Van Helsing
The Wolfman

I've commented many times on the lack of craptacular product these days.  Gone are the N2's, the Exclusive Premieres, the Vital Toys.  But when they live, a gap exists, and whenever a gap exists, someone steps in to fill it.

The filler of the crap gap these days is Jakk's.  I've often thought I'm too hard on them, but then they release something new and I realize I couldn't be too hard on them if I tried.  While the recent Fairly Odd Parents were passable, the Universal Monsters were truly disappointing.

Now they are producing the figures based on the new movie Van Helsing.  There are several basic figures in the first assortment, including Van Helsing himself, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman.  Tonight I'll be reviewing the Wolfman, with a few comments thrown in on the others that I saw on the pegs.

I picked this guy up at Toys R Us for $7, and I suspect other retailers will pick them up soon as well.

Packaging - **1/2
Fairly basic and average, there's art from the film, along with photos of the other figures on the back.  Nothing to get excited about, but serves its utilitarian purpose.

Sculpting - *1/2
I'm scoring this on both the human figure, and his hairy version.

When I bought this, I thought I was getting two figures, a human and a wolf.  Nope.  What you get is a human with wolf's clothing.  The wolf is a rubber body suit that fits on over the human body.  He fits inside fairly well, although I'm not quite sure what he's going to do once he's in there.

The suit is stiff enough to render the bodies' articulation useless, and the tiny feet make it impossible for it to stand.  Add to that a really awful sculpt - the head looks like something out of a gumball machine - and you have a pretty sad wolf.

The human form is slightly better, although very generic.  The proportions seem a bit off, and these figures are smaller than most, at an odd scale that leaves them out of most other displays. 

If you're wondering about the others in the series, this one ranks in the middle of the pack.  Dracula was a truly horrendous piece of sculpting, enough to blind a weaker man.  Frankenstein was slightly better, although his body proportions were poor. And Van Helsing has a bit of a squished head, slightly pushed to one side.  All in all, not a pretty bunch.

Paint - **
May I present a study in brown.  Brown wolf, brown hair, brown pants.  Some skin tone thrown in, although that's what he was cast in, so it doesn't really count.  Worse yet, I found that the brown of the wolf costume had a tendency to rub off on the figure, giving him rather suspicious skid marks on his face and legs.  Ugh.

The only detail here are the eyes.  The beast has a couple quick dabs for eyes, but the human is at least decent.  The Frankenstein and Van Helsing figures I saw were similar, but the Dracula's had some of the worst face paint applications that I've seen in modern times.  The painters must have had a drinking lunch with the QA workers for them to slip by.

Articulation - ***1/2
The articulation is actually not bad.  If you don't like seeing joints, then you won't be happy though, as the large pin/ball joint shoulders are quite obvious.  He also has neck, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles.  All the joints worked fine, and he had no trouble standing on his own.  This was the one redeeming feature for the otherwise pathetic figure.

Accessories - *1/2
If you thought the hair suit was the only accessory, think again!  They also provide you with a small plastic container (labeled with the 'VH' symbol) that contains red ink.  I didn't dump it on my clothes just to see if it would stain - I'm willing to do a lot for you, but not that - but it doesn't seem like the smartest accessory in the world.  I did put some on the wolf's claws as suggested by the packaging and yep, he makes a nice red, bloody looking claw mark. Woo woo.

And if you think his accessories are bad, wait till you see the bat that comes with Dracula.  He looks like he was chasing parked cars.

Value - **
I paid $7 for this figure at TRU.  I only bought this one, even though I'd originally been looking forward to the line.  For seven bucks though, I should have gotten two figures, and the wolf should have been the highlight.  This is a four dollar figure on a good day, and actually belongs hanging on the pegs of your local Dollar General or Big Lots.

Overall - **
People often ask me how I get toys.  Yes, sometimes companies send them to me, but only when they feel strongly about them, because they know I'll be honest.  Other times I borrow them from friends who picked them up for their collections.  But most of the time I buy them for myself, which was the case here.  And once in awhile, I take a bullet for the readers.  I buy something just because it sucks so badly that I want to let you know.  Stay away from this entire series.  Far, far away.

Where to Buy - 
If you really feel the need to pick these up, your best bet is Toys R Us right now. And in six months.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour