The Toho 30cm Series Favorite Sculptors Line Godzilla (1962) surprised many collectors last summer with its lighter-than usual paint apps. It looks great. But it does have a way of sticking out on the shelf when surrounded by other X-Plus figures with the usual darker hues.
David Eric Dopko, a long-time Godzilla fan and X-Plus collector, has recently completed a repaint of his FSL Godzilla 1962 and he agreed to provide some guidance for those who have considered doing the same but didn’t know where to start.
KAIJU ADDICTS: David, what prompted you to repaint this figure?
DAVID ERIC DOPKO: Let me start by saying I really liked the paint job on the figure but it really wasn’t movie-accurate.
KAIJU ADDICTS: Agreed.
DAVID ERIC DOPKO: It was definitely a departure from the basic dark gray paint scheme which most of the X-Plus Godzilla figures have. I did like the nuanced detail and subtle dry brushing. But, I wanted to duplicate that vibe with a more movie-accurate a paint job.
I happen to know that you are a modeler. Would I be correct in saying that this was probably something very easy for you to do?
Yes, I’ve been building models for about 20 years. Although I was surprised by the color scheme, I actually really liked it. Initially I had not intended to repaint it. As you are probably well aware, it’s always a difficult decision on what color to paint a 1962 Godzilla.
The suit looks so vastly different from scene to scene, night versus day, etc. One could argue that the paint job we got reflected the last scene in King Kong vs. Godzilla where, on the slopes of Mount Fuji, Godzilla was dirty and dusty from wrestling with Kong.
So, even though you decided to repaint, other collectors who have this figure shouldn’t feel like there is something lacking because of its paint scheme, right?
Oh, absolutely not! I think the paint scheme you get is still one of the best X-Plus has done so far.
That’s because of the large amount of highlights and its dusty/dirty effects, etc.?
Exactly. If you look at it carefully, there are many different colors in there.
But, despite this you still decided to give it a more standard look.
Ultimately, I did. I just thought it was time for change! I think my motivation for doing it over this past weekend was due to a few things. First of all, I watched the newly released Criterion Showa Godzilla Collection blu-ray discs for inspiration. Then I saw that you had showcased this figure in your X-Plus Facebook group post and then it was discussed again in Leslie Chambers’ X-Plus Xplosion livestream chat on Youtube.
Honestly, when I first started to apply the new base coat I starting to regret my decision.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
Yes, in the long run it exceeded my expectations.
Now, the idea of repainting or even touching up an X-Plus vinyl may seem crazy to some collectors even though these figures are basically vinyl kits which are just pre-assembled and pre-painted for you.
You summed it up perfectly. With my modeling background, in my eyes, X-Plus figures are pre-painted and pre-assembled model kits. So to do anything from a slight touch-up to major deconstruction projects is second nature to me.
Would you say someone who hasn’t done any modeling or painting probably shouldn’t get notions to “try this at home”?
I wouldn’t say that, I think if they just need a few paint touch-ups for scrapes or scuffs it’s a pretty simple procedure.
A really important tip that I’d be happy to share with people who want to do paint touch-ups is to match the original paint color as much as possible. That seems like a pretty obvious thing to say, but people need to remember to mix several different colors until they find the right combination.
In other words, it’s not just dark gray paint. There are tones of blue, brown, red and even black in most of the Godzilla skin colors.
Doesn’t the color of paint change from when it’s wet and when it’s dry? Can you trust what you see while you are mixing?
That’s a really good point. What I suggest is to do a paint swatch on the bottom of the foot and let it dry and making sure the color is right before moving on.
I‘m sure the big question on everyone’s minds is: What kind of paint do you use?
Always use acrylic water-based paint. That’s very important. Never use oil or enamel.
When purchasing acrylic paint always try to search for a matte or flat color.
These are the colors I used for the ‘62 figure.
Does this paint always come in tubes or can they come in jars as well?
Absolutely. Usually it’s more economical to buy larger containers of paint. The good news is you can get all of these paints from Amazon and never have to leave the house. Also, I think Michael’s craft stores carry a few brands of acrylic paint.
Someone considering giving this a try may get the urge to run out and get a tube of “BLACK”. I know you probably just squirmed in your seat just now. What is your secret recipe for arriving at an off-black, or gray as you call it?
LOL. I basically start with the basic gray and slowly add brown, blue and green tones. Which tones depends on the particular figure. I then lighten or darken the mixture by adding black or white.
Earlier you said that you were floored by all of the highlights and subtle color changes on the FSL Godzilla 1962’s original paint apps. What did you do to get some of that back after you applied your new, darker base coat? How do you add shadows and highlights?
After applying the base coat, I go back in with a darker wash on the areas that I wish to give the appearance of shadows.
By “wash” do you mean a darker color which you water down in order to fill in parts of the skin texture?
Yes, a diluted paint mixture.
Then you add the highlights?
Then, I go over some areas with a lighter version of my new base color. Drybrush effects are created by utilizing a very small amount of paint on an extra dry paintbrush.
Also, do not apply too much pressure. Brush very lightly.
Finally, be careful not to overdo it. It may look okay, but to me that’s the difference between it looking like a model kit or looking like it’s stepped out of the movie. Does that make sense?
Yes. Highlights should be something that you “discover” after looking at it. Not something that jumps out at you as soon as you lay your eyes on it.
How do you achieve the feathering on the dorsal spines?
That’s basically an example of the drybrush technique.
You just drybrush lightly and accumulate the effect?
Yes. And, again, there are different tones in the colors of the dorsal plates.
Do you have a magic recipe or starting off point for the color you use on the tips of the dorsal spines?
Gray, yellow, tan and white. It all depends on what suit it is and how they look in the films. Sometimes, there are even tones of blue.
But what is a good starting point? If there was a generic, acceptable shade to use on the fins in most cases, what would the recipe be?
Tan, white and a bit of gray.
Does customizing a figure with new paint devalue it?
First of all, if the customization makes sense and it’s done well, then it definitely retains the value of the figure and sometimes even increases it.
Secondly, these figures cost a lot of money, so there’s no reason why you can’t customize them to make them exactly the way you want them to look. Take your time, ask questions, and have patience.
And, if it fails: contact me. In most cases, I can fix it for you.
Where can you be reached?
You can find me in the X-Plus group. You can also use the Contact Form on my Zenfolio site.
Where can our readers hear more from you?
You can also catch me on the upcoming Youtube Series Collect All Monsters. I’m part of an ensemble cast of collectors who will discuss collecting Godzilla. I’m not sure when we are going to launch, but it will be soon!