Version Source
 King Kong vs. Godzilla
Company: Bandai
Extras: Attached tag
Classification: Figure Reissue: No
Release: 1983 Height: 23 centimeters
Steve Johnson

The second figure to be reviewed will carry on the theme of "firsts". The earlier review, Baby Godzilla, was the first Bandai figure I obtained. This time, we'll take a look at the first standard size Bandai Godzilla figure to be made. Before Bandai started making Godzilla figures in the early 1980's, most Toho kaiju figures, such as the ones made by Marusan and Bullmark, were highly stylized in an unrealistic fashion, with bright colors such as oranges and blues in often cartoonish sculpts. Bandai chose to take a much more realistic approach with their Godzilla line, offering up representations of the monsters that attempted to mirror their film appearances as closely as possible. Beginning in 1983 with the announcement of The Return of Godzilla (1984), Bandai kicked off their Godzilla line with Godzilla himself, as he appeared in 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla.

Source Comparison

Godzilla stands in at around 9 inches tall from the top of his head to the bottom of his foot, and is approximately 11 inches from snout to tail, though his tail is curved off to the side. The figure is made of hard vinyl, and unlike most following Godzilla figures, only features articulation in the arms and tail. Though most Godzilla purists hate to think of Godzilla as green, he's certainly green in this figure, and appeared that way in many scenes in the film as well. Sadly, King Kong vs. Godzilla was not especially well preserved, which is the case even on Toho's own region 2 DVD release of the movie, as many colors are prone to yellowing and that may be why he appears greenish. That's another issue for another time, however, back to the toy.

Bandai did a decent job with this sculpt. Godzilla is bulky without looking fat, and they did a fair job in capturing the unique, almost frog-like face of this particular suit, though the eyes are a bit bland and the mouth could've been bigger.

Head Comparison

Just like the suit, the toy features one large row of plates running down Godzilla's back, with smaller ridges on the sides. The fins are painted silver, though they appear to be dark green with yellow highlights in the film, once again this could be a discoloration issue, or simply an inconsistency. It's hard to say, as even most production stills for this particular movie suffer from degradation with age, as many are heavily tinted blue.

If there's one area of the figure that disappoints me, its the tail. Bandai made the tail quite thin and short, lacking the more equally proportioned look it displayed in the movie, and I don't like the way it curves off to the side of the figure. The size is my main complaint, however.


Finally, in the issue of scale, I'm sad to say if one hopes to recreate the epic battle with King Kong, they're out of luck. Bandai only made one figure of the giant ape, and he is woefully out of scale with Godzilla, as one can see from the included photo of the two below. This makes Godzilla another one of those figures that either looks good alone, or with other Godzillas, which is how I display him. Its a large and 'prestigious' enough figure to be a centerpiece in any collection.

Now before I give you my final score for this particular release, I want to answer a question I received as to what I am looking for when I grade figures and what a "good" score is. I primarily grade on the following criteria:

King Kong with Godzilla

1 - Color. Do the colors of the toy match that of the suit? Or, if the toy is meant to be unrealistically colored, does the chosen color scheme 'work' with that particular monster?

2 - Scale. How does the monster fit in with other monsters, particularly those it appeared with on screen

3 - Pose. Does it match the posture shown by the monster? Can it be put into good display positions?

4 - Sculpt. The most important. In simple english, does it look like the monster?

With that said, a "Good" score is 3 stars. 2 is considered Fair and 1 Bad, with 4 being Great and 5 being Excellent. That leads me to Godzilla 1962's final score of a 3. The pose isn't perfect, nor is the face, and I do not like the tail at all. It's very unfortunate that he's too big to be posed with King Kong (Although this could be King Kong's fault, as that toy would be released 10 years later). However for ushering in the "realistic" style of kaiju figures, Godzilla 1962 is a very good start, and for the most part Bandai would only improve from here. The figure is quite rare and can sell in the neighborhood of $300 and can be very hard to find without considerable paint wear. Sadly, the paint on Godzilla's claws is almost completely gone on mine, for instance. One last word of warning, I recently became aware that there may be bootlegs of the 1962 Godzilla. I received an e-mail from a collector who had the chance to purchase this figure, but they became suspicious when seeing only "MADE IN CHINA" on the underside of Godzilla's foot. The authentic toy should have "BANDAI JAPAN 1983" on the left foot, and Godzilla's name on the right (in Japanese), so I suspect the "CHINA" toy to be a bootleg. When buying this, or any other figure online, if you are unsure always ask the seller to provide additional pictures to help determine the authenticity of the toy.

Rating: Star Rating