It's been seven years since the release of the original Godzilla (2016) figure. Unfortunately, it was not made available to folks in the United States due to licensing issues. This also included the reissue in 2018, the Awakening Version, and the G-Store Exclusive (Maquette Colors). The Frozen Version initially wasn’t going to be available in the US, however, licensing issues were resolved shortly after solicitation in Japan. For US collectors, unless they imported any of the aforementioned, they were left bitter that the only version that was made available was one based on its frozen appearance instead of the original. Fast forward to 2023, in collaboration with the Shin Japan Heroes Universe project, Godzilla (2016) makes its return in the form of a Night Combat Version with a new gimmick, translucent material! This marks the fifth variant of Shin Godzilla in the line. Godzilla (2016) Night Combat Version was made available to the US through Bandai Namco Collectibles with an MSRP of $149.99, which is roughly a $20 increase over the original release (had it been released in the USA). Being that this is the first time a normal Shin Godzilla variant is made available to the US, there's quite some hype in among collector circles. But is it worth the double dip for anyone who collected any of the previous releases and is it worth the higher price point? Let's find out!




For those unaware, this figure utilizes the 3D CGI data from the movie and creation was overseen by Takayuki Takeya and his colleagues who worked on the maquette. Additional sculpting took place to accommodate the articulation engineering thereafter. The sculpting details on this variant of Godzilla (2016) are fairly unchanged compared to the original release. The head utilizes the updated parts that were made for the Awakening Form and don’t have that nasty seam line own the middle of the head like the first release. The eyes are small but detailed. The inner mouth is beautifully sculpted with fine details. The teeth on my figure look great on the left side however on the right, and especially the front, there is a bit of degradation where they’re not as sharp or defined. The front teeth are not separated and just one giant chunk of painted plastic. The inner mouth webbing also looks great. Unfortunately, there are no changes to the lower jaw as it still has a curve to it. This can make for an awkward pose when trying to close the mouth, but I suppose it is what it is at this point. Five releases later and it still hasn’t been fixed. The neck is well defined and enhanced by the translucent material.



The torso is loaded with sculpted details which are enhanced by the translucent plastic material. The molten scarring definition that is in the chest area is much more visible than before. The arms are small but well defined. The claws are well detailed and even have additional protruding claws in the palms, a fantastic detail that was present in previous release but not as finely detailed.



The dorsal plates are very sharp to the touch and well defined. Again, the translucent material helps with making the detail pop. The lower part of the torso is much smoother to the touch and reminds me of a stream of molten lava that’s begun to harden. The translucent material enhances this as well. The legs are also well defined, the thighs are thick and muscular. The feet are large and saurian in design. The bottom of the feet are not as detailed and quite smooth compared to other S.H.MonsterArts figures that continue textured design on the undersides. The claws are sharp and have a sculpted bone-like texture which is enhanced by the paint.



The tail is very long, thick, and well detailed. From the base of the body to the tip of the tail, it’s about 15 inches in length. Before the release of Godzilla Ultima, this figure had the longest tail in the line. That said, it’s still impressive. The translucent material enhances the texture and overall design. The tip of the tail is hideously gorgeous. In the previous release it was painted over in parts, muting some of these details, but in this version most of the details are easily seen depending on your lighting set up.


Overall, I feel that the sculpt, even though it is mostly unchanged, it is enhanced thanks to the use of the translucent plastic. While I would have loved to see an improvement in the design of the lower jaw and better sculpting in the teeth, we have to remember that this is the fifth time this figure has been created and that imperfections are bound to be more obvious. Nevertheless, if I had to pick between the original release and this one based on details, it’s going to be the Night Combat Version. Because the figure is made entirely out of translucent plastic, the detailing is more visible, and as a bonus, no matter where it's placed, no matter what lighting setup, you are sure to see the red highlights throughout the body. This is a fantastic update and really enhances the figure in hand. Pictures out there don’t do it justice.




The articulation engineering is unchanged from previous releases of the Godzilla (2016) figure. If you own any of them, it's likely you already know what to expect. That being said, this version has better joint tolerances throughout. The head still uses a double ball joint system to allow it to open wide. Unfortunately, since lower jaw is still curved it looks awkward when posing the mouth closed. The neck has some decent range, despite only have two points of articulation, allowing for the head to turn and look backwards. Looking upward is limited due to the dorsal plates. Looking downward has a great amount of range to the point Godzilla is looking down at the ground without having to perform an ab crunch.



The torso is comprised of two points of articulation and has a fantastic range of movement. It can perform an ab crunch quite well. The midsection can be adjusted to close gaps easily to make for a better pose, whether that means standing straight or performing an ab crunch. The top portion of the torso can be twisted 360° with no issues. The lower half of the torso can be tilted left to right with a decent amount of range; however, it is more limited while tilting upward and downward. That being said, when all these pieces work together a lot of pose ability can be achieved. The arms are comprised of four points of articulation and are a bit stiff out of the box. I recommend heating them up with a hair dryer or using shock oil if you experience any resistance. Remember, if a joint on a figure is reluctant to move, never force it or it will be subject to breakage. The wrists are very fluid in movement and don’t pop off easily when being manipulated, something that’s hit or miss generally.



The legs are comprised of four points of articulation and allow for a decent range of movement. However, they are limited below the shins due to the hind legs. This isn't necessarily a fault of articulation engineering but more of a limitation caused by the design itself. At the hips, the legs can be spread apart quite wide to the point Godzilla’s doing the splits! The knee articulation is a bit limited and can swivel slightly left to right. I know I said that there are limitations due to the hind legs, however, there is some unique articulation engineering present. For example, below the shin, the legs cannot be tilted backward, however they can be tilted upward a good amount. In my opinion it looks awkward but it’s unique. The feet have no ankle articulation per se, but they can be rotated 360°.



The tail sees the biggest improvement when compared to previous releases. It can hold its pose in just about any direction. This might have to do with using translucent material throughout the entire sculpt. Translucent plastic tends to be more brittle and less flexible than what is traditionally used for S.H.MonsterArts figures. Time will tell, however, as the tail is moved into various poses and depending on environment conditions. For now, it is quite superb. The tail boasts a whopping 16 points of articulation! The flexibility is incredible and the posing options are only limited by your imagination. Some crazy stuff can be done, but also, movie accurate poses are not a problem. In case you're wondering, yes, I actually was able to manage to balance the figure on its own tail without support!



Overall, the articulation is mostly the same. I’m not surprised that there’s any differences. I don’t see how anything else could be really improved in terms of range based on the design. That said, I am happy that the joint tolerance in the tail has been improved and I think this was one of the biggest criticisms that the original release struggled with.




The original 2016 figure was heavily criticized for its final paint application compared to what was initially advertised. Even the 2018 reissue, though it had some improvements, still had a lackluster paint job. Third times, a charm? While the paint application on the Night Combat Version is a significant improvement, it's still not far from what was advertised in the promo photos. Translucent materials definitely help bring out the reds in the appropriate places, so it's a step in the right direction. Regarding the main body, the black paint throughout isn't as dark as it should be and has a bleeding wash effect. Perhaps this is to aids with the illumination effect to look great but it could still be darker in my opinion. Like the original release, this figure has a glossy coating. I wish it had a matte finish. As I mentioned earlier, the entire figure uses translucent paint throughout the entire body so that light can easily shine through and illuminate the figure. No matter what lighting environment you choose, you are sure to get some sort of Illumination effect.



The eyes are digitally painted and look okay, for the most part. They’re not looking 100% downward as they should, but at least with my figure they’re both aligned. Eye wonky variance figure-to-figure is probable and sadly to be expected. The inner mouth is beautifully painted with highlights and shades of red—almost metallic. Paint application on the teeth is good in some areas and not so great in others. The upper jaw, towards the front, looks like a solid yellowish-white piece of plastic while the rest of the teeth are segmented and painted individually. This could be the result of mold degradation. However, compared to the reissue in 2018, the hunk of plastic is still present but it is painted black making the teeth stand out.



The chest is redder throughout than the original. Without illumination, the reds aren’t as strong and look a little flat. But as I mentioned, illuminating them will make them pop. The dorsal plates are vibrant and full of color, something that was absent with the original release. Where the dorsal spines meet the body is a vibrant red color that really pops along the figure’s backside. The arms are painted well and also have illuminated parts throughout. The hands utilize the translucent plastic well and have a nice red glow effect. The claws are painted using dry brush effects to add a little extra texture. The lower half of the torso is similarly painted to the upper half, again only enhanced by the translucent effects. I wanted to mention that if you place the figure in a room that doesn’t have much lighting available, the paint doesn’t really look all that well defined. So, utilizing the translucency is going to have an impact on how you perceive how well the paint is on the figure.



Similar to the arms and the torso area, the legs are painted with the translucent paint applications, however, more blacks than reds. Same with the feet. The claws use and off-white coloration with dry brushed blacks to bring out the details of the sculpt. The tail has an excellent amount of translucency that illuminates in such an awesome way. Even the tip of the tail is completely translucent and easily lights up. The tip of the tail also has dry brushed highlights to bring out definition as well. This is probably the highlight of the figure for me in terms of paint quality. The tail paint application is well done and pictures don’t do it justice.



I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% sold on the paint application on this figure in the beginning of this review. But after comparing it to the original release and experimenting with various lighting conditions, it is a significant improvement and I’ve grown to like it even more so than other variants like the Awakening and Frozen forms. If the translucent effect wasn’t present, I don’t think this figure would look much better than the original release, so there’s that. Despite the sloppy paint application in the teeth areas, the eyes not being positioned in a downward direction, the rest of the paint application throughout exceed my expectations. My favorites are definitely the dorsal spines and the tail.




There are no accessories for this release. Those are exclusive to the Awakening Version, sorry! Perhaps in the future, there will be an Ultimate Awakening Version... For now, enjoy these action shots of Godzilla (2016) Night Combat Version.



*The buildings used are available through TomyTec, EyePop Designs, & Outland Models.

*The backgrounds used can be purchased here.




Overall, I’m satisfied with how Night Combat Version turned out. The improvements made to the overall joint tolerance (especially in the tail) and the revamped paint application using the translucent plastic, are major pluses in my book. But is it worth the $150 price tag? The original release was estimated to be around $130 at the time of its release. I don’t think that there’s much here to warrant the increase itself, but of course, the rise of cost in materials, inflation, and the depreciation of the Japanese yen at the time of this writing is major factor in the MSRP. That being said, as someone who owns all variants of Shin Godzilla, it’s definitely worth picking up and replacing the original, or just to have another variation. And if you don’t own a vanilla Shin Godzilla yet, definitely grab this one while you can because it probably won’t last on the market too long in the United States. At the time of this writing, half of the US retailers that normally carry it are sold out. The sculpt is mostly fantastic, the articulation is great, and the paint application is an improvement. Despite its flaws, I definitely recommend it. It’s one of those figures that look better in hand than photos can do it justice.


Please enjoy the comparison gallery below between Godzilla (2016) Night Combat Version and the four other variants. Make sure to checkout the SHOWCASE GALLERY for over 100 photos of Godzilla (2016) Night Combat Version in action!


 NCV (Left) vs. OG (Right)

"The Articulation Series" is independent of Bandai Tamashii Nations & Bandai Namco Collectibles. 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 1954-2024

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, Kong, MonsterVerse, Jet Jaguar, Hedorah, Godzilla Ultima, Monster X 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 / 1995-2023

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




© スタジオダイス/集英社テレビ東京KONAMI



© The Articulation Series 2024. All Rights Reserved.