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"CRT type war games with plastic Army Men figures?" Topic

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16 Apr 2019 7:41 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions boardCrossposted to Toy Gaming Discussion board

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Sgt Slag10 Sep 2018 1:20 p.m. PST

Green and Tan plastic Army Men figures seem to be a staple of every boy's toy chest. As a child, I suspect most of us played made-up war games with these beloved toys, in the house, in the garden, etc. The most common "rules", likely involved throwing a tennis ball, clumps of dirt, or a rubber ball, at the hapless figures. Perhaps some of us used rubber bands as our weapon of choice.

These figures are usually available just about everywhere: Wal-Mart, Amazon, gas stations, etc. They are very inexpensive for the generic types, while there are more expensive types which are aimed more towards collectors. Vehicles tend to be in a different scale from the men. True 54mm vehicles can be found, but they drive the prices quite high, if used.

My question is simple. If you choose not to publicly answer, hopefully the Editor will offer this as an anonymous poll, later on. Now, for the poll question…

Have you ever war gamed with 54mm (or larger) plastic army men figures? By, "war gamed", I mean using dice, and a Combat Results Table, not using tennis balls, clumps of dirt, etc.

A) Never.
B) Only played the informal, clump of dirt types of games with them.
C) When I was younger, but not since.
D) I did for years, but not anymore.
E) Still playing! Cheapest wargaming possible!
F) No, but I am planning to start.
G) No, but I would like to.


Timbo W10 Sep 2018 1:49 p.m. PST


khanscom10 Sep 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

H-- None of the above. A mere handful of Western Gunfight skirmishes using Britains 54mm plastics; most games used 25mm, though.

bobspruster10 Sep 2018 3:39 p.m. PST

A. Played with them daily, but no rules. Except maybe mine. I was the big kid in the neighborhood.

The Beast Rampant10 Sep 2018 3:59 p.m. PST


I have tinkered with rules for them for years, but was never happy with the feel and level of complexity I came out with.

So, maybe an "F", too?

Coelacanth Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 4:29 p.m. PST

"Good to go!"


Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:28 p.m. PST

Yes. I played a game based on the Charlton Heston movie "The Warlord," using 54mm Britain's figures. Later on, a friend wanted to try out some WWII rules, and borrowed his son's 54mm figures for the effort. These don't seem to fit into any of your categories.


ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:39 p.m. PST

B Thought about it but thankfully decided not to do another scale.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 5:47 p.m. PST


When I was 8 years old. Not sure if that counts. But other than that never.

mad monkey 110 Sep 2018 6:18 p.m. PST


LAP195410 Sep 2018 6:20 p.m. PST

B for the poll. Some of the first miniatures painted was this scale. Not much detail. Only had a few enamel colors. This would have been in the mid 1960's. First dice games and homemade rules were with Airfix, Giant or HO scale miniatures about the same time frame.

Chuckaroobob10 Sep 2018 6:44 p.m. PST


Titchmonster10 Sep 2018 6:49 p.m. PST


streetgang610 Sep 2018 7:23 p.m. PST

B, usually aerosol cans and matches. Went through quite a few plastic soldiers to say the least. It was the 1970s, a time when adult supervision was quite minimal.

Stryderg10 Sep 2018 7:54 p.m. PST

Clumps of dirt?, how crude.
I used penny rockets and fire crackers.
And had to purchase replacements.
Good fun, that. The playing, not the replacing.

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 8:26 p.m. PST

Dirt clods and rocks work nicely.

The former are especially good for artillery, since they explode nicely.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2018 8:47 p.m. PST

Have since I was young and still do

Though got into both HO and 1/32 scales early with airfix and kept the collection growing from there

Green Tiger11 Sep 2018 4:07 a.m. PST


Sgt Slag11 Sep 2018 5:10 a.m. PST

Thank you, All, for the responses. I appreciate any responses which do not fit into the listed categories, as well. Cheers!

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2018 9:12 a.m. PST

D they're great for skirmish games

Greylegion11 Sep 2018 5:59 p.m. PST


I had over 500 of them. I had a friend that about the same number of them. We had huge battles with them in a farmers field (and my dad's garden). Fond memories.

The Beast Rampant12 Sep 2018 7:01 a.m. PST

Clumps of dirt?, how crude.
I used penny rockets and fire crackers.
And had to purchase replacements.

Oh, and that, too. grin

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2019 11:13 a.m. PST

One evening when I was a college student, I was called on to take care of a house and a 7-year-old boy while his parents were out. He had a lot of army men and wanted to play, so I asked if he'd like to play the way we played at college, and he was delighted and excited by the idea.

We decided that the army men would be armed with whatever weapons they actually had, and we put all of their weapons into a weapons table, including ranges, line of sight (mortars just needed an observer), number of targets, area effects, and number of dice of damage. Then we made a simple CRT. Of course I had dice with me.

I lost the Battle of the Living Room rather badly. The kid really knew how to use his mortars to good effect, and he practically wiped out my squad that got hung up in the rug, as well as my side's commander and radioman.

I did eventually get a mortar team onto the La-Z-Boy and was able to slow down his advance so that I didn't get completely overrun, and I exfiltrated my survivors, including their wounded, past the television and out into the hall, which was my safe zone.

Then his mom came home and we had to put everything away.

Sgt Slag19 Apr 2019 12:12 p.m. PST

Great story, Oberlindes Sol LIC! I suspect that game left an indelible mark on that boy's mind, and memory. I wonder if he grew up and pursued wargaming as a hobby?… Cheers!

Pvt Snuffy20 Apr 2019 7:46 p.m. PST


Not on list, but I have now used cheap plastics with my son [now 9 yo], including AIP NW Frontier, 1/76 Napoleonics, and recently we fought the battle of the airplane trays between the Green Army Men and the Tan Army Men on a flight to FL to visit the grandparents.

On a more advanced level, I've been trying out boardgames with miniatures with him, and it's been going pretty well, along with 1/2400 IJN / USN ships.

wmyers04 May 2019 3:24 p.m. PST

B and C.

Dirt clumps with a high sand percentage made the best as they would look like the "exploded" when landing!

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