Classic Japanese Space Ray Guns

Its been quite a long time since I’ve blogged about my toy collection… while I don’t buy as much as I use to, I still do find vintage items. Mostly what catches my eye is the odd stuff, or items that don’t really relate to the original source material. What do I mean ? Well read on … !

I by no means have every single ray gun or gun related set that was made as a tie in to these classic Japanese shows … try as I might there always is something that I find that I’ve never seem before. To be honest most of these sets can still be found with some searching, perhaps in better condition, too. A few like the Ultraman rifle set above are super rare and this particular example is the only one I’ve seen come up to auction with box … however, the value is not as much as you’d think. This set has a generic army rifle that had a simple Ultraman sticker attached and placed in a fancy box .. Ta-Da ! It’s a space rifle ! Oh the kids will never know .. haha … You’ll see this method of taking an existing plastic Army gun and re-using it as a space toy of some sort in the examples below.

This Mirrorman set is another example like the Ultraman set, this time a secret agent spy gun is used.

No matter how disappointing the toy gun is inside, the Japanese during this era of the 60s-70s excelled at painting vibrant and fantastical scenes on the boxes. These Ultra Ace graphics are a perfect example and one of the main reasons why I collect them.

I’d been searching for this set for about 6 years..having only the rifle for that time, I knew there was a set to be found … but for all that time simply could not find even a picture of it.

Similar to an earlier Ultraman set, this one comes with a rifle that shoots small corks at the various targets. A nice bonus is the small plastic figures, too.

Hey those kids don’t look Japanese  ;-P but regardless they are having fun !

The Mirrorman space gun above is one of my favorites, not only is the gun appropriate for this set but the paintings are so full of action !

This example of an Ultra Ace gun is rare in that the gun is actually based on the ones in the TV series  and not just an off the shelf gun. This one is battery powered as well but does not shoot.

The Ultraman gun set above is similar to the Ultra Ace set .. this one from 1966 era. Once again the paintings are stunning !

Can you can see how these sets are using the same or similar cork firing rifles ? This time it’s Spectreman rifle set with targets.

The next images are a bit baffling to me .. they are all from the Return of Ultraman series, but I have to say other than placing a sticker on the guns, these are simply a Army rifle and Machine Gun !

Even with the cool paintings on them .. they really do not evoke classic space gun styles  ;-P

Well what they lack in accurate space gun details at least the kid can make believe he’s shooting at Kaiju monsters !

This Ultra Ace set is cool in that the target is much more elaborate.

While the plastic gun is a generic one that shoots darts …

the target above has a great action scene !


This piece is slotted behind the target …

like so … if you hit the red button on the front with the dart this piece goes flying up into the air ! Pretty thrilling but since these pieces are made of heavy card board I can see them being dented and damaged pretty quickly ! Yes i did fire it and the darn thing flew up in the air pretty high too !

Another example of an Ultra Ace gun set .. and again a nice space gun with this set that has a sparking action.

A small Mirrorman set with standard dart firing gun. Still nice graphics on this one. I love the diecut window on the box.

Buried in the back is another Ultra Ace gun set ;-P Sorry, in a future update I’ll pull it out and photograph it.

In this modern and over regulated world we now live in these sets are a nice reminder of when imagination ruled and playing with space guns was not frowned upon. While Ralphie may have almost shot his eye out, he had a damn good time !

About toykarma

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.”
This entry was posted in bullmark, collectibles, header card, Japanese toys, kaiju, kaiju toy, mark nagata, Ultraman and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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