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Japan did have nice and sometimes weird vintage model kitsJapan did have nice and sometimes weird vintage model kits

chobittsuchobittsu1 mês atrásMisc
Hello there.

I have mentioned it before, but me and model kits go back a long way (more than 40 years actually). I started out with kits like these:

http://i64.tinypic.com/34rt1n4.jpg

Those are a few examples of old English Matchbox kits I made back in those days. In case you wonder: yes, I got my hands on these ones again among some others of that brand for nostalgic reasons.

Later on I discovered Japanese model kits (mostly Tamiya), which were quality-wise on a different level like this Harley Davidson (which I made back then):

http://i65.tinypic.com/f3z8y.jpg

Fast forward to December of last year.

One of my previous blogs was about me visiting Nakano Broadway and Mandarake Kaguya: Mandarake’s shop for vintage model kits. There, besides some old kits I knew from my childhood, I saw a host of vintage Japanese model kits that I never knew existed…
Out of curiosity I bought 2 small vintage kits there: a Yamaha TX750 from Sunny and a Honda Accord from ODK, both from the seventies:

http://i65.tinypic.com/24gvwxy.jpg

As these are small kits, the contents are quite simple:

http://i65.tinypic.com/1zokmc1.jpg

A nice feature in several old Japanese kits is the inclusion of a small tube of adhesive:

http://i63.tinypic.com/sl7ajc.jpg

Since the Honda kit had an extra set of parts (unintentional or not, I don’t know), I decided to assemble one:

http://i66.tinypic.com/2vsn9ec.jpg
http://i65.tinypic.com/zsmgrt.jpg

The model is small (about 7 cm long), it can be assembled without glue and is a bit crude; it is also probably targeted at younger children.

Back home, my curiosity about old Japanese model kits had been awakened and I started to browse around the Mandarake web shop with a list of Japanese model kit brands that weren’t too recent, like Aoshima, Bandai, Nitto, Doyusha, Imai and Marui.

The first kit I ordered was this:

http://i68.tinypic.com/zx45xf.jpg

An eighties Minky Momo kit from Bandai. Allegedly it is one of the first Magical girls as we know them today. The parts are molded in a lovely salmon pink color and also includes a sachet with adhesive:

http://i63.tinypic.com/20trl28.jpg

The figure posing needs some work though as she looks rather static, but the instructions feature Minky Momo telling you to make her look cute; very Japanese:

http://i66.tinypic.com/wl8vgm.jpg

The next vintage kit was this bunny girl from Nitto:

http://i68.tinypic.com/2whp18g.jpg

It’s Shizuka Misaki from Yarukkya Kishi, a manga series from the eighties, and can be viewed as one of the first ecchi figures, as the manga itself also didn't shy away from displaying quite a bit of fanservice.

This kit has a sleeved box which pictures Misaki as being a tasty main course:

http://i63.tinypic.com/10hu7ew.jpg

Here, you have a decal sheet with several eye options. The parts themselves are appropriately molded in skin color and this kit also had an optional face part:

http://i68.tinypic.com/14nh7r8.jpg

Qualitywise, the parts are pretty well engineered. Of course, the character design is pretty dated, but is not particularly ugly or anything.

Japanese model kits weren’t only limited to figures and transportation though. Aoshima in the eighties had a model series featuring audio equipment, like this Sony liberty audio set:

http://i66.tinypic.com/2n0nbmd.jpg

It consists of a record player, an amplifier, a tuner, a cassette deck and two speakers. To complete it, there is also a record with sleeve, several cassette tapes and a microphone and a mascot called Otomodachi (which means “friend” written as 音もだち with the first character meaning “sound”; very appropriate):

http://i68.tinypic.com/28hnz7o.jpg

The record sleeve is made out of printed cardboard and of course this kit has adhesive as well. Also included are a piece of electrical wire and metal armature parts so you can configure the kit to fit a battery to illuminate the cassette deck:

http://i63.tinypic.com/106n8yv.jpg

With the kit came this leaflet that shows you how to attach cables at the back of the audio set for even more realism:

http://i64.tinypic.com/28anvaf.jpg

The leaflet also shows the model that I also got, namely a Pioneer Runaway boombox (so very eighties). I like that this kit also comes with accessories like cassette tapes, a microphone, a cassette rack and glasses guy as a mascot figure:

http://i64.tinypic.com/10xd7c3.jpg

Here you also have the option to illuminate the kit, specifically the frequency display bar, with the battery inside the tape rack:

http://i67.tinypic.com/f56kww.jpg

In another order batch I got this little seventies Aoshima kit of a cannon base car that shoots a small aircraft:

http://i65.tinypic.com/6p2k3q.jpg

As you can see in the intsructions, the cannon is spring powered so it really shoots a small aircraft. Oh, those nostalgic times where nobody bat an eye about unsafe toys:

http://i65.tinypic.com/55ifc5.jpg

And how about this late sixties/early seventies Doyusha kit of a very Japanese looking Space Air Force Skyhawk:

http://i63.tinypic.com/2l9jpts.jpg

It apparently has a rubber band-operated cannon which really shoots tiny grenade-like projectiles (there are even the badly degraded remains of a rubber band with this kit):

http://i64.tinypic.com/2yjoneh.jpg

With the batch there were also 2 kits that fall in the weird category. First there was this little kit:

http://i64.tinypic.com/aewg9g.jpg

Yep, it’s a walking computer from Marui with a wind-up motor. I love that old computer design…

As you can see, the kit is pretty simple and has one of those typical wind-up walking mechanics they used in the eighties:

http://i64.tinypic.com/2dkg2lz.jpg

That series did have quite a few kits:

http://i63.tinypic.com/15dano8.jpg
http://i67.tinypic.com/14xj5e0.jpg

A walking toilet, pack of cigarettes or hand grenade? Oh Japan and your eighties wackiness…

And as icing on the cake, we lastly have this little gem from Imai:

http://i64.tinypic.com/awtb7q.jpg

Well, it’s green, so it’s not stereotypical in any way…

This is actually also one of those walking kits with one of those familiar motors:

http://i64.tinypic.com/13zz88.jpg

http://i64.tinypic.com/3581mcz.jpg

There appeared to be a second smaller figure in the box as well:

http://i66.tinypic.com/2h4z0wz.jpg

The other kits from that series were also absolutely not offensive in any way:

http://i66.tinypic.com/xmvehv.jpg

Something tells me that nowadays model kit manufacturers would be a little reluctant in having kits like these in their inventory. They might be unsafe or politically incorrect, but somehow I found tem interesting enough to buy them. Not to assemble them, but simply considering hem as collectors items.

Next time I’m in Japan I will pay a visit to Leonardo LG to see what they have in store. There also seem to be other stores like that in the vicinity of Tokyo, such as Hobby Shop Sunny and German Hobby Dra, so when the time comes I’ll let myself be surprised (hopefully).
1,029 hits • 8 comentários

Comentários8

1pt
chobittsu (1 mês atrás) #53693035Their webmaster is actually Belgian, so that's close enough ^^
Oops, massive faux-pas. Sorry 'bout that >_<
1 mês atrás
1pt
This was a fun post to read, thanks so much for sharing. :)
1 mês atrás
1pt
TomTheCat (1 mês atrás) #53688127O_O
Thanks for posting this, it's incredible. Did you ever hear about a site called "Scalemates"?
From what I gather, their webmaster/founder is NL-based... I found the Sunny Yamaha there www.scalemates.... but I'm sure they'd like to hear about some of your other gems XD

Their webmaster is actually Belgian, so that's close enough ^^
I saw while browsing there that some of my kits indeed weren't present in their database, so I might register with them and add those kits.
1 mês atrás
1pt
O_O

Thanks for posting this, it's incredible. Did you ever hear about a site called "Scalemates"?
From what I gather, their webmaster/founder is NL-based... I found the Sunny Yamaha there www.scalemates.... but I'm sure they'd like to hear about some of your other gems XD
1 mês atrás
1pt
victorviper (1 mês atrás) #53662462What an interesting article. I always tend to think of anime figures as being a hobby that is relatively new, so it's interesting to see anime model kits that are nearly 40 years old!
Do you have any plans to build and paint either ITEM #801654 or ITEM #59308 ? That seems like kind of a tough decision, as there can't be many of those kits still out in the wild unassembled.

Well, as far as I know there are a few Minky Momo kits still available and they are not expensive (Mandarake has 1 or more for 400 yen each), so I technically could get another one of those for assembly. The other one is much more rare though, so I don't think I will build that one.
1 mês atrás
1pt
What an interesting article. I always tend to think of anime figures as being a hobby that is relatively new, so it's interesting to see anime model kits that are nearly 40 years old!

Do you have any plans to build and paint either ITEM #801654 or ITEM #59308 ? That seems like kind of a tough decision, as there can't be many of those kits still out in the wild unassembled.
1 mês atrás
2pt
I think you'll find that oddball subjects are alive and well. They're just more popular as gashapon toys instead of models.

I've bought used kits with two models in them before as well. It's usually because the previous owner had two kits, but kept them stored in the same box to save space (I know because when I have multiple kits I will do this as well)
1 mês atrás
1pt
Awesome
1 mês atrás
Second hand waifus deserve a second chance at laifu!

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