One of my earliest movie memories is of my mom tracking down pairs of 3D glasses for a special television broadcast of the 1933 King Kong. My guess is that this would have been around 1981, right after we moved to Georgia, but I can’t find anything about it online. The closest thing I saw is a 3D broadcast of Revenge of the Creature in 1982.
At the time this was a huge deal. Video stores and VHS rentals weren’t a thing yet and obviously it predated streaming and on demand, so everyone was sort of watching the same things and it was much easier to make something seem like an event. Our neighbor actually had sort of a mini party for people to go over there and watch.
I mostly remember waiting for King Kong to show up. If he wasn’t on screen, I was bored.
Since then I’ve seen lots of other movies about the giant ape, from the 1976 remake to King Kong vs. Godzilla to Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake. And, of course, 2017’s Kong: Skull Island. In general I like King Kong movies, but I don’t think I’d rank him in my personal top five movie monsters. He’s cool, but he’s still just a really big gorilla.
Licensing being what it is, today’s figure is not based on any of those movies. Or any movie at all.
This Mezco release is licensed through the estate of Merian C. Cooper, who created King Kong and directed and produced the 1933 film. There’s a very complicated story about how RKO got the rights to the movie Kong and cut Cooper out of the picture. Suffice it to say that this is, in my opinion, the most legit Kong license out there. You can check out the website here.
So if you’re wondering why this isn’t based on Legendary Pictures’ Kong or even the original movie Kong, it’s because Mezco went straight to the source.
I bought it because it’s a badass-looking giant ape toy. Was it worth monkeying around with? Read on and find out!
Mezco excels at creating packaging that makes their releases seem special. This Kong is no exception.
The box is made from heavy, sturdy cardboard that feels much nicer than what your standard retail releases come in. Most of the graphics and images are flat, with glossy logos. I always like that kind of design.
The front window is large and reveals the toy and accessories, but the plastic film used to protect the figure does obscure it somewhat. To be honest, if I hadn’t seen pictures online I might not have bothered looking at this too closely. An action figure with a forty dollar price point (or more in some places) really should be more visible.
Especially when that figure looks this good.
There is nothing to hide on this Kong. From the first glance the sculpt is tremendous, with a menacing profile and incredible detail. On top of that the paint is phenomenal, really highlighting all of the fine work put into the sculpt of the fur and even the skin.
This figure may not be based on the movie Kong, but you can practically see the fur shifting in glorious stop motion.
That beautifully sculpted fur presents a danger, though! While I was cracking the joints – a term I have never used before but like that means carefully moving tight or temporarily stuck joints on an action figure – I gouged a chunk of flesh out of my thumb. There are lots of pointy pieces of fur that overhang the jointed parts. It looks great and is a wonderful way to better blend the joints into the profile, but thanks to the rigid plastic they are ready to cut you to ribbons if you’re not careful.
In the end, though, it’s worth it for the look of the toy. It’s been two weeks and my thumb is almost completely healed.
Kong’s face is surly and menacing. The sculptors captured the sort of enhanced simian face perfectly. There’s a more-than-animal intelligence in those eyes. Somehow the folks at Mezco managed to convey “we’re cool, but if you come any closer I will tear your genitals off and eat them” in plastic.
The beast’s fleshier parts have a tough, aged look. The skin appears cracked and leathery, with actual scars across the giant’s chest. The base color of these portions is black, and there are washes of paint to bring out the detail.
I mentioned cracking the joints above and that’s definitely what you have to do here. Initially the figure seemed to have fairly limited range, but after I carefully manipulated each joint (and drew some blood), the chunky figure turned out to be pretty poseable. Pretty much all of those joints you see have a much deeper bend than you might expect, leaving this awesome ape with the ability to mimic just about any pose from the movie.
Not that he’s from the movie, of course.
Kong comes with an alternate head, three alternate hands, two wrist shackles, and a love interest.
The tiny little female figure is very well done. The face is about as finely detailed as you could expect and the sculpt is excellent. The figure is made of a soft plastic and is easy to get into any of Kong’s open hands. Somehow the sculptors managed to convey that old-timey, “My goodness I’m about to faint from terror” look.
The heads are mounted on a ball peg and take a little effort to switch out, but stay put once they’re on. The extra “enraged” head looks amazing. It has a deep open mouth that is absurdly well detailed and painted. I have a tendency to display my gorilla figures with angry heads, though, so I’m probably going to stick with the surly default head for this guy.
The hands are a bit trickier to switch out thanks to the pointy fur bits. Be careful. I gripped the arms around the wrists and carefully pushed his big mitts into place with the tips of my fingers. Don’t slip or you’ll lose some skin!
The extra hands are two fists and one hand that’s slightly more closed than the default hands. To be honest this one wasn’t necessary, as the regular hands can hold Hapless Lady just fine.
The shackles are absolutely fantastic. The cuffs are sturdy, rigid plastic. There’s a functional hinge with a metal pin with a clip on the other side to hold them closed. I recommend carefully opening these at the connection point rather than just yanking them open, especially the first time. They’re sturdy, but why take chances?
The cuffs fit perfectly around Kong’s beefy wrists and the Real Metal(!) chains dangle in a pleasing manner. There’s nothing like a toy with actual metal chains, whether it’s Vader’s cape clasp, Pinhead’s belt, or Junkyard Dog’s collar. There’s a quality that plastic simply can’t replicate.
The deco on the shackles is excellent, as well. The paint job makes them look metallic and aged, with little spots of rust in the right places.
This is a damn fine King Kong action figure and a must-have for fans of Kong or just ape toys in general. I recently had to pack up my monkey shelf, but having this guy makes me want to find space for it again.
Mezco is also releasing a massive 18” version of this guy. I would love to have it, but I’m trying to avoid buying giant toys that I don’t have room for. Especially when they’re $250.
I bought my Kong from Sidewalk Toys, located inside Odin’s Comics in Lilburn, GA.
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