I remember years ago surfing through all the Bandai figures on Vinylmadness, and being impressed by how extensive the figure list was:http://www.vinylmaddness.com/
I was still learning about the history of the Godzilla franchise back then, and I marveled at the amount of merchandise the big G had in figure form. In terms of variety and numbers, the Bandai vinyl line can't be beat, and today you can find cheap affordable Bandai Godzilla figures in lots of places, offline or online. Moreover, despite the flak the line receives about screen accuracy, the sculpts and paint jobs have only improved with time.
As a kid in the 90s, purchasing Bandai vinyls was pretty tricky; I had to go to import stores or comic shops, and even then there would probably be only one or two figures available. Internet shopping was still coming into its own, and since I didn't have a credit card I had to pay for everything with expensive money orders. Given the limited selection and daunting task of acquiring them, I never really became enamored with the vinyl line. I actually preferred collecting the HG gashapon figures, as I could buy whole sets and quickly acquire a decent range of Godzilla characters.
I don't play with toys anymore (they are far too valuable to play with! Big kids only!), but I have purchased more Bandai vinyls, and quite enjoy having them around. There are, however, a few things which prevent me from going fully "Gung-Ho" for this line:
1) I'll never finish. I know that if I start collecting seriously, I'll probably want to have them all, or at least one of every sculpt. This is a huge commitment of funds that I can't in good conscience make, and I certainly don't have space for all those figures, despite how cool they are.
2) Vinyl is a bit of a 'funny' material. While Bandai vinyls will take punishment from kids far better than, say, the Monsterarts would, they are also far harder to repair if they break. I've read testimonies of collectors lamenting their ultimately futile attempts to fix vinyl figures, which isn't as much
of an issue with more 'solid' toys; if Monsterarts Ghidorah's wing breaks off, you can at least glue it back on and have nobody be the wiser, but if the wings on a Bandai Ghidorah should snap or be torn off, there are very few methods of repair available. Granted, this isn't usually going to happen, especially with a collectors, but it does occasionally.
The other 'funny' thing about vinyl is that paint can come off easily on certain types of figures. Again, not really an issue for collectors, but it pays to be careful with them; paint deterioration is so common on the smooth-surfaced Ultraman figures that it's practically a plot point in the movie Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna: Warriors of the Star of Light!
3) They're a different kind of toy from what I usually collect. Typically I collect statues, action figures, or mini figures, and my Bandai figures are a bit like oranges in my barrel of apples. When I'm displaying my collection, I prefer to put Godzilla toys like the Monsterarts, Revoltechs, Chogokins, etc. on display with the action figures, and have the Bandais kind of off in their own shelf universe. I actually have a pretty extensive collection of Ultraman vinyls, and I love them, but they just don't look 'right' when mixed in with the others. Maybe I just haven't found the right display, who knows?
I'll definitely continue to casually collect Bandai vinyls, and I hope the line continues to enjoy success for many years to come. I doubt I'll ever be a huge fan of the line, but there's no question that they are the most affordable Godzilla figures in their scale.