Ultra-Act Red King Review

DSC08175He’s strong!  He’s big!  He’s ugly! And he likes to chuck rocks!  He’s Red King!  Over the course of the Ultraman franchise’s long history there’s only been a handful of Ultra Monsters that have stood out above the hundreds of other kaiju that have done battle with Ultraman over the years.  One of them happens to be Red King.  Red King made his first small screen television debut in an episode of Ultraman (1966) entitled “The Violent Monster Region”.   Since then he’s appeared in several other episodes from the original television show that ran from 1966-1967.  Over the years Ultra Monster Red King has made numerous other appearances in other Ultraman tv shows including:  Ultraman 80, Ultraman Max, Ultraman Mebius, and Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle.  While popular and very recognizable, when it comes to fighting Red King is somewhat of a dumb brutish loser.  Despite his immense strength and penchant for throwing rocks at his enemies, in almost all of his television appearances, Red King has lost against his foes.  In short, Red King is pretty much your lovable, dumb, muscular brute of a monster, sharing similar traits with other brutish characters like “The Rhino” from Spiderman or “Beebop and Rocksteady” from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Bandai and Tamashi Nation’s Ultra-Act toy line has thus far been primarily concerned with designing and releasing articulated versions of the Ultraman characters.  While humanoid characters are nice to have I’ve always preferred monster characters when it comes to the Japanese Tokusatsu genre.  Thankfully after a year long hiatus from releasing any new Ultra Monsters into the toy line, Bandai and Tamashi Nations finally relented and released Ultra-Act Red King to the pleasure of both fans and collectors.  Is this new entry in the Ultra-Act toy line a winner?  Or is it a failure of a figure that deserves to be ignored?  Hit the jump for more!

 

 

Packaging: 5/5

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Once again Bandai and Tamashi Nations has done a fantastic job with the packaging.  Bandai and Tamashi Nation’s triumphant return to releasing Ultra Monster figures in the Ultra-Act line has introduced a complete overhaul to its packaging design.  Previous Ultra-Act Ultra Monsters like Ultra-Act Gomora were packaged in black boxes with stylized art of the monster on the front and promotional pictures of the figure on the other sides of the box.  This time Bandai and Tamashi Nations has chosen to release Ultra-Act Red King in a box that mirrors the Ultra-Act Ultraman packaging’s aesthetics.  Instead of a black coloured box, Ultra-Act Red King’s packaging features a box done up in red and accented with brown, dark red, burgundy and silver.   Each side of the box is labelled with the words Ultra-Act Red King.  The packaging’s front side features a red background with a prominent picture of Red King’s face accompanied by silver, red and brown abstract shaped streaks.  A nice plastic window showcasing the figure inside is also present.  The box’s reverse side shows the usual promotional pictures showcasing Red King in variety of poses.  One of the box’s sides showcases a profile picture of Red King.  Inside the box Bandai/Tamashi Nations pleases again with the inclusion of plastic trays that hold the figure and accessories in place without the use of twist tie wires.  

All that’s been applied to secure the parts from moving around is plastic tape.  A cardboard sheet is included in the box as well, with one side being lined in plain flat grey.  Overall it’s another product that showcases great packaging design from Bandai/Tamashi Nations.   

 

The Set:

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The set is very simple by nature and features Red King along with a handful of accessories including: alternate hands, boulder, rock effect parts with pvc base.

 


Sculpt and Paint:  4.5/5

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Ultra-Act Red King is an Ultra Monster that doesn’t excel at all in the beauty department.  If anything, Red King happens to be one of the uglier monsters in the Ultraman franchise.  Despite this fact, Bandai and Tamashi Nations have done an incredible job bringing this dumb, ugly brute to life as a hyper-detailed figure.  The original monster suit for Red King featured a fairly simplistic design.  He doesn’t have any large long serpentine necks or any wings or horns.  If anything Red King looks like a mixture of a reptile, rock, and the Michelin tire man come to life!  The details on Ultra-Act Red King are just stunning!  The figure is covered entirely in deep rock-like bumps, bulges, and grooves on every part of its body.  Even the smaller body parts like the head and hands of the monster are dotted with pebbly skin impressions on the surface.  

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The head in particular features well sculpted details on the eyes, eyebrows, nostrils, pebbly skin on the cheeks and individually sculpted teeth that are sharp to the touch.  The lips as ugly as they are remain accurately sculpted along with the teeth and tongue inside the monster’s mouth.  Moving down we see no expense has been spared to ensure that the rock-like grooves present on Ultra-Act Red King alter in shape and size depending on the body part.  The neck for example, features really small detailed bumps and grooves that reach from the head all the way to the top of the monster’s chest.  

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 The chest, arms and back feature rock-like bulges, bumps and grooves that are longer and larger than those on the neck.  The same patterns in the sculpt can be seen in the legs and tail.  

Some collectors have pointed out that the beauty of the sculpt is sacrificed because of the need for the figure to accommodate articulation points.  The evidence that they point to can be seen in the segmented body parts present on Ultra-Act Red King.  Personally I don’t find this to be too much of a distraction.  As an action figure collector I’m used to seeing breaks and joints present on the surface of a figure’s sculpt.  Most action figure collectors should have no problems with Ultra-Act Red King’s appearance.  The same can’t be said for vinyl figure or polystone statue collectors who revere a figure’s uninterupted sculpted surface details to the tee.
Paint on Ultra-Act Red King has been executed very well.  Molded in beige pvc plastic, Red King was apparently sprayed over with a combination of beige, brown, yellow, and blue paints.  The resulting effect only serves to highlight the extreme details present on the sculpt.  Utilizing brown and beige sprays on the rocky bulges, bumps and grooves really works well.  To further accent the sculpt and give the figure a bit more flash blue highlights have been used on Red King’s face and in between the bumps and grooves on its body.  It looks fantastic to say the very least!  Very little paint slop is noticeable.  By all accounts we have another winner on our hands ladies and gentlemen!

 

Articulation: 4.5/5

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Ultra-Act Red King features a highly articulated body that gives the collector and fans a lot of display and play options.  Previous Ultra-Act Ultra Monsters in the toy line have featured generous amounts of articulation but certainly not to the same degree as Ultra-Act Red King!  Previous Ultra-Act figures seem to have had their sculpts developed first by an experienced sculptor before being given to the action figure or articulation team to fragment the figure into pieces to insert the joints.  Ultra-Act Red King features a sculpted body that seems to have been specifically sculpted and designed to move from the very start.    In any case, the result is outstanding, allowing Ultra-Act Red King to be posed with little difficulty at all.  A collector or fan can pose Red King in pretty much any pose ripped from the Ultraman television shows.  

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The head, neck, arms, hands, upper and lower torso, legs, feet and tail are all connected via ball joints and ball and pivot joints, thus allowing for a varied amount of dynamic posing options.  Options which include:  standing straight, crouching, sitting, running, lifting up his arms over his head, standing on one leg and more are available to the collector and fans who will undoubtedly  have immense fun with this figure.  

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In the show, Red King is often seen throwing up his arms and slapping his face with his hands in frustration.  Thanks to Ultra-Act Red King’s well sculpted arms and highly articulate body, one can recreate that iconic silly pose as well.  

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Ultra-Act Red King’s body is so articulated that I would like to make a bet that the figure would have the original monster suit used in the television show a run for its money!  To say that I’m very pleased with the execution of the articulation for Ultra-Act Red King would be an understatement.   

 

Accessories:  3.5/5

Just like previous Ultra Monsters that have appeared in the Ultra-Act toy line, accessories included with Ultra-Act Red King are fairly conservative.  Ultra-Act Red King comes with alternate hands, boulder effect part, and rock effect parts with a pvc base.  When it comes to accessories that come with SH MonsterArts or Ultra-Act figures I personally prefer to have a more simplistic layout.  The accessories included here are compact and relatively simple with a minimal amount of small parts.

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Ultra-Act Red king’s alternate hands included in the set are intended to provide the figure with the grasping hands necessary to hold onto the boulder effect part included in the set.  Red King has a common tendency to grab and throw rocks at his foes.  So it is with Ultra-Act Red King that we have a set of accessories to address Red King’s dirty underhanded tactics in battle!  Once the alternate hands have been swapped, the boulder accessory can be plugged into the right hand via peg and hole design.

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Looks rather nice eh?  Oh yeah....your so scary Red King!  The boulder accessory included is competently sculpted and painted with your usual greys and blacks followed by a subtle spray of brown.  It’s very nice overall.

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Ultra-Act Red king’s most eye-catching accessory has to be rock effect parts with pvc base.  Composed of three different parts, the rock effect parts and pvc base have been sculpted with competent detail and painted very well, replicating the look of a rocky surface.  The pieces are designed to fit together via a peg on the pvc base.  The other pieces simply plug into the base with one piece going on top of another.  Interestingly enough once assembled, the rock and effect pieces can be swiveled on the pvc base 360 degrees.  Collectors and fans have speculated that the accessory was included to add some dynamic flare to the set as alternate hands and a boulder alone would be a bit underwhelming.  However, it remains a bit confusing as to what the extra rock effect and pvc base accessory is supposed to represent.  Is it an explosion piece to signify when Red King slams a rock down to earth?  Is it an effects part that was included to allow Red King to kick and smash rocks at other foes?  I suppose we’ll never know. Ultimately, what the extra accessory is used for is left up to the collector.  


Quality Control and Design issues:

Ultra-Act Red King is a figure that has little to no quality control issues present with its general release.  After my horrendous experience with Ultra-Act Ultraman Gaia this is welcome news.  The only issues that I’ve had with Ultra-Act Red King are some problematic articulation points  present on his body, most notable being the lower jaw.  Many collectors have already pointed out that the lower jaw is severely restricted by the figure’s sculpt and can’t allow the figure’s head to open its mouth nearly as wide as shown in the promotional photos.  Even if you were to pry open the lower jaw, the sculpt inherently forces the lower jaw closed the moment you release your grip.  While it’s certainly a shame that the lower jaw doesn’t open as wide as we would want it, this issue is still very minor.  I should also like to point out that even in the Ultraman television series, Red King never opens his mouth too wide.  The other small issue that appears to be present on my copy of Ultra-Act Red King is the presence of loose alternate hands.  The left hand on my Red King in particular doesn’t fit as snugly onto the ball joint as I would like.  Occasionally the hand does pop off but only when I move the left arm excessively.  Small imperfections in paint slop and overspray can also be observed near the mouth and body of the figure.  However, the imperfections are tiny and negligible at best.  Otherwise Ultra-Act Red King is a very nice enjoyable release that has very few quality control and design issues to worry about.  

 

 

Fun with Red King

Red King is a great figure to have fun with.  His highly articulated body allows for a lot of interesting poses and re-enactments.

 

Kick!

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Omph....its Ultraman!!??

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Red King vs Ultraman

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Charge!

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Take this rock Ultraman!

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What’s that light!!??

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Ouch! My foot!

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My face!!

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Aargh!!! Let go!!!

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Have some rocks man!

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It’s the end Ultraman!

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What!!??

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No! No! NO!!!

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Red King vs. Gomora

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Tail whip!

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Take this Gomora!

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What the...?  My head!

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Ouch not my foot again!!

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No! Wait stop!  

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Tail whip again!!?

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Oh yeah....I’m not done yet!  Now where did I put that?

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Ah yes here we go!  My trusty boulder!

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Take this Gomo.....ahh!!!!

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Ouch your horn......

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I lost... again?

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Winner Gomora!

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Conclusion


Ultra-Act Red King is a welcome addition to the Ultra-Act toy line.  In a toy line that appears to be obsessed with releasing one Ultraman character after another, Ultra-Act Red King is breath of fresh air for collectors and fans whom may want a bit more variety from Bandai and Tamashi Nations.  Seriously, it’s a good thing to add more Ultra Monsters to the Ultra-Act toy line.  Sadly it would appear that Ultra-Act Red King never did sell too well upon its initial release.  In fact, this toy reviewer passed on getting Ultra-Act Red King on numerous occasions.  It wasn’t until the online retailer Ami Ami had a sale for the figure did I decide to take a chance and purchase Ultra-Act Red King to add to the collection.  I urge all collectors and fans who may be on the fence with this figure to take a leap of faith and get one.  If your an Ultraman fan and love silly looking monsters like Red King, you’ll probably love this figure.  While some may grumble about the segmented body parts and over emphasis on articulation I think Ultra-Act Red King ultimately succeeds as both a well sculpted and highly articulate figure.  Ultra-Act Red King comes highly recommended!


Overall Score:  4.5/5 (Not an Average)

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