Ma.K.ZbV3000 or SF3D as it originally was called, is the brainchild of Japanese artist and modeller Kow Yokoyama who invented the Ma.K. universe back in the early 1980 with a series of article in modelling magazine Hobby Japan.
The articles were a mix of graphics drawn and painted by Yokoyama and models scratch built by him or fans.
The articles proved to be such a success that Nitto, later Modelkasten and a number of resin garage kit makers started to release the designs as kits. These kits are mostly out of production and are highly sought after and sometimes go for crazy prices on e-bay.
A number of limited runs resin kits licensed by Kow Yokoyama are marketed two times a year at Japan’s "Wonder-fest", but are mostly out of reach for Westerners unless you visit the "fest". Considering the age of the old Nitto kits, the quality holds up pretty nicely against more modern kits. They even contain a number of multimedia items like coil springs, photo etch and rubber tubing. Generally the kits are 1:20 scale, which makes it difficult to find accessories and figures for these kits. You can find a lot more on a number of websites and forums. Beware, a lot are in Japanese and Western fans are relatively few, but overall nice folks … :D
Here is an English forum where you also can find a lot of nice links: maschinenkrueger
I will deal with a couple of the old Nitto kits in a couple of other reviews, in this review I am going to focus on what hopefully can be seen as a resurrection of the universe by a release of a brand new styrene kit from Wave - the Luna Pawn.
What’s in the box - Parts breakdown:
All parts are newly designed and there doesn’t seem to be any reuse from the old Nitto kit of the subject.
The hoses and joints in soft vinyl compare with metal coil springs in the old Nitto kits.
The clear parts contains no less that 4 different visors, providing hope that this is only the first in a line of new kits from Wave.
Box art are a departure from the old style, and is probably a disappointment to many fans.
As mentioned, there are more parts than needed for the Luna pawn, so put together with the fact that you get no less than 4 visors, it takes no genius to foresee further kits.
Details, fit and looks:
I built this kit shortly after it came out, and one of the more frustrating things is, that it can be built without any glue - snap-kit type of kit, which more or less brands it like a toy. But on the other hand, the details, fits and look gives more perspective, and it really is a nice and well-detailed little kit, with no flash, sink marks or other imperfection marring the finish.
This is a kit that you, out of the box, can slap together in less than an hour not counting paint and decals.
It also provides a nice base for improvements, even if it looks fine OTB. One of the most noticeable areas that can be improved is the vinyl joints or links in the arms and legs. Many Ma.K. fans will sculpt these joints in putty like miliput or magic sculpt to improve the looks. Additional detailing - wires, bolts etc. is also easy considering the scale.
One of the things that distinguish this kit from the older Nitto kits is the pose-ability before fixing the joints - this kit is very movable. The practice seen on older kits with replacing joints with solder wire etc. to make them more pose-able, really isn’t necessary on this kit.
Talking about accuracy when dealing with Sci-fi kits originating from drawings in a 30 year old modelling magazine can seem quite funny, but these kits are supposed to be armoured suits to fit a human being, and one thing that is noticeable on this kit, is that it’s rather tall, or to be precise, very long legged (super model?) - also compared to the original drawings and the earlier kits this new kit is not that well proportioned. That really is a pity, because apart from the snap-together thing, this kit is quite nice and well detailed with a good fit.
In many ways this is a nice little kit and a cheap introduction to the Ma.K. universe, but for hardcore fans the snap-kit feeling and the too long legs will probably be a disappointment.
Molding quality and fit are on par with most other modern kits. For many these could prove a nice diversion for their normal line of modelling.