Packaging - ****
Sideshow leaps back up to four stars with this beautiful box. The cover
art is excellent, and the finish is now a rough matte, rather than the glossy
photo style we've had in the past. It seems to fit the film and the period
better, and looks terrific.
It's all completely collector friendly too, EXCEPT they went from the normal
twistie tie around the neck and through the cardboard tray, to some sort of
dental floss. I have no idea what's up with that, and while it's only
knotted, you'll most likely have to cut it and sacrifice it to the packaging
Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpt on this figure is a dead on likeness to Hugh Jackman, much more
so than the Jakk's version. It looks far better out of the package than
in, when you can see it from various angles. Just compare him to the front
of the box and you can see what I mean.
The rest of the sculpting is solid, including the hands. They hold the
various accessories fine, and are more multi-purpose than usual.
The only negative to the sculpt is the hair. Since the hat has to fit
properly, and is the most important look, he had to be sculpted with a serious
case of hat-hair. On top of that, the detail of the hair sculpt is less
realistic, hurting the overall appearance of the head, especially when not
wearing the hat. But how often will he be doing that?
Paint - **1/2
Just as much as I like the headsculpt, I dislike the paint ops. Let me
The basic quality of the paint application is Sideshow's usual high
quality. The eyes are clean and straight, there's a reasonable amount of
expression in the face, the skin tone is even, and there's good definition
between the colors. Even the beard stubble, which is always tough, comes
out fairly well.
My major issue here is the Vaseline the smeared over his head. He has a
VERY glossy face and hair, and it looks terribly unrealistic. Rather than
look like the actual character, it looks like a plastic toy.
Unfortunately, that's not the look they're going for here. While this was
slightly bad with Hellboy, it's very bad here, much more obvious and much more
obtrusive. Let's hope that it's not something we'll see more of.
Articulation - ***1/2
I'm a big fan of the Sideshow body, and I had no real issues this time
around. He's got all that sixth scale articulation you expect - neck, ball
jointed shoulders, cut thighs and biceps, double jointed elbows and knees,
wrists, ankles, ball jointed hips, chest and waist, and I'm probably forgetting
My joints were tight, and they didn't cause issues with holding poses or
standing. That's pretty important, since there's no stand included this
Accessories - ***
There are quite a few accessories with the exclusive version, but the regular
version doesn't fair as well.
This version has the cross bow (and yes, before I get 100 emails in the first
five minutes, I had the cylinder in backwards when I shot the photos), two guns,
and the two tojo blades.
The tojo blades are exclusive to this version, and the sculpts are very
cool. Of course, if you could squeeze the handles to make them
spin...alright, I'll catch a train back to reality now.
The guns are excellent, with sculpts that match the source material extremely
well, and perfect paint ops. Check them against the photo on the cover and
you'll see just how much detail they put in. However, there's no moving
The crossbow is the coolest of the accessories, with a very detailed sculpt
and moving parts. The bow folds in and out, the cylinder is removable, and
the colors add a nice contrast to the overall appearance of the figures.
Outfit - ***
Similar to Hellboy, this is a very complex outfit, particularly compared to some
of the other past Sideshow figures.
There's the pants, turtleneck shirt, vest, boots, scarf, jacket and
hat. Great stitching, solid tailoring, and quality materials are generally
used through out.
The hat and boot sculpts are both great. The hat fits perfectly on the
head, due to the hair sculpt, and looks good from just about any angle, even
though it's a hell of a big hat. The boots look good, but do seem to cause
him trouble standing up. It's not his joints or his balance, but rather
something with the way the bottoms of the boots are sculpted that seem to give
him some issues.
The pants match the film pretty well, and the turtleneck material looks
extremely realistic. Unfortunately, it's also sleeveless, so posing him
without the overcoat isn't a possibility.
The vest is perhaps my favorite piece of clothing, and mine was snapped
perfectly. The pleather looks great, and the watch fob hangs on the front,
adding another touch from the film.
The scarf is well done, but once you take it off, you might find it tough to
get it back in under the sculpted hair. Finally, there's the overcoat.
I've read lots of different comments on the coat, both good and bad, but one
thing seems to be universal - this thing really stinks! I'm being literal
here. Sure, all toys these days stink, but this is really strong. I
have no idea if it's the material they used, or something with the brown paint
that was added to look like mud, but in either case, you can expect to spend
some time airing this boy out.
One of the things that seems to be missing from the costume is any
holsters. Now, I haven't seen the movie so I can't be sure, but you can
put his pistols in his coat pockets. I just watched the Hound of the
Baskerville again the other day with Basil Rathbone, and was reminded that very
often in the films of the thirties, our heroes carried their guns in their coat
pockets, so I suppose it's possible in this case. Still, holsters would
have looked pretty damn cool.
Fun Factor - **1/2
This figure doesn't suffer from accessories that are *quite* as easy to break as
most Sideshow figures, but they aren't really intended for kids. Older
kids who enjoy the film or the Universal Monster legacy in general may enjoy
him, but I wouldn't expect him to hold up to any real play.
Value - **
At $45, Van Helsing is one of the more expensive recent Sideshow
figures. And even though they produced 5000 of the regular version, they
still sold out. Perhaps that means the market can handle the higher price
at this point, but it still seems to be at least $5 - $10 above the average
market price of quality 12" figures.