I've recently gotten into collecting designer vinyl/ art toys-- specifically kaiju. Kaiju is a Japanese word that means "mysterious beast." Basically it's almost any kind of monster toy either made by the Japanese or made in the style of the Japanese. Kaiju toys are notoriously expensive, in part due to the high quality of the materials used and partly due to the fact that much of the production is a very hands-on process for the artists who make them. For whatever reason, the smaller figures tend to start off in the 40 dollar range.
When I first saw toys made by artist Mori Katsura of RealXHead, I fell in LOVE. These things are freakin' AWESOME! He's been making them for just a few years, and the runs on these guys are extremely low. The figures are hand painted by kaiju vinyl legend Goto-san. He's been working in the industry since the monster boom of the late 60's. So each piece of RealXHead vinyl has been painted by an artist who was into vinyl before I was in the world. I have a LOT of respect for that kind of track record!
RealXHead pieces are works of art, and they are priced accordingly. The smaller figures which stand at 3 inches tall run around $40. The bigger 6-7 inch figures go for $60-$70. WAAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone.
But then came Black Friday. Thursday night my friend Spencer and I sat up talking on the phone until 3 am when Super7, a pretty cool and pretty expensive designer toy store, was having its Black Friday sale. They had advertized discounts up to 75% off of retail prices. I saw a few RealXHead pieces on the sale page, so I knew it was then or never for trying these guys out.
I snagged the large-scale figure Vader Grow (I have seen the same figure called "Vader Glow" and "Beider Grow" on different sites, but I'll stick with Vader Grow). His retail price, as marked on the package, was $65. I managed to get him for $19.50. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Yeah!
Amazingly, when I got home from town today the package was waiting for me. Super7 is fast like a ninja on acid!!! That's one notch in their column!
Well? What do I think of the figure now that it's in my hands? Read on:
Who wouldn't love a grin like that?
Vader Grow comes bagged with a header card just like many traditional kaiju toys are packaged. I wish I could read Japanese. As far as I know that title says, "HA! I ATE YOUR BABY!"
I actually think it says "I'M AWESOME!"
Notice the $65.00 sticker there? Yeah... I didn't pay that. :)
This sucker is HUGE. I mean H-U-G-E, huge. He stands 7 inches tall at the tippy top of his lil' horn there. He's only articulated at the neck and shoulders, but that's to be expected-- traditionally kaiju toys are more about the sculpt and the paint job than the articulation. Even with only 3 points of articulation he's expressive as heck! Look at the head tilt there on that guy! He's got attitude!
I hope my pics do the amazing paint job here service... I can't begin to describe the depth that the different layers of paint give this guy. He has a great sculpt, but the paint just kills me! It's a black vinyl figure who was painted green and then wiped partially clean leaving green details in the crevices. Then there are airbrush sprays of metallic blue, gold, silver, green, and red. On top of that there are red details in the eyes added by brush. It all adds up to one impressive looking evil little guy!
Look at those crazy details. He looks like some kind of Japanese demon who has been taken over by an alien disease or something. I love how he looks like two totally different characters from different side views. He's SUPER sturdy, and the vinyl is very high quality stuff-- this isn't floppy soft vinyl like dog chew toys. It's rigid enough to hold a great shape and details, but soft enough to bend a bit with stress.
Here he is with some other vinyl toys and a Glyos figure so you can see the size difference. He's just a massive guy, and he's about as wide as he is tall!
The Armodoc from Onell Design looks perfect next to this guy! I've seen that the figures' arms and heads are interchangeable with the Armodoc, but I haven't tried it yet. I think I'll leave that for another day!
So this is a pretty kick-butt figure, and I'm officially in love with the designs from RealXHead. I'll still keep my spending under 20 bucks, but that doesn't mean I have to go without cool stuff like Vader Grow here-- I just have to look hard for sales and auctions!
The best part? The sale is still going on! You can snag several of the mini figures for 12 bucks each and some of the large-sized figures are still under 20 bucks each! Head on over to the sales page and check it out!