Universal Monsters Series 5 - Ygor, Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera

Sideshow Toy finishes off their terrific line of 8" Universal Monsters with this final series - Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Bela Lugosi as Ygor (from Son of Frankestein), and Lon Chaney as the Phantom of the Opera.

This series is very limited, and was only available through Sideshow and comics shops or on-line stores.  No mass retailers are carrying these.  They made 5,000 of the set of three, and an additional 5,000 Bela as Dracula figures.

The full set of three did cost $51 at Sideshow, and the Dracula is $17.  Only the Dracula is still available directly through them.

Packaging - ***
The packaging never changed through this line, but the graphics are attractive and bright.  The other figures are on the back of the card, along with text on the movies.

Sculpting - ***1/2
It's Oluf Hartvigson here again. And once again, he does a marvelous job.  Bela as Dracula looks a little chubby in the face, but the excellent paint ops help make.  Both Phantom head sculpts are great, as is the Ygor.  Quality work once again, showing that Sideshow has some of the best sculpts in the industry.

Paint Ops - ****
Superb paint ops work with these great sculpts.  All three figures look great, but I think my favorite is the red version of the Phantom of the Opera.  Not only is the sculpting great, the paint ops on both the heads and the body are excellent.

Articulation - **
Uh...what happened?  If you were enjoying those 12 points of articulation on the previous series, you're going to be disappointed.  Sideshow cut it to 8 points on all three of these - neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists and waist.  Yep, that's right, no articulation at all below the waist.

While it isn't a terrible situation, it's unfortunate because they had done such an excellent job of providing good articulation and yet hiding it well.

Value - **
We've lost articulation, and the price has risen quite a bit.  Since you can expect to pay at least $15 each for these, the price is up at least five bucks a figure.  This is because of the limited nature of course, but it's still rough for those that really want the Dracula figure.

Accessories - ***1/2
Sideshow comes through once again in the accessory department.  Ygor has a pair of pliers, sheers, and the remnants of a burnt-out torch.  All three are nice, and his tool belt can hold the tools.  The lab apron is made of rather cheap material, so be very careful with it.  It's permanently attached, but if you drop him you could tear it easily.  UPDATE - Jim Alexander was nice enough to point out to me that it isn't a torch - it's Ygor's flute!  Very cool, and obvious now that it was pointed out to me.

The Phantom comes with two heads, a nice hat with feather, staff with skull top, and a cloth robe.  The hat doesn't fit particularly well on either head, but you can get it to work with the skull mask version if you work with it.

Dracula has three accessories, including a cloth cape (with correct gray lining!), large bat on clear plastic rod, and a dragon candlestick.  The candlestick is very nicely sculpted, but is on the small side and he has trouble holding it.  The cape is the greatest disappointment, because although it is made from great material and has excellent stitching, there is no way to connect it around his neck.  There's no rope, or snaps, or anything of the sort.  As I understand it, there's supposed to be a little string that comes along with this in a small bag with instructions, but unfortunately mine was lacking that piece. That means keeping it on him is a balancing act.

The bat is great though, and attaches to the base with the clear rod.  Overall, all three look great with their accessories.

Overall - ***
I've reviewed many of these figures on this site.  This is the first to get less than three and a half stars.  Why?  It's the combination of the loss of articulation with the increase in price.  I'm glad I got them, but unless you're a completist I would only recommend picking up Dracula.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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