Hey all! Jon @ UnCanny here!
If you are even remotely interested in X-Plus vinyls, then I’m sure you’ve A.) Been anticipating the release of this figure and B.) Have heard all about the absolute mess it has become. Personally, I absolutely adore this enormous and immaculately detailed piece – it is an incredible centerpiece for any collection. I was fortunate enough, however, to pull mine out of the box intact. Many others were not – and that’s putting it lightly.
I’m compiling many high-profile reviews from within the collecting community here, but I have a few things (aka my own review) I’ll add to the whole debacle first, along with my own photos of the figure. There is no excuse for what seems to be a huge glue-quality-control issue on the part of X-Plus. These figures are arriving with heads, necks, horns, and legs completely disconnected because of either faulty glue or a glue that wasn’t made to withstand frigid winter/fluctuating temperatures. With that being said, every single person that bought this figure outside of Japan (and especially in the US on the opposite side of the planet) took a gamble when purchasing this figure to be shipped overseas. The very nature of Ghidorah’s design makes it impossible to create a suit accurate figure of him in any material (vinyl, polyresin, friggin’ concrete) without it being fragile. With three heads, slender necks and tails, paper-thin wings, and protruding horns – Such is the nature of the beast. X-Plus may have had a few bad apples in the batch (like any product), but the majority of what we are seeing is the fault of one of or all of the following: Postal workers who give no f***s about your box and its contents, AmiAmi not putting their shipments in a proper box, said naked boxes traveling across HALF A PLANET, and above all: frigid and fluctuating temperatures wreaking havoc on vinyl, wires, and glue (especially when combined with turbulent conditions aka a dozen different people handling the box daily).
I’m not, nor is anyone else, making excuses for X-Plus, but I do think it is imperative that everyone be realistic about this situation and X-Plus as a company. Any high-end, hand fashioned collectible like this is going to have a few quality control issues, nothing is perfect. These sorts of thing happen, especially with something as intricate as a highly-detailed, uber-realistic X-Plus Ghidorah vinyl. X-Plus didn’t attempt to screw anyone over – far from it. They took the most difficult monster to render in vinyl form and gave us an enormous, gorgeous product. Writing off a great company like X-Plus because of cases of faulty glue and problems with international shipping when they purposefully do not ship their fragile products internationally themselves is a tad naive and will have you missing out on a ton of other fantastic products.
The most common complaint I’ve seen is “We should not have to worry about our product arriving in one piece when we’re paying such high prices for said product.” While I agree with this to a certain extent, I can only fully agree with it for Japanese citizens who didn’t have to ship the product internationally. X-Plus is a company that makes vinyls for Japan. They have an international audience (which is why you are here reading this now), but we are not their target audience and the western world has a hard time understanding this. It’s absolutely acceptable to hold a manufacturer here in the states accountable for an item purchased under normal conditions. But buying a delicate Japanese product and shipping it halfway across Earth in a box in the dead of winter isn’t exactly what I’d consider normal conditions, really. That being said, I do -as mentioned – think X-Plus needs to learn from this situation and figure out what the hell happened with their factory glue because outside of that, this could have been a wonderful release.
Amazon Japan reviews show quite a few Japanese customers having the same issues international buyers are – which also helps place blame on X-Plus’ factory glue. But the fact of the matter is that if you want to ship an expensive, fragile item halfway across the globe – you better be prepared to A.) Pay accordingly to have said item shipped with precautionary measures or B.) Cross your fingers ’til they bleed considering options for global shipping are extremely limited. Thankfully, all of the reported breakages are at glued-seams, which makes them all clean separations and not any fault of the vinyl itself. I haven’t seen a single broken wing or cracked/thin vinyl part – just pieces that were once glued coming unglued. This is a very easy fix, and any standard plastic/vinyl/model-kit safe superglue will have your Ghidorah looking brand new in no time.
Sadly, this release will turn many away from X-Plus as a company regardless, and even more away from this particular figure. This is to be expected, though. I mean, even as I type up the reality of the situation I am driven to think of how many items I’ve had successfully shipped to me from Japan under similar conditions, and how opening a broken $300 figure is like piss in your cornflakes no matter how you try to spin it. I’m just trying to shed a little light on the situation, and maybe try to put out at least some of the raging fire surrounding what is truly a wonderful collectible.
Now, what about the actual figure itself?
The sculpt is nothing short of spectacular. It perfectly captures the 1968 Ghidorah’s look and bravado. The pose is fluid – not static, which is a major plus for me as well. The wings and necks give the appearance of movement, unlike the static arced posing of most Ghidorah figures. The amount of scales and wrinkles meticulously sculpted into this vinyl make it a masterpiece to behold. His facial features are immaculate, and the entire piece perfectly captures the timeless look of Godzilla’s most recognizable foe.
ABS plastic was used for the heads/horns and wings – which was a great move on X-Plus’ part. Large, thin wings do not hold up well in vinyl form (as any experienced collector will tell you and has horror stories of), and the internal system X-Plus used to mount these wings was another nice touch. Slight heating of the vinyl surrounding the brackets allows the plastic wings to slide right into place – and as the vinyl hardens the wings are held in position (if you’re inserting your wings, do not over heat the body vinyl – just get it warm). The bracket system is separate from the body vinyl, which should prevent any sagging. Only time will tell.
The paint app for Ghidorah, however, is pretty basic but appropriately glossy and regal. This, for me, was to be expected as he is a giant golden dragon after all. The manes, though, are a bit dark – perhaps a bit too brunette when they should be quite golden blonde (too much? too much). I’m not wild about the shade of fuchsia chosen to paint the inner mouth/tongues either, but it doesn’t distract unless you’re all up in his triple grills with a flash camera. The eyes are also tinted red and glossy, just like the ’68 Destroy All Monsters suit this vinyl is based off of.
All in all, I was very fortunate that mine arrived in pristine condition (as crazy as it is that this even has to be said), and he will be a centerpiece for me as long as I have a collection. This vinyl is a thing of beauty, and is up there with the 25cm Mothra as one of X-Plus’ best vinyls of all time.
That’s enough from me, right? For some truly stellar images of this beautiful figure and another excellent review, check out our good friend John Stanowski’s 25cm Ghidorah Review over at Kaiju Addicts:
Another Kaiju Fan Netork great weighs in with a surprising box day, Mr. Fresh Vinyl himself!
And if that wasn’t enough… Well, you have to see our good friend Samson West‘s box day fiasco as well:
Luckily, all of these separations are at glued joints (as mentioned in my review) and are easy fixes. I hope everyone who ordered this beaut had pleasant box days – and have many more scheduled for the future! If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns – please don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or contact me via email!
Until next time, Kaiju Fandom!
Jon @ UnCanny