Shinsei Gulf-Mirage

Shinsei is somewhat of a mystery to me, as I’ll explain below (at some length). This Gulf-Mirage is the first Shinsei that I’ve added to my collection. I found it at an estate sale along with a Matchbox Speed Kings Fire Control Range Rover. Though this 1:39 scale race car has a worn-out pull-pack motor, some playwear, and is missing the roll cage, I still consider it a nice find. It’s based on the Mirage GR7 race car which was built by J.W. Automotive Engineering in England in 1974.

Shinsei | Mini Power | #402 Gulf-Mirage | metallic grey with yellow wing, racing stickers, pull-back motor | made in Japan | 1:39

Globaldiecastdirect.com refers to Shinsei as a Japanese company known for accurately detailed models. It refers to the company in the past tense and says that the models are hard to find.

A page on HobbyTalk.com describes Shinsei as a Japanese company that dates back to the 1960s. Their products were distributed in the U.S. by Cox Hobbies in California.

Ebay is populated with Shinsei models. Some of these carry the Cox logo, while others show a dolphin logo and are in packages that read “Manufactured by Shinsei Kogyo Co. LTD, Tokyo, Japan”. An internet search for Shinsei Kogyo brings up a website for a Japanese company that makes various kinds of hardware.

There is also a website for a Shinsei Industries branded with the same dolphin logo stamped into the bottom of my Mirage. This company, which was founded in 1985, makes toys – including pull-back toys – but their manufacturing and distribution operations seem to be entirely in India. The most recent date I can find on the website is 2011.

So my assumption is that perhaps the original Japanese company had both an industrial division and a toy division. They decided at some point to focus on industrial steel products and perhaps sold the toy rights to the company in India. Whether or not the Indian company is still doing business is another mystery altogether.

I finally messaged my old Japanese college friend, Masa, to ask him if he could tell me more about Shinsei.

I just checked some Japanese info through internet.

SHINSEI KOGYO Corporation was Japanese company. It was established in 1949 as a toy manufacturer. I think this was a start of SHINSEI brand. SHINSEI became a business partner of BANDAI in 1987. Soon after in 1990, SHINSEI merged with a toy maker YUTAKA. In fact, SINSEI brand was swallowed by YUTAKA. Now the capitals are owned by FRECKS.

SINSEI brand was formally popular (for toy collectors) as toy cars and construction vehicle models. Supercar series were produced (I guess during 70’s-80s). Especially construction vehicle series were notable. After consolidation, the company decreased making car toys in some point because it didn’t pay off, then, shifted to kids’ games, etc. SINSEI brand toy vehicles are not under production now.

When I suggested to Masa my theory that the toy rights were bought by the Indian company, he replied:

Wow!! amazing. OK, that’s why SINSEI car toy products are still in the market even after 2000. I could not find any information that SHINSEI brand was sold to Indian company. This is something very interesting.

I then told Masa what I learned about how Shinsei’s beautifully detailed models of American trucks – distributed in the states through Cox in California – were prized by U.S. collectors.

Sugoi (“awesome” in Japanese)!! I heard that Sinsei used to make only export models (especially for US). I am happy to know SINSEI models have been surviving even after original company disappeared. Good news.

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