Friday, March 21, 2014

LEGENDARY GODZILLA 2014 - Bandai Tail Strike Godzilla

I planned to pass on the two smaller Bandai Godzilla offerings for the new 2014 movie, but once I saw them in the store I just couldn't pass them up.

Tail Strike Godzilla stands 7" tall at the crown of his head, and measures about 10" from snout to tail tip. I like this version, though not as much as the Smash Strike one. It's an entirely different sculpt, even down to the rubbery dorsal spine insert. Tail Strike Godzilla has his mouth sculpted closed. He has the same basic paint apps as the other 2 Bandai releases: white on teeth, yellow on eyes and a tan spray on the chest. This version has the glossier plastic that Atomic Breath uses, while Smash Strike is a bit more matte. There's a weird disruption to the sculpt created by the action feature. There's a "button" at  Godzilla's tummy that connects to the tail from inside. Pushing the button gets Godzilla's tail to "slam" down, while working the button around gets the tail to swing from side to side a bit. That's the "Tail Strike" feature: the tail is done in 3 hinged segments that swing back and forth. Imagine those segmented plastic snakes you can get at the dollar store. It works ok and kids might really enjoy knocking their other toys around with it, but it compromises  the look of a pretty good figure with that giant button up front and center, literally. I would have preferred this sculpt with better articulation and no action feature, but I'm an adult and this is a kid's toy. My version will come in a couple of months...

Tail Strike Godzilla features cut joints and the shoulders and hips, in addition to the swinging tail.

These 2 smaller-sized Godzillas are actually much cooler than I thought they would be. Neither is a collector's version, but they do a decent job of being fun toys for kids to play with. I think both of them had the potential to be better than Atomic Breath Godzilla, but they don't quite pull it off. Each has it's merits, and I don't think I prefer one to the other, but I'm glad that I picked them up...

LEGENDARY GODZILLA 2014 - Bandai Smash Strike Godzilla

I planned to pass on the two smaller Bandai Godzilla offerings for the new 2014 movie, but once I saw them in the store I just couldn't pass them up.

Smash Strike Godzilla stands 6 and 3/4" tall at the crown of his head, and measures about 9 & 1/4" from snout to tail tip. There's something really appealing about this version's look, despite the huge (and weird) torso split created by the action feature. Let's get this out of the way first. There's a "button" at the base of Godzilla's tail that connects to the upper torso from inside. Pushing the button gets Godzilla to lean up and back, while working the button around gets the upper torso to swivel a bit. That's the "Smash Strike" feature. It doesn't work too great and it really compromised a pretty good figure with that horrendous gap at the waist. I would have preferred this sculpt with better articulation and no action feature, but I'm an adult and this is a kid's toy. My version will come in a couple of months...

The sculpt on this guy is soft, but in many ways is preferable to Atomic Breath Godzilla. I think the shape of the head, face and snout are all better here, despite a slight underbite. The proportions overall also seem a bit better, especially around the thighs. Details that show up clearly in the larger Deluxe Atomic Breath version are very basic here (the gills are just a few curves at the base of the neck, for instance). He's still got the alligator scales, more pronounced on the arms and legs, and the dorsal spines are rubbery enough to bend slightly. The tails juts straight back, but isn't nearly as long as the tails we have seen from NECA or JAKKS Pacific's versions. There's cuts at the shoulders and hips, and pin elbows, but they are so floppy I think it's meant more as a part of the action feature: bend his elbows and close his mouth (yeah, there's a hinge in the jaw), then "Smash Strike" and watch his arms swing down and his mouth open! It's kind of lame- I'd (of course) have preferred real joints for the elbows and the jaw.

And that's about it for Smash Strike Godzilla. He won me over in-person, where he looks a lot better than in the preview pics. He's also a fun little toy, sans electronics. I paid about $12 for this guy thanks to a couple of coupons, so I'm pretty pleased. Now, I need to find that Giant Sized JAKKS!

Monday, March 17, 2014

LEGENDARY GODZILLA 2014 - Atomic Roar Godzilla Review

I managed my first Godzilla 2014 toy this afternoon. It's Bandai's Atomic Roar Godzilla from the new Legendary Studios film, due out 2 months from now. As a collectible, it's pretty awful, but as a toy it's actually quite cool...

Atomic Roar Godzilla stands 10 & 3/4" to the top of his crown, and runs about 14" nose to tail. He is posed with his tail curled around and pointing forward. The sculpt is soft and doesn't feature any intricate details, but gives you the general sense of the beast. For example, in the beautiful picture on the right hand side of the package (which is actually doing a lot to get his new design to grow on me - I really didn't care for it at all at first), we can see a series to ridges running from Godzilla's jaw hinge down the side of his neck, where they meet some pretty angry looking spikes above the shoulder. The toy has some light bumps along the outside of the neck, but that's about all. The scales all over his skin aren't very deeply cut, and the dorsal spines look more like a 6 year old's idea of a mountain range than anything fearsome. There's also a pig-like upturn to the snout on the toy that's more curved on the image.
The toy is cast in a greenish plastic with a light spray on the chest (tan?). The only other colors are the tiny spots of yellow in the eyes and the whites of the teeth. It looks like we will have screw holes on the right side of the toy, and there's a series of openings in the chest for the microphone. This version is articulated with cut shoulders and hips, nothing more (well, except the split in the head, but we'll get to that next).

There's a play gimmick with Atomic Roar Godzilla that I thought was pretty ridiculous at first, but which I've seen my 8 year old really enjoy. Lift Godzilla's tail until he's nearly horizontal (head to tail) and his skull splits apart a the jaw line allowing his "atomic breath" to shoot out and light up as he roars. The roar is great - long and loud. The breath looks ridiculous, but it lights up a cool glowing blue and shoots out really far. Like I said, my son can't stop playing with it, and that's a big reason why I say this is a pretty cool toy.

This is no X-Plus figure. It's a cheaply made toy (that's overpriced at $34.99, in my opinion), but unlike X-Plus's statues, which are meant for staring at, this is one you can put your hands on and really have fun playing with. He's much better suited to the sandbox than the shelf. 

I'll wait for NECA and Tamashii Nations to give me my true collector versions of the new Godzilla, but I just couldn't pass up the chance of getting my first 2014! Bandai's other offerings don't do much for me, and I'll most likely pass on them. JAKKS Pacific's Giant Size is a definite for me, just because of his sheer size. And as far as this guy goes, I like him for what he is: a fun toy that kids are going to love. That's great news in my book, because anything that gets Godzilla into the hands of the kids is a plus...

UPDATE: Ok, I've had this guy for 24 hours, and he's been out of his package for half that, and he's encountered 3 kids, none of whom could stop playing with him. Two boys (aged 8 and 7) and a girl (age 10) absolutely love playing with him, and the action feature is sounding off his roar non-stop. So, I guess the verdict is in- as a toy he's terrific. Detailed enough to get the job done, durable and with a super-fun play action feature. Don't collect him, play with him!

Lots of screw holes on the right hand side...

Much better from this angle!

Size comparison with SH MonsterArts Godzilla 1994

Size comparison with X-Plus GMK Godzilla 30cm

Sunday, March 2, 2014

GODZILLA 1964 - Y-MSF Vinyl Figure Review

I've read a bit of negativity with regards to Y-MSF figures, but I was happy enough with Megalon to go ahead and order a Godzilla. I chose the 1964 version because 1) he was available, 2) the price was reasonable and 3) it's a suit version that I like. I have the S.H. MonsterArts '64 and I've pre-ordered the X-Plus Previews '64, so I figured he'd have a decent place on the shelf, even if he wasn't well-done. As it turns out, I'm actually pretty pleased with this Y-MSF version overall.

Y-MSF's 1964 Godzilla stands right about 6" tall to the crown on his head and measures about 8" long to the tip of his tail. He comes in 2 pieces- his tail to be attached with the help of a hair dryer (which I also needed to use to soften and bend his feet into place, as they came with a severe inward bend). The tail has an upward sweep and clears the ground by a large amount, which helps to offset the instability of Godzilla's forward lean. In all, it makes for a pretty neat and fairly dynamic pose - he looks like he's been captured just as he's about to step forward with his left leg.

'64's head is sculpted with a downward curve, so he tends to look better on a shelf that's at eye level or higher. The sculpt is good, without being exceptional. It's a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The skin texture details are there, but they seem a tad soft to me. Oh, it's better than Bandai vinyl offerings (especially the American releases, which are just awful), but nowhere near the quality that you get from X-Plus.

The seam lines are prominent at the legs, tail and elbows (which are cut to allow the forearms to tilt in and out, which does add a neat variety of posing looks, actually). There's also a large plug for the dorsal spines that has a fairly poor fit around the bottom.

The paint is ok, but comes off as a little sloppy in that there's (intentional) overspray at the toes, claws and dorsals. It also seems really thick on the underside of the tail, even obscuring some of the sculpted detail. The head and face are nicely done- especially the eyes (I wish my SH MonsterArts' eyes were this even!). The mouth is very red and the teeth have a little added detail, though it's not perfect. Oddly enough the sculpt of his nostrils seem to be a bit off-center. The chest and knees have a tinge of spray, as well, and (again) it doesn't come off too great, looking more like butterscotch than highlighting.

Despite my complaints, Y-MSF Godzilla 1964 is a good figure. He looks great on the shelf, especially with other 6" scale vinyl kaiju. He's got some issues that I'd take exception with if he was an X-Plus figure, but which I can live with from Y-MSF. Godzilla 1964 will run you a bit more money than an average Bandai would, but a LOT less than you'll pay for an X-Plus.

That said, I personally think all of the Godzilla vinyls are overpriced and way over what I'm mostly comfortable with. I also don't seem to enjoy them as much as the S.H. MonsterArts  versions, so I'll probably be sticking with those for the most part, with an occasional vinyl of my really favorite suits if the price is right.

Y-MSF Godzilla 1964 with Y-MSF Megalon