Sideshow Toy has been giving us quite the variety of figures this year.  Continuing with the Universal Monsters theme, Fritz is now shipping.

Don't remember Fritz?  Sure you do!  He was the first 'Igor'.  The hunchbacked little assistant in the first Universal Frankenstein flick, he met a rather nasty end after teasing the monster one too many times.

The character of Fritz was played by Dwight Frye, who played in many other Universal horror movies.  He was Renfield in the original Lugosi Dracula, and played small parts in over forty films.  He died at the age of 44 of a heart attack.

This figure complements the previous Frankenstein's Monster, but you have to wonder - where's the good Doctor?  Hopefully Sideshow will be able to work things out with the Clive family to get the rights. This figure sells for $40, and is limited to a run of 3,500.

Packaging - ***1/2
I thought I had a four star package this time, and it was awfully close.  Sideshow has heard the fans and has gone to collector friendly packaging.  Combining that with the consistently excellent graphics and text, and you should have a perfect winner.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as collector friendly as I'd hoped.  It looks good from the outside, and I opened it up pretty easily.  But there is one particularly nasty twisty tie that goes around the neck and through the back of the cardboard insert.

Using the plastic tray is great, and overall you can remove the figure and accessories without any real damage.  But I really think they could have dropped the neck twisty, at least not putting it all the way through the back of the second insert.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpt is fairly good, based on stills from the original film.  It's another piece by Mat Falls, who is does a consistently nice job.

My only complaint is that the face is somewhat thinner through the cheeks than he appears in the photos. 

The head is quite large however, if you compare this figure to the Frankenstein Monster.  Overall the scale seems a little off, since Fritz was much smaller than the Karloff monster.

The hand sculpts are excellent as well, with a nice paint wash that brings out the details.

Paint - ****
The paint ops on the face are excellent.  He has a great pallor to his face, and the paint work is extremely clean.  His scar stands out clearly on his skin without looking 'painted' on.  Also, the previously mentioned paint wash on the hands looks great.

Articulation - ****
I really like the Sideshow body when two things happen - they use the jointed neck, and the joints are tight.  Fortunately, both are true here.

I had no trouble posing him in many ways, and his joints were tight enough to hold them all without external assistance.

Accessories - ***
You may be a bit disappointed in the accessories with this set, since you'll probably already have them.

The brain and jar both came with the first Frankenstein Monster.  The wooden walking stick is the same that comes with Igor from Young Frankenstein.  And we've seen the foot stand more than once.

But at least the accessories make sense, even if they are re-uses, and you won't need the stand.

Outfit - ***
It's a pretty basic outfit.  There's the shoes, which are a nice, understated but realistic sculpt, the pants, socks, shirt and jacket.

The general level of quality is good, although there seem to be a couple short cuts.  The pants fit well, but aren't hemmed.

The shirt isn't one of the dickie/vest type, but is a full shirt with great stitching and good details.  The hump is also packed into the shirt, although it really could use a little more stuffing.  As I recall, Fritz's hump wasn't huge, but this one is a little too understated.

The jacket is the nicest piece, with excellent detailing.  Overall, it's a basic outfit, but with good quality.  And let's face it, Fritz wasn't exactly a fashion plate.

Value - **
The only real fault with this figure is the higher cost.  At $40, he's one of the more expensive Sideshow figures so far, and that's due to the lower production run.

Overall - ***1/2
If you're a major Frankenstein fan, this figure is a great addition.  I suspect that 3500 was more than enough of this character as well, but for the major Universal Monster fans, it's certainly a welcome release.  If paying a little more is necessary to get some of these less known characters, it's well worth it.

Where to buy
I asked Sideshow if there were any bricks and mortar retailers carrying Fritz, but they weren't sure.  Sounds to me like your best bets will be one of the on-line companies.

- Sideshow of course has them, for $40 plus shipping.

- Entertainment Earth has them for $35 plus shipping, and has them currently in stock. (MROTW affiliate)

- The Toy Cellar has them for $38 plus shipping.  I've had good look in the past with this retailer.

- you can also try TNC Universe, but they don't have Fritz listed on the site.  They usually have great prices.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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