JAPAN ORIGINAL RELEASE: DECEMBER 2014
NORTH AMERICAN (DIAMOND) RE-ISSUE: NOVEMBER 2017
SERIES: TOHO Large Monster Series
MATERIAL: SOFT VINYL, ABS, Injection molded plastic
FROM: 怪獣総進撃 “Destroy All Monsters”, 1968
HEIGHT (top of heads to ground):
12.59 INCHES / 32 CM
HEIGHT (top of wings to ground):
18.5 INCHES / 47 CM
WIDTH (wingspan): 24.4 INCHES / 62 CM
LENGTH (noses to tail):
20 INCHES / 51 CM
FIGURE WEIGHT: 3 POUNDS, 2 OZ / 1417 G
REVIEW AND PHOTOS: JOHN STANOWSKI
One of THE most eagerly anticipated figures has finally landed! As of this writing, the X-Plus Toho Large Monster Series King Ghidorah 1968 vinyl figure is finally dropping on the doorsteps of eager collectors everywhere causing them to scream with glee like a pack of Japanese school girls. And if any of them tell you any different… they’re lying.
Unfortunately, a lot of these collectors have received broken figures and they’re none too giddy about that. More on that later.
This figure is based on King Ghidorah’s appearance in the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters. A curious first choice for this monster since it appeared in the movie for only five minutes. No doubt, X-Plus chose the 1968 version in order to provide us with a DAM line-up of vinyls.
This figure belongs to the Large Monster Series where most figures come in at 25cm (9.8 inches) tall on average. King Ghidorah, though, is much larger yet in scale with the other figures in that series. Actually, it’s not so much “larger” as it is taller, wider and longer. The body itself is comparable to the 25cm Godzilla 1968. But its long necks, tails and wings stretch out ridiculously far making this… okay, it’s Big!
Okay, ’nuff chit chat. Let’s open the box!
This figure comes in the standard “alternate” Large Monster Series box design reserved for larger figures. It’s plain white with monochrome figure art on the front. We’ve seen this style of box before with Mothra Imago, the Rodans and Viras.
Inside the box, the figure is wired into a plastic shell. The figure comes in three pieces: the main body (including the heads and tails) and two wings. Some collectors, though, are getting their figures in four, five, six or more pieces. But, more on that later.
ASSEMBLY – THE WINGS
The wings are made of ABS plastic. Prongs on the end of each wing plug into an ABS infrastructure inside the torso. How successful these connections seem to be are on a figure to figure basis. Many are reporting loose connections. The wings on my figure were pretty loose when I first put them in. However, later, they seemed to get snug. I suspect this has something to do with the vinyl surrounding the connection. Perhaps they help to “hug” the joint. Some collectors have said that they heated the vinyl around the back holes which allowed the wings to slide right in. And then they cooled the vinyl and report the wings seem tight now.
Be sure to read the Caution Section further down in the review for more on the wings.
Because of its size, this figure has been reinforced. The wings are made of ABS plastic to prevent droopage. They used this technique previously with the wings on the Large Monster Series Mothra Imago. King Ghidorah also has something going on under the hood. ABS innards allow the wings attach to something stronger than vinyl. Now, while the wings themselves won’t get deformed in warmer seasons or climates, it remains to be seen what role the vinyl itself plays in keeping the wings flying high.
Speaking of droopage, all three of King Ghidorah’s heads lay at the end of long, winding vinyl necks. Two of them reach out almost horizontally forward. These are perfect candidates for the dreaded droopage. To combat this, X-Plus inserted metal wires on the inside of each neck to keep its heads held high. This same technique was used previously in the tentacles of the Large Monster Series Biollante.
Weight was added to the bottom portions of the figure to help prevent toppling. How it was added, I’m not sure. But something feels solid down there in the leg pieces below the knees and the first few inches of the tails. As a bonus, the figure has a nice heavy feel to it.
King Ghidorah’s heads are not vinyl. Instead they are made of injection molded plastic. Because of this, the horns can be snapped off if mishandled. Please see the Caution Section further down in the review for more.
Do I even have to say anything here?
As already mentioned, the heads are made of injection molded plastic. And they look good! What really stands out on them, as with most other high end X-Plus figures, are the individually sculpted teeth. The tongues are also individually sculpted. All of it looks more impressive in person because you can’t help but wonder how they managed to get so much detail into a space the size of a quarter.
LOOK, MA! NO WIRES!
The necks have been positioned to create a suspended-on-wires look for a truly authentic recreation of the suit from the movie. And that’s a GOOD thing! If they had gone for something more probable and realistic then they would have crossed the line into stylization. Thank God for X-Plus’ devotion to suit accuracy!
The upper legs look beefier than they were on the suit which had a severe case of skinny, horse rider legs with a huge gap between them. In the movie, they looked like shit. The gap between the legs is here in the sculpt, but the scrawny legs are, shall we say, fixed. If I’m right, and X-Plus took a liberty with the design here then that’s okay with me. Hey, Ghidorah. Nice legs!
Will you LOOK at the scales on this figure! Holy shite! King Ghidorah’s scaly skin isn’t merely a texture etched into the vinyl, but rather a mass of sculpted scales! Many of them peel away slightly from the body. Fan-f’n-tastic!
The ABS wings look incredible with fabric-like waves and folds the likes of which you might find on a hot air balloon. But, is that suit accurate? The actual wings were probably about as large as a bed and I don’t remember seeing that many waves on them in the movie. The wings on this figure may be a case of artistic liberty. But I’m not going to complain. They DO look good!
The base of each wing, where it connects to the body, has a “sleeve” of vinyl material sculpted with scales and done so to match the rest of the figure. You can detect a difference in material between the wings and wing base, but that’s not the main problem here. They stand out as different pieces since they don’t physically blend into each other very well. Dark shadowing applied in this area helps to conceal this gap, but it’s not perfect.
The manes of hair behind each head are sculpted fairly well considering that furry mops don’t translate to vinyl very well. I think they stand out more than they should but methinks that’s more a matter of paint.
Like the necks, the tails waver up and down as if subtly pulled on by wires in true King Ghidorah suit form.
It’s a killer likeness of the suit. It’s huge, painted well, huge and has a lot of fine details along with an incredible scale texture in the sculpt which is reasonable seam-free from the front. And, it’s huge! It’s 3 pounds heavy and feels good in the hand. And huge!
It’s not like there’s a ton of poses to choose from for this guy. The pose is pretty standard stuff, and once again, that’s fine by me. With golden wings fully outstretched, one leg slightly behind the other and all three heads looking like they’re really hanging from wires, the X-Plus King Ghidorah looks purdy on the shelf.
JOINTS & SEAMS
Scaly textures usually don’t make for seamless seams. Thankfully, the front view of the X-Plus King Ghidorah is immaculate and you’d have a hard time finding a line without a really, really close look. This is impressive since this figure is made of a lot of pieces. The lower legs are separate pieces but you can’t even tell since there’s no line to give it away.
The upper and lower body are two separate pieces with a mostly invisible (from the front) seam running between them right under Ghidorah’s man boobs. This seam is, though, more visible from the back.
On the necks, there are seams about an inch behind each mane though I suspect not the middle head. You can’t see these unless you really, really look. And you have to believe you’ll see them before they appear! The base of each neck, where they connect to the body have seams a tad more visible, but again, more from the back. The bottom jaws are separate pieces and do have faint lines visible.
The tails are made up of several pieces but so far I’ve seen only one faint seam. I just gave up trying to find them. If I have to try that hard to see them, then they may as well not be there.
Now, here’s where it gets ugly. From the back and sides you can see gaps around where the wings connect which, I suppose, is to be expected. Also, the ABS wings have sleeves of scaly vinyl glued on near where they attach to the body. There are visible gaps here as well. Thankfully, from the front and forward angle views, you can’t see any of it. The real mess is left for the wall to see.
Photos of the X-Plus Large Monster Series King Ghidorah can be deceiving. In these shots, the figure usually turns out looking like it’s covered in bright, super shiny, metallic gold. That’s not ‘exactly’ the case when the figure is in front of you. It’s hard to explain, but it really looks like a dark, dusty gold. The light plays off its semi-glossiness to great effect and creates tons of specular highlights and lots of detailed shadows. In addition to the shadows caused by the light, there is also subtle shadowing applied with a darker shade of gold paint here and there. It looks amazing. And more importantly, it looks like a perfect match for the suit in the movie (in person).
The wings, also golden, appear to be a slightly different shade, possibly because of the difference in material. Or possibly because that’s how the suit actually was. Either way, they are a bit too shiny for me. They’re definitely shinier than the wings in the movie. I would have preferred it if they used something more dull here. They do look fantastic the way they are, but I’m just not seeing them match with the movie 100%.
Let’s work our way up the necks to the furry manes behind each head. They are a dark, unsaturated brown with highlights brushed onto the higher elevations. Overall, I think they’re too dark. Keep in mind that they look much darker in photos, including my own. In person, they’re not as bad. But they could still use a slightly lighter shade.
The eyes have large, shark-like pupils with slivers of red on the sides. From what I could see, they match the suit fairly well. Close enough for me.
The individually sculpted teeth are also individually painted! Whether one by one by hand or with the aid of a stencil, the end result is gold teeth (as in the movie) cleanly separated from the pink gums and mouth.
The Large Monster Series King Ghidorah 1968 towers over the Large Monster Series Godzilla 1968. If you count the wings, KG is twice as high! Unfair height advantage aside, these figures really are in scale with each other.
What I usually do to determine this is I see if the limbs line up. Do the knees, hips, shoulders and heads of the suit actor inside meet from each figure. Yeah, I’m sure there were suit actors with different heights but it works good enough.
You saw this one coming, right?
MORE COMPARISON SHOTS TO COME.
Here now is our big problem with this figure: The X-Plus King Ghidorah is going to wreak havoc with your shelves. It’s TWENTY INCHES LONG! Those tails don’t care how much space you have. They don’t want to accommodate the depth of your shelf by curling up into the air. They just gently wave straight back. The good news is it’s only 13 inches long from toes to tail (less if you place it on an angle, but those wings may get in the way). You may have to get used to the idea of those golden heads precariously reaching out over the edge of your shelf.
Obviously, the length isn’t the only problem, or even the main problem. The wings rise up 18 and half inches above the ground plane! If you have adjustable shelves, you’re going to have to make a change. And even then it may look odd with all that dead space above all of the other 25’s. I’m sorry to say that the X-Plus King Ghidorah 1968 either needs to be on the top shelf (assuming your ceiling is high enough), or in its own open space.
As for width, the wings take up a lot of room, but they angle so far back that they will allow other figures to stand not only in front of them, but almost side-by-side with King Ghidorah.
This vinyl figure has quite a few features that make it necessary to treat it with a little more care. You almost need to treat it as if it were a resin statue. The heads and long necks are glued on in at least three sections and are perfect targets for accidental bumps and collisions, wires or no wires.
The injection molded heads have horns which are no where near as forgiving as vinyl when it comes to bumps. The horns can and will give by snapping off. The claws (or hooks) at the end of Ghidorah’s wing fingers (or digits) are also super prime candidates for getting snapped off. This is a large figure and it’s very easy to hit something with the wings when moving it around. Imagine moving around in a closet with an open umbrella. That’s what it could be like handling this figure.
Finally, the wings may not fit very snugly into the back of your figure. At first, the wings on mine went in easily and immediately began to pull away from the body. They don’t do that now, and I’m not sure what’s different, but they’re pretty set in now. But they will come loose if bumped. Also, even though the ABS wings won’t droop in the summer heat, I’m wondering if it will have any effect on the joints. Will the holes in the back vinyl get larger or softer? Will they loosen their grip on the wings? Will the ABS pegs alone be able to support them? It may be a good idea to make sure your X-Plus King Ghidorah is on softer ground and give the wings a short fall should they decide to detach on their own.
The release of the X-Plus King Ghidorah was not as cheerful as one might expect. Not for everyone.
THE GREAT AMIAMI FIASCO
The box for King Ghidorah is an odd shape. It’s very tall, very wide but not very deep. And there just aren’t any shipping boxes that even come near its size specs. AmiAmi.com, a popular (past tense?) Japanese retailer who makes it easy for us westerners to get X-Plus, solved the problem by NOT using any shipping box at all. Yeah, you read that right. They just slapped an invoice pouch directly onto the X-Plus box (they stuck it on the front over the cover art) and sent it on its way overseas. …What?
Dell Champagne Martinez says his friends in Japan who ordered from AmiAmi DID get shipping boxes. …What?
AmiAmi did start to listen to complaints but only half of them. They started to slap the invoice pouches on the top of the box instead of right smack on the art. But they were still sent out without shipping boxes.
It should go without saying that the King Ghidorah box is not made to aptly protect the figure inside when it’s tossed into the mail without a shipping box. There have been almost innumerable cases of collectors in the west getting figures with broken horns, necks, legs.
Public sentiment in the collector community toward AmiAmi has taken a nosedive, and rightly so.
THE GREAT X-PLUS KING GHIDORAH FIASCO
Not all broken figures came from AmiAmi. Yes, even many of the figures which were lovingly wrapped in custom shipping boxes arrived in pieces. Again: stories of broken horns, necks and legs abound. Some collectors got two broken necks. Some got three.
King Ghidorah cost over $300, but X-Plus couldn’t make a better box to protect it?
Thankfully, heads, necks and legs can usually be glued back on cleanly by the collector. But, should they really have to do that? Getting a busted figure on Box Day isn’t fun. See collector Samson West’s unhappy Unboxing Video.
For a lengthy discussion of the atrocities that have been showing up on collectors’ doorsteps, see Rich Eso’s X-Plus King Ghidorah Video Review. The first 20 minutes is devoted to just that.
And, please don’t let the horror stories dissuade you from getting this amazing vinyl though. Despite the desecrated box I got from AmiAmi, my figure arrived in fine condition.
GALLERY OF HORROR
• Archived X-Plus Large Monster Series King Ghidorah 1968 on Ric Boy Site.
• High Resolution images of X-Plus King Ghidorah 1968 from SciFiJapan.
• Collector Photo Gallery at Import Monsters.
• Short Review with Great Photos (Japanese) at Phantom Monster Parade (ソフビ怪獣・怪人大行進).
• X-Plus King Ghidorah Review at Skreeonk.com.
• Rich Eso’s X-Plus King Ghidorah Video Review.
• Extensive X-Plus King Ghidorah Photo Gallery by Lester Wayne Daniels.
• Samson West’s X-Plus King Ghidorah Video Review.
• Toho Kingdom Written Review of 2016 Bluefin Reissue.
• The Godzilla Files Unboxes and Reviews the X-Plus King Ghidorah North American (Diamond) Reissue.
• SuperGodzilla1974 Reviews the Large Monster Series King Ghidorah 1968 Vinyl Figure
COLLECTORS’ PHOTO GALLERY