One of my usual stops at the flea market always takes me to this double booth full of miscellaneous carded figures from the mid 1990's through today, sports cards and the occasional oddball Japanese toy. This is the same booth I've purchased 18 inch to 2ft tall Godzilla figures and other cool toys from the land of the rising sun. He comes across these things because his brother was really into model building and unique toys but grew tired of it, so getting to know me I often get a first chance to turn it down from the booth's owner. This day was no different, I got a call around 3pm Friday afternoon to come out and check on a Sphinx headed robot model Saturday morning. The name of the character escapes him at the moment because the model is in his truck but he assures me it's worth my time to come out and view it, the best part is he knows it's $35 but he'll do $25 for me. I'm always game for flea market scrounging and awesome toy acquisition so it's off to the ATM and then the dirt mall for my next adventure.
When he mentioned a Sphinx headed robot I knew immediately it had to be Giant Robo. The Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robo was a live action Japanese program that ran from 1967-68 in Japan and showed up here in the US a few years later with other imports like Ultraman re-dubbed for the English speaking market. Basically it's the story of a boy that controls a prototype giant robot with a special wrist watch remote that fights the evil forces of a mechanized terrorist organization. Episodes can be found online and I strongly recommend you watch a few, they are good old fashioned sci-fi fun.
I make my usual stops at the comic shop and the other used toy shops before I hit his booth, it's waiting for me so I can afford to take my time getting there. This week is a little of a dud, same dirty stuff from the week before. I share a few laughs with the guys at the comic shop and browse the used video game store and make my way to my associate Billy's booth. There I'm greeted with a little bit of a surprise, it's Cleopat or Calamity: the Murderous Weapon (depending on what translation you are watching) and not Giant Robo. I'm actually even more excited to add this to my collection because Cleopat is a little harder to find. While both robots are almost identical, Cleopat has a decal of the Meruca Republic's national flag instead of the iconic red “V” that is known to even the most causal of fans. While it's still sealed I ask to double check the contents and I'm greeted to a model kit that's never had the plastic bags opened and slate gray model trees have every piece intact. $25 is an amazing deal on this model and I happily take it home to investigate and inspect further.
(wrist watch may not fit most fanboy's wrists)
Knowing it was going to be a Giant Robo model, I was already aware that to my knowledge there hasn't been a model under 9 inches made for the character. This one fits the bill, just slightly over 9 inches tall with ample amounts of attention to detail. The model even comes with the pieces to make a replica of the wrist watch remote control. When fully assembled the model boasts interchangeable hands (fists, relaxed and missile fingers), two sets of arms (straight at the side or bent arm for a victory pose.) and swivel articulation at the neck, shoulders, wrists, hips and ankles. This is going to be a fun and challenging model due to the fact the instructions are in full Japanese text (at least the pictures are fairly simple to understand) and every single bolt head along the legs, arms, ankles, wrists and belt are separately molded pieces that need to be attached with glue (and some of them are as small as a pin head). Mine may go nude until I get a decent magnifying glass and tweezers, just saying.
(that doesn't look so bad, a few hours of labor)
(I'm fairly sure at this point my ADHD can't handle this)
(thank Raptor Jesus for pretty pictures)
Skynet made a handful of really well detailed models, but as far as I can tell they no longer exist. It is a shame but with companies like Bandai and Kaiyodo to compete with, you might as well take on Goliath with a slingshot and hope the flying spaghetti monster favors you. It's like an upstart company trying to take on Hasbro for the Star Wars license or someone trying to out do Barbie, it just doesn't happen.