This month’s (long delayed) cover features a splendid shot of the Hobby Project “Geki-Gokin” Gekiganger toy as photographed by Tim Brisko.
Lovingly hand crafted in small batches (like a fine cheese), the Hobby Project Gekigangers hit the marketplace between 1997 and 1998 for limited sale at the “Wonder Fest” hobby shows in Japan.
The Gekiganger toys feature a near-solid diecast construction and a disturbing inability to remain standing, yet they manage to capture a true “Soul of Chogokin” that many feel the “official” Bandai series lacks. They were produced in four flavors: a “normal” type, featuring silver thighs and biceps; a “Nanako” type (pictured on the cover); an all-black version; and a version plated in (flake-prone) gold chrome. Prices ranged from 20,000 yen for the normal type up to 28,000 yen for the gold chrome version.
Although the toys (perhaps “executive playthings” would be a better term, considering the price) became the darling of many a foreign robot fan’s diecast collection, Hobby Project’s products met with a much cooler reception in their home country. The company shut its doors in early 2002, but they’ll always be remembered for their homegrown, garage approach to making diecasts. Here’s to hoping president Kanzen Hentaro has a few more tricks up his sleeve for the future!