Packaging - **1/2
There's nothing particularly exciting about these boxes, although they are
fairly collector friendly. The graphics are decent, but they don't do much
to show off the qualities of the figures.
Sculpting - Dracula, VH ***; Frank **1/2
Considering the price point, these aren't particularly awful sculpts, but
they certainly won't rival Sideshow's work.
Van Helsing looks enough like Jackman to recognize him, but he appears to be
retaining water. His head is a soft hollow rubber, and that means (at
least in this case) that the sculpt is softer than ideal. His hands are
fine though, and can hold his accessories.
The vampire is in his ultimate vamp state, with large wings and butt ugly
face. They've done a nice job capturing the appearance of the fanged mouth
(at least based on what we've seen in the trailers), but the body sculpt lacks
some of the detail you'd expect. He also has very tiny feet, a real problem if
you expect him to stand with out assistance. His sculpted hair sits on top
his head like a weird cap, rather than as a clean, flowing line. Finally,
the sculpted hair takes away most of the neck articulation, and it would have
been nice if his head could bend back in a flying pose.
Frank is very similar to the smaller version, although this one has a skull
that opens to reveal his brain. The head is a little small for the body,
although that may match up to the source material. His sculpt is the most
detailed overall, and his plastic bits mesh well with his cloth pants.
If you buy all three, you'll also notice another issue - scale. With
all three of them using different style bodies (I'll get into more of that in
the Articulation section), they could have turned out at least in reasonable
scale with each other. But Frankenstein is slightly shorter than Van
Helsing, and while Dracula is closer in size, he's not particularly imposing.
Paint - **1/2
These are clearly intended for kids - or at least I hope so. As such, their
paint ops are fairly basic, with less detail and fewer colors. Frank fairs
the best again, and at least most of the lines are clean and the colors
consistent. He has the greatest detail work on his face, and while there's
a little slop (especially around the eyes), it's passable considering the price
Dracula has a rather interesting wash over his body and wings to bring out
detail, but there's not that much to bring out. Both he and Frank were
close to being very good figures, but there are enough small issues that after
awhile the problems are all you can see.
Articulation - Frank **1/2; Dracula **; VH *1/2
Oddly enough, the bodies do not have the same type articulation.
Frank is easily the best. He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows,
wrists, waist, hips, cut thighs, ankles and double jointed knees. I was
very surprised by the amount of articulation, and most if it works fairly
well. His only drawback is that his leg joints were very loose, making it
difficult for him to hold all the poses I put him in.
Dracula is a sculpted body, so it's not surprising he has fewer joints.
He still has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and
hips. Unfortunately, the massive weight of his wings makes using any of
the lower body articulation impossible, and you'll need a stand to keep him up.
The real disappointment here though is Van Helsing himself. He has
decent upper body articulation, but rubber legs with clicky knees! I
didn't strip him down, but I'm willing to bet that he's using one of the old
Hasbro 12" Starting Lineup bodies, or early Star Wars bodies.
Considering how well articulated Frank was, it was even more disappointing that
the main character used such a crappy body.
Accessories - VH **; Frank, Dracula Bupkis
This is another real disappointment. Considering how many cool weapons it
looks like Van Helsing will be using in the film, we only got one pair of
'spinning tojo blades'. These fit in his hand alright, and spin as
advertised, but if I could only get a couple accessories I would have much preferred
a gun or sword.
There are probably fewer logical choices for accessories for Frank and Drac,
but something would have been nice, even at this price point.
Action Features - Frank **1/2; VH, Drac Bupkis
E.T., uh, Frankenstein has a light up heart. Push his heart and it
blinks. Really. I'm sure this makes sense in the movie. I
The other two figures have nothing in the action feature department.
Outfit - VH, Frank **1/2; Dracula Bupkis
Dracula is buck nekkid, so he doesn't get a score in this category.
Frankenstein doesn't have a lot of clothes, but his pants fit well, and work
nicely with the plastic pieces of his outfit.
This is the only category where Van Helsing is actually decent. He has
a shirt, vest, pants, boots and jacket, and while not all of them are perfectly
tailored (the jacket is a tad off), the quality is fairly good for the price
point. Of course, a hat would have been nice, but you can't have
everything for twenty bucks.
Fun Factor - VH **; Frank, Drac ***
Kids would have more fun with the monsters this time than the hero. That's
too bad, since kid's are more likely to buy the hero. At least Drac and
Frank have some decent articulation and a healthy dose of gruesome to make them
fun - VH is a stiff.
Value - VH **1/2; Frank, Drac ***
The monsters aren't a bad value at twenty bucks, considering how much the
usual sixth scale figure costs. It's nothing to write home about, but at
this price I thought that there was a real chance the monsters could be used
with the Sideshow Van Helsing on the shelf.
The Van Helsing is too much however, especially considering the lack of
accessories and articulation.
Overall - Van Helsing **; Frank, Dracula **1/2
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of Frankenstein, especially since
he looked so weak in the box. I was particularly disappointed in the
quality of Van Helsing, since he looked so much better in the box. And
Dracula was pretty much what I expected.
I was really hoping that I could use the monsters with the Sideshow Van Helsing,
since they haven't shown any plans for creatures of the night. And after
playing around with them for awhile, I thought that the quality was at least
decent enough to give it a shot.
That was until I put them next to other Sideshow figures. It became pretty
obvious that neither was going to be tall enough, and that the Sideshow Van
Helsing would be bigger than either of them.
Where to Buy -
The only place I've found these so far is at Toys R Us. I haven't seen the
regular sized Van Helsing figures anywhere else yet either, so perhaps TRU is
the only major retailer carrying these?
By the way, I was experimenting with a new background tonight, a darker solid
blue. I don't like it though. What do you think? Drop
me a line if you feel strongly one way or the other.