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Mike Maynard
52 articles

The Mysterians!

January 29, 2015 · in Sci-fi · · 22 · 2.4K

Love them or hate them, TOHO Company movies of the 1950's were popular in Japan and the USA. Films like Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Battle in Outer Space and King Ghidorah generated huge revenues for the Japanese film studios. Every movie had a "special creature" in the plot and the MOGUERA robot was a central character in the movie "The Mysterians". For an eleven year old kid, it was a cinematic triumph. Consider the plot elements: flying saucers, death rays, melting tanks, sabre jets, and a giant atomic powered robot, all the stuff that 1950's era kids loved in a movie. Looking back, the movie is a model makers delight but is a bit silly with special effects that don't hold up well. Still, I remember my family piling into the Ford and watching this sci-fi epic at a drive in movie. The memory of drive -in chili dogs and my Dad snickering at the patton tanks being "melted" by the aliens ray guns stays in my memory after 50 years. Hence I have a certain fondness for cheesy Japanese space extravaganzas.

I was pleased to discover that the Revoltech company released an "action figure" of the Moguera robot. The figure sat on my computer for quite a while before I decided to put it in a scene from the movie. The base measures 10" by 10" to keep the small but large enough to depict some action. The tanks, trucks, Saber Jet, and soldiers were ordered from GHQ models. I scratch built the bridge, houses and electrical towers. Woodland Scenics ground cover was used to decorate the "mountain", base, as well as trees. The robot measures 6" tall and was re-painted with my air brush. Like all my builds it was "fun".

Reader reactions:
7  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses

  1. Is it just me, or does that "monsters" tail appear to have a dual purpose? 🙁

    • And that can of paint should last forever in that! 🙂

    • Craig, your comment got me laughing so hard I knocked over my coffee...the word "MOGUERA" means "Mole" in Japanese. In the movie the robot makes it's first appearence coming out of the side of a mountain. It was so frighting that the Japanese general fell on the ground and screamed like a 14 year old girl...the tail,(which isn't very visible in the movie) is part of the excavation system, note the head has a auger-like pointed nose, all the better to move through the dirt..I guess it was sort of an underground excavator.

  2. Very nice diorama! I'm also a HO train modeler and your scenery looks fantastic! Nice water!

  3. How cool is that, Mike. Great dio, love the F-86

  4. SUPERB diorama. Well done!

  5. I'm sorry Mike, but I don't find that monster very awe inspiring. I find him rather cute. 😉 Could you build one for me, so that I have something to cuddle with before I go to sleep? 🙂

    Nice diorama.

    • Ulf, you're right, it's not that impressive looking, viewed through adult eyes. I thought the robot looked like a samurai warrior with a head from a praying mantis...Thanks for the comment.

  6. Totally in the spirit of Japanese kitch culture of the period.

  7. Definitely caught my eye but I have to say I'm inclined to think along the same lines as Craig. When I first saw the shot from the back I thought " Man that robot must eat a lot"
    Did Moguera come pre-painted or is that your work. Diorama is very effective.

    • Hi Al, the robot comes pre-painted, I repainted it with Testors aluminium and did a little "pin washing" around the head. I then coated it with ALCLAD Prismatic blue/green to give it a sparkled hue (which doesn't really show up in the pictures). I added some MV red lenses for the eyes.Thanks for the comment.

  8. Nice Mike re visiting your past.
    Mind you, I would not want to get behind the monster after it had a curry or three.

  9. Great piece Mike, really well done.

  10. superb diorama...what i like about those old movies even today is looking at all the other stuff in the "the blob"...i find myself looking at the cars ...the inside of the diner...the micro-phones...the ladies hair and dress...the cops...i miss those days before the world turned inside out and upside down...well done

  11. Boy Mike, this sure brought a smile to my face this afternoon! (And boy I needed it!) Extremely well done scenery and a great layout! Did you add the laser vision in the second photo with photoshop or are they actual physical elements that you can add or remove whenever you want? Also, what did you use for material for the mountain? (Or is it a case of "Nothing look more like rock than rock!"? The can of paint got me thinking as I'm currently reading "War of the Worlds" for about the 20th time in my life. The cylinders fired my the Martians are described by Wells as being 30 feet in diameter. Would that paint can scale out close in your diorama? If it does it gives a new sense of scale to some chapters that I didn't get before!

    On a fun note, we have a community theatre that was renovated and is run by volunteers and the have a series called "Friday Fright Night" that show 50's and 60's horror and some sci-fi like this. This happens every other Friday and is free. The audience is encouraged to make jokes and comments so it's like being at a live MST3K!

    Sorry I got off topic, but GREAT JOB MIKE!

    • Josh
      Glad this little diorama put a "smile on your dial". That's what makes this such a great web site, show casing a build to inspire a fellow modeler or just give them a chuckle. To answer your question, I used a photo shop program for the "death rays" on the robot. The mountain is part Woodland Scenic and part gold fish aquarium rock. Thanks for the nice comment.

  12. That is a great diorama, very evocotive of the genre. (Do I sound artsy?) The mole robot is sooooooo Japanese monster-movie. Love the beak and antenna, with semi-Samurai underthings. My favorite was always "Rodan" the jet-propelled Pterodactyl. The caterpillar things in the beginning were scarier though. Best line was the hero yelling "guards, come quick, there's a monster here!".

  13. Love it mate! Very different!

  14. Mike,
    The greatest, I love it.

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