The MonsterVerse line up continues to grow with the release of Godzilla (2021) which features an all-new atomic blue coloration along the dorsal fins as seen throughout Godzilla vs. Kong (2021). Released in Japan on May 14, 2021 and made available in the US through Bluefin Brands for $67.99. Godzilla and Kong were to coincide with the Japanese debut of the movie. Unfortunately, the movie was postponed due to the pandemic. While some merchandise was also delayed, thankfully both S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla and Kong figures were not affected. Godzilla shortly arrived in the US within 2 weeks of the Japan street date and collectors couldn’t be happier, especially those who missed out on the 2019 version. On the other side of the coin, owners of the 2019 version questioned if this figure warrants a purchase since it looks identical to the previous release, but with new hands! On the surface it does look identical, but there are a lot of small tweaks here and there that I’ll explore.

 

Design:

 

Godzilla (2021) looks great. Rather than reissuing the 2019 version, Tamashii Nations offers a slightly altered take using a new paint application along with minor tweaks to the mold. I reached out to Tamashii Nations, as well as Bluefin Brands, regarding whether this figure featured a new sculpt or not. The answer was that new molding was implemented in parts, but for the most part the figure retains the same aesthetics. New molding suggests that the engineering/mold may have been adjusted or made brand new, for whatever reason. The end result is just that-- most of the figure’s aesthetics remain unchanged from the 2019 version, namely the texturing and sculpting of the arms, feet, torso, tail, and dorsals. What’s different is that some areas are softer, less rigid, than the 2019 version. Specifically, the head and snout are a little less rounded and more angular. The teeth are less defined due to the atomic blue paint application. The torso also seems leaner from some angles when compared to the 2019 version.

 

 

The body looks just as good as previous releases, boasting meticulous detailing throughout. It looks exactly how Godzilla looked in the film. The chest area is the same iconic armored texture. The arms are muscular and lean. And then there’s the claws… This release changes the relaxed claws pose, which we’ve seen since S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla (2014), to a splayed claws pose. This is a welcomed change as they perfectly emulate many scenes from the movie where Godzilla is swiping or crawling. I have to say, I love these new claws, and admittedly the biggest draw to the figure for me! It brings out the ferocity and makes posing it more fun than ever! These splayed claws are newly sculpted by legendary Godzilla sculptor, Yuji Sakai. He does a fantastic job with emulating the details of the 3D CGI data used for the main figure. Now I kind of wish all the previous releases had these claws! Out of curiosity, I tried swapping these claws with the 2019 version. This is possible, however, the 2019 figure’s claws weren’t meant to be removed and have quite a stubborn grip. If you plan to swap these out, be sure to heat up your 2019 figure’s claws with a hair dryer prior to removal, otherwise you may snap the wrist joints!

 

 

The legs and feet look great. The muscle definition continues all the way down the ankles. The feet are large and detailed on the bottom. The claws on the feet have minor detailing with a bone-like texture. One thing to note is that this Godzilla is the first figure in the line to be manufactured in Vietnam instead of China. There’s no known reason for this change at this time. It could be due to production costs, production scheduling because of the pandemic, or maybe trying out a new factory. Either way, the end result looks good.

 

 

The dorsal spines are fantastic. Thanks to the new atomic glow paint application, the details now pop and reveal all the work that go into each dorsal. The arrangement works with sculpt and articulation-- no major gaps. Definitely one of the highlights with this figure. Parts can be sharp to the touch, so be careful when handling. The tail looks good and is similar to previous releases. Very well done. The tail tip remains rounded. The tail length has not been altered.

 

 

Overall, I really like the sculpt and I think it does justice to what was seen on screen. The head shape is the only piece I would have preferred to be like the 2019 version, but I suppose at the end of the day it does make this figure different…

 

Articulation:

 

The MonsterVerse Godzilla design has been fairly consistent when it comes to articulation engineering. At this point, it’s easy to fully expect what the figure is capable of. So, what else could possibly be done to improve the articulation? As I mentioned earlier, it remains mostly the same, however, there are parts of the mold that have been tweaked just a little to accommodate more range of movement. Starting with the head, it being a little smaller allows for more movement in any direction compared to the 2019 version. The floating neck sheath also appears to be thinner. Neck movement is fantastic-- providing good range of movement looking up and looking down. Looking side to side is excellent, however, the floating neck piece can expose an ugly gap. Thankfully, this can be avoided by sliding it back into place. The mouth can open and close fairly wide and has more posability being connected via ball joint. This is great for a slack-jawed pose of Godzilla getting hit in the face by Kong. The tongue is on a ball joint and can be articulated up and down as well as side to side. Do be careful as the range is limited and it may pop off.

 

 

The torso uses three joints for articulation. The upper torso chest area can be tilted up and down with very limited twisting. The main torso area can be twisted a little further but not by much. It can also be tilted up and down. These two pieces work very well together allowing Godzilla to lean forward in an charging pose. Bending the entire torso area in combination with the neck, Godzilla can look at the ground. The arms are easier to move than the 2019 figure, especially at the shoulders. I’ve disassembled these parts and found that the molding seems to better accommodate the articulation allowing the arms to be less stiff and allow for a crawl pose. That’s not to say that the 2019 figure couldn’t achieve this, but it is much more difficult. Wrist articulation is on a swivel joint and works well with the splayed claws. The hands can also be rotated 360°.

 

 

The legs have a good range of movement and seem to find the perfect balance of articulation while also hiding the gaps. I’m referring to the hip area. The legs can be splayed out or pushed in thanks to the ball joint engineering. They can be rotated quite high, touching the hands. The legs can also be tucked backwards for a dynamic swimming pose. Joints at the knees are fluid and sheathed quite well. The articulation for the feet stops at the ankles, but thanks to the cuts in the sculpt, the feet can move up and down and rotate left to right naturally.

 

 

The tail articulation engineering does seem to be improved compared to the 2019 version as well. Godzilla’s tail does not droop in virtually any pose. Out of the box, the tail can be pointed up almost at a 90° angle. It can also be curled left and right a lot further than the 2019 version. I believe that the plastic also feels a bit softer than the 2019 version which may also contribute to better range of movement. Unfortunately, this Godzilla will not be able to wrap its tail around Kong as seen in the underwater battle of the movie. Bending the tail downward remains to be limited due to the sculpt. On another note, the floating piece at the base of the tail seems thinner compared to the 2019 version. This is also the first MonsterVerse Godzilla figure that I’ve had where parts of the tail do not pop off while posing.

 

 

Overall, the articulation engineering does seem to be a slight step up allowing for more dynamic poses. These slight enhancements may not be obvious at first but you can definitely tell the difference when you hold both the original 2019 figure and the 2021 figure in hand. Out of the box, no parts fell off and everything is quite secure. The fact that this figure can emulate the crawling pose seen in the movie is fantastic. The splayed hands offer more expression and definitely one of my favorite changes. If this is your first legendary Godzilla figure, you won’t be disappointed when it comes to the range of movement.

 

Paint:

 

This iteration of Godzilla introduces an atomic glow effect along the dorsal spines and the inner mouth. Unlike the 2019 poster version, this figure aims to be more accurate with what’s seen on screen. Before we get more into that, let’s talk about the paint application on the head… The eyes are painted a metallic blue with no overspray on the sculpt, and since there are no pupils there is no need to worry for misaligned eyes. Depending on your lighting situation, the eyes have a nice reflecting effect. Regarding the paint in the mouth, your mileage may vary figure to figure. It features a bright metallic blue color on the teeth, the tongue, and the gums. While lighting does play a factor in the overall aesthetic, there is absolutely no shading done in the mouth. I think this is why the mouth seems so bright in a lot of promotional event photos. Without shading, the reflective blue really stands out, maybe too much. You can see the effect that they were going for but I think it might be a little too bright for my taste. If you would like to tone down the blue, I highly recommend purchasing a black wash and applying that to the inner mouth. This will help lessen the shine and also add some natural shading into the mouth.

 

 

The main body of the figure is painted a grayish dull green, similar to the 2019 version. However, light brown highlights are dry brushed onto the neck, chest, and abdomen area. Compared to the 2019 version, it’s consistent and doesn’t fade or lack color throughout. The claws also have a light brown dry brush effect so that they stand out from the hand. The claws on the feet have slight dry brushing effects that highlight the bone-like detailing.

 

The dorsal spines pop with a metallic blue color. They did a fairly good job at painting all the way down to the tip of the tail. To achieve this effect, it looks like the dorsals were painted metallic blue first and then dry brushed the ridges and crevices with the body coloration. The blending at the base of each dorsal is excellent—no abrupt paint transitions. The blending is consistent all the way to the tip of the tail. I’m absolutely pleased with the atomic blue effect. This is probably the most precise application I’ve seen, regarding the atomic glow effect, on an S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla figure to date.

 

 

Overall, I like the paint application. My only criticism would be that the mouth paint could have been toned down with some shading. Otherwise, I think it’s solid. The atomic blue on the dorsal spines is stellar and definitely an eye catcher. If you missed out on the 2019 poster version or the original 2019 figure, this version is the next best thing. If you are into customization, it may be good idea to get this figure and modify it versus seeking the originals at their current aftermarket prices.

 

Accessories:

 

Godzilla (2021) comes with a pair of alternate relaxed claws, as seen with previous MonsterVerse Godzilla’s. It may not be the most exciting accessory but it’s better than nothing! As I mentioned earlier, if you own any of the previous figures, the splayed claws can be swapped out which is a nice bonus. Unfortunately, despite having an atomic blue coloration, this Godzilla does not come with an atomic breath effect piece. Thankfully, if you own the original, the poster version, or the event exclusive 2019 figures their lower jaw and breath effect parts can be swapped onto this figure. It should be noted however that the swappable jaw piece is a little larger than the current one in this Godzilla’s mouth. I suggest using a hairdryer to heat up the joints before swapping them. The best variation that matches the 2021 Godzilla belongs to the 2019 poster version.

 

 

Since the figure doesn’t come with anything else, please enjoy these photos of Godzilla and Kong duking it out! More can be seen in the showcase gallery.

 

 

 

 

*The atomic breath effect part used was from the S.H.MonsterArts Godzilla (2019) Poster Version figure.

*The buildings used are available through Outland Models.

 

Overall:

 

Overall, Godzilla 2021 is a good figure. It offers a new paint application with a sculpt that we’re very familiar with in the S.H.MonsterArts line, while also making small tweaks to the articulation engineering to allow for the more dynamic poses that maybe were a little difficult to achieve with previous releases. The splayed claws are a fantastic change; however, the lack of a breath effect part will leave some collectors disappointed, especially those who missed out on previous releases. This is the second release (GMK: Heat Ray Ver. being the first) to have an atomic glow effect with no dedicated effect part. Perhaps it will be included in the inevitable Toho 4K Blu-ray Poster Version set… Time will tell. That being said, at $67.99, this is definitely an affordable Godzilla to add to your collection. At the time of this writing, stock on the market is limited so don’t sleep on this release too long.

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