BILLIKEN'S SPACE BEAST GOD GOAD/GODO

 

Billiken Goad/Godo kit Ultraseven 30cm

 

01/30/18- The original Star Wars trilogy led to an explosion of "Expanded Universe" material that went beyond the bounds of the universe defined in the movies. It introduced new worlds, new characters, new stories, new history... Some of it was adopted as canon, and some of it wasn't. No matter: For fans who wanted more, it was an entertaining exercise of imagination built on a familiar and beloved framework.

Goad/Godo never appeared in an Ultraseven episode. Per Ultopia, Goad/Godo was part of a clever bargaining chip: The scriptwriters proposed making a ridiculously expensive episode with loads of revived monsters from Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven (15 aliens and 35 monsters - read about it at ultra.wikia.com) led by Goad/Godo, the God Beast. Plus it would feature the revival of Ultraman and the Science Patrol/SSSP... What an extravaganza! What a gift to the fans! What a mega-monster battle! Naturally, because of the cost, they were turned down and given free rein to make the episodes that they'd wanted to make in the first place.

I'm relieved that it didn't happen; it reminds me of what the Ultraseries morphed into, minus Ultraman Dad, Ultraman Uncle, Ultraman Pooch, etc. I like the original shows as independent standalone shows without the unified, "expanded universe" concept and guest appearances from the different shows. I like stories built off of the show's original framework with only a few new concepts, like they did in the '90s Heisei Ultraseven revival shows, "Solar Energy Strategy", "Lost Memory", etc.

The canon/not canon thing raises an interesting question in the world of imaginary things, not unlike the saying about a tree falling in the woods not making a sound. Is the Superu/Spell Seijin episode part of the Ultraseven canon if it's been banned from broadcast in Japan? Without the filmed episode, is Goad/Godo is sort of like unused furniture, free to be shuffled around in a world of your own imagining? (Like the audio... it's our first cat's (R.I.P.) annoying meow ringtone, digitally altered.)

Goad/Godo has some tangibility: I don't know if a full script of the episode exists, or if it was mainly an idea to pitch, or exploratory sketches. The fact that the concept made it to the cover of the Japanese Figure King #118 magazine (and articles in it that I can't read) gives the episode some degree of tangibility; furthermore, Billiken's 2007 limited edition garage kit for the magazine cements Goad/Godo as a tangible entity from the history of Ultraseven.

Ultimately, what does it matter? The design is cool, and Billiken did a great job on the kit. There are very few pics and there's very little English-language information about this kit on the Internet, so maybe this will show up in search results for the two or three folks who might be interested! (Note to self: In next incarnation, learn Japanese!)


 

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven kit instructions

It's a typical garage kit, with just a few vinyl cast parts (head/top, waist/feet, 2 arms, tail, and 2 wings) that need to be trimmed for assembly. Assembly is as simple as inserting the trimmed arms and tail into openings cut into the body. The wings have to be glued to the top section (2-part epoxy works well), but you don't absolutely have to glue the two torso halves together (if you might later want to add electronics).

The parts have a basic paint job: Silver-gray with blue eyes, so there's room to customize it. The area between the teeth aren't cut out and could be painted or cut out. Beyond that, if you want to paint it to match the original suit, good luck... There is no original suit, so your guess is as good as anyone's!

At 12 inches, the assembled kit is taller than most of Billiken's Ultra kaiju kits. This jives with the "stats" (70 meters) at ultra.wikia.com. The design of the creature is interesting and artistic. It's a mixture of vacuum cleaner hose and armor plates, with a long-maned feral animal head. The facial expression goes well with the "body english" of the craned neck and tilted head. It captures the imperious vibe of a bad-tempered "God Beast", perhaps more than Geronimon of Ultraman (another boss Ultra-kaiju who revived vanquished monsters). Credit for that probably goes to Billiken's interpretation and sculpting.

I don't read Japanese, so I don't know the full story behind this kit. Most of Billiken's kits have Billiken's production year stamped on one foot and © + what I believe is "Tsuburaya" in Japanese on the other, with no date-- presumably, the copyright would be in the '60s for the monsters that appeared in episodes (CCP, Medicom, and Marmit put the Tsuburaya copyright year, 1966 or 1967 on one foot). I was a little surprised to see © 2007 Tsuburaya and "Billiken 2008" stamped on Goad/Godo's feet, only because the copyright year isn't from the '60s. This leads me to believe that the creature design was off Tsuburaya's radar until then. I suspect that it was commissioned by Figure King magazine around that time to go with their magazine's article. Because the date's nearly 40 years after the series aired, I suspect that the article (and copyright) was prompted by the late revelation of the artwork, story or script behind the unproduced episode. In any case, it makes for a neat story.

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo Ultraseven 30cm

 

Electronics? 02/04/18- I'd put off gluing the top and bottom halves together, thinking that I might be able to light the eyes or install sound. The main obstacle is that the top half starts mid-figure, so access to the area inside the head for positioning LEDs is problematic (my fingers aren't that long and tiny). The mane sculpting covers so many parts, so it would be difficult to cut a section to give access to that area that wouldn't draw attention to itself. The same is true for an openable access panel for the battery. I resigned myself to that and glued the two halves together and puttied over the seam where it was most visible.

Painting It: I liked the basic gray color that Billiken had painted it, but it's a garage kit: You're supposed to paint 'em! There are very few pics of Goad/Godo on the 'net, and I found only one that could be considered a painting reference at ultra.wikia.com (I ruled out the Bullmark-esque one painted red, white and blue). I wanted to follow Billiken's lead (silver-gray with blue eyes) but thought that the belly bellows should be a different color. Why not yellow-tan like the painted reference photo? This would support that artist's interpretation, and jived with my observation that the bellows were reminiscent of Red King's, who's primarily yellow. I even added a hint of blue in the creases between the bellows.

Gaaaa! I hated the way it looked! I don't think that yellow (tan) and silver-gray go well together. The painting reference photo looks good, but is somewhat desaturated, so the yellow doesn't contrast as much with the gray. I'd hoped that painting the face gold-tan to match the body would help it, but it didn't: It looked like he was wearing a jacket! I felt like I was digging myself deeper into a hole.

It may be a guy-thing, but instead of turning back and removing the yellow, I tried to fix the problem by changing the gray to gold. I used gold powder, which adhered to the gray vinyl very aggressively. I tried to rub it off with a microfiber cloth, but it only thinned it. The gold powder coating was also surprisingly hard to airbrush onto. I tried to do some dark shading, but it barely showed up; it took many passes in the same area to show any darkening.

I haven't decided whether it's an improvement or not...

Billiken Goad/Godo painted Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo painted Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo painted Ultraseven 30cm

Billiken Goad/Godo painted Ultraseven 30cm

 

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