Needless to say, I was a tad excited…
Months passed without a scrap of news...a year came and went, then another. I had begun to think that this supposed mind-blower would never see production, that the project must’ve dead-ended…or was perhaps a cruel hoax all along, a red herring dragged across the trail, to the great frustration of Gara-toy hunters everywhere…
A muggy June afternoon in ’06 found me conducting one of my regular Garamon Google-siftings; it was during that session, to my astonished delight, that I came across this pic:
…on a blog maintained by one Temma Sakamoto. I dove right in, and found that Sakamoto san had been keeping up-to-the-minute tabs on the development of this toy. The blog had shot after eye-popping shot of the sculpt in various stages- even a couple jaw-droppers of a fully-painted proto!
At long last!
Such was my very memorable intro to the great Kaijyu Toys Labo, a site I have checked on a weekly basis since. Sakamoto seems to share a terrific enthusiasm for all things Garamon and Pygmon, and can always be counted on to highlight upcoming releases as well as share pics of his latest collection scores. He’s also a wonderful artist- check out this page, chock full of cool and comical kaiju portraits, including these three of ol’ Gary:
*By cryptic whisperings I mean, of course, an email from the estimable Mike Johnson.
The 30cm is a pretty interesting take on the monster...
This one has taken some time to grow on me, since I first spotted pics of it. I dig it now; kinda looks like an elder Garamon (do these creatures, being biomechanical entities, age in a way that's physically noticeable? Paging Semi-Ningen...). The face on it is especially gaunt and hard-edged, and the eyes are smaller, proportionally, than is typical. It's also very densely packed with scales (I would guess 15%-20% more than usual). The fullness and arrangement of the scales around the jaw lend him a quasi-bearded appearance, and there are even little scale nubs creeping out onto the arms.
The time commitment that would be involved in building one frightens me, and keeps me from pursuing an unbuilt kit...
Very cool stuff...love the turnarounds in the second clip!
Yuji Nishimura, the company prez and the man doing most of the painting in these, is a master of kaiju coloration. A bit alarming to see that he paints with no gloves or respirator, though (at least he's using a hood). For readers who may not know, the paint he's using is a solvent-based stuff (usually V-Color) that actually eats into the vinyl a bit, making the color more permanent.
The always informative Mr. Roger Harkavy (Garden State ambassador to the M1-GO crew at many a Chiller Theater (and, word has it, many a Rutt's Hutt lunch)) tells us: "(The facility) is actually an old hotel, and it's starting to look like a pharaoh's tomb with all of the treasures that are accumulating there."
Only when I loaded these shots onto my machine and had a look did I realize that I hadn't bothered to change his pose in any of these pics (he's got jaw, neck and arm articulation). I snapped 'em in kind of a hurry...oh well. When I take shots of the green one, they'll be really dynamic, I promise. He'll be kayaking, dancing, rock-climbing....
Gotta love it when PK shoots toys atop his display case- makes for a terrific background effect!
He also solved the manufacturer mystery, too- he says it's by Bandai.
Whoa! Look at the ambience goin’ on here...
Rock on with your bad fog machine self, seller!
Oh, this one…it’s killing me...beautiful build-up of the full-size (40cm) Volks resin kit…super-nice!
If anyone's in a gift-giving mood, my b-day's coming up........in October.....
Now that’s a Gara-face!
I’ll get the green 12” out to John some time before 2008’s out…though, actually, I may send the Noda-Ya exclusive first. That version is cast in translucent pink GiD vinyl, and I’ve got big, crazy plans for it, including internal LED lighting…but that’s a post unto itself!
Keep your eyes peeled for the next Nerdstrom Collection post, where this reworked ES Gary will be shown off in all his glory...
This is the one that started it all for me, ten years ago. I was down south in my homeland, New Jersey, for a family visit. One afternoon, sister Sara and I decided to take a drive to The Outer Limits, a boss comics/toy shop that, at the time, was on Piaget Ave in Clifton.
There was so much to see in that place that it was a good forty minutes before I noticed the huge number of Bandai Ultra-kaiju hanging from some pegs, low down on a wall in the back of the shop. I was no stranger to Ultraman; like many a Jersey monster kid, I had watched the dubbed version of the show on WWOR in the 70's, and had even owned some of the Bandai vinyls in their early 80’s editions (Micras stands out as a fave in my memory). By no means, though, did I have thorough knowledge of the Ultra-universe; many of these sculpts were quite novel to me. I decided that one or two of these weird creatures would be my score du jour from Outer Limits- they were cheap and funny and wonderful, how could I go wrong?
I took the time to look at every single one on the pegs, eventually settling on just one- a wall-eyed, black, lizard-like creature with large ears and a brightly colored design (somewhere between a Pacific NW totem pole and the painted decorations of Pennsylvania Dutch furniture) painted on his torso. As I stood up and was about to walk away, another figure caught my eye- somehow, I had missed it in my first pass. I took it off the peg and held it for a close look. Of all the bizarre kaiju biodiversity I had taken in during the half hour prior, for whatever reason, this one really hit home. I just loved it, from the first. Autumnal colors sprayed onto dark grey vinyl, accentuating weird, leaf-like scales all over its body? Wow. Gaunt, heavy-browed face with a wide, fish-mouthed frown…it seemed to radiate quiet monster-belligerence. Then there were its…appendages…stubby, elbowless arms that grew straight out of the chest, ending in elongated, thumbless “hands”. All of these elements really drew me in, but there was also something much more, something I still can't fully articulate. I knew I had found a new fave monster. My intrigue level was through the roof, too- who was this guy, and what was his story?
That night, I got on the web at my aunt’s house, and through some heavy-duty kaiju-sleuthing, found my way to Mark Nagata’s old website. There I found the name “Pygmon”...and that helpful tidbit unlocked the gate to a ten-year collecting odyssey...
I really dig the Bandai; it's an underrated Gara-piece, for sure...