Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bemon!

    Well, you've seen a few of my drawings of him and he has starred in my fantastic Celga story, so I figure it's time to write about the figure itself.

    I don't know a lot of the background of this guy, although from what I have read the figure is actually called KOUGAI KAIJU (something like Pollution Monster... how original) and that the company that maes him is called Bemon. I think Bemon is a bit easier, so until I find something else by the company, I will stick with it.
    I have had to just piece together information from old message board posts, but I am trying to learn more.

    This figure is known for its super low production numbers (often 30 or less figures per run) and super crazy paint schemes. Many of the first runs of these were handpainted. With the free flowing sculpt and hand applied paint (that evidently would often be clumpy and textured), the Bemon Pollution Monster has a great do-it-yourself feel and sort of a punk rock feel. 
    You can see some photos below that I swiped from kaiju-taro.com that really shows the variety that comes with these pieces. Take into account that many are also hand painted, and you really find yourself with what are essentially one of a kind figures. I have seen a lot of photos of these, and I really haven't seen two that look exactly the same.. 

    There are screen printed headers and inserts that come with these that really add to the DIY feel of this toy as well. Very cool if you are into that sort of thing. It's like the zines your buddies (or you) used to make on the library copier way back then. I stole the header photo above from kaiju-taro.com as well. It looks a little more impressive than the one that came with my Bemon.



    The Bemon Pollution monster evidently was at least dreamed of by the company IKB back in the 70s. He appeared on the header of the original Smogun (see below), but was never made into a figure until recently by a completely different company. Since The original Smogun has been reproduced this year, let's hope an old school Bemon might come out looking a little different. Kogai Kaiju version 2.0??

      

    Sculpt (4.5 out of 5): With the free style of this figure, I think rating the sculpt is very subjective. What I find appealing here, many people would not like at all. 

    Technically, the sculpt is fine. Since there are no feet and just a wide, flat base the figure is well balanced and very stable. The arms and head are very well connected... don't feel loose at all.

    Aesthetically I think the Bemon is fantastic. I started my kaiju obsession with Hedorah figures... the original pollution monster, and many companies have taken their artistic liberties with the Hedorah form. From there there were bootleg versions of this style of character... large slimy piles of goop all intent on polluting the world! I really like the almost expressionist style of these and the Bemon sculpts. There are chunks and bumps and it all flows together in a Jabba the Hutt style pile. This lumpy surface is highlighted by the smokestacks on the top of the head, the drainage pipes on the back of the head, and the ribbed, worm-like arms. 

    It is sculpted from clear blue vinyl which really adds to the appearance I think. Like the Gogamezilla I discussed in my last post, the clear vinyl makes for some great photographs.

    Paint (3.5 out of 5): This particular figure has a pretty simple paint job, hence the lower score. The lower score does not speak for how well this paint works for the figure. I am comparing it to other Bemons I have seen (especially hand painted ones) with insane paint details and wild application. 

    Technically speaking, the paint on this figure is great and works very well with the clear vinyl. The application is smooth and as even as expected.

    Less is more here. The bright red paint adds to the sculpt, and it is very interesting how it divides the face into two - giving almost a positive/negative image of the two sides. For instance, you'll see that one eye is red with a blue pupil and the other is blue with a red pupil. It's a cool effect I think. And on the back the paint just runs down the back as the polluted sludge seems to ooze out. There is even a glossy blue mixed in back here to add highlight down the back.

    Coolness (4.5 out of 5): Like the Gogamezilla also, this is one of my favorites. It is so unique and also a focal point in the collection. And like the Goga as well, I lowered the score just a bit because I have seen some truly awesome Bemons out there thanks to the crazy paints which I think would be the coolest if only they were hanging out in my Detolf as well!

    Value (2 out of 5): Ouch. Thanks to the low production numbers, hand applied paints (for many) and underground popularity of these, the price for most people is going to be pretty high. At retail, these would be on par with many similarly sized and numbered kaiju, but to find a painted one out there on the secondhand market, expect to pay quite a bit for hand paints and probably less for factory paints or unpainted figures (but still a heft chunk of change.) It's a pricey addition if bought from another collector.

    Overall (4.5 out of 5)
    Positives: It's clear, it's a hideous mess, essentially a one-of-a-kind piece, punk rock homemade style

    Negatives: Pricey and tough to find.

    The Bemon is another figure I never saw myself obtaining first due to disinterest then due to scarcity, but when I came across one from a fellow message boarder, I had to take the dive and see what the hype was about. I'm very happy that I did. Toys like this have really changed the direction of my collection to both vintage and unique, underground style pieces. 


Post Title

Bemon!


Post URL

http://ohjustinbiebier.blogspot.com/2007/08/bemon.html


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