"Recon plan Charlie: Execute! Let's move, move, move, move, move!"

Growing up in the age of G.I.JOE, army men and soldiers have already advanced so far with their sculpts, paint, accessories, and of course the articulation. Little packs of cheap soldiers could still be found at the local grocery store but nobody actually bought them. Never was there any reason to!

Fast forward into the mid '90s when Toy Story was released unto the world. Little Green Army Men were movie stars! And not only that Ė their cheap quality made them incredibly awesome as characters. Of course the voice talents of R. Lee Ermey helped a ton but itís still one of the finer scenes of the film when the troops go on their mission to find out what new presents Andy received for his birthday.

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Thinkway Toys
, the guys behind the original Buzz Lightyear toys are also behind the plastic soldiers. I seem to recall there being a bucket of toy soldiers at retail when the movie debuted but since I never bought Buzz or Woody, there was never a need for them. Fast forward again 14 years later and rediscovering my love of the original films through the toys, I couldnít help but purchase a Bucket O Soldiers of my very own.

I got my bucket at Target which sells them for about $12.99, though I noticed ToysíRíUs had 'em too a little higher at $14.99. The Disney Store website also has these but donít be fooled by their specs, the Soldiers do NOT come with a certificate of authenticity like the other Toy Story Collection toys do. What you get in the bucket is 72 soldiers, two of which have parachutes. That comes out to about 18 cents a soldier!

You actually get to see the bucket of soldiers in the Toy Story film so itís only natural that you get a bucket too. It looks smaller compared to the one in the film however they did their best to get the look of it right. But all in all, itís a bucket! Completely reusable, good for storage, etc etc. The two parachuting soldiers come individually bagged with their chutes folded up and the string wrapped around them.

72 soldiers. Howís that break down? Thereís the two parachuters that have unique sculpts. Then you have seven other soldiers, but thereís ten each. Basically that comes out to 9 unique soldiers.

The plastic is of high quality (at least it seems that way to me) and you have most of the essential poses seen in the film.

There are a few things that do bother me though, and itís mainly because Iím a stickler for film accuracy. The soldiers should all have the same bases on their feet no matter what position theyíre in. If thereís a soldier on the ground, he should still have the base on his feet. The crawler soldier and snipers donít have any at all! The mortar soldierís base is separated even! For Toy Story, weíre supposed to pretend that all of the soldiers are the same but performing different duties.

And upon closer inspection, the face sculpts seem a little too detailed too. In the film they all have a very nondescript face; as if theyíre barely sculpted at all since theyíre so small. These toy soldiers have a little too much going on and it doesnít look like the soldiers from the film.

Last, the Sarge is on a parachute! Why is the Sarge on a parachute? We need him to talk to Woody and bark orders to the soldiers. The other solider on parachute is pretty much right on so I wish they included two of this solider on parachute.

So thereís more than a couple of gripes about the sculpts, but theyíre still fun to play with. And since these soldiers have no paint or articulation, weíll move along to the accessories.

All 72 soldiers have their weapons molded into their sculpt, but two special soldiers have parachutes! They fold right up and have the strings already fixed onto the loop over the helmets. Toss them over a 2nd story and watch them go. I was actually really impressed with the parachutes Ė really fun stuff.

If you donít mind the sculpt inaccuracies I pointed out, or that the Sarge is attached to the parachute, then this is a bucket of fun. These are toys first, movie replicas second Ė so as a toy, I think itís a great value. 18 cents a soldier, cool bucket, and two parachutes, thatís something I can get behind. I would try to avoid going over $13 though.

Me buying a bucket of small army men is proof that if you have a great film and good product to support it, you can sell me anything. Of course I would have preferred a lot more film accurate characters, but these soldiers still won me over with their simplistic nature. The parachutes especially brought me way back to the days of my youth when I had G.I.Joe gliders.

If you have young kids that havenít gotten into the major toys that dominate the retail shelves, I think the Bucket O Soldiers is a great start. For the rest of you who jumped onto the Toy Story Collection bug, Iíd also recommend the bucket as well. Itís far from perfect but the heart of it is perfectly intact.

Now if Thinkway can make me an individually carded Sergeant figure, Iíbe set.

Review and Photos by David Yeh

Bucket O Soldiers Photo Gallery