Height: 60 meters
Weight: 48,000 tons
Aliases: The Smog Monster, Ol’ Smoggy (you know, just for fun…)
Appearances: Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971)
Hedorah is, quite possibly, the most popular kaiju to be produced in vinyl form aside from Godzilla. Despite only appearing in one Showa film, Hedorah has inspired more vinyl figures than most of Godzilla’s other foes combined. Many companies, such as CCP, even have entire lines dedicated to producing figures of this one of a kind villain.
As with most of Toho’s rogues gallery, some of Hedorah’s most famous vinyl depictions were crafted by giants like Marmit and Bandai. Since Bullmark’s original sculpt in 1971, every other well known Kaiju Vinyl producer has taken many’a whacks at ol’ Smoggy – from Marusan and Marmit to M1Go and Toygraph. Marmit has produced many Hedorah vinyls in all of his forms (flying, ground, crawling, final, and tadpole). Their Marmit Monster Heaven versions are heavily sought after. M1GO has reproduced Bullmark’s original sculpt many times over, and Marusan has some very nice recent sculpts of the Smog Monster. Even the US division of Bandai, Bandai Creations, has produced an original Hedorah sculpt. There are simply too many sculpts, variants, and exclusive vinyls of Hedorah to keep count!
In Godzilla vs Hedorah (1971), Hedorah begins life as a series of very small tadpole like aliens. These aquatic entities eventually gather together, fusing and morphing into Hedorah’s first form. His various forms are, from that point on, more of adaptions rather than an evolutionary process. If he needs to fly – he morphs into his flying state and takes to the skies. If water is in his path, he simply transforms into his aquatic state and makes way. Hedorah’s final form, however, is the one most are familiar with. This form was, no doubt, created by the creature in order for him to take a similar stance to Godzilla. In this final bipedal form, Hedorah attacked Godzilla brutally and with much greater results than in his flying form, putting his toxic gas, sludge, and lazerbeams to full use. Godzilla was only able to defeat the Smog Monster with the aid of two giant electromagnetic panels created by humans. The King of the Monsters fired his atomic breath into the panels, which regenerated the beam as electricity. The immensely high voltage shot through Hedorah’s entire molecular structure, dehydrating the sludge-like behemoth into a mountain of ashes. Despite this final victory, Hedorah had proven himself to be one of Godzilla’s toughest opponents ever.
Bandai has a patchy history with Hedorah when compared with other companies. The company is, no doubt, the most well known distributor of Godzilla merchandise – yet they have only produced three scale vinyls of Hedorah with vast gaps of time inbetween. The first (pictured to the far left) was their 8 inch scale 1993 mold. The figure is small when compared to other 8″ kaiju of the time, but has uniquely transparent eyes and a very charming vintage style about it. Their second effort at a scale/series Hedorah wouldn’t come until 2006 with their 6 inch Standard Hedorah (pictured in the middle), produced to coincide with their massively popular 6 inch standard series figures of the past decade. The following year saw the release of the 2007 Bandai Creations US mold (pictures far right), a completely original sculpt created for sale here in the United States.
Aside from Bandai, Hedorah has a long history with much older companies such as Bullmark and Marusan. Perhaps the most famous sculpt of Hedorah is the Bullmark sculpt, a figure that has been reproduced in several scales a hundred times over. This sculpt, first released by Bullmark in 1971, is the original vinyl interpretation of Ol’ Smoggy and the very first toy ever produced in his likeness! M1Go produces many color and glow variants of this sculpt today, as do a handful of other companies. You can see the famous sculpt below:
Outside of Bullmark and Bandai, X-Plus and Marmit have produced lovely Hedorah sculpts, with Marmit producing well over a dozen different sculpts in recent years. Both companies translated The Smog Monster into larger, screen-accurate sculpts through the early 2000s. Below you can see the well known 30cm X-Plus Hedorah (from B.D. Sharlow’s collection, left) and the Marmit Real ‘Soft Vinyl’ Hedorah (from the collection of Emanuel “Leunames”, right). The X-Plus, while regarded as one of the ‘must have’ larger Hedorah vinyls, lacks in initial paint detail. The sculpt and striking screen-to-mold presence of the figure, however, more than make up for it. The paint featured on Marmit’s slightly smaller yet similar figure is a tad more vibrant yet much more detailed.
X-Plus also issued a 25cm Landing Stage Hedorah that is, to this day, one of their finest and most sought-after efforts. The figure has never received a reissue and fetches unusually high prices online. This is, however, completely warranted as far as it’s quality is concerned. It is an incredible piece; the sculpt is flawless and the perfect paint app tops it off making one hell of a display piece.
Several years before these three vinyls were produced, the world would be introduced to one of Marmit’s more infamous series, the polarizing Vinyl Paradise line. These odd yet sturdy solid vinyls were released in the mid to late nineties, and fans either love them or hate them. I happen to be quite an advocate. I enjoy their heavily stylized and unique sculpts, for the most part. Some of the VP figures are admittedly rather lazy (my VP Megalon stands out to me as an example), but their Hedorahs aren’t half bad. They’re classics, none the less. While the line began with several Gamera monsters and a rather chibi-looking Baragon in 1996, Hedorah would’nt be produced until 1999 when his popularity was on a serious incline (speaking in vinyl terms, of course). The first two Marmit Vinyl Paradise Hedorahs would be cast in pink, and consist of his flying form and his final form (pictured below).
As Vinyl Paradise came to a close, Marmit’s most beloved line began. The early 2000s saw the introduction of the Marmit Monster Heaven line, a series full of masterful sculpts and incredible character-accurate vinyls. The first Hedorah in the MMH line was Marmit’s Giant Scale Hedorah (a gorgeous, 14 inch 2002 orange figure, not pictured). Later on in 2004, Marmit would release their staple Hedorah sculpt, which you can see below to the right. That same year, a flying Hedorah was released as well. MMH would go on to create several other Hedorah sculpts, including another giant scale Hedorah, an even larger ‘Megaton’ Hedorah, flying and water forms, and the ‘frog’ or land form you see below (the land form in particular was released in 2006.)
Marmit also produced several Hedorahs in their popular 6″ Parababy (Para-Babies) line. Below are two examples – the Final and Crawling forms, from the collection of Adam ‘Captain Aktion’ Bacon. Marmit first produced a Hedorah in their Parababy line in 2003, which was paired with a 1971 Godzilla vinyl. That same year saw the release of a Final Form Parababy Hedorah, a Crawling Hedorah, and a Flying Form Hedorah (all in the 6″ scale). A ‘mini’ Hedorah was also produced that same year, along with several others. You can see the entire line of Parababy Hedorahs below Adam’s two outdoor examples.
Confession time. I don’t know exactly why, but the Crawling Hedorah “form” really works for me. Perhaps it’s the lack of four-legged foes in the Goji roster, but there was always something about the crawling Hedorah that cried “Cool!” to me. There was a time when I had no Hedorah figures. It was a figure I wanted to have represented, but as this column and any internet surfing can attest to you, there’s a TON of Hedorah figures/variations out there. Seeing as how I already had a nice little Parababy collection growing this seemed the natural route to go down. When I found a picture of the Crawling Hedorah, however, it became an instant purchase for me.
The “Standing” Hedorah came a little later. The first chance I had at obtaining another Hedorah in this line and in a “matching” scheme I jumped all over it. Now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the figures. All of the Parababies are made out of a nice, hard vinyl. You’re not going to be able to squeeze one of these guys in your fingers, is what I’m sayin’. This is actually one of my biggest draws to “vintage-styled” figures such as the Parababy line or even the Monster Heaven or M-1 lines. The heft. There’s something about the weight and solidity of these types of figures that, alas, I cannot express to someone through words. Maybe it’s not quite magic, but to hold one in your hands is a FAR different matter than, say, a 6 inch Bandai vinyl.
– Adam ‘Captain Aktion’ Bacon
The following is from Mike Russo’s in-depth Gigabrain Spotlight Series. This particular excerpt focuses on, of course, the Gigabrain Hedorah:
First of all, this is probably the most accurate Hedorah figure out of all the toys ever made out of this monster in this particular style. And that’s saying quite a bit. From the front this thing is just dead on. The eyes are perfect, with even the edges of the eyelids being sculpted on the outside of each eye. The distinctive crack across the top of the smog monster’s head is carved nice and deep and I like how the front of the head flows over the body and combines with the detail on the body to give Hedorah’s rubbery “scales” a sense of depth. That’s something most stylized Hedorah figures have a hard time with. Unfortunately, this level of detail wasn’t retained on the back of the head, which just settles on a simple joint line instead of overlapping sculpted details. Other details such as the long arms and pollution sack are faithfully reproduced. The tail is also very long and curves nicely, unlike the Marmit kit, whose tail rested completely on the ground.
And this thing is huge. It’s in the standard 8-9″ Marmit/Gigabrain scale, but it’s sized to match the Godzillas in the line. That means this figure is a full foot tall and is just about 15″ long. This is one huge, heavy chunk of vinyl, far bigger overall than the Pilot Ace version. It’s no wonder this thing came boxed.
But the paint job brings this figure over the top. The vinyl itself is glossy back, it’s shine accentuated by moderate silver sprays on the body and stronger sprays on the tips of the arms, feet and tail. This is an awesome look, as it sort of makes the figure look like it’s molded in silver and painted black instead of the other way around. The head and body are sprayed with matted green/yellow and red, which contrasts nicely with the black base vinyl. Twin red sprays run down the tail. But the best is definitely the incredible zig-zag pattern painted on the back. This is on the suit and the Marmit kit does the exact same thing, but this is so much cooler here. In addition, the underside of the arms are painted an insanely strong yellow and that’s what made this figure catch my eye as it was on a much higher shelf than the other Hedorahs Toy Tokyo was selling and I could easily see under the arms (the photo immediately below approximates this). It’s a little strong, but still incredibly cool. And of course, the eyes have the trademark star pattern. I’m still wondering how the hell Bandai left it off their 6″ version.
– Mike ‘Legion’ Russo
Another Japanese vinyl company with a rich history, Marusan has produced many variants of their recent efforts at Hedorah. Their newer Hedorah sculpts are gorgeous to behold, with many different vibrant paint schemes. As with most Marusan vinyls, the figures are created with solid vinyl, not hollow – giving them an extra weight and gravitas that few other companies can match. Below is a Show Exclusive 9″ Marusan Hedorah set from the collection of Kaiju No Mura.
Pilot Ace also jumped onto the Hedorah bandwagon once upon a time, giving us this large Lucky Bag Hedorah, seen below in scale with fellow Pilot Ace Godzillas.
One of my personal favorite sculpts is Bear Model’s vintage-esque 8″ Hedorah. The original release is pink vinyl, but the eBay exclusive gray version with green highlights is a winner as well. This figure was released in 2001, and features a very unique take on Hedorah’s form, especially in the “mouth” area and with his trademark eyes. Interestingly enough, this sculpt resembles the final concepts and suit design used for Godzilla: Final Wars three years later. Inspiration, perhaps?
Even more unique is the ‘Transforming’ 8″ vinyl released by Toygraph (pictured below). This incredibly colorful and unique figure is hard to come by, and truly stands out in my collection. He’s made of a yellow vinyl with cyan, magenta, and silver highlights. The sculpt represents Hedorah in mid-transformation from his final to flying form. This is Toygraph’s only standard sized Hedorah vinyl. They produced one other incarnation of him, an amusing little vinyl that depitcs Hedorah driving a Japanese stock race car.
As mentioned, every other company from the land of the rising sun has taken a whack at ol’ Hedorah. One of the largest producers of Hedorah sculpts, CCP, has made an entire business out of The Smog Monster. One of their larger and more recognizeable sculpts is pictured below, from the collection of Kaiju No Mura himself! This lovely figure is the CCP Doll Eyes version of this popular sculpt, produced in 2008. Below the black version is a Glow variant from the collection of KFN member Cimmerian Dragon. This large vinyl is incredibly detailed and beautifully painted (note the trademark neon hues on the CCP Glow version), standing over a foot tall with an even longer armspan.
CCP’s products are all of a similar quality and nature. The company has produced sculpts of every form of Hedorah with their “Hedorah Project” series. Other great sculpts from CCP include Hedorah’s flying and swimming forms, and the famous scene of Hedorah consuming smog from a Japanese factory. CCP’s products are all of a similar quality and nature.
Y-MSF is another newer company to jump into the Hedorah sludgefest of today’s vinyl market. Their recent Hedorah sculpt stands about 7 inches tall, and is a part of their recent stretch of “six inch standards”. Y-MSF is the only other company contractually able to create figures in this same standard scale as Bandai. They’ve made a business out of producing 6″ vinyls that Bandai does not (rarer vinyl kaiju such as Gabara, Manda, and Varan). In Hedorah’s case, this detailed yet flimsy sculpt comes in many paint variations, with the standard being a matte gray. The eyes are larger than usual, but the overall sculpt is very screen-accurate.
In 2014, X-Plus reissued the enormous 30cm Hedorah as a part of their deal with Diamond Collectibles. The reissue was stellar, and sold out fast.
This Vinyl Profile, as with all others to follow, will be updated whenever information and pictures are submitted. If you have any pictures you’d like to add, or any information about the rich history of this Kaiju’s Vinyl Profile, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Top featured image courtesy of John Stanowski via Kaijuaddicts.com.