Monday, September 29, 2014

Japan, Unknown Manufacturer: USAF Mini-Transport Jet - Camouflage

Here's a piece from my mini-fleet of USAF planes, a nice little transport plane in brown camouflage pattern. From my eBay and Web wanderings there doesn't appear to have been a wide array of these miniature tin-litho w/friction motor planes made back in the day. They were nice and more than likely sold as bin toys but I really haven't seen all that many in this size range. The plane measures 4" (10.2cm) L x 4 1/8" (10.5cm) wingspan x 1 3/4" (4.4cm) H. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Masudaya Robot YM-3

Lost in Space aired on CBS from 1965 to 1968 for a total of 83 episodes. It was a mild success during its run, reaching as high as 32nd place in the ratings as compared to Star Trek which actually fared poorly in the ratings and never got higher than 52nd place. We're not going to delve into the history of the show which is fascinating on many levels, from its set designs, to cast, to cult following status, because there's simply too much to cover. Clearly the stars of the show were the sets, notably the Jupiter 2 space craft and the Robot B-9. Unfortunately the show suffered the same script problems as other television sci-fi attempts of the 1960s like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea or Time Tunnel. They all started with a bang but degenerated into 'man in rubber monster suit' farces. On a personal level I, like many others, loved the space ship and the robot and the cool special effects. However, even as a kid I could not stand the whiny, snivelling, screechy, stupid Dr. Smith character. He annoyed me to the point where I would only watch the show if there was nothing else playing on TV. It's a shame too because I had seen the actor, Johnathan Harris, play in other shows of the period and he was capable of so much more. 

Okay, that being said, let's move on to the toy. Robot B-9 was a classic design by Robert Kinoshita, who also designed Forbidden Planet'Robby the Robot. It was performed by Bob May who 'wore' the robot as a prop suit. In regards to toys, there have been many knock-offs and copies sold as something other than 'Robot B-9' perhaps because of copyright infringement. Today's featured toy by Masudaya is clearly Robot B-9 but is labeled 'Robot YM-3'. This could be a result of English to Japanese translation or...? In any case it's a cool toy, and judging by the prices it commands on eBay, is quite popular. It has a wind-up motor in the base, and as you will see in the video, has a pretty good running time. Without further ado, on to the toy. Enjoy! Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina


On the left is the Johnny Lightning Robot B-9. Masudaya's is on the right

Okay, it's silly but you can see it it in operation here. :-)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Japan 'K' USAF Jet #XF8B-1

Here's a nifty vintage tin-litho jet - I'm guessin' early to mid-1960s by 'K' (Ohta Kasaburo - Syoten Tokyo) of Japan. It's not among the smallest tin jets I have but it is pretty small nevertheless at 5" (12.7cm) L x 4 3/4" (12.1cm) wingspan x 2 1/4" (5.7cm) H. It's a pretty generic design and I won't even try to guess what it might represent other than to say it represents a toy jet :-)  Enjoy!
Opa Fritz and Oma Bettina