S.H. MonsterArts Destoroyah Review

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Over the decades Godzilla has done battle with a whole plethora of man-made weapons and monstrous foes.  The deadliest of all was the Oxygen Destroyer, a man-made weapon developed by the late Dr. Serizawa-it was used only once in 1954 to destroy the first Godzilla.  When the weapon was deployed in Tokyo Bay it converted oxygen molecules in the water into a corrosive element producing horrific results.  Any unfortunate living organism that happened to be nearby was instantly dissolved by the effects of the Oxygen Destroyer.  Not even Godzilla was be able to withstand the effects of this new super weapon, as the monster was destroyed from the inside out, dissolving flesh, bone and everything else in between.  Efforts to find Godzilla’s corpse proved futile as Dr. Serizawa’s weapon of mass destruction utterly destroyed the monster leaving no trace behind.  42 years later, the Oxygen Destroyer’s effects would have repercussions on the present in the new super monster Destoroyah, first appearing in the 1995 film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.  As the theory goes, microscopic Precambrian creatures that lay dormant under Tokyo Bay were exposed to the energy released by the Oxygen Destroyer in 1954.  After awakening they gradually mutated and evolved over the course of 42 years eventually wrecking havoc in Tokyo’s water supply and local aquariums killing fish and other organisms.  Eventually the mutated microscopic creatures evolved into car sized and later building sized crustaceans.  After battling the Japanese Self Defense Forces and Godzilla Junior, the creatures assembled into their final evolved form, Destoroyah, the living Oxygen Destroyer!  Officially known as Destoroyah or amongst fans as Destroyah (Adult/Final Form), the monster is a demon of a beast, with its imposing height, red colouration, horns, armor, elongated tail,and bat-like wings.  Bandai and Tamashi Nations released its SH MonsterArts Destoroyah in late February 2013 as a regular release.  The figure is massive and remains one of the largest figures to have seen release under the SH MonsterArts toy line.  Now that I have the figure in my hands is Destoroyah as cool and imposing as he was in the film?  Or is it large paper weight of a monster that should be avoided like the plague?  Hit the jump to find out!

 

 

Packaging: 5/5

 

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Once again Bandai and Tamashi Nations does a fantastic job with the packaging.  As one of the largest figures to have seen release under the MonsterArts toy line, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah comes in a large box, second only in size to the monstrous packaging seen with the SH MonsterArts King Ghidorah release.  The box has been printed in red burgundy and ink-black splotches sporadically applied on the box’s surface.  An imposing image of Destoroyah’s face can be seen on the front, along with the plastic window showcasing the enclosed figure inside.  The box sparkling hot pink font displaying Destoroyah’s  name along the left side of the box.  The right side features the monster’s chest with a small black and white image of a roaring Destoroyah.  The reverse side of the box features promotional images of the figure along with a detailed description of the monster and the movie from which it hails from.  The top side of the box features a clear plastic window shaped to mimic Destoryah’s face and cranial horn.  The monster’s name is featured prominently on the plastic window.

Inside the figure is encased in plastic clam-shelled packaging.  Once again I’m relieved that no twist tie wires are included to secure the figure.  Instead all we have are pieces of translucent tape to secure the plastic trays together.  The second plastic tray in the box holds Destoroyah’s tail securely in place.  It’s interesting to note that while the packaging keeps the figure secure and safe, upon opening and removing SH MonsterArts Destoroyah out of its packaging the figure fell apart in multiple places.  It could be that due to a rushed timetable and more complicated figure design, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah was more loosely assembled before being packed into the box, resulting in a figure that falls apart out of the package.

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Not to worry though, all the pieces that fell apart on me only limbs and torso pieces that fell loose from their ball joint sockets. After snapping the limbs back into place the figure was good as new!   Keep up the good work!
Bandai and Tamashi Nations has done an incredible job once again with the box and interior packaging.  Full marks are awarded once again!  

 

The Set:

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The Destoroyah figure is a stand alone release with no accessories whatsoever. I will absence of accessories later in the review.

 

Sculpt and Paint:  4.5/5

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Excellent sculpt and paint has become a standard on all SH MonsterArts releases, and Destoroyah is no exception.  Sculptor Shinichi Wakasa, the original sculptor and suit maker that worked on constructing the Destoroyah monster suit used in the 1995 film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah-has done an amazing job for this figure release.  The details present on this figure are just jaw dropping.  Every inch of this figure is covered in wrinkly skin, crab-like shell, leathery wings, and bone-like claws/horns.  Any attempt to find a surface on the action figure that isn’t pitted, grooved, or wrinkled is doomed to fail.  With the release of this figure, Shinichi Wakasa has not only proven himself to be a great suit maker and visual effects artist, but also a great toy sculptor as well! The immense bulk present on the original Destoroyah monster suit are perfectly reproduced in action figure form for this release.  Unlike earlier releases like Godzilla (1995) and Godzilla Junior, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah features a sculpt that is for the most part, absent of glaring gaps, bringing back a welcome return to sculpted action figures that feel heavy and durable.  The exception would have to be the gaps in the shoulders on the figure, as the toy designers decided to attach the shoulders on the monster via ball and pivot joints, giving off this slight shoulder pad appearance.  With a height of 7 inches and full wingspan of 13 inches, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is a very large figure and is second only in overall height and width to SH MonsterArts King Ghidorah. Collectors who pick up the figure in their hands will immediately notice that SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is quite heavy for a figure of its size.  In fact, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is the heaviest figure to see release under the MonsterArts toy line.  We may not see a heavier figure until the eventual release of SH MonsterArts Biollante later this year.  

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SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is an action figure that literally oozes details from the top down.  For starters the head is an immaculate piece of art.  Everything from the cranial horn, to the pronounced head crest structures on either side of its head, to the teeth are all unmistakeably features of the adult Destoroyah form perfectly reproduced here as an action figure.  The cranial horn is definitely the main draw on the head sculpt and is molded in an eyecatching orange translucent pvc.  Smaller horns and bumps on the back of Destoroyah’s head are no less impressive, showcasing an amazing level of detail that may even have been missed by hardcore Godzilla fans. 

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In an interesting move that some find to be controversial, Destoroyah’s eyes have been molded in clear red pvc instead of being painted.  It’s not so much that the eyes should have painted instead of being molded in translucent pvc but the choice of colour used in the figure.  In the movie Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, the monster has eyes that are coloured yellow-orange.  Even the image of Destoroyah on the SH MonsterArts Destoroyah packaging seems to show off this discrepancy.  Personally I do believe it to be a matter of personal taste, as I do not have any issues with the colour choice for the eyes.  I actually believe it to be a fairly appropriate colour choice as it gives Destoroyah this almost demonic stare. 

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The choice in translucent red pvc for the eyes also allows for the opportunity to see a bonus light-piping feature where the eyes glow red when an external source of light passes through when shone at the right angle.  

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Destoroyah’s mouth is another perfect example of the excellent sculpting work present on the figure.  With a maw full of sharp teeth intricately detailed for this type of figure what’s not to like?  The figure even features a second set of teeth located on the roof of its mouth!  How about that for hidden dentures!  The tongue-like every other MonsterArts release that’s come before-is also well sculpted and detailed.

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The rest of the figure is no less impressive and oozes just as much if not more details, something that’s sure to make any Godzilla or Destoroyah fan drool.  The monster’s chest, shoulders and back are detailed to resemble that of a crustacean and are just impeccably sculpted.  There isn’t one surface on these body parts that isn’t grooved or pitted with extra surface details.  The bone-like protrusions present on the body along with the claws on both the hands and feet show off the same level of grooved detail as other body parts found on the body, but have been detailed with the appropriate grooves and markings to give off that bone-like texture. 

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The tail completes the crustacean-like appearance for Destoroyah with its shell-like texture which travels the length of the body part, eventually terminating at the tip with a pincer-like claw. The most prominent feature on the figure has got to be Destoroyah’s wings, body parts that are no less detailed than the rest of the figure.  The leathery bat-like textures are all present on the wing’s major surface areas, along with the crustacean-like features on the wing’s edges.  Destroyah’s sculpt work gets full marks from me.

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The paint work on SH MonsterArts Destoroyah also needs to be commended.  Tamashi Nation’s SH MonsterArts toy line continues to impress with the lush painted details present on each new action figure release.  The figure is painted primarily with red, dark burgundy and black colours, with a splash of white-ivory and browns to highlight bony protrusions and other areas like the chest.  Silver paint is also used on the tip of the cranial horn accenting its sharpness very nicely.  Paint slop is not a large issue and can only be seen on certain areas like the teeth and claws.  The only other area on the figure where paint slop can be found are the wings.  Apparently the wings were molded in a yellow-brown pvc.  Tamashi Nations had to paint over the yellow-brown pvc with red paint and while the results generally work, the paint job isn’t consistently thorough in its coverage.  Each section of Destoroyah’s wings feature yellow-brown scratch marks and other patches that were not painted properly.   Though a small issue, it is worth mentioning for those collectors that like to focus on the details.  While the sculpt is excellent for Destoroyah, ultimately the overall score for the sculpt and paint category is hampered by some defects in the paint job via noticeable paint slop on the teeth and wings.  It’s not a major setback, however it does bring down what would have been a perfect score in this category.

 

 

Articulation: 4.5/5

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The original Destoroyah monster suit was never a very mobile creation as one can observe in the film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.  The monster could barely walk in the film let alone perform any other strenuous action like running or jumping.  It’s therefore surprising or unsurprising-depending on how you look at it- that SH MonsterArts Destoroyah has been graced with an amazing amount of articulation that nearly eclipses its film counterpart.  SH MonsterArts Destoroyah can commit to running poses, balancing its weight on one leg, standing with its tail off the ground and other positions.  The key to Destoroyah’s excellent range of articulation are the ball joints and ball-pivot joints that are present throughout the action figure’s body.  For the regular SH MonsterArts collector, it should not be much of a surprise that the articulation is fluid and generally just as pleasing as the releases that came before Destoroyah. For anyone new to the toy line Destoroyah should be please newcomers as well that expect a decent range of articulation out of their action figures.  Of course, being a large bulky monster, collectors should not expect SH MonsterArts Destoroyah to pull off crazy kneeling positions or Iron Man crouching or jumping positions.  As far as I’m concerned, if this figure can pull off the poses seen in the film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, the mission has already been accomplished.  Of course its obvious that it can and thus, the articulation category for SH MonsterArts Destoroyah gets really high marks in this category.

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The figure’s head is on a ball joint, while the mouth is connected via a hinge joint, with both able to move smoothly without issues.  Intriguingly enough, the tusks protruding on either side of Destoroyah’s mouth can actually move slightly.  Whether this is done via peg joints or ball joints is unclear and thus one should use caution and refrain from moving them too often. 

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It has been mentioned earlier in the review that SH MonsterArts Destoroyah has articulated shoulders attached via ball and pivot joints.  Destoroyah’s shoulders are a vital part of the figure as it holds both the arms and wings securely.  Unfortunately this has resulted in extra weight being exerted on the shoulders causing the joints to sag, changing Destoroyah’s overall appearance from that of a monster that exhibits straight shoulders to one that features slumped shoulders.  Personally I find this nitpick amongst collectors and a fans to be over exaggerated, as the figure still looks great saggy shoulders or not.  Thankfully this minor aesthetic detail does not affect the figure’s overall quality and sturdiness. 

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The arms on Destoroyah are attached to each shoulder via ball joints, along with ball and pivot joints for the wrists.  Surprisingly each individual claw on the monster’s hand can be articulated via ball joints, a first for a SH MonsterArts release. 

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The wings are also attached to the figure’s shoulders via ball joints.  It’s apparent that the toy designers learned from the mishap that was experienced with the SH MonsterArts King Ghidorah release, as that figure’s wings were attached via a double-hinged joint that was prone to snapping.  This is not longer an issue with Destoroyah as the wings and the ball joints that support them are very durable and can withstand frequent play.  The outer wing tips of Destoroyah’s massive wings are supported by smaller ball joints which remain durable.  However, as a word of caution, these should be handled with care to avoid any unfortunate breakage. 

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The most intriguing aspect of Destoroyah’s wings has to be Tamashi Nation’s decision to make them multi-segmented.  Instead of being molded in one solid piece, each wing is actually molded in several different sections that overlap over one another like the sails on a sail boat.  While this design choice may be odd, it works as each section of wing flap is loosely secured in grooves located on the wing extensions that protrude from the main arm of each wing. 

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The wings can be positioned outstretched or folded backwards depending on the collector’s own display preferences-a nice detail that allows for many more posing options.   A smaller pair of wings are affixed to Destoroyah’s shoulders via ball joints as well and can be rotated into display positions according to a collector’s own personal preference. 

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Additionally for those adventorus collectors you can twist the multi-segmented wings around to form something truly weird.  It looks as if Destoroyah suddenly sprouted dragonfly wings!

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The main torso on Destoroyah is secured by the use of a single ball joint.  It works well enough most of the time, allowing for smooth rotation back and forth.  The legs on Destoroyah are attached via ball joints and a sheath of pvc is used to cover the joints and resulting gap between the legs and lower torso. 

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Another piece of pvc located below the monster’s knee covers the ball jointed connections between the knee and foot.   

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The last major body part to cover is the tail.  Running a respectable length of 8 inches, Destoroyah’s tail is multi-segmented at 8 locations along its length.   The tail as a result has excellent flexibility and can be posed in such a way to recreate most of the battle scenes seen in the original film.  It is worthwhile to note that the pincer claws located at the end of Destoroyah’s tail are slightly articulated and can be moved to accommodate a small body part of another monster.  Godzilla (1995)’s neck for example can be grappled using Destoroyah’s pincers on its tail.  Overall SH Monsterarts Destoroyah has an amazing amount of articulation for a bulky figure of its stature.  The joints present on the figure are durable and flexible enough to allow for a number of unconventional poses like those pictured below.  I rank Destoroyah very highly in the articulation department. 

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Accessories:  0/5

Sadly this set does not include any accessories at all.  Lately collectors have observed that more attention has been placed on the monster figures themselves rather than the accessories that would normally be packaged with them.  Destoroyah employed his own micro-oxygen beam and katana horn attack on Godzilla in the 1995 film, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.  It would have been nice to see the appropriate effects included with the SH MonsterArts Destoroyah set.  While I agree that the toy designers at Bandai’s Tamashi Nations should continue to push the envelope where sculpt and articulation for future releases, I believe that accessories are an important inclusion that should not be missed.  SH MonsterArts Destoroyah could have been a more enjoyable and well rounded set had an extra beam effects part or other accessory been included.

 

Quality Control and Design issues:

 Only minor quality control issues are present with SH MonsterArts Destoroyah.  As mentioned earlier the figure has some paint slop issues on its teeth and wings.  The figure has also reportedly fallen apart when collectors attempted to remove the figure from the packaging.  Fortunately the figure only falls apart at the ball joint sockets.  Remedying the issue is as simple as snapping the ball joints back into their sockets.  It would appear that during assembly the factory workers likely didn’t have enough time to snap the figure’s limbs and torso into the ball joint sockets properly, thus leading to the figure falling apart in collector’s hands upon opening.  Overall these issues are minor and shouldn’t scare away any collector from purchasing Destoroyah.  

 

Fun with Destoroyah

With the release of SH MonsterArts Destoroyah collectors and fans finally have a worthy opponent for their SH MonsterArts Godzilla (1995) and Godzilla Junior.  As usual this section of the review is my favorite and I did my best to recreate all the memorable battle scenes from the film Godzilla vs. Destoroyah using the SH MonsterArts figures.  SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is a joy to pose and the camera shots I was able to pull off are a testament of a job well done by Shinichi Wakasa and the rest of the Tamashi Nations team.  Enjoy the spectacle!

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Godzilla Junior makes for a nice flyby meal!

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Die Junior!

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The sad aftermath......

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 Destoroyah!!!  I'll have my revenge on you!!!  Round 1 begins.

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Round 2!!!

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 Round 3!!!

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Round 4!!!

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The beginning of the end....

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Victory!!!

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Conclusion

SH MonsterArts Destoroyah is another excellent addition to the SH MonsterArts toyline.  As the second largest release to come from Tamashi Nations, SH MonsterArts Destoroyah doesn’t come cheap, as the price point is on average anywhere between $127-$135.  However, for those that can afford it, they will be pleased with the product.  The figure’s sculpt and paint job is masterfully done and the details present here bring Destoroyah to life in small scale form like never before.  The articulation also works like a charm, with the implementation of ball joints and ball pivot joints in all the right places.  An absence of quality control and design issues brings a sigh of relief to many collectors and fans.  The only real complaint here is the lack thereof accessories that could have been packed in with the figure.  At around $130 a pop, surely it’s not too much to ask for some extra accessories to accompany such an expensive action figure?  Qualms about supplementary accessories aside, Bandai and Tamashi Nations have done it again.  This release is highly recommended.

 

Overall Score:  4.5/5 (Not an Average)

 

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