RAH 12" Godzilla

We have a new guest reviewer tonight - galacticboy!  He's checking out the Real Action Heroes version of Godzilla - tell us all about it, galacticboy!

Godzilla! Nothing says America more than badly dubbed Japanese films about giant city destroying monsters. This is, of course, epitomized by the classic original film; Godzilla King of the Monsters. Really, with a title like that you can’t go wrong; add in (literally) Raymond Burr, and you have a sure-fire winner on your hands. As many of you probably already know the main star of the film, Raymond Burr was not in the original Japanese release, but that he was later edited in for American audiences. This helps to explain why whenever Raymond Burr (Steve Martin) speaks with any of the main characters the movie goes all Patty Duke Show. None the less, the original Godzilla movie is truly a great science-fiction classic that spawned numerous sequels and gave me something to watch on Saturday afternoons as a child.

Now as we all know from the Rosanne show, a Godzilla figure is the mantle-piece of choice for the American home. When I traveled to Japan a few years ago, it was my solemn mission to return to the US with the greatest Godzilla figure I could find to display on my mantle; the Medicom RAH Godzilla (1954) is what I came up with… 

Packaging - ***
Not great, but not terrible either, especially when you consider the generally boring packaging of the RAH line. This is a pretty robust figure which necessitates it being packaged in a windowless box. The box features a very nice full color image of the Godzilla figure w/photo-shopped fire and a lot of Japanese script, (which I don’t understand) that lends an air of authenticity. If you read Japanese you may be able to tell that this is the 1954 version of Godzilla. What is important about this is that Medicom also made a 1964 King Kong Vs Godzilla version as well as similar figures of Gamera and other Kaiju. But I picked up this figure, because I am first and foremost a fan of the original film.

The sides feature a black and white image of the figure with feature specifications on one side in English, and on the other in Japanese. The back of the box features a graphic of the “New Combat Joe” body included in this figure; I’ll explain the significance of this feature later. Also, across the back and top of the box is a sticker proclaiming “Limited Edition Special Item Inside” and then a number, mine is #4058 (not too limited in my opinion). Overall the packaging for this figure is pretty good, but at base it is just a box, and if this is a figure that you just plan to display MISB you’ll probably be disappointed.

Sculpting - ****
This figure is a work of art. When you compare this Godzilla to the original film you are hard-pressed to find flaw with it. Godzilla is beautifully sculpted and features a great deal of texturing to simulate the costume used to film the original Godzilla. And I do mean costume… This figure of Godzilla, which by itself is quite spectacular, was designed to replicate in 1/6 scale an actor playing Godzilla! When you peel of the Velcro row of spines a fully articulated action figure is inside of the Godzilla, hence the New Combat Joe body mentioned earlier. This figure is actually an outer layer of rubber with an inner action figure surrounded by foam, or a figure in a foam-rubber suit. 
At first when I got this figure I was unsure of whether the Godzilla was meant to represent the actual monster and there was just a figure inside for stability, or if it was supposed to be a costumed actor. This was cleared-up for me when I noticed that sculpted in Godzilla’s neck were a number of indentations to simulate the breathing holes of the foam rubber suit.

The quality on the Combat Joe itself is not particularly mind-blowing, but he does have a fully sculpted head placed on a highly articulated body. However, one of my few disappointments with this figure is that his face was not sculpted to resemble Haruo Nakajima, the actor in the suit… But who am I kidding? This is an awesome figure of Godzilla with an action figure inside, I really can’t’ complain too much. And as a side note, a pretty easy customizing job on this figure would be to pop-off the stock head and replace it with one resembling the actor Haruo Nakajima, and then put a white head band on him. Now that would be movie accurate!
* It should be noted that Takara released a similar Godzilla costume figure in 1984. I chose to buy the Medicom version for two reasons. First, the other figure is much more expensive, the only one I saw in Japan was about $250. Second, I personally think that the Medicom version is much better looking and designed to be film-accurate.

Paint - *** (Rubber Suit) * * ˝ (Combat Joe)
Similar to a lot of RAH figures the paint applications are not a real strong suit, but what is done is done well. The rubber suit of Godzilla is mostly the color of the molded rubber, which is a sort of dark grayish-green and it has painted light-gray highlights on the chest, knees and along the spine. The color changes are pretty subtle and blend well into the figure. Also, the claws of his feet and hands are the same light-gray color. There is also paint on his head, white eyes with black pupils, light gray brows and teeth, and red inside of his mouth. Not a lot of paint apps on the figure, but they are sufficient, and seem to match-up well with the actual Godzilla suit. The Combat Joe is pretty basic and while his face is painted well, it doesn’t really add anything to the figure. 

Articulation - * (Rubber Suit) *** (Combat Joe)
This is the giant problem with this figure; it has zero poseability when fully suited. While the Combat Joe body has around 30 POA, once in the suit they are completely useless. If you want to move the arms or legs you can, but the weight of the foam and rubber pops them right back into place again. If you are familiar with the Medicom bodies from this period you are aware that if you even look at them funny they slide apart, and that they can barely hold a pose on a good day. So, with the figure you have a limited range of motion, and pretty much one pose (the one you’ll see in my pictures). However, all is not lost. The way I most commonly display this figure is with the actor half outside of the body, this makes for one heck of a conversation piece when visitors try to figure out what on earth you have sitting on your mantle. And with the Combat Joe half-out, you can manipulate and pose his body a bit more. 

**Warning** The Godzilla suit has the hands permanently affixed inside of the body, this way when you put the Combat Joe inside his wrists connect up with the hands inside. Consequently, when you pull him out he ain’t got no hands! For some unexplainable reason Medicom loves to include an extra set of jet-black plastic hands with its figures (Alien, Predator, etc) and these do not work with this figure, so you may have to track down an extra set of pink ones to make this display work.

It should also be mentioned that Godzilla does have a wire armature in his tail that is intended to create poseability, but what ends-up happening is the rubber and foam of the tail just looks really bunched-up. Also the head is supposed to have some kind of wire-frame that allows it to have “roaring action”… I have no idea what they are talking about, since the head really doesn’t move.

Outfit - ****
The whole Godzilla is pretty much the clothing in this scenario. And it is excellent for all of the reasons mentioned previously. A portion I haven’t gone into too much detail over is the actual foam-part of the figure. Inside of the suit and surrounding the Combat Joe are 10 separate pieces of foam that help to fill out the rubbery body. And luckily the Combat Joe is not naked inside, he sports a simple white T-shirt and blue shorts. 

Accessories - **
This category is pretty much nil. There are really no accessories for this figure, one could possibly argue that the Combat Joe is the figure and that the suit and all of its bells and whistles are the accessories, but I think this would be pushing it. For what the figure is, it is amazing and doesn’t require weapons or tools. But I sure would have appreciated a little tank for Godzilla to step on, or maybe a building to knock over. Again, I really can’t complain too much, since Godzilla didn’t carry around anything in the movie.

Fun Factor - ****
To sum up the figure it one word: Bad ass! I really would have been pretty happy to have a nice representation of Godzilla molded in plastic. There are a number of fine vinyl figures out there that do this, but this figure goes one huge step beyond and allows you to have two great figures in one. At the same time you have a wonderful nod to the surrealism of TOHO studios and post-war Japan. I’ve had this figure for a number of years now and I never cease to be amazed and impressed by it. It’s a great display piece and a lot of fun to mess around with. However this is definitely a toy for the adult collector (in case this wasn’t clear). A 10 year old version of me would have lost the tail and spine pieces to the figure within a week and the foam parts would have been strewn throughout the house. 

Value - ***1/2
Not bad. I paid 6,000 yen for this at a secondhand shop in Tokyo. This works out to roughly $54 at the time. In the States your looking at paying a bit more, I’ve seen retail prices recently range from $120-$150, but some on eBay have sold from a low of $59 to a high of around $120. Dependent on how hardcore of a Godzilla fan you are the price could be a factor. I would consider myself a moderate fan and I can honestly say I would be okay dropping $120 on the figure if I had to. $150 may be a bit much and I think you can definitely do better, but if you have any kind of Godzilla lust this is the figure for you. Unless of course you have the $500 Marui R/C Godzilla, then you’re probably already set.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Since Godzilla is pretty much a large rubber suit, you need to be careful when manipulating the Combat Joe figure in and out. The portion of the suit at the base of the Velcro spines is pretty thin and I imagine it could rip easily if not handled cautiously. If you are planning on fully removing the Combat Joe and foam inserts, be careful to keep them in order. They are stacked to fill out the costume in a specific manner, and you will have a nasty time trying to re-order them (also keep the foam away from Chinese food; I stained a corner of one piece with soy sauce!). Lastly, as mentioned earlier, mine did not come with an extra set of pink hands, so I had to cannibalize the hands from the Medicom Getter Robo figure to make my half-out-of-suit display. So, be prepared to find an extra set of hands for maximum displayability.

Overall - ***1/2
I may be a little biased; mathematically it really comes out closer to 3 stars. But, while there are limitations in terms of poseability and accessories, this figure is hands down one of the coolest figures I own and it always commands a place of honor in my collection. Godzilla is a property that has had a number of toys produced over the years, but this figure really captures the feel of the franchise by expertly replicating the suit used to film the original 1954 classic. There are some other figures now that are doing this, such as Microman, but this figure towers above them all and harkens back to a day when rubber-suited monsters were the entertainment of choice on a Saturday afternoon. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - *** (Rubber Suit) ** ˝ (Combat Joe)
Articulation - * (Rubber Suit) *** (Combat Joe)
Outfit - ****
Accessories - **
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
I picked mine up in Tokyo at a store was called Mandrake. If you are ever in Tokyo shopping for toys (which is a whole experience unto itself) I highly recommend it, best shopping for action figures you’ll ever do. Stateside there are a few companies that sell the figure on the internet, do a google search for Medicom Godzilla and you can pull up a couple of sites. I imagine outside of Japan you best bet as always will be eBay, I think you’ll get the best price that way.

Figure from the collection of galacticboy.

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