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Shinsei & UFO Commander 7

text: Matt Alt, & Robert Duban, graphics: Robert Duban

February 2004

Updated: 10.16.04

Big thanks to Toyzamas and his Ufo Commander 7 page (not currently on-line)
Additional images: Alen Yen

["mini power"] "UFO Commander 7" is the name of an all-but-unknown toy line made by an all-but-unknown toy company called Shinsei. Shinsei first made a name for themselves in the mid-Seventies, producing a series of highly detailed toys of real-life construction equipment and other heavy vehicles. Shinsei's diecast "Mini Power" series of cars and trucks were similar to contemporary Dinky and Corgi toys. With this kind of background in manufacturing quality diecast pieces, it was only natural that Shinsei decided to try and divert a bit of the cash flowing into the pockets of character-toy makers.

[Shinsei ad] For whatever reason (and probably because they lacked the resources to compete head-to-head for top licenses), Shinsei decided to step out on that delightful path-less-traveled: making their own toys that seemed character-themed, but were actually totally original. And just as with Nakajima's famed "Astro-Mu" experiments of the mid-seventies, throwing off the chains of designing around a set character resulted in some truly charming toys.

In keeping with the "make up our own story" thing, each contained a funky comic-book as well, thick pamphlets drawn up in a 1950's "hard-boiled" style. What's even better for collectors, however, is the fact that a number of these toys were also released in the United States -- although they're hardly remembered by anyone.

In the early '80s, a company called Empire Toys began methodically releasing all of Shinsei's UFO Commander series under a new name: " Star Mites." Empire not only released some of the UFO pieces but apparently managed to get the rights to Yonezawa's Astekaizer series as well -- and mixed and matched parts from both series to create a set of bizarre mutations as well.

The UFO Commander 7 toys are numbered within the overall sequence of "Mini Power" toys, but with the added "UC" designation.

[image] UC-71 - UFO of Justice: Blue Silver - box
[image] UC-72 - Power Robot Vulcan I - box
[image] UC-73 - Elec-Robot Brain III - box
[image] UC-74 - Construction Robot Jeek Tunneln - box
[image] UC-75 - Construction Robot Dozer-Bucketer - box
[image] UC-76 - Construction Robot Shovel-Ripper
[image] UC-77 - Construction Robot Rock Cutter
[image] UC-78 - Construction Robot Power Cranger

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