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pistol pete 04-14-2013 07:21 PM

Ultimate Soldier box art prints
I'll bet I'm not the only guy on this board who's still got a bunch of those old 21st Century Toys Ultimate Soldier action figure boxes. The illustrations on the front covers were just too cool to chuck in the garbage with the wire ties and plastic inserts. My favorites were the Marine Raider warily making his way through a dense South Pacific jungle and the Mike Force Advisor shouting into his radio on a hot LZ.

Anyway, I was pretty stoked to learn that one of the original cover art illustrators, Marc Ericksen, has recently offered prints of his work for sale on his website. Using high resolution color transparencies of the original art, he's produced 16 museum-quality prints in a variety of sizes and media. The cheapest print options (approx 8x10 on matte paper) are just $10.44 each!

Here's a link to where you can view and buy prints: Marc Ericksen - theartofultimatesoldiers fine art prints at

I picked up the Marine Raider and Japanese Infantry illustrations, printed medium size with the Hahnemuhle fine art pearl paper. I was deeply impressed when they arrived-- thick fine art paper and a very sharp print of the original illustration. Unobstructed by logos and printed at full-size, these scenes were even more awesome than I remembered. Can't wait to have them framed and hung up in my "war room"!

Incidentally, Marc is a really cool guy to talk to. A veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, he told me some fascinating stories about his service and about working with 21c. (I'm working on putting up that interview on my fan site.) If you were into video games in the 80s and 90s, Marc also created art for many of the big video game companies. His retrogameart website is a fun trip down memory lane:

If you were a fan of the original Ultimate Soldier box art, I highly recommend that you head over to Marc's site and take a look! [Admin: If I've posted this in the wrong place-- my apologies!]

Sixth Vanguard 04-14-2013 09:27 PM

Re: Ultimate Soldier box art prints
Thanks Pete, that is very cool. I am one of those guys that appreciates good box art, and being able to buy prints is great. Especially when the prints are being made available by the artist!

caribmar07 04-16-2013 12:39 PM

Re: Ultimate Soldier box art prints
Incidentally, there was someone on EBay that was selling the original paintings to the box art. I managed to score one. They were absolutely fantastic. I missed out on the USMC artwork he/she sold months ago. I still regret not jumping on the chance to get one at the time but I was very skeptical of the authenticity of the pieces. Come to find out they werethe real deal!

If you get a chance may you ask Mr. Ericksen why he never signed his work? Just curious…
I will be getting a few of these, thanks for the heads up!

pistol pete 04-17-2013 10:00 PM

Re: Ultimate Soldier box art prints
That topic actually came up during the interviews. Apparently it's a general industry rule that the artists and designers for product packaging don't get credited on the product. (It's too-valuable marketing real estate!)

However, 21c did break this rule for the Mad Bomber box art. The illustration for the front cover was created by a 21c R&D guy, and they requested that credit be given. So that illustrator, and the graphic designer from Creative Resolutions, Jeff Blosch, who did the design and box flap illustration, were credited on the box.

Mr. Blosch told me an interesting story about the Mad Bomber packaging when I interviewed him. I plan to get this interview up on my website soon. Will note here when it goes live!


caribmar07 04-19-2013 01:24 PM

Re: Ultimate Soldier box art prints
Pistol Pete,
Thank you for the insight. I will be looking out for that interview!


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