Jeez, this is kewl!!! I guess this is one of those cases where you really had to be there to properly appreciate this figure. Ultraman was one of my favorite TV shows during the '60s and I can still name every monster and alien he fought... and that was true even before I found videotapes and rewatched the series back in the '90s. My very first custom Joe was a monster named "Jamila" from that series. He was created using plasticine and papier mache over one of my Joes, so he wasn't terribly articulated (like...not at all), but he was painted and had cracked skin and looked pretty cool (I thought at the time). Even back in the late sixties it was true: If they don't make it for you, you can do it yourself if you want it badly enough.

When I got my Marmit Ultraseven (the TV series following Ultraman), I was disappointed that they didn't make a plain old Ultraman too. In hindsight, I guess that's okay because I ended up being disappointed with their Ultraseven. While it was incredibly faithful to the TV show's hero, their effort didn't translate very well into a poseable doll. One of the problems was that it needed to be painted. The suit was made of rubber (just like the "real" thing), but rubber is quite difficult to paint. Or rather, it's difficult to make the paint stay on the suit unless you use an industrial quality balloon paint. Forget that! The other major deficiency was that it wasn't really poseable. The figure was poseable and the suit was flexible rubber, but the two didn't work well together: The armature wasn't strong enough to counter the memory of the rubber. Arrrgh.

Recently, I heard about Bandai's new Ultraman figure being available at Hobbylink Japan-- 1:6 scale, poseable with light-up eyes and color timer. From the pictures there, it looked promising. The pictures showed him in all sorts of poses-- ones which would require some degree of genuine poseability. I was still skeptical and it was an expensive figure too (12800 yen)... but then I saw that it came with a Jet VTOL and Beta Capsule and I knew I had to get it.

After suffering HLJ's current backlog of orders waiting to be shipped, Ultraman finally arrived... and I'm not disappointed! The figure is genuinely poseable. This is due to his vinyl & rubber (-? cast vinyl?) suit being more pliable and having a looser fit. It zips up the back so you can reach the lights on/off switch or undress him (...why?). The interesting-looking armature (which you can see in the pic at the top) is tight and holds poses. Wow. It's prepainted. Wow. What more could you ask for? How about three sets of hands in classic Ultraman poses, a Beta Capsule and a Jet VTOL? Wow. The only gripe I have is that the shoulder joints exhibit some of that posing memory problem on the shoulder sweep arched/crouched because of the thick seam that joins the sleeves. The figure's shoulders have great articulation there but it's not enough to counter the material. Also, you never know about flexible suits. This one isn't made of regular rubber-- it feels like vinyl-- but I wouldn't be shocked if it gradually lost its flexibility. That would be a lot more painful if this were a figure I'd spent a month making.

Even though this is a neat figure on its own technical merits, it probably won't appeal to most USA Joe collectors unless they have that special nostalgic connection (the show was picked up by United Artists, dubbed and broadcast here), which would put them in their forties-- an age where spending 12800 yen on something this probably doesn't seem terribly outrageous. Oddly enough, the original TV series still hold up well today; similar to the way the B&W Outer Limits and Twilight Zone do. As for the more recent incarnations of Ultraman-- Tiga... Dyna... Zearth... uhhhhh... It just hasn't been the same since Eiji passed away. Hey Bandai! How about an Ultraseven figure?


Can a 12" Ultraman whup a 6" Gomora?


medicom ultraman

08/23/15- This is Ultraman type "B/C", Medicom's Type B (Renewal version) with Medicom's original Ultraman Type C mask and boots. I'd repurposed the Type C suit for my Ultrawoman Lulu when her pleather suit disintegrated, assuming that I could get a newer Renewal version of Ultraman and be done with it. I was able to get a Type B, but didn't like the mask and boots as much, so...

Although the original suit and the newer one are very similar, there are slight detailing and construction differences. The back fin is glued together on the newer one, so if there's a zipper underneath, it isn't accessible. Both suits are made of rubber and are form-fittingly tight, so they look good but they both limit posing.

Pics below show the differences in the two Medicom masks, Type B on the left and Type C on the right (eye color difference may be due to the age difference).

medicom ultraman

Type B had the "Aladdin" boots. Very fancy, but for now, I prefer the boring standard boots.

medicom ultraman

Medicom vs. Bandai: The size difference is actually greater and more obvious than the picture below shows because the Bandai Ultraman is behind the Medicom Ultraman. The baggy suit on the Bandai Ultraman looks funky in comparison, but it makes the figure much more poseable than the Medicom "statue". The pic also shows the yellowing of the Bandai mask relative to the suit's silver. It's not as obvious in person (at least, to my eyes).

medicom ultraman

Left: Medicom Type B Renewal Version with version 1 Type C Mask & Boots
Right: Bandai Type C


medicom ultraman

Left: Medicom Type B Renewal Version
Right: Medicom Type C Renewal Version

09/01/15- I really only wanted one good representation of Ultraman, but I tricked myself into getting several in pursuit of that lofty goal. After getting the Renewal version of Medicom's Type C Ultraman, I restored most of the Type B back to stock (with original mask & boots, without the extra silver head paint behind the ears) for these comparison photos.

medicom ultraman
medicom ultraman

I'm assuming that these are representative as stock from the factory, although the Type B was bought "used". One of the most obvious differences is the size; B is clearly taller. Medicom accomplishes this by adding a plug-in spacer above the ankle. I'm pretty sure that it came from the factory this way because the length of the rubber suit pant leg is the correct length for it.

I didn't know what to expect from the Renewal Type C (that's why I got it). Obviously, the mask is different than Type B's, with a wider mouth. I prefer the Type C mask. Comparing it to the original Type C mask, the Renewal version's jaw is more sloped; the original is more square-jawed. I prefer the Renewal version mask.

The most striking difference between the B and C is the bagginess of C's rubber suit in the chest area. This looks like an attempt to make him look more muscular. This looked really bad at first since it created deep inward creases into his chest under his arms, above his boobs. Stock photos of the figure didn't show this issue... which doesn't necessarily mean anything. The Type B version is much better-looking in this area mainly because he has smaller boobs, and they're supported underneath the suit. In contrast, the Type C has a slightly more prominent ribcase sculpted in the rubber suit, and the bigger boobs... which weren't supported underneath, except by air. I added foam underneath, which helped control the folding and creasing a bit. It still looks like he has an oversized chest, and you can see how the color timer creates a depression in the suit.

Fortunately, Renewal Type C has an accessible zipper (whereas Type B's back fin is glued together)-- this is like the original version. That made it easy to glue foam to the inside of the suit.

I don't know if the problem is that the Chinese factories have got sloppier and neglected to insert a chest foam piece. The paint job on the Type C is noticeably inferior to Type B's, as they didn't always paint up to the sculpted borders in the suit; However, that's evident on the original Type C suit as well, but not quite as prevalent. Type B's sculpted lines are finer so it looks more refined. Type B's color timer is also detailed with a pebbled texture on the back interior, lacking on both versions of their Type C.

I speculate that Type C is probably the older product of the two, and that Medicom did the quick and easy and only changed a few things (mask, more durable joints (hopefully), plus flipper hands for all 3 hand poses) for the Renewal release. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of my original Type C and don't remember if it had the baggy chest problem (it's not a problem for Ultrawoman Lulu, who inherited the original rubber suit in modified form).