST

Of intrest: link

Gone Fishing29 Mar 2016 7:44 a.m. PST

Those photos really bring back memories. Thank you for the link, ACR!

Bumbydad31 Mar 2016 6:02 p.m. PST

I still have the AWI set I got as a kid--my mother thought they were a rip-off, but I loved them. A couple years ago, after seeing others using flats for gaming, I started buying sets (or rather parts of sets) on eBay, and probably have the equivalent of 3-4 sets now. There are some drawbacks--WAY too many Indians, fifers, and light dragoons! The Indians are a lost cause and will be going on eBay, but the useless fifers have proven to be a solution to the light dragoon glut: their respective heads are about the same size. Inasmuch as the plastic will easily take glue, I'm switching heads: this gives me tricorn cavalry, which will give me regular dragoons and cuirassiers, while the dragoon heads on infantry bodies will give me light infantry.

I also have a couple sets of Romans; I haven't decided whether they are worth painting up--I realize they are Old School rather than historically accurate, but they have never really grabbed me. They may be headed for eBay.

Ditto a Civil War set--I have only part of one, and the figures are nowhere nearly as good as their AWI brothers. I migrated the supply wagons over to the AWI (at this point actually a SYW project), but the rest are headed for eBay.

On the other hand, is trying to do something substantive with figures I got more than 50 years ago a little sad….?


zippyfusenet31 Mar 2016 6:27 p.m. PST

Chris, you are my hero for tracking down your favorite childhood toys (from 50 years ago!) and cobbling them together, in spite of poor quality and limited availability, into a distinctive and flavorful wargame project. My hat is off to you, sir. Heck, my entire head is of to you. Bravo!

Tom D108 Apr 2016 10:03 a.m. PST

This discussion and the links bring back a lot of memories! I still have a number of the giant figures, including many chariots, wagons and cannon. But I sold, gave away or traded a lot more, to my regret!

Bumbydad01 May 2016 10:06 p.m. PST

I just encountered the nicest pix I have ever seen of the AWI figures fully painted and based, and used in a game:


I can't write anything further--my mouth is watering so much I'm concerned I may short out my laptop!


Lee Brilleaux Fezian04 May 2016 6:25 a.m. PST

Those are, indeed, the plastic flats I got from Bob Piepenbrink, with a bit of retouching, pink cheeks, gloss varnish and bases.

RudyNelson05 May 2016 5:56 a.m. PST

I have run across the old comic book flats at flea markets and garage sales.
The WW2 soldiers are the most common, ACW and AmRev can be found as well. I rarely see the Roman Civil War series.

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