|REVIEWER:||Bill Michaels Photos by Pip Moss|
|NOTES:||Monogram reissue of Aurora kit, also released by Polar Lights.|
Godzilla is probably the biggest movie star to come out of Japan in the last 50 years.
In my web research, I learned that there have been 24 versions of the famous Monster—variations in his appearance in the many films since the original appeared in 1954. (Few Godzilla fans appreciated the radical changes made to the monster’s appearance in the film Godzilla 2000- myself included.)
There is a lot of information about movies on the internet, including the many Godzilla films. But this is supposed to be a kit review, not a history of film, so I won’t go into too much here.
Godzilla has been a movie star for over 50 years now. The first film was released in Japan, and then later edited for release in the US. That release added the character played by Raymond Burr, and was re-titled “Godzilla, King of the Monsters.” Interestingly, the name Godzilla was created in the film’s American version- the original Japanese name of the monster was “Gojira”.
In 1964, as part of their series of movie monsters and creature kits,. Aurora Plastics released a model kit of Godzilla, based on the monster as it appeared in the early films. I’ve never seen the original Aurora kit, but I understand that some of them were molded in glow-in-the-dark plastic, while others were molded in a bright purple color. The Aurora kit was the first Godzilla model to be produced. The completed model was a little under 12 inches tall when completed.
The Godzilla molds passed to Monogram when Aurora went out of business in 1978. My version of the kit was released sometime between 1978 and 1995. In 2000, Polar Lights released the kit again, in boxes featuring the original Aurora artwork. The Polar Lights kit still available from a variety of sources, and sells for $10-$15 USD. (Note that Polar lights also released a bigger, all new Godzilla kit around the same time- this one was 16 inches tall, and featured about 70 parts.)
This is a simple kit- with about 20 pieces all told. I got my version as a raffle prize, as a bagged kit in a non-descript cardboard box, so I don’t know what the Monogram box art looked like. The kit was molded in a bright lime-green plastic, so painting would be a must.
The kit also includes a display base, with some rubble and damaged buildings. In most cases, the front and backs of a row of buildings are glued together and then attached to the base.
My version of the kit didn’t have any instructions with it at all, but given the low parts count, it was easy to figure out how all the parts went together. Most body parts were made from two parts—a front and back for each leg and arm, and a top and bottom for the feet and hands. Each body part is keyed, so that the left foot will only fit on the left leg, for example, which makes assembly pretty foolproof.
I started by gluing all the limbs together —the arms, legs, torso, tail, etc. Most of the monster parts fit pretty well- but there were a few gaps where some filler was needed. While that was drying, I glued the torso together, trapping the back spines in place.
The limbs fit the torso reasonably well, with only a few spots of putty needed. The head is not a great fit to the body, but I didn’t spend a lot of effort hiding the seam, as this is a model of a movie monster—which means it is a model of a man inside in a monster suit!
The base required a bit more work, as the parts didn’t always line up well, and several of them had flash that needed to be cleaned up. Fortunately, the buildings are in the process of getting destroyed by the monster, so I didn’t worry about filling seams— I figured they’re just part of the destruction!
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
The original movie was filmed in black and white, so feel free to use any color you want on the monster. (Most people seem to prefer grays or greens.) I checked my paint inventory—I didn’t have any “Godzilla Green”, so I settled on Luftwaffe RLM 70. I painted the entire figure the base color, then drybrushed with a light green to highlight the detail, especially on the spines on the back. The eyes were painted a pale yellow, with black pupils. I painted the inside of the head flat black, so the lack of “detail” wouldn’t show through the open mouth.
I painted the base a variety of earth tones. I started by airbrushing the base a dark gray, and then brush painted bits and pieces with different browns, grays, and metallics.
Final assembly is quite simple—glue the figure onto the base. I then took my light gray pastel chalk, and applied it fairly liberally with a soft brush. I applied it to the buildings and wreckage, to get the concrete-dust-everywhere look. I also applied it to Godzilla’s feet, and legs, heavy on the feet and lighter as I went up the legs. The effect doesn’t show up all that well in the pictures, but looks good in person.
Recommended. The low parts count and large pieces makes it suitable for younger builders, and the subject will appeal to those that remember the original kit and movies.
I built this kit because of our club’s annual group build. This year’s theme was “Figures/Anything with legs”. The only figure I had in the stash was this one, so I gave it a shot. I’m glad I built it. This is a fun little kit—a nice diversion from bigger, more serious projects. When I brought it to the club meeting, it stimulated a lot of reminiscing about the old Aurora monster kits…..
Stomp Tokyo Video Reviews: A great description of the original film—a must-read for Godzilla fans.
Review kit courtesy of the 2005 GraniteCon kit raffle and my lucky dollar.
Special thanks to Pip Moss for taking all the pictures.
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