Sideshow Quarter Scale
Bela Lugosi as Dracula

I don't think any figure has had more versions done by more companies than Dracula.  I couldn't even begin to name them all, but some have been awful, like the Exclusive Premiere version that was wearing a watch, to the Flatt World version, which I think was fantastic.  Then again, I might be a tad biased.

Sideshow has already produce a very nice 12" version, but it was only natural that they would add this one to their quarter scale series of Universal Monsters.  With Frankenstein and Nosferatu already released, and the Phantom of the Opera and London After Midnight coming soon, this series of big boys is filling out quite nicely.

Sideshow refers to these as 'mixed media', since there's polystone, cloth, wire and padded bodies. The quarter scale figures are undergoing an evolution however.  Early versions like Frank and the Vampyre were had polystone hands and heads, with a soft body over a wire armature.  Dracula takes a step towards the final frontier - he is predominately a soft padded body, but his calves are also a polystone.  Future quarter scale figures move to almost all polystone parts under the clothing, being pretty much fixed in a final pose.

You have to give Sideshow a lot of credit - this line is truly their invention.  With a mixture of clothing on polystone statues, they have found a way to maximize the realism of this line.  It doesn't come cheap, but it's definitely unique. 

Packaging - ***1/2
The figure comes entombed in a huge box, with graphics of the figure itself along with some basic text.  The boxes look great, and there's no need to destroy anything taking him out.

The Styrofoam inside does a nice job protecting the figure, and the cape is packed separately, folded neatly to avoid any wrinkles.

Sculpting - ****
This is not just a fantastic Lugosi sculpt - it's a fantastic Dracula sculpt.  Other sculpts have managed to capture Bela's facial appearance extremely well, but what Sideshow has also done is capture the creepy 'evil eye' look that he created for Dracula.

They didn't do this just with sculpting, but with a combination of sculpt and paint.  The left eyebrow is slightly raised, and the left eye opened wide.  The pupil of the left eye is centered, staring through you in a very mesmerizing manner.

The skin has a very realistic texture, including various imperfections such as the mole on his left cheek.  The wrinkles around the eyes, the slight pock marking of the face, and the dimple of his chin all work to make this an excellent likeness.

The hands are also very well done, with long thin fingers, posed in traditional Dracula style.  The veins stand out on the back of the hands, and the famous crest ring is included on his left hand.

The hand poses work very well too - I didn't play around with them enough when I was shooting the photos, but you can position both hands either up or down around the cape or waist, and get a great looking pose.

There's one spot that could be a matter of contention - the depth of his "widow's peak".  Many times Dracula has been portrayed as having a very pronounced peak of hair, with a receding hair line on either side.  In this version, there is a slight peak, but not nearly as obvious as some past figures.

This is much closer to reality though, and I searched around for some photos to make that clear.  Here's one of Dracula ready to pounce, and another of him standing on the stairs.  As you can see, this hair line is much closer to the style he had in the film.

One thing that's altered in this series since the release of the first figure, Nosferatu, is scale.  The Lugosi Dracula is much more in scale with Frankenstein than he is with Nosferatu.  The Nosferatu is much larger, and isn't really in scale with Frank.  Future figures should match up better with this scale than with the older Vampyre.

Paint - ****
This is one of those rare times when my photos did something weird - they make the face look more glossy than it is.

Keep in mind that I'm a big complainer when I get glossy paint jobs.  Dracula isn't as glossy as the photos make him appear, and in reality the finish is just about right.

The hair line is extremely clean, and as I mentioned earlier, the paint ops on the eyes and eyebrows works in conjunction with the sculpt to give him his trademark expression.

The skin tone is slightly green, although not as green as some of the photos make it appear.  Once again, the figure is much better in person than I can possibly translate.

Another area to note is the small detail work on the hands.  The veins show through with a bluish appearance, and the tiny fingernails have a dirty appearance.

Articulation - **
These aren't intended as super poseable figures, and future versions will only have enough articulation to make it possible to dress them.

Dracula has neck and wrist joints, and has a bendy wire frame for his arms and legs.  It will allow you to pose him in a number of ways, but I suspect once you get him just right, you'll leave him that way.

Outfit - ****
The other truly amazing piece of work here is the outfit. The outfit consists of his shirt, pants, vest, jacket, shoes, cape, and various accoutrements.

Technically I should have discussed the shoes under the sculpt, since they, like the hands and head, are sculpted polystone.  They look terrific, and are very realistic.

The shirt, vest, jacket and pants are extremely well tailored, fitting him just like a glove.  Using the soft body gives them an advantage in this department over the sixth scale figures, and also gives them the opportunity to alter the body shape and style to fit the license.

For example, you'll notice that Bela has a bit of a paunch, and a bit of a back porch as well.  He has exactly the body type I'd expect from a middle aged Hungarian actor in the 1930's.

The material they've used is very high quality, and the stitching and hems are top notch.  Metal is used where appropriate, such as the medallion, watch chain and cape chain.

And speaking of the cape, what a cape it is!  Fortunately, it's the correct gray on the inside, rather than the often used but very incorrect red.  The cape is even weighted at the corners so that it always hangs perfectly!  The chain and hook allow you to position the cape in just about any manner, or remove it all together.

Accessories - **1/2
There aren't really accessories, other than the base.  I've counted the cape as part of the outfit, so that doesn't leave anything else.

However, the base is extremely nice.  It's a very heavy polystone, with a nice detailed sculpt of the stone floor.  It also has the edition number on the bottom along with the usual Sideshow info.

Fun Factor - **
Okay, this isn't a toy by any means, so this category won't factor into the overall score, but it's still worth pointing out.  Don't go giving this to your four year old to bang up against his 18" Spider-Man.

Value - **1/2
This Lugosi Dracula isn't cheap by anyone's standard at $200 - $225.  This isn't an action figure, and it's not a simple statue.  This is art, and as art tends to draw a value higher than the simple costs of manufacture.

Still, there won't be many collectors who have a houseful of these figures.  It's much more likely that you'll find one or two that represent your most favorite movie or character, and those will make a fantastic centerpiece for the rest of your collection.

Overall - ****
This is a 'qualified' four stars.  Why qualified?  Because it's such an expensive item.

These aren't for the casual collector, but are designed for hardcore fans of Dracula, Lugosi or Universal Monsters.  If that's you, then this is truly an item that you should consider adding as a centerpiece to your collection.

The sculpt and outfit are amazing, and by bringing together both polystone and clothing, they've managed to create an amazing new medium of art.

I'm giving Dracula four stars, when Frankenstein only received three and a half and the Vampyre only got three.  This is due in part to the exceptional outfit, which fits better and looks nicer than the previous two.  It's also due to the exceptional sculpt on both the head and hands.  Sideshow seems to be improving the quality on even these already high end items.  My overall score is also based on a heavy weighting for sculpt, outfit and paint ops - if you're expecting articulation, accessories or amazing value, then your score will be lower.

If this isn't your particular must have license, it's still worth paying attention to the other Sideshow quarter scale figures.  Whether you're into Marvel superheroes, modern horror characters like Jason and Freddy, classic Star Trek, or even Star Wars, Sideshow will be producing some amazing figures in all these licenses (and more!).

Where to Buy - 
Sideshow is sold out of the Dracula, but has a ton of other cool licensed figures coming out in this style, including Bond, Freddy and Jason, Star Trek, Marvel and even Star Wars.  Other on-line options for Dracula include:

- Alter Ego Comics has him for $192, and they have pre-orders up for many of the upcoming quarter scale figures for 10 - 15% off.

- Aisle Sniper has him for $198.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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