SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE 


Mad Monster Party - Baron, Fang and the Count
Diamond Select Toys

Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys


Even today, there isn't a kid out that that's not familiar with the classic Rankin/Bass Christmas show Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Their stop motion technique using dolls might not be at the technical level of Frankenweenie, but it's still beloved by millions.

Their Halloween themed movie isn't quite as well known, although it uses the same stop motion technique. Mad Monster Party? was released in 1967, and had all the great monsters - Dracula, Frankenstein, the Werewolf, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy, the Bride...the list goes on and on. It was also the last film Boris Karloff did that related to his Frankenstein history, voicing Baron Frankenstein this time.

The blu-ray edition came out last month, and you can pick it up pretty cheap at Amazon. I hear that they found the original undamaged 35mm print, and that the blu-ray looks great, but I haven't picked it up yet.

Diamond Select Toys picked up the license for action figures, and has released their first wave. There's the Baron, Fang, and the Count, pretty much the big three. These will cost you around $20 each, although if you buy them as a set you can get them down closer to $17.

DST has not yet announced a second wave, but I have my fingers crossed. I really, really, really have to have a Creature from the Black Lagoon, and a Yetch and Bride would be terrific, since they were done to look like the voice actors (Peter Lorre and Phyllis Diller respectively). And now that I have the figures, I have an itch to see the movie again, which means I'll have to hunt up the blu-ray!
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys
Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys

Packaging - ***
These come in cardback/bubble style packages, and the color and graphics are decent. It didn't wow me, but they do the job. I do like all the text for each of the three characters on the back, but a little more personalization would have been nice.

I also hate the twisty ties on the Baron. The other two came free easy enough, but there were nine ties in the Baron's package, and  several were so tightly wound that I had no other choice but than to use the wire cutters.

Sculpting - Count, Baron ***1/2; Fang ****
I love the look of these guys - it's like they popped right off the screen. And while they say they are a 7" scale, and that's actually about right (Fang is 10", while the Count is 7 1/2"), it's very misleading. Because these are cartoon figures, with huge heads and funky proportions, they seem much, much larger than any normal scaled 7 - 8" figure.

These have quite a bit of detail, considering the style. The hair on the Baron, including his caterpiller eyebrows, is very detailed, with fine stranding. The skin has a slightly rough texture, which reminds you of a doll or puppet.

There's also nice little touches on every figure - Frank has his detailed bolts and staples, the Baron his chain and buttons, and the Count has his cool skull medallion.

In fact, I would have gone with a perfect four stars here for all three figures except for one problem shared by the Baron and the Count - they lean, so much so that it's tough to get their center of gravity aligned with such little articulation.

I'll probably have to use a hot water bath on the legs, re-pose them, then dump them in some cold water to re-set them in a slightly better pose.

Paint - ***
Most of the cut lines are very clean, although there's some slop around all the eyes and small details, like the Count's fangs, or the Baron's buttons. At first glance - or a distance - the paint work is sufficient, but these are very large figures, and it doesn't require a macro lens to see the issues.

One of the nice touches here is that they used some different finishes to add some visual interest. For example, the black shirt on Fang's arms are flat, but the tunic over the torso has a semi-gloss finish, further setting it apart.

The entire bat accessory has this same slightly glossy finish, and I like the way it makes them pop.

Articulation - Baron, Count **; Fang **1/2
These aren't super articulated - it's even a stretch to call them articulated.

The Count has a ball neck - sort of. It's a VERY thin post, and his head lolls around it a bit. Even so, it doesn't really tilt very well.

There's pin/disc ball shoulders, and a cut waist. And that's it. With the large head, it can be tricky getting his center of gravity just right, and the feet don't help a whole lot. They allow him to lean a little too far, and you'll have to adjust them with some hot water and a cold bath. Be careful though - I snapped one foot off at the ankle trying to just bend it and had to re-glue it.

Frank has the most articulation of the set. With a cut neck, pin/disc ball shoulders, cut wrists (inside the sleeves), cut waist, and cut ankles (also inside the pants). You can do a couple basic stances, and he stands great on his own.

The Baron has the same cut neck and ball shoulders, as well as cut wrists and a cut waist. The joints will allow you to keep him standing, but the sculpted legs cause him to lean too far forward. He has the hardest time staying upright of the three.

Accessories - Fang ***; Drac, Baron ***1/2
Fang is the biggest figure, and so it's not surprising that he comes with the fewest accessories. 

All three figures have a small display stand, done up like a stone floor, but including the "Mad Monster Party" logo on the front. There's no peg however, so the figure doesn't actually attach to the stand. Too bad, since it would have helped fix the leaning issues with the Count and the Baron.

Fang comes with one additional accessory - the lit torch. It's in proper scale, and I love the use of the translucent plastic for the flame.

The Baron has three accessories, starting with the same display base. He has a test tube sculpted into a test tube clamp, and his little pet spider. Little is probably not the right word to describe this hairy bug, but he's still cute.

The Count has three accessories as well. Once again, there's the display base, but he also has a large human skull, and a bat, wings spread wide. I love the goofy grin on the bat, but I wish there was some way to display him, like a clear pole/stand.

Fun Factor - **1/2
These figures are more of a nostalgic fun than a play fun. They look cool on the shelf, but you can't do much posing or true playing.

Value - **1/2
$18 isn't cheap, but it's not far off the average price for any action figure these days, especially in this scale. Remember, these figures are much bigger than you probably expect. The run size is probably pretty small too, and with the decent accessories the price point seems reasonable.

Things to Watch Out For -
Watch out with the neck on the Count. It's very thin, and could tear if you twist it and it's stuck.

Overall - ***1/2
If I'd merely looked at these in the package, I would have given them a full four stars overall. But just looking at the figures in the bubble is never enough to fully understand the true quality.

Fang gets pulled down slightly by his lower accessory count. One or two more items and he'd be a full four stars.

The Count and the Baron only have one real major issue - that lean. If they stood up straight, even with the limited articulation, the great sculpts and accessories would have pushed these to a full four stars overall.

I really do hope that we get another series, especially the Creature from the Black Lagoon - my life would be complete!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Count, Baron ***1/2; Fang ****
Paint - ***
Articulation - Baron, Count **; Fang **1/2
Accessories - Fang ***; Baron, Count ***1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Most online retailers are selling these as a set, so if you only want one your best bet may be your local shop. Online options include these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store has some singles at $19 each, but some characters are already sold out. They have the set for $55.

- Urban Collector has the set of 3 for $52.

- Entertainment Earth has the set for $55.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I haven't reviewed any other Mad Monster Party items (Funko did do some bobble heads at one point), but I'm hopeful this won't be the only series.

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!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
 Google +1
 
Digg it!
 StumbleUpon Toolbar
Stumble It!
 
Reddit

Mad Monster Pary action figures by Diamond Select Toys


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

This page copyright 2000 - 2012, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com