Godzilla vs. Rodan in New York – Micro Battle Playset
Review by The Galaxy Ranger
Well it looks like a Godzilla edition of Crocodile Dentist but it tastes like a Micro Machines Kaiju playset; but in fact it was released by the now defunct company Trendmasters as part of their Godzilla toyline in the early nineties. This line paved the way for a series of licensed toylines from Trendmasters including Gamera, Independence Day, Mars Attacks, and War Planets. Ironically one of their last toylines was based on the 1998 American adaptation of Godzilla and the failure of the line is often attributed as a cause of Trendmasters’ eventual closure.
But back to the topic at hand; to capitalize on the success of micro playsets for boys first established by the Mighty Max line, many companies in the nineties released both licensed and unlicensed playsets that often folded up into the head or accessory of a popular character. The most prolific were Star Trek and Star Wars but even Starship Troopers, Alien, Predator, and Terminator saw some iteration in micro form. To my knowledge Trendmasters released seven micro battle playsets; four in the form of Godzilla heads (Godzilla vs. Rodan in New York, Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla in Los Angeles, Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah in San Francisco, and Godzilla vs. Biollante in Washington D.C.), one in the form of Mecha Godzilla’s head (Godzilla vs. Mecha Godzilla in Mecha Godzilla Defense Base), one in the form of Mecha King Ghidorah (Godzilla vs. G-Force in Mecha King Ghidorah Central Command), and one in the form of Space Godzilla’s head (Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla in Tokyo). That’s not counting the “supercharged” versions but I digress.
The case resembles the “angry” version of Godzilla introduced in 1989 which is the style Trendmasters used for most of their Godzilla products though they gave it solid red eyes for some reason. This particular set is the “Godzilla vs. Rodan in New York” version and true to its name it comes with tiny figures of Rodan and Godzilla that can be placed around the city or slammed into each other to imagine fights in your head.
The details are a bit soft at this scale but it’s immediately apparent who these two are. Rodan has his wings raised in flight mode and he also looks good perched on the provided cave/cliff ledge. The only thing that detracts from the look is a glaringly obvious protrusion from his back but this is necessary for the flying gimmick that I’ll touch on later.
Godzilla is posed in a fairly neutral stance so you can place him pretty much anywhere in the city and he looks right. Like the case, the tiny figure has its’ eyes painted solid red with the body being solid green, lacking the shading on Rodan. However, there is a nice metallic look to the scales running down his back.
You also get five out of scale buildings to decorate the city with. These include the Statue of Liberty, World Trade Center, and three others I can’t entirely identify. I thought at first that two of them might be the Empire State Building or Chrysler building but I’m sure somebody will correct me as I’m not an expert on New York architecture.
Once you open it up you can see the city base and cave wall. A tiny hole in the base of that wall allows it to peg into the sea floor side of the playset.
The cave wall has two different sides, one with the skeletal remains of some large creature (and an embarrassingly obvious “China” molded onto the right side) and another displaying a cave entrance and what must be the world’s largest spider web.
The cliff wall/cave can be reversed so you can have whichever side facing the way you prefer. Rodan looks surprisingly good standing on the provided perch.
The sea floor side has some nice molded details and a hole (in the bottom of the sea!) plus it comes with a removable piece of water that adds to the look nicely. But this is about Godzilla vs. Rodan in New York so let’s just get on with it.
There are holes all over the city that any of the buildings can be placed in, except for the Statue of Liberty which can only be placed in the square hole at the center. Godzilla can be pegged onto that clear piece of plastic in the middle and rotated around the shorleline.
The city looks rather flat without the buildings in place but there are a lot of molded details designed to make it appear to have more depth. The fires all over the city set the mood but they look kind of like burnt cheese rather than large explosions.
Remember that large hole on Rodan’s back I mentioned earlier? There’s a long slick plastic wire tied to the top of the removable cliff face that can be run through that hole to make Rodan glide down and attack. It actually slides very freely and I was rather impressed by it. At the right angle you can really get Rodan moving but he can’t go very far, not that he needs to reach beyond the city.
Once you’ve got it set up there’s nothing like knocking it down. This is the part where you use your childhood imagination and visualize scenes from the movies while you jam your little plastic pieces together. I really loved the micro playsets as a kid and while this one isn’t one of my favorites it’s still a lot of fun and offers plenty of opportunities for making up your own battles. Most of these sets aren’t terribly expensive (except the Space Godzilla one) or hard to find online so if you’re a long time micro fan or just an obsessive Godzilla collector you might want to check one out and get a taste of a gone but not forgotten piece of nineties toy history.
|Posted 28 November, 2011 - 07:10 by The Galaxy Ranger