Thursday, 31 May 2012

Kaiju Toy Review - S.H. MonsterArts Mogera

Ok, with these figure reviews, I am going to try something different. Each section will follow the photos. So without any further statements, here we go!

I got this figure today in the mail while I was at work. Much to my surprise, the box was heavier than I anticipated. However that aspect was not a disappointed for I do prefer the more chunkier and heavy figures. I finally got to open the figure once I got home. So let's take a look at that...

Upon taking Mogera out of its box, I could not help but notice that it has more diecast parts than the S.H. MonsterArts MechaGodzilla. There are metal parts in the arms, legs, and feet. This makes the figure heavier than usual, as I mentioned a little earlier. My first impression was a positive one though. This figure catches every bit of detail that Mogera had in the film. I found it to be a better figure than MechaGodzilla (well... minus the Garuda).  

The first accessory that I put on was Mogera's alternate spiral grenade launchers, which have articulation unlike the pair that it comes with. They're pretty neat and add to the display of the figure. 

The next effect part that I put on was Mogera's Plasma Cannon. It resembles a Maser Cannon in a way, which I hardly noticed when watching Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. I really applaud Tamashii Nations' innovative way to input and remove this part. Just open Mogera's back and press on the button until the cannon or chest piece pops out. 

With the Plasma Cannon already in place, I had to check out the Plasma Cannon effect beam. While it's neat, it's nothing new. For me it's essentially a rehashed version of MechaGodzilla's Mega Buster beam effect. 

Now this has to be my most favorite effect part to come with this figure! Mogera's Spiral Grenade missile launch effect. The effect part is so big that my camera doesn't know where to focus! The effect stands are tiny buildings and intersections. It's actually really neat. I was not too thrilled about it when I saw the pictures, but in person that's a different story. It gives the figure some scale. 

I still have to display Mogera in his flying mode, but the sides of his hips - were the wings go - are so hard to take out that I'm afraid that I'm going to break it. As far as articulation goes, I think it was a bit overrated in the early reviews. It's not as dynamic as I was led to believe, but that's not much of an issue for me. Anyways, Mogera is a really neat figure and a nice addition to the S.H. MonsterArts line. Never I expected that Mogera would get such a great figure! 

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Kaiju Movie Review - Varan The Unbelievable

Ever since the release of Gojira in 1954, Toho has put out films every year or two since then focussing on giant monsters - Godzilla Raids Again, Rodan, The Mysterians, and there is Varan The Unbelievable.

While Varan is undoubtfully one of my favorite monsters of the Showa era, his movie is kind of a swing and a miss. There are times that it's really good, then there are those moments that make you cringe.

Varan The Unbelievable begins with two members of a university being mysteriously killed in a landslide by an unknown (Varan) creature. A search team consisting with our two leads Kenji and Yuriko are sent to the remote Japanese region of Tohoku where the men were killed. They come across a village of people who worship a lake God called Baradagi, and it was he who killed the men. Kenji was adamant to believe such a creature exists, but soon enough the creature, Varan, made his presence known.

I adored the premise of this film, but I felt that it fell short in acting. The acting at many times was quite cheesy and laughable. The redeeming factors were Tsuburaya's special effects, and Akira Ifukube's familiar scoring. I thought that this film had one of his best scores in all of the Showa series. It isn't as upbeat and pumping as many of his Godzilla themes, but it's more subtle and haunting at times. The opening piece utilizes Rodan's theme with an ominous chorus, which was pulled off quite well. It's still stuck in my head!

Varan may not be the greatest of Toho's non-Godzilla films, but I liked it despite its low points. It's definitely a film that begs for a remake. It's a shame that besides this film and his brief cameo in Destroy All Monsters, Varan never appears in anything else, spare Atari's Godzilla: Unleashed video game. That's kind of what makes him a favorite of mine. He's just so obscure!

Kaiju Comic Review - GODZILLA #1

I was not expecting much from this comic when IDW first announced that they were continuing their ongoing Godzilla series with the 'soft reboot' GODZILLA. This new series does take place within the same universe as Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, and promises that there will be a more coherent story. I initially passed this off as a load of hooey since IDW overhyped the previous series. I did not intend on reading this series at all.


Boy was I wrong!

IDW is finally learning their lesson! I really enjoyed reading GODZILLA #1. In my opinion, it had way more character development in just one character, Boxer, than any other character introduced in Kingdom of Monsters. The story briefly hints its ties to the previous series in that the monsters are all known, and have returned. Also Washington DC is still under heavy reconstruction... well, until Godzilla returns.

When I heard that Simon Gane was brought on to do the artwork, I wasn't too thrilled. I read Godzilla: Legends #2 which he illustrated, and I found his style very uninspiring. Like I mentioned about the artwork for Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, it's the colors that give the artwork a bit of justice. While the art is still uneven, I find it way more consistent than what we got from the previous series.

Overall, I'm definitely hooked on GODZILLA. I just hope that they can maintain the great character development in the coming issues as well as include some awesome monster battles. I'm actually quite interested in seeing this rag tag team of monster Bounty Hunters led by Boxer to all come together. It's a pretty cool idea actually. I am also looking forward to the next mini series, Godzilla: Half Century War, written, illustrated and colored all by the brilliant James Stokoe.

Kaiju Comic Review - Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters Volume 3

Granted, IDW's Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters may have not been the greatest comic series ever, but it is still a fun read nonetheless, and quite enjoyable.

Volume 3 consists of the last four issues of the series. It mainly focusses on Steven Wood's character battling Anguirus and eventually Godzilla with MechaGodzilla which he hijacked earlier in the series. I understand why most people would look down on this series when reading individual issues, however I feel the series does some slight justice for itself when read as a Trade Paperback. However, it is still not 'Pulitzer' material that's for sure. It fails at various points and character development still remains at a low point. The story essentially relies on the monster battles to draw on making this book somewhat a quick read.

The artwork for me is very uneven. However I'm not as intolerant of it as others are... I've seen far worse. But I wouldn't even call the artwork really bad to begin with though. It's just the artist's style. It's not mean't for everyone, but as an artist, I understand that not everyone will agree with your style of illustrating. If the comic was in black and white, then I would've found it really intolerable, but the use of color really helps me overlook to very uneven line art.

While certainly the latter half of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is an improvement over the first half, it still isn't all that great. However I give them credit that the cheesy pop culture references have been taken out almost completely, and that they focus on Steven Woods despite his poor character development. Nonetheless, as I've stated, it's still an enjoyable read if you want to see giant monsters battling one another. Plus the art gallery at the end of the book, showcasing Matt Frank's Gigan, Hedorah, and SpaceGodzilla covers, and more is always a plus.

I honestly felt that the end of Kingdom of Monsters was satisfying for what the series came to be... if that makes any sense. I also wonder what IDW will do with SpaceGodzilla since he makes his first appearance in the series in the last issue...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Monday, 28 May 2012

My X-Plus Challenge

Earlier my Dad and I were discussing the value of X-Plus figures while watching episodes of Storage 
Wars. Despite their steep retail price, they certainly do well when they're up for resell. If I ever chose to sell any of my X-Plus figures, I could earn double or triple of what I paid for it. 

This eventually led me to show my Dad the X-Plus Biollante. At one place I found it at $638 (that's with shipping combined) making it one of the cheapest prices I found for it. I told my Dad that Biollante would essentially be the 'Holy Grail' of X-Plus figures. 

Anyways, I ultimately made the vow that by this time next year, after I graduate from college, I'll buy myself the X-Plus Biollante as long as it's under $1000. My Dad supported this challenge having realized the true value of these figures. 

So will I be able to acquire myself an X-Plus Biollante by summer 2013?

Well... Challenge Accepted! 

Friday, 25 May 2012

New Official Photos of S.H. MonsterArts King Ghidorah

Found these photos on the TohoKingdom Forums a few minutes ago. I am assuming that reservations for this figure will be opening sometime soon! I'm ready...

Update - Tamashii Nation's S.H. MonsterArts page has updated new information and pictures about King Ghidorah.

Love the new flying pose!
I want to display King Ghidorah like this when I get him!

King Ghidorah completely dwarfs the SH MonsterArts Godzilla

I can't wait to get this majestic looking figure!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Got Varan!

Well, seeing that $191.00 price tag on the X-Plus 30cm Varan at Hobby Search kind of made me shy away from it a bit. Especially since I'm paying close to the same price for the 30cm Godzilla 1989 at the end of June.


Thanks to my seriously awesome Dad, I will be getting one for my birthday! He decided to preorder one for me as one of my gifts, the other being new speakers for my laptop. I am seriously grateful, considering that Varan is one of my favorites of the Showa era and that I don't have a figure of him.

Like the rest of my figures coming this summer, Varan will be waiting for me back in Guam this August!

X-Plus Toho 30cm Series Varan - Coming out in Late July

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Godzilla Comics & Movies

I placed three new orders this morning, but not for figures this time.

Off of I bought the third volume trade paperback of Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters and the DVD of Varan The Unbelievable. 

Then, off of Dreamland Comics I order the first issue in IDW's GODZILLA, the soft reboot following Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters. 

I will be doing a movie review for Varan, and comic book reviews for Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters Volume #3 and Godzilla #1. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

X-Plus Varan and Mogera announced!

X-Plus just announced their next two figures in their 30cm and 25cm lines respectively.

Check out X-Plus's Blog!

Varan will be the next figure in their 30cm line while the Showa Mogera in their 25cm line.

Since buying the 30cm Godzilla 1989, I vowed myself that I would stick to the 25cm line hereon. However, the Showa Mogera isn't exactly my favorite kaiju / mecha out there, and Varan is a kaiju that I have yet to add on to my collection.

So yes, I am considering on getting myself the 30cm Varan. I'll wait till I see images of the painted figure to make my final decision. However, along with Varan, I also want to get the 30cm Rodan 1964. I may have to compromise eventually and get one figure instead of the other. However, I'll wait for another several months before I decide. X-Plus figures are a big investment without a doubt, so I want to be sure I'll be buying figures that will be worth my money.

25cm Mogera & 30cm Varan respectively

Monday, 21 May 2012

Latest Order

The figure I ordered is in better
condition than the one pictured
Since I have a little credit to use up, I decided to buy myself an old vinyl figure that I have been wanting for some time. The Bandai 1995 8" Destoroyah.

I bought it through BigBadToyStore for $40 (plus $8 shipping). I am currently selling my 6" version, so I thought that the larger 8" one could fill the void. Destoroyah is one of my top favorite monsters besides Godzilla just behind Gigan, King Ghidorah, MechaGodzilla and Titanosaurus.

The figure should get here in the coming weeks. It will go great next to my Standard Bandai 8" Burning Godzilla that I bought six years ago. Another great addition to my Summer Haul!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Slashed Prices!

I've lowered my prices by $5 to $10 on ebay!

Sets of three figures are now $50 plus $10 shipping.
Sets of two are now $35 plus $10 shipping.
Individuals are still $20 plus $10 shipping.

Check out my listings on ebay at Olragon2012.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Now Selling!

Hey you guys!

Check out my ebay page, I now have my items listed up and ready to sell!
So if you are interested, please check out what I have, and BUY, BUY, and BUY! 

I also updated my Ebay Listings page to feature what I'm selling now and what I've already sold.

Ebay Listings

Tomorrow I will be putting up what I will be selling this summer. At the moment I am primarily selling 6" vinyl figures from Bandai's Movie Monster Series.

Burning Godzilla, Godzilla Junior, Destoroyah - $60.00 (+ $20.00 Shipping)

Gamera 1999 - $20.00 (+ $10.00 Shipping)

Godzilla '05, Gigan '05, Mothra '04 - $60.00 (+ $20.00 Shipping)

Godzilla '54 - $20.00 (+ $10.00 Shipping)

Godzilla '93, MechaGodzilla '93, Fire Rodan - $60.00 (+ $20.00 Shipping)

Godzilla Island Mothra Larva '92 - $50.00 (+ $10.00 Shipping)

Rainbow Mothra - $20.00 (+ $10.00 Shipping)

SpaceGodzilla, Mogera - $40.00 (+ $10.00 Shipping)

Expect to see this listing up this weekend. Also, while not listed, I will also be selling a Bandai Creation Godzilla Crumble Zone set for $30.00 ($10.00 Shipping). It is perfect condition minus its original box. Anyways if you're interested please contact me. Just wait till my listings are officially up though. 

Still Getting My X-Plus MechaGodzilla

Well, my issue with Hobby Search has been resolved.

While I was intending to cancel the order altogether, Hobby Search prohibited it due to their policy. Therefore I will be forwarding the item to my Guam address. It will be waiting for me at home when I get back in August. I will be refunded the difference in my shipping.

However, despite this, I am still anticipating on acquiring the SDCC Exclusive S.H. MonsterArts Explosion Godzilla too.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Summer Orders

Ok, in a nutshell, I have a number of items coming in this summer! Here is just a recap of what I have on the way between now and the end of August:

S.H. MonsterArts Mogera

I should be getting this figure in a matter of time. It just released in the last few days, so I should receive my shipping notice by tomorrow or so. Though Mogera is not the greatest of Toho's mecha, the figure from what I've seen is outstanding, and would be a step closer in completing my Heisei lineup.

X-Plus Toho 30cm Series Godzilla 1989

This figure has had me tossing and turning for nights since I ordered it. The 1989 Godzilla has been an incarnation of the Big G that has eluded my grasps in the past - and that's not counting the Bandai Jumbo Godzilla 1991 figure. I eagerly await its release at the end of June and for me to finally make the payments to finally have it. I guarantee that this figure will be the ONLY 30cm X-Plus figure that I'll be buying for a while.

S.H. MonsterArts Little Godzilla w/ Crystal Set

Ah, Little Godzilla! I could NOT resist, just look at him, cute am I right? Little G will finally round out my MonsterArts lineup of kaiju from the 1994 film, Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla. The crystal spires will go nicely alongside my S.H.MonsterArts SpaceGodzilla figure as well.

S.H. MonsterArts Fire Rodan

Bandai's vinyls for Fire Rodan in the past have never been very appealing, so when Fire Rodan was announced for the S.H.MonsterArts line as a standard release, I just had to reserve one myself! I'm having this shipped alongside my Ultra-Act Ultraman (New Edition) as well, so double the joy!

Ultra-Act Ultraman (New Edition)

I was going to buy the original version of this figure, but as fate would have it, my craving for this figure came about right when the new edition was announced. After doing my research and noting the differences between the two figures, I made up my mind and ordered the new edition. This figure will be coming in alongside my S.H.MonsterArts Fire Rodan.

Ultra-Act Red King

I consider this the FINAL figure I'll be buying from the Ultra-Act line - not for its price (which is more reasonable than most figures), but for the mere fact that I want to focus on S.H.MonsterArts and X-Plus Godzilla figures. Red King has always been one of my favorite Ultra Kaiju besides Gomora and Baltan (which I already have from this line), so Red King will fulfill my needs for certain!

So yeah, I have a large haul coming in. The only figure that will be sent to my parents' address is the S.H.MonsterArts Mogera. All the others will be sent to my address back on Guam where they will be waiting for me till I get back in early August - except for Red King who will be released towards the end of that month.

SDCC Explosion Godzilla - My Thoughts

I have been traveling for the last day, so it wasn't until I arrived home to my parents' place when I saw Bluefin's first images of the SDCC Exclusive 'Explosion' Godzilla.

I was initially planning to buy the figure, but after realizing that the sculpt is exactly the same as the already released Godzilla '94, it made me hesitant. Do not get me wrong, the figure looks amazing in every way, but since I will not be attending SDCC where the figure itself will cost $55, I don't intend to shelve out over $180 for this figure on Ebay. The price on Ebay is way too steep for me to pay, and too steep compared to the original price, exclusive or not. And since I paid $60 for the original Godzilla figure in the SH MonsterArts line, paying essentially triple that for an exclusive version of the same exact sculpt seems a bit over the top for me - especially since the exclusive itself will be sold at SDCC at a lower price compared to the original!

Sure, I won't mind buying the figure if I find it at a more reasonable price (highly doubtful of that), but from what I've seen on Ebay, it's just not that worth it. Plus, at the moment I have a lot of other preorders that I have to pay for - X-Plus 30cm Godzilla 1989, SH MonsterArts Fire Rodan, and the Ultra-Act Ultraman (New Edition). So adding on another $180 something purchase will not help my wallet at all.

Am I torn on this? Damn straight, but at least, I can live without it as I can live without so many other figures. Frankly, I was just glad that this exclusive wasn't the 'Burning' Godzilla that we've seen from the prototype images early on from last year. Ironically, I'd rather have THAT figure rather than the SDCC Exclusive.

Who knows, I may end up succumbing to temptation and buying it - closer to its release date rather than right now. Let me pay off my eventual $200 bill for my X-Plus Godzilla 1989 before I make any other crazy decisions.

However, if I don't get it, I won't be upset. Irked that my MonsterArts collection will not be 'complete', maybe, but upset, no.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Kaiju Toy Review - Sci-Fi Revoltech Type 66 Maser Cannon

This will be my final review before I leave on vacation.

Anyways, I just came home from the Post Office with my new Sci-Fi Revoltech Type 66 Maser Cannon. This is the first time in a long time that I've bought a figure representation of any Toho weapon - the first being the Bandai Diecast Gotengo 2005 that I bought back in 2006. I scored the Maser for $20.00 off of HobbyLink Japan during their Inventory Clearance Sale the other week.

The Maser Cannon was a weapon first introduced in the 1966 Toho giant monster film, War of the Gargantuas, which was a subtle sequel to Frankenstein Conquers the World. Since that film, the Maser Cannon would go on to be featured in various Godzilla films - notably Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972). It was slightly updated for its appearance in the films Godzilla x MechaGodzilla (2002), and Godzilla x Mothra x MechaGodzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003).

The Maser Cannon itself is very neat. With its turret raised, it is at least four inches tall, while from front to back it measures approximately six to seven inches. It is very detailed, and the paint job and markings are spot on. However, much of the figure's accessories are nothing to get excited over - various gadgets and gizmos, and the maser effect part isn't as dynamic as it should be. The beam is three inches long. Personally the Maser Cannon looks best without it. The only accessory that I found actually redeeming was the miniature Gaira and Sanda (pictured) locked in battle. Sure it is not in scale with the Maser, but it's a nice addition nonetheless. Overall, despite the lack of 'dynamic' accessories with the exception of the mini Gargantuas, the Type 66 Maser Cannon was a nice buy, and worth the $20.00 I spent for it.

As I stated before, this will be my last review for a while - at least until I receive the S.H.MonsterArts Mogera in early June. I'll be heading on my summer vacation on Friday, so things will be pretty quiet around here for a little while.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Summer Ebay Listing

Once I return home to my parents' place in a couple of weeks, I will be resuming sales of some of my Bandai six inch vinyls on ebay. For those who do not know, my username on ebay is Olragon2012.

Anyways, here is a list of some of the items that I will be lisitng:

Godzilla 1993
Fire Rodan
MechaGodzilla 1993
King Ghidorah 1991
Mothra Larva 1992
Burning Godzilla
Godzilla Jr.
Gamera 1999
Rainbow Mothra

The figures I'm selling are the Heisei related ones. Since I'm acquiring more S.H. MonsterArts items, I am selling their vinyl counterparts - mostly because they take up too much space. I may sell figures as sets (eg. Fire Rodan & MG93 together, SG & Mogera together, Burning G, Destoroyah & G Jr. Together).

I'll announce prices and when they'll be listed sometime in the coming weeks.

And I shall call him... Mini-Me.

A size comparison shot of my new X-Plus 25cm Gigan (left) and my Revoltech Gigan (right). 

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Kaiju Toy Review - X-Plus Toho Large Monsters Series Gigan

To my delighted surprise, I received my X-Plus Toho Large Monster Series Gigan in the mail!

I must admit, it is bigger than I was previously led to believe. According to sources online, the figure was said to be at least 23cm tall, but after measuring it with a ruler, it is actually closer to 26cm from head to toe. I was happy about this for the fact I prefer larger figures - especially when I paid $114.00 for it too!

Gigan is my second favorite monster besides Godzilla in the entire series (first being King Ghidorah). This figure, as stated, stands at 26cm tall. It is sculpted out of soft vinyl. The detailing and paint job on this figure blew my mind! It surpasses anything seen by Bandai or Kaiyodo, giving me a good idea on what to expect from other X-Plus figures. I believe this is the best looking Gigan figure in my collection!

As far as articulation goes, it the same as any Bandai figure - arms and legs. The tail and neck have little to no articulation, which I feel is good, considering that these figures are mean't to be displayed rather than played with. For those interested in buying the same figure, take note that it comes with its tail detached, and the best way to put it on is to first heat up the tail piece with a hair dryer, and then stick it into the tail base on the main figure then wait a few minutes for it to cool down.

Overall, Gigan is a bitchin' figure! It sits well on my shelf along with my Bandai Jumbo Godzilla 1991. With my pleasant response to Gigan, I am looking forward in buying more X-Plus figures in the future (perhaps sometime after getting the S.H.MonsterArts King Ghidorah). The next X-Plus figure that I bought was the 30cm Godzilla 1989 that's coming out toward the end of June. I should expect that figure along with various other figures here at home once I return from my summer vacation in August.

SDCC Exclusive Burning Godzilla on Ebay?!

In the last day and a half, I was made aware that the upcoming San Diego Comic Con Exclusive S.H. MonsterArts 'Burning Godzilla' (Not the official name of the figure FYI) is up for pre-order by a couple of vendors for around $180.00 up to $190.00.

Now, personally I do NOT trust people on ebay for preorders. And also just in the last 24 hours or so, a representative from Bluefin (the company responsible for the distribution of Tamashii Nation products stateside) is urging fans to await for actual product photos and prices before buying from a middle man or other source.

Unfortunately, I've seen fans jump at the ridiculous price so they can assure themselves that they'll get it. While I am indeed in to the MonsterArts line, I am not going to shelve out over $200 just for a six inch tall plastic figure. The best thing to do is to wait till SDCC has come and gone, and await to see what's left. If I find a brand new 'Burning' Godzilla on ebay for just the right price, then yes I'll jump at the chance to get it. However, I will NOT rely on the word of a person on ebay who has 'gone to comicon six times,' and 'knows how these things go down.' The figure isn't even out yet, and how can I know for sure that this person can acquire the figure?

Personally, I am just going to wait it out. I'd rather have actual product photos and a set price that I can reference off than spend more than I should be paying. Don't take this post the wrong way, I REALLY WANT this SDCC exclusive.