Review: Aurora’s 1960s Godzilla Model Lives Again!

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While checking out my local hobby shop, I spotted a box I’d not seen for several years. It was Aurora’s Godzilla kit! The last time it popped up was back in 2000. It took another twenty years for a reissue, most likely due to Godzilla’s 65th birthday in 2020. So it was another two years before I finally spotted this bad boy on shelves. Glow-in-the-dark parts and all!

Here’s a little history of this specific model. The original version, sans glow-in-the-dark parts, was released by Aurora in 1963. When 1969 came around, the company reissued to kit with new “Frightening Lightning” parts. Unfortunately, Aurora went out of business in 1980. In the 1990s and to the present day, other companies have been reissuing many of Aurora Plastic’s kits, including Polar Lights, Moebius Models, Atlantis Models, and Monarch Models.

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Out of those four, Moebius has been my favorite. While they’re using the same molds with a few tweaks, Moebius tended to produce the cleaner kits with less excess plastic to trim away. Until today, I’d never seen an Atlantis kit in stores. So, let’s see what they have to offer.

Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

The box itself is worth saving, at the very least, for the 1969 artwork. Growing up with these kits, we knew that the kit would turn out just like how we saw it on the box before model-building skills were advanced. Don’t give me a glow-in-the-dark gimmick, and expect me to ruin it with paint!

Even the instructions feel straight out of the ’60s. Odds are these illustrations are from the original guide. They’re hand-drawn, simple, and impossible to screw up.

Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

The kit was loose, with several items already free from the sprues. However, all of the glow parts were intact. No parts were broken, but, oddly, so many pieces of the King of the Monsters had come loose when there was no evidence of damage to the box.

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Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

Reissues of these 50+-year-old kits are loaded with good and bad qualities. So, on the one hand, we get to see exactly what everyone else got to build half a century ago. But, on the other hand, very little has been done to fix issues common with these older molds. Whether it’s issues with significant gaps in the seams or parts that poorly fit together, they’re all there for advanced model builders to fix. So for this review, we’re putting this thing together as-is without applying any putty or paint to correct the problems.

We see most of these issues with the tail section and the top of Godzilla’s head. There’s a massive gap between his tail and body, while there’s also a size issue between the top and bottom of the tail sections. This could be an issue with warping due to the difference in the materials used for the green parts and glowing pieces.

Luckily the gap on the tail is hard to see once Godzilla is placed on the base. However, the seam on the top of his head is more noticeable. Even when clamped and glued, this seam would still separate.

Mike Phalin

The rest of the body is pretty sturdy in design. The connections at his shoulders and hips are angled, allowing for a tighter fit and a more stable structure when standing on his own two feet. We did have to tape certain parts together to make sure that the fit was as tight as possible.

Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

There was an issue with the molding on the left leg. During the injection process, one of the two parts for this leg didn’t get enough plastic, leaving a bowed portion in the leg. This left a 1/16″ gap in the seam that we couldn’t fix without the use of putty. Since we wanted to assemble this straight out of the box with no extra steps, we attempted to clamp it with tape, but to no avail.

While not super detailed, the base gets the job done when showing just how much destruction Godzilla can leave in his wake. Unfortunately, the larger cityscape section was a bit warped, making it challenging to keep the two areas together while the glue dried. An easy solution would be to heat these parts and bend some more skewed building sections back into position. However, it would be hard to tell there was an error considering how much wreckage is in this scene.

Godzilla’s feet slot into the base thanks to two different sized pegs in his feet. The base isn’t very thick, but we had no issue getting the beast to stand independently with only a tiny bit of glue.

Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

Assembly, with minor trimming and quick fixes, takes about 90 minutes. When Godzilla is put together, he brings back many memories of taking those first steps into model building.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a snap kit, so you will have to choose between the solid green or glowly bits during the building process. You won’t be able to swap out the fins after he’s put together. The hands, head, and feet can be swapped out because they stay more or less in place without glue.

Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin
Mike Phalin

I’m very pleased with this old Aurora kit as a throwback display piece. The various problems common with these retro kits are easily fixable with a few common materials, but for a quick project, it’s fun.

We picked this model kit up from ME Hobbies. Depending on your local or online retailer, he’ll set you back between $35-$40.


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