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Creature from the Black Lagoon Bank
Diamond Select Toys

Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys


With today's CGI, it's not hard to make a truly impressive monster. But once upon a time, effects had to be practical, not computer generated, and the best way to make a monster was to dress up a big dude in a rubber suit.

As you'd expect, 90% of the time these monsters looked exactly like what they were - a big dude in a rubber suit. But with the right design, the right engineering, and the right actor, the audience could believe the monster was real.

For me, this has only happened three times in the history of creature cinema. The original Alien, the original Predator, and the grandfather of them all - the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

This Universal Monster has had plenty of toys and collectibles over the years, but we can always use a few more. Diamond Select Toys chose him to be one of their cool new banks, and he's shipping from most retailers right now.

There's actually two versions, one in full color and one in black and white. I picked up the black and white, but most of my comments apply to the green version as well. I haven't seen any sort of edition sizes for either, but the black and white usually costs a couple bucks more.

Suggested retail is $20, but you should be able to find him for less than that. I have some suggestions at the end of the review in the Where to Buy section.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys
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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys

Packaging - Bupkis
How do you get a bupkis in the packaging category? By not having any.

Maybe there's some version that comes in a box, but mine was inside a plastic bag, inside the big cardboard shipping box from the retailer. There's a small piece of plastic covering one - not both - of the claws, and that was about it. Most brick and mortar retailers will have these just sitting out on the shelf, since the bar code is on the label on the bottom.

Sculpting - ****
For reference, check out this photo of Ben Chapman in the original outfit.

After comparing this with several stills from the original film, I have to say that it's an extremely accurate portrait. When I first looked at him, I thought the head was a little squished, not quite as wide as I thought it should be. After careful review, I decided that it is a smidge thinner, but it's very, very minor, and the actual character had a thinner, taller head than I remembered.

There's lots of very good detail too, with the sculpted lines and scales standing out sharply. The gills aren't quite as flared - maybe that's what gives the head that slightly thin look.

The size is great, and he's easily sixth scale. The huge hands are the scariest aspect of this monster, and the claws and webbing look fantastic. I like the selected pose as well, and the slot for the bank feature isn't particularly obtrusive.

You will have to peel the sticker off the bottom to get to the stopper and actually use this as a bank.

I'm not quite as thrilled about the foamy water splashing upward around him at the base. I think calm water works better - he used stealth to his advantage. But it's not like he didn't rise up quickly at times, striking violently when necessary, and  I supposed the splashing water was an easier route for this style, so I'll cut them some slack.

Paint - ***1/2
Some Universal fans like their collectibles in the original color - others prefer the black and white they saw on screen. Which version you go with is certainly a personal preference.

I like this gray scale look, although some of the wash used to bring out the sculpt detail is a bit over done. Washes are best when done with a light touch, and it was clearly a heavy hand that applied it here.

Still, it looks quite good and matches with the screen look well. The color version will have a little more pop (and I have quite a few color versions myself), but I prefer the subtle appearance of this variant.

Articulation - Bupkis
This is an FYI category this time around, with no effect on my overall score. It's a bank, so you don't expect any articulation, and guess what - there isn't any.

Value - ****
You'll pay $20 at most for this guy, a terrific value considering the quality. You're lucky to get action figures cheaper than that, let alone this sort of collectible. It's not quite at the level of the beet resin busts, but it's damn close, and at less than half the price.

Things to Watch Out For -
Saving too much money! You want to personal ruin the economy?

Overall - ****
If this guy had made it out in time for the 2012 Poppies, I would have nominated him for the Best Bust category. He's not a bust, technically...but he's good enough to go up against many of them, and has a price point that beats them all.

While I collect a lot of Universal Monster items, it's the Creature stuff that I tend to go heavy with. That meant buying this bank, no matter how good or bad, was a no brainer. Now that I have him, the quality and style are good enough that I'll happily buy any more banks they produce for the license, especially if they go with some of the more monstrous of the monsters.

Score Recap:
Packaging - Bupkis
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Value - ****
Overall - ****

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Urban Collector has the color for $17, and the black and white for $19.

- Things From Another World has just the color for $19.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the green for $19, and the black and white for $21.

- Fanboy Collectibles has the green for $18.

- Entertainment Earth has the black and white for $20, as well as the green.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
Other Creature collectibles include - 

- the goofy Monster Pals version.

- the Sideshow PF was one of the nicest collectibles produced.

- Sideshow has done a great 12" version, and one from the later film, The Creature Walks Among Us.

- the most recent smaller figure was from Toy Island.

- and this mini-bust might not be an official Creature, but it's mighty close.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Creature from the Black Lagoon Universal Monsters bank by Diamond Select Toys


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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