SEARCH      FEATURES    NEWSLETTER/RSS    EMAIL     HOME
White Space
Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week
Review Header Bar
White Space

Review of Creature from the Black Lagoon
Universal Monsters action figure

Diamond Select Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Introduction

I'm a huge fan of the classic Universal Monsters.  From Frankenstein to the Metaluna Mutant, Universal brought us some of the greatest monsters in movie history, and collectibles based on those films have been going strong for 50 years.

Of all the monsters, the Creature from the Black Lagoon is easily my favorite. I think he's one of the top three best creature designs of all time, right up there with the original Alien and Predator. The movie itself is no great shakes, but it's well worth watching just to see this guy in action.

Diamond Select Toys has released a new Creature as part of their 7" scale series of Universal Monsters. This isn't their first shot at the Creature in this line - they did another version back in 2010. But this one is certainly an improvement.

You can pick him up for around $22 at most online retailers. There's also a slightly cheaper version available at Toys R Us right now, but it does not include the small diorama stand.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Packaging - ***
I dig the book style packages, especially with the larger collector specific diorama sets being sold through online retailers. The spline has some great retro style monster graphics, so you'll know at a glance who is in each package.

Of course, it's not collector friendly stuff, requiring you to destroy the packaging to remove the figure. There's also six twisty ties holding this poor guy in!

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Sculpting - ****
One of the unique aspects of Universal Monster collectibles is their variety and the willingness of the companies to put their own spin on the characters. With most licenses, the company attempts to do their best at capturing the on screen look - with Universal Monsters, anything goes.

That being said, DST has done their best - and their best is mighty good - at getting the exact look of the Creature down perfectly. 

There were actually two Creature costumes used on screen. One was worn by Ricou Browning, and was used in the underwater sequences. Ricou was a specialist in underwater filming and stunt work, and is the only man to play the creature more than once. He wasn't a small man at 6' 3", but he was thinner than the slightly taller Ben Chapman, the actor who portrayed the Creature on land. Ricou's underwater suit had two 'plates' across the chest, while Chapman's had a third small section added to accommodate his larger torso.

I mention all that because this Creature is clearly the Chapman suit. They've done a fantastic job getting the small details right, including the three separate pieces across the front of the chest.  The head sculpt is extremely accurate, with only the smallest of issues. There's a few more wrinkles in the forehead, but that's my only nit.

He's got some nice height too, at about 7 3/4" tall. He stands great on his own, and the large hands have a menacing pose and appearance, perfect for any stance.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Paint - ***1/2
They've gone with a pretty heavy wash here, but the green color looks terrific. The wash does bring out some of the texturing details, but they could have backed off slightly and I'd be just a bit happier.

They also have some very nicely done highlights and details, like the red lips, white eyes, and lighter highlights around the hands and feet. Overall the work is top notch, especially for a mass produced toy.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Articulation - ****
Along with being the best sculpted Creature action figure, he's also the best articulated Creature action figure.

There's a ball neck, although the pin/disc design allows for more forward and backward movement than side to side tilt. The ball shoulders have a nice full range of movement, and there's cut biceps, pin elbows, and wrists with both pin and cut joints, allowing for just about any arm pose.

The torso includes a rocker joint at both the chest and the waist, and the legs include hinge hips, cut thighs, pin knees and pin ankles. While the body sculpt inhibits some of the articulation a bit (for example, the ankles), overall you can get a ton of great poses out of this design, with little visual damage to the flow of the sculpt.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Accessories - ***
There's only one accessory - the underwater diorama. That's a little odd, since this is clearly his look on land, not in the water. The base itself is a little wonky too - I'm not really much of a fan of the seaweed-like section with some cheesy looking fish swimming along.

Still the human bones are a nice touch, and it does provide a nice backdrop to the figure. I prefer the 'victim' diorama with their original release, but this one is decent enough.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Fun Factor - ****
As a fan of the classics, you can't get much better than this. Terrific sculpt and paint, amazing articulation - this is a great toy!  It's also a great collectible, and will look good in any display.

Value - ***
Considering that most action figures are now in the $15 - $20 range, even in smaller scales than this, I have to say that the value here is solid. You're getting a fantastic figure, plus a small diorama - I'm happy to see that DST is keeping their prices relatively flat for the Select series.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Things to Watch Out For -
A few of the joints, particularly the cut biceps, where paint stuck. Be careful when breaking them free, and use a little hot water if necessary.

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Dividing Bar

Overall - ****
It's all too rare that we get the best version of a character, but that's what we have here. I can say without a doubt that this is the nicest version of the Creature we've ever gotten in action figure format, and I don't see that changing any time soon.

The sculpt and articulation are what really set this guy apart. They've captured the look of the costume far better than any previous attempt - including Sideshow's, which was my previous favorite - and they've done it at a price point that won't kill your wallet.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has him for $23.

- Entertainment Earth has him at $23.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I just looked at their Son of Frankenstein, and in the past I covered the wave of Moleman, Hunchback and Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde, and previous DST Universal Monsters including Frankenstein, his Bride, and Dracula, and the Creature, Wolfman and Mummy.

And if you want to check out some other Creature figures, there's the recent Mezco version, the Sideshow 8" version, the black and white bank, the goofy Monster Pals version,  the Sideshow PF (one of the nicest collectibles produced),  Sideshow has done a great 12" version, and one from the later film, The Creature Walks Among Us,  the most recent smaller figure was from Toy Island,  and this mini-bust might not be an official Creature, but it's mighty close.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Please share with your friends!

Creature from the Black Lagoon action figure from DST

Back to Main Page
This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

White Space
Review Bottom Edge
This page copyright 2000 - 2015, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions!