100 Toy Soldiers for $1.75.  What a Bargain.

100 Toy Soldiers for $1.75. What a Bargain.

I always fell for these ads as a kid. 100 toys? Under 2 bucks? Sign me up. Of course you don’t think the army guys would be less then an inch tall.


If you are a clever child you might have realized that all 100 toys will fit in the tiny pasteboard footlocker and how do they fit in this small a space? They are kindod flat! F.L.A.T. Not quite penny flat, but certainly not fully 3D. They are sort of like cardboard cutouts made of plastic.

Of course if I was smart I would have read the fine print, but I have never been all that smart.


The toys, while flat were a pretty sturdy plastic. But boy is that is one tiny – poorly constructed footlocker. I guess I shouldn’t expect much for a buck fifty, but c’mon I was a stupid little kid. I think I read those inches as feet and thought I would have something to put at the foot of my bed. Here you can see the footlocker in all its decaying glory.


Oh and if you didn’t realize, the image in the ad is NOT a real battle. I know. I was fooled as well.


Joking aside. Yes, these toys were tiny, but the detail on them was decent and most importantly, they were toys. They might have been small, but I had a big imagination. So it did not take me long to find a way to play with them in our yard. I turns an old flowerbed into a battlefield and could play in the dirt with my tiny soldiers for hours.

For years afterwards, when the flowerbed had been reclaimed, my family would find soldiers. The battles might have been imaginary, but the casualties were all too real.

The Retroist

The Retroist is like a BBQ on a bun without the bones. You're only human daddy. Chomp!

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. yepper I still have mine and pull them out every so often and look at the flat thin army men and plans and ships…wish I would have bought 100 sets. I remember it took me a month to earn the $1.75 and to talk my mom in to writting me a check was like asking for the car keys at the age of 9… but when I got them…….I am 43 now and like to show them to my kids, they can’t belive I sent away for toys, my son age 5 ask me why didnt you get it from E-Bay…but this comes from kids that the only way to cook popcorn is in the microwave… am I getting that old??

  2. Al – welcome to the club. Just remember their kids will be asking them about their first cellphones and making fun of how weak and unobtrusive their social networking sites were.

  3. You need to post pictures showing how flat they are.

  4. I remember seeing these in a comic but I was too young for an allowance at the time. I really wanted to get these. Anyone know where you can find them?

  5. I’m both happy and sad to finally see what these things looked like for real. I used to drool over those ads all the time. Aside from the epic battle scene, the fact that they listed every piece really made it that much more enticing. Sure, I imagined 1-inch soldiers, 8-inch battleships and the bombers to have broad 10-inch wingspans, etc. Amazing that $1.75 was so hard to come by back then.

    Funny what I notice now about that ad that I didn’t notice then—the tiny “pasteboard” word and the dimensions of the footlocker. It’s all there, but I never saw it. “Footlocker” to me meant something as big, or even bigger, than the footlocker that held my GI Joe doll and his accessories. Remember those?

    On another note related to comic ads: I actually did send away for a “Trick Baseball” for $.50 back in 1978, and never received it. My mom never let me order from comic books again with her well-earned change after that fiasco.

    Thanks for sharing. You really have to take a closeup shot of the soldiers.

  6. Btw, I specifically remember another soldier set ad that was landscape-oriented, that mentioned “pillboxes” in the lineup of figures/vehicles. I didn’t even know what pillboxes were. Does anyone remember that ad? It had that total “storming the beachhead” scene too.

  7. Wow, it’s great to see that someone else fell for the lure of something obviously too good to be true! Yep, I sent in my $1.75 as well and was monumentally disappointed when the little flat guys arrived in their “footlocker”. It’s true that the ad does indeed state all the facts pretty accurately (other than not mentioning that the soldiers are flat). I was looking forward to having my own footlocker nearly as much as getting 100 toy soldiers. I recently re-discovered my old set in my parents’ attic (I thought it was tossed decades ago). That rediscovery prompted me to write a blog about these soldiers too. Check it out if you get the chance:


    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  8. I am still mad about this 35 years later. Yes, I guess you could say I hold a grudge. But, it was a big deal for me to send off for these – and the disappointment at their arrival was epic. I guess I should thank them for making me the advertising skeptic I am today.

  9. My uncle, Hank Schlosberg, owned one of the mail order companies that handled 100 toy soldiers, 100 toy cars, and 100 dolls. It was called Space Associates.My mother worked for him and would often bring home stacks of envelopes that we processed at home.

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