Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: Bandai Chogokin GD-98 Mechagodzilla II [ 1975]

Introduction ...
Que the music!

Long before the dawn of Monsterarts and the birth of the Toho Revoltech, there was another much older line that produced very few super articulated figures based on Toho's kaiju. The Legendary Chogokin! This combination is a dream come true for the Import Monsters Sniffer dog :P.
Bandai Chogokin released these figures from 2003 to 2005. Most of them were variants of the Main Figures produced (  Mechagodzilla I [ 1974 ], Mechagodzilla 2003, Mechagodzilla 2004 and Gigan 2005 all reiceved chrome versions for example ). Todays review will be looking the only Toho Chogokin to get a stand alone release. The GD-98 Mechagodzilla, based off Mechagodzilla II from the fan favorurite Godzilla film "Terror Of Mechagodzilla". The last Showa era flick and least attended Godzilla film ever, even though it has earned high acclaim from the fan base for taking the series back to a darker tone.
So, how does this intergalatic toy fare 7 years after being released? Read on.

Right off the bat, this figure has the most storage friendly box of any Super Articulated Kaiju figure in this scale to date. NOTHING to my knowledge has topped it since. And it doesnt stop there ... The whole box is covered in great pictures of the figure at all angles with the accessories demostrated and displays various infomation ( In japanese of course.)
Then we get to the inner workings of the box which houses the core figure and accessories very nicely. Thanks to the layout, damage to the figure is very unlikely and that is appreciated. There is one issue in this area though but that will be covered later.
Other then that, the box gets top marks for being compact, as well as looking great. The designers knew what they were doing.
Sculpt & Paint applications

Even though this a slightly modified version of the GD-56 Mechagodzilla, The sculpter(s) behind it did wonders! It looks JUST like the suit. Infact, it is as if the acttual suit jumped from the silver screen into the palm of your hands. All the bumps, grooves and metallic textures are present. Even the tiny bolts are replicated almost perfectly.
One of the things that makes this Mechagodzilla the most iconic is the menacing head and facial structure. It looked so dam evil on screen and the staff who produced this figure nailed it. The rest of the figure speaks for itself in this regard. The MG2 symbol was not forgotten and that is a very nice touch. Inside the mouth you will find two rockets which is another nice surprise.
Then we get the paint, which is a nice choice of metallic greys. It fleshes out the sculpt enough without over doing it. However, one thing that takes off 1 point is the paint chosen for the eyes. While ok, it would of been better to mold them out of translucent plastic ( Like that used for the Ultra Act Ultramen ). They just look a bit bland compared to the rest of this figure.
Oh! Almost forgot ... Since this is a Chogokin, it does feature indeed Die-Cast content. It can be found in the feet, legs, thighs, And in the area around the chest. It adds a nice weight to the figure and helps keep it sturdy during display or other wise.
A huge kudos to the crew behind the making of this figure for bringing us a wonderful representation of A Lean, Mean, Killing machine.

By today's Standards, the articulation in this figure is not for every one. But it works ( personally ) Since Mechagodzilla is a robot, so the clunky movement in some areas is a strength and a weakness to this figure. But none the less, you can pull off all kinds of poses with this figure. Thanks to a joint in the mid-section, you can rotate the upper part of the body a full 360 degrees. The head can also be rotated, but theres two ways of doing it. One way is via a button on the back of the neck, that allows you to simulate the spinning head shield function as seen in the films. You can however rotate it manually which is a nice option.
The arms have the smoothest motion of articulation out of the whole range. It is very easy to recreate film scenes with the rocket fingers, but also you can pull of kung fu poses with them. Both hands can also rotate around at the wrist.
It is the legs and thighs that is the make/break area of articulation. Due to the legs being on ratchet joints, movement is not fluid as one might desire. Again, for me it works because of the whole robot aspect. But I digress,
Surprisingly, articulation can be found in the tail. This allows you to pose it for the Flight mode, which is perfect.
Articulation is a mixed bag. I like it, but this is a review and I will not be biased about it. It is good and annoying. In fact one area serves as an irritant which I will get more in depth about later.

The accessories loaded with the GD-98 Mechagodzilla are enough to make the inner nerd giggle with glee. They include an instruction leaflet, an extra head for flight mode, Swappable finger less hands, the infamous mechanical brain and ...
... Well not really, but it is an awesome idea for an extra ether way that was not needed but thrown in any how.
Both the Mechanical Brain and Flight Mode head pieces can be place in the slot where the normal head is located ( after some pulling however ). Once in place they look excellent, The Mechanical Brain especially. The attention to all that tiny detail is amazing. Even the actual brain is translucent!
Then there is the Flight mode head. Once you get the rest of the figure posed properly your all set. The end result is really well captured. If you have a stand of sorts you could even display it that way which is a neat idea if one desires to have a diorama of sorts.
Also, there is a pair of hands with out the rocket fingers you can swap the armed ones with. Sadly I could not get the normal ones off for this review :(
That being said ...

While taking the photos for this review, I found how easy it can be to pull out the neck by accident. And while not Monsterarts hard, it is still a chore trying to slot it back in correctly. The Joint in question is ... Strange. Its a chunk of plastic with 2 tiny circular appendages that slot into two holes. If not careful, these could get damaged if the force is strong enough. But thankfully, the likely hood of that happening is very low.
Now, onto one issue that a few people complain about when it comes to this figure. Balance. Due to how far the feet are separated from the legs thanks to balls joints, this could cause problems when posing it, even in a neutral pose. While not a major issue, it is enough to put people off ( That could also explain why this figure is slightly out of scale with other figures. )
The clunky ratchet joints in the legs do not always help ether.


Putting the Mechanical Brain in is easy ... Removal is anything BUT. As seen in Photo A, the edge of the accessory can get bent after the force used trying to remove it from the neck slot. I am trying to find another way to remove it without causing any more eye sores.
Next is the hands. And this is why I could not get pictures of the Extra hands in place ... Due to not touching then for so long the hands are rock solid on the joint, making removal a risky affair. Thankfully the fingers can be bent back into place. But it should still be noted. Hopefully it is just with my figure.
Finally, the most important area I want to cover does not concern the figure itself, But rather the owner/owners of the figure ...
Now this is the reason why these figures are not for children ( other then the small accessories ). The GD-98 Mechagodzilla & All other Bandai Chogokins ( To my experience ) use this material to cradle them, so collectors must be careful NOT to break the Polystyrene. As most of you reading should know by now, inhaling even the smallest amount of Polystyrene can be dangerous.
Am I saying that this is likely to happen? Unless you throw it around in a stupid manner, The chance is extremely slim. But this has to be noted for safety reasons anyway. Anything could happen.
Overall Verdict:
Ok, I am going to be honest with you. Reviewing this was not easy. Why? Because Bandai Chogokin is my favourite all time toy line. In fact it was because of the GD-45 Mechagodzilla 2003 that I even got into collecting super Articulated figures.
But, it is still a review.
At the end of the day, Pound for pound the GD-98 Mechagodzilla II is still the best looking photo realistic figure of the mechanical double you can get in the 6 - 8 inch scale. But unlike Monsterarts and Revoltech, this is more suited as a display piece. However, Bandai still did a stellar job with this figure back in the day. I recommend this figure to anyone who is a Mechagodzilla nut OR those who can tolerate the slight scale difference.
And so, The GD-98 Mechagodzilla II gets an honest score of 4.7 out of 5. 
Flaws and all, it is a near perfect figure of this incarnation Mechagodzilla.
On a final note, this was the last Toho kaiju to get a Chogokin treatment and it is a shame personally. They had the chance to create other Chogokins based off Toho Monsters ( Jet Jaguar anyone? ) But alas, that chance is long gone.
Now that Tamashii Nations is diving into the Showa era it is only a matter of time before a Monsterarts Mechagodzilla I/II is produced, and it will most likely over shadow this figure by the fan base today. While it would be welcome, it will also be a bit sad knowing that the Toho chogokin days are truly over.

( FYI, Tamashii are REALLY going have to do something never done before in order to convince me to buy a Monsterarts Mechagodzilla I/II :P, I am serious. )
However ... This figure did get one last hurrah.
And that concludes this review. This is John Thomson, The Import Monsters Sniffer Dog signing off.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice review! I have this figure, and I absolutely adore it. I also have the Toys Dream Project Godzilla '75 and Titanosaurus box set as well, which goes with this figure. One of my prized pieces in my collection.