Some Notes on Boxes

I've had a chance recently to look at box details and would like to share what I've found.

Popy Boxes (lids)

The Popy box lids (with the exception of the Robot Factory toys which were shipped in thinner boxes that opened on the ends) are all made the same way, with the end-flaps extended (generally printed with the same image that's covered by the sides or just printed black if that's the predominant end-color), glued to the sides so they'll still fold-down flat. Those diagonal creases you see on the sides are so that the boxes can be made/printed and stored flat until the toy is added. Some notes:
  1. The first figure produced has "No. 2600" on the lid at the top - this is/was presumably the stock number.
  2. For some reason the next group of Jumbo Machinders all share the same "No. 2850" on the lid. Also, each of the five had numbering (I'm guessing the idea was to prompt kids into buying the whole series) - I don't believe they numbering continued though - note that this is also why Uni-Five numbered their Jumbo Machinders, to emulate the original Popy scheme. This includes: Mazinger Z (#1), Kamen Rider V3 (#2), Ultraman Taro (#3), Red Baron (#4) and Kamen Rider X (#5) - all were released in 1973 culminating in Great Mazinger (but for some reason his box lacks the numbering)
  3. The sides of all the long boxes are printed right-side up when laying the box on its back (so you can read it when the box is flat, lid up). 
  4. The ends are typically identical while the sides can be custom.
  5. Early boxes contain an accessory booklet having prototype illustrations of the XX accessories instead the production toy (XX-2 is particularly weird, looking like a fist with a giant light-up finger).

Earliest Popy "No. 2600" Mazinger Z Box Lid

Mazinger Z Box Comparison - "No. 2850" added to box on right - Also note the "#1"

Popy Red Baron Box Lid - Note the #4

Popy Liger Box Lid - Note No Numbering

Popy Boxes (bottoms)

The initial release boxes have a yellow pigment added to the interior (presumably to the cardboard insert also). There are also some physical properties that are different:
  1. Yellow pigment
  2. Ends have the flap extended from the sides and then they are stapled flush top-and-bottom (which adds some reinforcement to the overall box and prevents the pointy heads and wheels from busting through during transport). These are also stapled along the edges which may be why they stopped making them this way, as it increased assembly time.
  3. This seems to be the same box bottom used for the entire No. 2850 run (which includes the first five boxed Jumbo Machinders.
  4. When Popy started marketing more Jumbos, they went to the more conventional style bottom where the ends extend and are glued to the sides. 
  5. Note that the cardboard corrugations run side-to-side in orientation to the length (perpendicular)
Earliest Yellow-pigmented Popy Box Bottom
Early Issue Popy Box Bottom

Later Issue Popy Box Bottom

Mattel Boxes (lids and bottoms)

In general all of the Mattel boxes are made consistently with with the later Popy boxes with a few exceptions:
  1. The first two-four Mattel Godzilla boxes were printed by Bandai (they are easy to spot because they have "20 INCHES TALL" printed on the front. There's an original release box and a later release box with a printers code - there are also Canadian versions of at least the first box (no printers code) that has French language.
  2. These Bandai boxes are put together the same way as the later Popy boxes - especially the bottoms (they have longer flaps) 
  3. Later Edition Godzilla boxes (there are at least two variants - the regular and the "bloody claw" version) have a differently constructed box bottom, with the cardboard for the ends extending and lapping over extended side pieces to create a triple-reinforcement (the weight of Godzilla must have caused issues in shipping).
  4. Note that of all the Shogun Warriors boxes Godzilla has the end nearest his head printed upside-down (when laying flat with the lid up the head-end is upside down).
  5. When Mattel makes a change to the text they will add a printers code - the stock number followed by a number string, to identify that the printing is different.

Mattel Godzilla - First Issue Canadian left, "Bloody Claw" later issue right -

Mattel Godzilla Printers Code

 That's all I have for now - need to add some additional photos for reference.

-- John

All Mattel images and captions are copyright Mattel, all Popy images and captions are copyright Popy/Bandai and used without permission. All other content, including images and editorial, is Copyright © 1997-2018 John Eaton and/or contributors unless otherwise stated. If there are any comments or objections, please contact John Eaton, by clicking here.

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