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Godzilla Collecting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

or What the heck is a C9 MIB Marmit Vinyl Paradise King-Goji anyway?

Version 3.00
Created By Richard Cox (kinggoji@clubtokyo.org)
Maintained By Richard Cox

Where can I find the Godzilla Collecting FAQ?

The most current version of the FAQ is on the Web at <http://www.clubtokyo.org>. A link and message is posted to the ClubTokyoC mailing list when warranted.

Any changes or additions should be directed to Richard Cox (kinggoji@clubtokyo.org).

Mirror copy locations include:

Translations Available:

The Godzilla Collecting FAQ :: Contents

[1.1] Terminology

[1.1.1] Genre Terminology and Definitions [ + ]
[1.1.2] Collecting Terminology and Definitions [ + ]

[1.2] A Short History of Godzilla Collecting

The release of Godzilla (Gojira) in 1954 brought with it the first of the Godzilla collectibles, in the form of the theatrical poster. Of course, posters followed with subsequent re-releases, both in Japan and abroad, as well as with forthcoming movies.

The first non-theatrical merchandise was a gun game that coincided with the release of the second Godzilla film in 1955, and also heralded a moratorium on Godzilla collectibles for most of the next decade. Finally, in 1963 and 64 the ball got rolling again with Ideal's Godzilla game and the well known Aurora model kit. With the astounding success of these toys, the first Japanese toymaker took notice, and Marusan issued the first of their Godzilla vinyls in 1966. The rest, as they say, is history.

[1.2.1] Posters and Theater-Related Merchandise [ + ]
[1.2.2] Toys

Ah, toys. For many a collector toys, specifically vinyl figures, form the backbone of their Godzilla collections. As stated previously, the first Godzilla toy was actually produced in the U.S., and was a shooting game. From that point there really weren't any toys of note issued (barring model kits) until the Marusan Company, in 1964, issued their Godzilla model kit, and followed it up in 1966 with the first ever Godzilla vinyl figures. The rest, as they say, is history.

Of course, limiting the scope of Godzilla toys to just the vinyl figures, as popular as they are, is to ignore a wide variety of other neat stuff out there, from die-cast toys to tin toys, games, and both candy and capsule toys, to name only a few.

[1.2.2.1] Vintage vinyl figures (1954-1982) [ + ]
[1.2.2.2] Modern vinyl figures (1983-Present) [ - ]

For many, it was 1983 when it all began. With the announcement of the first new Godzilla movie since 1975, merchandising kicked into high gear, and was arguably more well received than ever before. 1983 also, markedly, was the year that Yakmakatsu and Bandai both entered the vinyl figure market, and changed everything with their completely realistic approach to figure production. These figures were the first truly realistic renditions produced, both in sculpture and painting. It was, however, not until the early '90s that the U.S. caught onto the act with Trendmaster's release of it's King of the Monsters line.

[1.2.2.2.1] Yamakatsu

Yamakatsu released their standard line of ten figures in 1983, the same year that Bandai re-entered the Godzilla toy-producing market, to very little fanfare. However, their toys are very well done and detailed in appearance. While certainly not as detailed as the Bandai issues eventually became, these are on a par with the earliest Bandai issues, even surpassing them with such toys as the Mothra Larva and Baragon, though eventually Bandai too would issue wonderful representations of these characters.

[1.2.2.2.2] Bandai

For many collectors, the Bandai line of figures, which continues to this day, it the greatest line of Godzilla toys ever created, and these vinyl pieces have come to form the core of many a collection. The first Bandai figures appeared in 1983-84, and was followed by a lull of four years before the line really kicked into gear. Since then, Bandai has produced well over 75 figures in varying sizes, theater editions, and limited series. They have come out with figure sets and larger "DX" mechanized toys.In 1998 the eight inch figure line was supplanted by their numbered "Toho Kaiju Series" of figures, scaled down to six inches and including, finally, their first ever Shodai-Goji figure (G-15). Eventually, after several renames of the Toho Kaiju Series, Bansai began producing figures in both the 8 and 6 inch scale.

In 2002, Bandai Creation, a subsidiary of Bandai USA, released a new series of figures and figure sets intended for the U.S. market, supplanting Trendmasters as the primary licensee of Godzilla products in the United States.

[1.2.2.2.3] Marmit

Marmit began issuing the Vinyl Paradise line of kaiju-related toys in 1996, and their first Godzilla-related release was, appropriately enough, Shodai-Goji (VP-011). Since then, Marmit has gone on to put out a plethora of Godzilla toys. The figures are all a hard vinyl and stand 10-12 inches in height, dominating the Bandai figures on any shelf. Marmit also has a habit of releasing their figures in multiple paint variations and limited editions.

The limited versions of their figures tend to appear in solid colors, usually transparent and usually blue. There are opaque limited figures as well as some in other colors, white and green for instance. The exact numbers of many of these releases are unknown, but most were show exclusives. A ballpark figure for many of these would be between 50 and 100 per blue figure, and from 10 to 50 of the white Godzilla '62. The two Showcase exclusives were limited to 300 each.

the Vinyl Paradise line ended with #101 (MechaGodzilla 2), the 100th figure in the line (due to Marmit's failure to release #4). it looks like the line could very well be continuing though, with their release of a Jiras figure with a Vinyl Paradise header card. The toy is, however, unnumbered.

After the ending of the Vinyl Paradise line, Marmit introduced a series of Toho "ParaBaby" figures, scaled in at about 6 inches and somewhat more realisticly detailed than the VP series. Soon afterwards, Marmit introduced the Monster Heaven Series, a line roughly the same scale as the VP figures, but with a much higher level of attention to detail.

[1.2.2.2.4] M-1

M1-Go has produced figures from many different series throughout the '90s, and with a very high quality control. Figures have been rejected after production because of bad paint jobs or too thin vinyl. Some figures may take a while to be released, but when they arrive they tend to be well worth the wait. The vinyl is thick and well detailed, and each figure is hand painted.

Typically, M1 will release two versions; one to resemble a Bullmark paint style and one for a Marusan style. Some figures have only had one style as well. They also do special runs for show exclusives, video releases and other events. The runs are usually limited to a fairly small amount, generally numbering in the 800-1000 produced range, though there is significant fluctuation above or below these numbers depending on the relase. The figures retain an old toy style look while having a high degree of detail.

[1.2.2.2.5] Trendmasters

The first major toy company since Mattel to release Godzilla toys domestic to the U.S., in their few years of releasing Godzilla toys and merchandies Trendmasters has become the source of goods for North American collectors.

Having already released more product than any company outside of Japan, Trendmasters acquired the license to issue toys for the Tristar Godzilla release as well, further cementing their place as a major Godzilla toy producer. Trendmasters tends to release figures in several different packaging variations, and it can be a real challenge for a collector to try and get all the different issues. The major lines in the Classic Godzilla series have been King of the Monsters and Godzilla Wars. A Doom Island series was prototyped, but was never released in the U.S. (barring a select few contest offerings), as Trendmasters allowed their license to expire.

[1.2.2.2.6] Bear Model

Up until as recently as 2001 Bear Model was looked upon as a second rate producer of Toho/Godzilla toys and figures. However, this turned around when they introduced their full scale Hedorah figure. Previous to the Hedorah, Bear Model had released very few figures, most of which were available in small multipacks. These were produced in several variations, some of which being unpainted, as the intent was to have the buyer paint them. This all changed with the collecting climate in the early 2000s, when show exclusives became the rage. Bear Model has begun to churn out more figures, in more variations, than ever before. And many of them, such as the Hedorah and Gigan, are of excellent quality as well.

[1.2.2.2.7] Marusan

The new, modern Marusan has been carving an interesting niche for itself of late. While many companies continue to release the standard forms of various figures, Marusan has been releasing their characters in a wide variety of different, or unusual poses; from a flying MechaGodzilla and Gigan to a swimming Godzilla and crawling Baragon. In addition they have produced a line of various vehilces from Toho kaiju eiga, such as the Maser tank a A-Cycle lightray, reulting in a bold array of unique choices for collectors.

[1.2.2.2.8] X-Plus

X-Plus is known in Japan for their high-quality releases, a reputation that is now beginning to build in western circles with their stunning line of Gamera and Harryhausen figures, as well as a line of TOHO sculptures. In addition, X-Plus Japan released some stunning 12 inch TOHO figures.

[1.2.2.3] Candy and Capsule Toys [ + ]
[1.2.2.4] Miscellaneous [ + ]
[1.2.3] Model Kits [ + ]
[1.2.4] Miscellaneous

In addition to the above, a veritable plethora of other types of collectibles have been issued over the years, and to attempt to list them all would be an overwhelming task. However, some of the key areas would include prototypes and props, recordings, books, videos, laserdisc sets, household items, trading cards, and original artwork.

[1.3] Where can I learn more about Godzilla toys and collectibles? [ + ]

[1.4] Is there a way to "check out" a person before purchasing items advertised on the Internet? [ + ]

[1.5] Can I detach the tags from my Bandai figures without affecting their value?

In a word, yes. Both the cardboard and earlier plastic tags can be easily reattached using the appropriate gun and plastic hanger, readily available at any office supply store. Be careful, however, to reattach the tag in it's original hole instead of punching a new one through the vinyl. This WILL affect the value of the piece.

When buying figures with loose tags, be aware that many tags look generic and similar to one another, barring two things; the character's name in Japanese and a serial number specific to that figure. It is not unheard of to get the wrong tag loose with a toy (or, one assumes, the wrong tag reattached to a figure). See also [1.9].

[1.6] What's the difference between a candy and capsule toy?

See [1.2.2.3] for detailed information. Shortly, "capsule" toys are just that; small figures, generally 1-4 inches in height, available in vending machines, while candy toys tend to come boxed, either individually or in sets, with a packet of candy and sometimes a trading card or other extras.

[1.7] Who is "Jiras", and why does he look like Godzilla?

Jiras (spellings vary slightly) was a foe from the original Ultraman series (episode 10) based upon a Godzilla suit. The Mosu-Goji suit was modified for the series simply by adding a frill around the neck. Which I will point out that Ultraman rips off, in one of the more violent memories from my childhood...

[1.8] For that matter who is Gomess?

Godzilla was recycled in the first episode of ULTRA Q as Gomess. Godzilla, Gigan and Ghidorah were all used in Toho's ZONE FIGHTER series.

[1.9] What are those numbers on the bar code of a Bandai figure tag / box?

The serial numbers, also known as stock numbers, of a Bandai figure are unique to each toy, thus can be used in order to be sure of getting a correct tag with a figure, which could otherwise be a problem for those earlier figures whose tags bear no distinguishing characteristics not in Japanese. The serial number is located on the tag of the figure, above the barcode. The earliest figures, instead of a serial number, had a Collection Number.

The serial numbers are, for the most part, a series of three strings of numbers separated by dashes. The first string, 205020, is carried by all Bandai Godzilla figures (as well as other Bandai series figures) with a serial number; the second, and most important, is individual to each figure. The third string denotes the original price of the vinyl toy in Yen.

[1.10] Was a Trendmasters 10 Inch Biollante figure ever produced?

There was one produced, albeit in limited quantities, and only overseas. The 10" Biollante was never released in the United States.

[1.11] Did Bandai issue any "Sample" figures of their G2K Theater Exclusive?

In a word, no. Many different fake prototypes of this figure have shown up both on eBay and from various dealers. Each and every one of these are custom dye jobs and are not prototypes, limited editions, first shots, or whatever else you've heard. For more information, check out this article.

[1.12] What was the Toho Video Fan Club?

This club was run by Toho itself, and often offered exclusive vinyl figures and other collectibles. Toho sanctioned which figures were offered for sale through the club's newsletter.

The Godzilla Collecting FAQ :: References and Credits

The below books, people, and web sites have been consulted in the creation of this FAQ:

Club Tokyo :: Kaiju Collectibles Reference Database (http://www.clubtokyo.org/), by Richard Cox and Michael Johnson

Godzilla Tohotopia (http://www.students.bucknell.edu/mlockwod/), by Mark Lockwood; web site currently unavailable

John Parkinson

Recent changes :