Ty Lightner

Joshua Reynolds: How long have you been a Godzilla fan and collector?

Ty Lightner: I have been a Godzilla fan at least since I was seven. They showed the classic movies on TV Saturday afternoons. I remember my friend and I making drawings of Godzilla and the other monsters.

Reynolds: What would you say your favorite item in your collection is?

With OrochiLightner: I really like the 1994 Yamata no Orochi toy figure from Bandai, which is from the 1994 Toho monster movie Yamato Takeru, or Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon. Godzilla is not in that movie, and I actually found the movie disappointing, but Bandai’s figure is big and really impressive. It reminds me a lot of King Ghidorah, who is my favorite foe of Godzilla. I first saw the Bandai Orochi figure at New York Comic Con, for sale at a booth. When I asked the dealer about it, to my surprise he grabbed it and stuck it in my hands. It was so huge! I like large figures.

Reynolds: What made you want to start doing toy reviews on Youtube and why did you choose to use the Heisenberg character?

Lightner: I have gone to comic book conventions since I was a teenager, back in the 1980’s, but I never went in costume. A few years back, I decided I wanted to go in a costume, but I wanted one where I could wear my glasses and not wear a heavy mask. I wanted to be able to see clearly. Then I heard about and watched Breaking Bad. It is some of the best television ever made. The writing is so excellent, and Walter White is a complex and engaging character. I could relate to the frustrations he felt in the early seasons. Well, I quickly realized that Heisenberg was a costume I could do. He was a middle aged guy with glasses, and so was I. I went to New York Comic Con as Heisenberg in 2013. It was the most fun I have ever had at a con. Breaking Bad was still airing and extremely popular, so I got a very positive response. That week I also toured around Manhattan in the costume, and got a few excited stares on the subway.

With Godzilla

Then it was announced that actor Bryan Cranston, who played Heisenberg, was going to star in the 2014 Godzilla movie. I was extremely excited about the movie: I was a huge fan of Godzilla, Bryan Cranston, and the director Gareth Edwards, whom I had seen at a New York Comic Con panel a few years earlier. I was hoping the movie would basically be Godzilla vs Heisenberg. I was also very excited to get the toys for the movie. I drove all over my state looking for them. I had seen other people review Godzilla toys on Youtube, and I wanted to do it too. Since Bryan Cranston was in the movie, it seemed natural to review the toys as Heisenberg. So I put on the costume, put my camera on a tripod, sat down with one of the toys and filmed it. I didn’t know how to edit back then, so the video is all one long take. You see me unscrew the camera off the tripod so I can get the camera closer to the toy. I still enjoy doing the videos as Heisenberg.

Reynolds: What is the rarest item in your collection?

Lightner: I do not have anything especially valuable. I do have some 2004 Godzilla birthday cards. I think they might be rare in that I found no mention of them online. I show them in one of my videos. It’s the video where I show the 2014 Godzilla birthday cards. I compare the 2014 cards to the 2004 cards.

Reynolds: Do you have a favorite Godzilla/kaiju movie?

Glow Funko GodzillaLightner: If it counts, one of my favorite films, and I think one of the best films of all time, is the original 1933 King Kong. That’s the movie that started it all. It played a large role in inspiring the making of the original Godzilla movie. Eiji Tsuburaya said that seeing King Kong had a large impact on him. Since Kong: Skull Island is coming out this year, I am making a video about the history of the King Kong movies. My favorite Godzilla movies are Destroy All Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Destroy All Monsters has great monster fights and a good story. Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is intense and very emotional.

Reynolds: What is your favorite company when it comes to Godzilla merchandise?

Lightner: I like NECA. The expensive figures, like the X-Plus figures, are certainly excellent but far too expensive. I think the figures should be more affordable, and NECA produces some great figures at a low price. They are not shy about it, too. I went to Toy Fair for the first time in 2015. My first stop was the NECA booth. They had said they would reveal a new Godzilla figure. So there I was, early Saturday morning, asking the staff, where’s Godzilla? They lead me to the back corner, and, well, he was blue. At first I thought he was unfinished, that they hadn’t painted him yet. Then I slowly realized that he was blue on purpose, based on a Godzilla video game I had never heard of. I was quite shocked. But I took photos, shot some video, and had the video online by that evening. I’m glad there are a variety of figures to choose from. I own NECA’s blue Godzilla now, lined up with my other NECA Godzillas, and he sure sticks out on the shelf.

Reynolds: Do you focus on any one company for your collection? If so, is there a reason?

Godzilla CarsLightner: Unfortunately my budget limits what I can get. Since NECA is good and affordable, I get all their figures and follow their news closely. I also try to follow Bandai, both in the U.S. and Japan. I also look for either particularly good or particularly awful items from companies that do not normally make Godzilla toys. For example, I really like the Godzilla and Mothra Dream TOMICA cars. They are very creative and well made. The worst item I own is the 2014 Godzilla With Light and Sound mini figure from Running Press. It’s so terrible, I find it very amusing. It does have light and sound, but both are laughingly pathetic.

Reynolds: What was the first Godzilla item you remember owning?

Lightner: I don’t recall if it was really Godzilla, but as a kid I had a punchable inflatable Godzilla or Godzilla-like toy. It was as tall as me. I had a lot of fun punching and kicking it. I did not get any figures until I was an adult. I got the nine inch Trendmasters figure with light and sound back in the 1990’s. It has a great loud roar.

Reynolds: What do you think of the current direction that Toho is going with Godzilla, with Shin in Japan, now the upcoming anime movie and of course Legendary’s Monsterverse?

Lightner: I’m very happy with the originality and quality of Toho’s Shin Godzilla. I hope they keep bringing in top Japanese filmmakers to do their own versions of Godzilla. I also enjoyed Godzilla 2014, and I look forward to the upcoming films. I want to see their take on King Ghidorah, and I want to see Godzilla fight King Kong once again. But I miss the wrestling! The best part of the classic Godzilla films was seeing the monsters wrestle. I want to see more of that again. I am not as excited about the anime movie. I prefer live action films.

Reynolds: Just where exactly do you store all of your collection, Godzilla and otherwise?

Lightner: I have a finished basement, and my collection sits down there, on various shelves and table tops. A lot of it is in my storage room as well. I would like to go through my storage room and put some items out on display, but making videos fills up my free time!

With Legacy Collection


Interview: Ty Lightner (2017)

Ty Lightner

Ty Lightner (AKA: Heisenberg) has been an established Youtube personality that has been reviewing toys for several years now. His persona has given his channel a unique style while gaining over 8,000 followers. He has become one of the ‘go to” reviewers for collectors when it comes to newly released figures while he also touches upon vintage toys as well, giving a nice blend of both old and new toy releases. His Youtube channel can be viewed here.

Date: 3/05/2017
Interviewer: Joshua Reynolds


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