JAPAN RELEASE: DECEMBER 2013
NORTH AMERICAN REISSUE: JANUARY 2017
SERIES: TOHO 30CM SERIES
MATERIAL: SOFT VINYL
FROM: “GODZILLA 2000: MILLENNIUM”, 1999
HEIGHT: 12 INCHES / 30.4 CM
WIDTH: 8.75 INCHES / 22.2 CM
LENGTH (NOSE TO TAIL): 18 INCHES / 45.7 CM
REVIEW AND PHOTOS: JOHN STANOWSKI
The Godzilla Heisei era ended in 1995 with “Godzilla vs. Destroyah” to make way for a Hollywood attempt at the franchise. Shortly after, Toho Damage Control quickly sprung into action to release “Godzilla 2000: Millennium” (1999) to put things right. Okay, it’s more likely they were trying to cash in on the then recent notoriety of the Centropolis production butcherd though it was. Monster maker Shinichi Wakasa designed a new suit for a new millennium based off original concept work from Yuji Sakai. And thus a new Godzilla was born!
Enter the X-Plus Godzilla 1999 figure, already a vinyl fan favorite!
Just released earlier this month, the X-Plus Toho 30cm Series Godzilla 1999 is a knockout! It’s a great likeness and captures the nuances of the new design very well. I have no problem saying that the sculpt is fantastic and is probably the essential representation for collectors who like it hyper-real (no stylization).
It’s also a nice size. I was so afraid this figure was going to be another shorty like the Godzilla 1984 and 2004. Nope. If anything, this thing is just a tiny touch on the tall side.
I was a bit alienated when I first saw this new Godzilla suit design back in 2000. It’s pointy head (which some say is inspired by the 1962 suit) and it’s insanely spikey dorsal spines were just too much of a departure for me. Over time, though, I grew to love this look. I mean, check out those fins! I would have to say that if any Godzilla suit was able to be proclaimed a work of art, it’s this one. And the X-Plus figure nails it!
One thing to note on this figure is its especially deep skin texture. I’m not sure if it’s accurate, even after having watching the movie again last week, but it looks awesome. It sometimes looks as if the figure has a slight under-bite. And the fact the head is tilted upward doesn’t help.
This is praise for both the suit and the figure: this design is so dynamic! The shape of the head, mouth, eyebrows and fins just seem to jet out lines to the front and behind. Tell me you don’t get a sense of sweeping motion from the photo of it above.
Perfect! The teeth are individually sculpted (as per usual with X-Plus figures) and his three pairs of “fangs” located in the front, middle of the side and near the rear are well represented. You can’t see it from the side, but the teeth and gums are slightly seated below the “lip” and there is a super fine line of detail there. This level of attention just blows me away.
One curious thing about the sculpt though, is the figure’s left eye (seen above on the right). I’m not quite sure what’s going on here but it seems sunken in more than the other eye. Plus, the higher the angle from which you look at it, the more it “disappears” under the hood-like brow. I didn’t even notice this curious flaw until collector/reviewer Samson West brought it up. It’s not visible from the sides, nor from the front when your line of sight is pretty low. This bothers me, but it’s not a dealbreaker.
JOINTS & SEAMS
The tail comes in two pieces and both of them fit on seamlessly, except for a slight line at the top of the tail where it meets the body. Legs are attached to the body without glue seals (just like GMK) but, surprisingly, there aren’t really any visible seams but rather creases which seem to be part of the sculpt. There’s a noticeable filled seam on the neck right under the jaw which, thankfully, isn’t visible most of the time. And there are two glue seals right above each bicep. Curiously, the seam on its right arm was filled well, yet its left arm has a sort of rubberband indent around it where a visible line does interrupt the tree bark texture running over the skin. A series of short spikes in the sculpt cover the seams which run down the back on both side of the piece which holds the fins. All in all, not too bad!
Once again, a pretty standard pose, and once again, me likey! Well, mostly. The legs are spread in a wide stance and I don’t recall seeing this pose in the movie. Though I have seen behind-the-scenes photos where suit actor Tsutomu “Tom” Kitagawa had the legs spread like that.
Either way, it makes for a dynamic figure. Everything about it involves triangles radiating outward from his stance, his claws, his triangular head and fins. This figure seems to emit a feel of swooping motion even when it’s just standing there. This suit is the Nike Swoosh of Godzillas. (Did that make any sense?)
I often wonder if the sculptors for X-Plus base the poses on specific scenes. In the case of this figure, I noticed that if you place it on a table and stand in front of it, it looks just like the scene when Goji was getting scanned by Orga for peeks at his Generator G’s.
The X-Plus Godzilla 1999 vinyl figure is painted with a dark black with a lighter asphalt brushed over a few areas, mostly the thighs and chest. There is also a super subtle dark silver applied on the spikey textures on either side of the back fins. And that’s it.
I didn’t notice this at first but as I scrutinized the figure for this review, I realized that most of the black areas are just black. Other than the few areas mentioned, there are no other highlights. And I am disappointed by this. Now, this base black coat is semi-glossy which gives the figure a bit of a wet look. Because of this, light plays off the paint and deep textures in the sculpt to create a lot of light and specular highlights. But, personally, I really, really would rather have had more paint highlights brushed onto this figure. Sigh.
The fins on the back of the figure are made of translucent material molded in a purple-ish/magenta-ish color and have black sprayed around the “roots”. The fins on the tail, however, are made of the same vinyl as the rest of the figure. They are painted a dark purple and they don’t quite match the fins on the back. The extent of this difference depends on how the figure is lit. Light from the room can illuminate the fins and make them a brighter color. Yet even when tucked away on the shelf and against a wall, the fins still don’t match up but the difference is less noticeable.
I sampled colors from both sets of fins and added the circles to make it clearer how the colors differ. This is only a rough demonstration though because, again, the back fins seem to change color depending on where the figure is placed.
Even though it’s mildly entertaining to see the fins illuminate when placed in front of a light, I’d rather the figure was more accurate. His fins were not made of crystals and did not let light pass through them in the movie. X-Plus was trying to save time and money by using the same translucent fin material used on the Ric Boy Exclusive light-up version on the standard. Boo.
Around the black pupils are corneas which seem more tan than yellow. And beyond those are whites best described as smokey. There really isn’t very much contrast in the eyes to make them look like… eyes. From many angles it’s difficult to even see the pupils and instead you get a sort of GMKish look, or a found-dead-in-the-river/zombie kind of look. It may not seem so in the photo above since this is such a close view, but in normal viewing conditions, the detail in the eyes are often hard to make out.
The 1999ers! Gamera 1999 and Godzilla 1999 were released in the same month, line up in height, and make quite a pair!
The X-Plus Godzilla 1999 is just a hair taller than the Godzilla 2003. But it seems even larger when you consider the mass and girth of it’s neck and body.
Godzilla 1999/2000, Godzilla 2001 and 2003. If this is your favorite era to collect, you’ll be glad to know they scale well with each other. Sorry, I forgot to include the 2004!
Godzilla 1964, 1999 and 1992 come from different eras, but they still line up in the height department.
Another Godzilla figure means another long tail. The figure is 18 inches long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Subtract two inches if you let the nose hang over the edge of the shelf. The tail moves back away from the body in almost a straight line until 1/3 from the end it curls upward and to its right. This figure would fit better on the shelf if it were facing right. If you have a larger space to display him, then lucky you, you’re gonna need it!
RIC BOY EXCLUSIVE FEATURES
The Ric Boy Exclusive version of this figure came with a light-up fin gimmick plus something extra no one was expecting: a light emission from the mouth depicting Goji gurgling up an atomic loogie! AND, DAMN, IT LOOKS GOOD!
Collectors, myself included, were worried about how X-Plus was going to be able to make purple/magenta fins glow orange when the light gimmick was turned on. Looks like they managed to do a fine job of it.
I can’t comment much on these features since I haven’t seen one in person. I was getting sick of the whole light-up fin thing so I ordered the standard version. I had NO IDEA the fins would look as cool as they do in the photo above. And that mouth light… I’m… such a…. fool.
Special thanks to “Ryu Hayabusa” for the use of his photo!
THE BOX / ASSEMBLY
The X-Plus Godzilla 1999 vinyl comes in the standard 30cm series blind box with awesome art on the front. Inside the main body and two tail pieces are wired in to a plastic shell.
As already mentioned, the tail comes in two pieces. I would recommend attaching the larger piece to the body first and adding the rest of the tail last. If you’re going to need to do some twisting, the shorter the tail, the better.
I can usually tell if I’m going to have trouble inserting a tail when I first see it. It seems every other figure I get gives me trouble. In the case of this figure, the tail has a huge ‘flange’ (the part that hooks inside the body). Before I would have winced at this, but after having seen Rich Eso’s video on how to connect X-Plus tails, I wasn’t expecting to relive my Space Godzilla and Hedorah tail nightmares.
In his video, Rich says to heat the body with a hair dryer (not the tail), until it was “squishy soft”. Up until now I had gone as far as ‘just’ soft. This time I heated up Godzilla’s butt until it was as soft as rubber. And just to make sure I had zero trouble, I had earlier cooled the tail off in the refrigerator. When assembly time came, it literally popped right in. After that, attaching the second part of the tail was even easier. From now on…. squishy soft for me. Thanks, Rich!
Though I’m not happy with the dorsal fins being made of translucent material, the lack of highlights and the overly shiny black skin, the X-Plus Toho 30cm Series Godzilla 1999 is still a fantastic likeness and one of the best vinyl figures to come out in 2013. Get it! Doooo eeet!
By John Stanowski Originally posted December 13th, 2013 on Kaiju Addicts.
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