| 08/21/15- After getting
Medicom's RAH 1954 Godzilla,
I became interested in finding out what else Medicom had in their
non-Ultra series lineup. It appears that they've released a couple
versions of Godzilla (King Kong vs. Godzilla and Mothra vs. Godzilla),
plus a couple of Daiei's Gamera franchise critters, Gamera and Gyaos.
I've never been a big fan of the look of the flying turtle, but I
was interested in Gyaos because he's a winged critter, and I built
a model of him when I was a kid. I don't have as deep a nostalgic
connection to it as I do the Ultraman stuff, so I'm willing to concede
that the vintage Gyaos looks funky compared to the newer 1995 version.
I don't know when Medicom first released this, but I suspect it
was pre-2000. I bought this one "used"; the box looked pretty beat-up,
with a blue Gyaos pictured on the front (even though Gyaos
looks dark/burgandy-colored in the 1967 "Gamera vs.
Gyaos" movie). As you can see, this one's silver, which would
be the "Space Gyaos" from the movie "Gamera vs Guiron".
I assume that this is a re-release and that it was first released
in a different color, blue or burgandy.
The Combat Joe figure that came with it was cast in a transparent
smoked plastic (like their RAH Alien figure), with the actor's head-banded
head stuck on. The figure seemed very old and parts were very loose,
so I'm not sure if it originally came with the kit. Not a big deal
since I didn't plan to use the figure: I stuck the head on the flesh-colored
Combat Joe figure from the Godzilla kit for the picture above. If
you're not too picky, it's kinda cool as a movie-themed decorative
accessory, but nearly worthless as an armature for a rubber-suit
monster, especially Gyaos.
Whereas the Godzilla rubber suit was self-supporting without the
figure inside, the Gyaos rubber suit isn't, even without the rubber
wings; the legs need something inside them for rigidity.
The soft rubber wings are large, hollow castings that make the suit
considerably heavier and top-heavy. Building this guy was going
to require a lot of straying from the instructions... in other words,
an interesting challenge.
Initial build picture: He's huge and consumes a lot of display
space, even when his wings are posed folded. He's also going to
need a lot of work, including determining whether he can be painted.
The soft rubberish material is quite slick and even hot glue has
a hard time sticking to it. There are many other challenges, such
as figuring out how I'm going to close the suit's back opening and
attach the cover casting. The adhesive-backed velcro had peeled
off, which prompts me to find another, more reliable way of doing
it. I also need to figure out a better way of handling how the wings
fit in the body -- big problem, more on that later.
The first and easiest part was the armature... easy, because I
found my box of leftover Armaverse armature parts. Armaverse is
still around, although they have newer versions of the kit (which
weren't in stock when I checked, and were more expensive than they
used to be... big surprise). Nevertheless, the old stuff worked
just fine for building a 3-segment leg/foot assembly, hips, short
spine, shoulder, 1-segment arm, and neck.
The leg assembly fit perfectly. I used long segments which placed
the knee joint right where it needed to be. Surprisingly, the long
segment also worked for the foot, since it's a long foot. The terminating
dumbell ball joint filled out the hollow middle toe. I was very
pleased with the way this worked out because the long foot segment
gives more stability than a short one, and the heavy hips/leg/foot
structure helps offset the inherently top-heavy design. The articulation
armature makes it a pretty heavy beast! Understand that, even with
an optimal armature, the legs are cast with a bent knee pose and
just too big and hollow to show much of the results of posing the
armature. The rubber's not stretchy enough for the feet to be posed
at 90 degrees for a flying pose.
The instructions show two wire segments per wing, enclosed in
plastic tubes with the claw in the middle. These plug into the Combat
Joe's forearms (with hands removed). Although I did build an Armaverse
shoulders/arm assembly, the main wing support comes from a long
heavy gauge wire that spans from wingtip to wingtip. My adaptation
has the long single wire threaded through the tubes, through the
body and through the other wing. The armature's arm segment fits
a short distance in the wing and provides additional support for
the wire. Ideally, in place of the wire, you'd use a custom wing
segment with low-profile hinge at the hands. There's nothing like
that in my Armaverse kit, so wire is good 'nuff.
The big construction challenge is how to attach the wings so that
they look acceptable, while retaining some degree of poseability.
As I mentioned, the wings are big, hollow flexible castings. You
trim off the flash at the end, guided by a line. However, there's
another faint line cast in the rubber, maybe half an inch in. It
appears (instructions are in Japanese) that this excess is supposed
to be inserted into the body through a long slit made in the side
of the body, and the line indicates where the wing exits the slits.
The instructions seem to show 3 spots on the front where the wing
is to be glued to the body. They match the wing ribs to the ribs
on the body. I made the mistake of assuming that it would be better
to glue the entire wing length to the body, front and back side.
First, there was the problem of finding a glue that worked. Super
glue didn't seem to, and hot glue peeled off. Contact cement showed
the most promise, but didn't hold up to the stretching.
From my experiment with hot glue, I saw that posing the wing forward
or back pulled the body with it, making it pooch out at the sides,
or open at the back. To pose the wings without deforming the body,
the wings shouldn't be attached to the body, but should slide freely
inside the slit. I spent a lot of time with glue and staples before
I realized this. Of course, this meant that in front and behind
the wings, there were large open slits. Looked fine from the front,
but from the side it looked like a large opening unless the torso
and wing were posed just right.
I thought of a few possible ways to mitigate (not solve) the problem.
One approach was to rigidize the body casting by gluing foam to
it so that it held its shape better, and would be less likely to
pooch out/in at the sides. Of course, if the torso pose were changed,
the torso would distort. All this does is preserve the torso shape
in the at-stasis pose.
Another approach would be to make the wings thinner by cutting
off one side of the hollow casting. The thinner wing would have
less differential movement between the front and back sides when
the wing were bent, so the wing could be glued to the torso, sealing
the slit. Problems: There would still be some pulling of the torso
(and distortion), the backside of the wing would be a smooth casting,
and cutting the wings apart isn't a reversible modification. Of
course, the wing could be totally remade out of leather. As with
all things like this, it's a matter of how much time, effort, and
expense you want to put in. Did I mention that this isn't a personal
I didn't know that he shot fire from his tits!
This pic of a model kit boxtop looks eeriely familiar, like it
might have been the kit I built as a kid?
Gosh... I think the rubber is actually Silicone! After
some deliberate testing, I'm now certain that Super Glue and hot
glue don't stick to it... and I doubt anything but silicone paint
would either. I think the contact cement seemed to work because
it was adhering to the paint coat. Bummer. The ability to join things
together and paint is kind of essential when you're doing stuff
like this. I'm sure they make silicone adhesives and paint, but
I don't have any, and not likely to buy any just for this: If I
recall correctly, silicone paint is a specialty item and finicky/hard
I've found that the only reliable way to join parts together
with this rubber is to poke holes through it and basically sew it.
Staples work, and so does sewing with wire. Tear-resistance? Who
knows. Sheesh! Thankfully, I was able to close the back hole by
framing the edges of the opening with the tail wire and wiring it
to the rubber to form hooks. The hooks will hold the opening securely
closed so that the cover can be glued on with contact cement; for
that, the bond doesn't need to be very strong. If I need to work
on the innards, I'll just pry it up and glue it back down when I'm
Who woulda thunkit? Everything else like this that I've dealt
with (except their Godzilla-- I was wondering why Super Glue didn't
seem to work on that kit either) is made of polyurethane rubber
because it's cheaper. You can glue and paint that stuff. It makes
sense that sex dolls have silicone skins because you don't want
nasty stuff to stick to it. This isn't a sex doll!
It's a little disheartening... no, make that a lot, because
the only way this was going to look acceptable to me was by painting
it a dark color. The silver Space Gyaos looks lame. In the Gamera
vs. Guiron movie, Space Gyaos was little more than a piece of meat
to test Guiron's knife-sharpness. Gyaos' vibrasonic beam ricochets
off Guiron and slices off his own leg. Then Guiron lops of a wing.
Then lops of the other wing, his head, a torso slice, and then another...
Not too shabby for a kid's movie! But not the kind of loser kaiju
I want in my collection.
Painting dark over a light base isn't a good idea if the paint
isn't going to stand up to handling... but on the other hand, I
don't have anything to lose, and maybe the silver paint coat will
help a dark coat stick. That seems to be the case for the scrap
I tested. Nevertheless, it puts the kibosh on my enthusiasm for
the project, and means that I'm not going to bother finding solutions
for the side slit problem. I'm glad I found out before trying to
make a replacement set of wings! What irony... the articulation
armature works great but I should avoid handling the figure too
much because the paint might rub off!