Super Arrow One of my earliest encounters with the fantastic world of Japan SF was also one of the most memorable.
In the glorious summer of 1968, a friend told me about a bunch of "weird space models" at a local department store, so I biked over there asap and discovered a small pile of white boxes with super cool artwork on the tops, showing some rather bizarre spaceships.
Upon further inspection, I discovered that there were three different models, all from a company called Paramount, which I had never heard of before. The three models were: Atomic Astro Boat, Planetoid Echo 7, and Orbital Ship Super Arrow.
The Astro Boat artwork was a fuzzy photograph, but the other two featured beautiful illustrations of the futuristic rockets in flight. The kits sold for 1.50 each, and had wind-up motors to make them run, something I thought extremely cool at the time.
I bought all three and brought them home, but for reasons unknown, the first one I opened was the Super Arrow. To say I was disappointed in the kit inside would be an understatement: the illustration showed a sleek, streamlined rocketship with tones of detail, whereas the kit looked like a squat, goofy, very toylike space ship, with giant rubber wheels sticking out of the bottom to boot.
I built the kit anyways, and thought it kind of cool when assembled, but the experience was sobering to me, my first experience with Japan SF often not matching their cover art to any reasonable degree. Believe it or not, I purchased the Super Arrow kit again, maybe hoping that the kit inside would be better this time, but of course it wasn't.
Fast forward 45 years, and I managed to snag a fairly intact kit of Orbital Ship Super Arrow on ebay and decided to build it as snappy as I could. I even fashioned primitive jet grills for the side rocket tubes, and tried to paint the canopy frame as close to that shown on the cover art. As goofy and homely as it is, there is something about the Super Arrow which I never forgot.
Also recently, I stumbled onto a Character Age magazine from Japan, and discovered that all three of these primitive little spaceships were amongst the very first wave of Japan SF, produced in either 1966 or 1967 by Midori, a big source of Japan SF kits.
The other two in the series are also interesting. The Astro Boat is a craft from the kaiju eiga classic, The X From Outer Space, and the Echo 7 was a design which found its way also into several pre-assembled space toys at the time.
I built and appreciated both of them, but the goofy little Super Arrow was and is still my personal favorite.