Last weekend was Hal-Con (Halifax’s own sci-fi /fantasy convention). It was a 3 day event covering Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My brother Doug and I had decided to buy 1 day passes for Saturday since that was the day of Billy Dee William’s panel. A single day was fine by me as I don’t think I could handle a full 3 days in a confined space with thousands of people dressed as anime characters.
The issue I had with only attending on the second day was that I feared all of the good toys might get bought up on day 1. Lucky for me the convention organizers decided to make the first floor, which housed the retail area, free of admission. And so on my Friday lunch break I scooted up the road for a quick swing through Hal-Con’s retail space. The doors had just opened at noon so I was literally one of the first customers to enter the place. The local shops were all represented: Darryl from Giant Robot Comics, Cal and Dave from Strange Adventures, and Mike from Monster’s Comic Lounge were all present. It was great to see them all but since I frequent those shops regularly they didn’t have any items for sale that I hadn’t already seen. What I was hoping to find was someone selling old loose toys at decent prices. Maybe a bin of $5 dollar G.I. Joes, maybe some vintage He-Man figures for a couple of bucks; stuff like that. Sadly I didn’t have much luck on that front.
There were 2 retailers who fit the bill but their selection was limited. One guy had loose Joes for ten bucks a piece and loose He-Men for thirty bucks which was too steep for me. The other promising seller was a couple who were there thinning out his toy collection. I was impressed by the wide range of 80s and 90s figures they had that were still in their original boxes and priced fairly. They had a lot of 90s Toy Biz Marvel figures such as tie-in toys for the first X-Men movie. Neat stuff but not what I was looking for. They had a Dick Tracy doll which I was tempted by and a massive Batcave play set which was a steal at $40 but which I have no use for. One thing I did find that caught my attention was an electronic Godzilla toy from the 1998 American-made monster movie.
I’ve previously reviewed 2 Godzilla toys. One is a big hollow rubbery representation of the King of the Monsters as he appeared in the later films produced by Japan’s Toho Studios. Read about him here. I really like that figure because of it’s size and sculpting. If I were allowed only one Godzilla toy in my collection it would be that one. The other Godzilla toy I reviewed a while back was from the 1998 movie. Read about him here. That toy, which is technically just a key chain, is the only piece of merchandising I bought from the flood of products that were available to promote the movie.
As I mentioned in the earlier review I was working at Blockbuster Video back in 1998. When the new Godzilla movie came out Blockbuster was fully stocked with all of the tie-in merchandise. I wanted to buy a Godzilla toy back then but everything was so gimmicky with lights and sounds that I couldn’t be bothered. The closest thing I could find to a traditional action figure was that dinky little keychain. The renewed public interest in Godzilla did however give me an opportunity to purchase a bunch of classic Godzilla movies which hadn’t been available to purchase previously. The majority of my Godzilla VHS library (yes, VHS. I’ve since replaced them with DVDs) was purchased from Blockbuster that year.
The 1998 Godzilla movie by Roland Emmerich was not well received by G-fans, or critics. The story was rather weak, the acting was questionable, and the changes made to Godzilla himself were not improvements. They basically turned him into a giant dinosaur. Despite these issues I like the film because I’m all for movies about giant dinosaurs. Sure the acting and story line were flimsy but have you ever watched a Toho Godzilla movie? Not exactly Oscar material. I’m able to look past the film’s flaws and enjoy it as a popcorn picture. Having said that I totally understand why many people hated the movie. I have high hopes for the upcoming Gareth Edwards directed version. Hopefully it will please everyone and turn Godzilla into a respected franchise.
The big hollow Godzilla figure I mentioned earlier was released by Bandai just a couple of years ago. They also released a Mecha-Godzilla and a Gigan. Each stands about 12 inches, maybe a bit more. They make for impressive display pieces on the top of my bookshelf. I have smaller Godzilla toys which look pretty underwhelming by comparison. My keychain of the American Godzilla looks downright pathetic. Since acquiring the large Bandai figures I’ve regretted not buying one of those larger Godzilla toys from Blockbuster back in the day. In the Toho produced film “Godzilla: Final Wars” it was established that the American Godzilla is a unique character named Zilla. Viewing Zilla as a new monster instead of a cheap knock off of the Big G made me want a decent figure of him all the more.
Happening across this Godzilla figure at Hal-Con was exactly the kind of score I was hoping for. Something unique that can’t be found just anywhere and which fills a hole in my collection. The size of him makes it seem an even more impressive find. He’s actually quite a bit bigger than even my Bandai Godzilla figures, making him the new King of the bookshelf. While the sounds and movement soured me on this toy when it was first released they don’t bother me at all now. I wouldn’t even care if the features no longer worked but I am impressed that they do. A black wire runs from Zilla’s belly to an impressively detailed remote control with two buttons. When pushed the buttons make him walk forward and roar. His mouth moves with each roar. I considered cutting the cord off but it’s barely noticeable when he’s displayed so I may as well leave it attached. I was also impressed that the previous owners had held onto the box this whole time. I was tempted to keep it myself but I’m not a box collecting type of guy.
This toy has no articulation points. There’s a skeleton inside that moves when the remote is used and it can be felt under the rubbery skin. The sculpting is nicely done and the paint applications are impressive too. There are multiple colors used on this toy including a shimmery metallic blue which looks quite nice. My nephews visited me last night and they got a huge kick out of this Godzilla. 7 out of 10.
Before I sign off I want to tell you about another recent addition to my “collection”. Last week Vanessa and I adopted a kitten whom we’ve named Buster. He’s an adorable little scamp who likes to chew on action figures. The door to my man cave must remain closed at all times now to avoid a collection catastrophe. He had some fun with the Godzilla box before it was discarded.