Packaging - ***
The larger packaging for the Select figures isn't wasted space - the
dioramas really require the bigger size. The graphics are good, and the
Mummy even had sturdy plastic ties holding the bubble and cardback
together in an attempt to compensate for the extreme weight of the
the book shelf style package used with the Select figures is nice,
I actually prefer the look of the Toys R Us retail packages. I think
it's the large Universal Monsters logo that does it for me. Of course,
neither are collector friendly, and you'll have to tear them up and cut
through 5 or 6 twisties to get the figures free.
Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpts on all three figures - plus the lovely lady - are all quite
good. These are pretty close representations of the old school
characters, and the shape and proportions of the limbs and body are
Wolfman has finely detailed hair over his face and hands, and a
snarling, menacing expression that works well with all the required
poses. He doesn't stand on his own due to the paw-like sculpted feet,
but using the included diorama/base will fix that issue.
Mummy is sculpted in a pose perfect for laying on his back, sleeping
through the ages. I was surprised to find that he also stands just fine
on his own outside his resting place. The detail work on the bandages
is excellent, and I think the actual facial likeness is the best of the
three. I can easily see Karloff lurking under the makeup.
Creature has the weakest portrait, but it's still much better than any
other recent attempt in plastic form. The face is a little too flat,
the eyes a bit too far apart. He reminds me a little of the Saucermen, in fact.
detail work on the scaly skin is excellent though, and his proportions
are much better than we saw with the Toy Island version.
three of these figures is done in an 8" scale, making them a bit bigger
than most other figures currently on the market, but fitting in pretty
well with the old Sideshow versions.
Paint - ***
In the grand
tradition of McFarlane and NECA, DST has gone with a 'hit it hard with
a wash' style of paint work, intended to add realism and a gritty look
to any figure in a similar scale.
It works fine here, and does
bring out the sculpted details. There's a little slop that detracts
from the overall, and areas like the Woflman's teeth, the Creature's
eyes, and the Mummy's weirdly consistent hair brings the score down
While most of the smaller detail work is good,
especially on the sarcophagus, there are areas where there are clearly
problems. The eyebrows on the Creature's victim don't match (can you
imagine a woman of the 50's with mismatched eyebrows? That's less
likely than the existence of the Creature!), and her lipstick isn't
evenly applied at the corners of her mouth. While I love most of the
work on the sarcophagus, some of the silver bits exhibit sloppy edges
and overspray. And while the wash technique does what it's supposed to
do, in some areas it is too heavy and over applied.
Articulation - Wolfman
, Creature **1/2; Mummy Bupkis
These are not highly articulated figures, and in fact have even less articulation than the Toy Island versions.
The Mummy is the worst, since he's pretty much a hunk of plastic. He does stand well though, which was a surprise.
Wolfman is quite a bit better, with a ball jointed neck, NECA style
shoulders, pin elbows, cut waist and cut wrists. With the upper body
articulation, you'll be able to get several very convincing poses, and
the ball jointed neck really adds quite a bit.
The Creature lacks
that neck joint, and in fact doesn't even have a cut neck. He does have
the NECA shoulders, pin elbows and cut wrists, but again, he lacks the
cut waist. He adds in cut ankles, which means you can adjust the feet
and get him in a very stable standing pose.
I almost bumped the
Wolfman another half star here, but in the end just couldn't do it.
It's a close call, but I needed a little more to get to that B average.
Still, for the person looking for a display figure, all three of these
Accessories - Mummy ****;
Creature ***1/2; Wolfman ***;
out of the package, it was clear which figure was the winner in this
category - the Mummy takes it easily. That's because the sarcophagus is
so well done, with an excellent detailed sculpt, nice paint ops, and a
serious heft that was unexpected.
The Mummy can fit nicely
inside, and the coffin can stand on it's end perfectly with no balance
issues. In fact, the lid and base can both stand on their own
separately, without leaning against anything. The top fits on tightly,
and the entire package looks great.
The Creature pulls in at a
close second. He comes with a sandy, rocky base and a hapless female
victim, dressed appropriately in a 1950's style swim suit. This was
exactly what our heroine in the original film wore, and they even included the double straps. One set of the straps isn't sculpted all the way to the suit for some reason, but that's a minor nit. Julie Adams
played the damsel in distress, and I think that DST did a nice job
capturing her look from the film. Check out what I assume is the publicity still they based this diorama upon.
figure actually attaches to the base. I can't get the girl to sit quite
flat on the sand, but unless you're looking at it straight on, you
won't notice the slight gap. She's not articulated, so there's no
joints to adjust.
Some folks may find the lack of pegs
annoying, but since both figures stand (or sit) perfectly fine on their
own, no pegs means you can display them on or around the base in
whatever manner you'd like.
Finally, there's the Wolfman. Again,
he isn't a 'select' figure, so his base is much smaller than the
others. It's a nicely sculpted forest floor, complete with rocks and an
detachable stump, and there are two foot pegs this time to keep him in
place. Unlike the Creature, that's critical because Wolfie can't stand
on his own.
Fun Factor - Creature ***;
Wolfman **1/2; Mummy **
Of the three, the Creature would be the most fun for kids. While he
lacks any lower body articulation, the arm articulation allows him to
menace other figures just fine, and he stands great on his own with
very little effort. Kids can smack around the other helpless figures in
their toy box with this guy, and he can take as much abuse as he dishes
Wolfman also has enough articulation to be fun, but he can't stand
particularly well without the base. Kids tend to find that a little
more frustrating and annoying, but it's not always a deal breaker.
Mummy stands pretty well, once you find the sweet spot - but that's all
he's going to do. Kids are probably going to love the sarcophagus, but
this figure is pretty much just a backdrop to the real action.
Value - **1/2
With the dioramas, even the smaller ones, these are a pretty average
value at around $15 - $18. Pay much more than that though, and you can
knock off another half star or more.
most people would probably prefer the Select versions, the Toys R Us
versions seem to be selling extremely well, and I have a hunch that 20
years from now, they may be the ones harder to come by.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. These are all very sturdy, with little potential for breakage or issues.
Overall - ***
I was very vocal several years ago when the Toy Island figures hit. I
was very disappointed in the poor likeness, gangly limbs, and weird
paint work. The new figures from DST are a definite improvement.
these lack the articulation that was present with the Toy Island set,
and DST still hasn't given us a Dracula or a Frankenstein, two key
members of the troupe. Hopefully that will be rectified with a second
series, but until then, this set is going to seem a tad slim in numbers.
I were only going to own one set of Universal Monster action figures in
this approximate scale, it would still be the series from Sideshow.
Those can be tough to come by now and cost quite a bit more than
retail, making these a good option. And if you're a Universal Monster
freak that likes to buy just about anything that hits the peg, then
these will certainly not disappoint.
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - Creature, Wolfman **1/2; Mummy Bupkis
Accessories - Mummy ****; Creature ***1/2; Wolfman ***;
Fun Factor - Creature ***; Wolfman **1/2; Mummy **
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***
Where to Buy -
If you're looking for the Wolfman, Toys R Us is the place to pick up
the regular version. That's also the place to pick up the 'regular'
versions of the Creature and the Mummy. The black and white Wolfman is
available through Entertainment Earth only,
and he's on sale right now for just $15! Online options for the Select
versions of Creature and Mummy include these site sponsors:
Collector has them the Select versions for $17.
Comics N Stuff has them for $18.
- Alter Ego Comics has them for $18.
- Big Bad Toy Store has them for $18.
- Things From Another World has them for $18.
Earth has them for about $18 each.
- Hollywood Heroes has them for $22.
- for the UK buyers, Forbidden
Planet has them for 17 GBP each.
- or you can search
ebay for a deal.
I've covered a ton of Universal Monsters goodies over the last decade:
- Toy Island did a set that some folks really like - I wasn't one of them.
- more recently, Mezco did several Wolfman figures for the new film.
- if you're looking for a odd but cute Creature, check out this one, but if you're looking for something a bit more film accurate, the Sideshow Premium Format statue is the way to go.
- if you like busts, check out the mini-busts that Sideshow did for the DVD
- there's the long ago awful Dracula
from Jakks. They did awful versions of Frankenstein and the Wolfman too, as
well as the modern Van Helsing Wolfman and
sixth scale Van Helsing.
- I have a guest review of the nifty little
figures from Yanoman.
- Sideshow produced a truly fantastic line of 8" figures that I highly
recommend tracking down. I reviewed series 5,
series 4, series
3, and series 2 (in black and white).
- Sideshow also did Little Big Heads of many of the monsters. I reviewed series 2,
- and in Sideshow's weirdest move, they did Little Big Head versions of the
monsters as wrestlers.
- and then of course there's Sideshow's 12" line up, which was simply
fantastic. They started with Frankenstein, and
went on to the Wolfman, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, Dracula, Fritz, Murder Legendre, Larry
Talbot, more Frankensteins, the Gypsy, Renfield,
Bride of Frankenstein, Mask of the Red Death, the Mummy, the Creature Walks Among Us, Werewolf of London, the Moleman, Creature
from the Black Lagoon, Mr. Hyde, Ardeth Bey, Hunchback
of Notre Dame, and the Metaluna Mutant.
- Sideshow also did a set of sixth scale figures based on the hilarious send
up of Frank, Young Frankensten.
- They also did a few more monsters that are old school, but not actually
Univesal, like the Vampyre, Van Helsing, Anna
Valorious, and London After Midnight, and
Majestic Studios did the Return of the Fly, and
Abominable Doctor Phibes.
- Mcfarlane has done his own take on the classics, including Frankenstein, and the Wolfman and Mummy, along with another Dracula and Wolfman set.
- one year, Burger King joined up with the Simpsons for some Halloween
versions of their characters as classic
- and don't forget Sideshow's line up of Premium Format figures, including Vampyre, Frankenstein, Dracula, and Phantom
of the Opera.
- other companies have done mini-busts like this Mummy or this Creature.
- Product Enterprise did this great Dracula based on
Christopher Lee's interpretation.
Want to chat about this
review? Try out one of these terrific
forums where I'll be
Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find
thousands more just like it!