Home Forums General General When Playing with Plastic Army Men…

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
  • #47561
    Avatar photoirishserb

    As a child, when playing with plastic army men, did the bad guys ever win?

    Not sure why, but it occurred to me this morning that in all of the times that I played with plastic army men (as a kid and without “rules”), I cannot remember the bad guys ever winning.  Just struck me as curious.  I guess as a child, war was about good triumphing over evil.

    For me, the good guys were always the allies of WWII fighting the Nazis.  Of coarse the Nazis where doomed, as those grey Marx soldiers could only use the weapons of WWII, while the allies consisted of  lots of Americans, including M16 armed Vietnam era troops in CH53s and with M48s, and a few British, lead by Chieftains and Saladins.  Those 88s sometimes proved quite the challenge, but victory was never to be theirs.

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    Yep. Except for Rommel and the Afrika Corp.

    Avatar photoPatrice

    I don’t think I ever thought about them being bad guys or good guys… I always imagined myself in their role, one side and the other…


    Avatar photoPatG

    Saladin always wins.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    It was always my side Vs the other side. And my side always won.  I never really thought of them as good or bad, just us and them.

    Avatar photoPatG

    My earliest army men were Swoppet knights and oddly a Britains BAT 120mm recoiless rifle. This was followed by a catapult and ballista. There were also some airfix in the equation but even then my largest collection was Romans and celts and neither of those were good or bad. Wargaming came later with the Panzerblitz series and the usual youthful fascination with the Germans. Later as I read more and learned more they became considerably less appealing.

    Currently, I have a Homeguard force in 28mm with FJ as opponents – Michael Caine might have something to do with that. In 20mm – 1/72 I have a Canadian motor/infantry platoon (and have returned to Airfix et al). Focusing on North West Europe requires that I paint up FJ and SS as opponents. I have put some time into selecting and converting the FJ figures. The SS however are Zvezda’s German Infantry Platoon which is more suited to early to mid war Heer. Apart from simply being cheap, I have no interest in spending money figures with all the fancy kit or painting a bunch of pea dot. These two forces represent a challenge against which I will gain understanding of how motor platoons were used. As such they will be run properly so will win and likely often but those wins are not the objective of the game.

    To sum up this ramble: As a child, good and bad were made irrelevant because my army men were mostly ancients. As I have gotten older, the bad guys are far more likely to win but I have also developed much more concrete ideas of who the bad guys are and why they are indeed bad.

    Avatar photoRhoderic

    Being from the Nintendo and action figure generation I don’t recall ever having really played with “plastic army men”. I had some, and I think I was rather excited by them for a bit because they seemed to represent something more grown-up and complex than the Legos and over-the-top Ninja Turtle-style action figures that were the usual fare for me. But I only ever studied their appearance and arrayed them in what were probably very unrealistic combat scenes. Never did they actually fight in a dynamic sense.

    The same went for (what I know now to be) some old Ral Partha fantasy adventurers and 10mm or 15mm ACW figures I’d gotten from somewhere. I treasured them, but didn’t really know what the hell they were, having only the dimmest awareness of this hobby back then.

    EDIT: Sorry, re-reading this thread I’ve probably gone a bit off topic. Never mind me.

    Avatar photoGuy Farrish

    Bought an eclectic mix of cheap individual 54mmish plastic figs from Woolworths and when flush from local toys store Baileys, which had Swoppets and similarly expensive figures. Can’t remember anyone being always ‘bad’ guys – depended on the scenario (usually what film I had watched recently or what we were playing at school). These were mostly cowboys and Indians and knights.

    When Airfix came along it was definitely a hierarchy of Brits, Americans, Russians, Germans and Japanese in descending order of ‘goodie/baddie’ continuum. The Brits always won, even Churchill kits versus Tigers. But then my Dad had fought in the war so it never for a moment seemed a strange thing.

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    The bad guys usually won, but the good guys died well and took lots of them with them.  If I had to name favourite battles when I was younger they’d have included the Alamo, the Little Bighorn, Isandlwana and the Charge of the Light Brigade, which probably explains it.

    Avatar photozippyfusenet

    I didn’t actually have good guys and bad guys in my games.

    My parents were kind of anti-military, not that you could say that out loud in the early 1960s in the Midwest, but I figured it out later. So, while I got some war toys, I didn’t get the fancy Marx playsets and Johnny Seven Nuka-Bazooka toys that my schoolmates enjoyed – I got a couple bags of generic armymen and a cap pistol that didn’t shoot anything. Obviously this deprivation laid the foundation for my life-long obsession with toy soldiers. Now you know.

    So all the toy soldiers I had were Americans. Green army and tan army. I had some ACW figures, Yanks and Rebs…well, they were all Americans, too. So neither side in my games were really ‘bad guys’. They were just having a big argument, for some unspecified reason, maybe a street party got our of hand. The sides would take turns shooting and blowing things up. Rat-tat-tat, a machine gun fires and a squad goes down. Boom, their tank blows up the machine gun. Ba-wham, the other side’s cannon fires and blows up the tank. Back and forth, until pretty much everybody got wiped out. No objectives, just a lot of explosions.

    To his day, although I’m a history buff and a hard-core historical gamer, I prefer playing games where neither side is really objectionable, where I can identify and role-play either side without feeling dirty. Why would I want to play with someone I loathe?

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Avatar photoThuseld

    When playing against my older brother, he would usually win because he was older and I would sacrifice my men in action-movie moves that never worked. He would also have the best base available.

    His bedroom had four bases. Firstly was the desk, which was often an airfield, and was well defended. It had a shallow ditch that was a weakspot (a groove to put pens in) but that never ended up being taken advantage of. Secondly we have the window sill, which was also an airfield. It was more difficult to get to by us players, so never saw much action. Third we have the top of the drawers which was transformed into a mountainous base with Mechano boxes and books. That was my brother’s base and was impossible to defeat. It had good choke points. The final base was a book shelf that had two levels (on top of books, and the remaining shelf in front of books). It was okay, but the attackers always came up top and ended up shooting down on the defenders. It was awful.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.