ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY, ULTRAMAN JACK, & ALIEN BALTAN
ULTRA HERO/MONSTER 500 SERIES (BANDAI)
It’s been a painfully long time since I’ve reviewed any Ultraman figures. In February of 2015, I looked at the Ultra-Act Mebius, but the ending of that line and its subsequent move to the slightly smaller Figuarts scale has left me without any regular Ultra purchases to review. And that makes for a sad Ethan indeed. While I’m sure I’ll get around to picking up some of those Figuarts releases one of these days, for the time being, there are some lower price-point options to keep me occupied, such as Bandai’s Ultra Hero 500 Series and it’s companion Ultra Monster 500 Series. I’ll be looking at a few of those offerings today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
Ultramen Ginga Victory and Jack were released in the Ultra Hero 500 Series as figures 30 and 04, respectively, while Alien Baltan was released in the Ultra Monster 500 Series as figure 01. Both series work on the “evergreen” style of distribution, where most figures in a line are kept in constant stock, at least in Japan.
ULTRAMAN GINGA VICTORY
Ginga Victory represents the fused form of Ultras…stick with me here…Ginga and Victory. Shocking, I know. This fusion made its debut in Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors! which I assure is the actual title of the film, which I most certainly have not exaggerated in any way. I wasn’t immediately familiar with this variant, but I correctly IDed it as some form of Ginga. He, like all of the 500 Series figures, stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation at the shoulders and waist. Hardly super posable, but that’s never been the intent of this line. His sculpt is unique to him, and is about what you’d expect from a softer vinyl figure. The build of the body is ever so slightly stylized to be a little more heroic in its proportions, but beyond that, he looks to be a pretty close match to the design from the show. He’s certainly one of the more complicated Ultra designs, but it all flows together pretty well, and he looks pretty darn cool; there’s no denying that. The complicated nature of his design also translates to his color scheme, but not quite so much to his paint. He’s certainly got more details than many other Ultras in this scale and style, but there are a few parts of his design that just go unpainted. It’s not terrible at first glance, however, upon closer expression, you can see the etched-in lines of details that were just left out, which is the tiniest bit frustrating.
This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at an Ultraman Jack on this site, nor will it be the last. Jack hails from Return of Ultraman, where he was originally intended to be a returning Hayata before becoming a unique character. Hence the design that’s just a slight variation on the original. He too has a unique sculpt, which is on par with the Ginga Victory figure, albeit totally different. His design is obviously more simplistic, and also more keyed to 60s aesthetics in terms of suit materials and his actor’s build, and this figure replicates all of that quite nicely. I did note that Jack’s pieces don’t seem to fit together quite as seamlessly as Ginga Victory, but they aren’t too mismatched. Jack’s paint is decent enough. He’s got less going on than Ginga Victory, so he’s also not missing any key application. Some of the silver’s a little fuzzy around the edges, but he’s generally pretty well handled.
Alien Baltan is one of Ultraman’s earliest and most persistent foes. The one seen here is Baltan I, seen in the second episode of the original Ultraman. It’s my favorite Baltan look, so that makes me pretty happy. Baltan’s sculpt is a bit softer than the other two. It’s not a huge surprise, given all the extra details he’s got going on. That being said, as a more organic creature, the softness is a little more excusable. It’s a decent enough piece, I suppose. It’s clearly a little more archaic than some of the others, and a tad more simplistic than I’d like, but the general idea is there. Any Ultra-fan is gonna know who this is. His paint is actually a fair bit more nuanced than the other two, featuring a fair number of airbrushed details. Given the price point of the figure, it’s actually quite impressive.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Believe it or not, this trio made their way to me direct from Japan. They were sent to me by my friend Rio, who previously got me the diecast First Order Stormtrooper. In exchange for a generous quantity of Oreos, she’s agreed to keep me supplied with lots of cool action figure goodness. These three were in the first care package that Super Awesome Girlfriend and I received from her. It was actually really awesome, as the box arrived right after a rather stressful day at work, and nothing fights off stressful days better than Ultraman!