Sci-Fi Revoltech #006
Gamera Guardian of the Universe
4 Inch Scale
$40 (price varies)
We begin the 12 Days of Gamera with one of the best Gamera figures of all time and one of the more recent offerings of the big green turtle, as this figure was released in 2010. Kaiyodo began making Revoltechs several years ago but it wasn’t until 2010 that they began to get into the “Sci-Fi” category, which is where they’ve branched off into Kaiju. Gamera was their first big Kaiju property and he remains the one they’re spending a lot of time on.
I’ve mentioned in other reviews how Gamera: Guardian of the Universe very well may be my favorite Kaiju film and it’s definitely one of my favorite Gamera films. The entire trilogy is superb, but I really loved the design of the 1995 Gamera and for this to be the first big Gamera Revoltech release, I couldn’t have been more excited. This incarnation of Gamera tends to get the shaft, with only a few figures with this likeness, like the Bandai Vinyl which can be pretty rare these days and the equally as rare but quite awesome Trendmasters version.
That said, this is hands down the best figure of the 1995 design of Gamera. If you like Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, you’ll probably want this dude in your collection. He’s a real high point and that’s why he’s kicking us off. Day one of the 12 Days of Gamera starts now!
Revoltechs are not children’s toys. It’s sort of hard for Americans to grasp the Japanese toy market and even at times I find myself falling into the trap of thinking of Japanese imports as “toys”. They really aren’t, they’re collectibles, made with more adult sensibilities. This is reflected in the packaging as well.
We have a nice box with an opening front cover showing off some scenes from the movie, as well as a window to the stuff contained inside. It opens and closes with velcro.
There’s a ton of Japanese language on the front and back and a smattering of English as well. You don’t really have to be able to read what it says to appreciate the craftsmanship put into it.
One thing I really like is that while Gamera is strapped in with a few twist ties, those twisties are covered in a rubber tubing, to prevent any damage to the figure inside. Yes, you’re paying $30+ for these figures, but you’re getting lots of little bits of care like that. It’s the little things that add up.
This sculpt is beautiful. Hell, let’s just call a spade a spade, it’s almost perfect. The only shortcomings here are the integration of the patented Revoltech revolver joints. Even those aren’t as unsightly as they have been on some figures. They’re fairly well hidden, but they are still obviously there as well.
Putting aside that minor design issue, you can see the beauty of this sculpt in nearly every facet. The design of the 1995 Gamera is pretty simple and draws upon the look of classic Gamera, but cranks everything up to 10 on the dial. The sculpt was done by Matsumura Shinobu and it’s clear that he paid close attention to all the little details.
Compared to the Trendmaster version, he looks much better. Not that Trendmasters did a bad job by any means. There is just a lot more paint and sculpting work here. Tons of little ridges, nooks and crannies that are well sculpted. From the top of his head to the soles of his feet, it’s all sculpted.
The paint work is also quite good, but perhaps a bit harder to notice. There’s really a fair amount of paint work here, but it’s minute and clearly you can appreciate it when it’s more under the microscope. The eyes might be the most impressive bit of detail when it comes to the paint. If you’re used to the simply paint of an American toy, you might be surprised just how nice these are. No real slop or run off, which is particularly impressive considering the size.
“Does size matter?”
Ah yes, the size… If there was one grievance most people would have with this figure, it’s the size. Gamera is a huge hulking beast and this toy is about the size of a GI Joe. Considering the price tag, that’s definitely something that might weigh your opinion towards the negative. I’ve mentioned before how in Japan, toys tend to be smaller because of a lack of space in the country, but even by most Revoltech standards, this guy is a bit small.
He’s not quite as small as the Konami Gashapon Gamera but he’s small enough to do battle with the Astro Boy 3 3/4 PeaceKeeper Robot and not look out of place.
The accessories, like the fireball have a translucent look to them and it’s quite nice.
Gamera’s mouth opens super wide (it’s actually on a revolver joint) and that’s where you can snap the fireball into place. Though truth be told, because the jaw joint is nice and tight, you can kind of just “hang” it in there just as easily and it looks fine that way too.
Of course my favorite part about this figure is that it’s in a good scale with the Trendmasters villain Kaiju… Meaning I can have Gamera do battle with Trendmasters’ Zigra or Jiger with no issues. Instant win!
Revoltech’s infamous revolver joint is hard to understand for the uninitiated, but here’s a diagram on how it works. Basically you get a swivel in two places, and a clicky hinge that goes 180 degrees or so, depending on the sculpt surrounding the joint. All Revoltech joints are “plugs” which basically means that the joint can be removed from the sculpt.
Gamera is loaded down with joints and many of them are Revoltech revolver joints. The joints all work fairly well though and don’t have some of the issues I’ve had with other Revoltechs. However, you don’t get full range of motion in all of these joints because of the sculpt itself. Still, you can get this guy in a ton of different poses.
The arms are where you’ll find the most limitation, because of the shape of the plastron. Interestingly, the midsection is made of a hard rubber material, that does have some flex to it, allowing you sort of an ab crunch in there. Pretty impressive.
He has a ton of articulation, including three separate revolvers in his tail.
Overall the big selling point to this figure is probably the articulation. The only Gamera figure that even compares is the Chogokin Gamera and this even has that one beat.
All in all, the articulation is definitely one of the key points to this figure. It’s what makes the Revoltech Gamera really stand out from the pack. You can do a lot with this figure’s poses.
Gamera comes with a variety of accessories, although their usefulness could be debated I suppose.
Gamera comes with two sets of hands, fists and open. He also has rocket booster “legs” which can serve as a stand, a small nameplate (in Japanese) and an orange box for storage of accessories/joints/Revoltech points. Finally he has his fire blast. If you’re in Japan you can trade in the Revoltech points (if you have enough) for figures or extras. Sadly, I live in America.
The spare “legs” in the form of the rocket boosters is quite cool. It’s similar to the ones that came with R2-D2 in the Hasbro Star Wars line, but a bit different.
Gamera’s whole bottom half unplugs and then you plug the extra shell piece in.
It’s strange… But it works fairly well.
You can actually use the shell without the rockets, which is nice, although I don’t know exactly what use a legless Gamera is to anybody.
The hands pop off with a bit of force and so long as you’re careful you shouldn’t have any issues. Thankfully these are not on Revoltech joints, as I’ve had some seriously frustrating issues with that in the past.
The fire piece is excellent, especially in conjunction with the rockets. It allows you to do some poses that have never been capable before with a single Gamera figure.
Though I must confess the Gashapon Gamera fire is still my favorite. Thankfully it works with this figure as well!
Value is always going to be subjective and I suspect a lot of people will have a major issue paying $30-$50 for what amounts to such a small amount of plastic. I get that, but the only thing I can say to doubters is that the quality here is incredible. It’s much, much higher in terms of overall quality and QC than anything we see out of the major American toy companies. For Gamera fans, this is essentially a must-have figure… Or at least pretty darn close.
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 9
Paint – 9
Articulation – 9
Accessories – Spare Hands, Fire, Nameplate, Orange Box, Rocket Legs/Stand
Value – 9
Overall – 9 out of 10
This is a straight up solid 9 out of 10. There are elements here that are probably worthy of a 10, but I feel the complete package is around a 9. It’s a hair away from being perfect because of the size, the visibility of some of the revolver joints and such. Still, for Gamera, this is a fantastic piece.