After nearly a century, tiny green army men are officially opening their ranks to women. Toymaker Jeff Imel has raised more than $55,000 to fund a new line of green army women.

"I was worried about criticism from all sides, and it was way less than I ever expected," Imel of BMC Toys in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said. 

His company is now set to release 12 female figurines in October next year. 

The idea for the new toy came from Vivian Lord, a young girl from Little Rock, Arkansas, who told CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman in August she was "very disappointed" when she found out there weren't any green army women. 

"I noticed that there was no girl army men," she said. "They don't make them."

So Lord wrote a letter asking toy companies across the country to make army women.

"Why do you not make girl army men?" she asked. "My friend's mom is in the army too … Please can you make army girls that look like women?"

Imel got the message. "It was very humbling, very exciting, very surreal, and at the end of the day, it's definitely going to be a time in my life to remember," he said.

When she learned army women figurines would be produced, Lord said, "That makes me super happy ... I want to play with them every day."