Home > General Discussion > Japanese Toy Companies : MASUDAYA TOYS – MODERN TOYS

Japanese Toy Companies : MASUDAYA TOYS – MODERN TOYS

Masudaya Modern Toys 1924 – present

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 WWII era. Its logo incorporates the letters ‘M’ and ‘T’ within a diamond lozenge and is often referred to as ‘Modern Toys’. Masudaya produced a wide range of tin toys including aircraft, racing cars, military and civilian vehicles, motorcycles and the ever popular space toys which included the classic ‘Radicon Robot’ in 1957 which is regarded as the first remote controlled robot. Masudaya as a company survives to this day.

EXAMPLES OF MASUDAYA TOYS

< Masudaya ‘Fire Dept.’ Motorcycle

Large tinplate motorcycle toy dating to c1962. Battery operated model, tinprinted in ‘Fire Department’ livery, red colourway finish with blue uniformed plastic rider. Fitted with siren to front and stabalising wheels, 30cm.

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   Masudaya American Pontiac >

Tinplate 2-door Pontiac Sedan  friction drive model in black colourway finish with green/yellow detailed tinprinted interior. Plated parts including hub caps, model has steerable front wheels with white wall tyres, 36cm.

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< Masudaya Cement Mixer

GMC tinplate cement mixer c1950, battery operated with ‘mystery action’ to underside. Marked ‘Lucky Mixer’, model has detailed tinprinting to cab and generator, predominantly orange colourway finish with see-through plastic drum, 30cm.

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Masudya Racing Car >

Large scale tinplate racing car, battery operated with ‘mystery action’ to underside. Detailed tinprinted exterior in blue, white and red colourway, racing number ’38′ fitted with tinplate driver. See-through engine compartment, side exhaust, rubber tyres with detailed hubs, 43cm.

< Masudaya Atom Motorcycle.

Large scale tinplate battery operated ‘Atom’ motorcycle, model in black colourway finish with detailed tinprinted engine compartment in predominantly silver finish. Tin rider in yellow and brown with blue helmet has demountable action, Reg.No 65301. Motorised action with engine noise and working head light, 30cm.

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  1. Roger Calais
    June 18th, 2013 at 06:43 | #1

    Great information and great website. I collect Japanese shinkansen tin toys. I’ve just picked up a Masudaya / Modern Toys Radicon train. I’m thinking it’s late 1960′s. Could you confirm? I’d love to send some pictures of my collection (including many Ichiko and Daiya tin plate) for your assessment on their value and age.

    Roger

  2. dave
    June 21st, 2013 at 11:52 | #2

    Hi Roger, thanks for the ‘thumbs-up’ on the site, a bit of appreciation always goes down well !
    The MT Radicon Shinkansen bullet train was a good looking toy which displays well in its own right. Large scale, some 19″ in length, mainly cream and blue colourway finish with R.No. 1001 to side. Battery operated toy of tinplate construction with working light to the front the train runs through a series of set turns when operating. You are correct in thinking it dates to the late 1960′s around 1969 as far as I am aware. As for the rest of your collection – sorry but its impossible for me to go through it all with values and dates as the many requests for such information I now receive would result in me doing nothing else all day. I wouldn’t mind too much but I think my wife would have something to say on the matter ! As I’ve said before value reflects what someone is willing to pay for the item and is very much down to the individual. Add in the condition, box present or not, etc etc and you will see its very subjective. Sorry about that.
    Thanks again for your comments – David.

  3. Thomas Lynch
    July 27th, 2013 at 14:43 | #3

    I recently obtained a “Tin Lizzy” made by Modern Toys! It is a mechanical Toy, operated by a Lever on the right side. What is your estimate of the year it was produced?
    Thank you, Tom

  4. dave
    July 27th, 2013 at 21:16 | #4

    Tom, not a lot to go on but I think what you call your ‘Tin Lizzy’ lever action toy by MT was actually called an ‘Old Timer’. They started at Old Timer No1 (well they would, wouldn’t they) and continued with No2/3/4 etc … I know they went up to No9 and I’ve seen a boxed No20. Without further details don’t know which yours is but I believe No1 was produced sometime in the 1950′s.
    Sorry I can’t be more help than that.
    Thanks for visiting, David.

  5. Joan Mc Ginty
    October 24th, 2013 at 22:33 | #5

    Hi I have a Masudaya “Santa Claus on hand car” can you tell me anything about it. It is in good condition and has the original Box. It works on 2 2d batteries, bump and go action with tin tin sound. What is the aprox. value. Thank you for your time :)

    Joan

  6. dave
    October 28th, 2013 at 20:37 | #6

    Hello there Joan,
    Santa on hand cart / car ? Masudaya did several Santa toys that I am aware of.
    Santa sat on a Reindeer Sleigh, detailed tinprinted sleigh and Santa figure with plastic reindeer.
    Santa with ringing bell sat on tinprinted chimney.
    Santa Claus on Scooter and even a Santa ‘Copter.
    All those were battery operated, the Sleigh, ‘Copter and Scooter toys having ‘mystery action’ or ‘bump & go’ but to be honest I’ve not come across Santa on Hand Car as yet, so will need to do a bit of digging to see if I can find your version. However the ones I have mentioned date from around the 1950′s/60′s, as for value you will see that I hate giving a price as there as so many factors which can effect the final value .. even down to where it is sold. Interestingly enough there has been a few ‘Santa on Scooter’ toys listed recently on Ebay sites around the World, none of which have sold !
    If I can locate your toy will post a follow up with more details.
    Cheers for now, David.

  7. Eileen
    November 11th, 2013 at 19:30 | #7

    Hello, I have the Atom motorcycle pictured above. Though I have no intention of selling this toy, I was curious to know what the current value today would be. Would you happen to know? Also, any additional information on this toy and it’s history would be so very welcome and appreciated. Thank you. This has been a fun site to visit.

  8. dave
    November 14th, 2013 at 20:32 | #8

    Hi Eileen, thanks for your positive comments … appreciated.
    As for you request for a valuation, if you read through the various comments on my pages together with my answers you will have noticed how difficult this is to do. The valuations I do give are based on auction prices rather than retail, as it is I have not seen the ‘Atom’ motor-cyclist come up for a couple of years now. Back in 2011 they would fetch around the £400 mark but this would have been at their peak, today I would imagine that would have dropped to somewhere between £250 – £350 as a best guess for a boxed version.
    With regards to extra info .. not a lot more I can tell you apart from the fact that I believe the red helmet version is the harder to find of this model.
    It also originally came with a card label attached with asked
    “PLEASE DON’T HOLD ME, MY LITTLE FRIEND !”
    Along side which was a line drawing of the face of a motor-cyclist in helmet and goggles along with the text “Mechanism inside the figure of driver is so intricate that you are asked to hold the rear of the motor-cycle in case of carrying.”

    I have also added a picture of the toy along with its original box which may be of interest.
    Regards, David.

  9. don and jeri knoll
    December 4th, 2013 at 20:18 | #9

    We found a masudaya santa on a hand car also…mint condition in box. Don’t know how to send a pic this way.

  10. dave
    December 14th, 2013 at 20:11 | #10

    Hi to you both and thanks for your further message via my email address including your pic. I have to say your picture wasn’t that good but good enough to enable me to identify it and yes you are correct it is a ‘Modern Toys’ product. I have included a clearer picture of the box. You tell me that you paid 250 for your toy, I assume that was in $ which seems a lot to me, but then again I have not come across this model so you may have got a bargain !
    null
    All the best, David

  11. Paul Mcgrevey
    February 21st, 2014 at 08:38 | #11

    Hi there i have a bump and go tin car which i,ve owned from the 60s and am trying to
    find out any information on it i can.It is battery operated and features a black man in a stripy suit driving.The engine cover rocks back and forth when operating. Anything you can tell me about this piece would be most appreciated.

  12. john gerken
    April 2nd, 2014 at 22:45 | #12

    Is it possible to date a masudaya toy based on the style/color of the label? I have purchased a wind up mechanical bear with a red modern toy label and an ink stamp “YF” in an oval imprinted on the paper label. Have only seen blue labels with no stamped impressions. Bear is in mint condition. No box. Thanks.

  13. dave
    April 8th, 2014 at 13:46 | #13

    Hi John, That question has me stumped, no idea if the colour change was of any significance or not but will look into it and see if I can find any further info on this for us both.
    Cheers, David.

  14. Frank Urbanczyk
    June 7th, 2014 at 15:26 | #14

    Hi there, wonder if you can help? I’m looking for a figure ofMaria from Metropolis I think it was made by Masudaya in the mid to late 1990′s.
    I’ve seen on on e bay at about £180 or so. Let’s say if I paid that, I’d be looking for a good divorce lawyer. Can anyone help with a slightly more reasonable price?
    Thanks again
    Frank

  15. dave
    June 10th, 2014 at 16:41 | #15

    http://rodgersantiques.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/maria-masudaya.jpg Hi there Frank, sorry to say I for one don’t have the figure in my collection. You’re right to say it came out of the Masudaya – Japan factory and for anyone who doesn’t know Maria was a large vinyl display figure standing some 39cm. tall. Personally I have yet to come across any Masudaya / Metropolis figures at auction but if anyone out there can help Frank out in his quest if you message me I will be happy to put you in touch with each other. I have included a pic. so everyone knows what you are looking for.
    Best of luck, David.

  16. Andy
    June 11th, 2014 at 09:40 | #16

    Hi I was wondering if you could help me I have recently purchased a modern toys fire chief tin car with fire chief inside wearing blue uniform the car is red with f.d.119 on both sides of bonnet it also has a circular light on front of bonnet and he appears to be winding a siren attached to his hand I hope you can help identify as I can’t find anywhere on web and maybe value for me thanks very much appreciated andy

  17. Steve Hunt
    July 29th, 2014 at 01:41 | #17

    i recently got a large talking “Forbidden Planet” Robbie,i love it but its missing the 2 plastic antenna that go in the side of the head,also the voice box is missing any help or advice where i might locate parts be greatly appreciated

  18. dave
    August 6th, 2014 at 15:24 | #18

    Hi Steve,

    I believe it was Robby who said in the film ‘Forbidden Planet’ ‘Can I be of Service?’ in this case its me saying ‘Sorry I cannot help !’ However if anyone can help Steve out in any way then just message in and I will pass the info on. I have seen original parts for sale on other sites, not cheap by any means but not seen anything connected with Robby. I have listed a pic of what I am assuming is the correct Robby as Masudaya did a couple of versions – if its wrong Steve get back to me. By the way a long shot I know but sometimes they pay off, have you tried messaging the company direct ? if anyone may have spares its likely to be the company itself and you never know they may take pity on you.
    Best of luck, David.

  19. Jonathan
    March 17th, 2015 at 18:06 | #19

    I have a vintage Japan trade mark train call the Western how !much is worth wondering

  20. dave
    March 25th, 2015 at 17:37 | #20

    Jonathan I think your ‘trade mark’ train is in fact made by Masudaya – Modern Toys of Japan. This is a battery operated locomotive styled on the early American locos with a plastic ‘cow-catcher’ to its front. Has a mystery action and was titled the ‘Western Special Locomotive’ on its box. Bump and Go action with bell, light and smoking stack ! Dates to around the mid- 1960′s. As for price ? item varies widely in the price it fetches .. at auction they are usually not sold as a separate item ! however if you check out Ebay you will find one sold in Dec for £37 !!
    All the best, David.

  21. Audrey
    May 20th, 2015 at 23:54 | #21

    Hi,

    I recently bought two toys by Masudaya, one is called the Open Sleigh and is in really good condition, and might possibly be working, the only thing missing is the box.

    Second toy is called Old Fashioned Fire Engine and comes with the original box which has some water damage but is still in pretty good shape, the toy itself is quite clean too only thing wrong with it is a bit of rust near the place where you put the batteries.

    I was curious about the value of both toys, I got them looked at recently but the guy had never seen either of these and was not familiar with Masudaya, can you help me?

    Thank you! :)

  22. dave
    May 27th, 2015 at 20:58 | #22

    Hello there Audrey, thanks for visiting and your question. Sorry for the delay, in fact this is my second attempt tonight, lost my first go when I tried to load a second picture ! Doh .. its my age !!!

    Ok .. Masudaya or Modern Toys (MT) produced more than one version of their ‘Old Fashioned Fire Engine’. The early version featured a fireman driver in a flat peaked hat sitting on an elaborate engine with a rear steam boiler and a plastic ladder fitted to the side of the engine. The newer version, like the older one, was tin-printed, battery operated with mystery action, however the fireman driver was dressed like today’s firemen with the modern style helmet and the toy came in a ‘window’ box. As for value (allowing for my usual comments regarding prices), the newer version I would expect to pick up for just a few pounds and would usually be found at auction in a job lot rather than listed seperately. The older version however should realise somewhere around £50-£60.

    Your second toy is a different matter. The ‘Open Sleigh’ is a much harder to find toy. Again tin-printed, battery operated with mystery action it features a tinplate Eskimo with a celluloid head. The figure seated on the sleigh is removable and the sleigh comes complete with load. Pulled by 2 x plastic Husky dogs the sleigh is fitted with an illuminated lantern and should make a ringing bells noise as it moves along. The toy came in an illustrated card box with lift off lid. Value ? boxed you may well see a price around the £100 – £150 mark achieved, unboxed £60-£80 ? Pity you don’t have the box Audrey !
    Hope this helps, all the best, David.

  23. Philip
    July 25th, 2015 at 23:09 | #23

    Hi.
    I have in my possession the Radicon bus which i am led to believe is one of the first
    remote controlled toys (?)
    Can you give me any advice on a- what batteries to use in the controller as i’d like to see if it works, and b- what the item could be worth?

  24. dave
    July 27th, 2015 at 10:47 | #24

    Hi Phil, yes indeed the Radicon bus was billed as the first fully remote controlled toy.
    Requires a total of 6 batteries, 3 in the transmitter and a further 3 in the vehicle.
    Transmitter needs at least 4v to operate so would assume 3 x 1.5v batteries are required.
    The vehicle seems to be more complicated. The two seated on the chassis floor need a total of at least 2.6v, the third which is positioned on top of the other two needs to be at least 1.1v.
    Now I’ve never had one of these items but it seems you will need to match the battery voltage required to the space available within the battery compartment. I always keep a selection of old batteries just for this purpose as I have often bought packs of batteries only to find when I try them in the toy … I’ve bought the wrong size !
    Just for info .. need to run the bus little and often rather than running it ’till the batteries give up, also the batteries in the bus will run down quicker than in the remote. Lastly although it goes without saying always remove the batteries after use.
    As to value … I keep saying that it can only be my opinion for what its worth as there are far too many variables to give a precise value – especially without ‘hands-on’.
    If you look on the internet these items can sell from around £100 upwards. On several sites in the USA they seem to be asking silly money .. $2,000 and more .. although whether they actually sell is a different matter ! I saw one sold at auction last month here in the UK, boxed and working for £80. In saying that auctions can be hit or miss and the same item could be re-entered in a couple of months and fetch £200.
    Hope this is of some help, all the best Phil, David.

  25. Philip
    July 29th, 2015 at 21:14 | #25

    Thank you David for that information.
    I will search out some ‘c’ and ‘d’ batteries and see what occurs

  26. dave
    July 30th, 2015 at 10:43 | #26

    No problem Phil, let us know how you get on.
    Cheers, David.

  27. January 2nd, 2016 at 21:14 | #27

    Hello
    I have recently purchased a “monkey on bike” Masudaya tin toy. I was wondering if you had any information in something like that. Or if I can email you a picture of it. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Cheers

  28. John White
    February 19th, 2016 at 20:00 | #28

    Hi David…
    Excellent site through which I often “wander” for inspiration – I have recently acquired a Masudaya Radicon Oldsmoble in fairly good condition but missing its antenna & remote. Is that something you could supply or, advise a possible source.
    I also have a Masudaya Panther Racing Car, again in very good condition but missing its screen & drivers head, again would you be aware of a possible spare parts supplier.
    Maybe I will also in the future query spares for the rest of my masudaya collection.
    Regards …. John

  29. dave
    February 20th, 2016 at 11:35 | #29

    Hi there John, sorry to say I cannot help you out with any of your requests. I don’t carry spares for any toys as such, like yourself I try and source spares as and when I need them and like many collectors out there I too find it a problem. I haven’t come across any one source for Masudaya parts, all I can do is to post this message and if anyone can help out if they can message me I will pass their details on. Otherwise its simply a case of trawling the internet and keeping your fingers crossed.
    Best Regards, David.

  30. John White
    February 21st, 2016 at 20:58 | #30

    Hell again David & thanks for the response, I trust I shall have to keep my fingers crossed and continue searching.
    Of interest, one of my other “Masudaya’s” is Queen Of The Seas – examples are on eBay at this time for £1948.00 & £349.00, fascinating or what.
    Many regards … John

  31. dave
    February 23rd, 2016 at 21:09 | #31

    Hi again John, I’ve included a pic of Queen of the Sea for anyone who hasn’t seen the liner before. Briefly this battery operated tinplate liner is finished in red, white and grey colourway with detailed tinprinting including decks, 2 x masts and antenna fitted to deck with red and green warning lights. Mystery action to underside, flag to the rear with propeller and rudder. As you say there’s a couple listed on ebay and yes interesting to note the asking prices. I know something like 10 years ago a boxed example in good condition would be expected to fetch around the £150.00 to £200.00 mark. I haven’t seen any at auction or at a fair recently so can’t comment further on prices.

    Cheers for now and I will keep my eyes open re spares, David.

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