Monday, February 24, 2014

'New' Marx ACW Mansion

We have yet another American Civil War Mansion, this time from what many collectors call 'New' Marx aka "Louis Marx & Company" aka "Marx Toys" of Miami, Florida, founded about 1990 by Jay Horowitz. For the decade of the 1990's, Mr. Horowitz's firm attempted to recreate the Marx magic of the '50s and '60s by re-creating many playsets, using many recast Marx pieces as well as a mix of other manufacturers. Several sets even included brand new tin-litho center pieces based on, but not exact replicas of, original Marx tin. This mansion was never included in a New Marx playset but to the best of my knowledge first appeared in new playsets being offered by a fairly new company of the 1990s called Classic Toy Soldiers who are still in business and still offering quality playsets. 

Unlike the original Marx ACW mansion this was patterned after, this is a full 54mm soldier compatible as you'll see in the photos and measures 15" (38.1cm) W x 7 1/2" (19.1cm) D w/o porch / 9" (22.9cm) D w/Porch x 9 5/8" (24.4cm) H. The mansion includes an American flag, Confederate flag, back brace, and a rather odd outhouse. The privy is odd for two reasons; first, it has rounded corners, the result of using generic type of notions box for a building; and secondly because of the door with glass windows. Even were it not an outhouse or privy but rather a storage shed, I have never seen any photo of the Civil War or even just from the early 1900s of small sheds with glass windows in the doors.  It measures 2 1/2" (6.4cm) H x 1 3/4" (4.4cm) square. These mansions are still widely available and normally don't come with the porch, repos of which can still be ordered from on-line hobby shops. I have seen the mansions sell brand new for as little as $9 and as much as $60 and it is also still included in Classic Toys Soldiers playsets. It was a treat assembling a tin structure as 99% of my tin were original and already assembled. There are a couple of tricks in assembling which will be covered below. Enjoy!

The mansion comes packaged flat.

The roof, brace, and flags are on the back of the packaging.

The porch is a repo of the original Marx porch included with its Civil War Mansion

Kit contents displayed. There are no flagpoles included but repos are readily available

The 'New' Marx logo

Test fitting the roof - at this stage it needed to be bent down more. Bending the tin against a squared off surface works best.

A small piece of lumber is used for the chimneys

There are two tabs which fit into slots on the original Marx mansion but which look out of place when used with this large mansion.

The slots in the new mansion which would accept the porch side rails aren't wide enough  to accept the thickness of the porch so the porch sides which protrude the most must be filed or scraped down.

The two holes meant to accept the pegs of the porch are spaced too far apart. I scraped off some of the peg material, and then using the heated blade of screwdriver the tabs were melted down to prevent them from popping out.

Here's the original Marx mansion with attached porch. This was rather an odd design because there is an upper level to this porch but no means of entry onto it!. Notice how the upper level fits ON TOP of the roof. This makes for an awkward fit on the new mansion.

The slant of the porch side rails extend over the bottom level walkway

If you push the side rails into the building far enough to hide the cut-off side rails you'll end up with a really awkward and crooked porch.

It still looks a little odd but is far better than above.

A comparison of graphics on the New Marx and original Marx mansions

Another comparison of graphics

On the original Marx mansion, the pine tree is on the left side (as one looks at the front of the mansion) and vines on the right. On the 'New' Marx version it's the other way around.

The two flags included  in the 'New Marx' version are nice enough but lack the level of detail found in the original Marx

The original Marx Confederate flag shown at left is typical of original Marx having only one strap at top and bottom. The new version has two straps which must be splayed apart

Original Marx (top) New Marx (Bottom). The original flags have nice shadow detail in the 'folds' of the flag.

A quick set-up using the Michael's Craft Store tent, original Marx figures and original flagpole. These are 54mm and you can see how well this mansion works with them.

The notions box privy


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