Full Review: Star Ace/X-Plus 12-Inch Kong: Skull Island Vinyl Figure

Star Ace / X-Plus Kong: Skull Island Vinyl Statue Review.

FIGURE SPECS

「キングコング:髑髏島の巨神」 コング ソフビ スタチュー スタンダード版

JAPAN ORIGINAL RELEASE: October 2018

NORTH AMERICA ORIGINAL RELEASE: November 2018

BRAND: Released by Star Ace, but Produced by X-Plus

SERIES: No Series Affiliation but is comparable to Toho 30cm Series

MATERIAL: VINYL

FROM: “Kong: Skull Island” (2017)

HEIGHT (OFF BASE): About 12 INCHES / 30.4 CM

WIDTH (HAND TO HAND): About 7.75 INCHES / 19.6 CM

FIGURE WEIGHT: 15 OZ / 425 G

REVIEW AND PHOTOS, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED: © JOHN STANOWSKI

KONG: SKULL ISLAND and all related characters and elements © Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

This is the long-awaited Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure by Star Ace, a subsidiary of X-Plus. The sculpt was produced by X-Plus. It stands at 12 inches tall, weighs in at just under a pound and is a mostly movie-accurate representation of the giant ape from Kong: Skull Island (2017).

It was released in Japan in October 2018 and it will reach stores in the United States in mid November 2018.

It is X-Plus’ fifth vinyl based on a Legendary Pictures movie monster and the third vinyl based on a titan from the Monsterverse. (See the Size Comparison section for photos of the others.)

There are two versions of this release. The EX (or “regular/standard”) features Kong with an open left hand and no accessories. The DX (or deluxe version) features the same sculpt with the exception of the left hand being closed to wrap around a helicopter as well as an island base for it to stand on. This review features the Standard Version.

THE BOX

The Box for the Standard Version.
The inside packaging.

The Star Ace Kong comes in a blind, brown box. Unlike X-Plus boxes, this one opens with a flip lid on the top and has its color cover art printed directly on the front. With a keen eye, though, you will notice elements common to X-Plus box covers such as the thin, grunge border and the offset halo effect on the image of the figure.

Note that the walls of this box are extremely thin. It could be easily crumbled. Please store it safely, assuming you get one dent and wrinkle free.

Despite the thin box, your figure is very securely protected on the inside. It’s packaged more like a 1/6 scale figure than an X-Plus vinyl. Kong is seated in a plastic shell which comes with a plastic lid which also wraps around all four sides thus increasing its strength. Also, unlike an X-Plus, Kong is not wire-tied to the plastic since the lid keeps him securely in place.

Kong’s pose, though simple, breaks the glass on the Badass Scale.

SCULPT

Full front view of the Star Ace Kong vinyl statue.

The Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure sports an awesome, mostly movie-accurate sculpt of the giant ape from the movie.

Three things that stand out the most to me are its apparently expertly captured proportions and gait, expressive, familiar face and intricately detailed fur which looks far better in person than I was expecting.

HEAD SCULPT

Three close-up angles of the head sculpt.

I’ve compared the head sculpt to several photos from the film and, yes, I did find minor details with my admittedly untrained eye which could have been tweaked. I also find the face a little more “grown-up” than the one I saw in some scenes of the movie. But in the sculptor’s defense, Kong’s face seemed to fluctuate between adolescent and adult in the movie. This sculpt seems based on the latter.

It seems super expressive from almost every angle projecting anger, confidence, curiosity, thoughtfulness and power.

Close-up of the feet.

FEET
What can I say? They’re feet. I have no comment, but thought you might like to see them.

POSE

Kong stands in a seemingly idle museum pose taken straight from the movie. And yet, the level of expression in this sculpt seems so dynamic at the same time. Kong’s pose, though simple, breaks the glass on the Badass Scale.

Front view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Front left view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Left side view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Rear left view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Rear view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Right rear view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Right side view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.
Right front view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.

Kong’s gait from the movie is EXPERTLY captured in this pose. This is a work of vinyl art.

BALANCE
Despite giving a little wobble when first placed down, this vinyl quickly stabilizes and stands firm. It does not appear to be easily unbalanced with heavy-footed traffic passing by the collection or even a sudden jolt to the shelves. Kong stands steady and proud.

JOINTS & SEAMS

The only lines of note on this figure are the joints at the ankles which definitely leave a gap in the sculpt. But because they are so low, they’re not overly obvious. And they are completely invisible when looking at the figure from a higher angle.

There are traces of seams above both biceps and around the base of the trapezius muscles and base of the neck. These are covered over with paint in such a way as to make them hardly noticeable.

PAINT JOB

Close-up of the back fur.

For something as uncomplicated as a giant, furry ape, Star Ace / X-Plus did a fantastic job bringing life to Kong’s fur. While it’s hard to see in this photo, Kong’s coat has just the right amount of darks and highlights over it main medium brown paint scheme. Even harder to see, even with your own eyes, are scattered accents that almost appear greenish brown. I’m not sure if these are meant as hairy highlights or if they are meant to represent the jungle debris that matted in his fur (as was purposely added by the CGI crew at Lucasfilm). Either way, they add a subtle top layer of detail in Kong’s paint apps.

Close-up of the paint applications on the face.
Close-up of the paint applications on the hand and butt.

BRIGHT FACE
Kong’s face, hands, feet and chest are treated with an off black with a very definite blueish tinge. I’ve seen this tinge on actual apes before, but didn’t really notice it in the movie. Either way, this shade seems far too bright to be movie-accurate. Despite this, I am mostly reluctant to complain about most of these areas since it seems these areas wouldn’t stand out as much had they been darker.

The face is made even lighter with generous amounts of highlights made with an even lighter shade. I’m of the opinion that his face is far too light because of this and was immediately very disappointed with it when I first opened the box. I’ve since gotten used to it. The amazing sculpt, pose and perceived attitude just washed the negativity away.

Mostly…

BRIGHT BUTT
There is one area that has me totally perplexed. And, that would be Kong’s butt. The same shades used on his face, chest, hands and feet were actually applied, over the fur, on Kong’s ass. ????? Hate to say it, but this is a glaring error. Kong’s butt is brown just like his arms and legs. But Star Ace has him looking like he just sat on a kaiju-sized bench with wet paint. What they hell were they thinking? Thankfully this error faces the wall on the shelf.

Close-up of the eyes.

PIERCING EYES
Let’s get back to some sorely needed good news. Kong’s fiery, orange eyes look fantastic! They’ve no doubt used decals here since each one is a mere 3/16 of an inch wide. They are coated with a shiny gloss to bring even more life to them.

Close-up of the chest scars.

CHEST
Kong’s chest is painted with the same light, off black as his other bare skin areas and it feathers into the brown fur very, very well. Excellent work.

His trademark skullcrawler scars seem to be in the right proportion but, I feel, are given too much focus with the starkly light lines of paint. The scars are noticeably brighter than was seen on the prototype we were teased with for over a year.

Kong: Skull Island director, Jason Vogt-Roberts, at X-Plus headquarters holding the prototype for the Star Ace Kong vinyl statue.

In the above photo you can see Kong: Skull Island director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, at X-Plus headquarters in Osaka holding the prototype. Note the much more reserved coloring on the scars. I can’t help but wonder if he is the reason for the brighter colors on the end product.

Last year, Vogt-Roberts replied to a tweet made by Kyle Yount (Kaijucast) which showed the figure. His response:

“This is awesome. But please make his chest scars more pronounced via discoloration…”

It looks like X-Plus kowtowed to Jordan’s advice. But, despite being a little toyish, I’ve grown to like it. I knew Kong had scars but never really appreciated how cool they were until I got this vinyl.

FOOTPRINT / ON THE SHELF

At 12 inches tall, the Star Ace Kong takes up only 7.75 inches at his widest and hardly any room at all in depth. This vinyl may be off the charts with its badassery but it’s extremely modest when it comes to taking up space on the shelf. His footprint will barely leave a mark even in the most crowded collections.

SIZE COMPARISONS

Now, let’s take a look at the Star Ace Kong with a myriad of X-Plus vinyls and other figures you may have in your collection.

The Star Ace Kong with the X-Plus 30cm Series Godzilla 2014.

At the time of this writing, the most likely companion for your new Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Statue is the 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 (review) by X-Plus. They look FANTASTIC paired together on the shelf. The standard version of Godzilla seems to closely match the demeanor of Kong making for a good visual match in your display.

Size comparison with the 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 standard vinyl.

The X-Plus Godzilla 2014 stands at 12.75 inches (32.3 cm) against Kong’s 12 inches (30.5 cm). It seems only fitting that Kong should be shorter seeing as how this version of the giant ape is actually much, much smaller than this Godzilla. But note that even at this slight disadvantage, Kong’s arms already dwarfs Godzilla’s.

Size comparison with the 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 blue fins roar version vinyl.

The fierce 30cm Series Godzilla 2014 Roar Version (review) is slightly taller at 13 inches (33 cm). Kong still pairs with it nicely. Although, Kong seems pretty unimpressed by Godzilla’s roaring head.

Size comparison with the NECA Godzilla 2014 24 inch Head to Tail figure.

Kong is slightly taller than your NECA Godzilla 2014 24-Inch Head-to-Tail figure. Even so, it’s still comparable in size and presence and they will look good together on the shelf.

Size comparison with X-Plus Pacific Rim vinyls.

The Star Ace Kong stands here with X-Plus’ two entries from Legendary’s Pacific Rim (2013). The Large Monster Series Leatherback and the Large Monster Series Knifehead. You are probably accustomed to Large Monster Series vinyls being only 25cm tall, as am I. But these two behemoths really do have the size and mass of 30cm Series figures. And so, they look GREAT next to Kong.

Size comparison with 30cm Series Showa vinyls by X-Plus.

And here is Kong with two figures from the Toho 30cm Series: Godzilla 1964 (review) and Godzilla 1968. Kong is actually standard 30cm Series height and so will fit in nicely with any figures you may have from that series.

DELUXE VERSION

The DX version of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Statue comes with two awesome extras and one modification of the sculpt.

Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure Deluxe Version.
PHOTO: STAR ACE / X-PLUS

A round base with Skull Island motif will raise your Kong vinyl to new heights. This vinyl deserves to be put up on a pedestal. And, now you’ve got one!

Also included is a separate, mangled helicopter which can be inserted into Kong’s re-sculpted left hand. X-Plus had earlier indicated that this chopper would be permanently affixed to Kong’s hand, but we know know that isn’t the case. Kong’s hand looks just fine on its own if you elect to not use the extra piece.

Scene from Kong: Skull Island.
PHOTO: © 2017 WARNER BROS.ENTERTAINMENT INC., LEGENDARY PICTURES PRODUCTIONS, LLC AND TENCENT PICTURES.

The Deluxe Version is a virtual snapshot right out of the movie!

You can see a lot of promotional photos of both versions, including close-ups of the base and helicopter on a previous post Here.

SUMMARY

Despite a couple of annoying painting issues, the Star Ace Kong Skull Island Vinyl Figure is one helluva collectible! With minimum seams, intricate textures and a sculpt and pose that feels so alive, this Kong is truly an exciting addition to any X-Plus collection. I hope it’s successful run secures places for future Monsterverse vinyls from Star Ace and X-Plus.

MORE INFORMATION

Original Regular Version page on X-Plus Site.
Original Deluxe Version page on X-Plus Site.
• PROMOTIONAL PHOTOS: Star Ace Kong Skull Island 32cm Vinyl Statue Pre-order and Release Details
• VIDEO: Virtual Devil Reviews the Star Ace Kong Skull Island Deluxe (French).
• VIDEO: SuperGhidorah Unboxes the Star Ace Kong Deluxe Version.

X-TRAS

Low angle of the Star Ace Kong vinyl.

Extra: Kong looking off into the distance.

Extra: Dark close-up of Kong's face.

Silhouette view of the Star Ace Kong Skull Island vinyl statue.


By |2018-10-21T17:27:10+00:00October 19th, 2018|Categories: Kaiju Addicts Reviews|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Phillip Frazier October 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    This is a awesome review John! I’m my modest opinion, this guy is a very serious contender for figure of the year! I think my favorite part of this is the expression on his face, looks very menacing…..like don’t f*** with me! Excellent!

  2. Michael Farrah October 20, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    This is an awesome detailed figure and the review gives great info, images, and more on this figure. Definitely helps in helping making a purchase of this. Great review.

  3. Al October 20, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Great Kong review! I wasn’t overly thrilled with Skull Island but Star Ace have done a fantastic job with this. We have a lot of similar opinions on him. The eyes are surprisingly intense and really sold the expression

  4. Ngwe Hein October 20, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    I really wish X-plus would make another roaring version of Kong to go along with the roaring Godzilla 2014. Hopefully a skull crawler too.

  5. Daniel Alvarez October 21, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Great review. I haven’t picked this Kong up yet, but this review makes it very tempting.

  6. Gojira72 October 21, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Hey Man, great review, but I think you got Vogt-Roberts name wrong. From what I can see, his name is Jordan, not James. Other than that 10/10 would read again.

  7. John Stanowski October 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Thanks, I fixed it.

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