Yesterday it was announced that the Godzilla vs Kong movie will be coming out in March. I’m not overly excited about this information, mainly because it is supposed to be being shown on a HBO channel which doesn’t exist here in the UK, and if I’m not going to get to see it in the cinema (which I won’t, as it’s doubtful that movie theatres will even be open by then in the UK, what with the current Covid-19 climate) then the next alternative is on BluRay. Which will be waaay after the HBO release, and way after the internet will have ruined any surprise the film may possibly have in store. I’m not an advocate for piracy, it has its uses in situations like this, and I wonder what studio heads are thinking sometimes. It happened with Star Wars The Mandalorian, on Disney+, which wasn’t available to Star Wars fans here in the UK for months after it had been shown in the USA, and probably the rest of the world, meaning that Baby Yoda wasn’t a surprise in the slightest, what with the constant memes and gifs featuring the little green baby that appeared everywhere on social media following the series release. So yeah, I’m not completely happy with decisions regarding Godzilla vs Kong. Anyway, here are some Godzilla toys that came out last year.
This series comes from Playmates, a company I’m familiar with due to their legendary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line released in the late ’80s, but I hadn’t bought anything from them for years, however after wandering into a toy stop and spotting a stack of monsters from various Godzilla movies at a pretty reasonable price, I had to pick them up, primarily because they were cheap and I like monster toys. Are they excellent representations of the beasts that appear onscreen? Well…no. Anyway, I’ll start with the best.
Gigan (2004, Godzilla: Final Wars)
As alien/chicken/cyborg monsters with blades for hands go, Gigan is cool as hell. I’ve not actually seen Final Wars, the movie in which this incarnation of Gigan appears as Final Wars never got a release here in the UK. I’ve bought a Polish or Greek copy, but I haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. The packaging to this whole line is simple, just being cardboard with a few cable ties securing the figure down. I can see collectors not liking this, as being exposed without any plastic covering means the toys can easily pick up paint chips or scratches. But realistically, I don’t think this is a line that collectors will go mad for in the future. These are toys, primarily intended to be played with by children, who aren’t likely to care about scratches or paint dings. And the amount of throw-away plastic on packaging these days is horrendous, so I’m personally in favour of toys being sold like more like this.
Although having some nice details, Gigan feels like a toy. His front blades are soft and malleable, and his back spines are of a rubbery material. He has some limited articulation, but nothing overly extensive, just the teensiest of moveability at the neck, legs, arms and tail.
The paint on this Kaiju is pretty nice, a blend of blacks, silvers and blues, really making him feel like an alien-cyborg creature. Although I’m not sure how many kids would actually want this figure to the movie the character appears in not actually getting a UK release, it makes for a cool looking toy. Deffo one of the highlights of this Playmates line.
Kong (2017, Kong: Skull Island)
This was the figure that first caught my eye. I love Godzilla but the original King Kong movie is one of my favourite movies of all time, and I appreciate every incarnation of the great ape that has appeared onscreen to date. Like Gigan, Kong has a very simple packaging design, which isn’t the most eye-catching really, but it does the job.
Like Gigan, Kong has some amount of articulation, which is plus. However, I’m not overly keen on the facial sculpt, as he looks disinterested. Playmates released a jumbo version of Kong around the same time, and he has a snarling face, making him look much more interesting than this version. Here is the Playmates version stood next to the Japanese Y-MSF version of Kong.
Although Y-MSF version stands a little more awkard looking, his expression definitely looks more interesting that the Playmates figure. The Playmates version isn’t bad though, and at £10 was much, MUCH cheaper than the Y-MSF Kong. So overall, another decent figure in this line!
Destoroyah (1995, Godzilla vs Destoroyah)
Godzilla vs Destoroyah was one of the first Godzilla movies I saw outside of the orignal 1954 movie, and the pretty terrible Hollywood 1998 movie, and I love it. The decision to feature human-sized creatures as well as the typical gargantuan monsters was genius, and really adds a level of horror that isn’t found in many other movies. Giant monsters are scary in the sense that natural disasters are terrifying, but having ferocious monsters picking off people in a building is far more atmospheric.
Although a little shiny and plasticky looking, this version of Destoroyah is quite excellent and perfectly captures the almost demonic feel of the movie monster.
Both of Destoroyah’s sets of wings move which is neat, as it’s something that the Bandai Movie Monsters Destoroyah doesn’t feature unfortunately, with the Bandai one only having the main wings having posability. Also, as much as I love the Bandai version, I do feel like it is a little small, yet the Playmates one scales well with other monsters. Here they are preparing to battle with each other. Or mate. I haven’t decided yet.
I definitely prefer the Bandai version just because I like that it looks much less shiny, but again for a tenner, you can’t go wrong with the Playmates version if it’s for a kid, It’s chunky and solid, so will take a beating, and detailed enough, and perfect to square off against other monsters in the line. So those are the fairly decent figures! Here are the less impressive ones.
Shin Godzilla (2016, Shin Godzilla)
Shin Godzilla looks perfect, providing you’ve never seen the movie or any pictures of the monster from the movie. If you have seen the movie or any promotional material featuring Shin Godzilla, you will probably realise how TERRIBLE this toy is, at least in terms of screen accuracy!
For some reason, Shin Godzilla’s head is hunched forward in a way that it never looks in the movie. True, Godzilla has two forms before this version, with the second one certainly having the hunched forward look, but at no point does this version ever look like that. The Bandai Movie Monsters version isn’t perfect either, but it’s much better than this one!
This figure also looks very plasticky, perhaps because it’s all black. It does have some nice details, particularly the tail, but I’ve read online that the sculpt of the tail was actually taken from the NECA release of this character. I didn’t know that it was legal to take another companies sculpt and to use it for your own product, unless Playmates had some sort of agreement in place with NECA. Either way, the tail is one of the better parts of this weird looking figure.
So there we go. A terrible Shin Godzilla figure! Surprisingly, I don’t actually hate the figure itself. It looks goofy as hell, but there’s a certain charm in its weirdness, and makes me think of the ’80s green Godzilla from Imperial Toys I covered a while back.
Now for the final figure!
SpaceGodzilla (1994, Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla)
To be fair, this figure looks a lot more screen accurate than ShinGodzilla. I think. In truth, I’ve never seen the movie in which this version of Godzilla appears, due to it being a movie that has never been released in the UK, to my utmost frustration. The worst part about this figure is its teeth, which have just been painted on in a single white line, which looks horrendous. I’m not sure if my camera will pick it up very well. but it just looks like the figure is wearing white lipstick or something.
Due to the shoulder crystals, this figure isn’t very articulate, but again, these figures aren’t really supposed to be. I take more issue with the characters painted on teeth than I do its lack of articulation. But as it was probably done by some poor underpaid bastard in a factory in Asia, I’m not going to complain too much. I reiterate that these toys are for kids and are cheap, so I can tolerate some weird looking paint jobs for the price I paid.
So there we go! That’s a look at last years Playmates line. Is it brilliant? Nah, it has a few issues. But that’s fine. If you want some Godzilla toys that your kids can really smash the shit out of without fear of them breaking, this will be perfect for them. I do think it strange that this line never included the 2019 incarnation of Godzilla, particularly when it featured the Monsterverse Kong figure from 2017, but I’m not sure what license rights Playmates had for this line. But overall, a fairly decent line, although defintely not one geared towards to collectors. Hopefully Playmates will iron out some of the issues I mentioned for their future Godzilla figure releases. I’ve already picked up some of their 6″ Godzilla vs Kong figures, so will cover them on here soon.