Since the beginning of the production of far-west toys in Brazil, in 1964, until 1979, the Brazilian factories had always made hand painted figures. Therefore, it was like a shock for us when in 1980 we found out that hand painted figures would no longer be produced. From then on figures would be sold in the color of the plastic. And it was like that for six long years.
But I still remember a day, in 1986, when I was walking down the streets in downtown Porto Alegre (south of Brazil) and, without anything else to do (good times) I decided to visit Mesbla, a famous department store chain at that time, which went bankrupt more than 15 years ago.
When I got to the toys floor I saw this box:
It was not a box like this one, it was exactly this one.
It was a new Fort Apache, different from the ones that had been made in the last six years. And it had General Custer – my favorite – on the drawing.
I took the box in my hands and looked at the side. There was this picture:
Surprise! The hand painted figures were back. OK, they were not like the ones made between 64 and 79, they were the same copies of Atlantic figures that had been made in Brazil since 1980, but they were no longer in the color of the plastic. Now they were hand painted again. And beautifully painted, I have to say.
I immediately bought tax box (surprisingly I had some cash with me on that day), and I have kept it for 27 years. The box is now in a frame, as shown above. And the fort is in my collection of toys, as shown below:
The fort was basically the same that had been produced since 1980. Different things were:
- The new (and very nice) box (created by Brazilian artist Nelson Reis);
- The hand painted figures;
- The headquarters were now made of wood. Headquarters had been made of plastic since 1970.
This model was the “big” one. Gulliver (Brazilian factory) also made a “small” version.
The small one had only one tower, instead of two.
And, bad news, the figures sold together with the small fort were still in the color of the plastic.
This is the box of the small version:
This is a view of the small Fort Apache from above (the one in the picture is missing the American flag in the pole above the tower):
I have one in mint condition (shown below). However, the tower is not shown in the picture since it is too big for the space where the fort is kept:
These forts were made until 1989. In 1990 the wood was retired, and the Fort Apache has been done with plastic since them.
Well guys, that is all. See you in four months.