"Central Mokei, Koga, Kawai, Niko & Sanko"
"Marusan, UPC, Eldon, Fuji"
"Sanwa Plastic"

Those old Japanese manufacturers has released many various kits in the small scale, some were based on the same line of kits and some were different

The kits below are in the scale range from 1/70 until 1/80 - All kits are "Out of Production"

Information by: Katsumi Otsuka.

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Click on the Pictures


Small Scale kits by " - CENTRAL MOKEI - KOGA - KAWAI - NIKO & Sanko" - "IMAI" - "NORSHIN" - "MARUSAN" - "UPC" - "ELDON" - "FUJI" - "AURORA" - "SHARP" - "SANWA" - "ODAKA"

Various Japanese manufacturors of kits and toys have made releases over the years, espesially in the sixties, seventies and eighties of the previous century. Most of these kits were actually nothing more than simple toys, but it is the brilliant box art in Japanese full packed action style that makes them interesting and also collectible !!

(Japanese boxart from the sixties and seventies has several distinct features : action, firing guns, soldiers present and many times an aircraft or helicopter is in the sky somewhere.)


The Japanese firms Central Mokei, KOGA, KAWAI and earlier NIKO produced a line of clockwork kits, although they are better qualified as toys. NIKO realeased four in the 70/80's and KAWAI released eight in the 90's but the dates are hard to confirm as Japanes manufacturors seldom put discernable dates on their kits.

The NIKO kits had kitnumbers FTM 1 to 4 and state the scale to be 1/80. The KAWAI kits were numbered 1 to 8 and state the scale to be 1/88...

These kit were made-up of a few parts and a friction motor. Instructions were printed inside the box top. Most kits share a common running gear...... they are truly toys.....but the boxartwork is breathtaking !!! (See KAWAI/NIKO pictures).


Imai or "Imai Kagaku" was one of the old Japanese plastic model manufacturer. It started to produce plastic model kits in 1960 and ended in 2002. Imai released some small scale tank models in 1963. Scales of them are not certain, but they seem to be around HO scale.

Mametan (pea tank) series

- No.1 M-24 Chaffee
- No.2 M-41 Walker Bulldog
- No.3 M-4 Sherman
- No.4 Japanese Type 61 tank
- No.5 Japanese Type 60 S.P.G.

Midget Remote Control series

- No.1 M-24 Chaffee
- No.2 M-41 Walker Bulldog
- No.3 M-4 Sherman
- No.4 Japanese Type 61 tank

Snap-assemble series

In 1980 Imai released 16 small size snap-assemble plastic model kits. They were airplanes, warships, cars and military vehicles. There was 1/72 scale S-model tank (Strv.103) among them. This model was rereleased some times with different package and kit number.

- B-980 S-Model tank (Big Mech. Series/Super Machine Collection series No.6)
- B-2320 S-Model tank (Pocket Mech. Series No.7)
- 42320 S-Model tank
- 42447 S.tank (1/72) and Schwimmwagen (1/32) set


Norshin is a famous Japanese brand of headache medications. Norshin had distributed various premiums to the customers. There were four miniscale tank models among them. They were the same as Niko's kits buth with friction motor.

Norshin is not a modelmaker. But a "Pharmaceutical company" which used small scale kits of few brands (Central, Sharp, Otaki, Doyusha, etc.) and only printed very similar boxes with Norshin label (see attached pictures). These kits were distributed free of charge for the promotion of headache medicine Norshin (Arakawa Chotaro Gakuhin Co., Ltd.). I think mini tanks are already Niko (first issue with wind-up motor), Central had a different box pictures and assemble instructions - Note: Mark Zandy


Marusan is known as the first Japanese plastic model manufacturer. In 1965 Marusan made 27 HO scale military models. They were copies of early Roco/Peetzy models. Marusan sold these models in Japan under its own brand besides exported them to the US by OEM.
In late 1960s American model company UPC imported the Marusan products and sold them in the US under UPC brand.
In 1968 American toy company Eldon also imported 24 of Marusan military models along with aircraft models and sold them in the US under its brand "Eldon Match Kit".

Marusan initially released these models in clear plastic case, and rereleased in "Match Kit" style later.

Marusan went bankrupt in late 1968 and Fuji Hobby was founded by some former Marusan employees the next year. In early 1970s Fuji Hobby rereleased twelve former Marusan HO scale military models.


UPC is short for "Universal Powermaster Corporation" and was importing and reselling mainly Japanese kits in the sixties and seventies. Although mainly " sold in America many found their way to europe, again imported by RIKO (Richard Kohnstamm). Enthousiasts will recall all those great adds in the Airfix Magazines...
Armorwise well known for their (rare and sought after) 1/35 and espessially their 1/40 kits they also produced a series of HO scale Kits. These were re (re-re-re)isues of old ROCO and Roskopf kits but the moulding quality was often so bad the vehicle couldn't be recognized..... This was made up for by beautiful box-artwork in brilliant Japanese style : all guns always firing, bright colors and loads of action !!
Only one small kit catalogue is known to me from 1969 and it includes the whole HO armor series. The rest of this color catalogue is a mouthwatering collection of all types and scales of kits for the vintage kit lover !


The Japanese firm ELDON consist from around 1960 have released the same kits from UPC under his own label - (24 kits in the 1/87 scale)


FUJI (something else than FUJIMI !!) is also a Japanese manufacturor which has released serveral kits, amongst them a few HO scale re-releases of old ROCO or ROSKOPF kits. The moulding is so bad the original cannot be identified... They had verry dull boxart and no clear kitnumbers, only an art. no. which for the 2.5 t REO Truck is : 254-50.
They may be interesting as curiousity for the HO Armor collector. No idea from what date the are. (see FUJI pictures)


SHARP, one of those mega big Japanese companies, also made a few toylike kits, probably in the verry early seventies. There were four individual kits and two combination kits which included either the first two- or the second two kits together. The boxes state them to be "1/70 authentic scale", but they look absolutely horrible !! They also had a wind-up motor and the one kitnumber known to me is : TSM-T1-100 for a tank that is supposed to be a Crusader.....

The nice boxart makes up for all this pain and the first two- and second two kits boxart can be combined to make one picture, the same that is shown on the combination kits.
E-bay sellings show them to be collectible as vintage kits... (See SHARP pictures). IMAI has at one time produced a Swedish S-Tank or StrV. in approximately 1/72 scale.


Sanwa is a very old Japanese kit manufacturor and made some Armor kits, possibly before 1960 !! These were re-issues of ancient Roskopf or ROCO kits. The box states HO scale. The names of the kits made it hard to identify the contents. I know of four kits of which I own one and have building instructions of another. The kit box size was extremely small but contained all kit parts in a plastic bag, decals and a tube of glue. (There are actually people who only collect these old plastic kit glues....!). The pictured m-59 kit box will easily fit eight times in a Dragon SdKfz 251 kitbox ! They are rare and verry collectible as early vintage Japanese kits. (See SANWA pictures)


Central Mokei is also a old Japanese kit manufacturor and released some same Armor kits, before 1960 !! These were same kits as Niko label

CENTRAL MOKEI - (active from 1969 up to 1972)

kawai/centralmokei/central-logo.jpg kawai/centralmokei/m48.jpg kawai/centralmokei/m482.jpg kawai/centralmokei/m60.jpg kawai/centralmokei/tiger1.jpg kawai/centralmokei/tiger1.jpg kawai/centralmokei/m47.jpg

KOGA - 1/80 Scale - (Koga ex-Central Mokei 1971-72.)

Kit 1 - M48 Patton


Kit 2 - M60 Cheyenne

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Kit 3 - Tiger1


Kit 4 - M47 Patton


KAWAI - 1/88 Scale - (Kawai established in 1973)

Kit 1 - M48 Patton


Kit 2 - M60 Cheyenne


Kit 3 - Tiger I


Kit 4 - M47 Patton

This kit was initially released by Central in 1971. Koga, Niko and Sanko reissued this kit with or without clockwork motor. Kawai acquired the molds in the early 1980s.

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Kit 5 - Tiger II Kingtiger

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Kit 6 - Japanese Type 74

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Kit 7 - Leopard


Kit 8 - Panther

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NIKO - 1/80 Scale - (Active from early 70s - they already got this moulds on permanent basis after Central Mokei bankruptcy (and Koga too) 1972 - early 80s)

1 - First issue was with wind-up motor, 50 yen. Box and instruction are Niko, inside ex-Central, but its Niko already, Central disappears.
2 - Box top is the same (‘wing up motor’), new instruction on a box – NO MOTOR and they add small plastic wheels.
3 - New box top – ‘No cement required’, no motor.
4 - New box, motor plus additional sprue with pole and barrels. Price is 100 yen.
5 - Prices appears because of inflation in Japan at that time, it was difficult to keep price 50 yen with motor. - Mark Zandy

Released kits

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Kit 1 - M48

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Kit 2 - M-60

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Kit 3 - Tiger I

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Kit 4 - M-47

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Snap fit / No cement required

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IMAI Kagaku - (around HO scale)


Kit 02 - M41

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Kit 04 - M41

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Kit 01 - M24

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Kit 02 - M24

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Kit 04 - Type 61

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kit B980 - s-model

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kit STRV-103


kit B2320 - s-model

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Combination Set Imai S-Tank Hobby Collection

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kit 42447 - S-model with 1/32 scale schwimwagen


Norshin - 1/80 Scale - (Norshin – ex-Koga, ex-Central (box pictures has Koga proportion) 1971-7).

Norshin has released same kits as NIKO but now with friction motor!

Released kits

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Kit ? - M47

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Kit ? - M48

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Kit ? - M60

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Kit ? - Tiger 1

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MARUSAN - 1/87 Scale - (HO)

Kit numbers of Marusan (initial), UPC, Eldon, Fuji Hobby are as follows.

Kit/Vehicle Marusan UPC Eldon Fuji Hobby
M38A1 Jeep8703032031253
M-4 Sherman8713021001251
M-40 Self-Propelled 155mm8723017008-
M-47 General Patton873301932-
M-48 General Patton8743016006252
M-52 Self-Propelled Howitzer8753015033-
U.S. 2 1/2 Ton Truck 6x68763013002-
U.S. 2 1/2 Ton Personnel Truck8773014005254
M1A3 120mm Anti-Aircraft Gun878302234255
M2A1 8 inch Howitzer8793037007-
Honest John Rocket8803035010-
155mm Gun M2 Long Tom881303311256
German 20mm AA Gun Wirbelwind882302735260
Half-Track Quad AA Gun8833031--
German AA Gun 37mm Mobelwagen8843023036-
Rocket Carrier8853020024-
PzKpfw IV F18863024037-
PzKpfw IV F28873025--
PzKpfw IV H8883026038259
Armored Car 234/18893012039-
Armored Car 234/28903011003261
88mm Anti-Aircraft8913030009262
Sound Detector8923029040-
Munition Carrier8933028041-
Tiger II8953036042257
U.S. Combat soldiers - (copy of Roco)8963034--


Catalogue History

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Kit 870 - M38A1 Jeep

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Kit 872 - M-40 Self-Propelled 155mm

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Other Box-layout

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Kit 874 - M48 Patton

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Kit 875 - M52 SPG

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Kit 876 - U.S. 2 1/2 Ton Truck 6x6

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Kit 877 - Army Truck

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Kit 878 - M1A3 120mm Anti-Aircraft Gun

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Kit 879 - 200mm Long Tom

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Kit 881 - 155mm Long Tom

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Kit 882 - German 20mm AA Gun Wirbelwind

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Kit 884 - German AA Gun 37mm Mobelwagen

kawai/marusan/884/01.jpg kawai/marusan/884/02.jpg kawai/marusan/884/03.jpg kawai/marusan/884/04.jpg kawai/marusan/884/05.jpg kawai/marusan/884/06.jpg kawai/marusan/884/07.jpg

Kit 887 - PzKpfw IV F2

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Kit 888 - PzKpfw IV Ausf. H

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Kit 889 - Armoured Car SdKfz. 234/3 8-Wheeler

kawai/marusan/889/01.jpg kawai/marusan/889/02.jpg kawai/marusan/889/03.jpg kawai/marusan/889/04.jpg

Kit 890 - Armored Car 234/2

kawai/marusan/890/01.jpg kawai/marusan/890/02.jpg kawai/marusan/890/03.jpg kawai/marusan/890/04.jpg kawai/marusan/890/05.jpg kawai/marusan/890/06.jpg kawai/marusan/890/07.jpg

Kit 892 - SWS with Sound Detector

kawai/marusan/892/01.jpg kawai/marusan/892/02.jpg kawai/marusan/892/03.jpg kawai/marusan/892/04.jpg kawai/marusan/892/05.jpg kawai/marusan/892/06.jpg kawai/marusan/892/07.jpg

Kit 894 - Panther

kawai/marusan/894/01.jpg kawai/marusan/894/02.jpg kawai/marusan/894/03.jpg kawai/marusan/894/04.jpg kawai/marusan/894/05.jpg kawai/marusan/894/06.jpg kawai/marusan/894/07.jpg

Kit 895 - Tiger II

kawai/marusan/895/01.jpg kawai/marusan/895/02.jpg kawai/marusan/895/03.jpg kawai/marusan/895/04.jpg kawai/marusan/895/05.jpg kawai/marusan/895/06.jpg kawai/marusan/895/07.jpg

Kit 896 - U.S. Combat Soldiers - (copy of Roco "US Infantry" - picture 6)

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Kit 999 - Tobruk - (combination set - contains 9 kits)

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UPC - "Universal Powermaster Corporation" - 1/87 Scale (HO)

Most 1/87 UPC items are copies from Roco and/or Roskopf

Catalogue 1969

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Boxes with kitnumbers

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Kit 3011 - Armoured Car 234/2


Kit 3012 - Armoured Car 234/1

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Kit 3013 - US 2.5 ton truck 6x6


Kit 3014 - Us 2.5 ton truck

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Kit 3015 - Selfpropelled Howitzer

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Kit 3016 - General Patton M48

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Kit 3017 - Selfpropelled 155mm

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Kit 3018 - Panther


Kit 3019 - General Patton M47

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Kit 3020 - SWS Armoured with Rockets


Kit 3021 - Sherman M4

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Kit 3022 - 120mm Anti Aircraft


Kit 3023 - Pz.IV Mobelwagen with 37mm AA


Kit 3024 - Pz. IV Ausf. F1

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Kit 3025 - Pz. IV Ausf. F2
Kit 3026 - Pz. IV Ausf. H

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Kit 3027 - Wirbelwind
Kit 3028 - SWS Munition Carrier

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Kit 3029 - SWS Sound detector

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Kit 3030 - 88mm AA Carrier


Kit 3031 - SWS with 4x20mm AA
Kit 3032 - Jeep M38A1

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Kit 3033 - 155mm Long Tom M2

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Kit 3034 - US Soldiers - (copy of Roco "US Infantry")

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Kit 3035 - Honest John Rocket


Kit 3036 - Tiger 2

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Kit 3037 - 8 inch howitzer


ELDON - 1/87 Scale - (HO)

In 1968 American toy company Eldon also imported 24 of Marusan military models along with aircraft models and sold them in the US under its brand "Eldon Match Kit".

Catalogue History

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Kit 01 - 150mm Long Tom

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Kit 02 - US 2.5 ton truck


Kit 03 - Sherman


Kit 04 - Panther

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Kit 05 - Personel Carrier

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Kit 06 - 8-wheeler

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Kit 07 - 200mm Howitzer

kawai/eldon/07/01.jpg kawai/eldon/07/02.jpg

Kit 08 - M40 155mm GMC

kawai/eldon/08/01.jpg kawai/eldon/08/02.jpg

Kit 10 - Honest John Rocket Launcher

kawai/eldon/10/01.jpg kawai/eldon/10/02.jpg kawai/eldon/10/03.jpg kawai/eldon/10/04.jpg kawai/eldon/10/05.jpg

Kit 24 - SWS Radar Rocket Launcher


Kit 31 - M38A1 Jeep

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Kit 33 - M52 SPG Howitzer

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Kit 34 - M1A3 120mm Anti-Aircraft Gun


Kit 35 - Pz.IV - Quad gun 20mm

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Kit 36 - Pz. IV Mobelwagen 37mm AA gun

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FUJI Hobby - 1/87 Scale - (HO)

Marusan went bankrupt in late 1968 and Fuji Hobby was founded by some former Marusan employees the next year. In early 1970s Fuji Hobby rereleased twelve former Marusan HO scale military models.

Kit 01 - 2.5 ton personal truck

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Kit 02 - Sherman M4

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Kit 03 - M-48 Patton

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Kit 04 - Flak 88mm

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Kit 05 - 155mm Long Tom

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Kit 06 - M38 A1 Jeep

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Kit 07 - Panther

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Kit 08 - sdKfz. 234 Puma 8 wheeler

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Kit 09 - Pz. IV Wirbelwind

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Kit 10 - King Tiger - Tiger II

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Aurora released two diorama sets "Anzio Beach" and "Rat Patrol" in late 1960s. Each contained some Roco-like HO scale military models in kit form. Aurora also released these military kits as pre-assembled models on blistercards.

kit 339 - Anzio Beach - contains: Sherman, Patton, Panther, Wirbelwind, LCT and Jeep with soldiers and battlefield scenery

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kit 340 - Rat Patrol - contains: Panther, PzKpfw IV and 2 Rat Patrol Jeeps with soldiers and battlefield scenery

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6 Military Midgets in HO scale

U.S. "Patton" Tank

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U.S. M-4 "Sherman" Tank

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German "Panther" Tank

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German "Panzer" Tank (PzKpfw IV)

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German "A.A." Tank (Wirbelwind)

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* Russian "Stalin" Tank

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Set of six pre-assembled models


SHARP - 1/70 Scale

Japanese plastic model manufacturer Sharp (Tokyo Sharp Mokei or TSM) was a different company from current large electronics device manufacturer. It started the business in mid 1960s and stopped in early 1980s. Sharp released eight 1:70 scale tank kits in early 1970s. The boxart and kit numbers were varied.----- (info Otsuka Katsumi)

T1 Crusader
T2 M24 Chaffee
T3 T92 Destroyer
T4 M42 Duster
T5 Stalin
T6 Long Tom (M107)
T7 M46 Patton
T8 M4 Sherman

There were also two combination kits.
No.1 Crusader & M24
No.2 T92 & M42


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Kit T1 - Crusader

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Kit T2 - M24 Chaffee

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Kit T3 - T92 Destroyer

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Kit T4 - M42 Duster

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Kit T6 - Long Tom (M107)

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SHARP - Combination kits

No.1 M24 Chaffee & T1 Crusader (double pack)

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No.2 T92 & M42 (double pack)

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SANKO Plastic - 1/80 Scale - (established in 1977)

Sanko was another company which released ex-NIKO 1/80 scale Tanks. The models were released in bag.

all released kits


Kit 01 - M60 Cheyenne

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Kit 02 - M48 Patton

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Kit 03 - Tiger 1

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Kit 04 - M47 Patton

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SANWA Plastic - 1/87 Scale

Sanwa is one of the initial Japanese plastic model manufacturers. From 1955 - 1960, it released about twenty HO scale military models. They are very tinny and some of them are similar to Roco/Peetzy models, but others are not. ----- (info Otsuka Katsumi)

M Series
205 - No.1 M-41 Walker Bulldog
206 - No.2 M-47 Patton
207 - No.3 M-48 Patton
208 - No.4 M-59 APC
209 - No.5 T-98 (M52 105mm SPG)
213 - No.6 M-7 Priest
214 - No.7 M-4 Sherman
215 - No.8 M-43 8 inch SPG
216 - No.9 T-97 (M53 155mm SPG)
217 - No.10 Jeep - (Box scale?)
225 - M-20 Scout Car - (Box scale?)
226 - MK-4 (LVT-4)
227 - M-56 Scorpion - (Box scale?)
228 - M-6 High-Speed Tractor
229 - T-141 (M42 Duster)
??? - MK-111 Half Track
??? - 37mm Gun - (Box scale?)
??? - Land Rover - (Box scale?)
??? - M-160 Armored Car (FV603 Saracen)

233 or 262 - Stalin (1/76?)
234 - T34
245 or 268 - Tiger I - (T.K.K.no 25)


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Kit 205 - M-41 Walker Bulldog

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Kit 206 - M47 Patton

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Kit 207 - M48 Patton

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Kit 208 - M59

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Kit 209 - T-98 (M52 105mm SPG)

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Kit 213 - M7 Priest

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Kit 214 - M4 Sherman

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Kit 215 - M43

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Kit 216 - T97

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Kit 217 - Jeep

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Kit 225 - M-20 Scoutcar

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Kit 226 - LVT-4

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Kit 227 - M56

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Kit 228 - M6 Hi Speed Tractor

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Kit 229 - T-141 (M42 Duster)

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Kit 423 - 37mm gun


Kit ? - Landrover


Kit ? - M-160 Armored Car (FV603 Saracen)

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Kits with electric motor

Kit 233 or 262 - Jozef Stalin Tank - (Note: see kitnames on the boxes - "Sterin" and "Monster M-63")

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Sanwa's Stalin was around 1/76 size small model, but it could run with electric motor. It was rereleased as fictional "M-63 Monster" later. Kit number of "Monster" is 262....... Katsumi

Kit 245 or 268 - Tiger I

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ODAKA (ODK) - Not in Scale

"Odaka Sangyo" (also called ODK from its logo) was an old Japanese model manufacturer. It produced plastic models from early 1960s to late 1970s. Like other Japanese model manufacturers, Odaka also produced several small toy-like military models with friction or clockwork motor in mid 1960s. Scales were not provided on box or catalog, but M4 Sherman is around 1/72 scale in length and around 1/60 scale in width!?

Kit numbers are as follows.

T1 Type 60 106mm SPG
T2 M-19 40mm SPAAG
T3 M-24 Chaffee
T4 M-41 Walker Bulldog
OT-1 M-4 Sherman
OT-2 A.M.X.30
OT-3 Type 61

catalogue and built kit T1, T3 and T4

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Kit T1 - Type 60 106mm SPG

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Kit T4 - M41 Walker Bulldog

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Kit OT-1 - M-4 Sherman
picture 6 - hull in comparison with Airfix 1/76

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Kit OT-2 - AMX-30

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Kit OT-4 - Tiger II

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Unknow Label - (Ex NIKO 1/80 scale)

Kit 01 - M60 Patton

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Kit 03 - M47 Patton

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