All this week we’ve been looking at Kaiju or Japanese Giant Monsters and that continues here tonight with a special look at a handful of my favorite Bandai vinyl figures. Some from Bandai’s American branch, Bandai Creation and some from Bandai Japan. We’ve got some heavy hitters here, so let’s dive right in!
We begin with the original himself, Godzilla 1954! This sculpt has been released both in Japan as well as through Bandai Creation although it’s slightly different. I didn’t pick up the Bandai Creation version (though now I wish I had) because I have this version from Japan. It’s basically the same mold, although it’s been upscaled a bit and slightly changed around. His arms for example seem leaner on the Creation version.
The tag is pretty spiffy and I must confess this figure looks incredibly on model. Godzilla looked pretty different in his first appearance, most notably he had ears! This Bandai figure reflects all the subtle details that were on this specific version. I’m sure Raymond Burr would be proud.
The paint work is decent but I’m not a big fan of the white wash on the chest and knees. What’s up with giving Godzilla a big patch of paint on his chest? Maybe the Imperial Godzilla wasn’t so off model after all?
The paint work is a little sloppy on the nails and fins, which seems to be a trend with Bandai. They sort of spray paint the figures and it gives an often uneven look to them. People rag on Bandai Creations, but they tend to paint their figures better than most. Godzilla has articulation in the arms, legs and tail.
Next up we have Gamera from the 1999 film, Gamera III: Incomplete Struggle or Revenge of Iris depending on what version you’re watching. Personally this was probably my least favorite Gamera design, despite being probably the best Gamera movie. In this film Gamera has fully evolved or mutated to the point where he looks like a big nasty snapping turtle.
This is one of the easier Bandai vinyls to get from Japan, but it’s a great sculpt. There are a plethora of versions of this figure, mostly repaints or ones molded in different colors. If you look around you can find some really pretty cool versions out there. For my money this was the best version because it was the most normal.
Despite being one of the most normal versions of Gamera from Gamera III, his shell is still painted in an odd metallic green. It’s bright and kind of annoying. His chest is painted in a metallic gold as well, but that actually works better than the shell. It’s a shame the paint isn’t better because the figure is very impressive.
Gamera moves at the head somewhat, legs, arms and tail. It’s nothing fancy and the arms are in a position that you don’t have a great range of poses, but with Gamera’s design they always seem to struggle to make him poseable. This is still a good figure if you’re into Bandai vinyl.
Finally we have Godzilla 68. This Godzilla is based off of his 1968 appearance and for many this is the definitive 60’s Godzilla. Some prefer the Japanese version of this figure, but I’m actually more fond of the Bandai Creation take on it.
The colors on both the Japanese and American version are identical, with a slightly too dark skin tone and pink inside the mouth. Some collectors don’t like that, but it is what it is. If I was a talented painter, I’d put a real light dry brush of green over his whole body and I think that would make him pop. The only area I prefer the Japanese version is the eyes. Bandai Creation had some slop with the eyes.
All in all I find this Godzilla encompasses a lot of the 60’s look without being an identical model to 68. I enjoy that element but your mileage may vary. Regardless, this is a great Godzilla figure and can still be found at most local TRUs. He moves at the legs, arms and tail.