Mattel Action Vehicles

Mattel Dimension 79 Catalog

Shogun Action Vehicles

There were many Shogun vehicles released during the toys' run, usually in groups (reflected by the Assortment number). These Vehicles were borrowed from many different TV programs from Japan (the molds already existed so it was a matter of repackaging under the "Shogun" heading) so some are obviously not related to the Shogun Warrior figure toys. It's interesting that there wasn't more of a tie-in to the base line of figures, but presumably Bandai/Popy was interested in getting their Popynica into the US market and since the molds already existed this was an easy opportunity, to repackage stuff already in retail in Japan and ship the toys over.

Some of the toys suffered modifications while transitioning - usually being simplified for production and eventually, due to the lawsuit around Mattel's Battlestar Galactica missile-choking incident(s) the small bullet-shaped missiles ended up as big "x"-es to make them harder to swallow. Later toys would abandon the missiles completely to eliminate any possibility of a choking hazard - I'm sure this influenced what toys were marketed by Mattel.
The Shogun Action Vehicles first appear on page 51 of the Mattel Dimension '78 Catalog. The initial offering was fairly small, with the Veritank, Verilift and Solar Saucer.

Act. 2522, #2519 Varitank
The Varitank is a white, 6-wheeled vehicle borrowed from the Japanese Sentai Himitsu Sentai Goranger (an early origin of Power Rangers) with an opening "mouth" from which two red rockets would fire. The unusual feature of the Varitank was the two red pincers, attached to yellow extendable arms that sat on top of the body. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Rocket-launchers up front!...Extended twin pincers!

Act 2522, #2520 Solar Saucer
The Solar Saucer is Grandizer's vehicle and this version comes with a 3" firing Grandizer! The red and white saucer has 2 extending launch pods which fire red screw-tipped missiles. The Grandizer figure is black and has soft rubber arms to prevent damage to walls and furniture. This is one of the most desirable vehicles as Grandizer was released in cartoon form as Goldorak or Goldrake all over the world in syndicated form. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches Shogun mini-warrior!...Folding arms Launch rockets!"

Act 2522, #2521 Vertilift
The Vertilift is a propped-plane/helicopter vehicle with fold out, multi-color wings and yellow vertical and horizontal mounted props. Borrowed from Himitsu Sentai Goranger and called Varidreen, a button on the top causes the wings to fan out (for vertical flight). Two extended engine pods have downward directed props for lift. These pods also have firing claws. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches "claw" missiles!..."Props" turn!..."Rainbow" extendable wings!"

Act 2734 #2731 Shigcon Tank
The Shigcon Tank is from the program "Daitetsujin 17." The tank doubles as a ground boring vehicle and features a snap down drill head. The entire tank body can be tilted so that the drill burrows into the ground. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Rocket launchers up front!...Earth "drill" & working treads! Turret lifts up, rotates!"

Act 2734 #2732 Shigcon Jet
The Shigcon Jet, also borrowed from "Daitetsujin 17" is one of my favorite vehicles. This delta winged vehicle has a red nose that shoots off, as well as two red missiles that fire from the intakes. The landing gear folds up and down (the wing gear is attached to fold-down wing tips). The jets most unusual feature is the snap-back wings (at the press of a button). I believe that the "17" markings signify that it was related to the Collector's Shogun "17." The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Twin rocket launchers! Launchable satellite interceptor!...Wings fold, wingtips bend up!"

Act 2734 #2733 Sky Arrow
The Sky Arrow is a Dangard plane that could split apart to form two planes. (The front section shoots off, and a back canopy slides forward to form a new nose). The plane fires odd looking yellow missiles (they have "X"-shaped, noses). Later versions of this toy featuring non-firing missiles (several unused cases of the later "safe" rocket version were found unused in a warehouse, making that variation one of the most common Shogun Warrior vehicles. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Twin Rocket launchers!...Nose cone shuttle!...Cockpit forms alternate nose cone!"

Act 2734 #2990 Daimos Truck
The Daimos Truck was the collapsed vehicle form of the giant robot Daimos. The cab of the 18-wheeler is made from Daimos head while the trailer is Daimos transformed body. The cab fires a missile from its grill (the switch is the amber bubble that appears on Daimos' forehead). Two fold-down missile-launchers emerge from the trailer's sides, and two cars can be launched from the rear doors. Two versions are known to exist...the one pictured is the later version with blunt, x-tipped "safety" missiles. This is one of the rarest Shogun vehicles. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Nose launches rockets!...Hatches open, side rockets launch!...Storage hold carries recon cars!...Recon car launches from rear!"

Act 2901, #2690 Bazoler
This vehicle is from Daikumaryu (the Gaiking cartoon). Bazoler is a triceratops tank which fired silver missiles and drills from its rhino horn hole, and dropped small versions of itself from a compartment under the red back spines. It has colorful eyes an an opening and closing mouth. The vehicle rolls around on wheels (hidden by fake treads). The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Jaws work! Compartment swings open! Launches missile, "drill" & rhino horn!"

Act 2901, #2691 Nessar
This vehicle is also from Daikumaryu (the Gaiking cartoon). Nessar is a dinosaur shaped vehicle that shoots missiles from the shoulders. The head goes up and down and the mouth and wings open and close. The legs also retract during "swim" or "flying" mode. The name probably comes from "Nessie" the Lock Ness monster. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches rockets!...Carries 6!...Wings move!...Beak opens, poseable neck!...Legs turn up for "flying!"."

Act 2901, #2693 Kondar
Kondar gets my vote for the goofiest of the Shogun vehicles (it's actually one of the ships from Daikumaryu (the Gaiking cartoon)). Basically a mechanical bird, Kondar has a bird head with a working beak. It fires 2 missiles and has retractable landing gear. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches rockets! "Bird" neck bends, beak opens! Landing gear retracts! Bird becomes jet!"

Act 2902, #2694 Kargosaur
Probably the most sought after of all the Shogun vehicles, Kargosaur is the giant space-dragon spaceship from Daiku Maryu (the Gaiking cartoon). In the anime, Gaiking's head retracts into his chest, the legs and arms return for storage in Daiku Maryu. His horns reconnect to the arm sockets and the entire "skull" becomes the head of the giant spaceship...Kargosaur! Of course this is only the ST version of the Popy toy so the head doesn't come off like the Popy DX version, but it does include miniature Nessars, Bazolers and Skylers as well as a few rockets. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts...Launches rockets!...Assumes "Defense collapses into a ball!...Poseable head & neck!...Compartment opens, carries mini beasts!

Act 2902, #2695 Heli-Capter
The Heli-Capter is a cool harrier/helicopter vertical lift-off type vehicle that comes with a small green jeep - from the tokusatsu Ninja Captor. The Heli-Capter shoots flame-shaped missiles and has a retractable car loader. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches wedges! Tail props turn! Wing propellers rotate for "vertical lift" Undercarriage folds down, transports Jeep!"

Act 2902, #2696 Grand Car
Another one of my favorite vehicles, the Grand Car is truly a bizarre one, borrowed from Kyodain. The car has racing slicks and chrome side pipes, reminiscent of a Hot Wheels drag car but with a head on the front (which has an opening and closing mouth with sharp teeth!). The front wheels are covered with "paw" fenders which shoot small red missiles. On top of the car is a wonderful rocket launcher, with a Bird shaped rocket (Red with eyes and clawed arm/wings!). The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Transports giant missile! Launches missile & rockets! Adjustable elevation! Jaws open!"

Act 2902, #2697 Sky Jet
Another one of my favorite vehicles, the Grand Car is the other twin from Kyodain and is truly a bizarre one. The car has racing slicks and chrome side pipes, reminiscent of a Hot Wheels drag car but with a head on the front (which has an opening and closing mouth with sharp teeth!). The front wheels are covered with "paw" fenders which shoot small red missiles. On top of the car is a wonderful rocket launcher, with a Bird shaped rocket (Red with eyes and clawed arm/wings!). The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Transports giant missile! Launches missile & rockets! Adjustable elevation! Jaws open!"

Act 2903, #2698 Jetcar
The Jetcar is one of my favorite vehicles, Raijin Go from Inazuman. It features an opening mouth with teeth that hides two missile launchers. This is one of the tougher vehicles to find. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches rockets! Wings tilt! Claws "grip"! Shark "mouth" opens!"

Act 2903, #2699 Dangard Launcher
The Dangard Launcher is actually Dangard's head as a plane. It comes complete with mini-pilot and small red rockets that fire from under-wing launchers. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Launches missiles! Cockpit opens, carries pilot, pivots forward!"

Act 2903, #2900 Rydoto
The Rydoto is from the series, Yusha Raideen. The jet carries Akira's two comrades who help against the Devil Empire monsters. Rydoto is a weird bug-shaped vehicle with extending side-claws and an opening mouth. It fires a small chrome "shuttle" or interceptor one one button press and extends "wings" with the other. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Cockpit launches like a missile! Forward hatch swings open! Grippers under wings extend!"

Act 2992 #2734 Liabe
The Liabe comes from the movie, "Message from Space" and is a heavy chrome plated space-ship like vehicle with large rear rockets and moving guns. When the center button is depressed, wings extend outward revealing buttons for ejecting 2 different red and blue gun-ships with fold out wings. One of the last toys released during the toy line, it is one of the most difficult to find. The box reads: "Die-cast metal parts!...Side pods fold out! Pods launch Space Fighters!...Vehicle rolls on wheels!...Aim "laser" cannons up & down."

No. 8996 Grandizer Saucer
Apparently the Mattel version of Popy GA-37 was only available for the European market. The deluxe Grandizer with Solar Saucer contained a simplified version of the Japanese boxed set. The figure was simplified in paint and stickers while the saucer lost the ability to fire rockets from the main body (the Japanese version could fire from both pods and the saucer body). Also, Grandizer comes with 2 fists rather than the four in the Popy box. Being a foreign box, the text is in English, French, German and Italian (Grendizer was airing in France as Goldorak in the late 70's, Goldrake in the early 80's and was the most popular show in its time-slot...thus toys were available in the some European markets well past their availabiltiy in the US). This German language box reads: "Launch fists!...Move his head!...Fists hold battle axes!...Bend his legs!" These pics were provided by long-time Shogun fan Ted Terranova. Check out Ted's site here. Thanks Ted!

U-Combine Combatra Vehicles

U-Combine Combatra Assembled with Accessories

One of the more interesting of the Shogun Warriors was the U-Combine Combatra. This is the Shogun Warrior equivalent of the Combattler V DX set by Popy. Sold separately or as a single complete set, Combatra could be assembled from five different vehicles: Battlejet (his head), Battle Clasher (his chest and arms), Battle Tank (his torso), Battle Marine (his legs) and Battle Craft (his feet). Together they would form a 12" figure, made mostly of die-cast metal with some plastic parts.

#2620 U-Combine Vehicle No. 1 Battle Jet
The Battle Jet is a jet plane that fires rockets and hides the head of Combatra (you can view the face from the underside." The box reads: "Die-cast metal! Rockets launch! Landing gear rotates!"

#2621 U-Combine Vehicle No. 2 Battle Clasher
This is kind of a strange vehicle when viewed out of context - basically a flyer with two fists that fire. It makes more sense as the torso and chest of Combatra!


#2622 U-Combine Vehicle No. 3 Battle Tank
The Battle Tank is a treaded vehicle with large extendible red pincers. On top are two yellow domes that fire small white missiles. There is a chrome radar dish that juts like a vertical tail from the rear. The box reads: "Die-cast metal! Pincers grab! Rockets launch!"

#2623  U-Combine Vehicle No. 4 Battle Marine
The Battle Marine is supposed to be a sea-worthy craft like a submarine, that fires torpedo-like missiles as well as rockets (there are wings and a tail for flight). Cool vehicle, it makes up the legs of Combatra.

#2624 U-Combine Vehicle No.  5 Battle Craft
Battle Craft are basically the feet of Combatra - each can be used as a separate vehicle or they can combine into a single unit. The box reads: "Die-cast metal! Rockets launch! Craft divides, makes two!"

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Anonymous said...

These are awesome! I never had any of these. I do recognize the Vertilift as one from the Himitsu Sentai Gorenger series (1977). It's interesting how much of the Super Sentai toys we were given prior to the 1992 airing of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Rusty said...

The Jet Car is from the live action tv series, Inazuman.