|Character Design||Eiji Tsuburaya|
|Toy Design||Tom Tvrdik|
Review by Sanjeev
Okay, whipped up into a righteous Godzilla frenzy? Perfect!
Folks, it's my pleasure to bring you some exciting news for all the Godzilla fans out there! Yes, there's new product out there to sate your kaiju lust...and it's not the same old thing. But before I get too ahead of myself, I want to talk about Far East Monsters, Ltd. This hot new kaiju collectibles company is based in Cleveland, OH. That's right: in the US...not Japan. How big is this news?
Well, let's see. Bandai America seems to be releasing new Godzilla figures right now. That's cool...but they're not even mentioned on their website. Who knows how long BA will support these toys. And as for the toys, themselves, does the market really need more small-scale $10 Godzilla figures? And what does the near future have in store for the fantastically bloated "vinyl scene"? Will Marusan, M1, and Marmit continue to release quality vintage-style kaiju toys when the bottom falls out of the designer toy market?
I certainly hope so. But with no new Godzilla films planned for production, these may prove trying times for the Godzilla nut! But that's where Bill Kerner and Tom Tvrdik of Far East Monsters step in! With seemingly no regard to the state of the "market", these intrepid designers are presenting us with their vision of what fun, high-quality kaiju collectibles are possible!
I first learned of these guys spending valuable hours at work searching for Godzilla stuff on eBay(!). I ran across their Mecha King Ghidorah floor puzzle. Click that link...I'll wait. Yes, it's a ginormous Mecha King Ghidorah puzzle...complete with the future jerks' flying saucer/time machine. Are you kidding me!? Who has the hutzpah make a product like this??? Like I said, these guys are bold!
I went on to learn more about this company...and fate (and Josh) put me in touch with the man, himself: Bill Kerner. Bill and Tom met at a company they worked for designing Godzilla-related merchandise. When the company decided they didn't want to pursue the license anymore, they got the idea to start their own company and pool their passion for radioactive lizards (not to mention their 20+ combined years of product development, design, and production experience!). They put together their pitch to Toho...and the license was granted!
The first high-end item from Far East Monsters is this first entry into the "Destroy All Monsters Battlezone Series": Godzilla! As the name implies, this is Soshingeki-Goji, Godzilla 1968 from Destroy All Monsters.
The figure of Godzilla stands just about 5-1/2" from the "ground"...plus another almost 2" with the base. There's no articulation in this piece, but what you get is a stunning paint job with brilliantly rendered weathering. The dry-brushing used in the paint application adds the perfect contrast to pull out Tom's sculpt. Just check out the texture on the skin:
The detail paint apps on the head are pretty much flawless as well. Nothing to complain about here. Even the base is nicely done in a very natural looking scene--great for stomping 3-headed dragons! When taken as a whole, the look of the piece is beautifully faithful to the film that inspired its creation.
Okay, so I've talked about the quality of this Godzilla statue a bit. Words, of course, don't do it nearly as much justice as pictures. But there's much more to this item than a pretty paint job. First of all, Bill and Tom have set out to make unique collectibles--stuff we haven't seen before. This statue doesn't just look gorgeous...it comes to life! At the touch of a discreet button, a crystal-clear roar-n-stomp sound clip lifted directly from the movie cranks out of the base. And if that wasn't enough, a blue glow emits from inside his mouth and from the fins on his back! (the three required LR44 batteries are included, ya hobos!)
Again, a picture's worth a thousand words...but I'm thinking a little video couldn't hurt either! ;)
And if that wasn't enough, check out Far East's own YouTube promo vid of this item!
Lastly, as I mentioned before, this piece is part of a "Series". That's right: there will be more. A total of eight of these statues will be produced, comprising all eleven kaiju from the film. The bases of each statue will fit together to produce a complete diorama of the apocalyptic final battle in Destroy All Monsters! Yup, it's gonna be hot!
And the next monster in the series? None other than King Ghidorah! Watch for it in '08!
Finally, I would like to take a moment to mention something that goes beyond this passion for Japanese robots and monsters we all share. Bill and Tom obviously started Far East Monsters because of their love for this hobby...but they are also working to provide for Tom's son, Tommy, who is autistic. Among their goals is to raise awareness about this disorder that affects so many children. Please check out Tommy's Page for more information. Thanks!
|Posted 5 November, 2007 - 12:16 by Sanjeev|