If you came up with a formula of what constituted a 1960s-70s “monster kid” — one of the key building blocks of geeky fandom — it might consist of one part classic Universal monsters, one part Godzilla and three or four parts Ray Harryhausen creatures.
That’s the stuff people grew up on, in movie theaters and especially on television, during that period. We watched Harryhausen monsters, sculpted Harryhausen monsters, imitated Harryhausen monsters. Some of us wanted to be future Harryhausens. Hell, some of us just wanted to be Harryhausen monsters.
So when Harryhausen died on May 7 at the age of 92, it was suddenly Ray Harryhausen Day on Facebook, with every Harryhausen monster kid coming out of the woodwork. Just as it was with the late Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, Harryhausen’s indelible characters were toys come to life: Cyclops, centaurs, dragons, harpies, skeleton warriors, alien monsters and living statues — readymade to do battle with human heroes and each other. Yet these iconic creatures rarely generated toys or models in their day (only 1981’s Clash of the Titans got a short-lived toy line). But models, statues and toys started turning up in the late 1980s, well after Harryhausen stopped making movies, and manufacturers are still turning them out — if you can find them.
Prices reflect current (estimated) collector values.
Billiken Rhedosaurus Model
Japan’s Billiken company was one of the first “garage kit” companies to work in vinyl, making its kits lightweight and easy to build, but a little soft on detail. The Rhedosaurus hails from Harryhausen’s first solo film, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Lighthouse not included.
X-Plus Ymir Action Figure
Japanese company X-Plus made a whole series of Harryhausen action figures (in 8″ and 12″ sizes), statues and “chess set” figurines in a series that covered almost all of Harryhausen’s characters. The 12″ size Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth featured a hypothetical color scheme for the creature, since the original movie was shot in black-and-white.
X-Plus Dragon Action Figure
To recreate the awesome Cyclops vs. Dragon fight at the end of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, you needed the 12″ scale dragon — which was actually almost 2′ long. These figures were actually only a little bit smaller than Harryhausen’s own animation models used during filming.
X-Plus Cyclops Action Figure
Perhaps Harryhausen’s most distinctive and famous monster, the 12″ Cyclops from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad featured 10 swiveling joints, including an opening and closing mouth.
Kaiyodo Gwangi Model
This is a rare, late ’80s vinyl model of the allosaurus from The Valley of Gwangi — this was one of the first decent-sized models of the character, and still one of the coolest vinyl kits ever produced. $90
MIM Talos Model
Monsters in Motion produced a line of large, resin Harryhausen kits around 1999. This 11″ release reproduces the scene of giant statue Talos about to upend the Argonaut in Jason and the Argonauts.
MIM Kali Model
This Monsters in Motion kit is an impressive reproduction of the six-armed statue of Kali from The Golden Voyage of Sinbad; the swords are made of white metal.
Geometric Medusa Model
Geometric produced some killer Harryhausen kits around 1994,
including this amazing model of the Medusa from Clash of the Titans — arguably Harryhausen’s finest animation sequence. The 12″ scale size and dynamic pose make this one of the coolest Harryhausen collectibles.
X-Plus Cephalopod Statue
This is one of the beautiful X-Plus “chess piece” statuettes of the nautiloid creature from Mysterious Island — includes teeny-weeny Captain Nemo.
X-Plus Hydra Statue
The Hydra (guarding the Golden Fleece) from Jason and the Argonauts was reportedly one of the toughest creatures Harryhausen ever had to animate, because he had to keep track of all seven heads and the directions they were moving in.
X-Plus Table Ymir Statue
This X-Plus chess piece statuette features the 20 Million Miles to Earth Ymir about to tear loose from his Frankenstein-like electricity table and wreak havoc.
Kaiyodo Revoltech Skeleton Warrior
These intricate reproductions of the army of the dead from Jason and the Argonauts came with multiple weapons (and hands to hold them), shield variants and additional, partial skeletons, meaning if you bought three you could almost re-create the entire attack group that takes on Jason and his men in the film. And thanks to their “revoltech” revolving ball and socket joints, you could pose them in any position, just as Ray did.