Since the great resurgence of 1984, Godzilla fans and collectors (like myself) have had only a few offering annually , and the vast majority of those toys have been the Bandai vinyl figures. Dubbed “The Godzilla Collection”, it became a line of toys that, for the most part, satisfied that niche left cold and empty from years of growing up in the 1970’s, watching Saturday Matinees of Godzilla vs. Megalon, The Sea Monster, Mechagodzilla, well, you get the point.
As time has gone on, these offerings have sputtered to an almost non-existent drip. Aside from the rare and expensive garage kit, there only existed a dark and empty void.
Then emerged the little company that could – Y-MSF. Unlike other smaller action figure companies, this tiny operation got the Toho licenses, hired some talented sculptors, and did what no one else has been able or willing to do – Make cool Godzilla vinyl action figures. In the past year, we’ve gotten some of the most fan requested, empty shelf space filling, obscure characters from the Godzilla movies. Each figure has improved upon the last, with better paint apps, sharper sculpts, and faithful scales.
Recently, I had the chance to interview the owner and CEO of Y-MSF Toys, Fumiaki Kawakami, and I wanted to share with you all some insight in to the world of making these great figures. Without further delay, I present Mr. Kawakami.
Q: What is your full name and title at Y・MSF?
A: My full name is Fumiaki Kawakami.
I had 3 companies since 1977 so these companies have the name Yachiyo + ????( Yachiyo means happy)
Y = Yachiyo
M = Miho(my wife’s name)
S= Sakura(my dog’s name)
F= Fumiaki(my name)
Q: Clearly you are a Godzilla fan! What got you started making toys, and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
A: This is how it started……………
I like toys and think I want to get more good toys. So I ordered characters I wanted to be made as
Prototypes to the Prototype maker.
Why I made Godzilla soft dolls? Two Reasons:
Number One Reason:
I do not need to make toys and sell, just keep prototype for myself.
But Tempting toys (www.temptingtoys.net) owner Tony Preto is my friends we have been friends for 20 years, so I think if I will make Godzilla soft dolls, and sell to him, he can make new business.
Second Reason, if I will make the toys and sell it in the market, the prototype maker will be so happy.
When I made Hedora, Gabara and Megaron prototype 2003, I did not like Godzilla .
I liked Robot and other Figure than Godzilla.
You can see other lot of prototype from Y・MSF HP.
I like it now, because we have been making Godzilla toys for a long time now.
Q: You’ve made a lot of fans very happy with some of the characters you’ve produced (Gabara, Kumonga, Varan, etc.). Many of these figures have never been made before in the realistic style. Is this a main factor in your character selection decisions? What other factors do you use when you choose who to make?
A: Sometimes it was the decision of Tempting Toys owner Tony Preto . At first we thought to not make Godzilla because Bandai made Godzilla, so people want other characters. But many Japanese fans want bY・MSF Gozilla, so then we made it. Japanese collectors want Godzilla more than other characters, But American collectors want other than Godzilla. Anyways, if fans want to get many more kinds of characters, please buy Y・MSF Gozilla toys all each 2pieces.
Q: Is there one character you would love to make, but are unable to due to logistical or licensing issues?
Q: How many do you make of each figure?
A: I will make around 300 to 600 pieces of each character.
(Octopus and Sea Snake will be each 300 pieces)
Because I will Cut , assemble, and paint all of them myself, I cannot make too many.
If I asked the factory to do these steps, the cost would be too high! We manufacture in Japan directly, not China, so the quality is high, but the prices can be higher.
When I sold Gabara, Hedora and Megalon kits (unassembled and unpainted) for 1,000yen each in Japan, they sold out 300 pieces in one hour!
Also I got an offer from Diamond Select Toys. They want to do business with me, but I told,
I do not make lot and it is not my main business.
Q: Have you ever consider reissuing older, harder to find figures with updated paint schemes?
A: No. I am making a new Hedora prototype now. We will show it next month.
Also I have plans to make a new Gabara and Manda prototype. (Ed. Note: SWEET!)
A: My readers will kill me if I don’t ask this- for some years now, we have seen pictures of prototypes of Gaira & Sanda, the Gargantuas. When can we possibly hope to add these to our collections?
Q: I want make Gaira & Sanda but Japanese do not like as much as America ,so I could not make them yet. If somebody can buy 300 pieces each for 6,000 yen, I can make it.
Q: What is the best way to buy your products here in America?
A: Currently, Y・MSF toys are only sold at Tempting toys and Big Bad Toy Store.
Because Tempting toys owner Tony and Big Bad toys owner Joel are my friends.
So I want Business for my friends.
There you have it! I want to thank Fumiaki-San for taking time to answer these questions, and for providin these expclusive, world-premiere images of their upcoming products! I don’t know about you guys, but I found this little glimpse into the vinyl toy making world fascinating! Until next time, this is the Captain speaking, fasten your seat belts, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!