大怪獣シリーズ 大映特撮編 「ガメラ（1996年版） ガメラ対レギオン」
JAPAN ORIGINAL RELEASE: JUNE 2014
SERIES: DAIEI LARGE MONSTER SERIES (25CM)
MATERIAL: SOFT VINYL
FROM: “GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION”, 1996
HEIGHT: 8 INCHES / 20.3 CM
WIDTH (TOE TO TOE): 9 INCHES / 22.8 CM
LENGTH (NOSE TO TAIL): 11 / 28 CM
FIGURE WEIGHT: 14 OZ / 396 G
ARTICULATION: ELBOWS, KNEES (NOT MEANT TO MOVE).
REVIEW AND PHOTOS: JOHN STANOWSKI
When X-Plus announced its Daiei Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 vinyl figure, I was surprised. Up until now they’ve been making Heisei Gamera figures in the 30cm Series and Show Gamera in the smaller Large Monster Series (25cm). But it was a nice surprise. Just one look and you’ll see this is a pretty badass vinyl. It’s based on the 1996 movie Gamera 2: Attack of Legion.
Like it’s taller 30cm brother, this figure is pretty much dead on. It came as both standard and Ric Boy exclusive versions. This review is on the latter.
This Gamera figure comes in the typical X-Plus Daiei Large Monster Series window box. Inside the figure is wire tied into a plastic shell. It comes in two pieces: body, tail. If you get the Ric Boy version, you’ll also find your battery pack for the light gimmick inside.
Note: the figure’s left leg is twisted at the knee so that it fits in the box. You’ll have to fiddle with that to get the foot to stand flat.
ATTACHING THE TAIL
The tail connection is extremely elliptical and has fairly pointy corners. For me, twisting is an integral part of the tail assembly and since this joint isn’t round, it gave me some trouble. I admit I was lazy and probably didn’t heat up the body hole with the hairdryer as much as I should have. I also didn’t put the tail in the refrigerator to make it extra firm. In the end, it went in, but not without some trouble. Collector Rich Eso mentions in his video review that he did do everything I skipped this time around, and the tail popped right in for him. Watch Rich’s How To Connect Tails Video to learn how to master X-Plus tail assembly.
Wow, X-Plus does it again! The Daiei Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 vinyl figure looks just like the title character from the movie. And, it also looks like a perfectly miniaturized version of the larger 30cm Series version (released in 2012) but in a different pose. I guess this means that X-Plus got it right the first time too!
Some areas of the sculpt, like the thin lines under the eyes, have details which are softer than the 30cm version, but for the most part the figure is absolutely comparable. In fact the mouth on the new 25cm version may even be better. New collectors should take note of the individually sculpted teeth. This toy ain’t a toy!
The head looks amazing from any angle.
There is incredible detail on the chest and back shell. Click the photos for larger views.
The ridgey skin texture of the suit has segmented folds of skin which are expertly expressed in the X-Plus sculpt. And if you look closer you’ll find super-fine lines etched onto the bony claws and spikes. They filled in a little with the addition of the paint but can still be seen.
The X-Plus 25cm Gamera 1996 is just that good. Maybe that’s why X-Plus sold out so quickly.
JOINTS & SEAMS
The X-Plus Daiei Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 has several non-glued joints which can be jiggled but are not meant to moved. They can be found at the neck, both elbows and both knees. All of these joints are elliptical in shape and will resist you should you decide to rotate any. (The Ric Boy version requires you to go against the grain and rotate the left knee in order to plug in the battery pack. More on this further down the page.)
The only joint mentioned here which has a visible seam is on the neck. But even there it’s hidden somewhat well inbetween ridges in the sculpt. The elbows and knees are obscured even better by ridges in the sculpt. The tail joint is utterly hidden under the skirt of Gamera’s shell.
(Note: in order to fit Gamera into the box for shipping, its left leg was rotated out of position so the toes would flare to the side instead of forward. You’ll have to tweak this joint to get his foot to stand flat on the shelf.)
The only other seam I’m aware of is on the back. The back shell, minus the “trim”, is all one piece and is glued on. It’s edge naturally occurs at a line in the sculpt and is meant to be perfectly cloaked. (However, the figure I got in the mail recently isn’t so seamless and the edge on one side can be detected if looked for.)
Standard stuff here with the pose, and yet again, that’s how I like it. Looks good and generic from all angles. The only thing to note is that Gamera’s head is turned slightly to the his right and ever so slightly looking up. Looks great! It’s also worth pointing out that this figure is not lurching forward like its 30cm brother does and so has straighter legs. Let’s hope they don’t warp under his weight as they do on the 30.
The paint looks great on this figure as it does on all the X-Plus Gamera figures which came before it. The skin has a base coat of a dusty, off-black. It’s slightly semi-glossy and, in combination with the figure’s deep and detailed textures, reacts with the light to create new highlights.
The shell is an overall dark green. But closer examination reveals super-subtle variations between an olive green and a slightly more saturated green. The chest is a dull brown. The claws, spikes and tusks are a bright, boney color which flare into oranges and browns as they meet the body. And they look GREAT, especially the tusks. These boney colors do not blend into the black skin and so require hard edges. X-Plus did a masterful job (at least on the figure I got) of keeping the paint from slopping “outside the lines”. My only complaint is that the boney bits are a bit too bright and give this figure a slightly toyish look when considering them.
The teeth are a brownish yellow and look very un-toylike. Quality job! The inside of the mouth is a glossy, pinkish red which looks very organic… and wet!
Great job on the eyes, too. Black pupils floating in vibrant, green irises were expertly painted on with great precision. A dull orange was sprayed in the corners to add depth.
Note: the base coat of paint used on the claws is brushed on and is prone to scrapes.
The X-Plus Daiei Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 vinyl figure (left) beside the Large Monster Series Gamera 1966. Sizewise, they’re a perfect match. The head on the ’66 is notably larger but that’s just a sign of the times and 60’s suit design.
And here’s probably the next most obvious size comparison to be made. At first glance, the new 25cm version seems almost as large as the X-Plus Daiei 30cm Series Gamera 1996 vinyl figure…
But, let’s change the angle. Now you can see a big difference in mass. But this doesn’t change anything: the 30cm figure, due to its hunched pose, is no taller than the new figure.
The Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 will look just fine amongst your other X-Plus 25cm figures. (Shown, left to right: Godzilla 1989 DeAgostini Version, Gamera 1996, Godzilla 1968 and Gigan 1972.)
And, just for fun: this Gamera and Ultraman Tiga were the only kaiju game in town in 1996. (See the X-Plus Ultraman Tiga Figure Review!)
The X-Plus Daiei 25cm Gamera 1996 doesn’t ask for much room on the shelf. It’s 11 inches from nose to tail, but only 8 1/2 from toes to tail. One potential concern may be that this figure, like most Gamera figures, has its feet reaching out to the sides asking for a little more side space than usual. (9 inches of it.)
RIC BOY EXCLUSIVE
The Ric Boy Exclusive version of this figure comes with a light gimmick. Firey red light emits from the cracks inbetween Gamera’s chest plates as well as from the mouth. It’s worth noting that collectors in the West were not aware the light would emit from the mouth since X-Plus only publicized the chest. They did the same thing with the 30cm Series Godzilla 1999 in 2013.
Back to Gamera now: the light effect looks great. The glow on the chest does a good job of making it look like a very big can of whoop ass is building up behind those chest plates. And the glow in the mouth is even more impressive. It looks firey and organic at the same time.
A+ for the looks! But a C- for the flimsy, soft vinyl material used on the chest and head. The head piece is very soft and, if you were so inclined, you could squoosh the head and mouth and make it look like it was talking like a puppet. Those large tusks coming out of the lower jaw are also soft and are very bendy. Speaking for myself, I’d rather have the usual sturdy vinyl even if it meant I couldn’t have the light gimmick. And, don’t think you can get away from this super soft, translucent vinyl by buying the standard version; it’s made of the same stuff. The rest of the body is sturdy and fine.
X-Plus’ current mechanism for activating the light gimmick requires a “battery box dongle” which plugs into a port on the back of the figure’s left leg. The ON/OFF switch is also located on this box. It takes two LR44 (watch) batteries and they come included. If you find this box to be an eyesore, you simply unplug it and put it away.
The implementation of this dongle system on the Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 has a problem. The port on the back of the leg is too high and too close to the figure’s shell. In order to access it, you’ll need to rotate the leg at the knee joint. This joint is elliptical and I worry about it becoming loose if it were rotated too often.
Having rotated the leg and plugging in the battery pack, you’ll find that the figure’s left foot is no longer flat. And, when you go to rotate the leg back, you’ll find that the plug doesn’t have enough room because the shell gets in the way. You’ll need to pull the leg forward a little to complete the job. And in the end the plug will be pressing hard against the inside of Gamera’s shell which will bend the wire and press against it. Bending wires like this can lead to loose connections.
THE BAD NEWS
Earlier today I placed this figure on my desk in front of me. When I did I noticed that boths legs, ever so slightly, slid outward toward the sides. Just a tiny bit. But enough to make me pick it up and put it back down again to see if it would happen again. It did.
Now, it’s much cooler in this room and the feet are no longer sliding. However, it seems likely this figure is destined to follow in the footsteps of it’s 30cm brother and get wonky legs over time.
WONKY 30CM GAMERA 1996
When I first got my 30cm Series Gamera 1996, the legs were perfect and the feet were flush on the shelf. After only a year had passed both feet have started to slant. The figure’s weight pushes it’s diagonally posed legs outward. You can see it slightly above. If you watched Rich Eso’s video review, you can see his 30cm figure is even worse.
I was really hoping this 25cm version wouldn’t have the same trouble. Slide back up at the Pose Photo and look at the front view. You’ll see the legs are indeed diagonal. So my fear is hot, summer temperatures may make the 25cm Gamera figure’s legs a little wonky. It doesn’t weigh as much as the 30, so hopefully this little Gamera will keeps its feet flat on the ground.
SUPER SOFT TRANSLUCENT VINYL
Meh. The entire head piece is made of translucent vinyl and the variety which X-Plus is using is so soft, you can squeeze it like a stress toy. I don’t know, this just doesn’t feel like quality to me.
And finally, as already mentioned, the Ric Boy exclusive version’s battery plug doesn’t have enough room between the leg and shell to fit properly.
Despite ending this review on a (potential) sour note, the X-Plus Daiei Large Monster Series Gamera 1996 is a badass vinyl figure. I got one even though I have the larger 30cm Series version, and I’m so glad I did. Like it’s big brother (clone?) it has an awesome sculpt that resembles the original suit perfectly. The detail, texture and paint is just outright amazing. The X-Plus 25cm Gamera 1996 is just that good. Maybe that’s why X-Plus sold out so quickly.
And now let’s look to the future! Now that Heisei Gamera has found its way into the Large Monster Series, we can only hope that a Heisei Gyaos, Legion and Iris will follow!
By John Stanowski Originally posted June 24th, 2014 on Kaiju Addicts.
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