Teresudon Telesdon Terresdon Billiken Ultraman


08/16/15- Billiken Shokai has become one of my favorite sources for 12"/30-cm Ultra-series monsters. Although they don't release very many vinyl kits in a year, they've been at it for several decades, so they have a sizeable body of work behind them including (from Ultra-Q:) Pagos, Kanegon, Namegon, Pegira, Goro, Garamon, (from Ultraseven:) Chiburu Seijin, Godora Seijin, Pegassa Seijin, Eleking, Annu Yuri, (from Ultraman:) Bemura, Gomora, Antora, Red King, Akiko Fuji, and this relatively recent kit, Teresudon. They've also done some Godzilla and Ultra Hero kits. I've probably left out some releases because information about their older kits is hard to find, even at their website (in Japanese).

While other companies have released 12" Ultra-series stuff, few seem to be as loyal to the original vintage era monsters as Billiken; this seems to be a labor of love that happens to coincide with my own interests. Also, unlike some other companies, they focus on the monsters more than the Ultra-series heroes... something that has made Medicom's most recent RAH releases uninteresting to me. (I don't dislike the Ultra heroes, I just don't find them to be as interesting as the monsters and aliens.)

Most importantly, Billiken does really good sculptures. Their Akiko Fuji and Annu Yuri kits absolutely nail the facial likenesses, which is a true test of a sculptor's skill. Monsters are an easier subject because you can be slightly off and few will probably notice; I believe it's because our recognition wetware is more finely tuned to human faces. At any rate, Billiken had no problem pulling off a screen-accurate version of the Teresudon monster in vinyl kit form. There's even detail of cutouts in the crotch area that I assume are present in the screen suit to make it easier to walk in the suit.

As with most vinyl kits, assembly is simple: All you need is a heat gun to soften the vinyl and an Exacto blade to trim the vinyl. With this kit, because of the suit design, you don't even need glue and putty to hide seams. It can be left as a limb-articulated vinyl figure with virtually no sacrifice of aesthetics.

The sculpture's pose is fairly neutral and reasonably versatile for posing. As sculpted, there's a slight rightward twist to the neck. Although you can turn the head (favored to the right), the spine detail on the back will get out of alignment with the spine detail on the head. From a frontal view it looks fine, but not so from the back or top. The arms and legs can be posed freely without any visual penalty; the leg posing would probably only be useful for getting feet flat on the ground. The tail has some minor detail that crosses the articulation seam that probably wouldn't be noticed if not aligned.

Assembled, the kit is 10.5" (27 cm) to the top of his head. While this may seem short, the kit is posed with legs slightly bent, leaning forward. After finishing my Jirass conversion, I realized that height alone doesn't determine whether a kit fits in with the scale since many of them are hunched over; it's the overall mass that really determines how well a kit fits in. This kit depicts a medium-mass kaiju and fits in fine with the 12" CCP and Medicom stuff.

This kit is cast in a walnut brown vinyl, unlike an earlier(?) version which appear to be cast in orange vinyl. I don't know what that's about; nevertheless, this kit's color is close enough to pictures I've seen of the screen suit so that it can be finished without a primer and basecoat (since there's no putty-work to conceal), with only dark washes, painted details, and some dust. Dang... it doesn't get any easier than that!

Actually, I might have spent more time on this guy's finish than most, although you probably can't tell. I did the wash with a mineral spirits-thinned black oil paint, which filled the cracks and crevices. I rubbed unthinned reddish and tan oil paint (almost like paste) highlights to give some subtle color variation. Finally, to reduce the stark contrast of the dark wash, I airbushed a light mist of acrylic Buff, which gives it a slightly dusty look. The pics were shot at various stages in the process.

Teresudon (a.k.a. Telesdon, or as Billiken spells it, Terresdon) is an iconic Ultra-kaiju, having appeared in two episodes of the original Ultraman show, and brought back many times over the last 50 years, including a recent re-make episode in this year's Ultraman-X (don't get me started...). Though not as popular as Gomora or Red King, the monster's design is distinctive. Although the body details are fairly simple (built like a '60s Kustom amplifier), the flattened, pointed snout and prominent spine with its distinctive spike make Teresudon easily recognizable. His monster roar was co-opted from Gyango (from an earlier episode), but because of his many appearances, Teresudon seems to "own" the sound now.

Teresudon's second appearance in the original series was basically a cameo, meant to demonstrate Geronimon's (Chief of Monsters) awesome power to resurrect vanquished kaiju. Teresudon's quickly taken out by the Science Patrol's raygun pistols.

In his starring episode, Teresudon is a lot sturdier-- the Jet VTOL's guns and bombs only annoy him. He's a city-stomping weapon of subterranean-dwelling beings, who look like humans but conceal their patched-over eyes with sunglasses when topside. It's a good episode, and was scary for a kid in the '60s when the patched-over eyes were dramatically revealed. The requisite Ultraman-kaiju fight is an old-fashioned judo-fest, with no monster-vanquishing Ultra beams. Teresudon gets pummeled and tossed, he weakens and his kaiju roars become quavery, until he collapses, eyelids close and eye-lights go out.

As you might notice in the pictures below, there's a peculiar large round divot on the right side, below the neck. I didn't know what it was (a wound?), or how I should color it. I included a screen cap from the episode, which shows that it's definitely on the suit, though only briefly visible and not very well-lit. Jeez... that's some attention to detail!