|Last time we dug into Daikyou, and before that, moseyed through Marushin.|
Today we have a couple of obscure oddballs from an otherwise very well-known soft vinyl company: Nitto [日東]. Nitto is short for Nitto Kagakukyouzai [日東科学教材], or Japan Science Educational Materials. Reputedly an education company that also produced plastic models, Nitto acquired the rights to certain Daiei properties (e.g., Gamera and Yokai Wars) and produced them in soft vinyl form in the late 60s and early 70s.* Around the late 70s, Nitto developed the Kawada series of vinyls as a competing line for Popy's popy-lar Kingzaurus toys.
|And it appears that Nitto dabbled a bit in dinos as well. I was aware of the Tyrannosaurus (identified as a Nitto toy from the personal knowledge of another collector), but not the Brontosaurus. The Brontosaurus was brought to my attention via a Japanese collector's website, but the site's author mistakenly believed the production company's name was "Kawada" (because of Nitto's later-era toy line). So it was entirely by accident that I turned up an auction for the Brontosaurus on a recent auction scouring. I placed my bid request with my agent and waited for a few days. On the morning that the auction ended, I checked my bid... but the agent forgot to bid! Worse yet- the auction went for well below my maximum bid. >:(|
But that dark cloud had a silver lining that would not emerge for a few months. Two lots of dinosaur vinyls turned up at auction with rather low-key titles, each including one of the Nitto dinosaur vinyls (the other items in each lot were fairly low-value JP and CN dino toys). I was able to win both of them for barely anything. Disregarding the fact that I had to accept about 3 lbs. of random toys to get them, I was able to grab both Nitto dinos in one swoop!
|So how do we know that both dino vinyls were made by Nitto? Well, the original Japanese website that identified them as made by 'Kawada' happened to have a photograph of a bagged example of the Brontosaurus. It was very blurry, but the header clearly displayed the Nitto logo: a half blue, half red circle. Upon further comparison of the Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus, the sculpting and printing style of the foot stamps show great similarity. Therefore, I feel comfortable in concluding that Nitto did indeed make both the Tyrannosaurus and Brontosaurus. Whether there are others in the line, who can say...?|
|The most distinctive characteristic of the Nitto dinosaurs is their incredibly textured sculpting. Typical vintage dinosaur or kaiju vinyls may vaguely gesture at natural texturing with lumpy limbs, rough fur or rocky horns and shells; however, the Nitto dinos are sculpted to reflect flaps in their hide and the underlying musculature. The detail is really quite amazing. The sculpted vein that runs down the belly of the Tyrannosaurus and the neck of the Brontosaurus is, in fact, the feature shared by the two toys that indicates a common maker.|
While their product offerings were limited in the dinosaur realm, these two examples are some of the most realistic dinosaur vinyls that you will find. Yes, those are three fingers on that Tyrannosaurus hand.
*Thanks to Mark K of the Skullbrain forum for the history lesson on Nitto.