Since Casablanca, and later Gulliver, started the production of forts in Brazil in 1964, until the present day, they were always named Fort Apache. With one exception – the Fort Arizona.
I wish I could talk to representatives of Gulliver, to get more information about the history of the company and its products. But that was never possible, although I did many attempts. One of the questions I would ask them would be about the reason to give this single fort a different name. Probably we will never have the answer for this question.
Without any help from Gulliver, we try to reconstruct the history of the toys with whatever we kept in our memories. The Fort Arizona that I have was given to me by my grandmother in my childhood. I do not remember precisely the year, but it was 1981 or 1982. In these years Gulliver had already terminated the production of its classic far-west figures, and it was producing copies of figures created by the Italian brand Atlantic (subject for a future text).
However, two friends of mine say that their Fort Arizona came with the classic figures. They might be right, or their memory might be betraying them. Anyway, my Fort Arizona (and many others that I saw in the 1980`s) came with different figures.
The drawing that decorates the box of the Fort Arizona, painted by Brazilian artist Nelson Reis, is one of the most beautiful ever done for Brazilian far-west toys. However, the situation portrayed is very unlikely – walking indians, in a suicidal behavior, are attacking the fort. In the middle of the battle an army wagon is leaving the fort. In front of the wagon, a single suicidal officer…
This drawing is not signed by Nelson Reis. He used to do that when his drawings were not totally original, but heavily based on original drawings from other toy makers.
The image below is from the box of the fort that I gained in 81 or 82.
Brazilian far-west toys were always copies of originals from Spain, Germany, England and Italy. However, our forts were always original Brazilian creations, at least until 1990 when the Brazilian Fort Apache became a copy of an Italian one.
Anyway, among various original forts, Fort Arizona is the most “Spanish” of them, very similar to Fort Federal made in Spain by Comansi.
Here are pictures of my Fort Arizona:
In or around 1979/1980 Gulliver released a series of hand painted rubber figures. The figures were copies of originals made by Britains and Airfix, and were sold in sets of three. Each set had one figure on horse and two figures on foot. Figures represented cavalry, indians, cowboys and mexicans.
Some of these hand painted figures can be seen in the Picture above and in the Picture below. In the picture below the soldiers on brown horses and the soldiers in front of the wagons are original Airfix models.
Fort Arizona came with these figures, but with some differences:
- The figures that came with the fort were made of plastic, not of rubber;
- They were not hand painted.
Additionally, all Forts Arizona that I`ve seen came with cowboys, indians and mexicans, but never with cavalry figures. I have no idea about the reason for this.
Below is a picture with some of the figures that came with Fort Arizona:
Someone asked me about the number of figures that composed the series based on Britains/Airfix originals. I am not sure about the precise number, but what I remember is the following:
2 sets of soldiers, with 3 figures in each;
2 sets of indians with 3 figures in each;
2 sets of cowboys, with 3 figures in each;
1 set of mexicans, with 3 figures.
The life of Fort Arizona was short. Probably first made in or around 1980, and probably not made anymore after 1983.
Well friends, this is what I have about Fort Arizona. I will be back in four months.