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Popy/Bandaï • Chogokin Series

Manufacturer: Popy • Released: 1974-1983

Perhaps Popy’s most enduring legacy, the “Chogokin” (named after a fictional “super alloy” from the animated Mazinger Z series) diecast metal “action figures” caused a sensation when first released in Japan. The very first entry in the series, the GA-01 Mazinger Z, was a 4.5 inch figure that featured a zinc alloy torso, shoulders, and legs, with spring-actuated firing fists and an injection molded plastic head. At the time, diecast metal was mainly used for vehicular toys such as cars and airplanes, and there was some worry that a figural diecast toy would not sell. It proved a massive hit, establishing the Chogokin as the cutting edge of Japanese character toys. Popy would then adapt a number of robots from a slew of Anime shows, including Raideen, Getter Robo, Tetsujin 28, Dangard and Daimos. In 1979, the code sequence switched from “GA” to “GB” after 99 figures, and the toys became more complex. A number of figures, such as Godmarz, Golion and Dairugger XV were available in multiple versions – typically an “ST” version of around 5-6 inches, and then a DX version around twice the size that had additional features such as separating or transforming into vehicles. Robots adapted in this range also included those from Gold Lightan, Goggle V, Ulysses 31 and Dynaman.

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