The Maschinen Krieger Phenomenon

I recently wrote a message board post in response to a review of a Ma.K. kit posted there. Just for fun, I’ve turned it into a blog entry as general background information on Maschinen Krieger…

For those of you that may be interested in such things, here’s a little more background information on the model line from today’s kit review [on].

S.F.3.D. was the original name of a series of articles that appeared in Hobby Japan magazine in the early to mid 80’s. Those articles spawned a model line by Nitto. All of this was based on the design work of Kow Yokoyama–who was, at the time, an accomplished illustrator and military modeler.

Ten years later, after some copyright disputes were settled, the line of kits was again released by Nitto in 1998 as Maschinen Krieger ZVB3000 (commonly referred to as Ma.K.). I don’t believe that quite all of the original S.F.3.D. releases made it out under the new line, but most did at least.

Since then, I believe that Nitto has pretty-well fallen out of existence. There are no new Nitto kits and it’s been nearly a year since I’ve seen any online retailers stock "new" re-releases. However, in December 2006, Wave started issuing newly tooled Ma.K. kits. At this point, they’ve released three kits, with two more scheduled by the end of 2008. Their goal is to eventually re-release the entire original Ma.K. line, but it would seem they’re doing a lot of variants along the way.

Earlier this year, at the Nurenburg Toy Fair, Hasegawa announced that they, too, would begin issuing Ma.K. kits–by the end of 2008 ( click here for the annoucement). And the fans rejoiced.

These kits have endured a niche popularity with sci-fi and non sci-fi builders for 25 years now. Unlike a lot of Japanese science fiction "mech" kits, they’ve never had any animated series based off them–just highly original builds by Kow Yokoyama. He used everything from ping pong balls to fake fingernails to robotic vacuum cleaners–along with a bottomless well of donor kits–to bring his designs to life. He’s also inspired a global following of some very hardcore fans. These fans have created a number of his sketches and builds (that were never released as kits) in resin and plastic, and many find their way to be licensed and sold in extremely limited quantities at the twice-yearly WonderFest held in Japan.

So why are they so popular? They’re retro. They’re cool. They were some of the first multimedia kits on the market. And, from my own personal experience, they’ve been some of the most challenging and rewarding kits I’ve ever worked on.

I’ve got a review of a Heinrich build all written up and ready to submit, but I need to snap some decent pictures. Hopefully, I’ll get that done one of these days. And, for the record, the kit in today’s review was a "S.A.F.S".

For more information on these kits, I’d highly recommend visiting Jason Eaton’s comprehensive "Roboterkampf" site:


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