‘Mad Police’ Model Kits, 1982 – 1983

Exhibit / June 12, 2019

Object Name: “Mad Police” model kits
Maker and Year: Fujimi, 1982-1983
Object Type: Scale models
Description: (K.E. Roberts)

Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the US) was a surprise international hit in 1982. Unlike 1979’s Mad Max, which was dubbed and poorly marketed to American audiences, the sequel became an instant action classic, and its post-apocalyptic punk aesthetic forged a sci-fi subgenre that has been mined (and crassly exploited) ever since. Those of us who got in to see it that summer—a summer that saw the release of Blade Runner, The Thing, Tron, Conan the Barbarian, E.T., Poltergeist, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan—were transformed by its mythos, and word quickly spread around the playground about the exploits of “warrior Max.” Toys and games tied to violent R-rated films were not new: Both Alien and Blade Runner had theirs, as did Rambo and Robocop and Aliens a few years later. The closest we got with Mad Max 2 are these knock-off model kits from Japanese company Fujimi.

The molds used are previously released models of Japanese and American autos: the “Interceptor” is based on a 1980/1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am (Max’s car in the first and second films was a modified 1973 Ford Falcon XB GT Coupe, also called a Pursuit Special and V8 Interceptor), the “Destroyer” is a modified Nissan Cedric, the “Venus” is a Toyota Supra, and the “Farcon” appears to be a Nissan Leopard. The post-apocalyptic weaponry and armored figures tell the real story, as does the spectacular box art (artist unknown), all of which recall a totalitarian police state more in line with Escape from New York and Death Race 2000 than Mad Max 2. The concept of heavily armed, militantly modified vehicles dueling across a post-apocalyptic wasteland comes from 1980’s Car Wars, an RPG developed by Steve Jackson Games, with roots in Roger Zelazny’s science fiction stories of the 1960s (“Auto-da-Fé,” Damnation Alley).

While a toy line never emerged from the first three Mad Max films, Tonka released its short-lived Steel Monsters “male-action survival theme” on the heels of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Pegged as “The Only Survivors,” the good vs. evil combat vehicles—Destroyer, Assassin, Executioner, Blaster, Masher—and action figures—Punk, Metal Face, and so on—roamed a “desolate world” contaminated by “microscopic mutations.” Aptly, given the decade’s politics of social Darwinism, “Only the fittest will survive.”

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