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Old 27-02-2009, 08:12 AM   #1
William0999
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Default JAPANESE SF KITS BASED ON SPV

I was recently able to acquire a very interesting Japanese book entitled Road to the Lost Plastic Models. It deals with the history of rare, unusual, and sometimes bizarre Japanese SF kits. I'd been looking for this book for quite a while and thanks to the timely intervention of our own Jim Lewis I was able to locate and order a copy. There is a wonderful section on Japanese SF tank kits that I wanted to shre with you here. I was going to take scans directly from the book, but its small size and less than robust binding have forced me to use identical images from my own archives. So enjoy with me now the SPV presented in ways you've likely not imagined.



First off, the Ultramobile Kit. Nice paint job. Notice the driver actually facing the front of the vehicle.





Another Ultramobile with different box art. Here I think the driver resembles a Spectrum agent.



Here we have the Mechanic Machine 3 Go. This kit actually uses transparent plastic to reveal the vehicle's inner workings. Nice box art.



Next we have the Minicar Angel. Although this kit utilizes the SPV body wheels and all, it's actually a watercraft. That image on the box of the torpedo like object is actually the motor that attaches underneath the kit to propel through the water.



Here's the same kit now named the Thunder Ace. It's aquatic capabilities more obvious in the box art here.



Here we have the 0-Fighter 3 Go. The aim here appears to be attracting anime fans to the kit. The character in the back is the Tatsunoko hero Casshern the Robot Fighter. He was changed just enough visually to avoid legal trouble for the company, but still recognizable.



Here we have the Space Tank Tiger Zero. Again illustrated in such a way as to attract anime fans. The two characters in the back are clearly from the famous Matsumoto series Space Battleship Yamato. I happen to like the box art here because it's probably the only anime styled illustration of the SPV.

Now, what would you get if you crossed the SPV with a monster tank? Well, our next set of models, of course. All courtesy of the Aoshima company.



First off the Genecon Tiger Captain Tank. The SPV section launches out of the front with the press of a button. It's really just the front of an SPV. The stern faced character in the back is holding the actual controller for the model.



Anoter Tiger Captain. I think the SPV looks rather smart in red.



Yet another Tiger Captain. I just love the box art for these.



Same model, same name, newer box art.



Here we have the Thunder Captain Tank. Instead of the SPV this uses the front end of a Spectrum Saloon car. Like the Tiger Captain; the front end launches off from a button on the controller. I'm not too keen on the spaceship-like fin on the back though.



Wow! An N-216 A Science Fiction Helicopter! Neato!!

Well, there you have it. I hope you've enjoyed my presentation. Cheers!
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Old 27-02-2009, 08:22 AM   #2
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Default Absolutely Wicked

Those models influenced by the S.P.V. are wicked and brilliant at the same time. Rather than plagarism I think they are a tribute to Derek Meddings. I wonder if Granada Ventures would see it that way though. I love the artwork and it would be great if the book was reprinted and became more widely available.
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Old 27-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #3
Steve Zodiac
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Some very interesting images there. Would be quite a task to try to collect all those kits!

Is it just me, or does the propulsion unit in the "Minicar Angel" kit look like Zero X in profile if you ignore the propeller on the back?
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Old 27-02-2009, 10:41 AM   #4
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The Japanese have gotten away with so much in this regard. One thing in which they have few peers is definitely box art.
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Old 27-02-2009, 11:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD
Awesome! Just shows the strengths of the design when it can be mucked around with to this degree and still look presentable!

The Tiger Captain tanks resemble the concept of the Matchbox Adventure 2000 'Raider Command':



When do they date from?
JD, the Matchbox Adventure 2000 'Raider Command' was made by matchbox as a toy of the "Killdozer" from an early "2000AD" "Judge Dredd" story called "The Cursed Earth", published May to October 1978. Like you, I would be interested to see if the Tigertcaptain pre-dates this.
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Old 27-02-2009, 01:28 PM   #6
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The cabin on the 'Thunder Ace' looks like the one off the Spectrum Hovercraft
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Old 27-02-2009, 02:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weaponsmith View Post
JD, the Matchbox Adventure 2000 'Raider Command' was made by matchbox as a toy of the "Killdozer" from an early "2000AD" "Judge Dredd" story called "The Cursed Earth", published May to October 1978. Like you, I would be interested to see if the Tigertcaptain pre-dates this.
Attempting to work out the years in which these kits were produced has proved difficult. The book isn't as specific as I'd like in that respect. The
1970's seems logical for most of the kits I've presented here.
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Old 27-02-2009, 06:59 PM   #8
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I own one of these!
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Old 27-02-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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I own one of these!
I'm curious, does the front section detach from the track assembly? That capability was a selling point for the Japanese kits.
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Old 27-02-2009, 08:00 PM   #10
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Yes, it does. It's that and the triangular set-up to the tracks on the rear that make me think the one was influenced by the other. Given the Japanese penchant for 'borrowing' ideas, I'd say the Matchbox toy came first.
Also, the Matchbox toy was based on a vehicle from a 2000 AD comic. I can't imagine the writers of Judge Dredd being influenced by a Japanese kit when they have so many original ideas of their own. Well, what I have to do next is track down when the first of these kits was released in Japan. If it pre- dates 1978 then it came before the Judge Dredd story and the Matchbox toy.
The problem for me is the box art. The various Tiger Captain models have a distinctive style I associate with late 60's mid 70's kit releases. Also, the sheer number of different boxes for the Tiger Captain indicating numerous releases for this kit. After 1978 we have a major change in Japanese kit interests thanks to Mobile Suit Gundam and its kin. Anime related Robot Modeling swiftly overtook original SF kit ideas. They didn't become extinct, but there were certainly far fewer in number. Well, time for me to hit the books and find an answer.
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Old 27-02-2009, 10:50 PM   #11
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Gotta add to the debate here, I'm with JD on this, I'm 99.9% certain 2000AD copied the Matchbox toy plus if you apply a little logic, surely were it the other way around it would have been marketed as the Judge Dredd vehicle as featured in 2000AD
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Old 27-02-2009, 11:17 PM   #12
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Yes, I stand corrected. Matchbox released it first in 1977, so anything between 4 and 16 months before the appearance in 2000AD! I always thought that it was a 2000AD product due to the 2000 number stuck to the side of the vehicles, and the name "Adventure 2000" I suppose.

however, surely some people on here remember another release in that series that must have roots in a series (or two) we are all familiar with?



Some unholy matrimony between a Shado Mobile and the Joe 90 explosives truck maybe?

The question now is, matchbox or Japanese kit first? Looks like the Japanese have it, unless you know differently!
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Old 28-02-2009, 08:53 PM   #13
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I love the use of primary colours on these (ripoffs) - they'd definitely fit into Thunderbirds nicely. Having said that, with a typical white paint job, the Space Tank Tiger Zero would make a pretty good lunar rover!

I've enjoyed these archival Jap kit threads immensely - keep 'em coming
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:26 AM   #14
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I love the use of primary colours on these (ripoffs) - they'd definitely fit into Thunderbirds nicely. Having said that, with a typical white paint job, the Space Tank Tiger Zero would make a pretty good lunar rover!

I've enjoyed these archival Jap kit threads immensely - keep 'em coming
Thank you very much. I appreciate the vote of confidence.
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Old 01-03-2009, 03:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Weaponsmith View Post
Yes, I stand corrected. Matchbox released it first in 1977, so anything between 4 and 16 months before the appearance in 2000AD! I always thought that it was a 2000AD product due to the 2000 number stuck to the side of the vehicles, and the name "Adventure 2000" I suppose.

however, surely some people on here remember another release in that series that must have roots in a series (or two) we are all familiar with?



Some unholy matrimony between a Shado Mobile and the Joe 90 explosives truck maybe?

The question now is, matchbox or Japanese kit first? Looks like the Japanese have it, unless you know differently!
I have had it confirmed that Aoshima issued the first Genecon Tiger Captain tank in 1968. Ths fits with the style of the box art as well as the general packaging details. Aoshima then re issued it throughout the 70's and into the mid 80's which is why there are so many variations of the model.
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Old 01-03-2009, 09:09 AM   #16
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William, do you have any pics of the kits themselves?
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Old 01-03-2009, 05:47 PM   #17
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William, do you have any pics of the kits themselves?
I'm in process of scanning some kit images from the book itself. Hopefully, I'll have something to post in that respect by tomorrow.
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