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Vault Review:
S.H. MonsterArts King Kong

kiko0When Bandai announced they’d be doing an American inspired SH MonsterArts figure, I was all but certain that it would be a figure of Zilla, our own version of Godzilla.  So imagine my pleasant surprise when they revealed King Kong from Peter Jackson’s 2005 interpretation.    

King Kong and Godzilla probably couldn’t be more different from each other.  One is a giant rampaging reptile that can never truly be killed or defeated, while the other is a larger than life mammal that may cause a bit of destruction but is (spoiler alert) always conquered and killed in the end.  Even so, these two are always linked in my head.  Most of the blame probably rests with Toho’s 1962 film King Kong vs. Godzilla, but the arcade game Rampage probably played a small role too.  Either way, I definitely needed one to pal around with my other kaiju.

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Like all the previous MonsterArts figures, Bandai brought their “A” game to King Kong’s sculpt and design.  The figure’s proportions mimic that of a real gorilla, making him the most lifelike MonsterArts to date and allowing him execute realistic poses like standing up on his squat hind legs or leaning forward and resting on all fours.

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Kong’s sculpt is highly detailed, with the body being mostly covered by fur.  On the areas where his skin shows through you can see wrinkles, muscle definition, and even lines and fingerprints on his hands and feet.  In addition to these details, the figure is also covered in scars from previous battles and his right ear is even missing a chunk of skin.

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Kong comes with three alternate heads.  The first is a standard determined gorilla look.  His mouth is closed and a snaggletooth is sticking out while his eyes are intensely focused ahead.  Second is a yelling/fighting face with his mouth opened wide, baring his teeth.  The third head is equally animated but much more playful with his mouth in an “ooh ooh” expression.

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King Kong’s articulation is overall great, although it’s more heavily focused on his upper body.  His neck, shoulders, biceps, wrists, torso, waist, hips, and ankles are all ball jointed.  His elbows and knees are double hinges attached to ball joints, while the ball of his foot and toes are on single hinges.  All these joints allow him to be posed beating his chest, standing on two or four legs, and looking straight up.  Unfortunately, his sculpt hinders other movements like turning his head side to side, sitting on his butt, or even positioning his back legs in a more dynamic way.  Continue to page 2…

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26 comments to Vault Review:
S.H. MonsterArts King Kong

  • Of course you realize what they must make now.

    Mecha-Kong!

    OK, it’s a stretch as Bandai hasn’t seen fit to release any Showa-era Kaiju in the Monsterarts line to date. Have they?

    Another outstanding review, as always. 🙂

    • Vault

      Thanks Steve! Mecha Kong would be funny.

      I was going to say that there is a Showa Godzilla coming, but I see you’ve already found it. 😀

      • You know what they would do with Mecha Kong? His bombs and his hypno-beam thingie would be Tamashii Web exclusives and cost almost as much as the figure.

        But the bombs would all be separate devices and each would have removable pins and there would also be the camera/speaker ear clip things for Japanese Kong and maybe some glowing ‘Element X’ rocks. Stuff so cool you’d have to have it.

        And of course THEN we need Japanese Kong (Toho Kong?)…

  • Necryan

    They have the Showa-era Godzilla coming out the tail end of summer. He’s the guy I grew up on, so I have him pre-ordered on Amazon.

    Another great review, Vault! I didn’t get monkey-boy, but he really is a beautiful figure.

    • Wait, what WHAT?!

      *clik clikclikclick*

      Sink me! My Godzilla! *wishlist*

      But damn, they do bone on the pricing. crap crap.

      • Vault

        Yeah, they definitely like the money.

        • I think part of the problem, at least this specific case (’64 Godzilla), if I read the solicitation right this was/is a Tamashii Web exclusive.

          I KNOW, RIGHT? How stupid is THAT?

          Bandai aggravates me so. Yet they always find a way to make me HAVE to buy something. That Godzilla may well be my birthday present to myself. Dammit. 🙂

          • Vault

            Yeah, I don’t really get why they make common items web exclusives over there. The good news for us is that Bluefin is bringing him over and you can just order him from Amazon. So at least there’s that.

            • It makes sense if the goal is to drive traffic to Bandai’s Tamashii Web store, because Bandai can then charge full retail (or more!) for a product that they would normally only get a fraction of the sell price via the seemingly complicated Japanese Retail Distro system.

              But it’s ALSO a way to throw the finger to anyone outside of Japan who has a love for this stuff. I have met people, and know others who have met people in Japan, particularly executives, who are absolutely gobsmacked that a gaijin like me not only knows about this sort of thing, but has ‘otaku depth’ knowledge. Bandai wants American money but doesn’t want their goods (toys, models, DVDs) to sell at American prices. They still think it’s 1982 and a 200% markup over wholesale cost (F.O.B. Japan) is not only acceptable but mandatory.

              But then again, they have Matty Collector as a guidepost, don’t they? *sigh*

    • Vault

      Thanks, Necryan! I definitely can’t wait for more Showa figs myself.

  • J. Lee

    Eyeballing these all the time but, price is the big turn down. I would like to own a couple though. Saw Destroyah last year. That box was huge the price just as.

    This Kong looks just as cool as that site. I have to say the “Ooh ooh” look I don’t recall ever seeing in the film. Looks perfect with the Ann hand.

    I second a Mecha Kong. They are doing a 1964 Godzilla, saw in May previews, it maybe possible to see now.

    • J. Lee

      Nuts had wrong email in here. Anyway an add on to my comment. How does Kong look next to Grodd and Mallah?

    • Vault

      Yeah, they’re definitely expensive. Usually around Christmas time you can find some really good deals on them at Amazon.com though.

      I’m not exactly sure where my Grodd and Mallah are at the moment. Let me look around and see if I can’t get a picture taken for you.

  • I knew one day this review would come and bring me to tears for not having it. That pic of him laying down staring at the tiny dino is classic.

  • Ahem. Kong does not always die. I would point to the cinematic masterpieces “King Kong Escapes” and “King Kong Lives” as proof of that.

    I’d have been all over a classic Kong ‘Arts figure, but the newer take on the character, while an entertaining flick, doesn’t hold the same place in my heart as his predecessor.

    • Vault

      lol, not sure if those two movies really follow the same spirit as the original.

      I’ll be curious to see if they do make a classic Kong figure. I’d definitely buy him if they do. He’d go great with the original Godzilla.

  • Neat! Well-sculpted, if not perfectly functionally executed. Great review, good pics, but I still think I’ll pass on this one. Crunch time is coming up, and they always seem to release 80% of the year’s toys in the same 2 months.

    • Vault

      Thanks, Beedo!

      Yeah, I know what you mean. Seems like all the new toys are hitting shelves just after SDCC.

  • dayraven

    really, the joints fall apart? that seems kind of crappy…

    • Vault

      Yeah, it’s really my biggest complaint about the line. It mostly happens with the ball joints but not all of them, it’s usually only one or two on a figure and it tends to be the longer appendages like tails or necks. You can easily pop them back in and they’ll hold their pose, but when moving them around they tend to pop out again.

  • Megatherium

    I wish I had the funds to collect this line. They’re so amazing. It will do to enjoy the awesome pics of them, though. 🙂

  • Supahman

    Hey Vault, would be great if you could post a comparison pic with a DCUC or a MOTUC fig.
    🙂

  • Kulticlose

    If you want to display Kong with a dinosaur that looks similar to the V. Rexes seen in the movies, here’s the link to the Papo T. Rex:
    http://www.amazon.com/Papo-Running-Tyrannosaurus-Rex-Green/dp/B007CF7JI2