Johnny West

Johnny West action figures represent a time in America when the romance of the Wild West was all the rage. In 1964, toy manufacturer Louis Marx and Company drew from the popularity of cowboy stars, like John Wayne, to create a line of cowboy-themed figurines. Its line would be anchored by Johnny West, a prototypical cowboy hero.

What are Johnny West dolls made of?

Standing at 12 inches, Johnny West dolls may seem large, but collectors of vintage toys recognize this as the standard for the time. The body is constructed of hard plastic, but other parts, like the head and hands, are made from softer PVC. Vintage Johnny West action figures have articulated limbs, and their clothes are removable, much like dolls more traditionally marketed toward girls of the time. Depending on the year of release, these cowboy figures offer a variety of accessories.

What is the Best of the West series?

While Johnny served as the hero in the Marx line of action figures, his cast was rapidly expanded outward to create a universe of Marx Wild West figures. These were all included in the Best of the West series. These dolls depict an extensive selection of characters and accessories. Johnnys horse, the Thunderbolt doll, was released the same year as the Johnny West doll, but a steady rollout of figures would extend for the next 10 years. In 1967, Johnnys family expanded with the addition of a wife and four children. This also saw the rollout of a collection of cavalry-themed figurines and animal toys such as buffalo and horses.

The horse dolls can be used with a variety of accessories to provide them with more versatility. Over a dozen variations of horses were produced with accessories like stirrups and cavalry gear. Articulated horse toys are also available. Later additions to the Johnny West canon are action figures of real-life individuals like General Custer and Geronimo and more articulated variations of the Johnny doll. Many come with their own unique accessories.

Are there any variants on these toys?

The Best of the West line was licensed out to other companies abroad. While the Canadian, Spanish, and Mexican versions of the vintage figures are largely the same as the American releases, they offer unique box design and art, making them interesting to collectors in search of Best of the West dolls. The German dolls are notable for offering a uniquely molded toy thats believed to be based on the American Geronimo figure.

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