#1840: Creature From the Black Lagoon & The Wolf Man

BLACK AND WHITE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON & THE WOLF MAN

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

It’s Halloween, and I’m desperately trying to avoid opening yet another Halloween review with “Ooooo!  Aaaaah!  Scary!” lest I become some sort of cartoonish caricature of myself.  I have to hold to what little remains of my dignity, right?

On three of the five Halloweens for which I’ve written a review, I’ve focused on Diamond Select Toys’ ill-fated Universal Monsters Minimates.  It was a bold line, certainly well-received by the Minimates fanbase, but unfortunately hurdled by DST’s attempt to keep it a seasonal offering, thereby sentencing it to disappear from the public radar for about eight months out of every year.  Today, I’m setting my sights back on the first of the line’s three-year run, with a double offering of both The Wolf Man and The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Each year of Universal Monsters Minimates focused on two entries in the Universal Monsters catalogue.  2010, the debut year, chose Universal’s two most prominent in-house properties.  Specialty stores got two boxed sets, one based on each movie, while Toys R Us got an assortment of four two-packs.  Three of the packs were just re-packs of the boxed sets, with the fourth set being the TRU-exclusive re-colors of the main monsters in black and white.  That’s the set I’m looking at today.

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

The Creature from the Black Lagoon was originally released by Universal pictures in 3D in 1954. Before the days of high definition color movies, the cinematographer and lighting crew had to work much harder to convey emotion and detail in their subjects. This paint variation attempts to pay homage to those past masters.”

I have a confession to make: I’ve never made it all the way through the original Creature movie.  I’ve tried, but it just never grabbed me the same way as the others.  I did, however, love Del Toro’s throw-back to it in The Shape of Water, so maybe I just needed a take with a little bit romancing?  The Gill-Man’s rather distinctive design made him one of the more complicated translations to Minimate form.  He’s built on the usual body, but gets new hands and feet, as well as a head piece and a chest cap.  Its success in capturing the design from the film is kind of mixed.  There’s no denying that a lot of effort was put into these parts, and the detail work is definitely top-notch.  In fact, I’d say the hands, feet, and even the torso cap, do their job pretty well.  The biggest failing, really, is the head piece.  If they were willing to do fully molded pieces, I think the Creature was definitely a design that should have gotten one.  In the movie, its all one slick piece; here it looks like he’s wearing some really goofy headgear.  The paintwork is respectable.  Obviously, it’s monochromatic, but that’s kinda the point.  The subtle detailing of his scales on his arms and legs works surprisingly well, and his face is as decent a rendition as we could have hoped fore.  The one slight drag is how dull the black detail lines are; these sets were produced during one of the worst periods of time for QC on Minimates, and while this pairing mostly escapes unscathed, this is the one lingering sign.

THE WOLF MAN

The Wolf Man was originally released by Universal pictures in 1941 and was actually the second Wolfman picture they released. Before the days of high definition color movies, the cinematographer and lighting crew had to work much harder to convey emotion and detail in their subjects. This paint variation attempts to pay homage to those past masters.”

Man, there was some serious copy-pasting going on for those bios, wasn’t there?  I guess after writing three bios each for these guys, even DST was at a bit of a loss for words.  I’m more familiar with The Wolf Man than I am Creature.  It’s still not my favorite of the Universal stable, but I can at least appreciate it for what it is, and I do like the main Wolf Man design.  His slightly more humanoid appearance does lend itself slightly better to the Minimate style.  He still gets a unique set of hands and feet, as well as a full-mask cover for his head.  The hands and feet are respectable pieces, and have seen plenty of subsequent re-use. The head-piece…less so.  While they didn’t give Gill-Man his own head, Larry Talbot apparently warranted one, despite the fact that a hair-piece seems it would be far more appropriate here, since there’s a clear distinction between hair and face.  What’s more, the choice of a slip-cover mask instead of a fully-sculpted head is another baffling one, as none of the three versions of the Wolf Man available has anything but a blank head beneath it.  So many questions, and no real answers.  The paintwork on Larry is okay for the most part.  The details on the body look fine enough, though that shirt seems a fair bit on the light side for what we see on-screen.  The face/hair also doesn’t feel quite right; a number of people have commented that he gives off more of a Teen Wolf-vibe than a Wolf Man one.  He’s packed with Larry’s wolf-headed cane, and while I’m hardly one to complain about extra pieces, I’m not certain what he’s supposed to do with it without any sort of alternate Larry pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was excited by the prospect of Universal Monsters Minimates when they were first shown off, but I’ll admit that after waiting the better part of a year for the actual product, and then finding out that the first two offerings were both films lower on my list of wants, my general interest cooled a bit.  It didn’t help that both boxed sets included unnecessary variants of the main monsters, and the civilians weren’t much to write home about.  So, I ultimately only picked up this one set, as it allowed me the opportunity to get the main monsters without any of the excess.  Neither of these two is really winning material.  The sets that followed definitely out-paced these greatly, but I think the line as a whole was always kind of stunted by the soft opening assortment and the long wait to see if anything better came of it.

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#1470: Frankenstein’s Monster

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS REACTION FIGURES (FUNKO)

Oooooooooooo!  Spoooooky!  Scaaaaaaarry!  Is that good?  Have I conveyed enough of the Halloween spirit?  No?  Well, fair enough.  How about I review something a little bit Halloween-y, then, shall I?  Now, I know I usually review some slightly spooky Minimates around this time of year, but this year I’ve decided to be a little different.  I’m still sticking with the general Universal Monsters theme I like oh so much, but this time I’m setting my sights on one of Funko’s ReAction Figures, specifically Frankenstein’s Monster!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Frankenstein’s Monster was one of the four figures in the first series of Universal Monsters ReAction Figures, which hit in late 2014, just in time for the Halloween season.  Good ol’ Frankie  looks to be most closely based on his appearance from the first Frankenstein film, albeit a colorized version of what we see on the screen.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall (he was amongst the tallest of the set) and he has 5 points of articulation.  Lack of articulation is generally pretty restrictive for most characters, but for Frankenstein’s Monster, it’s actually not bad, since it’s enough to get all of his usual poses done.  The sculpt is actually pretty decent.  I found the Universal Monsters to be when Funko really started to come into their own with the ReAction style.  It helps that this sort of property more generally lends itself to this style of figure, resulting in figures that are a bit more genuine looking than, say, Firefly ReAction Figures.  Frankie still has some of the tell-tale signs of an early ReAction Figure, notably the slightly flatter torso, but it’s far less noticeable on him, since he’s supposed to be stiff and squared off to begin with.  The detail work could possibly stand to be a little sharper, especially on the head, but there’s still a lot of solid work, and he certainly doesn’t look unfinished or anything.  In terms of paint, this guy’s a little on the dull side, but that’s to be expected.  He is based on a black and white film, after all.  He follows Sideshow’s model for the basic color scheme, with a green jacket a greenish-grey skin.  The different color to the jacket helps to add a little bit more diversity to the palette, which is definitely for the best.  The Monster included no accessories, which is a little sad, but also excusable.  There’s not a ton you can give him, really.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the ReAction stuff first started hitting, I fully intended to get a bunch of it.  And then I bought a handful of it, and thought better of investing too much of my time in the line.  Not that I hated any of the figures I bought, but the line was certainly flawed.  So, I mostly missed the Monsters line.  I bought this guy from Ollie’s just earlier this year, because, in addition to their usual lowered prices, they were also offering an additional 50% off all toys, meaning Frankie was $1.50.  That was enough to make me dig through the rack to find a figure still actually attached to his blister card and buy him.  He’s a good figure.  Not a great figure, but a good one.  He shows what the line should have focused on, in contrast to the plethora of modern properties it ultimately did focus on.

#1106: Princess Anck-es-en-Amon & Frank Whemple

PRINCESS ANCK-ES-EN-AMON & FRANK WHEMPLE

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

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Okay, so Halloween’s passed now, but I didn’t want to review just half of the Minimates based on The Mummy (since all the other Universal Monsters Minimates reviews cover four ‘mates at a time, anyway).  With that in mind, today’s review is the second half of what I looked at yesterday.  With the “creature” covered, today I’ll be looking at the Mummy’s object of affection Princess Anck-es-en-Amon and heroic archeologist adventurer Frank Whemple!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

princessfrank2Like yesterday’s set, Princess Anck-es-en-Amon and Frank Whemple were released in the third series of Universal Monsters Minimates. The pair was exclusive to Toys R Us, but that wasn’t the initial plan.  The original intent was for Imhotep, the Sarcophagus, and Princess Anck-es-en-Amon to be released via specialty channels in a four pack that would also include an exclusive Helen Grosvenor ‘mate.  That would have left Frank as the lone TRU-exclusive ‘mate.  Of course, the end result would mean that to get a full set you’d need to buy an extra Anck-es-en-Amon, but that was something of a recurring issue with this particular line.  For reasons DST never specified, a production problem caused the specialty Mummy set to be cancelled, leaving the entire Mummy line-up exclusive to TRU, with Helen going un-released. 

PRINCESS ANCK-ES-EN-AMON

princessfrank3Here’s an interesting thing about this figure: it actually pulls double duty (which is fitting, since, had the boxed set been released, you would have needed to Anck-es-en-Amons to get a full set).  One of the cruxes of the film’s story is how closely our hero Helen Grosvenor resembles Imhotep’s long-dead love Princess Anck-es-en-Amon.  During the film’s climax, he goes so far as to dress the kidnapped Helen as the Princess.  Since the two were both played by Zita Johan, this figure effectively can be both of them.  That’s actually pretty cool, and means that even with the proper Helen ‘mate unreleased, the collection isn’t missing an important character.  Anck-es-en-Amon is built on the standard ‘mate body, so she’s just shy of 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation (though the hair and skirt restrict her movement a fair bit).  The figure has two add-on pieces for her hair/headdress and her skirt.  Both pieces are unique to this figure, and they do a pretty nice job of capturing the costume pieces from the movie.  The paintwork on the Princess is pretty solid.  While it’s not quite as astounding as what we saw on Imhotep, it’s still quite nice.  The face has a pretty good likeness of Johan in the part, and her top has a nice bit of detail and texture work.  Perhaps the coolest thing about this figure is the skirt, which has actually been molded in slightly transparent plastic, so as to make it appear shear, as her skirt in the film was.  It the sort of detail that could have easily been overlooked, but really takes the figure from decent to pretty darn cool.

FRANK WHEMPLE

Frank is really meant to be the lead hero in The Mummy, but for reasons beyond his control, he tends to be largely forgotten, since there’s not really much that’s unique about the guy.  It can’t be at all a coincidence that he got packed with the most visually interesting ‘mate in all of Series 3, since he certainly wasn’t going to move this set by himself.  Frank was built from the same standard parts as the Princess.  He too gets two add-on parts, for his hair and his jacket/tie.  The hair first appeared on the Captain America Through the Ages Armored Cap, but Frank’s prototype actually sported it a few years prior (all of the Universal Monsters Minimates were shown at once and then released two movies at a time each October for three years).  The hair looks somewhat like Frank’s from the movie, but it’s not quite spot-on.  The tux piece is a pretty cool one, and it does’t bulk him up too much like some jackets do on ‘mates.  The paint on Frank is iffy at best.  There’s a lot of slop on the edge of his shirt, which is quite annoying, and the detail lines on his face seem kind of dull.  The face also doesn’t look much like actor David Manners, but that’s probably due to his face not being a shape that easily translates to a simple cylinder.  This figure may not be the most exciting but, on the plus side, since David Manners was also John Harker in Dracula, and wore an outfit very similar to this, he can easily fit in with the Dracula set DST put out as well.  Bonus feature!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I picked these guys up new from TRU, before having seen The Mummy.  While the Imhotep set is cool regardless of the movie, I think an appreciation of the movie is key to really enjoying Frank.  That being said Anck-es-en-Amon is a very, very well done ‘mate, and perhaps one of DST’s most attractive female Minimates.  Had the boxed set materialized, I think this two pack might have been an easy skip, but without that extra way to get the princess, this is kind of a must have set, if just to go with Imhotep.

#1105: Imhotep & Sarcophagus

IMHOTEP & SARCOPHAGUS

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

mummy1

It’s Halloween!  Oooh, aaah, scary and what-not.  To keep with the spirit of things (funny, riiiight?  I’ll show myself out…), I figured I’d take a look at something of the horror variety.  The last three Halloweens, I’ve looked at Minimates, and I’ll be darned if I’m gonna break the tradition now.  Today’s entry, like my first two Halloween reviews, comes from DST’s Universal Monsters Minimates line.  While years 1 and 2 covered some big guns with Frankenstein and Dracula, this one goes slightly more minor, being based on 1932’s The Mummy (which is one of my personal favorites of the Universal Monsters films).  Let’s look at the film’s titular creature, Imhotep, and the thing he comes sealed in!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

mummy2So, right off the bat, let’s address something: this was technically sold as a two pack, but there’s really only one figure included.  He just gets an extra large accessory, which takes the place of the second figure.  Imhotep was released in the third (and sadly final) series of Universal Monsters Minimates.  He and the Sarcophagus were exclusive to Toys R Us (though they weren’t initially meant to be.  I’ll touch on that tomorrow).  Imhotep is seen here in the wrappings he was buried in.  He only spends about five minutes of the film’s run-time this way, but it’s what’s on the poster and just about all of the merchandise, and it’s hands down the more memorable look for the character, so DST’s choice of garb is hardly in question.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the standard 14 points of articulation for a Minimate.  Apart from a slightly unique right hand featuring a ring, Imhotep is a vanilla ‘mate.  No sculpted add-ons here.  This means there’s extra pressure on the paint to deliver, but fortunately this figure passes with flying colors.  The level pf painted detail on this figure is nothing short of amazing, and he’s easily got the best paint work I’ve ever seen on a Minimate (and I’ve seen a lot of Minimates).  Application-wise, the sheen is surprisingly flat for a mass market item, which does a lot to bring out the painted details.  The bandages on the body are very well crafted, match up with the wrapping seen on screen, and even sport some awesome texture to boot.  The head takes the cake, though, rendering not only Imhotep’s decaying visage perfectly, but really nailing the Boris Karloff likeness as well.  The Sarcophagus is the only extra here (and even then, it replaces a figure), but was an all-new piece.  It’s done in two parts, so that you can remove the lid and place Imhotep inside.  The lid gets the bulk of the sculpted and painted work, and it does an admirable job of translating what we see on the screen into Minimate form.  Perhaps the only downside to this extra is that Imhotep can’t properly cross his arms to mimic the pose on the lid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that this set of ‘mates came out, I actually hadn’t seen The Mummy, but being a good Minimate fan, I picked this pack up first, and was then driven to see the movie, at which point I realized that both the movie and this set were actually pretty awesome.  This ‘mate remains to this day one of my very favorite Minimates, and he’s the definite standout of the Universal Monsters line.

mummy3

#0375: Frankenstein Minimates

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER, HENRY FRANKENSTEIN, ELIZABETH, & THE BRIDE

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

FrankenstienBoxSet

It’s Halloween! Ooooooooooo!  Scary!  ….Okay, it’s out of my system.  Just like last year, I thought I’d do something festive for the holiday. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s Minimates! This actually marks one year since my very first Minimate review on this site, so that’s pretty cool! Last year, I took my first look at Diamond’s Universal Monsters Minimates with the Dracula boxed set; this year I’ll be taking a look at the line’s Frankenstein set. Incidentally, while most of the Universal Monsters Minimates were based on one movie, this one’s actually based on two, since it features characters from both Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as a set in the second series of Universal Monsters Minimates, along with the Dracula set. This is the specialty exclusive boxed set, which included Elizabeth. The other three were also available in two-packs at Toys R Us, where the Bride was packed with an exclusive angry villager.

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER

FrankensteinMini2Not quite the titular character, but generally the character most people think of when they hear the name. The Monster’s really the selling point of the set. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he features 14 points of articulation. He’s based on the Monster’s appearance in the first film, which is a good way to go. The Monster is built on the standard Minimate body, with a non-standard head and feet, as well as sculpted add-ons for the jacket and neck. All of these pieces were new to this figure, though the neck piece and feet have seen subsequent re-use, most notably on The Munsters’ Herman. The jacket sculpt is a little soft, but not bad. The head is really well done, with superb detail work on the hair and ears. The paint on the Monster is really just limited to the areas where skin is showing, which is the hands, lower arms, neck and head. The skin tone is pretty evenly applied, and there aren’t any really issues with slop. The hairline could be a bit better, but it’s not horrible. The face is somewhat generic. It’s certainly The Monster, but it’s not a definite Karloff Monster. Still, the detail work is well applied, and he’s certainly a serviceable version of the character. The Monster included no accessories.

HENRY FRANKENSTEIN

FrankensteinMini3This IS the titular character, but he tends to be somewhat forgotten. It’s of note that this is Henry Frankenstein, rather than the usual Victor Frankenstein. For whatever reason, they felt the need to change his name and shunt the “Victor” name on another character. The good doctor is 2 ½ inches in height and features 14 points of articulation, though the leg articulation is a bit hampered by the bottom of his coat. The doctor is based on his laboratory appearance, complete with the proper lab coat of the time. He’s built using the standard Minimate body, with a hair piece and piece representing the bottom of his coat. The coat is new, while the hair is a re-use from the CA:TTA “Reborn” Cap (to be fair, the piece was first shown on Henry, but there was a bit of a delay between Henry’s prototype being shown and his actual release.) Both of these pieces are pretty good, and they do a decent job translating the source material. Henry’s paint is pretty decent. Everything is cleanly applied, and the detail lines all seem pretty sharp. The face seems a little off to be honest. It has a decent enough resemblance to Colin Clive, who played Henry in the film, but it seems a bit enlarged, and the eyes seem a bit oddly spaced. Henry includes no accessories.

ELIZABETH

FrankensteinMini4The set’s exclusive figure is Elizabeth, the fiancé of Dr. Henry Frankenstein.  That’s kinda it. She’s not the most exciting character, but she’s sort of important, so here she is. She’s 2 ½ inches tall and she features 14 points of articulation, though most of the leg articulation has been restricted by her dress. Elizabeth is based on the usual Minimate body, with add-ons for her hair and the lower half of her dress. Both of these pieces are new to this figure, and they’re both very nicely done. The hair in particular is very nicely detailed and accurate to the source material. Paint is really where this figure excels. While she may look bland at first glance, her paint is incredibly detailed, especially on the upper part of her dress, which features some really great texture work. Like the others in the set, Elizabeth includes no accessories.

THE BRIDE

FrankensteinMini5The Bride is probably the set’s second most memorable character, which is cool. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation, though the legs and waist articulation are mostly rendered motionless by her dress. She’s based on the Bride’s look following her “unveiling,” which is easily her most essential look. Like all the others in the set, the Bride is built on the standard Minimate body, with additions for her hair and dress. These are both brand new to this figure, and overall they’re pretty good. The hair is pretty much spot on to the look from the film, and it’s well textured. The dress (well, sheet…) is okay, but not perfect. It’s a little bit bulky, which doesn’t quite suit the Bride’s svelte build. That being said, it’s well sculpted and it looks pretty decent overall. The paint on the Bride is respectable. The likeness of actress Elsa Lanchester is pretty much spot on, and the wraps on her arms look really great too. I wish they continued all the way around, but I suppose that’s just a limitation of the paint apps. In a predictable move, the Bride has no accessories. An extra wrapped head would have been nice, but it’s okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Frankenstein set is actually one of my earliest Luke’s Toy Store purchases. I had gotten away from Minimates for a little while, and I had had a rough couple of weeks. I had been meaning to give Luke’s a try, so I ordered myself a care package of sorts. This was probably one of my favorites of the selection I got, and I think it’s a great set overall. While I felt some of the Dracula Minimates were a little lackluster, I don’t feel the Frankenstein set has any real short comings.

#0339: Frankenstein’s Monster

FRANKENSTIEN’S MONSTER

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS (SIDESHOW)

Frankenstein1

Frankenstein is an important story. The original book is generally considered to be the very first Science Fiction story, and the 1931 film adaptation of the book helped kick off the Universal Monsters series, and made a star out of Boris Karloff. The first film is great, but it is surpassed by its sequel, Bride of Frankenstein, in the eyes of many. Bride featured better writing, better character work, better special effects, and a killer soundtrack to boot!

In the early 2000s, Sideshow Toys was just getting into the 12 inch scene. One of their earliest licenses they launched in that scale was Universal monsters, with Frankenstein among them. They did pretty much every version of the monster from the movies. Today, I’ll be looking at their version of the Monster as he’s seen in Bride of Frankenstein.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

FrankensteinWilsonThe Monster was released in 2002 as a part of the Universal Monsters line by Sideshow Toys. He was the second version of the Karloff Monster, but he was actually the fifth version of the Monster in the line, after the versions from the original film, Ghost of Frankenstein, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, and House of Frankenstein. The figure stands about 12 ½ inches tall and features 29 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is meant to represent the Monster from The Bride of Frankenstein. In Bride, the Monster has been left a little worse for wear by the events at the end of the first film, so the figure reflects that. Like most Sideshow figures of the time, the Monster is built on the Sideshow Buck, which was their original 12 inch body. It’s slightly dated and stiff now, but it was the standard in the day, and what’s more, the stiffness is actually perfect for a character like the Monster. In addition to the Buck, the Monster features unique pieces for his head, hands/forearms, and his feet. The hands and feet replace the usual Buck pieces, and elongate the figure’s body a bit to give him his more gargantuan size. The head represents the Monster’s more scarred look from the movie, and it does it very well. The likeness to Boris Karloff is astounding, which is really great. The rest of the figure’s appearance is handled via cloth pieces. They aren’t as impressively tailored as something like Hot Toys, but they aren’t bad. The green of the jacket seems a touch too bright, but otherwise the coloring seems pretty good. The clothes also feature some padding built in to help aid the figure in looking a bit larger. It works pretty well, so that’s good. The paint on the Monster is very well done. While it lacks some of the more lifelike touches that future Sideshow figures have, it’s very clean and features some really great detail work. The monster includes a cobblestone textured display stand, a skull, and a stack of bones. All of these are pretty great, especially the skull!

Frankenstein2Frankenstein5

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, the Frankenstein movies were some of my favorite horror movies. I had a small selection of Sideshow figures, and among them was Fritz, the Doctor’s ill-fated assistant from the first movie. I always wanted a Monster to go along with him, but I never got one. A few weeks ago, my parents and my brother took a trip to visit a friend, and on the way back they visited a comicbook store with a decent selection of Sideshow’s Universal Monsters. My family, being the horrible, supportive influences they are, called me to ask if there were any I was looking for. I inquired about the Monster and was told I could choose between the one from Son of and Bride of. I went for the more conventional Bride design. I’ve actually always preferred the look from Bride, so I’m really happy with this figure. All in all, he’s a great version of Karloff’s interpretation of the character, and I’m really glad to finally have Frankenstein’s Monster to go with Fritz.

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#0015: Dracula Minimates

DRACULA BOXED SET

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

Happy Halloween everybody!  The Fantastic Four reviews will continue tomorrow, but I thought I’d do something a bit more festive today.  So, I’ll be looking at the Dracula boxed set from Daimond Select Toys’s expansive Minimates line.  This is the first of many, many, many, many, many Minimates reviews, because I have quite a few of these little guys.

For those of you that don’t know Minimates:  What is wrong with you?  Get on that!  In all seriousness, Minimates are a line of two and a half inch block figures produced by Diamond Select Toys.  This set comes from their Universal Monsters line.  Marvel is their flagship license (Waves 50 & 51 were just released last month!), but they’ve also done Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Both Modern and Classic Battlestar Galactica, DC Comics,  Playstation, Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel vs Capcom, Tomb Rader, Terminator 2, Lost in Space, the Walking Dead, the Expendables,  The Dollars Trillogy, Back to the Future, Knight Rider, Rocky, Platoon, Silence of the Lambs, Clerks, and even Ace of Cakes and Desperately Seeking Susan.  It’s a pretty big line!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The set is based on the 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.  The set was released in the second wave of Universal Monsters Minimates, along with an accompanying Frankenstein set.

DRACULA

First up is the movie’s title character, Count Dracula himself.  Drac is based on his look from the film.  He’s built on the standard minimate body, which means he stands about 2-2.5 inches tall and has the standard minimate articulation of 14 points.  Most of the detailing on a minimate is conveyed via painted detail, but Drac has a few sculpted pieces as well.  Drac features a sculpted hair-piece and a cape/vest/jacket slip over piece for the torso.  They’re done well, with some nice small details.  As I said above, minimates rely mostly on paint, and Drac is no exception.  His primary paint is the details depicting his face.  They’re nice and sharp, though I’m not sure how much Lugosi I see in the face.  Still, it’s a very nice Dracula face, which is what counts.  Unfortunately, the paint is not as sharp everywhere, especially on Drac’s vest, which has some pretty bad bleed over.  Drac is obviously the draw of the set, and slight paint issues aside, he lives up to that.

DR VAN HELSING

Next is Dracula’s old foe, Dr. Van Helsing!  Van Helsing is also built on the basic minimate body, so he stands the same height and has the same articulation.  Van Helsing features two sculpted pieces:  his hair, and a jacket/vest torso cover.  They do the job suitably, and look pretty good.  His only real paint work is his face detailing.  The face is nice and sharp, and there’s some well-done silver detailing for his glasses.  He’s well-constructed, if a bit boring.

MINA HARKER

Next is the heroine of the piece, Mina Harker.  Like the other two, Mina is built on the basic body.  Mina technically has the same 14 points of articulation, but her leg articulation is rendered virtually non-existent by her sculpted dress piece.  In addition to the dress, Mina also features sculpted hair and a sculpted collar.  The detail work is done well, though she is noticeably more simplistic than the other figures in the set.  Like Van Helsing, Mina is a solid figure, but a bit on the boring side.

RENFIELD

Last up is Dracula’s faithful servant, Renfield!  Like the rest of the set, Ren is built on the same minimate body and has the typical articulation.  Ren only features one sculpted piece, his hair.  It looks appropriate, and represents the character’s look fairly well.  The paint detailing on the figure is really where it shines.  He’s got a great set of suspenders, and his shirt has lots of folds and wrinkles, which give him a lot of dimension.  His face detailing is nice and sharp, and depicts actor Dwight Frye very well, giving him a crazed grin as though he’s about to let out that distinctive cackle.  Renfield is a great example of a figure that could have been quite drab, but was saved by the small details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really like this set.  I’m a big fan of the universal monsters movies, and this one covers one of the most memorable.  Mina and Van Helsing are kind of boring, but the set is made worth it by the inclusion of a really solid Dracula and an awesomely handled Renfield!