American collectors might be unfamiliar with the Japanese Revoltech line, so here's the concept in a nutshell: Revoltech is a line of hyper-articulated, hyper-detailed anime-themed action figures from Japan. I have little experience with the line myself, limited exclusively to this open-faced Gaiking. The figure looks awesome and has plenty of articulation, but for whatever reason, it just wasn't the impetus it needed to be in order to get me into the line. Maybe it's the fact that the Revoltech joints can be difficult to pose, or maybe it's my preference towards jumbo-sized Shogun Warriors. Whatever the case, I wrote off Revoltechs... until the recent science fiction waves featuring kaiju, that is. I just couldn't resist picking up one of my favorite kaiju of all time, Rodan.
As a trivial aside, George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek, had one of his first acting gigs as a voice-over actor for Rodan. George dedicates a few pages to his experience on the Rodan sound stage in his autobiography, To The Stars. He doesn't seem to be the most avid of kaiju fans, calling the premise of a prehistoric flying monster returning to life to terrorize modern Japan "the most farfetched of science fictions" (which is probably true), but it's a cool insight behind the scenes of American kaiju dubbing. Anyway, let's get back to this figure.
Company: Revoltech (Is that the name of the company or the line of figures? Whatever.)
Size: 4.5" tall, ~10.5" wide
Price: $43 at Big Bad Toy Store
Revoltech managed to perfectly capture the look of Rodan from his classic solo movie with an incredible sculpt, impressively sharp paint apps, and lots of washes for depth and detail. The sculptors should also be commended for designing the sculpt in such as way so that it hides those garish Revoltech joints as much as possible, saving the figure from the Microman curse. (Microman figures are similar hyper-articulated Japanese toys, but they often don't hide the points of articulation well.) This Rodan looks amazing, and is easily the best-looking kaiju on my shelf.
The proportions of the figure's body work well, although I'm not entirely sure how screen-accurate they are. The wings in particular are hard to nail down, as it seems like different puppets in the movie have differently-proportioned wings. The figure seems to have wings the size of the flying puppet, which works well here.
A Revoltech joint is a bit different from the usual ball-socket or ball-hinge joint, so if you're unfamiliar with it, check out the scan above to see how it's constructed. Rodan has an impressive range of articulation, not limited to just Revoltech joints:
- Hinge jaw
- Triple-jointed ball neck (might be Revoltech-jointed)
- Revoltech shoulders
- Hinge claws
- Bendy wings
- Revoltech hips
- Hinge knees
- Revoltech toes
Revoltech Rodan is roughly to-scale with the Microman Godzilla suits.
That's about as much articulation as you can possibly get in a Rodan toy. And the joints move much more easily than the awkward joints of Revoltech Gaiking. The toes make it a little difficult to stand the figure (as you might expect from such a top-heavy creature as Rodan), but you can take off the toes and insert the pegs into the building display base for added stability. Speaking of which...
Rodan comes with more accessories than you'd expect from a kaiju figure:
- Destroyed building: This works great as a display stand for the figure. It even comes with removable sections of the roof so you can display it relatively intact or with its roof caved-in from the weight of the monster.
- Metal Rod: This helps to stabilize Rodan on the roof of the building if you want to display it with the roof intact.
- Mini-Rodan: While it's a cool mini-figure accessory, I'm not exactly sure what the deal is here. Maybe it's a just-hatched, bug-eating Rodan?
- Name tag: Perfect for Rodan's office.
- Coin: It looks like this is for mail-away promotions. It's too bad I have no idea how I could redeem it, though.
- Storage Bin: A great place to put all your extra Rodan parts.
Above: Mini-Rodan, with other mini-figures for scale.
Revoltech Rodan is an import, so don't expect to be bargain-hunting if you're trying to buy one. It can difficult to eat the $43 price tag, especially for a 4.5"-scale figure. But the quality of the figure's sculpt and paint apps, along with the nice array of accessories, makes the cost a bit more palatable.
Rodan has always been one of my favorite kaiju and to me he's almost as iconic a monster as Godzilla or King Kong. He can be a bit difficult to capture effectively in plastic (check out the American Bandai Final Wars-style Rodan above-right), but this figure nails it perfectly. The character-appropriate accessories, especially the super-awesome building display stand, cause this figure to max-out on the coolness scale.