Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Ultra-Act Golza

By Justin

  Introduction: Aaaaaah, Golza... For many people, this monster will always have a special place in our hearts. He was a recurring monster on the popular Tokusatsu television series, Ultraman Tiga, after all. He was also the very first Heisei monster designed by Tsubaraya. Later he appeared on Ultraman Dyna as Hyper Golza, where he was finally killed by Tiga's successor. But, as Godzilla has proven time and again... You just can't keep a good monster down. Golza appeared twice in the 2007-8's Ultra Series Ultra Galaxy: Mega Monster Battle alongside other series mainstays like Red King and Gomora. He even had a bit part as cannon fodder in the subsequent film, Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy. Point is, Golza gets around. It's no surprise that Bandai/Tamashii chose him as Tiga's opponent kaiju for the highly detailed Ultra-Act action figure line. No, the surprise was that Golza was a Tamashii web exclusive! So amid the groans of annoyed fans, Golza was released in limited quantities as an exclusive. I, however, (being a HUGE Golza fan) just had to have him. Was he worth it? Read on...   


  Packaging (5/5): Fortunately, Golza was released before the switch to the gaudy new packaging. I have nothing against the new style, I just prefer the nice black packaging with the starburst image of the figure on the front. Aside from said stylized image, there are a few images on the back which are basically the promotional images. There's a window on the left front side of the package which displays the figure clearly, so there's no surprise what you get. Or at least there wouldn't be, if it didn't come in that ugly Tamashii mail order box. Overall, a very nice package.

Sculpt (5/5): Spectacular. This is definitely one of the most detailed sculpts Tamashii has ever done. His chest and back armor plates are covered in cracks. His neck sheath is grooved and pitted like something chiselled out of stone. Underneath, there is a bit of muscle hinting at what the armor is covering (creating a very realistic effect, I might add). His belly is craggy like a cliffside and the blue parts of his skin is wrinkled and covered in smooth, pearly hemispheres. The scutes on the bottom of his tail are smooth and not unlike those of a snake. His face is all scarred flesh and his teeth and tusks are very sharp and menacing. All in all, this is a perfect sculpt of the monster Golza.

Paint (3.5/5): I wanted to give Golza a perfect score in this category. He really does have some fantastic paint detail, particularly on the armored neck portions. And there are yellowish highlights on the greyish green armored portions of the chest, shoulder, and back that look really good. It is a dappled effect, like sunlight is glinting off it. Parts of his body (including his face and the skin bordering his armored belly sections} have the appearance of scarred flesh. Golza's color is primarily a pleasant blue, which really makes him pop, even amond Ultra monsters. And the pearly white (or perhaps silver) bumps on his body are flawlessly painted. Sounds pretty good huh? Well, not 100%. 

There is one really glaring issue that knocks the score down quite a bit. Paint slop. There is a decent amount of paint slop on Golza which should NOT exist on a very pricey exclusive such as this. Particularly bad is the underside of the tail, where there are plain red splotches. His right main tusk is very sloppily colored, too. Does it ruin the figure? No, but it's an unnecessary slip-up that can't be overlooked.

Articulation (4/5): Golza's articulation is good but not excellent, mostly due to a surprising issue. Which is a shame because its very good in some areas. He has a ton of it btw: A ball jointed lower jaw, a ball jointed neck, a moveable muscle section under the armored sheath on his neck, Tamashii's trademark shifting ball joints in his shoulders, swivels at the spot where the shoulder armor meets his upper arm, double hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a ball jointed torso, shifting ball joints in his thighs (which are hindered by the design of the socket itself), double hinged knees, ball jointed ankles, a sheath that covers the joint connecting the tail to the body, and several ball jointed sections all the way down the tail. All of these points work very well, allowing a great many different poses.

I do have some issues with the articulation, specifically with the tail sections that are so loose they often fall out of the sockets under their own weight! It's aggravating to say the least. This looseness hinders the tail articulation too, because the sections constantly pop out! Another issue I have with my Golza's tail is that the fourth section down is permanently stuck off center. It refuses to be corrected and will snap right back into its off center position. Again, not an issue an expensive, high end exclusive should have.       

Accessories (4.5/5): Golza comes with a couple of great accessories that are nice and Golza specific. The first is a swap out forehead piece that depicts his beam weapon. The beam is molded in a translucent pink and looks great when it's backlit. The second accessory is the Gutswing II, one of the aircraft that G.U.T.S. (or the Gobal Unlimited Task Squad) uses to battle monsters. Gutswing II is nicely scaled with Golza, and very relevant to the character. It was present when the beast first rose from the ground after all. The model itself is nicely detailed for what it s... but it certainly isn't Bandai's best effort as far as paint and fine detail are concerned. I have one minor complaint: A stand should have been included so that the Gutswing II could be displayed flying. It seems odd that they didn't include one...

Watch out!! As I mentioned before, parts tend to fall off Golza. This is not a toy for young children. Not that I expect too many parents to purchase this rare and pricey piece of plastic for their children.

Overall (4.25/5): All in all, Golza is a very good figure and definitely worth the purchase if you're a huge fan of the character. More casual fans might want to skip it due to the ludicrous price tag. However, if you can find this figure for less than $100 shipped I highly recommend it. Despite some relatively minor flaws it is by far the best Golza figure on the market, if not one of the nicest kaiju figures in general.

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