Monday, December 29, 2008

Playmobil rediscovers the cute in civil war


Stonewall Jackson confers with S.D. Lee regarding the placement of Confederate aritllery on the Dunker Church plateau (church in background).

Holy moley! even those little cutie pies from Playmobil have been sucked into the maelstrom of "plastic brother against plastic brother" that characterizes civil war.  In this case, the American Civil War.

Although no longer in production, these Playmobil Civil War guys have been around for 20 years or so.  I think these must have been for rich kids, Kennedys and such, though my friends who've had them, including the friend who loaned me these for this post, insist that their parents were of modest means.  I remain skeptical.

Nonetheless, fortunate was the child who unwrapped these upon a frosty Christmas morning.

Here they come, thundering northward the  Playmobil forces of succession and slavery!  Lock up your plastic daughters and Lego smoke houses, these rebs mean business!

Don't let the dutch-boy hairdo and cute freckles fool you...

this here member of "Lee's miserables" is armed to the teeth with a six-shooter and a Henry repeater...hmmm, must of picked it up during the big surrender at Harpers Ferry.

This close-up shows a very detailed pistol, real trouble for any blue-belly, if our Rebel had an actual trigger finger, that is.

Shades of Chuck Connors!  A totally American TV reference, click here

(note to Russia: don't mess with us Americanskis, we all pack Winchesters)

Huck Finn - C.S.A.

See origin of Playmobil hairdos here

Holy you-know-what!! it's the Playmobil version of James Longstreet as portrayed by...

Tom Beringer.

His beard was also manufactured by Playmobil.

This little rebel has more of an Errol Flynn look.

Is this one of those "benevolent" slaveholders we hear so much about these days?

"Look! Not a moment too soon!" gasp the relieved citizens of Sharpsburg...It's the Playmobil Army of the Potomac!   


These pistol-packin' plastileros mean business!

Playmobil actually does a nice job providing a fun level of detail on these little guys.

Nice insignia.

Not historically correct, but still quite charming.  Also,  fab sideburns!

The origin of the Malcom X ball cap, no doubt.

How a lieutenant of the finance corps got on the front lines is anybody's guess.  I'm sure, however, that he's quite excited to be in the thick of it all.

Yikes!  Here comes...

THE ARTILLERY!  (my favorite)

Looks like a 12 pounder light gun-howitzer being towed into position by that two horse limber.

As the detachment springs into action our number 6 man goes to the limber to prepare the projectile (looks like a three inch Hotchkiss to me, hmmm they must have left the smoothbore ammo behind).

The brave battery commander instructs the men on the placement of the ready ammunition.

Meanwhile, the gun captain sights the piece...

indicating to the number 3 man some deflection is needed to the left.

Now the number 2 man is ready to sponge the tube in preparation for...

the number five man to place the round in the muzzle...

which number 2 rams home (gently).

(view the whole loading and firing procedure here)

The gun captain checks the target and the position of all detachment members....

raises his sword and shouts...


KA-BOOM!!!!!!  Plastic death hurtles toward the advancing enemy.  Oh! the humanity.

The opposing infantry collides amid the thundering reports of the guns, and the melee ensues.

The bloodshed, had they blood, would have been ghastly.

Under inspiring Confederate leadership things initially go well for the sons of the southland.

Though the Yanks are no slouches either.

With fists full of fanciful firepower this young rebel lieutenant leads a thrust,

and breaks through the Yankee line.

Surprised, several Yankees are hustled to the rear, under guard, destination: Playmobil Andersonville, or worse yet, the Pony Ranch set.

"NOT SO FAST, YOU HAYSEED B______S!!"  Shouts this old veteran, guns a'blazin'. (Apologies to the moms and dads out there, but you can seize upon this "teachable moment" to explain that sometimes soldier talk is not very nice and can be hurtful to the feelings of the other soldiers on the playground)

Inspired by the Veteran's courage the fearsome Federals furiously fight the forces of factionalism.
The casualties mount in the swirling contest of arms.

"Surrender!" commands the Union general.

Surrounded, the Confederates, and their diabolical combat wombat clones throw down their arms and raise up their hands (sounds quite impossible). 

Thus ends the impetuous insurgent's incursion into the fair state of Maryland by the dastardly demons of Dixieism.

These playmobil guys are great, though the cuteness does not lend itself to the utter barbarity of the battlefield nor does their expense (especially as "collectors items") suit them to the rigors of garden warfare, replete with the occasional firecracker.

Thanks to Park Ranger Chris for the loan.  

Finally, I wish I'd thought of this

See you again on the 15th.

Happy new year and Soldier on!


This Just In!

Go here to see an entire Roman Legion (16000 figures) of Playmobil Guys! (thanks Dirk!)



Billy said...


Kevin said...

Wonderful post. Do I have your permission to borrow your image of the "benevolent slaveholder"? Happy New Year to you and your wife.

Kevin at Civil War Memory

Mannie Gentile said...


You betcha! (Playmobilese for "yes")


Mannie Gentile said...

Here's a comment I received via e-mail:

Mannie, Where as I have always enjoyed your dioramas with sometimes borderline captions, I have to say (and I don't get upset often over trivial matters), but when I read your playmobile "Civil War" addition, I couldn't help but take major offense to your obnoxious words. My ancestors fought in this war between the United States & the Confederate States in a belief of gaining independence from what they thought was a tyrannical out-of-control government. They didn't fight & die to keep someone a slave. You treat them as marauding bands of raping & pillaging thugs and your commentary was one of insult to them and my state. Not everyone owned slaves, & your General Sherman did his criminal acts way more heinous than what some rich Southerners did. No attack against my northern friends, but where do you get off putting us down? Using words such as:

Forces of succession & slavery
Dastardly demons of dixieism
Lock up your plastic daughters & Lego smoke houses
Dutch boy
Benevolent slaveholders
Sons of the southland
Forces of factionalism
"You hayseed b____d"

Insurgents? What like the terrorist insurgents in Iraq?

I don’t expect an apology, just a little common sense next time to those who may have enjoyed your stories and your technical knowledge of the War against Northern Aggression.

I realize this has nothing to do with actual toys, but your captions go too far in having fun where we all can enjoy it.

I will be weary next time of your post.

CraigSpiel said...

Interesting: after such a long diatribe, finding offense in language and terminology they end their complaint by refering to the Civil War as "the War against Northern Aggression." Tiresome double standard-ness and a lack of a sense of humor if you ask me.

Mannie Gentile said...


Finding such offense at "Dutch Boy" haircut left me somewhat puzzled. Satire isn't for everyone.

Best wishes on getting your blog up and running in the new year!


Anonymous said...

Great post display. I've got to get a set of these playmobile guys for my "staff." He'll enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Mannie, is there a set of terms posted some place which we bloggers might refer to as the "correct" wording required for any discussion of the Civil War? Perhaps some "Mrs. Manners" type site which translates things like "Damn Yankee horde of pyromaniacs" into something less edgy like "glorious liberators and urban renewal teams from colder states"?

Craig, a "son of the southland."

Mannie Gentile said...


Perhaps that should be my Master's thesis.

I'll look into it, posthaste.

We shall speak anon.

Mannie (a former forager in the frozen fastness of faraway Michigan)

original_rundis said...

So funny, Mannie! Got tears in my eyes (Must be the gunsmoke) ;)


Major Sir Edward Sawyer, said...

In Europe (mostly germany) we have a few that collect enormous armies of both northern & southern forces...

Pictures go to:


Enjoy greets,