Monday, 4 May 2015

My Top 5 Favorite X-Plus Figures (So Far...)

A small portion of my X-Plus collection from November 2014

Written by Arlo Hansen

There is no doubt in my mind that vinyl figures of all shapes and sizes have been a staple for a large number of toy collectors for decades. For me personally, my first introduction to the wonderful world of vinyl toys were Bandai's Godzilla figures. I bought my very first figure in 2001 and never looked back! Over the years, Bandai's Movie Monsters Series figure line has dwindled down. From that point, I started looking elsewhere to satisfy my vinyl addiction. For years (2008 to 2011) I was on a collecting hiatus, that is until Bandai began their S.H. MonsterArts series of figures. However, while those figures are really neat, they did not give me the same nostalgic feeling that I used to have years prior when collecting Bandai's vinyl figures.

In late spring of 2012, my eyes began glancing over towards a series of highly detailed and incredibly sculpted vinyl figures from a company called X-Plus. They were quite expensive, and at the time I did not have the money to dive right in and buy the figures I really wanted. However, I gave it a shot with a single figure (which is a part of my list below,) that reignited that old butterfly sensation in my stomach I used to get when I received a brand new figure in the mail when I was a child. It thwarted me on a path that would rebuild my collection as well as empty my wallet!

Below is a list of my top five favorite X-Plus figures between mid-2012 and right now. Take note that I do not own every figure, and the ones in my list are from my personal collection. The list is in no particular order.

Without further ado, let's get started!

#1 - Toho Large Monsters Series Gigan 1972

Of course I have to begin with the figure that started off my X-Plus addiction! Once I received it, I knew this one was a keeper. For years, Gigan has been one of my top favorite Kaiju from the Godzilla series. It's bizarre appearance has left quite an impression on me from the moment I first watched Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) on DVD, and it's fitting that it happened to be the very first figure in my X-Plus figure collection.

#2 - Toho Large Monsters Series King Ghidorah 1968

I am fully aware of the issues regarding how this figure was shipped to some collectors, but I am so glad that the store I bought mine from secured mine very well! King Ghidorah has been one of the most anticipated figures from X-Plus. Not surprising since it has been in development for over a year or two before getting the sculpt and materials just right. With the release of King Ghidorah, X-Plus kickstarted a series of reissues of many of their figures from the 1968 movie, Destroy All Monsters. King Ghidorah is my number one favorite Kaiju besides Godzilla, himself. The X-Plus figure for it is truly majestic and a real centerpiece for any Kaiju figure collection.

#3 - Toho 30cm Series Hedorah

I only received Hedorah a few months ago (despite the figure having been out for years,) but it has certainly become one of my favorite figures as of now. It's huge and very imposing. Perfectly in scale with the 30cm Series Godzilla 1968 figure. When I first saw Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) my opinion on it was very mixed. It was very psychedelic, cheesy, and flat-out weird. However, after watching the movie several more times, I began to develop an appreciation for it. It's the first Godzilla movie in years (at the time) to really focus on an actual issue (oceanic and atmospheric pollution,) and is a real reflection of the social and political climate in Japan during the early 1970s. Hedorah, itself, was one of Godzilla's most powerful adversaries in retrospect. Only in recent years has it really become another of my top favorite monsters from the franchise overall.

#4 - Daiei 30cm Series Gamera 1999

This is the only figure in this list that comes from a monster franchise other than Godzilla. While I am not a big collector of Gamera related merchandise, I do love the movies. More specifically I love Shusuke Kaneko's Heisei Gamera trilogy. Those movies really got me into the character, more so than the kid-friendly Showa series. X-Plus had released 30cm figures of the 1995 and 1996 Gamera suits, but I decided to hold out for the 1999 design from Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris, which is arguably my top favorite Gamera design. Sure enough, in late 2013, X-Plus released their 30cm Gamera 1999 and it is glorious! I love just about everything on this figure from the sculpt, paint, and pose. It definitely has a great shelf presence. Almost instantaneously after getting it, the 30cm Gamera 1999 became one of my top favorite X-Plus figures.

#5 - Toho 30cm Series Godzilla 1954

What better way to end this list with the suit that started it all? Godzilla 1954 is a very impressive sculpt and definitely one of X-Plus' best figures by far. It's certainly one of the taller Godzilla figures from the 30cm series (perhaps beaten by a small few including this June's 30cm Godzilla 2014 figure.) I do not own the standard monochrome release, to be honest. Instead I have the highly limited Winter Wonderfest 2013 True Color Version. This particular version of the figure possesses a color scheme that is reminiscent of the original colored movie posters for the 1954 film. It also comes with the miniature Oxygen Destroyer much like the original RIC Boy release for the figure. It's an amazing coloration, especially for Godzilla, and it's one of my prized figures in my X-Plus collection - to the point that if, hypothetically, there was a fire or any other natural disaster, and I had to save only one item in my collection, THIS would be it!

There are many more figures I wish I could add to this list, but these five are what come to mind first when posed with the question, "what are your top five favorite X-Plus figures?"

If there is a figure not listed here that you believe to be one of the best, then give us your reasons in the comments section below!

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