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JAP AN ESE T O Y C U LTU R E

T R A N S F O R M E R S / J U M B O M A C H IN D E R S / D E S IG N E R V I N Y L S / M IC R O M A N / D IE - C A S T / V IN T A G E V I N Y L
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05 Editorial
by M ark Nagata

10 News
by Staff

12 Transform ers Colum n


by Jack H urw itz ofT fo rm ers.com

15 M icro nau t Colum n


by Bwana Spoons

16 So Crazy JapaneseToys!
by Jim b o M atison

18 Designer Vinyls C olum n


by Jim C raw ford and G regory Blum o f StrangeCo.

20 Jum b o M achinder Colum n


by Sean Bonner

22 Ark Die-cast
by M att A lt and Robert Duban ofToyboxD X

28 Kikaida Objects
by Sanford Mock and KirkTaniguchi

35 Ban Daisuke Interview


by Jim b o M attison

38 J um b org Ace - part tw o


by Tree

44 Hedorah the Sm og M onster


by Brian Flynn and M ike Johnson

50 Bandai Standard Kaiju vin yls - part one


by Brian Flynn

53 A rt G allery
Featuring: Seonna Hong, Charles Burns, Bigfoot,
David Horvath and Sanford Mock.

03
3,0 House of Collect!.
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Pez Robots
Monsters G.l. Joe
Star Wars Batman
Star Trek Gundam
Godzilla Macross
Ultraman Nightmare
Super Heroes Model Kits
Japanese Toys Transformers
Ceral Premiums Captain Action
Buy - Sell - Trade We Have it all!

Dr. Tongue’s, 1408 E. Burnside, Portland, Or. 97214


www.drtonguestoys.com (503) 233-8915

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E D IT O R IA L - «-
A FEW W O R D S FR O M M A R K N A G A TA

Wow!

That's all I can say about the response to ou r prem iere issue of
Super7. Even though we had a ton o f typos, I was very pleased
w ith the ove rall design and feel o f the m agazine. But, like
anything else, th is is a learning process and w e 're ju s t getting
started. First off, the typo s w ill be kept to a m in im u m as m ore
folks step in to p ro o f read. We're slo w ly expanding ou r coverage
of toys beginning w ith th is issue to include T ransform ers and
Urban vinyls.

Subscriptions are now available (see page 10) and our w eb site at
ww w.super7m agazine.com has undergone a makeover. The web
site w ill soon feature vintage and new toys fo r sale, o rig in a l art
and lim ited edition prints, buttons, exclusive T-shirts, and m ore!
Check it out and let me know w h at you think.

Super7 w ill also have a table at the San Diego Com ic Con, Ju ly
17th-20th, 2003. It's the largest convention in the US and features
not only com ics but also toys! We w ill be debuting Super7 issue 3
at the show. Plus, w e 'll have toys,T-shirts and o rigin al art fo r sale.
Stop by and say " h i"

I w ant to thank all o u r advertisers, fo r helping sup po rt Super7.


J im b o , Brian and M ark as in te rp re te d by M ark Nagata.
Many of them came on board early, when w e d id n 't even have a
copy to show them . For that we say, "T hank you very m uch" I And
last, but not least, o u r to y and art c o n trib u to rs and w rite rs...
W ithou t them , we w o u ld n 't have access to som e o f the m ost rare
and beautiful toys in the w o rld , as w e ll as fantastic art.

You guys make Super7 rock!

-Mark 3/03/03

em ail: m ark@ super7m agazine.com

Conventions: San Diego!


Super7 magazine w ill be fo r sale at the fo llo w in g conventions this Stop by and say hello to the entire Super7 crew live and in-person
year. Be sure and check out all dates and venues w ith each o f the at the San Diego Comic-Con. We w ill have a brand new issue, and
convention organizers before m aking any travel plans. A ll dates m aybe even an all-ne w exclusive to y! (hint, hint)
are subject to change and cancellations.
San Diego Comic-Con
Cool StuffToys and Video w ill be d istrib u tin g Super7 magazines at Ju ly 17th-20th, 2003 http://w w w .com ic-con.org
the fo llo w in g shows:

W onderCon - San Francisco Stores carrying Super7 magazine:


A pril 25th-27th, 2003 http://w w w .com ic-con.org K inokuniya Bookstores - San Francisco phone (415) 567-7625
G iant Robot Store - Los A ngeles phone (310) 478-1819
Wizard W orld East - Philadelphia M eltd ow n Comics - Los Angeles phone (323) 851-7223
May 30th-31st, and June 1st, 2003 Reading Frenzy - Portland phone (503) 274-1449
http://w w w .w izardu nive rse.com /con ven tion s/p hilly.cfm Zakka - N ew York phone (212) 431-3961
Wizard W orld - Chicago
August 8th-1 Oth, 2003
http://w w w .w izarduniverse.com /conventions/chicago.cfm
Special thanks:
W izard W orld -Texas punkpunk crew - M ark M iyake and Miss Jin g, G-Fan magazine- JD
http://w w w .w izarduniverse.com /conventions/texas.cfm Lees, Lenell Bridges, and G ertrude S m ith, D iam ond Com ics-
T heresaYung and M ark Flerr,Tower Magazines- C lint and Mike, JN
Lenell Bridges and C hristopher Mah w ill be selling Super7 at this Productions- Joanne N inom iya, Shono Planning- Masato Shono,
year's G-Fest. Eddie Yates, Tom Franck and CJT, all the fine folks at ToyboxDX,
and o f course, every sin gle co n trib u to r, past and present. We
G-Fest, Ju ly 18th-20th, 2003 w w w .g-fan.com appreciate yo u r tim e and e ffort th a t makes th is magazine possible.

05
HARD TO FIND VINTAGE JAPANESE AND U.S. TOYS
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Cool Toys for


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Gloomy Bear
Be@rbricbs
Kubricks
Monsterism
& More!!
Super7 Magazine, Volumel Issue2 - April 2003 U P D A T E S A N D C O R R E C T IO N S «- -
A FEW W O R D S FR O M T H E S T A F F
Publisher
Super7 Media, Inc.
First off, w e had m ore typo s in the last issue than we w o u ld have
Editor ever expected! We proofed the magazine m u ltip le tim es and still
Mark Nagata m issed a ton o f errors. Some o f ou r errors are w orse than ty p o s -
they are fla t-o u t m istakes!
Graphic Design / Assistant Editor
Hybrid Design, Inc. / Brian Flynn First, o u r m ost sincere apologies to Sanford and Rae Mock. Not
Design Intern: G eoff Allen o n ly did w e m isspell th e ir last name as "M o k " we som ehow found
ww w.hybrid101.com ourselves calling Rae "E la in e "! We know better than this, and have
no idea how we managed to make th is gregarious mistake. We are
Marketing / Sales so sorry! (We also m isspelled Mark's art page as "N a rk " Nagata.)
S h a n n o n ! Stewart
shannon@ super7m agazine.com A n o th e r m istake happened in o u r G odzilla article. On page 38, in
the b o tto m rig h t ph oto o f three green G odzillas, the m id dle
Contributing Editor / Ad Sales Godzilla should be labelled "L' and not "K "T h e color-key box to
Chad Hensley the rig h t o f his head should be "L ' instead o f "K " as w ell. In
chad@ super7magazine.com ad dition, we fo u n d paint va ria tio n s o f the bootleg godzilla. On the
red version o f the bootleg, you can fin d them in red w ith no paint,
Gracious Contributers red w ith blue paint, and red w ith blue and green paint. We also
Sanford Mock, Rae Mock, M att A lt, Roger Duban, received a photo o f a unpainted brow n vin yl marusan godzilla
Tim Brisko, SteveT., M ike Johnson, Sean Bonner, paired w ith a 1983 flesh vin yl, but we have no fu rth e r in fo rm atio n
Bwana Spoons, Jim and G regory o f StrangeCo., ab ou t it. We can o n ly assume it is a 1983 bootleg as w ell.
KirkTaniguchi, Chad Hensley, J im b o , Masato
N ot so m uch a m istake, as an o m issio n , in o u r frenzy to
Shono and Shono-Planning, Jack Hurwitz.
photograph the boxed sparker figures, w e fo rg o t to photograph
our loose Kamen Rider-X sparker. W hile his name appears in the
American Distribution
Tower Books, Diam ond Comics, Ingram s Periodicals, checklist, his photo was absent. A d d itio n a lly, we received a photo
and Last Gasp. fro m a p ro m in e n t japanese collecto r o f a sparker we did not know
about- Denjin Zaboga! Below you w ill fin d a picture o f both of
Hong-Kong Distribution these om itted toys. We also have a photo o f a store prom otional
Mike & M arco D istribution piece fo r the Kamen Rider V3 light-up.

Lastly, w e have a fe w pictures o f a bagged large-size Kikaida-01


Other International Distribution
Double-M achine.The photo w e used was sm all and the to y was in
sales@ super7magazine.com
bad con dition. Below is a photo o f a pristine bagged exam ple! We
prom ise to be much m ore th o ro u g h th is issue!
Printing
Transcontinental P rinting/ LGM Graphics
attn: M ike Bradley 1.800.661.0052 x24
Printed in Canada. I I ! lillillM ilJ Iiii 1 III l l l t l il
Advertising
ads@ super7magazine.com

Editorial / Submissions
m ark@ super7magazine.com

Contact / Goodie Boxes


Super7 Magazine
P.O. Box 330235
San Francisco, Ca. 94133
415.922.6612
ww w.super7m agazine.com

Legal
The a d vertising and articles ap pe arin g w ith in th is
p u b lica tio n refle ct the o p in io n s and a ttitu d e s o f th e ir
respective au thors and n o t necessarily tho se o f the
publisher or oth er persons affiliated w ith th is publication.
All rig h ts to the p h o to g ra p h s, a rtw o rk and articles
contained in this publication are c o p y rig h t ow ned by th e ir
respective creators. A ll rig h ts to any character names
and/or likenesses are co p yrig h t ow ned by th e ir respective
owners, and no assum ption o f ow ne rship is m ade by this
publication. Everything else contained herein is ©2003
Super7 magazine, and m ay not be reproduced in part or
w hole w ith o u t w ritte n perm ission fro m Super7 magazine
as w ell as any co n trib u to rs if applicable. In the end, it's a
magazine about toys - so relax.
(5©MM3(3^©©^ aE>@3
PLASTIC PASSION. " . . . a c o l l e c t o r ’ s dream w i t h i n y o u r r e a c h . . .

M A 2 IN G E R ^ 12- T -2 8
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6- G A M E R A FIGURES SEGA
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S“ M A Z 1 N K A IS E R
D IE C A S T
W e Carry.
Godzilla Ray HarryHausen Monsters
Gamera Ultraman
Giant Robot Supr Robots
MazingerZ Tetsujin28

www.thecolledge.com
PH.FAX (626) 292-2403

Customer Service (Mon-Fri 10am -5pm PST


(626) 757-5295
E X C L U S IV E T O Y S «- «-

1 9 5 4 G O D Z ILL A ® V IN Y L E X C L U S IV E F R O M B E A R M O D E L /S H O N O -K IK A K U

This Lim ited Edition Godzilla® V inyl is available ONLY fro m th is issue of Super-7 Magazine!
The 9” tall vin yl is m olded in translucent grey vin yl, w ith black and silver spray accents all
over the body. Painted to replicate the underwater, dying Godzilla®, this scene has not been
released in to y fo rm a t before, and w ill sell out quickly. Figures w ill on ly be made fo r exactly
the orders received, w ith a m axim um run o f 500 pieces.

All orders m ust be postm arked by J u ly 31st, 2003. Figures w ill be m ailed 6-8 weeks from
deadline. Cut this coupon o u t and m ail to: Godzilla® Offer, Super-7 Magazine, PO Box 330235,
San Francisco, Ca. 94133 USA. One order per coupon, o rig in a l coupons only. No copies
accepted. If you r m ailin g in fo rm a tio n does not fit on the fo rm , please attach the in fo rm a tio n
to the coupon before m ailing.

Name _

Address

E - m a il_____________________________________ Phone ( )_

Payment of $55.00 + 10.00 shipping enclosed as a money order in U.S. funds only.
DO NOT SEND CASH! Payments made out to "Super7 Magazine" For Mail Order
Sales in the U.S.A. and Canada only. No international orders accepted.

G O D Z ILLA® AN D T H E CHARACTER DESIGN ARE REGISTERED TR A D E M A R K S OF TOHO CO., LTD. © 1 9 5 4 TOHO CO., LTD. A LL RIGHTS RESERVED.

1 0 0 -P IE C E W H IT E V A R IA N T C O S M O U S E F IG U R E
Super7 x STR AN G Eco e x c lu s iv e C o s m o u s e in w h ite .
Designed by Japan's Koji Takeuchi and produced by Hong
Kong toy boutique Flying Cat.The second figu re in Koji's "Sci-
Fi Heroes" series, Cosmouse features a rem ovable helm et
and slidin g clear face shield. Figure is packaged in a
paperboard box, and comes w ith collector post cards and
goodies o n ly available th ro u g h th is offer. Lim ited to 100
pieces in the USA, available only through Super-7 Magazine!

Cut this coupon out and mail to: Super-7 Cosmouse Offer, c/o
STRANGEco, PO Box 460217, San Francisco, CA 94146-0217,
USA. For international orders or express shipping, please
contact cosmouse@ strangeco.com .

Name _

Address

E -m a il__________________ Phone ( ) ____________

Payment of $59.95 + $7.99 shipping & handling enclosed


as a money order in US funds only. One order per coupon,
original coupons only. No copies accepted. Offer available
while supplies last. Visit www.strageco.com for more details. C o p y rig h t © 2002 Koji Takeuchi -
/ASTRO g ra p h ic a All Rights Reserved. I

Stiper 7MagazTP no affiliated with Shoro-Kikaku. Bear Model SirangeCo or Astro Graphica, and is not assumingrespon ilrflty (or thefuSitilrnon! of either otter.
Pleaseai ow6-8yvecks fromthe nos markdead! notot ycui order Only ©riyina- coupons fromthe magazine accepod no rr product ons of any knd
Super-? is not responsiblefor lost or misdirected coupons.
09
-* ■* l-A U C T IO N P R E M IE R E
SUPER7 TALKS TO SHO HARA

Q: Why did you start this internet auction site? A ll you need to do is fin d the to y you like and ask him to how to
purchase it. There w ill be som e auction lots but m ost of the items
I used to be the m arketing m anager fo r a m ajor Internet auction w ill be sold at a fixed price. The price w ill incredibly reasonable
site. Unfortunately, last March, we had to shut dow n the Japan com pared to that fou nd outside Japan. This m all opened from
site because we w ere unable to dom inate the h ig h ly com p etitive March th is year. We are planning to create a fu lly bilingual auction
Japanese auction m arket. I re a lly w anted to c o n tin u e in the p latform in near future.
Internet auction business in Japan because I fe lt th a t the m arket
was still in its early stages. I was very fortun ate to have financial Q: W hat are some of the items which can only be found on I
and technical support fro m US and Taiwan investors to open a AuctionNet?
new Internet auction site. And we d id n 't w a nt to be a superm arket
type o f Internet auction site w here you can fin d anything and Under the supervision o f Hiroshi Aram ata, we are planning to
everything you are looking for. Rather, we'd like to have a site, release a set o f special soft vinyl figu rin es o f mystical creatures
which focuses on the niche m arket, such as collectib le toys made such as "U nicorn." I, myself, w ill create an original figurine. We are
of soft vin yl and Japanese com ics and p h o to m agazines o f now planning m any other interesting projects.
popular Japanese idols and m ovie stars. We believe th a t there is a
strong m arket fo r this kind of craze. We knew from the beginning Q: Who is this female cartoon character on your web site? She's
there are m any people around the w o rld w h o w a nt to collect very cute!
Japanese collectib le toys m ade o f soft vinyl and Japanese comics.
That is w h y we are creating auction m alls such as JapanAna M all This character is an illu stra tio n by "R adical" Suzuki. He is an
to ta rg e t English speaking c o m m u n itie s w h o w o u ld like to established "h ip h o p " illu s tra to r in Tokyo. His w o rk is known
purchase authentic Japanese toys and comics. in te rn a tio n a lly and th is character is named Aiko. Some people say
she does not fit w e ll in an auction site (that is w h at some people
Q: So is your site fully bilingual and w hat is Japan Ana Mall? say). However, I personally feel th a t this character represents the
sp irit o f everyone w h o is into Japanese toys and comics. But
No, not yet. However, w e have all the description and titles o f the please, I d o n 't know w h y the im age o f "Aiko" gets so m any hits
item s in English. We opened the "JapanAna M a ll" fo r the English everyday. Probably there are m any people out there w ho ju s t like
speaking users. In this M all, you can place a bid using an English to enjoy "lo o k in g " at Aiko. We are planning to create soft vinyl
Help G uide o r you can ask the seller ho w to go ab o u t in fig u rin e o f Aiko by the end of this year.
purchasing the item . This m all is run in collab ora tion w ith various
fam ous vintage to y shops across Japan such as Forest Gangu Thanks for your time, Hara-san. Japanese toy collectors have been waiting
(Forest Gang), ICHIBANBOSHI, G olden Age, Cosmo K night Alpha for an auction site like this for a long time. I'm sure our readers will access
and others. M-World Service is going to handle all the auction process. your auction site and that Super 7 will be a partner o f iAuctioNet.

IIIIII I II : Ill'll I hi! ill mi m m i ; in in i! n mu


-* S U B S C R IP T IO N IN F O R M A T IO N

We have been getting requests since day one asking "W hen are
su b scrip tio n s go in g to be ava ila ble fo r S up er7 "? W ell, yo u r
answer is- N ow ! W ith a set release schedule in place, you can now
order a fu ll year subscription o f fo u r issues fo r ju s t $24! It is
exactly the same cost as if you w e nt to the store and bought it,
but instead, we w ill send the magazine stra ig h t to you!

We also have had m u ltip le requests fo r a Super7 t-shirt. So, we


tho ugh t, "W h a t the heck, let's do it ! " (Actually, M ark said that, and
Brian was a little unsure, but he caved in quickly enough.) Now
we also have the firs t Super7 t-sh irt ever! A vailable fo r a mere $15
including shipping, the t-sh irt has orange, red and w h ite ink on a
black body. You can't beat th a t w ith a stick- and we w o n 't try. (see
Bwana's m icronaut colum n fo r tha t joke.)

Subscriptions are $24 per year (4 issues).

T-shirts are $15 (indicate size S, M, L or XL.)

Subscription andT-shirt com bo pack is $36. (indicate size)

Please send check or m oney order (do not send cash) to:
Super7 Magazine attn: S ubscriptions
Po Box 330235
San Francisco, Ca. 94133

S u p er7 M agazine is in n o w a y re sp o n sib le fo r lost, s to le n o r m is d ire c te d funds.

10
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THE LARGEST SELECTION OF
JAPANESE ANIMATION & SCI-FI TOYS
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■* -» T R A N S F O R M IN G H IS T O R Y
Q U A R T E R L Y C O L U M N B Y J A C K F R O M T F O R M E R S .C O M

Next year, 2004, Transform ers w ill be 20 years old in America.


However, it is not w id e ly known that Transform ers toys were
made in Japan fo r m any years before they were introduced to
th is country. T h a t’s right. The real roots o f The Transform ers go
w e ll back to the 70s when a popular 12" action figu re known as
G.l. Joe caught the eye of a Japanese toy company. In 1971
TakaraToys got a license to make the 12" fig u re and the rest is
history. Though the prim ary focus was to introduce the m ilitary
style figu res in Japan, som ething else was cast from that mold
along the way. The Gl Joe as we knew him was merged w ith
w h at was seen as a gro w in g interest in Science Fiction toys. In
1972 Takara released the Henshin Cyborg. It was a 12" action
fig u re made in a strikin g transparent plastic body to ta lly absent
o f clo th in g . The fig u re , em bedded w ith m etal and internal
robotics, was retooled fro m the ground up replacing the elastic
bands w ith real jo in ts th a t g re a tly increased the figu re's
a rticu la tion.T he Henshin fille d the void between the Gl Joe and
the cold mechanical drone. A new kind o f hero was born.

Over the years Takara continued to expand and experim ent w ith
Cyborg type toys. Releasing subsequent Henshin figures and
other variatio ns th a t evolved into a sm aller scale figure line
Above, le ft to rig h t: M e g a tro n a n d Convoy - th e orig ina l G1 release. th a t was introduced in 1974 as M icrom an.T he new line released
wave after wave o f new Cyborg toys. Sold in a variety of form s
and con figu ration s, the line included a m ultitu de o f vehicles
and accessories made to accom pany the figu res.T he line grew
in p o p u la rity in to the m id-70's expanding beyond the shores of
Japan. In 1976 Takara licensed the M icro m an line to an
Am erican action fig u re com pany named Mego w ho re-released
the toys under the M icronauts name. Pretty soon kids all over
the w o rld were playing w ith these Cyborg toys.

By the late 70's Takara saw a gro w in g interest in to y trucks,


autos and racecars. Heavily influenced by the M icrom an line, a
new to y line named Diaclone m arried the vehicle and the robot.
It introduced h ig h ly detailed space ships and realistic looking
racecars th a t could be transfo rm e d to reveal a cleverly hidden
robot inside. It was incredible fo r the kids to w ho played w ith it,
m oving th ro u g h a series o f often confusing actions they could
change (transfo rm ) an everyday racecar into a rob ot action
fig u re . It was lite ra lly tw o to ys in one and was an instant
success w ith kids and those ever-frugal parents. 1980 onward
saw m ore gro w th in the num ber and types o f transform ing
fig u re s . A new M icro m a n series called M icro Change,
in tro du ced rea listic lo okin g everyday item s th a t could also
tra n s fo rm to reveal a hidden ro b o t fig u re inside. Everyday
playthings like a gun or tape player could now transform into a
Cyborg too. Looking to capitalize on a boom ing trend fo r robot
to ys in the USA, Takara borrow ed products fro m the M icro
Change and Diaclone lines and re-introduced them as a new
line un de r the nam e D iakron to A m erica in early 1982.
U n fo rtu na te ly lo w m arket acceptance caused Takara to cancel
the line in 1983.

12
N ot long after D iakron, G.l. Joe licensing pa rtn e r Hasbro
approachedTakara looking fo r ways to expand its to y properties
in the USA. Recognizing the fine workTakara had done w ith the
new tra n sfo rm in g toys, an agreem ent was made to develop an
all new to y series based on the o rig in a l D iaclone / M icro
Change action figures. In 1984 a licensing deal was struck tha t
w o uld bring tog ether the talents o f Hasbro, Takara and M arvel
Comics to produce w h at is now the w e ll known cartoon and
com ic series tha t has attracted fans both the young and old fo r
nearly tw o decades.

Today the interest in the Transform ers is stro n g e r than ever.


Fueled by the 80's cartoon revival, Hasbro and Takara have
pulled out all the stops. S uddenly,T ransform ers are all the rage Join Remy and m yself here fo r Super-7 issue #3 when we take a
again, show ing up in unheard o f places on ly to disappear just s tro ll th ro u g h the T ra n sfo rm e rs to y past w ith a 20-year
as fast. Before last year, collectors had to contend w ith the evils re tro s p e c tiv e o f the m o st celeb rated character to y in
of eBay or buy fro m sm all to y im p orters to get th e ir G1 re­ Transform ers History, O ptim us Prime. I can assure you there is
issues and o th e r non-U SA releases fro m Japan. Then, last much m ore to this to y than meets the eye.
sum m e r Hasbro de live red the firs t o f the C o m m e m o ra tive
Series G1 re-issues: O p tim u s Prim e, H otrod (released as A cknow ledgem ents:
Rodim us M ajor) and U ltra M agnus. O ve rn ig h t T ransform ers
fans scram bled to get a piece of th e ir childhood. The toys sold T echie/Artist/W riter Jack Hurwitz is a Cyborg w h o lives in the
o u t as fa st as the stores co u ld stock th e shelves. The San Francisco Bay Area. He collects hum ans fo r fun and profit.
C o m m em ora tive Series co n tin u e s in 2003 w ith w ave III re­ He can often be fou nd p ro gra m m ing his Transform ers news
issues on the way like Thundercracker, Jazz and Silverstreak Web site at http://TForm ers.com
that should be in stores about the tim e you are reading this.
A rtist/C ollector/P ho to gra ph er Remy Rodis lives in Hong Kong.
If you have not been keeping up w ith T ransform ers in recent He m aintains one o f the biggest O ptim us Prime to y collections
tim es there is plenty to catch up on. The m ost Recent series, around. See m ore o f Remy’s to y collection on his Web site at
Transform ers Arm ada in the USA or M icron Densetsu in Japan, http://TFKenKon.com
is an all new Transform ers saga includ in g a lack luster cartoon
aimed at a young audience and w h at is shaping up to be very Many special thanks to Richard M istron fo r assistance w ith the
im pressive to y line. It is d e fin ite ly w o rth checking out if you are early to y facts. Special thanks go o u t to Doug Diln fo r providing
looking fo r som ething new. in fin ite in sigh t to us all.

13
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JUST BE TOYS 107 NW. 5TH AVE PORTLAND, OR. 9 7 2 0 9 503.796.2733 JUSTBETOYS.COM
M Y F R IE N D T H E M IC R O N A U T *- «-
BY BWANA SPOO NS

MFTM Report > 2.0

Let's brush upon the to p ic o f M icrom an exclusives ju s t a bit this


tim e around. Too m any exclusives pre tty much wrecked the game
o f collecting fo r anyone th a t d o esn 't have loads o f cash com ing
out th e ir ears, and fo r those th a t do, the am ount o f exclusives
made thin gs m ore than annoying. Proof is in the bag w ith m ost
exclusives and any fu rth e r new figuresTakara planned to do in the
future either canned or postponed indefinitely.

Looking back though, there are som e m ig h ty colored plastic gems


out there, and each o f us has a fe w favorites. Today we are gonna
hit three o f the doubles, the 2-packs.

The "B irth o f A croyear" Historical set th a t came out in spring of


2000, is top notch. The colors are crisp w ith m ilky green forest
solids, em erald translucent, and m etallic green chrom e.The reason
this set is so great is because Takara backed up the color scheme
w ith part o f the old story line fro m the o rigin al M icrom an series.
Our little buddies, the Tim e Travelers cruised th ru space in stasis,
inside of tw in k ly little crystals. U nknow n to them the earths ocean
flo o rs were suturated w ith N u-ku-lar crap, tra n sfo rm in g the little
tykes lucky enough to land at the b o tto m o f the ocean in to
dim w itted m onsters (Acroyears) th a t like to attack the fin e people
o f Japan. Hence, the cosm ic green color and the beginning of an
endless battle between good and evil.

Next on the list of beautiful 2-packs is the Hyper Hobby magazine


release in Decem ber 2000 o f "F la m e" M icro K night VS Cosmo
Satan Arden "Lucifer? M ore sexy colors w ith Flame being a deep
m etallic red, and a clear/red g litte r Police Keeper style case and
m etallic red w eapons to boot. Lucifer is slig h tly less im pressive
w ith clear arm s and legs, and m etallic gold details. But hell, his
name is freakin' Lucifer. You can't beat that w ith a stick. If you
even tried , Lucifer w o u ld tear you up fo r sure.

Last is the "R evival o f C om m ands" Alpha H-7 Com m and 1 & 2
released in late 2000 as another one o f the Historical sets. These
puppies are 98% g lo w in the dark, and the g lo w is good. The
com m and 1 (M oai case) com es in w ussy pink, and Com mand 2
(Pharoid case) done up in baby blue. If you ever held you r Pharoid
up to yo u r n ig h tlite before d riftin g o ff into M icro dream land and
w o n d e r "W h y c o u ld n 't the y ju s t make the w h ole fig u re g lo w in the
dark?'.'Then th is is yo u r ticket. As w ith the other Historical sets,
there is a sto ry behind th is 2-pak. The g lo w is pure "Alpha 7"
energy. Alpha 7 is w h a t gives M icrom an and Acroyear th e ir juice.
In the dark, w hen the g lo w is all tha t, these buddies are full
hum an sized, and w hen exposed to the sun's pow erful rays.These
Alpha 7 charged Com m and 1 and 2 shrink back dow n to M icrom an
size. Okay. Yeah, that's w h at I was thin kin g too.

There are loads o f other 2-pack sets out there, and some o f them are
pretty dope, so hunt them dow n and start some new Microbattles.

If you w a nt to fin d o u t m ore in fo about these and any other


wacked out M icro exclusive you can th in k of, take a gander at
w w w .m icro fo re ve r.co m and scope out you r favorites. Thanks to
Paul L. at M icro Forever.

-Bwana.

Top le ft: B irth o f A cro y e a r set, B a re fo o t M 1 0 X and A cro y e a r A30X.


B o tto m le ft: H y p e r H ob b y set, M ic ro k n ig h t M C 0 7 "F la m e " and C osm o Satan
A rd e n A 3 5 0 " L u c ife r"
A b o ve: Flvival o f C om m a n d s set, A lph a H -7 C om m a n d 1 M 1 5 2 p in k a nd A lpha
H -7 C o m m a n d 2 M 161 blue.

15
so c m rot book, Interview by Miss Rocky Mountalnz ■ All photos by Michael Garllngton and Jlmbo Mattson from the book So Crazy Japanese Toys
It's here, and it's pretty dang crazy alright! C hronicle
Books has just published a very bright and shiny photo book
aptly nam ed So C razy Japanese Toys! The auth or Jim bo
M atison team ed up w ith fine a rt photographer M ichael
G arlington to create som e am azing p ortraits of Japanese live
action character toys. E verybody's in here; U ltram an, Kam en
Rocky: T here's a lot of characters in here,
Rider, Keiji K, Inazum an, Balton, Hikaider, Ikefire, Booska, Kure
Kure Tacora, Tackle, M im ina, Agent Fuji, Spectrem an and the
list goes on! W here did they get all of these toys to photograph?
W hy do they look so good? W e tracked down Jim bo Matison
and Mike G arlington to see how they did it. They w ouldn't show
up at m y place unless I prom ised them beer. Boys.

do you know how many?


Jim bo: I think there's about 135. Miss Rocky
Rocky: That's a lot of photos. Mountainz
Jim bo: W e left out about 30.
Rocky: How did you get the toys to shoot?
Jim bo: I just happened to know a couple
collectors here in the bay area and Portland.
W hen I got the go ahead from Chronicle,
I just started calling people to see w hose frien ds had w hat
toys and stopped when I had enough. There really aren't a lot
of collectors in this book, just about 7. But they each had tons
of toys! M ark Nagata, Brian Flynn and Bret Kibile are the bay
area m adm en of toys represented in this book! The legendary
Kim ono My House covers the east bay, Debbie H ughes
stepped in with a great collection of super cute toys and
Dennis Ham ann filled in som e holes. They w ere all so nice to
help me out. My girlfriend even put in her Booska. W hoa, I
bet you don't hear that too often?
Rocky: So how big is your toy collection?
Jim bo: M y toy collection really isn't so big. I've only got about
10 in the book. I don't collect full toy lines of certain toys or
characters. I just get the stuff that really appeals to me
artistically, good character designs. I have m ore m usic than
anything. I'm not really your average toy geek.
Rocky: Are there any toy geeks in this book?
Jimbo: Ohh yeah! Very powerful toy geeks! Som e of the best!
Rocky: Did they freak you out?
Jim bo: No, why should they? You know w ho freaks me out?
Sports geeks.
Rocky: S ports geeks?
Jim bo: S ports geeks. You know, all them avid sports fans who
watch all the gam es, know all the players stats and everything
but still don't actually go out and play the actual gam e.
Rocky: I know a couple of those!

Jim bo: Yeah, I think we all do. T here's som ething much
g eekier about them . T here's actually a great art to m aking
som e of the toys. All the collectors I m et through this have art
galleries in th e ir hom es filled with beautiful toys.
Rocky: W ere you afraid of dam aging som e of the toys?
Jim bo: Oh yeah, a lot of those toys w ere w orth more than I
had in the bank. I w as m ore careful w ith the toys than I was
with cam era.
Mike: T hat's right! Ya' nut.
Rocky: W hat?
Jim bo: It's M ike's cam era.
Rocky: Okay, so w hat w ere shoots like?
Jim bo: G rinding and fun! W e shot an average of 30 to 35 toys
a day. T hat's a lot w hen you're shooting 4X5 form at. W e'd
sta rt at about 10, w ork until Beer Thirty, take a break, and
keep on chugging until about m idnite. Mike and I were a
To the left is Goldar lookin'
good. Frankenruge is above scruffy team , luckily we had our photo assistant Alicia to
lookin' like he should. keep us rolling and sober.
Mike: Yeah, sober. Booo. Below is the lovely Tackle, right
Rocky: Mike, w hat'd you th ink of the toys? is Robo Deki. Way down there
is Chibull Seijin and to the left
Mike: I'd never shot toys before, I usually do fine art
sporting a fine white scarf is
portraits of real people. Jim bo kept throw ing the toys in Kamen Rider Stronger.
front of the cam era and he'd set the lights. T hen I would
focus and shoot. So I didn't get a real good look at 'em
until we got the transparencies back. T hey're all really
cool toys. The prices are crazy, but for the m ost part, I dig
'em.
Rocky: W hat's up with all the w ild backgrounds behind the
toys? Are som e of those fur?
Jim bo: Yes, big furs. Som e of the other toy books out just
have a black background with all the toys. T hat's cool and
all but I'm a little more graphic than that. I really w anted
whoever picks up the book to be able to flip it and be
shocked by all the colors flying out. So there's fabrics,
furs, paper, vinyl and even sleeping bag lining on the
cover. I think sublim inally I'm inspiring people to w ant to
go cam ping. You w ant to go cam ping?
Mike: Say no, Rocky, say no!

Rocky: No, Jim bo. Any favorite toys in the book?


Jim bo: Oh yeah, I love G oldar and I really love Chibull Seijin and
the Kam en R ider w ith C yclone, and aww! I like 'em all!
Rocky: How did you get R odney Alan G reenblat for the
forew ord?
Jim bo:I love his w ork and I th ou gh t he w as a real good m atch for
the book. I sim ply approached him about it and he was stoked. I
fin ally m et him in person last ye ar and he is the nicest guy ever.
Rocky: W ere you ever into any toys as a kid?
Mike: I liked rocks.
Jim bo: Yeah, rocks w ere cool, huh?
Rocky: R eally guys.
Mike: Oh, and d irt clods.
Jim bo: Yeah, and the best d irt clods had rocks in 'em!
Mike: Yeah!
Jim bo: I w as really into M icronauts. I had m ost of them , I still
have a bunch and som e nice M icrom en too. Actually, you can
read a little sto ry about my childhood search for an Ultram an toy
in So C razy Japanese Toys! It's a tragic story.
Rocky: I read that, you found them in Tokyo though, right? W hy
w ere you there?
Jim bo: I used to be in a punk band called All You Can Eat, we
toured Japan in '93. Too m uch fun! I m ade lots of friends there
and have returned m any tim es. T he toy stores there are
am azing! Little holes in the wall stuffed with yum m y toys. I was
lucky enough to be there before the internet craze and the big
co llectors cam e through and ruined everything. You all know who
you are! I know of som e stores in H okkaido that I will never tell
the locations of.
Rocky: So w hat's next?
Mike: I've got som e a rt show s com ing up, you can check them
out at....oh crud, just do a G oogle search on M ichael G arlington
or B arry S inger Gallery, you'll find me.

Jimbo: I'm w orking on a nother book and I'm not sure w ha t else right now. I've got a
couple TV pilots I'm kicking around and I never know when I'm off m aking m ore TV
com m ercials and such. You can check out w hatever I'm up to at palookapictures.com .
Rocky: Thanks for the chat guys.
Jimbo: You're w elcom e. Are you forgetting som ething?
Mike: You prom ised us booze.
Rocky: I thought you guys w ere kidding about the-
Mike: No, we w eren't kidding, w e w ant booze!
Jimbo: I w asn't kidding about the d irtclod s either. I th ink I saw som e nice ones outside.
Mike: My arm needs the exercise one w ay or the other.
Rocky: Oh no.
Well this girl learned these fellow s are not your typical sensitive artists. They w ere kind
enough to give me the sound advice to serpentine as they threw d irtclod s at me on my
way to the liqour store for them . I think they m issed me on purpose, they had no
problem hitting each other. Nice guys! Really, they w ere true gentlem en. So C razy
Japanese Toys! will be available in stores May 2003, that's now! You can find it on
am azon.com also. C ollect and enjoy.
XOXO Rocky
D E S IG N E R V IN Y L S
Q U A R T E R L Y C O L U M N B Y JIM C R A W F O R D A N D G R E G O R Y B L U M O F i

The Hong Kong A rt Toy is a re la tiv e ly new c o lle c to r The HK action fig u re revo lu tion was born from this dynam ic,
phenom enon, em erging in the late 1990s fro m the boutiq ue to y p rim a rily th ro u g h the w ork of tw o fine a rtists— Eric So and
stores in the M ong Kok d is tric t o f K o w lo o n , Hong Kong. Michael Lau.Them selves avid to y collectors, particularly o f 1/6
Popularly know as "H K V in yl" or "U rban Vinyl," these distinctive scale m ilita ry -s ty le fig u re s , these tw o a rtists a lm o st
and lim ited edition figu res are unique fro m other collectible sim u ltan eou sly created th e ir ow n origin al takes on the classic
toys. Instead o f being derived fro m a film , TV show, celebrity fo rm o f the tw elve inch action figure.
or com ic book hero, the m a jo rity o f HK art toys have sprung
from the im a gin atio ns o f th e ir designers, w h o have become Eric So was a successful fine artist w ho already had a few Hong
interna tiona lly-know n celebrities in th e ir ow n rights. The Hong Kong gallery e xh ib itio n s under his belt when he unveiled his
Kong fig u re scene has already caught the attention o f the w o rld "B ruce Lee Fashion Show'.' A trib u te to his life-long hero, this
and has inspired a new generation o f artists to use action figu re gallery e xh ib itio n featured a collection o f tw e n ty-fo u r one-of-a-
design as a m ode of creative expression. kind tw elve-in ch figu res, each w ith handm ade clo th in g that
e xa ctly re p lica te d Lee's m o vie costu m e s and personal
Hong Kong has been a cu ltu ra l ca u ld ro n of Eastern and w ardrobe.
W estern custo m s and tra d itio n since its ve ry be ginning s.
Perhaps as a reaction to the 1997 re u n ifica tio n w ith China, M eanw hile, Michael Lau presented the "G ard en ers": one-off
Hong Kong yo u th c u ltu re focused its a tte n tio n on "frin g e " tw e lve -in ch fig u re s w ith unique, hand sculpted heads and
styles fro m the US and Europe. S kate boa rding teens and c lo th in g . The G ardeners w ere based on his frie n d s and
g ra ffiti became increasingly com m on in city parks and squares. acquaintances and reflected the urban street style and culture
Hip-hop m ade its w ay into Hong Kong fashion and music. The th a t had been exp lo din g am ong Hong Kong's you th .T h e detail,
y o u th o f Hong Kong a p p lie d th e ir ow n c o n te x tu a l expression and o rig in a lity o f th is w o rk quickly made Michael
in te rp re ta tio n s on these w estern sub cultu res, pro d u cin g an Lau the firs t o f a new sort o f celebrity.
interesting hybrid o f art, fashion and lifestyle culture.

18
B e lo w left, Top row, le ft to righ t: A b o ve le ft:
Gardenergala ro to : ta tto (black version), brian (norm al version) a n d m axx W o rld o f M o n s te ris m m in is a n d B ig M o n s tro o p e r (PC CW version) b y Pete
(w h ite version) b y M icha e l Lau. Three ve rsions o f 6-inch Lam d o g b y M icha e l Fowler, J u ven ile D e lin q u e n ts capsule toys a nd B ea rd e d P ro ph e t b y Jam es
Lau. D evil Toyer, Toyer (Taiwan and Japan version) b y Toy2R. Jarvis.

S prite/D evilock Twin B o y a nd M A SKS Team (Japan Version) b y Eric So. H o t A b o ve rig h t:
B oy (Toy H un te rs Special Edition) and Edison Chen b y Eric So. Taiwan Toyer B o u n ty H u n te r o f Japan: K AW S C om panion (N orm al version), S m o k in ' R abbit
(center), and BB Toyer s e t (diapered Japan version). b y Kozik a n d S ku ll Kun (Nagoya version).

Three fig ure s fro m Eric So's E sta te se rie s: a Kid, Sam Lee (Kids Special
Edition) and G angster (HK Version). C hing Head, C hing H ead lim ite d version,
and A n ti Ching H ead b y C hing St Co. S ignstein, Vapor a n d Fatcap (HK orange
version) b y M ezco.

II III u t i l I I 1. Ii I I ; IIII
The w ork o f both artists received such accolades fro m the Hong EBay is p ro b a b ly the e n tity m ost responsible fo r exporting
Kong public that they began to make th e ir w o rk m ore accessible awareness o f HK vin yl outside o f Asia. Indeed, aside from a tin y
fo r th e ir gro w in g fan base. Lau arranged a deal w ith Sony's handful o f specialty shops in a fe w m ajor cities, eBay was the
com m ercial licensing d ivisio n , w hich enabled tho usan ds o f o n ly op tion fo r enthusiasts outside of Asia to see, let alone
enthusiasts to ow n a piece of his work. Beginning in 2000, Sony purchase, these d istin ctive new toys. As international collector
produced 3 variants each of "Tatto," "B ria n " and " M a x x " — edgy interest grew, so did tha t o f designers and to y com panies in
rotocast (soft vin y l) fig u re s based on Lau's tw e lve -in ch North Am erica and Europe. The US alternative to y com pany
Gardenergala characters. These fig u re s w ere d is trib u te d in Mezco released th e "H o o d z " series in ea rly 2002. Clearly
Japan and Hong Kong, each in lim ited runs o f between 1,000 in flu e n ce d by the Hong Kong style, Hoodz fea tu re d fo u r
and 5,000 pieces. Sony Hong Kong also produced the rotocast rotocast figu res arm ed w ith g ra ffiti paraphernalia and urban
"W ew e" and "W aw a" as a prom o fo r th e ir new WAP m obile chic clo th in g. Jam es Jarvis was enlisted by UK clo th in g label
phone. In 2001, Coca-Cola Hong Kong enlisted Eric So to design Silas to design graphics and soft vin yl figures. UK illu stra to r
the "S oul 4 " series, a set o f fou r rotocast figu res fo r a Sprite and Flash designer Pete Fowler began designing his "W orld of
soda prom otion. "S oul 4 " was closely fo llo w e d by "MASKS',' a M o n ste rism " fig u re s fo r Cube Co. and Sony M usic, Japan.
crossover pro je ct w ith the p re m ie r Hong Kong c lo th in g
bo utiq ue Phase 02. These so ft v in y l fig u re series had a Clearly, HK Vinyl was no long er geog raph ica lly restricted to
decidedly street-influenced style, likely in response to both the Hong Kong alone. "U rb a n V in y l" becam e the English buzz-
consum ers' appetite and the com m ercial sponsors' direction. phrase o f choice by m id-2002, re fle ctin g the street-sm art
aesthetic the m ost po pu lar figu res featured. The urban style
The success o f these projects allow ed both artists to create th e ir still rem ains p o pu lar in Hong Kong, and is fin d in g its way into
ow n production com panies: Lau's Crazysmiles and So's Estate. m ainstream US brands. The S tro n g h o ld G roup, X-Concepts,
Buoyed by the new celebrity, Crazysmiles and Estate began to Palisades, V ital Toys and Mezco each show cased "u rb a n "
produce unique and original figures that reflected each artist's inspired product lines at the 2003 New York International Toy
personal visions. The com m ercial success o f th e ir lim ited-ru n Fair.
figures expanded the no torie ty o f Lau and So, greatly defining
this new em erging style. M eanw hile, Hong Kong's hunger fo r fresh designs has driven a
recent expansion o f style by local fig u re designers. Just as the
Dozens of talented Hong Kong designers were inspired by the soft vin yl "u rb a n " style was be ginning to get m ajor attention in
w ork and success o f the tw o mavericks, and a slew o f new roto the West, a new crop o f h ig h ly stylized and origin al tw elve-inch
figures were available by the end o f 2001. Hong Kong designers figu res em erged in Hong Kong. Jason Siu's "G angs o f M onkey
and studios like Three Zero, Hot Toys, Brothersfree, Jason Siu, P la ygro und " tw elve-inch fig u re s adhered to the urban aesthetic
and Toy2R each had a hand in developing and w iden in g the w h ile design houses like Brothersfree and 2da6 pushed 1/6
design aesthetic that was becom ing known as "H K Vinyl'/ scale actio n fig u re s in to e n tire ly new te rrito ry (in clu d in g
c o n s tru c tio n w o rke rs, ga soline d e liv e ry m en and teahouse
As to be expected, the developing phenom enon w o u ld n 't stay waiters).
contained w ith in the borders o f Hong Kong fo r long. The near
fanatic collector subculture in Japan soaked up anything by Lau In fact, "U rban V in y l" has rap id ly becom e a subset o f a larger
or So like a sponge. U ltra -cool Japanese b o utiq ue clo th ie r in te rn a tio n a l design style. The hip-hop influenced soft vinyl
Bounty Hunter produced an array o f roto figu res that were sold figu res o f 1999 have made room fo r a host o f new subject
exclusively in th e ir retail stores, w ith a strict one-per-custom er m atter, m anufacturing styles and conceptual approaches. Look
policy. Local designers contributed to the series, as w ell as US fo r m ore articles ab ou t th is in te rna tiona l art to y phenom enon
artists KAWS and Frank Kozik. in fu tu re issues of Super7. w w w .s tra n g e c o .c o m
-* -* J U M B O M A C H IN D E R S
QUARTERLY COLUM N BY SEAN BONNER

M y collecting m odus operandi goes som ething like this: Find som ething cool, track
a few dow n, fin d other people also tracking these dow n, fin d out w h at they know,
tell them w h at I know, track dow n a fe w m ore, continue w ith the m in gling and
tracking fo r aw hile until I have a good chunk o f w h at I'm looking for, then blab to
ju s t about everyone in earshot (and, w ith the w eb now at m y disposal, th a t' s
the w h ole freaking w o rld ) about how cool these th in g s I'm looking fo r are and
everything else I know about them , w hich turns a w h o le bunch o f new people onto
som ething w ho then all run o u t and snatch up the ones I'm still m issing and ensure
I'll never get m y hands on those last fe w th in g s I need. Som eday I'll learn to keep
m y stupid m outh shut.
24"
That said... Jum b o M achinder villa in s are ju s t about the coolest th in g s I've ever laid ■/FT
m y eyes on (that's com ing from a guy w h o w orked at Playboy fo r years). I dream Old:
about them w h ile I'm d rivin g , stare at pictures o f them fo r hours on end, and
generally tu rn into a dro o lin g freak when I'm in the same room w ith them . Yes, I am Doublas M2
com pletely retarded about these things. Kingdan X10
Rokuron Q9
A little background: Popy was b u stin g o u t Ju m b o s le ft and rig h t. Kids were Spartan K5
snatching them up. A ll was w ell. Som e dude in m arketing gets the idea th a t kids Taihou Buffalo
m ig h t w ant to buy m ore ju m b o s (who w ere ALL hero characters at th is point) if they Hasami Jaguar
walked into the store and saw the ju m b o s the y already loved kicking ass all over Kame Bazooka
som e bad guy fro m a TV episode. W hin ing and crying w o u ld alm ost certainly ensue Lenz Arai
and parents w o u ld be forced to buy m ore. So then som e other dude w ith the Garada K7
"p o w e r to make th in g s happen" as the y say, gives th is idea the go .T h ey make a few
and ship them o ff to stores. Stores get them and set up displays. Mazinga Z
stom ping Doublas M2, Kamen Rider sm ashing Kame Bazooka. If you have any idea
w h a t I'm talking about you get the point, if you do n 't, you have a sm all glim pse into
how far gone l(we) really am(are). Anyw ay, the displays got set up, kids dragged
parents to the stores, saw the displays, but rather than buying up all the ju m bo s in
stock, people start asking "h o w much fo r the bad g u y"? The storeow ners called
Popy, m eetings were had, m em os were sent, and Jum b o V illains w ere born.

Jum bos, as you SHOULD know, are about 2 feet tall, made o f the same crap you r
sham poo bottle is and have a bunch o f stickers used fo r detail. V illains on the other
hand, rarely break 18 inches, are made o f v in yl ju s t like yo u r Bullm arks and are hand
painted. That's rig ht, in fact on m ost you can actually see brush strokes, so some
guy sat at a table w ith a brush and painted these bad boys. They are ju s t plain
breath takin g.T here are as m any explanations fo r this as there are Jum bos, but the
m ost com m on seems to be th a t Popy d id n 't th in k they w o u ld sell, so, rather than go
th ro u g h all the costs o f sculpting and creating a fig u re th a t w o u ld match the rest of
the series, they ju s t decided to mass produce the store displays. Vinyl was typ ica lly
used fo r those purposes anyway and besides, com pared to the PET [Polyethylene]
th a t Jum bos are made of, it was much less costly and tim e consum ing.

The firs t fe w the y released were super s im p lifie d . O bviously ju s t display pieces in
boxes. Barely articulated at the sho ulders and hips, and packaged in a brow n
cardboard box w ith a tw o color p rin t on one side. W hen they actually sold those,
they decided to get a little sp iffy next tim e .T h e th e o ry says th a t the firs t fo u r villains
released were ju s t to test the waters, the fo llo w up releases were actually made
w ith the buying pu blic in m ind. The characters in this next run (which m ig h t have
actually been broken in to tw o releases, depending on w h o you believe) came in full
color boxes, although all in the same fu ll color box w ith o n ly the name o f the
character printed on the side to tell them apart.They were still short and vin yl, so as
to match th e ir evil bre th ren , but to the d e lig h t o f everyone eve ryw h ere, the y
included a launching m echanism to shoot som ething w ith each one. As w ith the
ju m b o s already on the m arket, if this launching device had anything to do w ith the
character it portrayed was com p le te ly by chance.

As far as rarity goes, these are the cream o f the crop. Some are easier to fin d than
others, but fo r the m ost part, if you do w ant to get yo u r gru bb y little hands on one
(get in line, sucka!) get ready fo r a w ait. I've been searching fo r years and there's
som e I've never seen a va ila ble once. Som e I've never even heard o f sellin g
anyw here, to anyone. If you have no patience, this is not the game fo r you. I have
frien ds w h o go to Japan every few m onths and som e w h o live there year round
w h o are con stantly on the lookout fo r me. One o f those frien ds had the luck o f going
to a collector's house on his last trip tha t he could on ly describe as insane.The guy
had 5 houses, all FILLED w ith toys. He was to ld th is guy is known everyw here as the
m aster collector. I'd never heard of him , but that's pro ba bly m ore a com m e nt on me
than him . Anyw ay, upon seeing my w ish list, he laughed out loud and exclaim ed
"im p o s s ib le "!T h a n k s fo r the reassurance buddy.
New:

Garada K7
blue and w hite

Garada K7
silve r and black

Garada K7
green and red

L e ft: S p a rta n K5, H a s a m i J a g u a r, Karine B azooka & D o u b la s M 2.


THE LOST ARK * M att A lt (V'vh-T/LE)
f t f f l JST

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ft't * 7 - 0 p >rois t h if a * tiT L'fc y u s a<a o r t'fe y l r t ' t .

W ORDS: M ATT A LT & R O BER T D U B A N


Ark's "A rklon" diecast m onster toys are a subtle pleasure to be
P IC T U R E S : T IM B R IS K O
s lo w ly savored. They represent everything: that's rig h t about
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED A T TOYBOXDX.COM Japanese toy-de sig n. The toys are chunky, funky, m issile-
festooned, and fu ll o f enough sharp edges to make one wonder
w h at kind o f safety standards were in effect in late 1970s Japan.
And they also happen to be charm ing as hell.

W ith one exception, King Joe, every Ark diecast is a "m echanized"
version o f a fleshy giant monster. In fact, the toys look very little
like the actual characters they were supposed to portray. Perhaps
it was fe lt th a t "s tra ig h t" re n d itio n s w o u ld n 't be interesting
enough fo r kids, or th a t diecast co u ld n 't accurately capture the
feel o f a rubbery m onster; perhaps the designers were sim ply
hopped-up on m etham phetam ine and cheap sake. W hatever
the case, it led to a series o f the m ost creatively gim mick-
packed toys ever produced - a fusion o f Japanese kaiju
and mechanical futurism !

& *
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Just w ho WAS Ark, anyway? Saburo Ishizuki, an executive at the


fam ed Japanese vin yl to y com p an y B ullm ark, fou nde d Ark
im m ediately after Bullmark's bankruptcy in 1978. W hile m ost o f Ark's
line-up consisted of reissues o f vinyl toys from the U ltram an series of
shows, the Arklon toys were a radical departure from the status quo.

At first glance, it's easy to underestim ate the intricate genius o f the
toys. Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that each individual part
o f every Ark diecast is interchangeable w ith the parts o f the others.
Various body m odules contain m issile launchers, rotating gears, and
other tin y m echanism s. The packaging is stuffed fu ll o f a u xilia ry
attachments such as wheels, axles, w ind-u p vehicles, and extra lim bs,
like a tw isted alien Erector set. It is as if the figures were designed by
monster-crazed watchmakers rather than toy engineers. The price of
this m odular charm is extrem e fra g ility: Ark used tin y plastic pegs to
anchor the metal body-units of the m onsters together, which means
that a large percentage o f surviving specim ens are cracked and broken.

The genius o f Ark's diecasts is the ir abstraction, the ir distilled "essence


of kaiju," that high lig hts the FEEL rather than the LOOK o f a given
monster. They com bine every facet of a character's being into a single
form .T h ey are diecast by way o f Picasso. Take fo r exam ple the bizarre
King Kong piece. As if to h igh lig ht his p rim itive nature, the to y comes
w ith a prisoner's ball-and-chain restraint, and a pair o f spring loaded
knives that thrust forth from his nipples at the caress o f a switch. Also,
instead o f providing the toy w ith Kong's tradem ark airplanes to snatch
out of the sky, Ark rigged King Kong to actu ally launch a large
cardboard glider from a hole in his stomach.

The packaging fo r the Ark diecasts is incredibly colorful and playful.


The backs o f the boxes h ig h lig h t variou s w ays o f co m b in in g the
characters ("YOU decide the tra n sfo rm a tio n !"), com plete w ith silly
descriptive captions (such as "I'm good at being a bad boy!" and "W hat
a w eirdo!")

The fu ll series also happens to have been distributed in the USA by the
late, great M arukaiTrading Company, a (long defunct) California-based
im port firm . W ith the exception o f being repackaged in English boxes,
the toys were nearly identical to the ir Japanese counterparts. Ark has
A b o v e : M e c h a B a ita n S e ijin
long since gone out o f business, but th e ir A rklo n toys rem ain a
pinnacle of Japanese diecast to y achievement. Le ft: K in g -J o e v e rs io n 1

23
le ft to r ig h t:
K in g J o e v e rs io n 1, M e c h a B a lta n S e ijin , M e c h a B lack K in g , M e cha R ed K ing.

K IN G J O E

Version 1

King Joe was produced in tw o variations. This firs t version is a


decent rendition o f the fam ed Ultram an villain. This piece was the M E C H A BALTAN
first o f the Ark diecasts, and is the only one o f the series to be sold
in a solid box w ith o u t a w in d o w . It was on ly available in a Mecha Baltan" was an odd choice for the name of this toy, as it
Japanese-tanguage box. happens to be the most accurate and organic-looking portrayal out
of the bunch. It also looks nothing like the actual "Mecha-Baltan’
Version 2 character that appeared in later episodes o f the Ultraman series. In
any event, although it's a relatively com m on piece in the States, it's
A second, later verison o f the King Joe toy. For some reason, Ark high ly sought after in Japan.
felt the need to totally rework the toy by repainting the head and
replacing the thighs and forearm s w ith chunky red plastic pieces,
The effect o f the change is u n d e rw h e lm in g — w h ere the firs t
version has a subtle, understated charm, the "remake" manages to L t lii- # © E p & j& t f c o - c .
look like Ultra-Kaiju by way of Bozo the Clown. Both versions were
available in Japan, but only this second version made it to U.S. t l'S it '. oM tiz J 7 / V * A © □ wo
shelves.
M E C H A R E D K IN G

Just as w ith Black King, Red King's w a ist-jo in t is exceedingly fragile.


M E C H A B L A C K K IN G
In fact, this difficult-to-find toy is said to be a "b rothe r piece" to
Black King (and even features a nearly identical catalog number),
Saddled w ith the unlikely nickname of "Y o jim b o -K a iju 1
but there is very little commonality between the two besides the
("Bodyguard M onster"), Black King is one of the rarest pieces in
w aist and biceps. Red King's eight-chambered, dial-actuated gatling
the Ark lineup. It also features an extrem ely fragile w aist jo in t that
missile launcher is a perennial favorite. Although Red King has the
is very, very easily broken. The upper torso rotates when a gear
ferocious-sounding nickname of "S kull Monster," his head actually
on his stomach is turned. The angular, aggressive sculpt of the
resembles that o f a cow or sheep!
head is satisfyingly fierce.

Z<D * * -3=7 O > ( D « T 5 ii

i & t l JP t < T . v £ D « T F ';t ® t l ? lo ¥B l-


r « * a « ! j t m z t z L 't © .
MECHA GOMORA K IN G K O N G

Quite possibly the m ost abstract portrayal out of the entire bunch, A ltho ug h sold in the USA under the generic name of "M ech-G orilla,
Gomora's hands have been replaced w ith shovels, his neck can in Japan th is piece was a licensed portrayal o f the fam ous
extend to tw ice its length, and the body features a tin y (and easily A m erican monster. It is also the only piece in the Ark lineup that is
broken) spring-pow ered car that can attach to the chest.The name not related to the U ltram an series. The Am erican version did not
can also be romanized as "Gom ola." include the balhand-chain accessory.

7 — * 1i di & % & < !)* ■ * v 9 $ -


Z<D%tJI£ b l'o J-?
y i~ . w % ? is -> o < k 5 iz K-trfgJELfeo
v f lg t z t # t? # * .
® /< ’y ( r - y i : l i A o T ( , ' 4 ' A ' o f c t .
le ft to r ig h t:
M e c h a G o m o ra . K in g K o n g . S in g le b o x e s fo r M e c h a G o m o ra , M e cha K o n g
a n d M e c h a R ed K in g . A s id e b y s id e c o m p a ris o n o f th e s a m e th re e boxes.

ii ill mu in I III I III I I I llll


27

King Joe

X 3 6 A ' b t i i f c l f * ' y <DJ: 3 IS 15

King Joe - ver 2


^ i f y a —d i i - o r o / C — i / 3
S ? > X tfx p |z m ^ § o U * X iiC £ D - t r * > K
Like m any live-action super hero and m onsterTV
characters, Kikaida had nu m ero us toys th a t
extended beyond the action figure/vinyl doll. As
w ith any p o pu lar Japanese character, various
com panies shared licenses. This resulted in the
p ro d u ctio n o f both generic and unique toys
based on the actual character a n d/or the
character's im age sim p ly applied to existing toys
(such as the Kikaida attache case). Companies
th a t had licenses to use the character's image
ranged fro m m a jo r brands like Bandai and
Takatoku to sm all com p an ies th a t made
inexpensive toys. W hat is very appealing are the
graphics th a t were used to enhance the toy. Just
c o lle ctin g one character and all o f its
m erchandise can be a very d a un ting task as
there alw ays seems to be som e obscure to y
surfacing ju s t w hen you th o u g h t yo u 'd seen
them all. But, then again, this very fact is w hat
makes Japanese to y collecting so challenging
and exciting.
B e lo w ( le ft to rig h t): K ik a id a T in B u s, a p p r o x im a te ly 9 “ lo n g , m a d e b y S T to y s

K ik a id a tric y c le , 5 .5 " x 6 .75", m a d e b y S T to y s .

K ik a id a B u tto b i r id e r s e t: C o m p ris e d o f 4 SO fig u re s w ith b ik e s , in c lu d e d a re : H a k a id a o n W h ite C row ,


K ik a id a 01 w ith D o u b le M a c h in e , B e jin d a o n b ik e , K ik a id a o n S id e m a c h in e . These b ik e s h a v e a p u ll b ack
fe a tu re . C irca 1990. B a n d a i.
f
"■

// , ' k I
^ ^ v y •
v /

♦>* 'V

A bove K ik a id a a n d K ik a id a -0 1 p la s tic m asks.

L e ft K ik a id a ir o n - o n h e a t tra n s fe r

B e lo w K ik a id a s e c re t m a c h in e case: P ro b a b ly a ta ke o f f o n th e
(le ft to r ig h t) s e c re t a g e n t 0 0 7 a tta c h e case. T h is o n e h a d a p o p -u p
te le s c o p e , a c o m p a rtm e n t th a t can b e lo c k e d w ith a
p la s tic key, a n d fir in g m e c h a n is m to s h o o t little p la s tic
p e lle ts . O n th e le f t is th e case a n d b o x , th e ce n te r, th e
o p e n e d case.

K ik a id a tr a d in g c a rd s a n d p ackages.
2ft
3#!#*'»**<
/W ft- <*Si: t-|: Ii t !
ST06317001 ' fH !

K ik a id a ta rg e t se t: This s e e m s lik e a c o lla b o ra tiv e e ffo r t Top C e n te r Top F a r B ig h t K ik a id a 01 p la y s e t: In c lu d e s p la s tic w a lk ie ta lk ie s w ith


b e tw e e n to c o m p a n ie s , o n e s u p p lie d th e fig u r e s 01 lo g o , p la s tic g u n th a t fire s p la s tic b a lls w ith h o ls te r
(fig u re s h a s th e T.T. o n th e fo o t) (O ra n g e A n t, B lu e ( h o ls te r h a s flic k e r b e lt b u ckle ).
B u ffa lo , a n d K ik a id a ) w h ile a n o th e r c o m p a n y s u p p lie d
K ik a id a J a ck in th e b o x /T a ts u y a m a to y s : S m a ll p la s tic
th e ta rg e t a n d d a rt g u n (b a ckin g c a rd h a s d o lp h in lo g o
b in s th a t h o u s e s e v e ra l d iffe r e n t p o p -u p p la s tic h e a d s
w ith th e w o r d "S anyo'-'
(K ik a id a , Y e llo w J a g u a r, B u ll K o n g , O ra n g e a n t,
p o s s ib ly o th e rs ).

K ik a id a d is c w a tc h : S m a ll p la s tic w a tc h -lik e to y th a t has


U n lic e n s e d K ik a id a b e lt. B e lo w
a flic k e r im a g e o n th e fa ce , a n d w a tch fire s m in i discs.
(le ft to rig h t)
K ik a id a s ta n d a rd b e lt p la yse t. T h is is a n o th e r g e n e ric to y th a t h a d m u ltip le c h a ra c te r
usag e . L ic e n s e d b u t n o t b ra n d n am e d . S cre en is 1.5"x 1".
K ik a id a S w itc h -O n ! b e lt p la y s e t.
K ik a id a d e lu x e s e t/T a k a to k u : G e n e ric w a lk ie ta lk ie s ,
n o te b o o k , 5 S D K ik a id a /v iU a in fig u r e s /p la s tic (g re y
rh in o , g re e n m a n tis , o ra n g e a n t, b lu e b u ffa lo a n d
K ik a id a ), s m a ll p la s tic g u n th a t fir e s p la s tic b u lle ts ,
K ik a id a m e d a llio n a n d s m a ll T.V. lik e s c re e n th a t r o lls a
c o u p le o f im a g e s .

A M A /S f
\m v -
A iS A S ’

K ik a id a 16" u k e le le a n d b o x , m a d e b y Takatoku. K ik a id a s e rie s ja c k -in -th e -b o x to y s . These w e re a v a ila b le in


m u ltip le ca se c o lo rs , w ith v a rio u s s tic k e rs a n d hea d s. The
K ik a id a s h a m p o o b o ttle , 9 .5 " ta ll.
la rg e p h o to is B u ll K o n g w ith a K ik a id a sticker. S m a lle r
p h o to s a re (to p ro w , le f t to rig h t), O ra n g e A n t w ith O ra n g e
B e lo w B ro m id e la rg e fo rm a t tr a d in g ca rd s, 7 .7 5 "xl0 ". A n t s tic k e r o n b lu e , B u ll K o n g w ith Y e llo w J a g u a r s tic k e r o n
d e ft a n d ce n te r) w h ite . Y e llo w J a g u a r w ith B lu e B u ffa lo s tic k e r o n red,
2 d iffe r e n t plas tic p a c h in k o m a c h in e s . (b o tto m ro w , le f t to rig h t), Y e llo w J a g u a r w ith O ra n g e A n t
s tic k e r o n re d, K ik a id a h e a d w ith B lu e B u ffa lo s tic k e r o n
b lu e , B u ll K o n g w ith B lu e B u ffa lo s tic k e r o n g re e n .
B e lo w (r ig h t a n d o p p s ite )

Amm m
fl
AM* m
Top 09 S p a ce G u n b y T a k a to k u w ith K ik a id a p a c k a g in g .
A D D IT IO N A L IM A G E S
B Y K IR K T A N IG U C H I K ikaid a -01 d ie -c a s t G T c a r b y Popy.

T h re e d iffe r e n t K ik a id a s k e tc h b o o k s .

B e lo w T h re e d iffe r e n t K ik a id a m in i-s iz e p uzzles.

K ik a id a fo ld in g n o te p a d a n d c o in h o ld e r b y S unstar.

1$j.U
otsooac
9-

Top T akatoku p o c k e t s to r y b o a rd to y s fe a tu rin g K ik a id a . B e lo w K ik a id a p la s tic th e rm o s a n d b e n to box.


(clo c k w is e )
Two d iffe re n t s id e s o f a m a s k m a d e b y G lico. ( le ft to r ig h t) ^ d iffe r e n t K ik a id a n o te b o o k s b y Seika.

K ik a id a te a c u p s a n d c o ffe e m u g s . K ik a id a -0 1 s k e tc h b o o k b y Seika.

T akatoku U S C a rb in e g u n w ith K ik a id a p a c k a g in g . K ik a id a tr o p h y fig u r in e s b y Yam asan.

34
Interview by Jimbo and Eddie Yates-all photos courtesy of Toei/JN Productions
Ban Daisuke is Kikaida! Kikaida rolled onto Japanese TV sets netw ork KIKU TV, K ikaida is on the air again! The new
in 1972 as a half man, half m achine and half guita r totin' popularity of the show has surprised Joanne Ninomiya. "I see
rockstar! Kikaida was great but Ban co uldn 't get enough hero the kids im itating the Kikaida m oves and singing the them e
action, so he also em erged as Inazum an the follow ing year. song ju s t the sam e way they did 29 years ago! It's like deja
W hile Inazum an and other projects did okay, it's K ikaida that vu." Lucky for us, Ban took a trip to Hawaii for a series of
Ban's m ostly rem em bered for. M any th ou gh t Kikaida w as just prom otional appearances and w as kind enough to grant us
a m em ory but not anym ore. W ith the am azing guidance of an interview . Jim bo w rote the questions and our friend Eddie
Joanne N inom iya, president of H aw aii's m ulticultural television actually m et up w ith Ban and courageously questioned him.

Jimbo: Are you surprised there's still such a strong


Kikaida fan base?
Ban: Yes...definitely.
Eddie: W hy do you think Kikaida is still popular?
Ban: Thanks to the efforts of KIKU TV and JN
Productions in Hawaii for treating Kikaida right and
for it's strong efforts bringing the show back after
alm ost 30 years. Also the fans w ho grew up during
the Kikaida G eneration w ho w here w aiting for it's
return. The am azing part about it is that their
children now love the show.
Jim bo: Do you have a favorite episode?
Ban: I get asked that all the tim e but I really don't
have a single favorite episode.
Jimbo: How did you feel w hen you saw the first toy
made of yourself?
Ban: I didn't like the first one, Jiro looked funny. I
asked the toy m akers if they could m ake it nicer or m ore handsom e. They
couldn't because the toys w ere already m ade by the tim e the show cam e out.
Jim bo: Of all the Kikaida toys, w hich do you like the best?
Ban: I don't particula rly have a favorite toy except the original Kikaida
mask, the look of K ikaida's face is very unique and original. It w as part of the
show's appeal.
Jim bo: Did you feel any responsibility know ing that m illions of children looked
up to you because you w ere a T V hero?
Ban: Yes, definitely.
Eddie: W ere you w orried about kids copying the stunts they saw on Kikaida?
Ban: Yes, in Japan we m ade a 30 second spot that ran before show s to tell kids
not to copy Kikaida.
Jim bo: Do you still keep in touch with any of the other actors from the show?
Ban: Yes, som e of them . W ith the actors w ho played H anpei, M asaru, and the
voice of Hakaida. Top: Kikaida
Eddie: W hat was an average day like w hen shooting Kikaida? laying down
Ban: Long. 12 hour days. W ake up at 4 am, in the bus with the other cast the law.
m em bers to be on location at 6 am. Above: Ban
Daisuke as
Eddie: W here w as m ost of the shooting locations?
Jiro/Kikaida
Ban: Either the m ountains, beaches, or q uarries surrounding Tokyo.
in 1972!
Eddie: The locations m ust have left you d irty by the end of the day.
Right: Ban
Ban: Dirty, yes... the hardest p art w as that the budget w as not huge on the Daisuke in
show so your w ardrobe was lim ited. The w ardrobe person had the hardest job Hawaii with
having to keep everything clean and repairs w ere constant. T he K ikaida suits, some fine
even back then, w ere expensive and lim ited in num bers. reading
Jimbo: Did you feel any responsibility know ing th a t m illions of children material.
looked up to you because you w ere a TV hero? Photo by
Eddie Yates
Ban: Yes, definitely.
KAIJULICIOUS.

C h i b i & o jiT o y s @ a o l. c o m

w w w . c h ib ig Q jit o y s . c o m

Ww/Br m ill 1L' tmm


f -JSksjfcif•
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&. gyyjjMF' ipSgg |
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^■volume 3 get your copy oow!


I vkfeo'jronsfaiion graph-o. tscodaig dvrf j
v is it o u r s it e a t g e n e ra tio n k ik a id a .c o m C E A fE fia W A L
www.generationkikaida c<
Distributed b y : T h e M ountain A p ple Com pany
Jimbo: Did they let you keep one of the show 's cool Kaw asaki m otorcycles? G irls still like th a t bike!
Ban: No, I don't think anym ore of them exist.
Jimbo: How m any hot chicks did you fit in the sidecar? I say three but my friend says only two.
Ban: Just one... Mitsuko.

You let go of my arm! You don't Lum-dee-dum-dee-dum.... Gee, the Ohh Jeez! I forgot to save
have a cool sidecar motorbike! sidecar seems a little light today. Mitsuko from evil!!!

Wow, Mitsuko is popular. She's gotta


Give us that bike! We wanna' pick Hand over that bike, Jiro! stop w earing them summ er dresses.
up Mitsuko! She's a hottie! I'm gettin' Mitsuko! I'm cornin' Mitsuko!
Jim bo: Rats! W hat do you drive now?
Ban: The train. W here I live there is really no reason to drive
or own a car.
Jim bo: Now really, if Kam en R ider and Kikaida ever were
forced to fig ht each other, like m aybe they're both
hypnotized by som e horrific scientist from another planet,
*9kj w ho w ould win?
jjjHM i f f Ban: (After a long pause he answ ered reluctantly.) Hmmm.
m If you had to jud ge by ju s t strength, then Kam en Rider
would be stronger. But Kikaida has the love in him to keep
the peace. Both characters are a necessity in the real world
and have th eir own m ethods to trium ph.
Easy does it Kikaida, just gimme the keys to the bike Jim bo: Blondes, B runettes or Redheads?
and nobody gets hurt! Oh hi, Mitsuko, nice dress. Ban: (Laughs w ith a sm irk) I guess Brunettes, but that's not
a very good question to ask som eone from Japan w ho really doesn't have a choice.
Jimbo: Did the costum e m ake it hard to see w hen riding the m otorcycle? The official Kikaida
Ban: Oh, very difficult, especially with the bouncing of the m otorcycle and the sm all eye holes.
website is a t....
Both m yself and the stunt man in the Kikaida suit had sm all accidents but nothing serious.
generationkikaida.com
Eddie: After appearing in so m any different super hero series, Kikaida, Inazum an, Battle
Fever-J and more, w hat was your favorite role? Great downloads and
Ban: 1. Kikaida/Jiro 2. Inazum an, in that order. even DVDs for sale!
Jimbo: T hank you so much for the great interview !
In the last issue o f Super7, I gave you a glim pse of the Jum borg-A
character and the dream y m agic o f theT suburaya teleplay. Now,
it's tim e fo r the toys.

One o f m y fa vo rite figu res is the large-size Jum b org Ace made
by the obscure to y com pany, Takemi. This is the to y tha t really
caught my attention and started me dow n the path o f collecting
J u m b o rg figu res. Check o u t the stocky p ro p o rtio n s and the
straig ht-on , alm ost innocent pose- b rillia n t, sim ple, a little odd,
bu t d e fin ite ly kid frie n d ly . The ho rizo ntal stripe s make the
un ifo rm look like pajam as and those boots and gloves; looks like
he may be headed fo r som e sanitation w ork. I loved the fin. But
even m ore engaging was th a t face: so serene, distant, even
noble, it seemed incon gruo us w ith the clum siness o f the uniform .
A no ther com pany, Banso, seems to have distribu te d (and maybe
m anufactured) Jum b org vin yls using theTakem i m olds som etim e
after Takemi folded. Banso put a gold sticker over the Takemi
engraving on the bottom o f the fo o t o f these figures, i have seen
Banso vin yls in the bag w ith odd details (like no red paint on the
ho rizo n ta l leg stripes) sellin g fo r high prices (over $300) on
Japanese w eb auctions. A collecto r tryin g to com plete a Jum borg
collection can go nuts w ith these.

A Robot is a Robot is an... Airplane?

In m y earlie r article, I m entioned tha t I could not figu re out w hat


was going on w ith the Jum borg character ju st by looking at the
toys. I th o u g h t he was ju st a guy in an odd uniform w ith a radio
headset. I was w rong.

A b o v e le ft: Closeup o f 2 0 inch Tsuburaya/Chaiyo Ju m b o rg A ce to s h o w


“ a irp la n e " e le m e n ts in th e design.
B e lo w le ft: C loseup p ro file o f s ta n d a rd size Takemi Jum borg: Ace.

The Takemi J u m b o rg fig u re s ca m e in th re e sizes: standard-large (left),


m e diu m , and sm a ll (above). I do n o t g e t th e sense Takemi p ro d u c e d m a ny
vinyls. There is a big, bulb o us early version Jum borg, a s m a ll Ju m bo rg 9
figure, a n d a c o u p le o f villains, b u t th a t's a b o u t it.
Jum b org 's charm seems to o rig in a te in a design th a t m orphs
fa m ilia r images into a single cyborg form . In the story, Jum b org is The Jum borg Portfolio
a giant robot th a t transfo rm s out o f a Cessna airplane flo w n by the
main character, Naoki Tachibana. Both the rob ot and the airplane In ad dition to the T a kem i toys, there are several unlicensed
are represented in the character design, but I could not see them '70s-era figu res available. These figu res are often made of
in theTakem i toys. cheap v in y l and paint. The la rg e r knock-off fig u re has a
rou nd ed b a by-d oll bo dy re m in isce n t o f '60s style vinyls.
This super cyborg look comes th ro u g h better in newer toys fro m Com pare the large Takemi to y and you can see how the toy
Thailand where it is clear tha t the face is not ju s t sticking out o f a d e sig ners w o rke d a co m p ro m ise betw een the baby-doll
hood but, is itself, part of a com plete mask. Consistent w ith the physique and the im p osin g guy-in-a-rubber-suit robotness of
television im agery, these newer toys incorporate a head design the actual character.
that is really a face-on vie w o f an airplane w here the w in g s have
been shortened and folded in; the eyes are the w indsh ie ld o f the
craft, the fin is the ta il fin , and the nose is a carved and
compressed version of the nose o f the plane. Even the antennae
are sim ilar to the kind fou nd on the w in g tip s o f passenger jets.

Jum borg Ace is very po pu lar in Thailand w here the show has
recently been revived. The new Thai figu res are collecto r toys, not
playthings fo r children; the y rem ain true to the stylistic depth and
innovation o f Japanese design. In contrast, the Takemi toys are
sim p lifie d and som ew hat aw kward in form . The old toys resonate
w ith the human elem ents o f the Jum b org story.

A bove righ t: (le ft to rig h t): Five-inch Takemi King Rubanga; Ten-inch, unlicensed,
J u m bo rg Ace.
B e lo w rig h t: Eight-inch Tsuburaya C o m m n icatio n s (Japan, 2000), Ju m b o rg Ace.

Look again at the old Takemi Jum b org . It could be an im age of


som eone's father. In fact, in the story, the pro ta go nist, Naoki
Tachibana, does not appear to have a father. He lives w ith his
brother, w ho is a hotshot p ilo t in a w o rld-sa vin g aviation crew.
B rother does e ve ryth in g rig h t, co n s p ic u o u s ly d is p la y in g a
beautiful w ife and fam ily. In contrast, Naoki has never gro w n up.
11*88
He sleeps iate and is perpetually m isunderstood. He is im pulsive,
angry, lost, and som ew hat hapless. An am ateur boxer and Cessna
p ilot delivery man, in early episodes his brother's children laugh at
him , he gets stom ped in boxing matches, and th o ro u g h ly chewed
out by his loud-m outhed boss, the Cessna ow ner; d e fin ite ly not
the s tu ff o f heroism . That is, u n til his b ro th e r is killed by the
monster, King Zygrus, w h ile try in g to save a child. Consistent w ith
his im p ulsive nature, Naoki's outrage, fru stra tio n , and vengeance
are focused on a single desperate act: to destroy the m onster by
ram m ing him w ith the Cessna. G ood-guy aliens, not seeing the
m indlessness o f Naoki's fury, are so im pressed w ith his courage
that before he can reach the monster, the y give him the pow er to
transform into Jum borg Ace.

From then on, m onsters m ust beware and Naoki begins to fin d his
place in the adult w o rld . Naoki's once hidden goodness begins to
flou rish .T he story portrays an alm ost m ythic hum anity: Focus yo u r
energy, strength, and de term in ation on doing good, young man,
and the tools you need to succeed w ill be given to you .T h e young
boxer p ilo t is w ired into a gian t machine th a t am p lifie s his fig h tin g
moves via a virtua l reality control system (rem em ber, th is is the
early 1970s). Jum borg Ace, in tu rn , enacts the same headlong
enthusiasm fo r battle th a t we saw in Naoki in the boxing ring.
Thankfully though, fo r a m onster-besieged w o rld , he does so w ith
much greater success.

I see the old Ju m b o rg to ys as d e p ictin g a child's hero, not


threatening or aggressive, but serene and in control; a hum ble
countenance ready to take on the d irty w o rk o f saving the w o rld .
Tsuburaya's e xp e rim e n t w ith a hapless hero in a secondary
tele visio n sho w com es to us via a secondary to y m aker as a
gentle, aw kward, and soulful figure. It is som ething ju s t beyond a
baby d o ll, yet an icon to the hu m a n ity, vis io n , and ch ild like
sen sib ility o f Japanese to y m aking. To me, the T a kem i vin yls are
great treasures o f ingenuous s im p lic ity in to y design.
mm
The ultim ate bad ass aspect o f Jum b org show s up in the
new Tsuburaya C om m unications fig u re produced in 2000.
The detailing on the Tsuburaya C om m unications sculpture
is some o f the best handiw ork I have seen. There is a darker
outer space version o f Jum b org as w e ll as a Ju m b o rg 9
figure. A tra n sfo rm a tio n of N aoki's car, Jum b org 9 was a
second giant hero robot th a t was added som e tim e after the
show began.

The Thai company, Tsuburaya Chaiyo, produced a series of


six-inch fig u re s in 2001. These to ys m ay be the m ost
accurate depictions o f all. The de tailing on these figu res is
quite stunning; the backs o f the u n iform s have zippers and
fold s to de p ict an actor in costum e. This set has som e
incredible m onsters and bad guys. The m ain bad guy is
A ntigone. He used his wand to create a d e lig h tfu l array o f
m on ste rs fo r Ju m b o rg to com bat, u su a lly d ra w in g on
objects fro m Earth's e n viro n m e n t. His evil p lo ys often
offered sub tle co m m e n ta ry on the dangers o f the a d u lt
generation's eco no m ic a m b itio n s. For exa m ple, one o f
Jum borg's m ost d iffic u lt foes is created by A n tig on e o u t o f
an obsessed and e g o tistica l earth scie ntist's rocket. The A b o ve: S cene o f J u m b o rg fig h tin g away.
scientist is so taken w ith his technological creation tha t he B e lo w le ft (top to b o tto m ): B e g inning o f tra n sfo rm a tion fro m J u m bo rg A ce
pays little attention to his ad m irin g son, even as the boy is back to Cessna. C o m p letio n o f transfo rm a tion .
threatened by A ntigone's monster. Jum b org dispatches the B e lo w rig h t (top to b o tto n ): Six-inch Tsuburaya Chaiyo villains: L e ft to R ight:
monster, and the rocket along w ith it. The scientist, tw isted J u n k ille r J u n io r: Im it (e v il im ita tio n ) J u m b o rg A ce , D em ongone
and selfish, ends the episode bem oaning the loss o f his (tra n s fo rm e d ), A n tig o n e , D e m o n g o n e (norm al). Six-inch Tsuburaya
rocket rather than show ing appreciation fo r the rescue o f Chaiyo h ero s: L e ft to R ight: E m eralm an (frie n d ly alien), J u m bo rg Ace,
his son. J u m b o rg 9, Em eralKain (frie n d ly alien).
Homage

Though the Jum b org Ace tele visio n series o n ly lasted one year, it
rem ains one o f m y personal favorites. In m any ways, the Jum b org
series was g ro u n d b re a kin g . The s h o w d isp la ye d som e o f the
sop histicated , m oo dy m om e nts th a t gave Tsuburaya p ro d u ctio n s
substance, as when Naoki plays a p la in tiff tru m p e t w hen m ou rnin g
his lost brother. Jum b org also was an early version of the Japanese
concept o f a tra n sfo rm in g robot, con tro lled by a man and w ired up so
that the pilot's m otions were m anifested on a much larger scale in the
super-m achine. An a rticle by som e Japanese scie ntists, rece ntly
posted on the internet, suggests th a t the m odel o f a m an-guided,
virtua l reality robot as firs t depicted in Jum b org Ace, m ay even be the
future of robotics science. Add the com passionate in sig h t in to the life
o f the character, Naoki, to the s im p lic ity o f the Jum b org toys and you
have a tim eless classic: Jum b org represents respect fo r the in te g rity
o f childhood and im a gin atio n, freedom o f expression in design and
message, sci-fi in trigu e, and ju s t plain fun. W hat m ore could you ask
for?

Jum b org toys are hard to fin d but not im possible, thanks to the age of
the in te rne t.T heT h ai vin yls can be fou nd at reasonable prices on both
US and Japan w eb auctions. The sm all Takemi vin yls occasionally
come up fo r sale on Yahoo Japan between $50 and $100. The large
Takemi fig u re is m ore elusive and can bring up to $300 fo r a loose
one in good con dition. If a large Takemi Jum b org 9 exists, I have
never seen one. M y Jum b org "h o ly g ra il" is a large size Jum b org Ace
vin yl w ith a clear, rem ovable mask m anufactured by an unknow n
company. I know it exists, but I have never seen one fo r sale.

A bove: S m all Takemi J u m b o rg 9 fig u re in o rig ina l bag.


A bove rig h t (to p to b o tto m ): 18 Inch Tsuburaya/C haiyo D x M e g a M o d e l, J u m b o rg 9
Ip ro file ). 2 0 inch Tsuburaya/Chaiyo, J u m b o rg A ce : 18 inch figure. J u m b o rg 9
Ifu ll figure). In cre d ib le Popy J u m b o rg w in d -up tricycle to y (vinyl, p lastic, a nd
tin ; 4 inches long).

........................................................................................................................................................................ . . . " v
W ORDS:
B R IA N F L Y N N & M IK E J O H N S O N

I I HI! i I ; !! II I I I -IS I I I 1:1 1! 11:11 I I I ,i !! I l l if! I l l ) : 1


Easily th e m o s t p sych e d e lic G odzilla film ever m ade,
Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster was one of the most bizarre monster
film s to come out of the Toho factory. In 1967, with the atomic and
radioactive menace of Godzilla turned upside down to recreate the
monster as a benefactor of humanity, Toho looked for another man-
made evil to power a monster that could rival Godzilla. Instead of the
atomic inspiration that bore Godzilla, Toho turned to the new menace of
pollution and garbage for inspiration. In return, Hedorah the Smog
Monster was born.

While only appearing in this single Godzilla movie, the level of cult-
status and devotion many collectors show to this single monster is
comparable to the devotion Universal Monsters collectors attach to
Creature from the Black Lagoon- another unique and unorthodox movie
monster. While only a few toys were ever made of this kaiju in the
"vintage" toy era, the popularity of this monster has made it one of the
most popular characters with collectors today.

The first Hedorah vinyl to be released was the Bullmark standard-size


figure. Cast in yellow vinyl and standing almost 9” tall, this vinyl is the
figure most readily associated with the kaiju. Bullmark would later
release this same figure in a pink vinyl for export to Hawaii, ultimately
becoming one of the most valuable and sought-after Toho vinyls
released. Between them, Bullmark released a 3" mini-sized version of
Hedorah in yellow vinyl is well.

to p o f page: Size co m pa riso n o f a va rie ty o f Hedorah vinyls, o ld a n d new.

above: O riginal B ullm ark standard-size p in k vinyl H aw a ii version, orig ina l B u llm a rk standard-size
ye llo w vinyl re g u la r version, M l re p ro d u ctio n g lo w vinyl.

le ft: Size com parison b e tw e e n th e standard-size B u llm a rk a nd M a rm it giant-size vinyl.


rig h t: O rig in a l B u llm a rk m in i-H e d o ra h in y e llo w vinyl, M 1 re p ro d u c tio n
versions in p a in te d p in k a n d b lu e vinyl, u n p a in te d M l re p ro d u c tio n s in
orange and b ro w n vinyl. The p a in te d ve rsions w e re re le a se d in a 2-pack
w ith a M anda figure. The u n p a in te d ve rsio n s w e re re le a se d in lu c k y bag
sets.

b e lo w : M a rm it giant-size fig ure s in d ark green, charcoal, orange a n d g lo w vinyl.


The dark green, charcoal and orange vinyl w ere th e firs t release, w h ile
the g lo w vinyl w as re le a se d later. There are also fo u r d iffe re n t " lo tte r y "
colors rele a se d as s h o w exclusives.

above le ft: B andai 1993 release in charcoal vinyl, Bandai M e m o ria l Box 1995
re lease in dark-green vinyl.

above rig h t: B a re m o d e l P ink H ed o ra h w ith s m o k e s ta c k , c ry s ta l “ lo tte r y "


e dition, g re y vinyl Japanese ebay exclusive.

b e lo w le ft: B a rem o d e l m iddle-size y e llo w vinyl, a n d exclusive p in k vinyl.

b e lo w : M a rm it m ini-size vinyls in a v a rie ty o f colors.


le ft: H eader ca rd fo r th e 1967 IKB to y se rie s
s h o w in g th e s ta n d in g fig u re 11), w alking
fig ure (2) a nd fly in g fig ure 13).

b e lo w le ft: Side b y side com parison o f th e IKB w alking


fig ure and a b a g g e d fly in g figure.

b e lo w rig h t: C o lle c te d im a g e s o f a fe w d iffe re n t IKB


figures. There appear to be several d iffe re n t
p a in t versions o f each figure. The w alking
a n d fly in g fig u re s b o th have ra diu s-lin e
s ilv e r sticke rs fo r the eyes.

While Bullmark's Hedorah is generally considred the original vinyl made


of Hedorah, it was not the first. In 1967 four years before the 1971
release of the Bullmark Hedorah, a company called IKB manufactured
three seperate poly-vinyl toys of Hedorah. These toys were released in
conjunction with, or slightly after the theatrical release of Godzilla vs.
the Smog Monster, predating both Marusan and Bullmark. While the
toys are clearly labelled by their manufacturer on both the Header cards
and feet, no mention of Toho is made anywhere on the toys or their
packaging. Debate abounds as to whether the IKB toys were bootleg
figures, as their crude design and poly-vinyl bodies would indicate, or
licensed goods that were released before standards for a toy of this
style were imagined. Generally speaking, these figures are unknown to
most collectors, and those who know of them, consider them to be
unlicensed goods. Unfortunately, putting these figures in the magazine
will only make my hunt for them that much more difficult, as they can
be quite tricky to track down.

The IKB Hedorah came in three forms, representing three different


stages of the monster in the movie- standing, walking and flying. The
standing and walking versions have articulation at the neck and
shoulders, while the flying version is more of a puppet, with a circular
hole cut into the base of the figure, presumably to put your hand into
and "fly " around.

After years of neglect, Bandai finally resurrected the monster in 1991,


with their standard-size figure. Another figure extremely popular with
collectors, the bandai version is incredibly detailed, even having clear
lenses placed over the eyes of the figure. This vinyl was later included in
the 1996 Memorial box set, but molded in a slightly softer, dark-green
vinyl as compared to the original charcoal colored version.

m id d le le ft: C om parison o f th e M a rm it s ta n d in g vinyl. S econd e d itio n release


w ith m e ta llic re d s p ra y (left) and th e firs t release w ith re gu la r red
spray. The m a jo rity o f th e se c o n d release fig ure s w ere s o ld through
d ealers in th e U n ite d States.

b e lo w le ft: M a rm it sta n d in g vinyl firs t release yellow, p in k and charcoal co lored


v in y l fig ure s. D ark-g re en vinyl San D ie g o com ic-co n exclusive
color.

b o tto m le ft: M a rm it fly in g vinyl firs t release yellow, p in k and charcoal co lored
vinyl figures. P utty-green vinyl C hiller-fest exclusive color.
Baremodel was the next company to make a Hedorah toy, with their
middle-size yellow vinyl in 1998. As with many current figures, this
figure was re-released in 2001 as a store-exclusive in pink vinyl. Also in
2001, Baremodel released their version of the standard size Hedorah,
complete with a smokestack accessory. Originally released in pink vinyl,
this figure was also released in grey vinyl as a Japanese ebay exclusive,
pearlized clear-white vinyl as a premium purchase item, and the soon to
be shipped glow-in-the-dark vinyl version from super7.

About a year after the Baremodel middle-size release, M1-ichigo


released a reproduction of the Bullmark mini-size vinyl in a bagged two-
pack with a Manda vinyl. The figures came in either a painted blue or
pink vinyl, which was bagged w ith a Manda of the opposite
corresponding color. Later that same year, M1 released the figures in
both unpainted brown and orange in sealed "lucky-bag" sets that
contained various unpainted kaijus from bothToho andTsubaraya.

Although there is plenty of interest in this classic monster, the company


doing the most to keep Hedorah fever alive and well, is clearly Marmit.
Marmit released the standing and flying versions of Hedorah in 1999 in
three colors each- yellow, pink and charcoal. True to form, they later
released the standing version in dark-green vinyl at the San Diego
Comic-Con in 2001, and the flying version in putty-green at the Chiller
festival of 2001. Both were rumored to have only been limited to 100
pieces each. The standing version was released again in February 2003,
this tim e as a gallery exclusive in blue vinyl, and limited to 100 pieces.

In 2002, Marmit released what is easily the most grand Hedorah yet,
with their giant-size rendition of the kaiju. The first release was made in
three colors as well- charcoal, dark green and orange. Although
originally rumored to be gallery exclusives or small run figures, these
versions are all quite plentiful, and were made In extremely large
numbers. After the initial release, a "prototype" colorway was released
in an off-white, non-glow vinyl, as well as three seperate "lottery"
colorways. The "lottery" figures were handed out at toy conventions
through a raffle system, and are rumored to be limited to 20 pieces or
under, although there is no way to know for sure. In 2003, Marmit
released the latest giant-size Hedorah colorway, as a painted glow vinyl.

Also in 2003, marmit released a series of small 1.5" figures that have
been made in a large variety of colors. Although a translucent blue
version of this figure was made for a 1998 toy show, Marmit has been
releasing these small figures lately w ith wild abandon. As of this
writing, there have been eight different colorways of the figure, with
surely more to come.

above top: A g rou p o f sm all-scale figures. Front row, le ft to rig h t is th e s m a ll All along the way, Bandai and several other companies have been
Bandai M o rinaga figure, then a va rie ty o f IM S fig u re s (green,purple, cranking out small premium figures of various poses for candy toys,
b lu e and red) a n d s m a lle r B andai M o th ra SD s e t figure. Back row, rubber figures and capsule sets. Many of these figures were released
le ft to rig h t are fiv e m o re IM S co lo rs (black, clea r yellow, clear, clea r
multiple times in different editions, with colors changing in every edition.
p in k a nd yellow ), and the N agasakiya sta m p fig u re in re d a n d green.
While there is no definitive list of every small figure made, we have
(The re d version s till has the ru b b e r sta m p a tta ch e d to th e botto m ,
m a kin g it appear taller, th e g ree n version no lo n g e r has the s ta m p done our best to track down as many of them as possible. As with any
attached.) toy line out there, big or small, there are going to be omissions and
unknown toys that will pop-up along the way. Just keep your eyes open,
above m idd le: A g rou p o f sm all-scale figures. Front row, le ft to right, Bandai battle and let us know when you find them!
s e t figure (pink), Bandai M u s e u m o r P roclam ation s e t fig u re (blue),
tw o b o o tle g vending m achine fig ure s (red a n d green), a b o o tle g
sta m p fig ure (yellow), a n d sm a lle r scale Yamakatsu fig ure (pink).
Back row, le ft to right, fo u r Bandai Godzilla w o rld fig u re s (gray, blue,
red, green, 1992 ©), th e B andai Godzilla Capsule s e t fig u re (flesh
co lo re d , 1984 ©), la rg e r sca le Yam akatsu fig u re (blue) a n d an
u nkn o w n large p in k figure.

above b o tto m : A g rou p o f sm all-scale figures. Front row, le ft to righ t, B andai Dash
s e t fig ure (green, also ca m e in y e llo w a n d silver), B andai F B I
figure, Bandai illu s tra te d c o lle ctio n fig ure (sm all b ro w n spray area),
Bandai Godzilla Part Two fig ure (large b ro w n sp ray area) and the
Bandai S o u kou g eki figure.

b e lo w rig h t: M a rm it S tanding version g a lle ry e xclusive in b lu e vinyl. There are


tw o d iffe re n t eye c o lo r variations fo r th is vinyl. The firs t version has
g o ld e yes w ith re d pupils, th e se co n d version has re d eyes w ith
g o ld pupils. They w e re re le a se d ro u g h ly tw o w e e ks apart.

47
above: Left, Yutaka B ottle-cap figure. Right, g rou p s h o t sh o w in g a ll th e sm all-scale fig u re s w ith each o th e r

Hedorah the Smog M onster - Vinyl figures Hedorah the Smog M onster - Small figures
Bullm ark Yamakatsu
Standard-size - Yellow vinyl -1971 sm all rubber 1" fig ure (in bag) -1 9 8 4
Standard-size - Pink vinyl, Hawaiian release sm all rubber 1.5' fig ure (in bag) -1 9 8 4
M ini-size - Yellow vinyl -1971 Carded Set, Rubber 1.5" fig ure s -1 9 8 4

Bandai IM S
Standard-size - Charcoal vinyl w ith tag -1 9 9 3 Box s e t o f 20 fig ue s -1991
Standard-size - Dark-green vinyl. M em orial Box edition w ith card -1 9 9 5 Theater bags (Black plastic bag)

Ba rem odel C andy toys


M iddle-size - Yellow vinyl -1 9 9 8 Bandai Godzilla Great Illustrated C ollection 2 (finger puppet, card) -1 9 9 2
M iddle-size - Pink vinyl store exclusive (Slightly Smaller) • 2001 Nagasakiya Gojira Dai Shugo - Gyakusbu Hen (w / card and stam p) -1 99 3
M orinaga S et (w / Battra Larva, hedorah, Super X-2) -1 9 9 3
Standard-size - Pink vinyl w ith Sm oke Stack - 2001 Bandai Battle Set box B) (Sm aller then Proclamation) -1 9 9 5
Standard-size - C rystal e dition lo tte ry fig ure - 2002 Bandai Godzilla Proclam ation Blue (W ith biollante, card) -1 9 9 5
Standard-size - Grey vinyl, ebay japan exclusive - 2002 Bandai M o n s te r M u seu m (box B) (same as proclam ation) -1 9 9 7
Standard-size - G lo w vinyl, super7 exclusive - 2003 Bandai Godzilla Soukougeki (19 figures, card)- 2001

M a rm it Capsule toys
Standing version -Y ellow vinyl, firs t edition, bright red paint -1 9 9 9 Bandai Godzilla Capsule s e t -1 9 8 4
Standing version -Y ellow vinyl, second edition, m e ta llic red paint -1 9 9 9 Bandai Godzilla Dash -1 9 8 5
Standing version - Pink vinyl -1 9 9 9 Bandai Godzilla W orld (Same as 84, diffe re nt copyright) -1 99 2
Standing version - Charcoal vinyl -1 9 9 9 Bandai Godzilla Part 2 (finger puppet) -1 9 9 2
Standing version - Dark-green vinyl, San D iego C om icon exclusive - 2001 Bandai FB1 (15 figures) -1 9 9 3
Standing version - Blue vinyl, gallery edition, gold eyes, red pupils - 2003 Bandai M othra SD (30 figures) -1 9 9 6
Standing version - Blue vinyl, gallery edition, red eyes, gold pupils - 2003
Standing version - Charcoal vinyl, unpainted, u nknow n release Yutaka
Standing version - Flesh vinyl, unpainted, u nknow n release bottle cap
Standing version - M aroon vinyl, unpainted, unkn o w n release

Flying version -Y ellow vinyl, firs t edition, b rig h t red p aint -1 9 9 9


Hedorah the Smog M onster - Small bootleg figures
Flying version -Y ellow vinyl, second edition, m e ta llic red paint -1 9 9 9
Flying version - Pink vinyl -1 9 9 9 bootleg vending m achine fig ure s
Flying version - Charcoal vinyl -1 9 9 9 b ootleg sta m p fig ure s s e t (box)
Flying version - Putty-green vinyl, C hillerTheater exclusive - 2001

M ini-size -Translucent Blue vinyl, unpainted -1 9 9 8


Hedorah the Smog M onster - Large bootleg figures
M ini-size - G lo w vinyl, painted - u nknow n release
M ini-size - Brow n vinyl, unpainted - 2002 IKG Poly-vinyl figures
M ini-size - Aqua vinyl, unpainted - 2002 Standing version
M ini-size - Blue vinyl, unpainted - 2002 W alking version
M ini-size - Pink vinyl, painted - 2002 Flying version
M ini-size -Y ellow vinyl, unpainted - 2002/2003
M ini-size - Green vinyl, painted - 2002/2003

Giant-size - O range vinyl, gallery exclusive - 2002


Giant-size - Charcoal vinyl, gallery exclusive - 2002
Giant-size - Green vinyl, gallery exclusive - 2002
Giant-size - Cream, lo tte ry prize - 2002
Giant-size - Purple vinyl, lo tte ry prize - 2002
Giant-size - Yellow vinyl, lo tte ry prize - 2002
Giant-size - G low vinyl, gallery exclusive - 2003

M 1-ichigo
M ini-size reproduction - Blue vinyl - 1998
M ini-size reproduction - Pink vinyl -1 9 9 8
M ini-size reproduction - B ro w n vinyl, unpainted, Lucky Bag #2 - 1998
M ini-size reproduction - Orange vinyl, unpainted, Lucky Bag #2 -1 9 9 8
Standard-size reproduction - G low vinyl, cam e w ith book- 2002

rig h t: Ba re m o d e l S u p er7 e xclusive in g lo w vinyl.

far rig h t: M a rm it m in i Hedorah, se co n d version, p a in te d g lo w vinyl,


p h o to b y Ryan Brow n.

48
S p ecializin g in exclu siv es fro m
M l,B a r e M o d e l,M a rm it,M e d ic o m

JR Y A N J
V in tag e Popy D iecast V in ta g e B u llm ark V inyls

C ontact m e w ith y o u r w a n t lists.


I tra v e l to Japan n e a rly e v e ry m on th .
Em ail m e a tjry a n j@ s a n .rr.c o m
o r call ( 8 5 8 ) 4 8 3 0 3 2 4 and le av e a m essage.
Look fo r my au ctio n s on eb ay u n d er

The House of Monsters


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#228 W B P 8 S T
Chicago, i l 60622
TOYS’
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ULTRA COLLECTION © ULTRA COLLECTION

-* - B A N D A I U L T R A K A IJU
PART ONE
B Y B R IA N F L Y N N

For m any Japanese vin yl kaiju collectors, the gateway to y has The very firs t versions o f the w h ite figu res are actually a milky,
been the Bandai Ultra kaiju series. Easily the m ost prevalent vinyl sem i-clear vin yl tha t is com pletely painted in w h ite paint, w hile
to y line ever made, these vin yls w ere in itia lly released in 1983, later vin yls are an opaque w h ite vin yl. The firs t wave of vinyls,
and have been con tinu ou sly released since th a t tim e. P lentiful and both sem i-clear and w h ite came w ith loose hard tags that are
affordable, Bandai has o n ly accelerated the pace o f th is line in unpunched in the corner. These unpunched tags also have the
recent years, and is m aking great stride s to replicate every Nichion sticker placed on the kaiju side o f the card, w h ile all
iteration o f every kaiju ever show n in the ultra series. punched and tagged versions have the Nichion sticker on the hero
side. A ll o f these figu res did o rig in a lly come w ith tags, although
The in itial release o f these vin yls w ere launched in 1983, and m any are fo u n d w ith o u t them , especially those th a t o rig in a lly
continued until 1987. During these fo u r years, 40 d iffe re n t kaiju came w ith the loose tag. O verall though, the m ajority of figures
figures were released and were in d iv id u a lly num bered random ly came w ith tags sw ift-tagged to the vinyl itself in the same manner
throu gh 48. (The other eigh t vin yls being Ultra-heroes and one th a t the pro du ction figu res are. It does not appear tha t the w hite
unreleased figure.) These figu res are easily id en tified fro m later vin yls w ere made beyond num ber 29, but no one knows fo r sure.
year releases by the hard plastic tag th a t came attached to each
figure. W hen these same vin yls were released in 1988, the tags As fa r as pro du ction variances w ith in the firs t 48 figures, there are
were changed to paper instead o f plastic, and later renum bered. on ly a fe w m in o r changes. The Gandar fig u re was released w ith
The hard tags come in a variety o f fro n t im ages, each relating to both fla t feet, and a revision th a t contained a sm all ridge along
the pa rticu la r sh o w the kaiju cam e fro m , w h ile the back is the back o f the heels a llow in g him to stand up properly. This
standard fo rm a t show ing a picture o f the kaiju and the figure's v a ria tio n is fo u n d in both the w h ite vin yls as w e ll as the
number. p ro d u c tio n vin yls. This firs t release Baltan S eijin came w ith
pinchers made of hard-vinyl and painted a solid silver rather than
O ver the years, the m olds, colors, spra y d e ta ils and vin yl the softer, g litte r fille d vin yl used on all later releases. A dditionally,
com position o f these figu res have changed m u ltip le tim es. One th is version o fT w in ta il is also the only release w ith the firs t mold
main difference between the early figu res and later figu res is the of th is vin yl. This m old is very sim ila r to the 1994 resculpt of
vinyl used to make the toy. A ll figu res released before 1994 are T w intail, but it is larger, and has unposeable top tentacles. The
made o f a hard vin yl, w h ile later vin yls are a softer, m ore pliable fig u re was discontinued fa irly quickly, m aking it very desirable to
vinyl. A dd itio nally, the m a jo rity o f the o rigin al release vin yls have collectors. Lastly, the 48th figu re, Grand King was released as an
a m ore elaborate and detailed paint scheme than subsequent exclusive vin yl, and is quite d iffic u lt to track down. Grand King
releases o f the same kaiju from 1988 throu gh 1994. W hile th is firs t was released a to ta l o f three separate tim es over the years. This
part of th is article w ill deal w ith ju s t the firs t 48 releases, part tw o, first, hard-tag release of Grand King is cast in dark brown vinyl
in the next issue w ill go in to great detail o f the variatio ns in w ith gold spray as opposed to silver spray on later releases.
figures and production w ith all releases.
This firs t release o f ultra kaiju set the stage fo r the unprecedented
A nother version o f the firs t wave o f figures, are the unpainted, run that th is series of vin yls has had up until today. W ith over 150
w h ite vin yl figures. There is a bit of speculation on the exact diffe re nt kaiju made, m u ltitu de s of paint and size variations, new
nature of these vin yls, but the y are generally assumed to have m olds, exclusives and tag changes- th is little chart is ju st the
been salesman sam ples and prototypes fo r the firs t figures. beginning!

50
A bove le ft (left to right): Five d iffe re n t h a rd tags. Front v ie w o f u np u n che d tag
fro m u ltraseven, fro n t o f p u n c h e d u ltra se ve n tag, fro n t o f p u n c h e d
ultram an tag, back side o f unp u n che d tag w ith N ichion sticker, back o f
p u n ch e d tag, AH unp u n che d tags have the N ichion sticke r on th e back, all
p u n ch e d tags have th e N ichion s tic k e r on th e front. The fro n t o f th e tags
d ire c tly relate to w hich se rie s th e m o n s te r on th e back o f th e tag is from .

B e lo w fa r le ft: D e ta il s h o t o f th e Balan S eijin h ard v in yl p in c h e r w ith s ilv e r spray.

B e lo w le ft: Group s h o t o f w h ite vinyl kaiju. Godola, A lie n Guts, Fled King, Bernier,
Gomora, Gandar, Neronga, W indham , E leking a nd B altan Seijin.

R ight top: A fe w m o re bandai hard vinyl kaiju th a t have ye llo w e d due to cigarette
sm o ke (an u nfortunate, b u t c o m m o n o ccurre n ce in Japan), o r e xpo su re to
sunlight. This ca nn o t be rem oved. King Joe, Gubira and A lie n M efilas.

R ight b o tto m : D e tail s h o t o f Gandar's fe e t sh o w in g th e variations b o th w ith and


w ith o u t add e d the add e d h e e l pad.

Far rig h t: The o rig in a l Tw intail m old. This m o ld is ve ry s im ila r to th e 1994 m old.

Bandai Ultra Kaiju - firs t release, 1983-1987.

Ultra Seven Regular boxed figure.


X Gango 25
Black-brow n vin yl w / red, w h ite , blue and m edium -
brow n spray.
1
iSHR L igh t-grey vin yl w / dark-blue spray, fo u r y e llo w spots
Ultram an Regular boxed figure. Gubila 26 on back, red d rill and m outh.
2
Brow n vinyl w / go ld and m e tallic green spray, green
Red King Banila 27 O range vin yl w / red spray.
2 on back o f head, bu t no t back o f figu re.

Gomora 4 D ark-brow n vinyl w / black spray, s ilve r hands. Dorako 28 M e dium -gre y vin yl w / black spray and w h ite teeth.

Neronga Light grey-blue v in y l w / green and m aroon spray. Hydra 29 Grey vin yl w / pink spray, y e llo w beak, horns and eyes.
5
Bemlar 6 O live-green v in y l w / red, s ilv e r and black spray. Keeler 30 Black vin yl w / silve r spray, y e llo w eyes.

Ligh t-brow n vinyl w / brow n all over spray, red under­ Regular boxed figu re.
Micras 7 spray on face, w h ite and red horns. Return o f Ultra 3,

Q Ligh t-grey vin yl w / b rig ht-red all over spray, w hite


King Joe Beige vinyl w / bronze-gold m e tallic spray. Garam on 32 eyes w ith large black pupils, w h ite in d ivid u a l teeth.
8
Grey-blue v in y l w / dark-blue all ove r spray, brow n
Icarus neck spray, red m o u th and black eyes w / w h ite dots. Skydon 33 Grey vin yl w / silve r and m aroon spray.
9
W hite vinyl w / red spray, red beak, large grey section
Alien Guts 10 Seebozu 33 G rey-pink vin yl w / silve r and black spray, red m outh.
at waist.
W hite vinyl w / red and grey spray, red beak, large
W indham grey section at waist. G eronim o 35 O live-green vin yl w / silve r and re d-purple spray.
11
Grey vinyl w / all over m e tallic m aroon, blue spray on Grey v in y l w / m e ta llic blue spray and heavy red-
Gandar 12 Nam egon 36 brow n spray on bo ttom o f figure.
head and chest. First ve rs io n has fla t feet. Second
version has heel pads.
Beige vin yl w / silve r spray, silve r m outh zipper, large
Kanegon 37
black dots on eyes.
M aroon v in y l w / black all ove r spray, lig h t-g o ld color
Gyeron 13 sprayed high lights.
C harcoal v in y l w / s ilv e r spray and general silve r
Black King 38
spray on back o f fig u re (no detail to horns).
W hite v in y l w / black and red spray, black head spray,
Godola 14
w ith w h ite eyes.
Bem star Dark-green vin yl w / green and pink spray, go ld spray
39
M e d iu m -y e llo w v in y l w / black spray, m ore elaborate on horns.
Eleking 15
detail on tail and at least one vertical strip e on back.
U ltram an A 40 R egular boxed figu re.
Dark N avy-blue v in y l w / w h ite and lig h t-b lu e spray,
Pegassa 16
red chest and no spray on back o f figure.
Ultram an Zoffy 41 R egular boxed figu re.
U-Tom 17
U ltram anTaro 42 Regular boxed figu re.
Metron 18 Blue vinyl w / red, w h ite and y e llo w spray.
M e dium -green vin yl w / silve r and red spray, ye llo w
Tyrant 43 eyes. ' Fig ure is v e ry d iffic u lt to fin d w ith h ard tag.
Ligh t grey-blue v in y l w / s ilve r spray, y e llo w eyes, red
Baltan Seijin 19 m o uth, and hard vinyl pinchers painted silver. M aroon vinyl w /m e ta llic blue and green spray, orange
H ippo rito 44
eyes. * Figure is v e ry d iffic u lt to fin d w ith h ard tag.
Z-Ton 20 Black v inyl w / s ilve r and m e dium -ora nge spray.
B row n vin yl w /g o ld spray, red vents and y e llo w eyes.
Tw intail 45
Dark Charcoal v in y l w / w h ite face, blue eyes and O rig in a l m o ld w ith bent, b u t unposeable to p tails.
M efilas 21 orange m outh. ' F igure is v e ry d iffic u lt to fin d w ith h ard tag.

Caram el v in y l w / re d -b ro w n and s ilv e r spray, no D ark-brow n vin yl w / m e tallic green spray.


A ntler 22 spray on back o f figure.
Gudon 46 *F ig u re is v e ry d iffic u lt to fin d w ith h ard tag.

Dark-blue vinyl w / ye llo w -g o ld and w h ite spray, red . . . 47 U nproduced figure.


Abolas 23 m outh and w h ite painted teeth.

Telesdon 24 Red-brown v in y l w / go ld spray. Grand King 48 Brow n vin yl w / go ld spray, red eyes and pink dots.
Released as an exclusive figu re, and is d iffic u lt to find.

51
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A R T B Y S E O N N A H O N G *- *-

Seonna Hong, an em erging artist in the fine art and anim ation
com m unities, received her Bachelor of A rts fro m C alifornia State
U niversity in Long Beach. Since then she has been included in
group exh ib ition s in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and
Portland. She m ost rece ntly had her fir s t solo e x h ib itio n at
sixspace in January 2003 title d Princess w here all fifte en paintings
of her princesses fro m around the w o rld sold out. Look fo r
upcom ing 2003 exh ib ition s in M inneapolis, Portland, and Seattle.

Hong sim ultaneously has a successful career in an im ation. She


currently w orks on Nickelodeon's M y Life as a Teenage Robot and
has also done background an im a tion fo r Gary Baseman's Em my
Award W in n in g te le visio n sho w Teacher's Pet and recently did
background scenes fo r Power Puff G irls: the M ovie fo r Cartoon
Network.

Her artw ork was recently featured on the cover o f the Portland
Mercury, a weekly paper based out o f Portland, OR and in a fancy
new stationery set produced by Darkhorse. Her paintings o f the
adventures of a little girl and her kitty, princesses, or glossy trucks
prove that art can be sweet, hum orous, and entertaining w h ile also
being perfectly executed. A w e ll-ro un ded artist, w h e th e r painting
in oil or acrylic, fig u ra tive or illu stra tio n , Hong is quickly becom ing
one o f the m ost revered artists in her field.

Seonna Hong is represented by sixspace.

Website: w w w .seonnahong.com
A ll art is © 2002 Seonna Hong. King G hidorah is © 2003Toho Int'l.

53
A R T BY CHARLES B U RNS

Charles Burns is a cartoonist and illu s tra to r livin g in Philadelphia,


PA. He recently designed a set o f six "M o n ste rT e e n s" fo r Sony's
"T im e Capsule" series. Charles is also con tinu ing w o rk on Black
Hole, his 12-issue te e n -h o rro r-ro m a n ce co m ic p u b lish e d by
Fantagraphics books.

Look fo r it at: w w w .e-tim ecap.com and w w w .fa ntag raph ics.com

A ll art is ©2003 Charles Burns. M onsterT eens and L ittle Green M an are © 2003 Charles
Burns. Baragon and Gamera is © 2003 Toho In t'l. Chibul A lie n , Eledortas and M yste lle r
Seijin are © 2003Tsubaraya Prod., Co. Ltd. Bat Kaiju is © 2003Toei. Frankenstein and the
W olfm an are ©2003 U n iversal Pictures.

54
A R T B Y C H A R L E S B U R N S «- -

O p p o site p age (clockw ise):


Japanese p o s te r a rt fo r th e " M o n s te r Teens " release, h ea d e r card a rt fo r "L ittle
Green M a n " o rig in a l c o v e r a rt fo r L ittle L it #2, b e fo re revisions.

This p age (clockw ise):


Back c o v e r and fro n t c o v e r a rt fo r B ig Baby. A fe w o f C harles' toys, c o lo re d version
o f "C h ib u l A lie n " fro m a s k e tch b oo k p age p u b lis h e d in "C lose Your E y e s "

55
-* - A R T B Y B IG F O O T

Independent o f the gallery circu it, B igfoot has become quite


w ell known w o rld w id e fo r his com m ercial success including
the logo design fo r l-path and t-sh irt design fo r FTC Skate.
B ig fo o t w o rks big, using recycled w o o d and pa in ts to
co n stru ct bold visu al re m in d e rs o f the po w e r o f nature.
Bigfoot's sym bolism , p rim a rily m anifesting itself in W ild West
characters and the legendary Bigfoot, addresses the con flict
between the respect fo r nature held by Am erica's indigenous
peoples and the destructive agenda o f W estern Conquest. His
fa v o rite Japanese m on ste rs are Sanda and G aira, the
Gargantuan tw ins.

See his w o rk at: w w w .upp erp layg rou nd .co m

56
A R T B Y D A V ID H O R V A T H «- «-

lan e * '1

C H icice f^s

W orking from his Brooklyn art stud io in Dum bo, David Horvath
spends his days and nights creating fu n n y m onsters and strange
creatures fo r the people o f Earth. He creates m any characters for
the Japanese m arket, and is curre ntly w o rking w ith Sony Japan
on his ow n Playstation 2 game. His w o rk has been shown at the
Zakka-corp art space in Soho and is represented exclusively by
the Interlink planning com pany based inTokyo.

Several o f David's fu lly anim ated TV program s w ill begin to air in both Japan
and in the US by fall, 2004, and his creations are often featured in the pages of
G iant Robot magazine. David and frien d Sun-M in Kim have also started their
ow n to y com pany, Prettyugly, w hich makes the plush versions o f his characters
seen above. Check them out at: w w w .u g lyd o lls.co m or call1-866-HEY UGLY.

57
- K IT S B Y S A N F O R D M O C K

Born and raised in Hawaii, S anford gre w up on com ics and


cartoo ns w hich led him on a na tural pro gre ssion to toys.
A lth o u g h he missed buying all the cool vintage kaiju on the
islands in the golden age o f Japanese toys, he has since made up
fo r lo st tim e , and is a stickler fo r being a co m p le tist in his
collecting. An avid m odel builder, graphic designer and illustrator,
Sanford now w orks w ith his advertising photographer w ife, Rae.

The 4 Kikaida villa in s w ere from a lim ited edition resin kit set.
They w ere licensed and m an ufacture d by Kaiyodo, circa1990.
Sanford assem bled, painted and photographed all fou r kits.

58
Me! Mascot Toy
$ 14.95

www.meitcomiss.com

All logos and likenesses are property of Meltdown Inc. Mel Character © Dan Clowes

ABSOLUTE VINYL.

Marusan

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Japanese vintage toys


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SANFORD
02.003 Jitn t A a + i s o n - P a lo o k a P i c t u r e s
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p v t> W J e rk s L

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a pretty penny
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Jltotoy/iVouVe a lw a y s your buddy h ere
~ \ a ™ coivtinf round w a r c h a r t i n g up O h C a lv T n k S jlfc /j
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trash and Sounded you say 4 9 I
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yaaaay
A L L IE S O F T H E
R E V O L U T I O N

IT H E K ID S W IL L H A V E T H E IR S A Y
D IT C H W O R K , GO S K A T IN G
W W W .A L L IE S O F T H E R E V O L U T IO N .C O M

R=EK
)►
©2002

VIVA la
i'EVOllltlC.V

A V A IL A B L E AT:

T R U E :S F
UPPER PLA YG R O U N D :SF
R O L O :S F
G IA N T R O B O T S T O R E : LA
IN D IG O F L O W E R :SM
IG L O O :S D
JU S T B E : PDX
U N IO N : N Y C
W W W .T H E G IA N T P E A C H .C O M
Attention all Japanese Toy Lovers!

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