Thursday, August 21, 2014

Import Monsters Review: NECA Godzilla 1994

by Justin

When NECA announced that it had acquired the rights to manufacture action figures based on the 2014 Godzilla film, fans went crazy.  What really shook the fandom up, however, was the announcement of the Godzilla Classics line.

Speculation was rampant, and people's imaginations ran wild with the possibilities.  What new Godzilla incarnations would we see?  Would Godzilla's enemies be made as well?  What exactly does "classic" entail?  The answer to these questions eventually came, and it was disappointing to some.  Not only was the first Classic figure going to be 1994's "done to death" Moge Goji, the prototype images were rather underwhelming:

Fortunately, San Diego Comic-Con 2014 brought a ray of hope:  What seemed to be an improved Godzilla 1994 prototype.  The body seemed to be proportioned a lot better and the face resembled Heisei Godzilla a lot more.
So how did the final product fare?  Read on and find out!

Package (1/5): 

The NECA Godzilla Classics packaging is rather uninspired, even for a typical NECA blister.  First off, the classics logo consists of a black, white and red cityscape with a Godzilla 1954 in the foreground.  So what's the issue?

It's the Bandai of America vinyl Godzilla 1954.  Really.  I actually can't wrap my head around how ridiculous it is that a toy company is using an image of a figure made by another company as their line's logo.  Even stranger, the Promo image of the 1994 figure is on the back of the package.

  And rather than listing the incarnation as "Godzilla 1994", NECA instead opted to use the name of the film Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla on the label.  But...  Why??  Overall, it all adds up to a rather bland and confusing affair.
I'm willing to bet that most people aren't in this for the package, though.  So on to the figure...
Sculpt (3.5/5):

NECA's Godzilla 1994 doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a stylized figure or a realistic one.  While the sculpt is nice and detailed, it takes certain liberties with the likeness that make it seem more like a generic Heisei Godzilla than the Moge Goji suit specifically. 

The most immediately noticeable thing is the tail, which could probably stand to be another 3 inches long and quite a bit thicker.  Moge Goji had an almost ridiculously large tail in the film.  The NECA 1994's tail is too stumpy to be screen accurate.

The dorsal plates look great with a realistic pitted. pebbly texture.  They could stand to be sharper, but I'm not expecting S.H. Monsterarts quality here.  NECA opted for distinctly reptilian scales for most of Godzilla's body, rather than the traditional scar-like grooves and rocky textures.

Godzilla's face is cat-like, and the rows of teeth are sharply sculpted in his mouth.  The look is rather menacing.  The head deviates somewhat from the film design in that it seems more like a stretched caricature than a portrait.  The top of the head is raised almost to a point, whereas the suit's head is flat.

The thighs of the figure are another area where some artistic license has been taken.  Rather than the squat, pudgy thighs seen in the film, the NECA Godzilla 1994 has thin, almost stretched out upper legs. 
Overall this figure has a good sculpt for the price point.  It's definitely not the most accurate Moge Goji out there, but it is nicely detailed.  It definitely resembles a Heisei Godzilla.  I'm just not sure it's Godzilla 1994.
Paint (2.5/5):
Other than the packaging, this is easily the weakest aspect of NECA's Godzilla 1994.  Not that there aren't nice things to point out:
The jaws, for example, are painted rather nicely (save a large paint rub visible at the back of the throat).  The teeth are distinct, and seem to be growing naturally out of the red gums.

The dorsal plates are painted a nice bone white on their outer edges.  This contrasts nicely with the black/charcoal grey of the center.
All throughout Godzilla's body, NECA saw fit to add green highlights.  Perhaps they thought the figure was too solid in color and needed depth.  Personally, I'm not sure how I feel about it.  It's not green enough to be a proper Art Adams Godzilla...  And yet it's too green to be considered a film accurate color scheme.  Also, it seems rather randomly splashed on.
Moving on to more odd choices, the toe and fingernails on this figure are painted light blue. 

What's more, both the finger and toenail applications are limited to the top of the nail.  The nail bottoms are unpainted!   

There are quite a few instances of paint slop on this figure, too.  Around the eyes, red is leaking from the edge, making it seem like Godzilla is in need of a swimming pool sized dose of Clear Eyes.  Down by the tail, there is misapplied white paint that makes the spines seem lopsided. 
Overall the paint job is a bit on the disappointing side.  If you get a chance to inspect your figure in store, I suggest you take it.
Articulation (5/5): 
The NECA Godzilla 1995 has stellar articulation. There are a good number of joints, and most offer an excellent range of motion.

First up is the head, which features a hinged jaw.  The hinge is nice and tight, and it allows the mouth to open extremely wide. This is a definite improvement over the Godzilla 2014.  The head is connected to the top of the torso by a ball jointed post.  This post is covered by a sleeve that makes up the entirety of the figure's neck.  This allows the head and neck to move in every direction in a way that looks natural.  Upward and downward motion is somewhat limited, however.  And the head has a tendency to pop off if strained to far in any direction.

Godzilla's arm articulation is awesome, in part due to an unusual joint system.  Connecting to the torso via a ball post, the shoulder section is then joined to the bicep/upper arm by an extra swivel hinge!  This extra point of articulation allows Godzilla 1994 to have an amazing range in his arms.  He's even able to wrap his arms across his thick chest!
Gestures such as cracking his knuckles can also be achieved, as the hands are able to be joined together.  This is also due in part to the excellent swivel/hinge joints in the elbows, which allow around ninety degrees of movement.                                    

Another unusual point of articulation are the hinged knuckle joints that exist independent of the ball post wrist.  These hinges really add a new level of expressiveness to an already expressive figure!  Godzilla can grasp weapons, grip enemies, and even pull off elaborate Kung Fu gestures!

Godzilla 1994's torso is connected via a ball post, and it has excellent range.  Also, it's set up so that there's not a huge gap between dorsal fins, even if he's leaning far forward!
Godzilla 1994's thighs are connected to the pelvis by a ball post joint.  The shifting joint allows the legs to be put in a multitude of different positions.  Sitting is possible, as are more unusual poses like kicks.  The knees are swivel hinges with great range, although they tend to look a bit odd when fully extended backward.  Godzilla's ankles are ball jointed, though they offer only standard movement. 

Finally, there's the tail.  As with the 2014 Godzilla it's half articulated and half bendable wire.  This is less than ideal, as wire tails have a tendency to break.  However, this particular wire tail seems to have exceptionally firm rubber, and works very smoothly with the articulated parts.  While I still wish it was jointed all the way through, I'm not entirely disappointed.

Overall the NECA Godzilla 1994 has fantastic articulation.  Is it the most articulated Moge Goji yet?  Well yes...  and no.  While it's certainly more poseable in a lot of areas than the S.H. Monsterarts Godzilla 1994, it loses out in the head/neck and tail regions.  If you're looking for an action hero Godzilla 1994, though, this one is unbeatable! 
Accessories (N/A): 
There are no accessories with this release. Not surprising, as it's a rather hefty, solid figure that's under $20.

Here's how the NECA Godzilla 1994 fits in with some of his Heisei co-stars:

  For nothing.
Overall (4/5):
While the first entry in NECA's Godzilla Classics line isn't going to revolutionize the hobby, it still has a lot going for it.

This figure has a nice sculpt and excellent articulation.  Sure, it has issues:   Paint slop, odd paint decisions, sculptural inaccuracies, and fer Chrissakes NECA, would ya drop the bendy tails already?  But the good definitely outweighs the bad here.  This is a really fun figure.

And it's a FAR better figure than the initial promo shots showed, too.  There were definite improvements between the initial prototype and the one shown at SDCC.  I love the fact that NECA seems to be taking fan feedback to heart, and actually making changes to lackluster prototypes. 

If you can get this guy for MSRP (around 18.99) he is worth every penny.  He'll be hitting Toys R' Us and other brick and mortar stores soon, and I'd recommend waiting until you spot him there.  That way you'll be able to pick out the best paint job in person(this should be a rule of thumb for NECA figures).


  1. Thank you for this thorough review! You helped me decide that I will be picking up this figure as soon as I see it in stores! After all, I want to support NECA for launching a super-articulated, DOMESTIC Godzilla series!

  2. Best review I've seen of any NECA Godzilla. Great job showing off the poseability.