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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
Category: Marx Toys
TV adverts have been with us as long as TV itself and many icons have stayed with us, the Smash martian will be remembered by many from the 1970′s.
Mr. Smash is all plastic with clockwork motor and removable antennae. It hobbles slightly as it moves forward. Simultaneously the arms move back in forth in opposite directions while the upper head and mouth move up and down. The little brown object held in Mr. Smash’s right claw is actually a plastic potato! Best of all it works great!
Mr. Smash was actually a commercial advertising figure used to promote the sale of Cadbury’s Smash# brand of instant mashed potatoes. The “For Mash get Smash” sticker logo on the robot’s chest refers to the potato product. It became a well known European phrase in the early to mid-1970′s. The commercial shows a family of Martians marvelling at the curious potato eating habits of “primitive” Earthlings. It was such a big hit that Cadbury’s contracted the Marx company to produce a plastic robot toy based on the commercial.
MARX number 3374 Long Range Atomic Cannon Truck.
This was an interesting find, not absolutely sure what is missing but also seems to of been battery operated.
Over 23 inches long, the main missing parts are the tracks, radar and missiles.
Although way down the restoration list I will be making tracks for it and will do an article on this when I do it.
The cab is identicle to the Marx Lumar crane truck
How it should look.
For more pressed steel vehicle articles Click Here
Marx did make a few diecast cars and trucks, but now are hard to find or even if you can the prices are high, they are not known for their quality and are at best simple castings without frills.
I only have the one, but I do like this particular casting of an American fire engine.
This is quite small at 60mm long and puts it into a similar size to Matchbox.
Underneath it shows how simple this was made, also of note, the printing on the casting says Made in Hong Kong.
The Louis Marx Company was one of the major players in the toy industry for decades.
Marx Toys also attempted to take advantage of the diecast market success of Matchbox and Tootsietoy. Marx short-lived effort did provide a limited line of diecast cars, produced in the early 1960′s. In 1968, Hot Wheels came on the scene and Marx attempted to re-style their diecast line to compete. Their efforts failed and today, Marx diecast are just another name in the history of diecast.
The real truck
The above fire truck is likely to of been based on the 1958/59 Ford cab and American Le France equipment as this was a common combination at this period in time, the casting probably dates from the early 60′s.
Marx Toys, during their heyday, produced a large range of toys in tin plate, pressed steel, diecast metal and later in plastic, during the 1950′s they were the biggest toy manufacture in the world.
My love of construction machines and cranes led me to buy the first one at a local boot sale for £10.00 (the dark green one below) and have since bought the second one based on the same crane body but mounted on a truck bed.
The tracked crane is made of pressed steel and has all the features you would expect of a working crane, with a lift and lower jib and operating hook by two controls on the side, the jib folds in half as it does with real ones for transporting
Although I haven’t, as yet been able to date them this one is the older issue as the decals have less colour in them, although they could just of faded, it should have rubber tracks which are missing.
A closer view of the rear decal.
Most I have seen have plastic pullies for the operating strings but this one has wooden pullies.
To see this Marx Lumar crane get restored, Click Here
The second one is later and has a more colourful decal set, the pullies on the top are plastic and so are the wheels, the crane body is exactly the same as the crane above and Marx Toys were well known for long production runs and making the most of a casting or moulding for years.
The only missing part on this is the simple jack legs.
The jibs on both cranes are over 650mm long making these big toys.
Another version is this toy is this excavator, again the same crane body and tracked base but this time set up as a excavator/crawler.
A second tracked crane has recently been acquired complete with diecast hook and rubber tracks, this one is in great condition and just need minor work and re-assembling.
Related article; Tri-ang, pressed steel, Jones KL44 crane