It only took 5 years into the S.H.MonsterArts line up, but better late than never. S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla (1954) finally makes its debut! It was released as a general sales item in Japan and made available to the USA through Bluefin Distribution. Priced at $79.99 MSRP. The pricing is quite a jump compared to other figures like Godzilla (1995) Birth Version or Godzilla 2000 Millennium which were priced lower, this may leave some collectors with mixed feelings. Thankfully, because it is a general sales item, collectors can expect some decent discounts at preorder and throughout its shelf life. Aside from price, let's focus on the focus on the figure. Tamashii Nations has finally produced the Godzilla that started it all and let's not forget that it adds another entry into the Showa Era line up! No longer will Godzilla (1964) be destined to sit on a shelf with no one from its own era to keep it company. It is a long awaited release, and no doubt collectors will only have high expectations. How did it turn out? Let's dive in!

 

Design:

 

The sculpt is absolutely fantastic! S.H.MonsterArts likes to pick and choose how they base a monster's representation whether it's from it's conceptual maquette form (i.g. Gigan '04 or Spacegodzilla) or based on the suit from the movie. Yuji Sakai, who's sculpted many variations of Godzilla (1954), decided to sculpt based on the suit used in the movie. This is nearly 100% identical to the suit. Starting with the head, which I feel most collectors may nit-pick, it looks great from all sides. The articulation engineering may cause the neck to appear fat and give Godzilla kind of a turtleneck depending on the pose it's put in, but over all, it looks spot on with the film. There is a common criticism that the head seems a bit flat and less rounded. The thing to remember here is that this is based on the suit from the movie, and not the one used for promotional materials like poster art. The teeth and inner mouth are full of details. The brows are prominent and the textures on the face are as what you'd expect.

 

 

The detailing throughout the body is meticulously crafted, and it really does look like it is walking off the screen into your display cabinet. The dorsal spines look great and have such fine detailing to give them that coral reef-like texture. The arms and hands are spot on with the suit. The torso looks great and even has some of the folds that were on screen carried over to the sculpt. The attention to detail is just amazing. The legs also utilize details from the suit as well. The knees are not identically sculpted, as the left knee has a huge indent on its side. To be clear, I'm not knocking this, rather praising it for the attention to detail compared to the suit. The feet are huge and full of details, even the undersides! The tail is 100% identical to what's seen on screen. Overall, the sculpt is an easy A. In my opinion, I think I would have ultimately preferred the suit seen in the poster artwork, but I have to admit, prior to writing this review I didn't know that it was a different suit used for promotional materials!

 

 

Articulation:

 

You know how stiff this Godzilla moved on screen? Well throw everything you know about how this Godzilla should move out the door because Tamashii Nations says to hell with that. The articulation engineering is crazy good with this figure. So many poses can be achieved. It's unlike anything you've seen from the movie and I think this is just awesome. What's great about it is that it doesn't sacrifice those iconic poses either. Almost any pose is possible with this figure! The joints are tight and secure with no parts falling off as they move. The head and neck move quite well. Godzilla can look straight up in the air as well as straight down at the ground. Some great head turning action can be had too. The mouth opens and closes easily, no awkward slack jaw. The torso has a decent amount of bending action and twisting to get a little more dynamic posing out of this figure. Movement like this could have never been achieved by the suit, so it's neat to see Godzilla '54 with this type of movement. Arms and hands have good movement. Fairly standard movement for S.H.MonsterArts. Wrist movement can be tight and have some resistance.

 

 

The legs have crazy good articulation. Ranging from a neutral pose to spreading them like a sumo wrestler. The ankles have a decent amount of articulation as well to allow for the legs to do some crazy poses. No major gaps while posing, even in the most extreme cases. The tail does not suffer from Heisei tail articulation engineering and can get some very cool range of motion. The tail can perform simple S shape and can even be looped a little for more of a natural snake-like movement. The dorsal schutes naturally get in the way for tail movement if you want to pose it upwards, but really not as extreme as other releases. My only small gripe over articulation is at the base of the skull where it meets the neck. Don't get me wrong, I love a figure with a good amount of articulation, but when it looks very odd... Well... It is designed so that Godzilla can look up, but sometimes when looking down, an ugly turtleneck appears. To fix this, I just pushed the head back into the neck. I guess it's a gap issue, but an ugly one that needs constant adjusting to avoid turtleneck Zilla.  Overall, the articulation engineering is stellar. This should be the standard for all S.H.MonsterArts, but I get that some designs don't make for great use of articulation.

 

Paint:

 

Paint application and appreciation for it can be quite subjective among collectors of the S.H.MonsterArts line. Maybe this figure will hit the mark for everyone? The paint application used here is a monochromatic palette. To be clear, that does not mean black and white. Here's an example. Godzilla '54 definitely has this coloration and while barely visible in neutral lighting, bringing it out under sunlight or studio lighting really highlights the chromatic palette. The body is mostly composed of traditional gray, black, and white, however the dorsal spines have a very light bluish-white blend with the grays and blacks. It gives it a little more depth in coloration than a straight black and white paint job, and I dig it. The texturing on the body is ever so lightly dry brushed with light gray to help the details pop from the suit. The eyes look identical to the suit. Which may or may not rub collectors the wrong way. A common comparison is what NECA did with their Godzilla '54 figure and have the eyes aligned facing straight while the S.H.MonsterArts version has a wonky eye look. The fact is that S.H.MonsterArts is staying true to the suite which had the eyes looking down and not aligned straight. As a general rule in cinema, showing creatures faces straight on often times makes them look awkward, and Godzilla '54 is not different. It looks best when viewed from angles or profile, otherwise, expect googley-eyes.

 

 

The arms, legs, and feet all have solid paint application. The blending is superb on the claws and the dry brushing continues to highlight suit details. However, the claws on the hands lack light gray paint compared to the promo photos. They're very much painted the base dark gray seen throughout the body. The tail looks great with no issues. The dorsal spines, though popping with more color, some parts had paint splotching, which is unfortunate. This may vary from figure to figure and is not seen among all figures. That being said, the coloration on the dorsal spines does have good blending effects combined with dry brushing to highlight details. Overall, for a monochromatic paint job, not bad. It isn't without a few nitpicks but they're quite minimal compared to the entire figure's paint application.

 

Accessories:

 

Godzilla '54 does not come with any accessories. A classic atomic breath effect would have been nice, or perhaps small trains... So please enjoy these photos of Godzilla posed with Outland Model building structures! The last photo was fun as I aged it up to look like it was a still from a VHS copy of Godzilla King of The Monsters (1956).

 

 

Overall:

 

Godzilla (1954) is an amazing figure that every S.H.MonsterArts collector should own. The articulation engineering really makes this a stand out piece and it scales well with the rest of the line even though it is a Showa Era monster. Despite taking 5 years into the line's life to make something as iconic as the first Godzilla, I think it worked better in its favor. The beginning of the line featured great articulation, but 5 years later has led to better engineering and not stiff like the original Godzilla (1994) figure. Good paint application, phenomenal articulation, and stellar sculpt. Grab this figure while you can because once it's gone, it'll sure be valued more than the $80 it currently goes for. I like this piece and I think many others will too.

"The Articulation Series" is independent of Bandai Tamashii Nations & Bandai Namco Collectibles LLC (DBA Bluefin). Though independent, "The Articulation Series" has a working relationship with these entities covering S.H.MonsterArts related news & media and is a source for exclusive and general information.


© Toho Co., LTD 1954-2020

Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, Super Mechagodzilla, Kiryu, Spacegodzilla, MOGUERA, Little Godzilla, Fire Rodan, King Ghidorah, Burning Godzilla, Godzilla Jr., Destoroyah, Biollante, Battra, Gigan, Mothra, Mecha-King Ghidorah, SHIN Godzilla, MonsterVerse and all related characters are trademarks of Toho Co., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

 

King Kong (2005) © Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

 Kong The 8th Wonder of the World™ Universal Studios.

 

Alien™, Alien vs Predator™ & © 1979, 2004, 2007, 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

 

© KADOKAWA NTV Hakuhodo DY Media Partners / 1995-1999

Gamera and all related characters are trademarks of KADOKAWA . All Rights Reserved.

 

© CAPCOM CO., LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

 

 

© The Articulation Series 2020. All Rights Reserved.