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Archive for January, 2013

Japanese Toy Companies : NOMURA TOYS

January 27th, 2013 10 comments

TN Nomura Toys 1940′s – 1992

Formed in Tokyo sometime in the mid 1940′s Nomura Toys produced some excellent tin toys until the early – mid 1970′s when, like many other japanese toy companies, it had to make the move into diecast in order to survive. Nomura continued in one form or another until it was bought in 1992 by the largest toy company in the world at that time - Hasbro. The letters T-N within the diamond logo means that the company is often referred to as TN – Toys Nomura and its range of tinplate toys were to emblazen this logo on its boxes whilst its later diecasts toys simply featured ‘Nomura toy’ on their boxes. It was one of the biggest and most prolific of the post war Japanese tinplate toy makers and produced a wide variety of mechanical and battery (Electromobile) operated toys, military and civilian vehicles, novelty items and space toys. During the 1950′s and 1960′s the tin toy output from Nomura contained some of the most well known characters of all time including the infamous ‘Robby’ robot from the film ‘Forbidden Planet’.

< TN Nomura Sports Car

Nomura battery operated tinplate open topped sports car. Scarce example c1950 comes in powder blue bodywork finish, plated parts including hubs with detailed tinprinted interior. See-through engine compartment to bonnet and fitted with folding windscreen, 21cm.

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TN Nomura Mercedes Benz >

A Nomura battery operated Mercedes Benz, tinplate model in orange colorway finish with black hardtop. Tinprinted detailed interior, plated parts with side detailing and hub caps. Battery compartment and ‘mystery action’ to underside, 27cm.

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< TN Nomura Racing Motorcycle

Battery operated model  with forward and direction changing motion. Red and white bodywork finish, racing number ’16′, detailed tinprinting overall. Rider in tan coveralls with red plastic helmet. Stabilising wheels, 25cm.

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TN Nomura Fire Chief Car >

Nomura c1961 large scale tinplate friction drive Fire Chief’s Car. Model is based on a Buick 4-door sedan in fire department red bodywork finish, detailed tinprinted interior, plated parts including hub caps. and side detailing including Fire Department insignia. Operating / swivelling red roof light, wiper blades and siren, 41cm.

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< TN Nomura Volkswagen Convertible

Battery operated Volkswagen Convertible, tinplate model in light metallic blue bodywork finish. Clear plastic see-through engine cover to rear, plated parts to include hub caps. Detailed interior with plastic seats and hood,steering wheel, windscreen, 25cm.

TN Nomura Datsun H130 >

Another large scale model is this battery operated tinplate Datsun Cedric H130 c1960. 4-Door saloon in red bodywork finish, detailed tinprinted interior, plated parts including hub caps, 39cm.

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< TN Nomura Police Car

Large scale battery operated Police Command Car c1960. Vehicle in black and white bodywork finish with badges to doors and ‘Highway Patrol’ lettering to sides. Detailed tinprinted interior with two uniformed police figures to front, aeriel, plated parts including hub caps. Fitted with siren sound and ‘mystery action’ to underside, 39cm.

TN Nomura Mechanised ‘Robby’ Robot >

Although the wording on the box simply lists this toy as a ‘Mechanised Robot’ it goes without saying that it is based on ‘Robby’ the robot which features in the 1956 movie ‘Forbidden Planet’ and as such is an unlicensed product. Battery operated, batteries are stored within the legs of the robot, c1957. Tinplate and plastic construction, finished in black and red. Spinning antennae, lighted moving piston action in head, light below dome, 28cm.

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Japanese Toy Companies : DAIYA TOYS – TERAI TOYS Co.

January 24th, 2013 6 comments

Daiya ( Terai ) Toys 1950′s – 1970′s 

Formed in Tokyo sometime in the 1950′s, Daiya was typical of many of the Japanese tinplate toy companies of the time being most active from the mid-late 1950′s through to the late 1970′s,after which the company appears to have dropped off the radar.

Daiya produced a good range of tin toys including civilian vehicles, space vehicles including robots along with other space related toys – rays guns etc., as well as several other novelty tinplate items.

Daiya was typical of many of the post war Japanese tinplate toy companies in so much that many of its mechanical tin toys, whether they be clockwork or battery operated, were produced with multi-functional features such as operating lights and sounds etc.

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< Daiya Toys Military Police Jeep

Tinplate model dating to c1950 in military dark green bodywork finish with detailed tinprinted interior, seated figures. Plated parts, spare wheel, jerry can to rear and fitted with folding tinplate windscreen, 26cm.

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Daiya Toys Police Car >

Battery operated model of a Highway Patrol Police Car based on a Chevrolet Impala. Model is finished in typical black and white colourway finish with detailed interior. Plated parts, working light, 32cm. 

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< Daiya Toys Power Shovel

Tinplate friction drive model of a Lorry Mounted Power Shovel, orange cab and chassis with cream roof. Grey excavator mounted to rear with orange jib and grey shovel. 6-Wheeled truck is based on a GMC vehicle, detailed tinprinting with plated parts, 28cm.

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Daiya Toys Sports Cars >

Pictured opposite are a pair of Daiya battery operated Porsche sports cars with remote control.

One is a closed top version in red bodywork finish with yellow stripes, detailed interior, racing number ’77′, plated parts. The second is an open topped model with racing number ’24′ in blue finish, detailed interior, plated parts.

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< Daiya Toys Ranger Robot

A 1950′s battery operated plastic robot figure with visible motor. The ‘Ranger Robot’ has see through body and legs, silver plastic arms with red tinplate feet, 27cm. Robot walks, has moving arms, lights, voice sounds and smoke emits from the mouth.

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   Mini Cooper >

Large scale plastic and tinplate model of a British Mini Cooper, model shown in red colourway finish with a black roof although other colours were produced. Racing No. 77 to sides. Fitted with bright plated parts including hubs. Battery operated with variable speed control, 19cm.

( Daiya also produced a ‘Rally Monte Carlo’ version of the Mini Cooper fitted with Monte Carlo badges to its front. )

< Mechanical Turn Over ‘Stunt Car’ 

Tinplate representation of the British Aston Martin, clockwork in operation with ‘stunt’ action. Vehicle shown in white colourway finish with red/yellow flame effect trim although other colours were produced eg: red with a chequered design to doors and bonnet. In all cases ‘Stunt Car’ lettering appears on the roof. Tin-printed driver detailed to ‘windows’, 18cm.

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Japanese Toy Companies : ICHIKO KOGYO

January 24th, 2013 No comments

Ichiko Kogyo 1950 – 1970′s 

Founded in Tokyo sometime in the 1950′s Ichiko was a small Japanese tinplate toy maker who produced a nice range of quality tinplate vehicles. Although the company is still in existence today it ceased production of tinplate toys sometime during the mid – late 1970′s.

< Ichiko Highway Patrol Car

Battery operated Highway Patrol Car, based on an American Buick. Tinplate vehicle in black and white colourway finish with police logos to doors etc., plated parts and detailed interior. ’Speed Meter’ to rear boot, roof lights, fitted with ‘mystery action’, 40cm.

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Ichiko Oldsmobile Starfire >

Friction drive Oldsmobile 4-door saloon in cream colourway finish with red roof. Plated parts including hubs with detailed tinprinted interior, 28cm.

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< Ichiko Mercedes Benz 250SE

Battery operated model is fitted with ‘mystery action’. 4-Door saloon in maroon colourway finish, detailed tinprinting to interior, plated parts including hubs, 35cm.

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Ichiko RAI TV Camera Car >

Battery operated model is based on a 1961 Plymouth Station Wagon complete with ‘mystery action’. Vehicle comes in silver bodywork finish in the livery of Radio-Televisione Italiana. Fitted with roof rack, revolving plastic camera and cameraman figure. Tinprinted detailed interior, plated parts including hubs, 31cm.

< Ichiko American Saloon Cars

A group of battery operated 2 and 4-door American Saloon Cars. Models come in red / blue bodywork finish with detailed tinprinted interior and plated parts, 18cm.

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Tin Toys List of Japanese Tinplate Toy Companies Trademarks / Logos

January 12th, 2013 7 comments

Japanese Tinplate Toy Companies Trademarks / Logos

This page lists various Japanese tinplate toy companies and the trademarks they used. The list is by no means complete and as such will be ‘work in progress’ and will be continuously developing as and when I come across more information and the time to grow the site.

At the same time I intend to expand the brief thumbnail description given on each company into a more rounded company listing to include pictures on the models they produced etc., at which point I will give that company its own page within the site.

Japanese Toy Trademarks & Logos

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ALPS – Shojo

Formed in Tokyo in 1948 ALPS is generally regarded as producing some of the better quality tinplate toys throughout the post war years. Despite this success ALPS decided to change its emphasis in the early 1970′s and concentrate its efforts into the more profitable consumer and industrial electronics marketplace.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed ALPS page listing.

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ASC – Aoshin

Formed in Tokyo in 1950 its trademark logo had the letters of the company ‘ASC’ within a diamond. Although successful initially, when the market place changed from tin toys towards diecast in the 1970′s ASC switched to creating portrayals of animated and live-action heroes.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed AOSHIN page listing.

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ATC – Asahi

The Asahi toy company was founded in Tokyo in the late 1940′s, initially producing lithographed tinplate toys, but around 1959 the company became the first major Japanese company to produce a 1:43 diecast scale model range designed specifically for the Japanese home market. As well as producing tinplate and diecast toys the Asahi company also acted as the Japanese distributor for both Dinky and Corgi Toys.

The first company trade mark was used from around 1948 until 1955 whilst the lower trade mark shown of a Santa figure was used from around 1955 onwards.

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Bandai

Formed in Tokyo in 1950. Bandai had several trademarks over its lifetime, initially the one shown - the letter ‘B’ within an outer letter ‘C’  which represented ‘Bandai Company’. By 1980 Bandai was the major Japanese toy company and was to become the world’s third largest toy company.

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Daishin

Although perhapse best known for producing the original version of the ‘Musical Jolly Chimp’ a toy that was to be replicated by various American, Japanese and Chinese companies Daishin also produced numerous tin toy cars many of which were battery operated.

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Daiya – Terai

Formed in Tokyo c1950 Daiya was most active from the mid – late 1950′s through to the late 1970′s, after which time the company appears to have dropped off the radar.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed DAIYA page listing.

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Haji / Mansei Toy Co

Formed in Tokyo in 1951 Haji was also known as the Mansei Toy Company. A small and relatively short lived toy maker producing a range of tinplate vehicles and tinplate novelties like ‘Strutting Sam’ a clockwork dancing figure.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed HAJI – MANSEI page listing.

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Horikawa

Formed in Tokyo in 1959 Horikawa, often thought of as a manufacturer of tin toys, is now believed to have been simply a reseller of products supplied by Metal House (Marumiya) which itself began life around 1943. Horikawa is best know for a prolific range of space toys noteably its space robots (Mr. Zerox, Attacking Martian, Fighting Robot) to name but three. Despite three decades of success Horikawa closed in the late 1980′s.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed HORIKAWA page listing.

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Ichiko Kogyo Co.

Founded in Tokyo in the 1950′s Ichiko was a relatively small Japanese tinplate toy maker who produced a nice range of tinplate vehicles. Although the company is still in existance today it ceased production of tinplate toys sometime during the mid – late 1970′s.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed ICHIKO page listing.

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Kuramochi Shoten

Founded in Tokyo, Kuramochi was producing a range of tinplate, lead and celluloid toys in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s and indeed Kuramochi was the largest supplier of Japanese toys prior to WWII exporting to both England and the USA where its products were distributed by the Geo. Borgfeldt Co. Following WWII two of its main employees left to form the Japanese toy companies of ALPS and Normura.

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Marusan Shoten

Formed in Tokyo in 1947 Marusan was initially a wholeseller/reseller of mainly tinplate and optical toys. Its roots lay in an earlier company, Ishida Manufacturing, again producing tinplate and optical items and it was its founders two sons along with a third party who were to set up Marusan. The company name and logo derive from the Japanese ‘Maru’ = circle and ‘San’ = three. Marusan is now one of the oldest names in the Japanese toy industry. 

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed MARUSAN page listing.

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Masudaya – Modern Toys

Masudaya was formed in Tokyo in 1924 and is widely regarded as the oldest of Japan’s toy makers. Masudaya was a leading manufacturer of tinplate toys, both mechanical and battery operated, in the post war era. Its logo incorporates the letters M-T and is often refered to as Modern Toys. Masudaya produced a wide range of tinplate toys, aircraft, racing cars, military and civilian vehicles, motorbikes and space toys one of which was the classic ‘Radicon Robot’ in 1957, regarded as the first remote controlled robot.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed Masudaya Modern Toys page listing.

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Nomura

Formed in Tokyo in the mid 1940′s Nomura produced tinplate toys into the late 1970′s. The letters T-N within the logo means that the company is often referred to as TN – Toys Nomura. It was one of the biggest and most prolific of the postwar Japanese toy makers and produced a variety of mechanical and battery operated toys, military and civilian vehicles, novelty items and space toys.

For detailed company information, including product images, see my seperate completed TN NOMURA page listing. 

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Yoneya – Yone

Formed in Tokyo Yoneya, more than often referred to simply as Yone, used the trademark of a diamond lozenge around the letters SY pre 1964 after which the trademark was changed to incorporate the name Yone again within a diamond. Yoneya produced a variety of tinplate toys including various novelty items like the Hippo Bank and several clockwork carousel type toys, military vehicles to include jeeps and tanks, civilian and racing cars as well as space toys and robots.

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Yonezawa

Founded in Tokyo in the 1950′s Yonezawa, sometimes known simply as ‘Y’, was one of the most prolific of all post war Japanese toy makers. Its trademark was the letter ‘Y’ within a 5 petal stylised lotus flower. Yonezawa manufactured a whole raft of different battery and mechanical tinplate toys in various catagories before it ceased production of its toys sometime in the 1970′s.

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Japanese Toy Companies : AOSHIN ( ASC ) TOYS

January 4th, 2013 No comments

ASC (Aoshin Shoten) 1950 – present

ASC was founded in Tokyo sometime around 1950 in what was then classed as occupied Japan. Its trademark / logo had the letters of its company name ASC within a diamond.

ASC produced a range of tinplate / mechanical toy vehicles, space toys, many of which were to become highly collectable as were several of their classic robot figures, along with many tinplate novelty items all marked with the ASC logo. Early post war clockwork items normally operated by means of a permanent key before, like many of its competitors, there was a move to battery operated toys which would allow for multi-action features.

The history of ASC mirrored that of many Japanese tinplate toy companies which saw a continued healthy growth from a birth in the early years following the end of WWII when the demand for inexpensive toys was high and continued to grow year on year. However the company was struggling in its traditional marketplace by the 1970′s, switching instead to creating portrayals of animated and live-action heroes.

< ASC Toys Toyota Crown Coupe Taxi

Large scale friction drive tinplate model. Yellow bodywork finish with orange trim, Nippon Taxi livery, roof sign, plated parts and detailed tinprinted interior c1970.

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ASC Toys Secret Service Action Car >

The ‘Green Hornet’ secret service action car from ASC, tinplate battery operated model in black colourway with plated parts. Green Hornet decal to the bonnet, secret service lettering to doors and boot and secret agent figure to roof. Lithographed interior with driver figure. Mystery action with flashing and bursting machine guns and laser beam, realistic sound, c1960.

< ASC Toys Smoking Volkswagen

Large scale tinplate battery operated Volkswagen Beetle model with detailed tinprinted interior. Produced in various colourways, light blue, orange, red etc  with plated parts. ‘Stop and Go’ mystery action, lighted engine compartment and smoke emitting exhaust, 27cm.


ASC Toys Tremendous Mike Robot >

This is a very rare and classic robot from the early 1950′s. Made of tinplate with clockwork mechanism the robot came in just two colourway versions - orange/red and grey/red. Skirted robot will change direction – ‘turn and go’ action, has sparks in his chest and rotating antenna.

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