Saturday, December 3, 2011

Star Case "Space Black Robot" Series

This is one of the newest sofubi lines, but it has a long and fascinating provenance. The figures are made and sold by Star Case, a shop in Tokyo which specializes in everything Star Wars. The shop's information and location are on my Tokyo toy shop map, which you can find here.

Recently, they started selling a line of sofubi figures. The top line reads "Space Convoy Series" (but that's not the series' name). The first figure in the line is a Vader knockoff. The largest line on the header, with red and white lettering, reads "Space Black Robot," which is in fact the series name. (Aren't bootlegs fun!) The green line reads "Garumaya Army." The white line next to that one reads "Garumaya Governor General."

In terms of faux Vaader's (anyone remember Luuke? no? ok) English name, it doesn't appear on the figure's card or on Star Case's website, but it's written as "General Galmayer" in the magazine that covered the figure (see below). I'll check with Star Case down the line to check on this. EDIT: I've since confirmed from Star Case that the figure's Japanese name is "Garumaya Soutoku," making it "Governor General Garumaya" (or perhaps Galmayer) in English.

Here are the first and second releases:

At first glance, they look like knockoff Star Wars toys. In fact, the figures are based on vintage bootleg Star Wars plastic model kits made by ARII in 1980. But the original ARII figures were just a couple of inches tall, so the Star Case line requires new, much larger sculpts.

Unpainted figures and test shots:
More after the jump:

The people involved in the series definitely know their stuff. Star Case is one of the world's premier Star Wars shops. And, one of the other people involved is a renowned expert in vintage bootleg Star Wars figures.

Backing card:
The first figures have been packaged with huge backing cards. Here's a shot of the front and back.
Magazine press for the line:
From funky names to hand/weapon extensions to fantastic bootleg style art (the art for the line was done by a Tokyo based artist), the series has a lot going for it. And they're just getting started. Star Case plans to release more figures in 2012.

Which will be first? Could it be (from the backing card) Jupiter-P3 (C3PO), or perhaps Death Star Commando (Stormtrooper), or maybe Haroku (Luke). (Incidentally, I've learned Haroku does not derive from The Hulk.)

Star Case is just getting warmed up. 2012 looks like it's going to be a fun year!


Monsterforge said...

Oh man... these are all flavors of awesome. Let's see:

Star Wars? Check.
Crazy cheap bootleg look? Check.
Sofubi? Check.
Garish colors? Check.
Claw and drill hands? Check.

Yep... I think this toy meets all the right criteria!

greattoyfinds said...

oh my!!!
damn...we have go check those out before we leave from here!
so andy:date in koenji someday? ;)

andy b said...

Sure, sounds fun - maybe after you guys visit Kyoto.

CMR said...

I've been having a hard time finding information on these, your articles have been the best yet, thank you.

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