#3084: Mechagodzilla

MECHAGODZILLA

S.H. MONSTERARTS (BANDAI)

Just over a year ago, Godzilla Vs Kong premiered on HBO Max for streaming…and was also in theatres, I guess, but I was still avoiding them, so, you know, I wasn’t tracking such things.  I really enjoyed the movie, though, since it delivered on pretty much everything I had hoped for in a movie called “Godzilla Vs Kong.”  It had Godzilla, it had Kong, they were versus-ing, and, more importantly, it also had Mechagodzilla, Godzilla’s robot doppelganger, and my second favorite thing about the Godzilla franchise.  I picked up Playmates’ movie-inspired version of the character last year, and was pretty happy with that one, but you can always use just a little bit more Mechagodzilla, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mechagodzilla was released as part of Bandai’s S.H. Monsterarts line, hitting retail domestically at the end of February of this year.  He’s the third figure in the Godzilla Vs Kong subset, joining the Kong and Godzilla figures released last year to more closely tie-in with the movie.  The figure stands about 7 1/4 inches tall and he has, like, so much articulation.  Just many articulations, you guys.  The tail is almost entirely segmented into individual joints, and the pistons on the hips are designed to work.  He’s got an articulated jaw, he’s got butterfly shoulders.  About the only things missing are finger and toe movement, but at this size, that’s far from an issue.  They’d probably be at risk of breakage anyway.  As it stands, the current articulation scheme gives this guy a pretty solid range of motion.  The elbows are notably a little restricted, but beyond that, it’s impressive, especially that tail.  Mechagodzilla sports an all-new sculpt, based on his appearance in the movie.  Obviously, at this price-point, the sculpt is a lot more involved than the Playmates equivalent.  Everything is much sharper, and I do mean that literally; you gotta be careful with that tail.  Everything is very crisp, and convincingly mechanical, and there’s a ton of really great detail work on the inner mechanics of everything.  He’s also got a little bit of diecast metal worked into the legs and feet, which not only gives him a little extra heft, but also makes him very stable on his feet.  Mechagodzilla’s paint work isn’t too terribly involved, at least in terms of coloring, but it’s at least consistent.  The silver is all painted, which looks quite nice, and the handful of red accents do a good job of breaking things up just a little bit.  Mechagodzilla is light on the extras, but not completely without.  He gets two different sets of hands, one set open, the other closed, in order to add some extra variety to his posing.  It might have been nice to get a blast effect for his atomic breath, or possibly even some damaged parts, but ultimately, it’s nice that we got anything at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like Mechagodzilla a fair bit, but the nature of his release meant that I wasn’t expecting to have an easy time getting ahold of this one through my usual means.  I was also pretty content with the Playmates figure, which is surprisingly good for its price-point.  That said, when one of these rolled through All Time, and I was able to snag him for a pretty solid deal.  Coupled with a general slow down in what I’ve been picking up, he just felt like the right thing at the right time.  This figure’s really solid, but in like a subtle way.  There’s a lot going on with him, but he’s not overly showy.  He’s just a really cool figure, and I’m glad I picked him up.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#0750: Alien Warrior

ALIEN WARRIOR

S.H. MONSTERARTS

AlienAVP1

What’s this? Another Alien review? On my site? Why, that’s just unheard of! …Or, maybe not. So, what’s different about this review? Well, amongst other things, it’s a figure based on a movie I don’t like. Yeah, this here is one of the Alien Warriors from the first Alien vs. Predator film, a movie that’s only real saving grace is that it’s not as bad as its own sequel. In fact, it’s not a bad movie, just a mediocre one. That doesn’t seem right for Alien vs. Predator, which should really be a “go big or go home” affair. But, alas, we got the film we got, and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see another. Sorry, this is actually supposed to be a toy review! Let’s get on to the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AlienAVP2The Alien Warrior is a part of Bandai’s S.H. MonsterArts line, and was released as a standalone item in early 2014. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall (a little taller than Bandai’s Big Chap) and has 63 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is based on the Alien vs. Predator design for the Alien Warrior. It’s interesting that they opted to release this version of the alien so far after the movie instead of something more iconic, such as the Aliens version, but if I had to guess, I’d say AvP’s probably just the cheapest of the licenses to procure. I find that each successive iteration of the Xenomorph design after Aliens loses a little of what made the first two designs work, and in particular, I found the Xenos in AvP to be too skinny and waaaaay too slimy and goopy. While this figure does strive to be an overall fairly accurate translation of the design, I find it changes a few minor things that result in a much better end product. For one thing, the details and texturing feel much sharper here than in the film, which is definitely a change I appreciate. In addition, it seems they’ve shrunk the size of the head ever so slightly, so that makes the body feel less skinny by comparison. In general, the sculpt has some incredible detail work and there’s some really great touches that they could have gotten away with leaving out, like the fully sculpted head under the dome. That’s something we don’t see in the movie, but they put it there anyway. Also, like the Big Chap, the knees and the tip of the figure’s tail are made from die-cast metal, which is a cool little, easily missed touch. The figure also has the signature Xeno inner-jaw, though the instructions tell you to remove the whole outer jaw to get it out (side note: looks like they got an actual translator for the instructions on this one. It makes for a more professional end product, but I must admit to missing the just slightly off English of the Big Chap’s instructions. Oh well.)  The paintwork on the figure is pretty much what you’d expect on a figure of a Xeno; it’s black with silver highlights. The dark brown transparent dome is definitely a cool look, and I was quite happy to see that the fully sculpted head was also fully painted under there. The Alien Warrior includes an alien egg, a chestburster, two sets of hands in splayed and closed poses, and a display stand, which, like the Big Chap’s, seems a little out of place with this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting me the Big Chap for Christmas, my boy Tim got me this guy as a birthday present. Though I don’t love the movie, and I’m not a big fan of the Xeno design as it’s presented in the film, I actually really like this figure a lot. He’s a ton of fun to pose, and the tweaks Bandai made to the design make it a lot better looking. Definitely an awesome addition to the collection!

AlienAVP3

#0449: Alien Big Chap

ALIEN BIG CHAP

S.H. MONSTERARTS

We’ve made it to Day Twelve of the Christmas Reviews and after today, there are just two days left. Today marks the last of the Alien-themed gifts from this year. This time around, it’s a slightly different type of Alien figure. This one comes from Bandai Japan’s S.H. MonsterArts line, which is a Monster-themed spin-off of their main FiguArts line. Usually, the line focuses on Japanese creatures, such as Godzilla, but in the last couple of years they’ve added a healthy dose of Alien and Predator figures. Today, I’ll be looking at their version of the original Alien, the Big Chap!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted above, the Big Chap was released as part of the S.H. MonsterArts line. Like many of Bandai’s higher-end figures, the Big Chap is not part of a larger series or assortment; he’s a single release. The figure is about 5 ½ inches tall and features an astounding 61 points of articulation (20 of that’s in his tail!). Technically, he’s based on the creature from the first Alien movie, though, like Funko’s recent Metallic Alien, he’s actually based on the initial design of the Alien, prior to filming beginning and the dome being “misted.” Prototype shots show the dome looking like it does in the movie, but it’s completely clear on the final figure. I don’t mind, but I’m curious as to why they decided to change it. The Big Chap’s sculpt is very nicely done, and all of the detail work is nice and sharp (quite literally in some cases). There’s a definite style to the figure, which makes it fit in with the other MonsterArts figures, even if it has a unique design. The design is a little lankier and more bug life than the “real-life” Alien, which is properly in line with the idea of this being a “concept” figure. The figure sports die-cast metal pieces for the elbows, knees, and the tip of the tail. In the case of the elbows and knees, it helps make the figure a little bit sturdier, and in the case of the tail, it makes it appropriately strong and sharp. Like all the best Alien figures, it also has a secondary mouth, which you must “Please pull out in a state of downward face” according to the included instructions (which are a fantastically entertaining read, by the way. Did someone on staff just say “Hey I sort of know some English” and then have nobody double-checked them?) The piece is very nicely sculpted, though it would be nice if it were a slightly tighter fit; it kind of flops about as it is. Like so many Alien figures, there’s not a whole lot to be done with the paint, but what’s there looks nice. For the most part, the figure’s molded in black plastic, with a heavy silver dry brushing applied to help bring out the details. There’s also some pretty good paintwork on the skull under the dome, as well as some nice silver detailing on the claws, toenails, and teeth. The Big Chap included a spare set of hands, in a more gesturing pose than the regular pair, and a display stand. The stand is cool enough, though I’m a little thrown off by the splattered paint design of it, which doesn’t really fit with the style of the movies at all. But I guess it looks pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Big Chap here was a Christmas gift from my boy Tim. Tim’s well aware of my Alien obsession, and had asked me a few months back whether the Aliens I owned were all NECA, in preparation for ordering this figure. As far as Alien figures go, he chose pretty well. This is a really great version of the original Alien. Plus, there’s that fantastic reading material too!