Kaiju obsession is a terrible affliction, boo effin hoo.
It's not easy to get your fix of 12" Ultra-series monsters
once you've gone through the relatively easy-to-find stuff.
There aren't that many companies making this stuff, probably
because it doesn't sell very well. New 12" releases from
companies like Billiken and CCP are few and far between, and
probably made in small batches, so they're often snapped up
quickly by the Japanese maniacs. I think it's advantageous
to read Japanese so you know when and what's going to be released.
Moreover, it's not easy
to find out what's been released in the past, and even harder to find
it for sale.
Billiken is a good example of this. I first learned that they
made 12" scale Ultra kaiju because of eBay: I believe they
made Gabora, and I know they made Gomora... but they hardly ever
show up on eBay, and info about them on the WWW is scarce, even
at Billiken's or collectors' websites.
I ran across this unbuilt kit of Goro at an online retailer
of previously-owned goods. I believe the kit's from around
2002, based on a Billiken leaflet catalog included in the
kit. It was cool seeing their product lineup for that year,
but sad to realize that I already had most of their releases
that I thought looked cool. I also noticed what wasn't
in their catalog, older releases that I knew existed. So
what other hard-to-find stuff that I don't know about is
out there? Anyway, desperation is why I've been taking
opportunities to buy second-tier releases that I might have
been more selective about in the past. I also realize that
I may have to scratch-build some of the stuff that I want
that hasn't been and may never be released.
Goro's one of those second-tier kits. I'm not a huge fan of giant
simian monsters. I suppose it's similar to the way that I have little
interest in getting the Namegon (a giant snail monster) vinyl that
I know exists, or a hypothetical kit of Mogera (a giant mole) that
hasn't been made into a kit (as near as I can tell). Kit versions
of giant real-world critters just don't seem as much like monsters
to me as something reptilian or alien. It's not anything personal that I have against
snails and moles. Heck, a live cat or squirrel would
probably fit in with this scale.
Ultra-Q's second episode featured critter always looked kind of
funky to me too. It's a great episode with a sad story, but the
monster suit looked especially crude, with lifeless eyes and a hastily-sculpted
face. There isn't much to like there. The man-in-a-suit version
of King Kong from the same era (which the Goro suit was reputedly
a modified version of) seems to have a more appealing look, even
though it appears to have a similar sculpt quality. My theory is
that King Kong looks better because he's sculpted to look mean.
Goro is sculpted to look innocent and non-threatening. He's just
a big monkey who doesn't spend much time being angry. So he looks
Intentionally or not, Billiken seems to have captured the crudeness
of the monster suit and the character's innocent quality in the
sculpture. The face, hands, and feet have a rough-hewn quality.
While the hands have fingernails, they're not crisply sculpted.
The toes don't have nails at all, and look "dented". This
goes with the sculpting style of the fur, which lacks crisp hair
detail, and is more focused on broad strokes like the bunching and
fit of the fur suit. I think it works well in consideration of the
actual suit, which seems to have a short carpet-like fur instead
of hair-like fur. From my own sculpting efforts, I believe that
it takes skill and experience to know when to show restraint and
to not over-sculpt (which is my affliction), especially with hair
and fur. Gluing on real fur might help make it look more screen
accurate, or it might just make it look like a plush doll.
The "kit" wasn't much of a kit, since it was pre-painted and most
of the vinyl castings were already trimmed. The only work was cutting
out the plugs in the torso casting, heating and inserting the parts.
IMO, this isn't the kind of kit that one spends time puttying seams
and repainting. The paint job is adequate and appropriate, and the
limited arm poseability is useful. That leaves the lower legs and
tail as the only candidates for puttying; IMO, it isn't worth it.
As sculpted, the right arm is supposed to be holding an (optional)
casting of the creature's human friend, Goroh. (The kit does include
two pewter castings of milk cans.) If you don't have the Goroh figure,
it looks odd for the creature to be staring at his empty palm. The
limited poseability of the arm takes care of that, and the sculpting
of the fur permits posing it either way. You can't do that with
the legs; they're sculpted to fit in a specific pose, with a slight
amount of adjustment to ensure that both feet are flat on the surface.
"Scale" is a bit of a misnomer when talking about these 12"/30-cm
monster figures, as is talking about the height. Within the group
of figures/models/dolls that seem to display well together, rarely
are they exactly 12" or 30-cm tall. Rarely are they a consistent
scale, either. This is reasonable since they don't represent real-world
creatures and shows in the era that they came from weren't obsessively
concerned about observing a consistent scale defined by a fully
fleshed-out backstory. If you collect these things, it behooves
you to make peace with that; I find it more useful to disregard
the world of the show that they appeared in and only consider if
they look good displayed together. With Godzilla, who has grown
from 50 meters to 150 meters through the years, having a collection
of consistent-scale figures would present some challenges in displaying
them. I don't think it would look very good as a display, either.
The Goro kit is a good example of that. By published nerdo-stats,
Goro is 50 meters tall, but in the show, he's not much taller
than a four-story building. At 40 meters tall, Ultraman
should be shorter, but in the shows he towers above buildings
taller than 4 stories. It might lead one to believe that
a monster in a show is a big as he needs to be to fit a
In a collection, height doesn't tell the full story either. When
I learned that Goro was an 11" tall kit, I was concerned that he
would appear puny displayed with taller figures. However, due to
his bulk, the size of his face and hands, he looks oversized, like
he could easily whup just about every other 12" kaiju in my collection.
The assumption that Billiken makes kaiju garage kits that are slightly
undersized compared to Medicom's RAH Ultra series figures isn't
always true. They make 'em whatever the hell size they want to make
them, and I'm cool with that.