Sideshow 12" Creature from the Black Lagoon

During the 30's, 40's and 50's, Universal Studios produced classic monster movies.  These movies set the tone and theme of classic creatures for years to come.  Horror only has a handful of major themes, and Universal hit every one - science run amok (Frankenstein), the undead (Mummy), the sexual allure of evil (Dracula), the evil inside every man suddenly out of control (Wolfman) and more.  They didn't just produce one or two classic films, but dozens.

My favorite though came late in the game, in 1954.  The Creature from the Black Lagoon produced one of the coolest on screen monsters in the history of movie monsters.  We've gotten a few toy versions of him over the years, including the awful 12" version from Hasbro a few years ago, but now Sideshow Toy has produced the best sixth scale version to date.

Sideshow also produced an 8" version (who even came in a green version, clear version, and even a black and white version), and a 12" version of the sequel monster from Creature Walks Among Us.  People have been looking forward to this version for several years now, but will it live up to their exceptionally high expectations?

Packaging - ***1/2
This art work shows why Sideshow gets such rave reviews for their packaging.  Using the original poster artwork along with film stills, they develop a great looking package that you don't mind having on the shelf.  The only negative here which pulls the score down ever so slightly is the stand sealed to the insert.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpt on the head, hands and feet is absolutely amazing.  If I were only considering these hard plastic areaas, I'd give the figure four stars.  There's tons of detail, with the perfect expression and style.

The body is covered in a rubber suit, not much different than the actor was.  It's a soft rubber, and that means that the body itself doesn't have the same level of detail as the hands, feet and head.  The softer material can't hold that kind of detail as well, so the scales and texture are softer.

The rubber suit has other issues as well.  It's loose fitting especialy on the arms, and that means it sags and bags when you bend the arms or legs.  That hurts what would otherwise be a fantastic looking figure.

One of the nicer features of the rubber suit is the fins running down the back and on the arms.  These are done pretty well, and look good from any angle. 

Paint - ****
The best feature of the figure is the excellent paint ops.  The shades of green work perfectly, and the wash highlights the great detail in the hands and feet.  Everything is neat and clean, especially around the eyes, mouth, and claws.

Articulation - ***1/2
Under normal circumstances, I give Sideshow bodies very high marks.  Occasionally, I get one with floppy joints, but most of the time (at least in the last year or so) they are excellent. 

This isn't quite normal circumstances though.  The rubber body suit, along with the funky feet, removes some of the best aspects of the normal Sideshow articulation.

There is the ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps and thighs, ball jointed hips, special Sideshow wrists, double jointed elbows and knees, waist, chest, and ankles.

All the joints you expect are here, but the rubber suit does make it tough to hold some positions.  I didn't have any floppy joints here, and yet the suit fought they body and won at times.  If you get unlucky and get weak joints, I'm sure you'll have more serious problems.

Accessories - **
This is an expensive figure, and the costs are driven by the rubber suit.  We end up without much in the accessory department because of that.

There's the Sideshow stand, with the Creature movie logo on the base.  You won't need it, but it looks nice anyway.

The only other accessory is the petrified hand that gets the scientists all buzzin' in the first place.  The sculpt is good, but it's still pretty light for this price point.  A harpoon or net, similar to what came with the 8" version, would have certainly been nice.

Value - **1/2
At $45, this is one of Sideshow's more expensive figures.  With only one accessory and the stand, it's not going to get great value scores.  Of course, the rubber suit must have been damn expensive to produce, but something as simple as a net would have been a nice addition and cheap to add in.

Quality - ***
There is some concern over the rubber suit among collectors.  Let's face it, we've never seen anything made of soft rubber last.  Art Asylum has been using some with the Star Trek figures that they claim will last a long time, but there are still plenty of skeptics out there.  Only time can prove whether this material will last.  Perhaps we should have an official 'Creature watch', and report on him over time?

Overall - ***
The price and lack of accessories pull down the overall score a half star at least.  The sculpt is great, and while there may be some concerns around the rubber suit, this is certainly the best 12" version of the Creature we've ever seen.

Can you imagine how cool a quarter scale version would be?  Now that we have both the Frankenstein and Dracula, can it be too far behind?

Where to Buy - 
I bought mine directly from the Sideshow site. On-line options include:

- Sideshow still has them for $45 each.  They also have the black and white versions up for preorder for $50.  There are only 500 of the B&W, and it's a Sideshow store exclusive.

- Alter Ego Comics has the best price I've seen at $32.  They have them in stock, ready to ship.  Search under the Movie and TV figures.

- Aisle Sniper has the Creature for $35, a great price.  They also still have the Creature Walks Among Us versions on sale for $30. Just check under their Sideshow section.

- Time and Space Toys has him in stock for $42.  They also carry a ton of other cool monster movie items.

- Entertainment Earth has him in for $39, and they will guarantee a mint box.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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