S.H.MonsterArts Biollante debuted in 2013 thanks to overwhelming fan demand and was crowned the holy grail of their collections. And then it was gone due to the surge in brand awareness thanks to the release of Godzilla (2014). Fast forward to 2020, Biollante still remains the most coveted release of the S.H.MonsterArts line. New collectors were left with the choice of dealing with the aftermarket or not having it at all. Not only that, being a Premium Bandai Web Shop Exclusive also meant that it was never to be seen again… Thankfully, Tamashii Nations has their own loophole with reissuing Web Exclusives—Repaints. After almost seven years of building brand awareness, coupled with the very near release of Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), collectors rejoiced when S.H.MonsterArts Biollante Special Color Version (SCV) was announced. Biollante SCV is released in Japan as a Bandai Premium Web Shop Exclusive and made available to the USA from Bandai Namco Collectibles (Bluefin Brands) at a lump sum of $294.99. To ensure its authenticity, the original creator, Fuyuki Shinada, of the Biollante model used in the Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) was brought on board to personally plan, sculpt, and approve this figure in order to create the most accurate articulated Biollante figure possible. The color palette for this SCV is relatively close to the original, albeit a bit brighter over all. It also retains the same LED light gimmick seen in the first release. So how does it stack up with the original? Let’s get it to it!
The sculpt is mostly unchanged from the original release (that’s a good thing) and still looks phenomenal! Biollante SCV is meticulously sculpted by the original creator of the marionette, Fuyuki Shinada, and is comprised of ABS and PVC parts. The face is well detailed with a mix of crocodilian-like scales, although a bit softer than the original release—likely due to the matte finish. Inside the mouth are approximately 140 teeth, each individually sculpted, what a task that must have been! The tusks are smooth and rounded with minor bone-like details. The snout is narrowed towards the tip which many Biollante figure alternatives tend to go wide. The eyes are quite small, a slit opening, but effective. The inner mouth webbing uses rubber plastic and stretches naturally when the mouth is opened and closed, an awesome effect that adds to the realism.
The body, neck, and vines look just as good as the first release. The neck is quite long, at about seven inches. The topside of the neck and back are reminiscent of Godzilla’s dorsal spines, but in plant form. These “spines” are chalked full of detailing with curved lines to accentuate the mutated plant-like appearance. Every piece is individually crafted and sized. The main body’s texture consists of meticulous sculpted rivets and crevices, kind of like an organic flesh design made of plant materials (impossible meat anyone?). Thorns protrude from its fleshy plant hide and appear throughout the main body as well as some places along the vine tendrils and neck piece. The front of the main body consists of a vine netting that covers Biollante’s core. Similar vine netting is also implemented under the neck, specifically the adjustable floating neck piece. The core looks exactly how it did in the film, sporting a fleshy membrane texture. It is also made from opaque plastic, meaning that it allows light to shine through but you can’t see the electronics inside. It has an incredible amount of detail and the pattern design looks fantastic. Avoid handling the figure by the netting. It’s fragile and can easily break with too much pressure. The base of the main body is sculpted to look as if Biollante grew from the ground of your display, or whatever terrain you place it on. Unlike the bottom of the feet of other monsters in the line, the bottom of Biollante features no additional sculpted details and instead is a flat piece of plastic that’s flush with the ground.
When the SCV was announced, there was some speculation about the vine tendrils being longer than the original. However, I can confirm that the legs and vines remain unchanged from the first release and still look fantastic. The sculpting of the four massive vine tendrils continues with similar design decisions from the body, including thorns, and further uses more plant-like designs akin to a roses stem towards the mouths. Some parts actually have a little extra vine growth that look like veins and some even protrude from the sculpt. The heads are very reminiscent of a Venus Flytrap, but also incorporate a little saurian mutation by including teeth and a tongue. These are very well sculpted and look fairly accurate to what’s scene on screen.
Overall, the sculpt is identical to the first release and is truly one of the most authentic sculpts of Biollante in existence (in figure in form). Collectors who own the first release would probably favor the original, especially with sharper detailing in the face area, however, for those who missed out on the original, you won’t be disappointed! Phenomenal sculpting and detailing, as expected.
The articulation engineering remains unchanged between the SCV and the original. The figure is massive with most of the articulation movement delegated to the vine tendrils. The main body has no articulation for good measure—it would be quite unsightly and difficult with the core in the way. Not saying that it would be impossible, but this is fine. The neck/backside have points of articulation as well allowing for screen accurate movement, and then some! The head has an appropriate range of movement. It is able to slightly twist left to right—restriction in movement is due to the sculpting on the neck. There’s better range when tilting up and down, roughly 30 degrees. Tilting the head left to right is also restricted due to the sculpt, roughly allowing for 10 degrees. While head movement may sound restricted overall, it is accentuated with the neck articulation, so don’t worry about Biollante not being able to look in various directions. The mouth is connected to a large hinged joint and has a wide range of movement for open and closed positions. A criticism with the original release was that the mouth didn’t open as wide as seen in the movie. Perhaps I lucked out, but the range on the Biollante SCV seems to be greater than the original. Although it was stiff at first, after playing around with it and loosening the joints I found that the mouth can open fairly wide. I compared this to the original release and found no differences in engineering, so it is likely that the original can also perform the same range of movement provided it’s been manipulated quite a bit to loosen the joints. It’s perfect for recreating the scene when Biollante tries to crush Godzilla’s head with its massive jaw.
The neck is comprised of 5 points of articulation and is one of the more underrated aspects of this figure. It’s essentially its own piece connected via ball joints that attach to the head and runs down Biollante’s backside. The neck piece can be posed in a variety of positions like being tilted upwards so that Biollante roars into the sky at almost 90 degrees! Though this position was never seen in the movie, it’s an awesome pose as it brings Biollante’s total height to nearly 11 inches tall from its 7.2-inch neutral position. If you’re worried about not being able to achieve screen accurate poses, fear not, the neck can be positioned downward until it rests in the vine netting flap piece. To take it a step further, the backside of Biollante is also on a simple gliding track system that allows for the neck piece to slide up or down, allowing for a proper hunched over pose. WARNING: While moving the neck/backside along the track, do not apply an exceeding amount of force. When it stops, that’s as far as it goes. The gliding plastic attachment is stopped by two small plastic teeth. They will break if pushed too hard. If these pieces do break, it doesn’t inhibit the figure’s articulation, however, you have no way of knowing where to stop the glide movement and the back piece will fall off the track.
The vine netting flap serves two purposes: to cover up the inevitable hole in the figure created by lifting the neck and to support the neck while in the air so that it can sustain heightened poses. The vine netting flap is attached to body of the figure via pegs, allowing it to swing up or down, so it must be manually adjusted as the neck is positioned. When the neck is lifted to the max, it can tilt left to right more so than in the default hunched pose. Unfortunately, the vine netting flap can’t be moved side to side with the neck piece, so it can look unsightly in some positions. That aside, the neck’s articulation is good and well executed.
Biollante essentially has four legs that are defined as vine tendrils. The SCV seems to have tighter joints out of the box compared to the original release and I had little to no pieces popping out while posing. At the base of the figure, the leg parts can swivel left and right. If it seems they’re a little tight, there are screws under the legs that can be loosened/tightened for better movement. The vine tendrils are connected using ball joints and are the absolute highlight of this figure’s articulation capabilities. Each vine tendril has their own points of articulation; the left front has 12 points, the left rear has 15, the right front has 14, and the rear right has 15. Though the sculpt has some predefined curves, each segment can be twisted 360 degrees to allow maximum pose ability. I found that the rear vine tendrils tend to move easier since they have less predefined curved segments. The front vine tendrils are a bit trickier. Achieving your desired pose will take some tinkering/twisting, a minor nuisance that pays off in the end. The heads are mouth pieces on ball joints and can move independently of each other to achieve a wide-open mouth position.
On screen, Biollante didn’t have a wide range of motion to begin with, but the articulation engineering implemented is more gracious than expected. As I mentioned in the beginning, the engineering is unchanged from the original, so new collectors won’t feel like they’re missing out on something the original had. The gliding function on the backside was genius, the vine netting flap to support the heavy neck was brilliant and strategic, and the vine tendril are just really fun to pose. Very well done. Now all we need is a Godzilla (1989) figure that’s in scale to pose with it!
One of the ideas behind special color variants is not to stray to far from the source material, but offer a different flavor. For example, most special color versions in the line reflect key scenes that involve elements like dirt and debris, or daytime-nighttime specific coloration. At first glance the differences may seem to be miniscule compared to the original. Upon closer inspection, there’s plenty of differences to talk about.
- This version has more of an Earthly toned color palate.
- It has a matte finish throughout the figure, more so in the head, whereas the original has a semi-glossy paint application in most parts.
- The matte finish keeps the reflections down, but it also looks much flatter by comparison with gives the illusion that the SCV is not as detailed as the original. The details are still there.
- It has an overall brighter paint application. For example, the original figure uses darker shades of green with subtle yellowish highlights on the main body and legs, with black weathering throughout. The SCV has brighter shades of green (especially the backside) mixed with muddy browns on the legs and base.
- The inner mouth for the main head and vine tendrils are also colored differently—the original pink and the SCV more of an orange-red color.
- The eye color for the SCV is a yellow-white whereas the original is a purple-white color.
- The tusks on the SCV have less weathering details and are painted a brighter off-white.
- The vine tendrils on the SCV are actually a darker coloration compared to the original.
Starting with the head, the teeth are a solid off-white with no paint bleed from the gums, hooray! The gums and inner mouth are a solid orange-red, no weathering or additional paint details. I really like the inner mouth colors this time around as I was not fan of the pink coloration used for the original. The tusks are a solid off-white color with little to no shading at the base, something collectors have been quick to point out compared to the original. The eyes are a yellowish-white with no additional highlighting. I prefer the purple of the original, but this still works.
The neck and main body share a fantastic blend of bright greens and muddy browns—what we’ll call Earth tones. Almost reminds me of a tree, green on top and brown towards the bottom. The top/backside has the brightest green coloration—kind of like Biollante’s version of Godzilla’s dorsal spines glowing effect. The thorns on the body and vine tendrils are a solid matte black, although the coverage is hit or miss in some areas. This will likely vary figure to figure. I was hoping that this release would see more of a natural blending where the thorns meet the body, but it looks like it was dry brushed again. That the matte finish helps to not make it stand out compared to the original release which used glossy black paint, maybe that’s just my preference. The base of the figure is a very muddy brown color all the way around. Green coloration and weathering details are used sparingly. I would say that this is probably more of a realistic idea of dirt on Biollante as it sprouts from ground whereas the original is more accurate to the marionette before it was on screen. It works well to convey this. Biollante’s core is a blend of an orange reddish color perfectly representing what was seen on screen.
The legs continue with the Earth tones, more on the muddy brown side, and transition to an olive-green color of the vine tendril parts, accompanied with weathering for variation. They look great! The tops of the vine tendrils mouth use a lot more weathering detailing this time around which helps bring out the details of the sculpt. The inside of the vine tendril mouths are painted the same orange-red color as the main mouth. The teeth are consistently painted and look great.
Overall, the SCV is brighter and more colorful compared to the original release. The colors are still in keeping of Biollante’s original color palate while tweaking them just enough to make figure pop on the display shelf. I think the best way I could describe the SCV’s coloration is that it’s more scene specific versus suit accurate. Collectors who own the original are likely to favor it for better blending in certain areas like the tusks, eye color, more green coloration, but the SCV is no slouch and definitely offers a dynamic aesthetic for Biollante.
Unfortunately, Biollante SCV does not come with any accessories to set it apart from the original, something most repaints in the line seem to capitalize on. However, the LED light gimmick in Biollante’s core does return and remains to be the highlighted feature with this massive figure. This time around, Tamashii Nations includes two LR44 batteries preinstalled so that you can enjoy this feature out of the box!
To access this feature, the bottom of Biollante has a switch that can be flipped left to right (the off position being in the middle) to access two different color variations. The core glows orange when the switch is flipped to the right (marked with one dot) and it glows red when flipped to the left (marked with two dots).
There doesn’t seem to be any difference compared to the lighting tech used in the SCV and the Original—both releases have the same brightness effect for both modes. I prefer the red mode as it’s brighter than the orange and looks more exciting.
The LED light is an awesome feature that collectors will definitely utilize in their toy photography or proudly display as their centerpiece.
*Godzilla (1989) Kou Kyou Kyoku sold seperatly.
Biollante SCV is a fantastic figure, one that every diehard Godzilla fan needs in their collection. For collectors who own the original, there’s not too much in the way that would get you to double dip other than your personal taste when it comes to the paint application (or if you are a completionist). However, this release was made possible for collectors who missed out on the original. The original was the most coveted figure within the line after its discontinuation and was thought to have never been seen again on store shelves since it was released as a Bandai Premium Web Shop Exclusive. Although the price tag is a whopping $294.99, it’s worth every penny. Don’t miss out on it this time around! Add this long-sought figure to your collection without having to pay one month’s rent! The sculpt is amazing, the articulation is surprisingly exceptional, the paint application is colorful, and the LED light is the icing on the cake. Biollante Special Color Version is available through retailers such as Amazon, Eknightmedia, and Awesome Collector.
Please enjoy this additional comparison gallery that compares the SCV to the Original.