Originally published May 25, 2006, at GJSentinel.com.
Thanks to “kiryu” and “raydrz” for the suggested questions.
Inspired by the original, 1954 movie “Godzilla”
• Produced by T’s Facto
• Sculpted by Takashi Yamawaki, popularly known as “T”, who also painted the piece pictured
• About 15.75 inches tall
• 51 parts (see below for a breakdown)
• Made of resin
• Price: 29,000 yen (about $260 U.S.)
• Shipping to the United States would cost about $37
• Scheduled for release in June
Frankly, the giant-monster (kaiju) movies from Japan are often pretty cheesy stuff. People dressed in rubber costumes stomp on neat scale-model buildings and fight each other. The best I’ve seen of them are fun and have some wonderful moments; only the very worst are so bad you can’t enjoy them at least a little.
Model kits based on this material are often some of the most dazzling you’ll see, and this week’s subject – “Godzilla Ghost” from T’s Facto – is the latest to floor me, coming from a sculptor whose works often make me wonder just how much I want to overheat my credit card on my hobby.
Full-time sculptor and kit seller “T” (Takashi Yamawaki) is 38 years old, unmarried, and lives inSaitama prefecture, just next to Tokyo. His mastery of written English is wonderful, judging by our e-mail exchange, which is great because I couldn’t have written this entry based on my nonexistent skill with the Japanese language. For the record, I had to do some minor editing in the Q&A exchange below, but not as much as I’ve had to do with some native English speakers in more than 15 years of newspaper experience.
“T” says he worked at International Hotel as a bartender in Singapore from the ages of 20 to 35 and learned English from his Chinese girlfriend. He moved on to sculpting three years ago.
Q&A WITH TAKASHI YAMAWAKI, A.K.A. “T”
Resin the Barbarian: This kit represents Godzilla at the end of the first movie, when he is destroyed underwater. As I recall, the skeleton is not clearly seen in the film. What did you use as reference material?
“T”: There was a movie in 2002, “Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla.” “The Monsters Inc.,” which is a sculpting team, made the skeleton model for this movie. I have a reference book of this movie. I used it.
RtB: Where did you learn how to sculpt?
“T”: I did not learn how to sculpt from anybody. Self -education.
RtB: What inspired you to get involved with sculpting kaiju model kits?
“T”: I have a pet monkey which is very small. I bought a vinyl Godzilla toy and put it in the monkey’s cage. But it had terrible looks and poor painting. So I fixed it. Repainted, remolded…
That was the beginning. Since that happened , I started to buy the kaiju model kits and fix fix fix. Then finally, I wanted to sculpt by myself.
“T”: My favorite kaiju movie is the 1954 “Godzilla.” This is the best! Very artistic movie. And also I love“Gamera 1999.”
RtB: What is your favorite character to sculpt?
“T”: I like to sculpt Godzilla but don’t want to make it ordinary. I love to make it spikey and really look evil.
RtB: What inspired you to revisit the subject of the Godzilla skeleton, after having already released a smaller version?
“T”: After the smaller version sold out , I had so many requests to resell it. But I do not have a master form to fix the silicone. Since that time, I had a plan for this big version. And it should be the 1954 G Skeleton. I want them to believe that it is still standing.
RtB: How do you feel about the latest Godzilla movie, “Final Wars”? Do you think the lack of new material will affect the popularity of kaiju kits and future releases?
“T”: Well , I think that was OK for the kids. When I was a kid, I was always so happy to see the G movie. But for adults , I believe they had same answer which I have now. We grew up and think, “The old G movie was better than the new one.”
I think a new Godzilla movie will come up someday. And then the latest one will become popular like as usual. The same thing will happen for the kaiju kits.
Finally, I’ll tell you that my next release kit will be G vs ? from “Final Wars”!