ARX


This company used to make large cowboy and indian sets back in the 1960's and 70's, the most popular of which was the Johnny West set. The West family was supposed to be like the family in Bonanza, which was the most popular western show on television at the time.

The Johnny West horses were made from brittle plastic like the original Hartlands, with the same poorly-matched seams, but they stood several inches higher than Traditional-sized Breyers. A few of their horses were jointed, which made them a lot of fun to play with! (Commanche, a military horse with cavalry tack, was fully moveable, and was available in palomino and brown; the other one, Buckskin, only had a moveable head, and was available in palomino, brown and in Canada, a roan color)

The standard horse was produced in palomino (Thunderbolt, a mare--headstudy at right) and black (Lightning, a stallion) with blazes and stockings and came with full sets of tack. This mold also came in bay pinto (Storm Cloud, the Indian Horse), which came with a hackamore and blanket. Thunderbolt was supposed to be Johnny West's best steed, whereas Lightning belonged to Johnny's sidekick, Jane. One horse, a chestnut mare named Bravo, came with a covered wagon and had wheels under her hooves so you could pull her along without having to pick her up! Bravo was the same mold as the standard model except that it had wheels. I was told there's also a wheeled horse which is rust colored with a grey chest, mane, tail, muzzle, and four socks...wow, what an odd-looking horse that one must be! Marx also produced a foal named Thundercolt, which came in palomino and chestnut, Thunder Cloud's foal. As well, there was a Welsh pony with a roached mane named Pancho (see below), available in chestnut and palomino, which belonged to the little cowpuncher of the West family.

The neat thing about Marx horses was the super tack and accessories they had--rubbery plastic saddles and bridles, plus lots of fun camping gear for the nicely detailed western riders, which were also jointed. (Supposedly tack for models sold in the United States was brown and black in Canada, but I remember having models with both black and brown tack.) I had a bunch of these horses and riders as a child and who wants Breyers when there were these neat horses and riders to play with?!

If you would like to know more about Marx, visit the online site, formerly The Marx Toy Room, the Vintage Toyroom, owned by Tom Heaton. There you will find even more pictures, including many of the people that you could collect.

You might also want to visit another "Marx" related website. It has FANTASTIC pictures of Johnny West figures AND HORSES !!!  : )  It's URL is www.kirbyjonas.com   Kirby Jonas is the owner.

Update 1/02: "Many of the Marx moulds have been in production for several years, some in Mexico, some in China, some in the UK, all quite legitimately, as the moulds were sold off after the Marx company and its UK arm went out of business c 1980-ish. Marx military playsets and farm animals can be bought from a number of toy soldier dealers on the web, ditto the large action figures (including the knight, amongst others). My SO is an avid Marx collector, as well as model horse hobbyist, so I get dragged on virtual tours of Marx." Keren Gilfoyle-McGroarty

And more on Marx 1/02: "Several years ago a collection of investors purchased the remains of the Marx Toy Company from the bank in New Jersey that discharged the bankruptcy. They then took another three years to track down all the copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property rights. Then the second Marx Toy company was ready to start making toys again. Using the original molds, printing plates and techniques the product line is being reproduced. Models currently in production include:
Johnny West
Thunderbolt--Johnny's palomino horse.
Sir Gordon the Gold Knight
Sir Stuart the Silver Knight
Sir Brandon the Blue Knight
And their horse Destiny.
Destiny is produced as a light gray with white mane and tail. This is the same open mouthed model as Thunderbolt. All the knight come with full plate armor, in gold, silver or blue, and Destiny has full plate armor as well, in color matching their knights. Separate horse armor is also available. All the action figures are 12" tall, and include Odin & Eric the Vikings--no horses, and General Custer, also produced without a horse. Both Johnny West and the Knights come with a huge array of accessories. Great play toys for kids of all ages."
Teri Lee

Marx Toy Musuem

Circle X Ranch - one (of many) Yahoo Group discussion on Marx products.

Photo credits:
Top:
Storm Cloud in Bay Pinto owned by Emilee Anderson
Bottom: Flame in Palomino, photo provided by Beth Shaw



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