「キングコング：髑髏島の巨神」 コング ソフビ スタチュー スタンダード版
JAPAN ORIGINAL RELEASE: OCTOBER 2018
NORTH AMERICA ORIGINAL RELEASE: NOVEMBER 2018
BRAND: RELEASED BY STAR ACE, BUT PRODUCED BY X-PLUS
SERIES: NO SERIES AFFILIATION BUT IS COMPARABLE TO TOHO 30CM SERIES
FROM: “KONG: SKULL ISLAND” (2017)
HEIGHT (OFF BASE): ABOUT 12 INCHES / 30.4 CM
WIDTH (HAND TO HAND): ABOUT 7.75 INCHES / 19.6 CM
FIGURE WEIGHT: 15 OZ / 425 G
REVIEW AND PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED: © JOHN STANOWSKI
KONG: SKULL ISLAND AND ALL RELATED CHARACTERS AND ELEMENTS © WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
This is the long-awaited Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure by Star Ace, a subsidiary of X-Plus. The sculpt was produced by X-Plus. It stands at 12 inches tall, weighs in at just under a pound and is a mostly movie-accurate representation of the giant ape from Kong: Skull Island (2017).
It was released in Japan in October 2018 and it will reach stores in the United States in mid November 2018.
It is X-Plus’ fifth vinyl based on a Legendary Pictures movie monster and the third vinyl based on a titan from the Monsterverse. (See the Size Comparison section for photos of the others.)
There are two versions of this release. The EX (or “regular/standard”) features Kong with an open left hand and no accessories. The DX (or deluxe version) features the same sculpt with the exception of the left hand being closed to wrap around a helicopter as well as an island base for it to stand on. This review features the Standard Version.
The Star Ace Kong comes in a blind, brown box. Unlike X-Plus boxes, this one opens with a flip lid on the top and has its color cover art printed directly on the front. With a keen eye, though, you will notice elements common to X-Plus box covers such as the thin, grunge border and the offset halo effect on the image of the figure.
Note that the walls of this box are extremely thin. It could be easily crumbled. Please store it safely, assuming you get one dent and wrinkle free.
Despite the thin box, your figure is very securely protected on the inside. It’s packaged more like a 1/6 scale figure than an X-Plus vinyl. Kong is seated in a plastic shell which comes with a plastic lid which also wraps around all four sides thus increasing its strength. Also, unlike an X-Plus, Kong is not wire-tied to the plastic since the lid keeps him securely in place.
Kong’s pose, though simple, breaks the glass on the Badass Scale.
The Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure sports an awesome, mostly movie-accurate sculpt of the giant ape from the movie.
Three things that stand out the most to me are its apparently expertly captured proportions and gait, expressive, familiar face and intricately detailed fur which looks far better in person than I was expecting.
I’ve compared the head sculpt to several photos from the film and, yes, I did find minor details with my admittedly untrained eye which could have been tweaked. I also find the face a little more “grown-up” than the one I saw in some scenes of the movie. But in the sculptor’s defense, Kong’s face seemed to fluctuate between adolescent and adult in the movie. This sculpt seems based on the latter.
It seems super expressive from almost every angle projecting anger, confidence, curiosity, thoughtfulness and power.
What can I say? They’re feet. I have no comment, but thought you might like to see them.
Kong stands in a seemingly idle museum pose taken straight from the movie. And yet, the level of expression in this sculpt seems so dynamic at the same time. Kong’s pose, though simple, breaks the glass on the Badass Scale.
Kong’s gait from the movie is EXPERTLY captured in this pose. This is a work of vinyl art.
Despite giving a little wobble when first placed down, this vinyl quickly stabilizes and stands firm. It does not appear to be easily unbalanced with heavy-footed traffic passing by the collection or even a sudden jolt to the shelves. Kong stands steady and proud.
JOINTS & SEAMS
The only lines of note on this figure are the joints at the ankles which definitely leave a gap in the sculpt. But because they are so low, they’re not overly obvious. And they are completely invisible when looking at the figure from a higher angle.
There are traces of seams above both biceps and around the base of the trapezius muscles and base of the neck. These are covered over with paint in such a way as to make them hardly noticeable.
For something as uncomplicated as a giant, furry ape, Star Ace / X-Plus did a fantastic job bringing life to Kong’s fur. While it’s hard to see in this photo, Kong’s coat has just the right amount of darks and highlights over it main medium brown paint scheme. Even harder to see, even with your own eyes, are scattered accents that almost appear greenish brown. I’m not sure if these are meant as hairy highlights or if they are meant to represent the jungle debris that matted in his fur (as was purposely added by the CGI crew at Lucasfilm). Either way, they add a subtle top layer of detail in Kong’s paint apps.
Kong’s face, hands, feet and chest are treated with an off black with a very definite blueish tinge. I’ve seen this tinge on actual apes before, but didn’t really notice it in the movie. Either way, this shade seems far too bright to be movie-accurate. Despite this, I am mostly reluctant to complain about most of these areas since it seems these areas wouldn’t stand out as much had they been darker.
The face is made even lighter with generous amounts of highlights made with an even lighter shade. I’m of the opinion that his face is far too light because of this and was immediately very disappointed with it when I first opened the box. I’ve since gotten used to it. The amazing sculpt, pose and perceived attitude just washed the negativity away.
There is one area that has me totally perplexed. And, that would be Kong’s butt. The same shades used on his face, chest, hands and feet were actually applied, over the fur, on Kong’s ass. ????? Hate to say it, but this is a glaring error. Kong’s butt is brown just like his arms and legs. But Star Ace has him looking like he just sat on a kaiju-sized bench with wet paint. What they hell were they thinking? Thankfully this error faces the wall on the shelf.
Let’s get back to some sorely needed good news. Kong’s fiery, orange eyes look fantastic! They’ve no doubt used decals here since each one is a mere 3/16 of an inch wide. They are coated with a shiny gloss to bring even more life to them.
Kong’s chest is painted with the same light, off black as his other bare skin areas and it feathers into the brown fur very, very well. Excellent work.
His trademark skullcrawler scars seem to be in the right proportion but, I feel, are given too much focus with the starkly light lines of paint. The scars are noticeably brighter than was seen on the prototype we were teased with for over a year (below).
In the above photo you can see Kong: Skull Island director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, at X-Plus headquarters in Osaka holding the prototype. Note the much more reserved coloring on the scars. I can’t help but wonder if he is the reason for the brighter colors on the end product.
Last year, Vogt-Roberts replied to a tweet made by Kyle Yount (Kaijucast) which showed the figure. His response:
“This is awesome. But please make his chest scars more pronounced via discoloration…”
It looks like X-Plus kowtowed to Jordan’s advice. But, despite being a little toyish, I’ve grown to like it. I knew Kong had scars but never really appreciated how cool they were until I got this vinyl.
FOOTPRINT / ON THE SHELF
At 12 inches tall, the Star Ace Kong takes up only 7.75 inches at his widest and hardly any room at all in depth. This vinyl may be off the charts with its badassery but it’s extremely modest when it comes to taking up space on the shelf. His footprint will barely leave a mark even in the most crowded collections.
Now, let’s take a look at the Star Ace Kong with a myriad of X-Plus vinyls and other figures you may have in your collection.
At the time of this writing, the most likely companion for your new Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Statue is the 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 (review) by X-Plus. They look FANTASTIC paired together on the shelf. The standard version of Godzilla seems to closely match the demeanor of Kong making for a good visual match in your display.
The X-Plus Godzilla 2014 stands at 12.75 inches (32.3 cm) against Kong’s 12 inches (30.5 cm). It seems only fitting that Kong should be shorter seeing as how this version of the giant ape is actually much, much smaller than this Godzilla. But note that even at this slight disadvantage, Kong’s arms already dwarfs Godzilla’s.
The fierce 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 Roar Version (review) is slightly taller at 13 inches (33 cm). Kong still pairs with it nicely. Although, Kong seems pretty unimpressed by Godzilla’s roaring head.
Kong is slightly taller than your NECA Godzilla 2014 24-Inch Head-to-Tail figure. Even so, it’s still comparable in size and presence and they will look good together on the shelf.
The Star Ace Kong stands here with X-Plus’ two entries from Legendary’s Pacific Rim (2013). The Large Monster Series Leatherback and the Large Monster Series Knifehead. You are probably accustomed to Large Monster Series vinyls being only 25cm tall, as am I. But these two behemoths really do have the size and mass of 30cm Series figures. And so, they look GREAT next to Kong.
And here is Kong with two figures from the Toho 30cm Series: Godzilla 1964 (review) and Godzilla 1968. Kong is actually standard 30cm Series height and so will fit in nicely with any figures you may have from that series.
The DX version of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Statue comes with two awesome extras and one modification of the sculpt.
A round base with Skull Island motif will raise your Kong vinyl to new heights. This vinyl deserves to be put up on a pedestal. And, now you’ve got one!
Also included is a separate, mangled helicopter which can be inserted into Kong’s re-sculpted left hand. X-Plus had earlier indicated that this chopper would be permanently affixed to Kong’s hand, but we know know that isn’t the case. Kong’s hand looks just fine on its own if you elect to not use the extra piece.
The Deluxe Version is a virtual snapshot right out of the movie!
You can see a lot of promotional photos of both versions, including close-ups of the base and helicopter.
Despite a couple of annoying painting issues, the Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure is one helluva collectible! With minimum seams, intricate textures and a sculpt and pose that feels so alive, this Kong is truly an exciting addition to any X-Plus collection. I hope it’s successful run secures places for future Monsterverse vinyls from Star Ace and X-Plus.
By John Stanowski Originally posted October 19th, 2018 on Kaiju Addicts.
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