Yesterday was great day for two reasons. First, because it was Godzilla’s 65th Birthday! And second, something awesome happened for me because of others. Yesterday, I became a very little part of Godzilla history! Several months ago, I became an official freelance Godzilla toy photographer for X-Plus! I owe a debt of gratitude to Akihiko “Gee” Okamoto and the team at X-Plus for this amazing opportunity and dream. I have a special thanks friend and brother Jeremy Soles of Summit Kaiju International who made it happen on my behalf. My first project in collaboration with Jeremy was to create the MechaGodzilla box art for the release of the X-Plus Toho Daikaiju Series MechaGodzilla Soft Vinyl Assembly Kit (エクスプラス 少年リック 東宝大怪獣シリーズ メカゴジラ ソフビ組立キット) during Godzilla Festival 2019 (November 3) in Tokyo. The art was approved by Toho Co. Ltd. several months ago and the wait for its release on Godzilla Day had begun. The art now the property of Toho to use as they see fit. I cannot believe this has happened!
It has been an honor and privilege to create official Godzilla toy photography. Joy and elation are overflowing and overwhelming. The box art was posted on the Godzilla Store promotional website for Godzilla’s 65th Anniversary, printed marketing print material, shown on the Godzilla Festival map, and displayed on large signs used in Godzilla Square.
Yesterday, Godzilla collectors carried flyers and used their mobile phones to find this figure.
As I woke this morning and scrolled through my twitter feed, I was happy to see Japanese Godzilla fans posting their MechaGodzilla model kits, especially along with their other purchases.
In creating this image, I drew inspiration from the beautiful Yuji Kaida box art for the classic Bandai “The 特撮 Collection” model kits. His illustrations have defined Godzilla and MechaGodzilla for generations. I also was guided by the classic Aurora model kit box art. This X-Plus series of model kits was created by Gee-san because of his love for those kits and box art. Growing up, I saw Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla through the eyes of Basil Gogos who illustrated the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland issue 135, with the words “Godzilla vs Bionic Monster” across the cover. That issue was my first encounter with MechaGodzilla. I can’t believe that I was part of making official MechaGodzilla art.
I love MechaGodzilla. I saw Godzilla vs MechaGodzilla (my favorite Showa film) on TV in 1978 at the age of ten. My very first Bandai figure was MechaGodzilla. I purchased from my favorite local toy shop Rocketships & Accessories in 1984. MechaGodzilla means so much to me. It was a great honor to create a representation of MechaGodzilla, designed by Akihito Iguchi, to future generations of collectors. Thank you, X-Plus and Summit Kaiju, for giving me a small but significant place in Godzilla history and thank you for making my dream come true.