- Little girl from Arkansas finally updated a classic toy that’s been the same for 80 years.
Plastic Army Men have been a favorite toy for over 80 years – and now women have joined their ranks.
It’s all thanks to a six-year-old girl who wrote to manufacturers asking why there aren’t green plastic army women.
And one toy maker, who had been wanting to add women to his little fighting force for a while, made her dream come true.
‘Why do you not make girl army men?’
Various toy companies have been making the little army men, usually 2.5cms (one inch) tall, since 1938. And the troops even featured in the Toy Story movie and its sequels.
Most are green, though other colors are available, including pink. And all of them are men.
So it took Vivian, from Little Rock, Arkansas to point out that women should be allowed in.
She wrote to manufacturers: ‘My name is Vivian. I am six years old. Why do you not make girl army men? My friend’s mom is in the army too!
‘I saw the pink ones but those aren’t girls. And people in the army don’t wear pink. Some girls don’t like pink.
‘So please can you make army girls that look like women? I would play with them every day and my friends would too.’
Vivian jumped up and down with excitement
One of the manufacturers, Jeff Imel, owner of BMS Toys, was delighted to get the letter. He’d been planning to create a line of female soldiers for a while. But Vivian’s letter pushed him to act.
Imel set up a crowdfunder to raise $11,400 to make Vivian’s dream a reality. But it exceeded all his expectations. He’s now raised $55,400.
‘It was wild, with the final stretch goal reached within the last couple of minutes,’ Imel said.
Because of that, he’s been able to add more color variants and more figures in more poses to the range. Customers will be receiving them soon.
Imel added: ‘You might be wondering about the little girl from Arkansas whose letter started the Plastic Army Women media frenzy.
‘Her mom sent me a couple of updates on the final day of the Kickstarter and relayed that Vivian jumped up and down when she heard we added the Military Working Dog & Handler, and asked if there were really going to be 12 different women soldiers.
‘I had the happy task of letting them know there will be 15 different women soldiers, plus the dog and a stretcher accessory.’