When you collect obsessively as I do Ultraman stuff, there’s always that one figure or toy you just can’t seem to find .. sometimes it’s something so expensive it doesn’t really matter if you do find it, as I couldn’t afford it anyways. I’ve been collecting these Bullmark super deformed wind ups for over 8 years now. For the most part they’re fairly easy to find and usually not expensive. However, several of them have eluded me until a few weeks ago !
According to the back of the box there are 8 total – Ultraman, Ultra Jack, Ultra Father, Ultra Mother, Ultra Ace, Ultra Taro, Ultra Seven and Zoffy. And because Taro is the newest on this list they came out during that show which makes it 1973-74.
I really didn’t think there was any demand for them, so I thought how hard can this be ? The first few were easy to find, Ultra Father, Ultra Mother, Ultraman Taro, and Ultraman Jack. Ok 4 down, 4 to go …..
But than I hit a wall … Ultraman, one would think would be easy to get, but I could not find it anywhere. To top it off, I kept finding Ultra Jack .. being passed off as Ultraman. After another year of searching, finally while in Japan at the Nakano Mall Mandarake I found the Ultraman version. They are very close in appearance but as you can see there is a difference … see the double lines ?
jack with double lines scribed into the sculpt
versus the Ultraman version which does not have the lines in the sculpt… trickey to figure out to say the least !
Ultra Ace took awhile but I found him, too
Phew … Ok thats leaves, Ultra Seven and Zoffy.
I know I will have to pay thru the nose for Ultra Seven .. it seems to me in Japan, Seven has much more hardcore toy fanatics than Ultraman. So when one popped up on Yahoo Japan I know I would have to bid higher than i wanted. But as Toy Karma kicked in I was able to score one for under $200 …. ya I’m sure thats a crazy price for those not into these little buggers but this was the only time I have seen one of these wind up Sevens come up for sale.
So finally I’m down to the last one, Zoffy. Again, like Seven I have never seen one for sale, anywhere… and after about 2 years of searching, Zoffy pops up on Yahoo Japan auctions.
I hate it when you find something you need to complete a part of the collection … and you don’t know if you should bid high, wait till the end to bid or what ?!! I guess I’m the only guy collecting these as I was able to score it after a few rounds of bidding and again for about what I paid for Ultra Seven. Amazing to me that I won but I guess no one wants these that badly.. just me ! Can you imagine out of the billions of people in the world, I’m the only one ? Ha-ha …
And as an interesting side note, tucked behind the card board insert which each wind up sits on is a grey sealed bag that has a small trading card inside.
and to show you the relative size of these figures here’s me holding (and not fondling as my wife points out) one ;-P
So finally I can put to rest the wind up Bullmark super deformed Ultra family Collection .. all 8, a complete set ! and now you know way too much about something you probably didn’t care about !
Over the years Mark Nagata has collected thousands of toys and a fair amount of titles. The man behind San Francisco-based Max Toy Company is widely known as: Toy Collector. Illustrator. Magazine Founder/Publisher. Toy Designer. Artist. Author. Husband. Father. But the one description that might fit best is an unofficial one – Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador.
In the Japanese-inspired art and toy area, as well as throughout the larger toy collecting community, Mark is welcomed and recognized for his personal passion and commitment to supporting artists all around the world and the unique works they create. Beginning as a collector in his youth, Mark has had for years a keen eye for great art and a personal interest in collecting that he has spread through a variety of outlets.
Trained at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, Mark honed his skills working for himself and for some of the most notable businesses in the country. As a freelance commercial illustrator, he completed works for such prominent companies as Lucasfilms, DC Comics, Hasbro Toys, IBM, Sony, and numerous advertising and design firms, both national and international. Mark’s colorful style graces over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series – Give Yourself Goosebumps.
After hundreds of assignments, Mark made the decision to move in another direction, and that choice has led to whole new career as a successful businessman. For four years, the owner of one of the largest Ultraman toy collections in the world co-published Super 7 Magazine showcasing the finest in Japanese toy collecting.
“I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them,” Nagata says.
Mark’s devotion to presenting collectors with a selection of original figures inspired by classic Japanese toys from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as new versions of licensed Japanese characters is at the heart of Max Toy Company. Named for his son, Max Toys specializes in custom and limited editions of “kaiju” (Japanese monsters) toys and artwork. Many of the original toys produced are hand painted by Mark, a tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers of the past.
“Since our target is the soft vinyl Japanese toy collector, which is a very small niche, our runs of toys can be extremely small,” Mark says. “Runs range from 500 pieces of one toy to just one for a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind custom figure.”
Through Max Toys, Mark has taken great pains to widen the reach of his two passions – toys and art. He played a significant part in the development of the first group kaiju show in the United States. Held at the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, the “Toy Karma” Show featured detailed work from artists from Japan, the U.S. and South America. Participants marveled at the custom-painted toys and art on display. “Toy Karma” led to Mark being asked to be one of the artists spotlighted in the “Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier” exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The October 2007 show, held jointly with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusement Museum, marked the first time – in a museum setting – that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. The exhibit featured more than 30 of Mark’s original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection.
Mark continued to be at the forefront as interest in Japanese-inspired art and toys expanded in 2008. Prestigious art houses Philips De Pury and Christie’s in New York and London sold Mark’s hand-painted custom kaiju toys in its auctions, spreading this unique art and toy movement into new and uncharted areas of the art world.
In 2009, Mark once again took his love of toys and art overseas this time to a receptive and welcoming audience in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Mark curated the “Kaiju Comrades” Art Show, once again bringing together artists from various aspects of the kaiju toy realm in this first-of-its-kind toy art show. The following year found Mark in Barcelona, Spain co-curating with Emilio Garcia “Kaiju Attack,” the European country’s first kaiju art show.
As the growth of kaiju art and toys increases worldwide, Mark continues in his unofficial role of Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. He has written and had his artwork and toy designs included in several books and magazines, both domestic and international. In 2010, Mark served as guest lecturer on kaiju and the toy-making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida. The San Francisco resident and his art can also be spotted in the first volume of the “ToyPunks” DVD and the “Toys R Us” DVD, while the video for the number one song by Owl City “Fireflies” featured Mark’s popular Kaiju Eyezon character. During this same time period, Mark has spearheaded the “Toy Karma 2” and “Kaiju Comrades 2” shows and has plans for future shows both in the U.S. and overseas.
“Max Toys allows me to produce original artwork, new toys and work directly with a lot of talented artists,” Mark says. “Max Toy is a synthesis of toys and art, both life-long passions.”
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