BIG Toys Week: Rodan by Mattel

BIG Toys Week: Rodan by Mattel

I cap off this theme week with one of my absolute favorite BIG toys of all time, Rodan! Toho movies were a treat for me growing up, rarely playing on TV, I can vividly remember watching each one I did catch.

The weekly Godzilla cartoon and monthly Marvel comic were also enabling my love for Japanese Kaiju cinema. My single attempt to get a Mattel Godzilla toy was begging my parents to buy me one at Woolco.

It didn’t go over great.

Rodan was not released in Canada, so I was blissfully unaware of it. When I began toy collecting in high school, Godzilla and the Shogun Warriors were on my short list, basically I was fixing Santa’s mistakes.

 I started by visiting kids I grew up with and asking if they still had their toys, I got a lot of weird looks, I also got a lot of cool old toys. I eventually graduated to late night calls to the shadow network of dealers and collectors in the United States.

Everybody knew somebody and you’d get off the phone with one guy and have a new contact to call. One of them mentioned he had a Mattel Rodan, I probably swallowed my gum, I’d never heard of this toy, I NEEDED it.

So after some negotiation, at 17 years old, I had a Mattel Rodan hanging over my dresser mirror complete with a cigarette in his mouth and a pair of tiny sunglasses. I wish I had a picture of this.

He would be the first thing I saw every morning until college when I sold him for car money. It kind of stung to see him leave at that toy show…

Flash forward to 2007 when I encountered a great deal on a boxed Rodan, I snapped it up and put it on display. It was pretty magnificent, I’d hate to think what it would sell for now.

 But for some reason, it brought me little to no joy. I eventually sold it to a friend for a friend price, he still mentions it.

Later on, it dawned on me that sometimes “Mint in Box” isn’t as fun as loose. The Rodan I had as a teen didn’t have a box, heck he was missing his feet! So if I wanted a Rodan, it would have to be loose.

And here he is, my 3rd Rodan toy hanging with some of my childhood toys,  hung over my workspace, he’s often one of the first things I see every day (after my dog). He never fails to bring me joy.

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About The Author

AKA Brian Heiler author of "Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings" and co-editor of "Toy-Ventures Magazine". Co-Host of the "Pod Stallions" podcast. Host of the Brick Mantooth Youtube channel, painter, designer, writer, mental health advocate, toy collector, Mego, and Mego Knock-Off enthusiast. I have large feet, ADHD and I live in Canada. Talk toys, not others.


  • Grebo on May 11, 2018

    When I was 9 yrs old, my parents – in an effort to stave off an imminent divorce – moved the family from comfortable Souther Ontario (Canada) down to Florida to restart our lives. It was a miserable mistake which lasted only a year, and the only thing I could cling to during that time as a 9 year old kid was the toys. Being down South meant LOTS of new options I'd never seen in old Burlington – lots of exotic crap I'd only seen ads for on our local US TV stations in Canada (hello WUTV!). So yeah, Rodan was pretty top-of-the-list for me in 1980. I remember snagging him and some smaller metal Shogun Warriors at the Tampa Bay mall one summer day and that was basically when I learned what "retail therapy" was all about.
    Still have the son of a bitch somewhere in a box. He's fully intact, but I had to obvs. remove the rubber band holding those wings on. Someday he'll hang from the ceiling again, likely in the old-age home I'm rushing towards. Cheers!

  • Seventiesfan on May 11, 2018

    How right you are. "Mint in box" is no fun at all. It defeats the whole purpose of collecting. That is why ALL of my toys are loose and on display. I barely have enough room, but it's worth it. Absolutely everyone who has seen my collection is impressed by it. And I don't mind at all when someone takes an action figure off a shelf and starts playing with it. That's why toys were made.

  • Char Vell on May 12, 2018

    Great write up!
    I never had any of the big Shogun related toys. I acquired Great Mazinga from a friend who runs the local comic shop a few years ago, he had seller's remorse and often tried to buy it back. I held on to it, trying to convince myself I'd had it since childhood.
    Eventually, I traded it back to him for a first appearance of Deathlok I'd sold to him and regretted parting with, and a newer, smaller, diecast Mazinger Z figure from Japan.

    It's weird how goofy plastic toys that we'd bury in the sandbox take on such importance in our lives as we age.

    If only I could get a Mattel Eagle Transporter.


    • Anonymous on May 13, 2018

      I had a huge collection of mostly Batman that I sold to fund a tax bill, the mint in box thing is strange, the most fun I had with it was selling the stuff on ebay and then picturing the excitement at the other end of the deal!! – Mark J

  • Anonymous on May 14, 2018

    "Later on, it dawned on me that sometimes "Mint in Box" isn't as fun as loose."

    That's something many collectors many learn fairly late in life, especially for those "grail" items. It's so perfect, so mint, the collector becomes a curator of an untouchable museum piece rather than someone who can enjoy what he has.

    It's more than just toys in the literal sense, though Seventiesfan is entirely correct. It's any "collectible" originally meant to be used.

  • baby sprinkles on July 17, 2018

    Sorry , I was a Gamera fan but did like and own a few die cast Shogun Warriors .

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