Saturday, July 12, 2014

S.H. MonsterArts Battra & Mothra (Larva) Review

Before Tamashii Nation's announcement of SHMA Godzilla 2014, the Battra & Mothra web exclusive set was certainly my most anticipated figure releases this year. I found the larval stages of these Daikaiju more interesting then their evolved adult forms. The reason is Ghidorah: The Three Headed Monster was the first Godzilla film I watched when I was a kid, and I've been fond of those pre-evolved forms ever since. Battra & Mothra are the second web exclusive set of 2014. Both daikaiju were featured in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992).


Tamashii Nation's attempt to recreate Mothra in a (super articulated) figure form boasts both good and bad qualities, but mostly well. Mothra has all of the common traits seen before such as the symmetrical segments that decreases in size till the tip of her tail, flaps, dents, creases, bristles, suction grips, mandibles, two antennas, and tiny legs.

Tamashii Nations kicked the design up a notch by including layers of sculpted muscle tissue in between each body segment, whose purpose is to not only give some slack for articulation, but also be screen accurate.

The paint job is where Mothra's issue comes from. Her entire body is tan with some brown shadowing and blue eyes. This combination does work, but Tamashii Nations went a little too crazy with the brown paint, especially around Mothra's face. She looks like she's gone through a mud bath during her quest.

Mothra's articulation is as simple as it seems. Her mouth can open/close as you wish and the segmented body curls to any direction/shape she is allowed to. The segments aren't rigged with tight joints. Each part of the body rather dangles on one another and contours, like an accordion, due to gravity or human hands. Yet, the figure doesn't appear to be flimsy or brittle at all.

Included with Mothra is her own web shooting effect and stand.  The web piece is one long, thin piece of molded plastic. The beam has a nice bumpy texture, complete with a nice cloudy white paint on top of that. This effect pegs into Mothra's mouth with ease, and is really secure after installation.

Mothra's clear stand simply allows her to raise her head up as she shoots her web at a much taller opponent, like Godzilla. With much amusement though, Mothra's web beam doesn't strike Godzilla square in the face, and instead propels over his head entirely. Perhaps, the retooled "Adult Jr." would be in better scale with this?


It's safe to say Battra is the main draw here. Most collector's haven't seen that many figures of this daikaiju since Bandai in 1992 and vinyl model companies that followed, whose products are even harder to find. Tamashii Nations nailed this figure down with close perfection.

The thorny and bumpy exterior establishes how evil and aggressive Battra was initially. The prehistoric body is also covered in lots of wrinkles and armored plates, which basically means this bug can take a beating as much as he could dish out.

The best and most favorite details are in Battra's eyes, which is a pair of transparent red plastic lens with carbon shaped reflectors seen behind them. Those eyes certainly reminisce of flies and other bugs that have this feature.

Battra comes in two tones of grey to make those wrinkles pop more, topped with yellow streaks running from the face down to the body. The tusks, mandibles, and feet are yellow blended with a lighter bronze gradient. One minor gripe with the paint job is the heavy coat of yellow on two of Battra's feet, which is likely a manufacturing error.

The horn on his head is a transparent yellow plastic blended into orange then grey paint. A streak of red spans from the top of Battra's head down to his tail. There are also red dots along the sides of Battra's body. The glossy coat of those (red) dots and streaks seem a little off when compared to the matte finish that the other colors have.

Although Battra lacks an accessory, the amount of articulation included is quite satisfying. Battra's segmented body allows the user to arc and curve his body to a certain degree. The front half of Battra's body can even twist at an angle, while the two front feet are able to move around due to ball joints. These capabilities allowed Battra to show off different types of crawling poses.

Battra's head tilting design is quite interesting. The back of Battra's head contains a flap that conceals an extra segment of his body, which fills in the gap every time he leans forward. Battra's mouth also opens and closes, but be careful when doing so. Any misuse will break those thin antennas.

Figure Specs

Size Comparison


For two larval monsters that essentially didn't have much to work with initially, Tamashii Nations did their best to make these figures as animated as possible. Both figures are kind of limited in their movement, but they can curl, tilt, and arc their bodies in a satisfying attempt to bring these kaiju to life. With that said, this set can still satisfy fans of super-articulated toys and consumers, who are only interested in keeping their figures in movie accurate neutral stances. In the end, anyone who really wanted to see Mothra and Battra receive the S.H. MonsterArts makeover, will be quite pleased.

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