大怪獣シリーズ ウルトラマン編 「宇宙忍者 バルタン星人（Reborn）」
JAPAN RELEASE: August 2010
JAPAN REISSUE: 2012
SERIES: LARGE MONSTER SERIES
MATERIAL: SOFT VINYL
FROM: “Ultraman” Episode 2, “Shoot The Invader”, 1966
HEIGHT: 9 INCHES / 22.8 CM
WIDTH: 5 INCHES / 12.7 CM
ARTICULATION: Arm, Wrists, Ankles
AVAILABILITY: JUST RELEASED
REVIEW AND PHOTOS: JOHN STANOWSKI
Alien Baltan (or Baltan Seijin, also sometimes referred to as ‘Baltan 1’ in toy circles) is one of the most popular and beloved of Ultraman‘s foes. He’s shown up numerous times with many suit upgrades in multiple Ultraman series. He’s even shown up in the original “Ultraman” twice, the second time with one such suit change. But our guy here is the original, as seen in the very second episode of “Ultraman” titled “Shoot The Invader!”
Baltan, and 2.3 billion of his arthropod buddies, escaped from their dead world by miniaturizing themselves and fitting into one spaceship to find a new home. After scoping out Mars and realizing it was loaded with Spacium (their own version of Kryptonite), they came to Earth. Originally, they only wanted to swipe some scientific equipment from 1960s Japan which somehow was a perfect match for their super-advanced interstellar craft. But they soon realized that Earth wasn’t just a nice place to visit and that they would like to live there. Unfortunately for them, Earth had Ultraman and the Science Patrol to greet them.
This character is the very first alien to battle Ultraman here on Earth. Yes, Ultraman’s first foe, Bemular, was from another planet, but he was a kaiju. Baltan is a seijin, or alien. Baltan is also known for his ability to change his size, create multiple copies of himself to confuse enemies and also for his famous laugh which was borrowed from the 1963 film “Matango” (マタンゴ), or as we know it better in the West: “Attack Of The Mushroom People“.
X-Plus has made numerous Baltan figures (some of which you can see here). This review features the 2012 re-issue of the original 2010 Large Monster Series Space Ninja Alien Baltan (Reborn).
Sculpt-wise, this figure is an insanely accurate representation of the suit used in the 1966 episode. Not only is it a deadringer for the “real” thing as a whole, it’s finer details, up close, are remarkably authentic.
Every single detail on Baltan’s lobstery, insectoid face has made it onto the figure. I’m talking about tiny details you never even even got a good look at when watching the show. See those grooves on the forehead? There’s 10 of them on either side. This is precisely how many there are on the suit! Crazy! X-Plus does not disappoint!
Baltan’s buggy eyes are made of clear plastic molded in orange. While smooth on the outside, they have a bumpy, insectoid texture on the inside. I think this is just incredible attention to detail.
The sculpt of Baltan’s claws are freakishly accurate, even down to the subtle bumpy texture. While reviewing the episode, I paused the DVD on a close-up of the claw and compared it to the X-Plus figure and I was pleasantly surprised at the level the sculptor went to reproduce it. On the TV I saw that the inside edge of the top pincer was fairly straight, while the lower pincer had more of a curve on the front half. The X-Plus sculpt mimicks that precisely!
As for that row of rectangular indents: there are nine… exactly how many there were on the suit.
INNIE OR OUTIE?
This row of indents occurs only on one side of each claw; the other side being simply smooth. These claws are removeable and both fit on either arm. I shot all of the photos for this review with the indents on the inside, but it would be just as accurate to switch them and have the indents face outward.
All of the scenes featuring Baltan at human-size had the indents on the outside. However, when they shot the scenes of Baltan on the miniature set to battle Ultraman, the indents were on the inside. Perhaps the indents were meant to switch sides when Baltan increases his size, but I’m thinking that someone on set simply wasn’t paying attention and let suit actor put the claws on the wrong hands.
On the shelf, I’m keeping the indents on the outside of the claws, and have them rotated slightly inward to more mimic the posture of the suit as it was seen inside the science building in the episode.
JOINTS & SEAMS
There are joints above the biceps which are worked into the sculpt very well. My figure will allow me to rotate the left arm at this point. The right doesn’t want to budge and I don’t plan to force it to find out if it does the same. The ankles rotate but the seams are well hidden because they occur at the top of Baltan’s “boots”. The right foot is a bit loose possibly because of the wiring installed for this 2012 Ric Boy light gimmick release. The giant claws can rotate easily at the wrist and can also be removed. This joint is a curious design with the wrist being just a simple cylinder that slides into the claws with no “suction cup” flange to hold them in place. They’re long enough, though, that I wouldn’t worry about the claws falling off. The only joint that does bother me the waist. Though it could be said that this joint is worked into the sculpt, it still ‘sticks out’ to me but is nowhere near a dealbreaker.
Baltan stands in an uneventful pose showing neither action nor personality. He may not look like he’s about to do battle with Ultraman, but it’s just fine for display. It could be said that Baltan was often in this pose while stalking the Science Patrol as they investigated in the science building .
Baltan has a dark blue base color with light blue highlights and markings. They did an especially good job on these triangular patterns as they were applied on totally smooth surfaces with no “lines” in the sculpt to stay inside of. No doubt, stencils were used. The colors here look great!
The claws are a semi glossy silver which have dark brown “drips” falling from the wrists. These brown lines are the least impressive aspect of the paint job since they are crude representations of what was seen on the suit. They also exude a “by hand” quality. Bright tan areas and hard plastic eyes molded in orange steal some of the attention away from the bright claws. Overall, if it weren’t for the sloppy brown lines on the claws, I’d give this paint job and A+.
At first glance the X-Plus Baltan looks to be a good match for the Ultraman figures… that is, if they’re crouching. (Above: X-Plus Ultraman C-Type Spacium Pose).
Size comparisons with standing Ultraman figures is another story. As usual, the Large Monster Series kaiju don’t have the same reach as the Ultramen do. At first, Baltan seems to be just a little shorter than the X-Plus Ultraman A-Type Standing Pose (above), but if you attempt to line them up at the shoulders, you can see these guys just aren’t in scale with each other.
However, Baltan is a great match with other Large Monster Series Ultra kaiju. It lines up perfectly with other X-Plus Reborn figures: Gomora, Bemular and Red King.
It’s obvious the X-Plus Baltan does not take up a lot of space on the shelf, especially if you don’t use the included clear stand and base (seen below). If you don’t, you may need to apply some putty under the front of his feet. This figure has weak ankle joints and leans slightly forward. Even if you’re able to balance him on his own, it would be a precarious thing to do without some extra support.
RIC BOY EXCLUSIVE FEATURE
The original 2010 Ric Boy release came with an extra set of arms which were bent at the elbows for an alternative look. (See photos here.). The 2012 Re-issue Ric Boy (seen here) did not come with the extra arms but instead offered a light gimmick.
LEDs behind the buggy eyes run down through the body and accept power from the batteries in the base via a port under the right foot. The included base holds two LR 44 batteries and a plug rising out of the top. A switch on the side of the base controls the power. I need to mention that the base is made of thin plastic and not very sturdy. And, as often happens, the figure doesn’t stand completely straight while the heel is impaled with this plug. You might want to consider using the clear plastic arm, which also attaches to the base, to keep your figure from leaning.