This post will cover the die-cast world of Ultraman toys.
Certainly not in any order, and not necessarily complete, but I will make reference (when available) to the year and manufacturer of said toy. I hope you guys find this information useful when searching or creating that "want list" we all have in our minds. Read on, and if you have any additions or corrections, please post them in this thread so I can fix this post. Information is power, folks. Lets share some...Shuwattt!!!!Old School Ultra Chogokin
Popy/Bandai GA/GB/GC/** series, chogokin Ultraman figures.
In my searches for every gokin version of these characters, I have learned that I am still very far from complete. I still am missing many of the figures that were available. These toys can be quite elusive when searching because they can be listed in many ways and often get lost in the thousands of Ultraman toys posted online for sale.
Here is a list of the vintage Ultraman Popy/Bandai toys I know of and the year of release.
1978 GA-94 KingJoe
1978 GA-95 Ultraman
1978 GA-96 Ultraseven
1978 GA-98 Ultraman Taro
1979 GB-04 The Ultraman
1980 GB-21 Ultraman80
1983 GB-99 Ultraman version 2
1983 GC-05 Ultraseven version 2
1989 **-** Ultraman version 3
1989 **-** Ultraseven version 3
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1978 GA-94 KingJoe (photo reference from ToyboxDX datafiles -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1978 GA-95 Ultraman -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1978 GA-98 Ultraman Taro -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1980 GB-21 Ultraman80 (photo reference from ToyEast) -
1989 Bandai Chogokin Ultraman version 3 (There is no GA/GB/etc, series designation on this figure.) -
1989 Bandai Chogokin Ultraseven version 3 (There is no GA/GB/etc, series designation on this figure.) -
While Popy/Bandai has the most entries in this segment, there were other small companies that created die-cast toys related to the Ultraman series of characters. Eidai Grip and Takatoku are 2 of these companies, each adding an entry not done in the Popy/Bandai side of things. They went with a more obscure character in the franchise by doing Ultraman Leo. This character hails from the darkest side of Ultraman fame. The series was almost depressing in it's themes and nearly adult subject matter, but the character is, in my opinion, one of the best Ultra suits to be created. From his winged head and sharply defined facial sculpt, he exudes kaiju a$$-kicking badness.
The 2 entries here are as follows:
1974 Eidai Grip Ultraman Leo
1974 Takatoku Ultraman Leo
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Eidai Grip Ultraman Leo
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Side by side reference of the Takatoku (on the left) and Eidai Grip Ultraman Leo (reference photo courtesy of Corey Edwards -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Newer Ultra Chogokin
Bandai GD series, chogokin Ultraman figures.
In 2004 Bandai decided to return to casting Ultraman in die-cast. This was a nice change from the vinyl that has been the common diet for most Ultraman collectors. The GD series has given us most of the more popular characters in the lineup of brothers and hopefully Bandai will produce more in this series to fill it out. These figures are much sought after by gokin collectors as well as Ultraman fans alike. Other than being slightly floppy and prone to shelf dives, these figures are well made and have steadily improved over the span of the series. They are greatly articulated, using click/ratchet joints in the main limbs, which is the reason they are apt to fall, but they can be set into very dynamic poses reminiscent of the scenes in the television show. Paint quality has definitely improved since the GD-58. If you pick these figures up, be sure to grab some figure stands for them to prevent the inevitable falls that will occur. I have added all of these to my shelf and can honestly say that they are some of my favorite Ultraman toys. I eagerly await more entries and hope we get a Leo, Father, Zophy, Astra, King and Mother.
Bandai GD Ultra Chogokin series figures in chronological order of release.
4/2004 GD-58 Ultraman
4/2004 GD-59 Ultraseven
8/2004 GD-67 Return of Ultraman (Ultraman Jack)
12/2004 GD-74 Ultraman Ace
2/2005 GD-75 Ultraman Nexus
2/2006 GD-97 Ultraman Taro
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-58 Ultraman -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-59 Ultraseven -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-67 Return of Ultraman (Ultraman Jack) -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-74 Ultraman Ace -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-75 Ultraman Nexus -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________GD-97 Ultraman Taro -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Chogokin Ultra Kaiju
Ark, or Arklon series bots, were produced in the mid to late 70s (1975-78?) by the folks that brought us the Bullmark line. Ark was a subsidiary of Bullmark and only produced a limited number of toys. When Bullmark went out of business in 1977, Ark went independent and continued to produce toys under the eye of it's president, Saburo Ishizuki, until sometime later when they may have merged with another company. The series was focused in the Ultraman kaiju side of things with one exception, Mecha-Kong, which is based on King Kong. Some of the foreign packaging actually had poster art from the 1976 King Kong movie printed onto the packaging. I'll include Kong here because he is left out unless his wacky brethren are present. These toys are unique in the die-cast world, as they can be taken apart and re-combined into many other shapes and combinations only hampered by your imagination. Perfect examples of these toys are difficult to find, as they often have broken or missing parts due the large number of pieces and the playability of the toys. The kaiju they represent are supposed be organic creatures, while the toys go the other way by leaning toward the robot end of things. If you have a bent side that enjoys strange looking characters and toys that are just a bit different, try the Arklons. You will not be disappointed.
Ark "Arklons", in order of production.
01 KingJoe version 1
01B KingJoe version 2
02 Mecha-Baltin Seijin
03 Mecha-Black King
03B Mecha-Red King
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________KingJoe version A -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________KingJoe version B -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Joes side by side -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Mecha Baltan Seijin -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Mecha Black King -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Mecha Red King -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Mecha Gomora -
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Mecha Kong/Gorilla -
Rounding out the Ultra Kaiju spectrum, we have Marushin, who produced only a small handful of toys, and only one, that is related to this subject; Kemular, from the original Ultraman series. This toy is absolutely beautiful. This piece is very hard to acquire in any condition and almost impossible to find in perfect condition due to the fragile back plates/fins. Because the company was so obscure, many collectors do not even know these figures exist.
Learn more about Marushin here: www.toyboxdx.com/datafiles/data/marushin/
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________1977/79? (actual production date unknown to the author) Kemular/Kemler (reference photo courtesy of Corey Edwards -