Japanese Bottle Cap Figures

“Aloha & Happy New Year! January 2007”
Please read my “Introduction Blurp” before proceeding, Mahalo (Thank You).

My Blog Blurp No.1:

I omitted any pictures in the introduction blurp, so as to not to distract you in the middle of reading through it all. Hope it wasn’t to bland. I’m certainly not a writer, but do want to share my thoughts! Lots of images will follow as we begin.Where do I start? I’m not sure! but first a little more history and explanation.

As well as being interested in art, graphics and painting, I became interested in collecting some Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cans (steel and aluminum) back in the early 70’s in CanadaI saved the cans – after I drank them. Family and friends saved them for me, and I traded and purchased a few cans or sets. I loved the special theme and arty cans. It didn’t matter what brand or from what country.

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My built up collection of hundreds came with me on moving to Hawaii in 1995, back to Canada in 2007, and finally to Oregon, USA in 2011.

Japanese Bottle Cap Figures

Later in the spring of 1999, I became aware, through eBay, and contacts in Japan, of the huge Pepsi campaign theme that they had and were developing of Bottle Cap/Topper Figures. They came in concealed foil packages that were looped on to the head of Japanese Pepsi Bottles. Along with each theme of several bottle cap figures came other Pepsi items and special Pepsi cans. I’m not sure what came first, but other companies, then and now, have also produced many bottle cap sets based on Japanese anime characters (book and game themes), to fish, animals, Gundam characters, to American comic heroes, etc. Most of the actual figures and figure caps though, are actually manufactured in China. The figure quality varies; some poor, some incredible. They are sold in little sealed boxes or foil packages, with attractive Japanese graphics. Sold individually – you don’t know which figure/character you are getting. There is usually one or two limited production figures as well called “Secret” items.

Back to 1999, Pepsi Japan had a great website, until a couple of years ago. It detailed the ongoing history of these Pepsi campaigns. Luckily I captured the site pages, which I am compiling with a list of Bottle Cap Figure Types. Sadly, they have now changed and upgraded to a “hotter” flash type site similar to other Pepsi sites worldwide. Among the various campaigns were “Pepsiman” – various themes, “Snoopy” – various themes, and baseball champion “Ichiro.”

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Presently, like my collected soda/pop cans, I now have quite a few of these bottle cap figure sets. The Pepsi Campaigns that especially attracted me at that time were:

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Star Wars Episode I (EP1) – 1999

-Bottle Cap Figures displayed in their Stage – painted and detailed by Murray Elliot Breen.

 

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Planet of the Apes – 2001

 

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Star Wars Episode II – July 2002

 

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Star Wars Episode III

The reason the above sets were very attractive to me was that, along with collecting the large number of themed figures in the set, you could also have a friend (person in Japan only) send away for a “Stage” to display them. The stages were very large, expensive and very limited. They were mould created in beige plastic and theme custom designed to fit all the figures. They looked great! …but all the stages were plain beige …boring!

…then after completing my first couple of models in 2002, I got an idea!

Why not use my painting talents (see my Introduction Blurp, section A.) to completely model, paint and detail the Stages themselves. So I took time to research through the internet, movies and a couple of hardcover books (see my Introduction Blurp, section B) the actual colors, texture and details of the stage themed item. I then, with reference and note sketches in front of me, hand painted and detailed the stages using acrylic paints and other basic modeling texture grains, over the next couple of months. The end result was incredible. Going the extra mile, united the whole set concept beautifully and they are now ‘one of a kind’. 

“The detailed Bottle Cap Figures with the completed Stage” displayed in the above photos, now tell the story.

Many other bottle cap figure themes do NOT have a “Stage.”

A new challenge/possibility would be to research each of these themed figure sets and create a stage for them – completely detailed and displayed of course!

2012 Update: I have compiled a preliminary draft of 90 pages so far, created in Excel, of the many Japanese Bottle Cap Figures that have come out to date. I presently have no way of confirming my draft – not being in Japan or speaking Japanese.

  1. Anonymous says:

    astounding 🙂

    Agostino