The King of the Monsters line up wouldn't be complete without Burning Godzilla! It was released as a web exclusive in Japan and made available to the USA through Bluefin Brands. Priced at $89.99 MSRP. While that's $25 more than the original release, this variant is made from translucent plastic material which allows for collectors to display it in various lighting conditions. An interesting take on this figure was that Sakai, who colored the prototype, wanted to emphasize the moment on screen when Godzilla charges up before unleashing its deadly thermo-nuclear pulse on King Ghidorah. Initial feedback was mixed at best with some collectors wanting a Burning Godzilla pre-thermo-nuclear while some okay with the direction Sakai took. With the translucent gimmick, it may be possible to appease everyone. Let's find out!
The sculpt itself is the exact same mold as the original Godzilla 2019 figure. There are no updates to the sculpt. However, the material used for it is translucent plastic which may feel more brittle in hand. After playing with it and getting to know its articulation limits, I don't believe it's fragile by any means. I'd argue that it can hold poses better than the original release, especially the tail. All of the details from the 2019 mold are there and if anything, you can see details the best with this variant thanks to dry brushing and a colorful paint job. As with the original mold, this figure utilizes the 3D CGI data from the movie Godzilla King of the Monsters (2019) and was overseen by legendary kaiju sculptor, Yuji Sakai.
The details are remarkable and meticulously crafted. The gimmick with this figure is that it is entirely translucent and enhanced with a fiery paint application. This allows for dynamic lighting situations which can enhance its visual aesthetic. For best results, I found that using spot lighting with STRONG LEDs from behind illuminates the figure quite well. Though the paint job can prevent light from getting all the way through in darker areas. It will be up to your personal tastes whether it works for you or not. The figure looks good in hand under neutral light but it just doesn't have the same "wow" factor with a dynamic lighting setup. I think you'll find that you enjoy the figure more under those conditions. If you are good with customizing figures, then this would benefit with LED's on the inside. The sculpt is an easy A.
The articulation engineering hasn't been updated for this release, however, I do find that the use of translucent plastic is able to achieve poses the original couldn't quite hold. The joints are tight and secure with no pieces falling off as you move parts. The head and neck move quite well and there's little to no resistance. The lower jaw, out of the box, had an issue where it couldn't close properly without falling off. The issue may be with the translucent plastic being more stubborn than the softer ABS used in the original release. I took a hair dryer, heated the mouth, and that seemed to fix the issue and now I'm able to close the mouth without it falling off. A nuisance, but fixable. The Torso seemed a little stiff at first but once you start moving it becomes easier. The same can be said for the arms and legs. The arms and legs also have a good range of articulation found similarly in previous releases.
Gaps can be present depending on the pose, but that being said, there's always a way to close them. Areas to watch for include the legs and the beginning of the tail which has a an adjustable floating piece. The tail has the same articulation engineering as previous releases as well. It does hold poses better than the original release. When the figure leans forward it also seemed to hold its pose better than the original release. I moved it around quite a bit during the photoshoot and it's still able to hold that particular pose. Trying some other fun poses like crouching and the iconic Godzilla dance featured in Invasion of the Astro Monster (1965) can be achieved easily. Even a swimming pose works! This figure is also able to look up in a 90 degree angle like previous releases. The sculpt (dorsal spines) naturally get in the way for tail movement if you want to pose it upwards, but any other direction offers a fine amount of articulation. Overall, the articulation is fairly similar to the original release, albeit better at holding some poses due to the stubborn plastic material.
There's a lot to be said about the paint. Whether it's 100% accurate or you dig (or dislike) the decision to depict a specific moment from the film, one thing I think everyone can agree on is that it definitely pops in color. What's even tricker with this figure is that depending on your lighting setup, some colors will look super bright or super dark. Finding that sweet-spot may be difficult for some collectors. In this review I give examples of flat lighting as well as spot lighting from behind in hopes to give you a better idea. The front and base of the figure is relatively painted in a darker orange, red, and black while the back and top are much more vibrant. It blends quite well in my opinion, but I can understand collectors hoping for more of a overall darker look. I really dig the blending from the feet to the legs, how it goes from dark to light. It really reminds me of how magma looks as it cools.
The claws have a golden-reddish finish while the claws on the feet are darker hues of red and black. The eyes are painted solid yellow which really pop since the face is darker. They also have a nice glowing effect when using dynamic lighting. My favorite paint application is definitely on the dorsal spines. Excellently dry brushed and so vibrant with color. It really accentuates the details that were meticulously sculpted by the hand of Sakai (with the guidance of the 3D model of course). There are some areas where the paint could have been more consistent though. For example the forearms are way too dark compared to the rest of the arm, which makes Godzilla look like its wearing gauntlets. The tongue also looks like the paint was slopped on, but that may not bother you as much as it does me. The tail has orange paint bleed between joints, but it's only noticeable when bending the tail in extreme positions. The translucent effect works but as I mentioned earlier, you really need some strong LEDs due to the paint being darker in parts. Overall, I like the paint application.
Burning Godzilla does not come with any accessories and hopes that the translucent gimmick is enough to satisfy that "something extra". While previous releases came with an atomic breath effect piece, this one does not because Burning Godzilla does not use its atomic breath in the film... One could argue that including a thermo-nuclear effect piece would be appropriate which would add more value to this variant. I will say that I had a blast putting together these setups, but not everyone has the tools or wants to go through the hassle of using dynamic lighting.
The last photo included features all Godzilla 2019 variants. Kind of neat displaying them all together and will definitely make for a great display.
Burning Godzilla 2019 isn't a bad figure nor is it home-run. The direction the paint application went will leave everyone with mixed feelings, but I can honestly say that having it in hand definitely makes a difference. This figure has a dynamic look and depending who's photos or reviews you check out, you are bound to see things you really like and things you really dislike. If you like what you've seen here, then give it a chance. I don't think you'll be disappointed. What I particularly love is that it compliments the SDCC 2012 Comic-Con Explosion Godzilla as well as the Godzilla 2019 Poster Ver. (if you were lucky enough to get that one). As I mentioned previously, this figure also makes for a great custom opportunity installing LED lighting on the inside. I tested this out with a few LED's and the results were amazing. I generally like this piece and I think many others will too once they have it in hand. S.H.MonsterArts Burning Godzilla (2019) is web exclusive, so once it's gone, that's it!