Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ohtsuka Kikau 1/10 Tiger Joe

Part Medicom RAH and part Mego, the Ohtsuka Kikau Hyper Hero 1/10 scale Real Action Doll Collection is an interesting anomaly in the world of Japanese toy collecting. I know very little about the line and any knowledge is based on the tiny bits of information I've culled over the years. It does not appear to be the most popular of lines for collectors, as I've yet to meet anyone outside of JohnnyBoy who actually knows what they are and owns a few. They appear a bit pricey in the aftermarket from the prices I've seen them going for on Yahoo Japan. Generally selling from 3,000 to over 100,000 ¥ depending on the character. I have to assume they had lower runs of some characters or offered them as Magazine or contest exclusives. Their licenses run the gamut of usual Japanese properties, with Kamen Rider dominating their output, Fist of the Northstar and Kinnikuman, Saint Saya and Mazinger and then an odd selection of various Toei Tokusatsu shows like Gavan and a few based on various Ultraman incarnations. But the mystery gets stranger, I've recently come across images of a terribly expensive Dynamite Gokin Darth Vader with die cast armor of all things! Wow!!

Image via poster onetoy

Personally I have three, Kikaider, Yellow Gao Ranger and the recently acquired Tiger Joe from the Lion Maru TV series. I picked him up fairly cheap, in the 4,000 ¥ range, mint and never removed from the box.

And what a beautiful and unusual piece he is! Like Lion Maru, he's the usual anthropomorphic bipedal magical cat Samurai. As I have never had the pleasure of seeing more than the opening and closing sequences of the show, the box art dictates he's perhaps an adversary. Once opened, the box contains the base 1/10th scale body, body suit which is made from an almost terry cloth material head, cape, scarf, sword and the usual assortment of hands, including one for use with Lion Maru, if you are so lucky to own him. JohnnyBoy told me horror stories about how much difficulty he had piecing together his Ninja Arashi. or the uninitiated, these 'toys' are sort of a hybrid model kit, I have to assume born of the garage kit generation of 1980's Japan or maybe a simple cost cutting measure, so it's not unusual to have to use a knife to trim off excess plastic or glue some parts together. Tiger Joe requires a bit of trimming, the boots and a small portion just below the head.
Otherwise everything else goes together fairly easily.

The only other kit like assembly detail was the use of two faced tape (provided) to secure the chest plate to the front of the costume. Some incredible details highlight the beautifully sculpted boots and gloves. The Belt actually has a working buckle, not just Velcro. The sword is some sort of galvanized plastic with weight to give the impression of metal. No detail is spared and it's glaringly obvious that again, the Japanese just cannot be beat when it comes to making toys, in any scale. The details are so fine on this piece that it is hard to image they are even in the same scale as Mego's, appearing even smaller because they actually get the physical proportions right.

These minute details should make any fan of those terrible DC Direct 12" dolls weep and gasp, they are almost the equivalent of Hot Toys for this scale. A bold statement indeed. It appears the company no longer exists with an attempt to log onto their website redirecting me to a generic server page and all item listings on HLJ are labeled as discontinued. Based on the character output it appears the line died in the early 2000's. Research tells me they've actually been around since the 1970's with a very familiar logo, usually associated with die cast. In any case, if you've ever considered it, I can only give these pieces high marks, especially if they can be found inexpensively, but be prepared to do a little assembly work. Don't think I want a complete collection but I'd definitely live to pepper my cases with a few more pieces.

Hot Toys Superman

Finally, after a tease earlier this week Hot Toys have released some official publicity shots of their 1/6 Superman based on the likeness of Christopher Reeve. One of the most requested and awaited 12'' figures of all time, and so far HT did not disappoint. Sure it's a hair off, the eyes and as some have mentioned the thickness of the neck, but there is no doubt that the artisans at Hot Toys will strive for their usual level of perfection and make a few tweaks before he arrives in late 2011.

The Sideshow exclusive comes with the Kryptonite necklace Lex Luthor placed around his neck when he was trapped in the pool of the villain's underground lair, before he was freed by a good-hearted and definitely sexy, Miss Tessmacher. Here's hoping they treat this property as more of a line and less of a one off.

I'd love to see, more than a Zod, Lex or Clark, a version of the eveil alter ego hard drinkin' Superman from the terribly flawed Superman III (SDCC Exclusive?) Preorder now folks, this is going to sell faster than any previous HT offering guaranteed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Toy Beauty - Visible Innards Edition

El Hombre Invisible, Cipsa, Mexico 1975; Henshin Cyborg Double Nine, Takara Japan, 1999; King Walder Jr, Takara Japan 2000; RAH 100 Micro Batta, Medicom Japan 2003

Toy Beauty - Silver Kamen

Silver Kamen Vinyl, Japan, Manufacturer Unknown, Unknown Year (Modern); Super Action Heroes Silver Kamen, Marmit Japan, 2001

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Toy Beauty - Syroco Spiderman

This was a pleasant surprise. Having been a big fan of the Dark Horse Classic Comics Characters line of Syroco styled figurines since the beginning, I have unfortunately not actually bought all that many, A) Due to their pricing usually in the $50 range and B) they are so niche, actually finding them in stores is pretty rare, in fact in the 10 or so years since they've been churning them out, I've happened across only two (Felix The Cat and The Green Llama)! I still hold hope that I'll wander into a Comic Shop one day and find a whole bunch of them on clearance at 50% off, in the meantime I did grab the Golden Age DC ones with the exception of The Flash, and find those a bit hit (Batman) and miss (Wonder Woman) but they have their charm and are definitely an acquired taste geared exclusively to collectors in my age bracket.

Judging by the press image of the first planned release Spiderman, the Marvel ones already look a whole lot better and I'll bite, especially with news that Daredevil, the FF and The Avengers are all on the way in their classic Silver Age versions, it's like Marvelmania all over again!

For the skinny, check out the official DH press release here

Friday, May 6, 2011

Toy Beauty - Klingers

Spiderman Klinger, Durham Industries, USA, 1980(?)
Image Courtesy Mego Museum Member VintageSpideyfan

Gawd, I love Marvelmania, especially the years '78 to say the mid 80's. These were the years I was just devouring anything I could find with Spidey, Cas or Hulks image from Grocery Store Gumball prizes to Utility belts to bike accessories, if it existed, Marvel could put Spiderman on it! I especially love coming across oddball items like these Klingers, imagine having this clipped to your brown velor collar in home room ordering a Choose Your Own Adventure from the Scholastic Book Club Catalog...those were the days!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Toy Beauty - Tiger Mask

Tiger Mask II, Popy Japan, 1980; Tiger Mask Real Action Heroes, Medicom Japan 1995

Toy Beauty - Captain America

Left to Right: 12" Captain America, Mego USA 1970; Comic Action Heroes Captain America (sans Shield) Mego USA 1976/77; Captain Action Captain America, Ideal USA 1966

From my personal collection, three of my absolute favourite pieces, I mean, who does not LOVE Captain America, especially in figure form? Anxiously awaiting the new Captain Action Silver Age inspired offering from the latest Captain Action relaunch and of course, cannot wait to see what Hot Toys does with the license, please make a classic comic inspired Cap!