Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Johnny West’s Formative Years

The PopCult Toybox AND Bookshelf

The Illustration Guide to Marx Action Figures
Module 4: Heroes of the West & Fort Apache Fighters
by Tom Heaton
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$49.99 (including shipping)

20993060_1406013366143874_8849195586889216784_nModule 4 of Tom Heaton’s ongoing updates to his Encyclopedia of Marx Action Figures is actually a terrific starting point for anyone intensely interested in the Western action figures made by the Marx Toy Company from 1964 to 1976. If you’re a fan of Johnny West and his friends and foes, this is the book for you. It covers the key introductions and changes that happened in the first three years of this classic action figure line.

Tom’s original Encyclopedia was published in 1999, and at the time he was very upfront about not knowing everything that there was to know about Marx Action figures. This admission was a refreshing change from the typical stance of authors of books about collectibles, who often have appointed themselves as infallible fonts of information. Tom explained that there was still much to learn and new sources of information (and new variants of toys) were turning up all the time. Because of ongoing discoveries and the size limitations of his original book, Tom began self-publishing update modules that would focus on one particular type of Marx Action Figure, and present in-depth looks at the figures, accessories, packaging, advertising and known variations that exist.

Each module features large, full-color photographs of the figures, both as bare figures and decked out with all their gear, along with descriptions of everything included in the package and photos of all the accessories. This makes identifiying figures a snap.

His latest module, number 4, was published in June and is the largest one yet. In fact, this module has more than half as many pages as Tom’s original Encyclopedia had, while focussing on the figures that only made up a fraction of that book. This is essential reading for any fan or collector of Johnny West action figures. In this module you’ll find information on the genesis of the Marx Action Figure, the Daniel Boone figure that started it all, and the rapid addition of Johnny West’s family and associates to the line. It only covers the years 1964 to 1967, but there’s a wealth of information here.

And there are full details on the horses. Thunderbolt, Comanche, Thundercolt, the Pancho Pony, plus all the wagons, buckboards, corrals and ranches that were sold for Johnny West. You’ll even find Johnny’s dogs and the elusive buffalo in these pages.

This latest module can be ordered directly from Tom’s website, The Vintage Toy Room, and the other modules can also be found there as well as the original encyclopedia. Tom will even sign these for you, if you wish. Tom has alreday done most of the work on Module 5, which will likely be published next year and which will focus on Stony Smith, The All American Fighters and the Marx Military Action Figures.  These are low-print-run,  full-color books, crammed with vital information for the hobby, and are worth every penny.

Disclaimer time: Tom is a buddy, one of the first collectors I met in the hobby (along with Terri Coop and Scott Stewart) when I started going to the Marx Toy Convention back in 2009. I would highly recommend his books if I hadn’t met him, but I’m very glad that I did.


  1. Mitch Sump

    I have said it many times on Marx Toy Groups and in person! If you’re serious about collecting Marx Action Figures buy his Encyclopedia and his modules! You will save money in the long run!

  2. Doc

    Best thing to carry to flea markets ever. I use to take my Laptop to I could dive onto Scott’s site but WIFI can be spotty. These do not need WIFI and are lighter to carry 🙂

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