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1982 New Microman Series

Takara Microman Remodeling Project Series (c.1982-84)


Remodeling Project

Takara originally intended to launched New Microman series along with Diaclone as a way to enter the then lucrative die-cast robot toys market dominated by Popy and others. However, by the time the New Microman series was finally launched in 1981, Japanese toys market was radically changing. One of the major force for the change was the new trend of realistic machines or mecha that became prevalent in the mind of Japanese youth due mainly to the shows like Gundam and later Macross series. The notion of super-giant robots became a thing of a past and young people of Japan took on new emerging hobby of plastic modeling. (known as pla-mo in Japan). The old style die-cast robots combining toys once popular with kids of all ages now view as toys for young children. Bandai line of Gundam plastic toys became best selling "toys" and left other toys company at the time scrambling for products to compete in this new arena.


Only in a wacky Remodeling Project world would you have a Microman riding a kit-bash Triceratops. (Dinosaur kits by Tamiya was very popular around that time). And you thought only Micronauts almost get to have a reptilian ride.


Takara decided to introduced a concept called "Remodeling Projects" whereby Microman toys could be used for kit-bash and remodel into new realistic looking machines and figures. This concept of kit-bashing was made popular by Mr. Kow Yokoyama, a popular modeler who began to have his works publish in Hobby Japan magazine in a series call SF3D. Kow would used toys, model parts, or whatever he could find to fashion a 1/20 scale realistic looking sci-fi figures and armor suits. (He was reported to used many of Microman toys for his projects.) Based on this idea Takara began selling many Microman toys in 1982 with plastic model parts that older kids can be used to fashioned a realistic Microman from the existing toys. By using this Remodeling Project concept Takara figured they could sell New Microman toys to both younger and older kids. Beside these dual purpose toys, Takara would later produced "model kits" toys specifically for Remodeling Project. The only series that was produced however was the three Mighty Suits. (See sidebar) Takara also licensed Microman designs to be produced as model-kits to a plastic model kit company (they were produced by Nitto who incidentally also produced Kow's SF3D kits after his serial became so popular). In 1983 Takara decided to produce new series of Microman called the Real Microman which would replaced both the Remodeling Project and their licensed model kits line. The Real Microman however had very short lives and only one series was ever produced (the Bio-suits kits), when in 1983 Takara stumbled onto a new series of toys called Micro Change and Car Robot that would forever change their fortune but that story is for another section....







MA.K. Mashinen Krieger (SF3D)

Nitto (a small plastic kit company) released many of the original designs by Kow Yokoyama from SF3D as modeling kits in mid 1980's. The kits, after much legal wrangling, were recently reissued by Nitto however this time under the name MA.K. or Mashinen Krieger. These kits of armor suits and vehicles are perfect for any Remodeling Project fans as most were produced in 1/20 scale. (The same scale as Microman if they were human size).


New Microman Remodeling Project

Mighty Suit Series (C.1982)

Takara released only one series of toys specifically for the Remodeling Project line. The line consisted of set of three Mighty Suit molded in white plastic. Some of the kits were sold in the box and some were sold in blister card format. (This was a popular format used by Airfix during that time for their inexpensive kits). The kit came with pamphlet on remodeling suggestion. However seller of this particular kit that I got off an auction site removed the instruction and only send me the kit (he then refuse to reply to my email, even though his auction picture clearly shown the catalog was present), fortunately Matt Doughty gave me a full color photo copy of these rare Remodeling Catalog and it can be seen on the right. So who is this Matt? Well, see the section below on his Remodeling talent.




As a kid many of us were probably wondering what were these wonderful and realistic Microman on the back of some of the 1980 Microman catalog. Matt Doughty like many of us who do not reside in Japan at the time, missed out on the opportunity to do his own Remodeling Project as a kid. However as adult, Matt decided to remedy this and went on a one man quest to bring back the Real Microman series.


Matt, whom I met on line several years ago, was already on his great (some would say mad) project to realize what future for Real Microman series could have been like. Matt custom made and kit-bash any Microman, Block Man or any things he could find to fashion new Microman figures with more hard edge and realistic military looks. Not satisfied with just making new figures and vehicles, Matt took it a step further and published his own Microman story book called Micro Show. His full color booklet featured not only beautiful pictures of his works in diorama setting but also background story.


If you enjoy remodel your Microman and kit bash your own toys, then this book is a must see. His figures rival many of the figures produced by Japanese Microman fans (like those seen in Microman The Another Story book). Below are some sample pictures from the first Micro Show book. Matt promised a second installment of his Micro Show, so stay tune.