Gigan, as it appears in “Godzilla: Final Wars,” is the third Millennium monster for the S.H.MonsterArts line. After what seemed like many web exclusive releases, Gigan is a regular release that’s priced at $94.99 in North America. Not being a fan of this particular incarnation, I find the price to be a little high. However, it’s a big figure with a lot of awesome features. The only Gigan figure I’ve ever owned was the Trendmasters figure, which was a stylized version of the 1972 incarnation. As with the rest of the line, I look for screen accurate monsters with relative scale within the line. Gigan meets most of these expectations, while reinventing others.
Gigan’s design is pretty solid, however, one thing about this figure that may bother some collectors is that it is not 100% accurate to the actual suit used in the film. To give Gigan a more alien/creature physique, the sculptors based this design on final maquettes used for “Godzilla: Final Wars.” I honestly prefer this over the actual suit because Gigan now looks less like a man-in-the-suit and more like a natural creature. Compared to the actual suit, the horn parts for its head are longer, especially the upgraded form’s horn, the torso is slimmer, and the teeth seem a little larger. That being said, Gigan’s design mostly remains true to what’s seen on screen. Comprised of mostly PVC, some ABS, and some diecast metal parts, the figure has a good weight to it. It’s hard to tell from the promo pictures, but this figure is fairly large at 7.1 inches tall, which continues the thought that Millennium era figures will be in their own relative scale compared to the Heisei and Showa era entries.
Gigan’s overall design is chic, slim, and sharp. The head is mostly smooth, with wrinkle-like textures to define its facial structure. The beak, mouth pincers, and spikes on the neck are very smooth and clean. The beak is smooth as well, while using very minor texturing to make it look a bit more organic. There are a total of 22 teeth in its mouth, each with a thick conical shape. The inside of the mouth has a sculpted tongue. The horn on its head has a slightly rougher texture and feels more organic than the metal looking spikes and mouth pincers. The spikes on the neck, horn, and mouth pincers are particularly sharp, so be careful when handling the figure. Gigan’s alternate horn and mouth pincers look less organic and more like the rest of the metal parts- smooth and clean but with serrated edges to look more intimidating. The eye is comprised of a translucent ABS material, however, it is implemented differently from other figures that have used a similar feature. The eye reflects light instead of illuminating the inside of it. This is because the back piece of the eye isn’t translucent, but instead there is a meticulously sculpted chrome prism full of little bumps. When the light shines on the eye, it’s distributed to different areas, making the center glow brighter than the outer sides. It’s a really cool effect if you get the lighting right. The neck has a more intricate armor design. It reminds me of the texture used for the Xenomorphs. The alternate neck piece is 90% comprised of a chrome metal neck brace. It’s smooth, shiny, and uses a similar design pattern at the top of the neck as its organic counterpart, while the base of the neck uses a thicker chrome metal plating.
The body, arms, legs, and tail are comprised of a similar design motif. The texturing and sculpting are well executed. The shoulder pads are armor plated, kind of like the underside of a dragon’s neck, but more machine- or alien-like. They also have a spike near the front of the base of the neck. The chest looks similar to a Xenomorph’s- an exoskeleton rib cage. There are also little chrome metal knobs spread through this area, including the shoulder pads. It’s a nice reminder that this monster is a cyborg. The buzzsaw running down the body is chic, smooth, and sharp. What’s cool about the buzzsaw is that the spikes are angled instead of straight, similar to an actual chainsaw’s. These spikes rest on a separate rotary belt that is embedded in the sculpt. The arms’ texture design is similar to the neck’s, which uses organic veins and rivets. Each elbow has a long protruding spike that looks like it’s been welded onto the body at the base. The claw-hooks are spectacularly sculpted. Simpler than most of Gigan’s aesthetic, they’re still a defining feature. The inner edge is sculpted to look very sharp, the hook’s arc is long and smooth to the touch, and the small grappling hooks are well represented. The alternate –claw-hook parts are dual chainsaws. These are sculpted to perfection as well. The actual saw part is comprised of rubber to simulate rotary movement, which would have been more difficult to do with hard PVC. The frames of these chainsaw hands are smooth and have more mechanical features than the standard claw-hooks. Both types of hand parts are very cool, however, I do prefer the originals over the upgraded forms.
The topside of the thighs feature some unique armored textures that look like an accordion. They’re more organic and alien-like, rough, and pointy. The rest of the legs use the alien vein lines aesthetic seen in the arms and neck. The kneecap looks like a knee brace that has three spikes protruding from it, this time using a rougher texture for the bigger spike. The smaller spikes are still smooth and clean. Behind each leg, at the top of the calf, there’s a long protruding spike, probably the smoothest of the spikes found on the sculpt. I think they’re made of diecast metal, but it’s hard to tell. The feet are a combination of organic armor plating and the signature metal toe hooks, which are comprised of diecast metal. The feet are sculpted to perfection, and the choice of using diecast metal helps keep the figure balanced.
The tail is sculpted a bit differently than those of past S.H.MonsterArts figures. Instead of a smooth cylinder-like design, it’s been sectioned at every point of articulation using a series of alternating big and small sections, and continues under the armor plating on the top of the tail. The small portion of the tail that doesn’t have the plated armor transitions into the traditional design of each segment getting smaller all the way to the tip of the tail. This overall design of the tail isn’t necessarily bad and is hardly noticeable unless you are looking for it. The armored plates do a good job covering it up and there’s no doubt that the reason for this unique design is for improved articulation. The tail uses the machine-like alien motif found in the rest of the sculpt. The armored plates are smooth, mechanical-like, and sharp. The spikes are excellently sculpted. The tip of the tail is perfect and well represented, claw tips and all. Like the spikes, the four points on the tip of the tail are sharp to the touch.
The wings on the back are beautifully sculpted. Comprised of ABS plastic, they’re thin, brittle, and somewhat translucent. The membrane is smooth and uses meticulous wrinkling effects, which were implemented so that when light reflects off them, they don’t look flat. Each wing’s frame uses very small bumps to add some texture to it. The base of the outer two wings have eleven chrome bolts- a very nice touch and another reminder that this creature is a cyborg.
Overall, Gigan’s sculpt is very well executed and highlights many small features that you may have never noticed in the film. Though it’s not 100% suit accurate, I do prefer this look of the kaiju, which says a lot since I am really big on screen accuracy with this line. I will admit though that I wasn’t completely thrilled with the sculpt until I found out that it was based off of final maquettes and not the actual suit in the film. My reasoning for this is that maquettes are the definitive realization of what a creature or object is supposed to look like before being transposed into a new medium. New mediums often times have limitations and adjustments may have to be made. In Gigan’s case, its screen counterpart looks more like a guy walking in a suit while the maquettes look more like a dynamic alien creature. That being said, I’m immensely pleased with how this figure’s sculpt turned out.
Gigan’s articulation is phenomenal and definitely the highlight of the whole figure. It uses the ball joint and peg system throughout the sculpt. The head is able to move in a 360 degree motion. It can be tricky to get it to look downward, but a little finagling will get it there. The mouth is able to open and close, however, because of the way the teeth are designed, the mouth cannot shut completely. The mouth pincers are a bit of a disappointment as they do not open or close like in the film. They can be rotated in a 360 degree motion, but this is because they’re detachable so that they can be swapped with the alternate mouth pincers. It’s a shame, but not the end of the world. The neck has a very good range of articulation. It’s able to tilt a good amount to the left and right. It can also tilt upward so that Gigan can be posed in flight mode. However, due to the sculpting of the armored plating on the back of the neck, it’s rather limited when tilting downward. The alternate neck piece is much more limited in movement, as it should be since it’s essentially a robotic neck brace. It can barely tilt upward and downward as well as from left to right.
The torso has no articulation because of the buzzsaw on Gigan’s chest. This how the creature is designed and should be expected. The disappointing part about the chest design is that the buzzsaw is a purely aesthetic feature and can’t replicate rotary movement. Being a super articulated figure, it would have been nice for Gigan’s signature deadly weapon to be articulated. The armored shoulder pads rest on an angled ball joint and flow freely to however the arms are posed. The arms have four points of articulation which allows them to be posed in many directions. The top half of the arm that connects to the shoulder can be rotated 360 degrees. The elbows handle the flexing, however this section can be easily separated if hyperextended. The articulation for the claw-hooks is brilliant. Attached to a single ball joint and peg, they’re able to rotate in a 360 degree motion as well as tilt upward and downward, left and right. This allows for more dynamic poses. Additionally, the swappable chainsaw hand parts can also attain the same amount of articulation as the claw-hooks. The rubber saw blades can also be moved back and forth to simulate a rotary blade movement, unlike the buzzsaw on the chest. It’s a neat little bonus. Another disappointing feature are the two little grappling hooks, as they are not detachable.
The legs are fairly articulated. They can be posed in a neutral and battle ready stance. The thighs can be rotated in a 360 degree motion if desired, but it’s not recommended. The articulation at the knees is as expected, however, they are limited while moving backwards because of the huge spike on the backside of the calf. Being able to rotate the leg makes up for this though. The calf is broken into two parts instead of one whole piece like in previously released monsters. It allows for more articulation and, with the assistance of Gigan’s darker color palette, the seam isn’t as noticeable. The feet have an incredible amount of articulation. The ankles are able to tilt left and right, upward and downward, at about 45 degrees. The diecast toe hook is able to move upward at about 20-25 degrees, however, it can’t move downward past 180 degrees.
The tail is another example of the articulation done right for this line. It’s very similar to Kiryu’s tail articulation, but better! It boasts an impressive twenty-one points of articulation all the way to the tip. My first thought was that the armored plating on the tail would inhibit the articulation, and it does to an extent, but not nearly as badly I had thought. Because of the armored plating, curling the tail upward is very limited. However, the tail can achieve an upward motion so long as it’s twisted so that the armor plating is on the side of the tail instead of the top. Additionally, the tail can move left and right quite far, even enough to wrap around its body and touch Gigan’s stomach. The tail can also curl between the legs all the way to its stomach. This is the first time a figure in this line has been able to accomplish such articulation. Among many other poses, the tail can also be articulated in an “S” shape. It’s truly impressive the way the articulation is implemented.
The wings are very cool and simple to operate. To mimic Gigan’s flying mode, the wings are able to spread apart from each other using small hinges located on the top and bottom parts of the wings. The two outer wings can fold back and forth. The middle wing uses a cool sliding feature. It’s a cleverly hidden function that separates the middle wing into three parts. To adjust it for flight mode, simply grip the middle and lower sections of the center wing and gently push down. The middle and lower sections slide into divots inside the sculpt, allowing the center wing to adjust appropriately for flight mode. To change it back to normal mode, just grip the top half of the center wing with one hand and gently pull it toward the head, while using the other hand to guide/slide the lower half of the wing into the neutral position (toward the head as well). It may seem confusing at first, but once you do it a few times, it’s really simple. I honestly wasn’t expecting the wings to be articulated. It was a wonderful surprise!
Overall, the articulation is exceptional. Although I am disappointed that Gigan’s chest buzzsaw and mouth pincers aren’t articulated, the rest of the articulated points are in the right places and exceeded my expectations. Additionally, I’d like to point out that switching out parts or assembling pieces that have fallen off can be quite a challenge as Gigan has so many sharp points. It’s hard to find a spot to grip to gain any leverage. I found that holding it by the front midsection of the torso is best. Holding it anywhere else makes it hard to gain the leverage needed pushing the pieces into the sockets, plus it also increases your hands’ chances of slipping and breaking the brittle spines or wings.
The paint application used for Gigan is simple, effective, and very well done. It also strays away from the typical matte finish and uses a glossy paint application instead. This may have to do with the material used for the sculpt. The head, body, legs, arms, and most of the tail are a metallic blend of darker shades of blue and black. Though it covers 90% of the figure, it’s highly effective, especially when light is reflecting off of it. The color blending is absolutely fantastic here as well. The teeth are white with no blending. I don’t know why they chose to paint them white, but in the film they were silver like the beak. Then again, maybe the maquette used a different paint application? Either way, it’s a minor nuisance and can be easily remedied with some silver paint. The inside of the eye is a wonderful ruby red color. The cluster beam projectile on Gigan’s forehead is painted the same color.
Parts like the spikes, mouth pincers, beak, horn, kneecaps, claw hooks, toe claws, chest buzzsaw, tail armor plating, alternate chainsaw hand parts, neck brace, and the end of the tail use a silver chrome paint application that is usually accompanied with a blending of darker shades of black and gray to create a more weathered machine-like look. The blending is wonderfully implemented and practically flawless. The wing membrane is red with some darker shades near the bases of each wing. The frame of the wings is the same metallic dark blue color as the body. Though simple, it is very effective and pleasing to the eye.
Overall, the paint application is superb.
Gigan comes with a few interchangeable parts to recreate its upgraded form. These parts include the neck brace piece, serrated mouth pincers, a serrated horn, and two chainsaw hand parts (everything except for a cluster beam effect part). That’s to be expected though and now that Tamashii Nations is creating effects sets, there’s hope for new beam effects sets for other monsters besides Godzilla in the future. Though there aren’t many, the parts that were included are fun to fiddle with as well as mix and match.
Gigan is a phenomenal figure. It’s up there with Kiryu and Godzilla 2000 Millennium, and ends up pushing the articulation design a little further. Even if you aren’t a fan of the 2004 design, this figure is brilliantly crafted and I think any collector would enjoy it. Don’t let it not being 100% accurate to the suit keep you from adding it to your collection. The sculpting is impeccable. $94.99 is a bit pricey though, so I’d wait for it to go on sale between $65 and $75. Gigan (2004) is definitely a contender for figure of the year for 2014.
Is it a must have? Yes. Do I recommend Gigan (2004)? Absolutely.
4.5 tokens of 5
"S.H.MonsterArts: The Articulation Series" does not reflect the official viewpoints or opinions
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