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Review of Frankenweenie PVC action figures

NECA
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.25 out of 4

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Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Introduction

If you love old monster movies, then you really need to get out to see Frankenweenie, preferably in IMAX 3D. From characters named Elsa to the Japanese kid re-animating his turtle into a Gamera-like monster, the film is jam packed with funny and amusing references to past creature features. It's quirky, to be sure, with a very Burtonesque style, something that's been sadly missing from many of his recent films.

The newish company, Bridge Direct, is doing a set of PVC figures based on the film. There are four two packs in this release - Victor and re-animated Sparky, Persephone and still living Sparky, Edgar and the Wererat, and the Vampire Cat and Monster Turtle. You can expect to pay $11 for each set.

There's also a set of two collector packs, which include not only these eight but the Hamster Mummy as well. I haven't seen those pop up as of yet. There are at least five more very recognizable kids they could, plus at least one adult - the Mayor. I haven't heard of any additional releases yet, however.

I found these at Toys R Us, but I'm expecting we'll see them at other retailers soon. No sign of any larger scale figures, but they did have a pretty cute plush Sparky as well. There's also the more expensive VCD (vinyl collectible dolls) from Medicom of Victor and Sparky, but they are much larger as well. Medicom also has a set of UDF (Ultra Detail Figures) of Victor and Sparky.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Packaging - ***1/2
This is a perfect film for black and white, and they've carried that lack of color over to the packaging and toys. Only the Frankenweenie logo is in color - a perfect shade of green.

Of course, it's not collector friendly, and there's a tough twist tie on each figure, but the graphics make up for much of the annoyance. As an added touch, they printed the names of each figure on a baseball label, a key prop in the film.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Sculpting - ***1/2
These are sold as a 3" scale, although they range from 2 to about 4, depending on the character. Scale between them looks pretty good, with the exception of the Monster Turtle. No surprise there though, since he's almost Gamera big in the flick.

I love the detailing considering the small scale. Some of the figures, like Edgar and Victor, are better than others, but part of that is due to the lack of gray scale variation in the paint work, hiding some of the textures. There's some nice work on the fur of the Wererat, and I love the choice of expression for both Victor and Edgar. It's particularly worth noting that they did Victor in his lab gear, unlike Medicom, who is doing their 'dolls' in the regular clothes. I much prefer the lab jacket and goggles on his head.

The re-animated Sparky is pretty cute too, with the sculpted scars and patches, including the big one across his back, complete with polka dots.

All of them are attached to small wooden plank-like bases, with the exception of the Monster Turtle and the Vampire Cat. The cat does have a base, but you attach him yourself with a pole that holds him aloft, and the Monster Turtle has a matching base, but doesn't actually attach to it. With his big tail for stability, it's not really necessary.

These bases actually snap together side to side, forming a long chain of the figures as seen in my very first photo. That's a nice touch as well.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Paint - Victor, Edgar, re-animated Sparky ***1/2; the rest ***
Remember these are tiny figures, running around a 3" scale. Macro photos can make issues seem large that the human eye cannot detect.

That's not to say there aren't some issues, particularly around the eyes. The whites aren't always quite round, and the cut lines could be a smidge sharper. But the overall quality for this scale is actually quite good.

However, they really didn't use the gray scale palette as well as they could have. There's no subtle change of shade or color, and most of the figures are either black or gray - not much in between. The only real exceptions are Victor and Edgar, who get a bit better treatment overall. Re-animated Sparky is on the better side of the scale as well, with the polka dot patch on his back.

Another very minor nit - I would have preferred a white stripe in the hair of Persephone, matching the Bride of Frankenstein look in the film.

Both Sparky versions seem a bit too dark to me as well, not the light gray that we seen on screen. Not sure why that happened, but it's certainly noticeable at first glance. It's actually hard to tell on screen just how dark Sparky is though - the film uses lighting to its maximum effect, one of the strengths of using black and white.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Articulation - Bupkis
This is an informational only category this time, with no effect on my overall. As a small PVC figure, I don't expect articulation, but it's worth noting that there is none, since it is potentially possible.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Accessories - Bupkis
Another informational only category. Just in case you were wondering, none of them have any sort of traditional accessories. The Vampire Cat does have the base and rod as separate pieces, and the base is a separate piece for the monster turtle as well.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Fun Factor - ***
With the exception of Persephone, all of the figures are quite sturdy and well made, making them good toys as well as movie collectibles. The poodle's legs are a little soft - bending and breaking is possible, but it would require some pretty tough play.

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Value - **
This score depends somewhat on how you buy these - 2 packs, collector's sets, etc - but in general you'll pay about $5 for each PVC. That's steep, even by current market standards.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing!

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Overall - Victor, Edgar, re-animated Sparky ***1/2; the rest ***
I enjoyed the odd, quirky film, and found it a refreshing bit of dark fairy tale mixed with monster movie homage. These figures are decent examples of current large PVC figures, with nice sculpting and reasonable mass market paint work. The price tag is a bit of a shock, but the overall quality helps make up for it a bit.

My favorite characters in the film are Victor and Edgar, so it's no real surprise that their designs translated the best into toys. Both Sparky's are cute as well, although I like the re-animated version a bit better, since he has more sculpting and paint detail.

And when you see the film, watch for the cameo by Fire Marshall Bill!

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - Victor, Edgar ***1/2; the rest ***
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - Victor, Edgar, re-animated Sparky ***1/2; the rest ***

Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the two packs for $11 each, or the set of four for $42.

- Entertainment Earth has a half case - 6 - of the two packs for $78.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

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Frankenweenie PVC figures by NECA

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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