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Rancor Monster Unlicensed Soft Vinyl Model Kit by Ozu Shop (Japan)

April 4, 2012

I believe I saw one of these in assembled and painted form at a hobby shop in Tokyo a couple of years ago, but I don’t have a clear memory of it. All I recall is that it was made of soft vinyl (known as “sofubi” in Japan) and that it was more expensive than I wanted to spend. I’ve always had it in the back of my mind, though, and have occasionally tried to find more information about it, but with little success. However, recently I was able to find a listing for it at on online model store in the US, and was pleasantly surprised to find that they actually had one in stock.

I don’t know exactly when this was made, but it was certainly a number of years ago — possibly even around the time the original films came out. The label reads “ランカーモンスター” (Rancor Monster) on the front, and “made in KOREA” on the back (along with the characters for “outer space”). However, I have my doubts that it was actually made in Korea. I was able to find something written by a Japanese hobbyist about this kit, and he said that he thought the maker of the kit (Ozu Shop, which is a Japanese model shop) was probably trying to make the kit seem more like kits available at the time from Billiken Shokai, and just put the “made in KOREA” disclaimer on it to make it seem more authentic. It does seem odd that a small Japanese model shop would go to the trouble of contracting with a foreign factory to make something like this, but I don’t know for sure.

As I said earlier, the kit is made of soft vinyl. And when I say soft, I mean soft. All of the parts are quite rubbery and easy to bend or squish. The AMT/ERTL rancor model kit that I posted about a while back is also made of vinyl, but a much harder type that holds details much better — as good or better as any resin kit. This one feels like a cheap vinyl toy, and the level of detail is really quite low. As you can see above, it comes in 8 pieces that need to be trimmed and adjusted a bit in order to assemble the kit.

There’s no mention of a manufacturer on the package, but when you open it up you can see the instruction page, which mentions that it’s from Ozu Shop. Since it’s an unlicensed kit, there are no copyright dates, which are often helpful in dating things, but there are also no web or email addresses in the contact info, which leads me to believe that it’s rather old. The illustrations are rather crude and rushed looking, but I did like the little manga comic they included, which I have translated below. (“Kun” is the suffix traditionally added to boys’ names in Japan, so you might translate the title as something like “Star Wars Guy.”)

Here is the kit assembled. It measures about 6″ from his feet to the top of his back, but the large arms make the model seem quite a bit bigger than you might expect. I plan to just leave him unpainted, for a couple of reasons. I already have several painted rancor monsters, and the detail on this is low enough that I’m not sure it would look that great when painted. Plus, you apparently need special paint for soft vinyl, and I don’t plan to get any. And in the end, I think leaving it unpainted is more interesting. As I already have most, if not all, of the commercially available toys, statues and figures, I’m enjoying finding obscure things like this.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    April 4, 2012 8:22 pm

    That’s actually pretty neat.

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