McFarlane Monsters Frankenstein

I was worried there wouldn't be a review tonight - I hadn't seen anything new or exciting all week, and my reserve of reviews was dry.  But I made that one stop on the way home, hoping to find something cool...

And there just happened to be a case of the new McFarlane Monsters on the pegs.  Okay, not a whole case - someone had already bought the Voodoo Queen, Mummy and Sea Creature, which are only one per case right now.  Considering that my first choices were Mummy and Sea Creature, I was a bit disappointed, but the other three figures - Werewolf, Dracula and Frankenstein - all looked pretty good.

I decided on Frankenstein first, although Dracula was pretty tempting.  At $13 - the cost from Software Etc. - I couldn't get excited over Werewolf.  I'll pick up the others at the more reasonable prices that I'm sure Toys R Us and Meijers will have.

And what is this line, you say?  It's another reinterpretation of the classic monsters by Todd.  I say 'another' since we already have the terrific playsets he produced several years ago.  These are larger versions though, and are likely to please the McFarlane fans.

Packaging - ***
These new bubble packages are a catch 22. For the MOC collector, they work well because they are very sturdy, and show off both the insert art and the figure very well.  But they certainly aren't collector friendly in the way I use the term, and you'll have to tear it apart to get to the figure.

The tearing apart aspect isn't as easy as you'd expect either.  The package is very sturdy, but at a price - you need a knife to get into this bubble.  Also, I swear that McToys has a corner on the twisty tie market - Frank had no less than five twisties holding him into the interior shell.

Sculpting - ****
The sculpting on this figure, and the entire line, is simply superb.  Now, I can already hear the anti-McFarlanenites groaning, but you can not possible fault the level of detail and quality in this sculpting.

The design may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn't mean this isn't as finely detailed of a sculpt that you'll find anywhere on the market today.

Look carefully at his face, and you can feel his pain.  The intricate work on the faces in his shoulder 'pads' is astounding - just look carefully at the photo to the left and you can see them screaming at you.  This is how you make a figure without a stupid facial expression, and still get emotion across.

Paint - ***1/2
The majority of the paint application is great, with excellent detail.  While a basic three or four color figure might have a little slop here or there, with these figures you're getting a tremendously complex paint operation, yet great quality.

The only issue is on the exposed intestines of the skeleton in his backpack.  They have a bubble gum look to them, and the color hurts the realism of the rest of the figure. But other than that, the paint work is extremely well done.

It appears that we are getting bloody and non-bloody versions as well - this one is the bloody version, with splatters on his arm scythe, face and the skeleton in back.

Accessories - ***1/2
Some folks aren't going to like the design, but that is more a matter of taste than quality.  Frank comes with a unique backpack arrangement in which his is carrying a skeleton on his back, and this skeleton is technically an accessory, since it can be removed from the pack.

It's a very cool skeleton as well, with the usual great detail and sculpting.  I mentioned the coloration of the intestines earlier, and other than that minor point it is terrific.

The plastic used for the skeleton is quite soft though, and while I don't have a problem with it here - it makes getting the skeleton in and out easier, and you don't have to worry about snapping off a thin arm or leg - some might not like it.

Articulation - ***
Never a strong suit with McFarlane (although some might argue that point), the articulation here is much better than expected.

Frank has lots of hidden joints - neck, shoulders, wrists, cut joint on the left arm at the elbow, waist, hips and calves.

While Frank is a bit pre-posed, you get more articulation here than you realize just looking at him in the package. Even the hooks attached to the polls on his head can swivel back and forth.

The only negative is that a couple of the joints are very restricted - the neck can do very little, and with the design of the right arm and shoulder pad, there's very little you can do with it.

Value - ***
I'm giving them a break here - I'm assuming you'll be paying $8-$9 for these, and that's a decent value.  I wouldn't break down and pay the $13 for one like I did unless you're really desperate to write a review that night.

Quality - ***1/2
I didn't have any breakage problems here, unlike some other occasions with McFarlane products.  The joints all seem nice and tight as well, and the plastic used in the legs is stiff enough that he shouldn't have trouble standing over the long haul.

The chains hanging off his left arm, and attached from his chest to his feet, are all metal, and a very nice touch. 

Overall - ***1/2
I waffled around a bit on this score.  It's extremely close to a four star figure, and I suspect that if I'd gotten a little luckier and found the Mummy or the Sea Creature, both of which have designs I like even better, that this would have been four stars easy.

Monster fans who like Todd's style - fans of Tortured Souls for example - are really going to like this line.  I have to admit that this is the first series from McFarlane in years that I'm going to probably buy in its entirety.  Tortured Souls didn't do much for me, since they weren't based on any particular property that I could relate to, but this modern take on an old classic is just too cool to ignore.

I'm not sure why the Sea Creature and Mummy are short packed right now - let's hope that changes pretty soon, as I suspect they will be the most popular from the photos.

Where to Buy
I picked these up at Software Etc.  At thirteen bucks though, you should really wait until TRU or a similar retailer gets them in stock.  Even Electronics Boutique is going to be cheaper.  On-line:

- Electronics Boutique has them all in stock for $12 each, plus shipping.  (MROTW Affiliate)

- has them for $12 each too, plus shipping.  (MROTW Affiliate)

- Action Figure Express has a great price on a case - $105.  That's only about $8.75 each, but you'll need to find someone interested in the extra Frankenstein's, Dracula's and Werewolves.  (MROTW Affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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