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September 23, 2009

Here There Be Draguns

Filed under: Co. POPY,Toy Love,Toy News — Nekrodave @ 11:41 pm

Sometimes I do things backwards and make weird decisions.

For most people, a 1st version Shogun Warrior Dragun is one of the first jumbos they buy. I mean, it’s the same as the Popy version at a fraction of the price and not hard to find. So why get the ugly one with the stupid lightning bolts on the legs?

Well, in my case, I happened upon a good deal for an original Popy Dragun and being me, I decided on the spot that when I eventually bought a Shogun Dragun, I wanted the lightning legs one. Sure, it’s stupid and ugly, but I thought it better to get the one the was the most unlike the Popy version, for the sake of variety.

Well, it took a surprisingly long time, but just today I finally got one in the mail. And now I have all 4 of the major known Dragun jumbos.

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You are looking at them in chronological order. From left to right, Popy, Mattel, Nacoral and Famosa.

OK, so now let’s play “spot the differences”. Using my own specimens and what has long been on the Wildtoys Shogun Warriors page, here’s a rundown of the makeup of each toy, using the Popy toy as a “base”.

Popy

  • Original design
  • Includes 3 axes (light blue, yellow, white)

Mattel (1st version)

  • Just like Popy (except…)
  • Added Star shooter
  • Star Shooter has strap

Mattel (2nd version)

  • Just like Mattel 1st version (except…)
  • Star Shooter has clip
  • Axes have spikes removed

Mattel (3rd version)

  • Just like Mattel 2nd version (except…)
  • Saw Blades removed

Mattel (4th version)

  • Just like Mattel 3rd version (except…)
  • Lightning bolt stickers on legs
  • Great Mazinger upper arms*
  • Modified Great Mazinger feet*
  • Blue axe darker in color, yellow lighter*

*These are things I just noticed today and haven’t seen documented elsewhere. So this change might have happened earlier. Notice that my Mattel is actually taller than the Popy!

Nacoral

  • Just like Mattel 4th version
  • Black arms and cape
  • Includes only 1 axe (yellow) and 6 stars (3 green, 3 yellow)
  • Stripe stickers on legs
  • New waist sticker
  • Pelvis stickers removed
  • Hard plastic head
  • Black wheels instead of red

Famosa

  • Just like Nacoral
  • Waist sticker inverted
  • Great Mazinger lower legs

And naturally, they all have different boxes. So I’m unclear on that. Since I only own one Shogun Dragun, I am relying on John’s site for that information. And while his site says the Shoguns came with either 6 or 10 stars, the one I got today actually had 12 (4 each of blue, red and yellow). So I’m not sure what the deal is there.

And finally, on every single Dragun I have, the wheels attach differently. I don’t even know where to begin on that. And I’m sure I’m still forgetting things. But I’m sick of typing. Being an obsessive nerd is draining. Don’t try this at home!

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September 22, 2009

Popy Red Baron Jumbo Machinder Makeover!!

Filed under: Co. POPY,Erik Sjoen — erik sjoen @ 11:35 pm

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So what do you do?? You need that Jumbo fix and NOTHING is coming up. Week after week, month after month, the same freakin’ two pages on Yahoo Japan auctions everyday sporting overpriced pedestrian Jumbo Machinders.. They just don’t move do they? Well, these days, between the lunatic sellers and the abominable $>Y exchange rate, I for one certainly don’t have a $1K+ to throw around anymore. Sound familiar?

So… What DO you do? Make the best of what else is available. Take the beat down, weather damaged, chew toys and do some Dr. Frankenstein. Resurrect them I say!

Thankfully, Dr. Frankenstein lives a mere ten city blocks from my front door. So, with a fistless, lifeless Jumbo Red Baron in tow, I went to see the man himself, Robin Kwok, the visionary proprietor of one of San Francisco’s last great Japanese toy/hobby shops Heroes Club.

I walk in with a bubble wrapped sarcophagus and set it ever so gently on the counter. Robin looks at me suspiciously.. We sit silent for a few long minutes while Robin curiously inspects the vintage relic with the type of intensity only a mad scientist could muster. Suddenly, breaking the deafening silence, he declares “No problem!” and it’s on! Within seconds the belt is off, the buckle removed, and a laundry list of supplies and tasks to be accomplished begin to manifest. I totally feel alive. This, I figure, is FUN!!

Robin has done several incredible projects for me in the past, but my faith was completely renewed when upon stopping by the shop a few weeks before he showed me the incredible work he did restoring a polyethylene jumbo sized Kikaida with side machine. One of the rarest vintage Japanese toys out there by the way. His work was absolutely amazing! He really, brought it back from the dead. And now, my very own Red Baron was in his very capable hands to experiment with. Now it was time to hurry up and wait..

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Within a matter of a few short days the call was made and I was en route, gushing with excitement that the work was so quickly completed. Dr. Kwok had taken this landfill cast away and turned it into a beautiful looking piece of art. And I thought his work on the Kikaider was something.. A true resurrection. The pictures really speak for themselves:

In the spirit of Mike’s recent “Rokuron Q Mike” post, I would like to say that this was also a very exciting experience and it’s made me really long for the next one.. I know that there are those out there that don’t think vintage toy restoration will lead to anything but the evil that evil people do, and they are entitled to their opinions about it. I’m as concerned as anyone about people getting suckered on rare pieces that have been restored. Hey, it could be me right? But, I am also looking for a way to acquire and enjoy the pieces that are either out of my price range or just plain out of stock..

For my buck though, I look forward to partnering with Robin on many other projects like this one. As a matter of fact, in the coming months keep your eyes peeled for a new section devoted specifically to projects like this one. You guys ain’t seen nothing yet, as they say in the BTO song.

As the amount of pictures for this project were just overwhelming, Robin took the liberty of uploading a Youtube video documenting the entire process from start to finish. Enjoy!!

If you’re in or around San Francisco, please come by and support Heroes and our other local toy shops. They are few and far between these days. Thanks! E

HeroesClub / The Art Of Toys
840 Clement Street
San Francisco, CA 94118
USA

Store Hours:
10:00am to 6:00pm Pacific Standard Time (Mon to Sat)
10:00am to 5:00pm Pacific Standard Time (Sun)
Closed on Tuesday!!

Telephone 1(415)387-4552

artoftoy_2069_117009377

Rokuron Q Mike

Filed under: Co. POPY,Toy Love,Toy News — mikenozon @ 4:29 pm

final_02

Hello Guys, it’s time for my first “BROG”, so bear with me.

As some of you may or may not know, I’ve done quite a bit of Machinder restoration. I’ve also been playing with molding and all that for quite some time now as well. Since then I’ve always had in mind that I need to do some replica and push this a bit further.

2 Years ago I heard about a new technique for creating industrial prototypes (Stereolythography), and that this technique was usable for doing characters affordably. The technique consists of UV lazers tracing hundreds of layers in a liquid epoxy resin and the liquid solidifies where the lazers are tracing. Everything is computer generated and it uses 3d files. I know I don’t have Tom’s skills for sculping but I’m really familiar with 3d modeling and it seemed like something really
interesting to try one day.

Out of all the Jumbo Machinder Vilains, there are three that I’m just a big fan. Doublas M2, Garada K7 and Rokuron Q9. I was lucky enough to be able to grab the first one from a YJ auction. The second one I had to fight a bit to get. The Garada is one of Tom’s replicas and I’m realist when it comes to the fact that I’ll probably never own a real one, which is the case also for the Q9. You all know that this one is rare but it’s also very damn expensive. I had the opportunity to hold a real one in my hands not so long ago and from that point on I decided that I needed to make a replica myself.

3d_01

3d_02

3d_03

The first step was the 3D model. With the help of an amazing 3d modeler, I was able to have a 3D file looking really good. I cleaned it up and adjusted it to match the real thing as much as possible.

I then searched to find a good company to build it in Stereolythography. Budgets where really high, like almost twice my budget. Then I came accross a Belgium Company called Materialise who turned out to be the European leader in this field. I received very good feedback from them, and they where ready to drop the price a lot to help me with building this project. They were really amazing and helpful.

step01_01

step01_02

step01_03

step01_04

The second step was the casting of the replica. The result and material where perfect.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go for the full finish look (cash is not falling from the sky at the moment..), so I had to do all the cleaning of the pieces and sanding to make everything smooth and perfect looking.

step02_02

step02_05

I received all the casted pieces a week before I was going on holiday, so I took them all with me to spend my holidays next to the swimming pool,under an umbrella, with my sand paper, cleaning a part each day. All the little rivets needed to be done after as it would have made the 3D file very heavy and it was easier to do them
after. Thanks to Dave, Tom and a lot of pictures from theirs, that became easy to do.
So, after a week under the sun, everything was clean and all the rivets where done.

step03_v01

step03_v09

Now, the third step was the painting. This step was really difficult as it’s almost impossible to know what’s the right color of each part based on pictures. I’ve collected a lot of pictures of several different specimens, and they all look different, depending on your camera setting and lights conditions, sometimes the heads look blue/green, sometimes
blue. So after collecting more pictures and with the help of Dave who took some extra pics for me, I had a better idea what color it should be. I decided to do it with spray paint, but here also, it’s impossible to know exactly what color will come out of the spray, internet references are not the same color as what’s on the spray itself and the color that comes out is always different. So , I did some quick tests and it turned out that most of them where ok. Ready for painting! This toke me more time than I was expecting. But finally with a lot of patience, masking tape, and good weather conditions, the paint job was finish.

One piece was missing and I decided that I will build it by hand, the connection between the two necks. So after assembling all the pieces together, I built this little piece like the little cherry you put on top of the cake.

final_01

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final_04

final_06

At the end I’m really happy with the result and the experience was fascinating. It really gave me tons of ideas for the future. The company who did the casting have other techniques to duplicate a model after with a run like 25 pieces. I’ve ask for a quote to do like 25 Rokuron and it seems that it will cost something like 850 Euros for an
unpainted specimen and if I do 25 of them, less is of course more expensive and you have to add the time and material for the painting and assembly.

There’s also the copyright issue. For one single piece for personnal use, there’s no problem, but if I start selling copies I guess there could be an issue.. So I was thinking that maybe I can design my own Machinder and Vilains in the pure style of the old guys we all love. I can maybe get the price to drop down because the design will be more simple . But, it
will turn around 850 Euros for a finished specimen of a personnal desing. What to you guys think of this? Are you going to be interested in sometthing like this? At that price??

Alas, here is the Rokuron Q9 with my other Jumbo Machinders.

final_09

final_08

Here’s a credit list of all the people who helped me in creating this replica. I want to thank them a lot:

Nekrodave, Tom Franck and Erik Sjoen for their help and pictures.
Kazunori Saito for letting me play with his Q9.
Vincent Boutry for the 3D modeling.
Materialze for the sculpt.
Erik Sjoen for helping me put this Brog together.
And my girlfriend for her patience and understanding.

And thanks to all of you for your motivation even if I don’t get the time to contribute that often.

Cheers from Belgium!

Mike

PS: Wow that was long.. Sounds like I’ve won the NY Marathon or something like that hahahahaha…..yeah but I’m so happy that it’s finally finished.

September 19, 2009

GA51 version 2

Filed under: Co. POPY,Declarations,Josh Fraser,Toy Love — Josh Fraser @ 1:07 pm

GA51 VERSION 2

Sometimes the sequel is a disappointment. In this particular case it is not.

For those of you who know me. You know I sort of like Ga51′s. If there is a minty fresh one anywhere for sale, bets are I know about it. It is like some sickness I still haven’t figured out yet, but at this late stage of the game, I am not sure it makes any difference why anyway.

But through the years I have had one particular version of this toy craftily elude me better than the rest. It is one not one many even register on the radar. Not as groundbreaking as the first version ( small shoulder, dark blue legs) , or as coveted or shockingly beautiful as the third version yellow belly. Nor as iconic as the final two versions that we know as the standard Popy and Shogun Warrior Gaiking.

Go leaf through your copy of Green Arrow Grafitti and you get the gist of it.

http://www.toyboxdx.com/infolibrary/pubs/garrow13/index.php

Version two is in fact the hardest of the five* variations to locate for some reason. (Technically there are more, but this is based on smaller differences of construction and manufacture changes, not official versions per se.)
I have only seen two boxed in the past. One at Mandarake in 2003 in a beater box with some play wear for more than I wanted to pay and another in the very pages of our own data files, where the seed of my quest was planted. Thanks To Alt and Duban I became obsessed with locating this plain jane but uncommon variant. Even sending out pathetic pleas to dealers and collectors alike to see a MIB one could be had for the right price.

It became over time, a long standing joke in my head. Much like the Ultraman Leo zenmai, I resigned myself to the notion that this was something I might never conquer.

I even assist Mason in finding a loose one online and once I see it at his house realize my desire to find one is growing exponentially.

Then a month and a half ago I see that one shows up on Yahoo Japan. I contact the seller and ask if the belt sticker is intact and if there are any broken parts. The inner red plastic insert is notoriously fragile on the earlier versions and I speculate it is broken. My concerns are validated by a surprised seller who informs me he is going to take the auction down and re list it with the revised description, making note of the inner broken part. Obviously I figure it is not the end of the world and assume I will possibly win it for a lower price and simply switch out the part with another Ga51 later.

The seller never re lists it.

Again I am at the mercy of my running joke.

Fortunately for me another one serendipitously pops up from another seller a week later, and is apparently in a much better box and appears to be minty fresh. I sweat it out for 7 days and then complete the circle with a win early in the morning. I am happy my alarm went off in time.

Waiting for it, I assume it will get lost in the mail, or someone will steal it off my porch before I get home for work. Neither happens and I come home to the tell tale Tokyobuyers package.

Now I sit here and write about it in the past tense. I am strangely both relieved and saddened. Happy to find it, but now left with the feeling one gets after locating that elusive piece. Conquests are double edged swords, and there is much to be said about the journey being more fun than the destination.

Regardless here she is in all her glory.

So what makes this one different? Well there is not a whole hell of a lot, but then again the devil is in the details.

First off, this is the first one to have the white painted grill. The first version tended to be silver. Only the yellow belly shares this variation with this version.

Secondly it is the first one to use the same pale blue in the legs as in the shoulders. As noted before the first version has the dark blue coloration.

Really nothing to write home about, but in my world, it is a beautiful transitional piece between the major jump between the first and third version. A shy and quiet mutant who has savagely haunted my completist mind for a better part of a decade.

One I am really happy to finally call my own.

case

September 18, 2009

[WTF?] Marine…derr!

Filed under: Stoopid,Toy Love — Sanjeev @ 3:24 pm

Y’know what I love about this hobby? It’s all the little mysteries one encounters… For some of us, the thrill of discovering something new is just as meaningful as the thrill of the hunt!

This micro enigma of mine all started coming together in the past week or so. It all began with thomas posting a very cool Japanese website with tons of pics of obscure toys. And since I’ve always been fascinated by underwater stuff, the special submarine mecha section was particularly killer!

Anyway, let me back up for a sec…see, this didn’t really begin with thomas’ post…

When I was a wee Bostonian in the early 80′s, fully immersed in Shogun Warrior and Force Five glory, I came across some super robot pencil-toppers at my grade-school’s “Field Day” one year. I had Grandizer and Star Poseidon. At least, those were the names I knew them as back then! They were, of course, Grendizer and Getter Poseidon. Anyway, I loved them to death and ever since getting back into toy collecting as an adult, I’ve always sought these little pencil adorning fuckers.

I’ve seen modern repops of these, often “painted” with a messy splash of color…but they just weren’t the same. See, the ones I had way back then were very dense, stiff PVC. The molding was super-clear, crisp, and clean. There were no paint apps whatsoever–just solid color. Heh…I remember my Grandizer was dark blue and my Poseidon was puke-green…

Anyway, a few months back, Nekrodave (fully aware of this little obsession of mine) pointed me out a couple eBay auctions for big lots of these modern pencil-toppers. I said, “fuck it”, and snatched ‘em all up. Of course, they had my beloved Grandizer…but no Poseidon. :(

Eh well…the search continues.

These things are far more crude than their vintage counterparts. I’ve seen them in UFO catcher machines here and there…but had passed on them every time until now. The PVC is super-soft…almost keshigomu consistency. The molding is much mushier, with a lot of the detail softened out. But, hey, a big ass pile of ‘em are still fun, right??

Among them are six individual sculpts in many different colors. Five of the sculpts are well-known robots: Grendy, Robo Kress from Machine Blasters, Mekanda Robo–looking rather odd without his antennae, Granzel from Kyodain, and Danguard Ace.

The thing is…who/what the fuck was that sixth sculpt!? I’d never seen this robot before:

Zero recollection of this robot from my youth–in pencil-topper form or otherwise–but I have seen him among these modern mushy pencil-toppers before. But I guess I’d just never bothered to investigate further…

Until now.

Now, back to the present…and thomas’ post.

Bored one day at work, I rummaged through the website he posted, noting cool things here and there…when I encountered this! No shit? Well, now we’re onto something! Nekrodave helped translate a bit and very shortly thereafter, we had a name, “Marinder“…and a Y!J search was underway!

The demand on these clearly isn’t very high, and despite a few boxed specimens being listed at 4k, I scored a MIB one for 1100 yen.

So, now, we certainly have more info on this guy than when we started…but does anyone know if there was a show/movie for this robot? A comic? I’m guessing he’s licensed and that there’s got to be some media for him. Afterall, each of the other pencil-toppers is a licensed character…and these two Marinder toys are SO different, I can’t imagine them NOT being legit.

If you have any info on Marinder or leads on more pencil-toppers, please post!

September 17, 2009

Bemular Burrito

Filed under: Toy News — sketcher @ 5:26 pm

Went to lunch with the Chairman, and I figured what better time to post my first brog than after receiving such a cool item from Erik.

Thank you man!

September 12, 2009

A Godbird in the Hand

Filed under: Toy News — matt @ 10:38 pm

Godbird

Everybody knows that Godbird is the word. So long as it’s a mini-sofubi, anyway. Soul of Chogokin Raideen, eat your over-engineered heart out. No working parts and two-piece construction? That’s QUALITY, gentlemen.

Happy birfday to me. Thanks Alen-One!

Pure Energer

Filed under: Co. BANDAI,Declarations,Hillsy — hillsy @ 6:42 pm

I’m not much into SOCs, much less another Mazinger (ok, technically it’s Energer-Z), but this one jumped out at me. I primarily bought it for the colors…they really make this toy “pop”. It doesn’t hurt that it’s got alot of diecast in it, and a ton of articulation (it appears to be on par with the GX-45). It’s got the standard magnetic arms and rocket punch, and comes with tiny Koji on bike. A very worthwhile addition.

maz2maz1mazmaz3

September 9, 2009

Mad with power

Filed under: Daily Money Shots,Erik Sjoen,Josh Fraser,Stoopid — Josh Fraser @ 4:44 am

fig a.
erik 1
fig b.
erik 2

This is what happens when the Chairman is left to his own devices.

He is undoubtedly pleased with himself and we all look on in stunned silence as a GA 50 and a GA 51 get it on.

Oddly enough his pathetic customization attempt proved more successful than the “bored”room had thought possible and the company stock rebounds… allowing all those involved to have enough confidence in the brand to continue their purchases on the internet financially unhindered.

Meeting adjourned.

Bandai Deformed Cloth Series

Filed under: Co. BANDAI,Erik Sjoen — erik sjoen @ 1:26 am

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You like Super Deformed toys? You like diecast? You like so called “Cloth”? You like midgets? Me too. These are awesome. Three inches of pure Japanese toy goodness..

Kamen Rider

kamenrider

Kamen Rider V3

kamenv3

Patlabor Ingram

patlabor

Ultraman

ultraman

Ultra Seven

ultra7

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