Its shaping up into another great year for SWORD, this time in 2009 we saw the elusive Nuclear Ferry gracing the blog and here we have another scoop from the far east. Courtesy of our resident coolhunter and benefactor Terry, we have the actual kit of the Maruman Probe Force 1.
Previously spotted at auction in a fleeting glimpse last year, Terry managed to lay hands on an actual copy of this super rare kit. Near mint in box, the kit is more accurately described as a buildable toy and mirrors its larger C21 cousin almost exactly. Apart from the different box art and slight cosmetic differences, it is basically a smaller version of the PF1 we all know. Made by Maruman, presumably a company based in Osaka, the kit came bagged complete with glue, decals and friction motor. Its almost impossible to date the kit, as it is pristine. The slightly immature style of packaging is hard to place, but a best guess would place it contemporary with the Century 21 toy - or possibly earlier. This is a definite chicken and egg scenario - did this kit give rise to the toy, or was the toy lifted from the kit ? Another strange clue is the inclusion of stickers with 'SB' on them - does this refer to the Space Bird series of toys ?
Either way, it is a gloriously beautiful toy as you can see from the photos. Simple construction is held in place with slot headed screws and the decals are self adhesive as opposed to waterslide. Even the wheel and moulding arrangement echoes the C21 toy. A thing of wonder.
On the last picture you can see the comparative scale compared to the remains of my very first Project Sword toy, the PF1 itself.