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Buyer Be Aware - Bootleg M-1 Godzilla 1962

By Richard Cox (2003)

The Godzilla Classic Box was available only via preorder in late 2001 through Kinokuniya bookstores, and numbers were produced to exactly match the preorder amounts. This set contained an exclusive M-1 figure, the much-anticipated Godzilla 1962. Due to a pressing deadline and unexpected numbers of orders, M-1 was forced to send the mold to China for production, and the set was released in early 2002, with the figure being of the usual high quality everyone had come to expect from M-1. In addition, the figure was in high demand and limited supply, both due to numbers produced and the high-end price tag on the set.

Remembering that the figure was actually molded in China, a haven for bootleggers of any number of items including Godzilla toys, it should come as no surprise that by the middle of the year no less than three distinct knockoffs of the Godzilla '62 were popping up both on eBay and from various unscrupulous dealers who swore that they were authentic, which they are of course far from.

The original Green and Pink Bootleg
The Original Green and Pink Bootleg
From an eBay Auction

The most common knockoff version is a pale green with sloppy gold highlights sprayed across the toy and pink tips across the spines. This was also the first of the knockoffs to hit the market, and actually made it to this year's Wonderfest. In fact, one seller on eBay went so far as to note:

I have no idea this is AUTHETIC or not, some told they saw at M1 BOOTh in past WONDER FESTIVAL, but not for sale, TAKE it as is , if you like, with NO RESERVED *GOOD LUCK*

A half truth, certainly. While both the knockoff and M1 were at the same Wonderfest show, the figure was NOT at the M-1 booth. M-1 were asked about the figure, and promptly confirmed it as a unlicensed knockoff of their Classic Box figure. The green and pink version has proliferated across eBay, invariably being called authentic, and either a variation, rerelease, or the actual first release figure, which it of course bears no resemblance to.

The M-1 Paint Scheme Bootleg
The M-1 Paint Scheme Bootleg
From an eBay Auction

The second version to hit the market is more disturbing in it's very, very close resemblance to the actual figure, as it sports the same color scheme. It is only upon close examination that the discrepencies come into focus. And the discrepencies are in the sloppiness of the paintjob. This is most noticible in the eyes and mouth. Note in the image comparison how the red in the mouth of the knockoff is brighter and more hastily applied, bleeding onto the lips and jaw of the toy, while the M1 figure has a darker mouth, neatly applied paint, and uniform edges. One dealer claims to have acquired this version of the unlicensed toy at a toy show in Japan:

Here is 9" inches tall GODZILLA vinyl from CLASSIC BOX ciollection! I got thisone from TOKYO toy show this year, Stamped 2002 JAPAN M1, Sorry I have no idae much about this one, just in never played condition since it loose I will grade C-9.5+ Very Collectible even in JAPAN! This is one of most wanted piece. What you see is What you get. Toy is Never played, Great additional to any GODZILLA fan. ***RARE**** NO RESERVED Shipping fixed $15.00 all the world by REGISTERED AIR MAIL.(take about 10-15 days to USA) PAYMENT MUST received within 10 days after auction end. *GOOD LUCK* NO ZERO feedback BIDDER allow!! 5 days auction only!!!

Despite his statements to the contrary, both in this auction and to various collectors who have examined his product in person, the figure is an obvious fake.

The final version, and most recent to crop up, is oddly enough a variation of the green and pink release, this time molded in blue. Sellers also claim this figure to have been a Japanese show exclusive:

Available only at a toy convention in Japan, this classic Bullmark replica of Godzilla is from the 1962 movie "MOTHRA vs. GODZILLA". This toy is molded in the same style as the now-defunct toy company from the early 1960s-1970s. GODZILLA 1962 (Blue) is a 8 1/2" tall and 10 1/2" wide vinyl toy with movable arms & legs and comes in metallic blue, gold, and pink in MINT CONDITION!

Again, this is simply not the case, and this story has been debunked by Yuji Nishimara of M-1 himself. The figure is a knockoff produced in China at the time of the production of the legitimate Classic Box release. At this time (early 2003) there are NO variations of the original figure on the market, nor are there likely to be any, what with the CLASSIC BOX moniker stamped into the foot of the toy.

Blue Bootleg
The Blue Bootleg
From An eBay Auction

Note that unlike many knockoffs, these were produced directly from a legit mold, and thus bear all of the copyright marking normally seen on the feet of legitimate releases, so it's unsafe to use this as a rule of thumb for checking the authenticity of any release. The vinyl of the bootlegs are not of the quality of the real issue, and is softer and more flexible. The paintjobs are sloppy and predictably ununiform.

Bootleg Feet
Blue and Green Bootlegs' Feet
From eBay Auctions

But then again, don't take my word for it; check out this screenshot from a recently posted news item on the M-1 website for yourself. The screenshot is for preservation purposes, in case the actual page is ever removed from the M-1 site.

M-1 Web Site
Screenshot of M-1 Web Site, Warning of the Bootlegs
View Full Size (97k)

[05-Mar-2003] Update: In late February of this year, M-1 released a series of three new Godzilla 62 figures based on the cClassic Box mold. These are all glow-in-the-dark figures, each with a different set of sprayed-on highlights (blue, gold, green). There is also an unpainted version available.