The first plastic army men were made during WWII. Making them out of this material helped conserve tin and other metals needed in the production of arms. During this time, they were still hand painted individually in the United States. Now they stand plain, unpainted, with modern weapons and fatigues, and are made in third world countries. They are very inexpensive and are sold mostly in supermarkets and dollar stores. I personally remember being a poor kid on welfare, and getting them regularly as gifts because they were one of the only toys my mother could afford.