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Sideshow 12" Metaluna Mutant

Somewhat a mutant himself, Branto, is back tonight with a terrific review of a terrific figure of a terrific character...the Metaluna Mutant!  What's the dealio, Branto?

Once again thanks to the mighty Mike Crawfish (you can call him that, all his friends do!) for letting me share my .02 cents with you on this most HOLY of Sideshow releases. 

Once upon a time in Hollywood it was more important to tell a good story than it was to show stuff blowing up really good. Sadly, these days are long, long gone. But we can still enjoy the fruits of Hollywood's labor through the magic of DVD. If you're like me (and just who the hell ISN'T!?) you probably caught "This Island Earth" once upon a Saturday afternoon on some regional tv channel (back when they had those in the 70's and 80's), or perhaps on that same channels Friday Night Drive-In type movie. Sure, MOST of the time it was Godzilla squaring off against that sinister Smog Monster, but every now and then they'd mix the lineup of movies up, and a real GEM like "This Island Earth" would get shown. And it was an awesome rainy Saturday afternoon when this movie came on.




Now, if you have never seen This Island Earth, immediately slap yourself in the face. Now, DO IT AGAIN! That stinging sensation on your cheeks should serve as a reminder to immediately buy or rent this movie. Why? Well simply put.....its GOT THE FREAKIN MU-TANT IN IT!! Thats right, this isn't just some "Mutant"...this is a "Mu-TANT", with an emphasis on the "tant"....get it? Got It? Good. 

The Mu-TANT is a subservient insect-like race with a highly evolved brain bred for manual labor by the Metalunans. So while they were off polishing their foreheads and building Interocitors (watch the movie, you'll understand) these mega-brained Insect-like (that really don't appear to be particularly insect-like at all) critters were off waxing floors, scrubbing skids out of underwear, folding jumpsuits and building spacecraft. That is, until a big chunk of debris cracks one in the brain...then they're out...TO KILL!

The figure itself presents an interesting dilemma for Sideshow: How do you recreate a monster that is simply a guy in a big rubber suit? THANKFULLY Sideshow chose the SMART ROAD: Instead of trying to make a "vision of what the Metaluna Mutant would look like had he been REAL", they did what I had hoped they would do: They made a 1/6 scale figure that LOOKS like a guy in a thick RUBBER SUIT! ASTOUNDING! COLOSSAL! THE MOST STAGGERING FIGURE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR LIFETIME! Well mostly....but lets get on with the actual review, shall we?

Packaging - ****
Honestly, how could they have done the packaging better? Itís your typical Sideshow box with flip-open cover, but the box-art is BEAUTIFUL. Taken from matte-paintings that were used in the various 1-sheet poster art for the film, it clearly screams "50's Science Fiction Epic!". Great shots of Rex Reason (as Dr. Meechum, high-waisted scientist), Jeff Morrow as Exeter..the benevolent Alien Commander, and Faith Domergue as the screaming female. The box will make a stunning backdrop for figure display, unless you have something better like the This Island Earth one-sheet movie poster, that is. But, its like all Sideshow boxes. One flap, artwork all around. 

Sculpt - ****
I donít want to sound like a Fan boy, but if they could do a better Mutant I'd have to see it to believe it. Granted, we ARE talking about a big rubber suit. There are no subtle facial expressions and cues to deal with, like you would with a human actor, but suffice to say the sculpt is faithful to the original in every possible way. It depicts the Mu-TANT (remember, emphasis on the "tant!") as we first see him on Metaluna, NOT after he receives his devastating steel-pipe beat down towards the finale of the film. From the feet, to the claws, to the big juicy oversized brain and those circular creepy wet eyes and his backpack. Even the "Folds" of the rubber suit's pants are accurately sculpted. The Metaluna Mutant is ready to make you "SHRIEK WITH UNBRIDLED TERROR!" Go ahead...do it...we wont tell.

Paint - ***1/2
There isn't much to this, considering we are talking about a big rubber suit. Red "veins" show up as red, claws are detailed and dry brushed, and thanks to the plastic used his "brain" is a shiny gray mass. My only gripe is that in todayís world of finishing coats, some high-gloss clear coat would have gone a long way on the eyes and mouth area. In the film those areas look "wet", and the overall figure would benefit from some of this wet-look gloss. The eyes kinda look wet, but I'd have gone for a more liberal application of that gloss. After all, a wet Mutant is an extra-CREEPY Mutant. "WITNESS THE UNADULTERATED TERROR OF THE MU-TANT!"

Accessories - **
"CAN YOUR NERVES HANDLE THE SHOCK!?!?!". The figure underneath this rubber suit appears to be a standard Sideshow 1/6 model, with oodles of joints. But thanks to the rubber-suit, all of those ranges of motion are severely limited. His claws twist at the forearm, his elbow bends and rotates, but the suit is too think for the elbows to hold a pose. Shoulder movement is almost nil due to the hard-rubber "shoulder pads" the figure has. 

The MASSIVE HEAD is on a ball joint, but it too is restricted by the shoulder pads. There is waist articulation but the suit material prevents it from being of any consequence. Legs you get a little more freedom with and ankles rotate and pivot a bit, knees bend...but again, its the suit. I pity the poor sap who wore this costume during filming. The head alone must have weighed a hundred pounds. No wonder all the thing could do was shamble along! Another important consideration is this: This is a figure made of some kind of vinyl/plastic soft coating over a 1/6 scale endoskeleton. Over time, this material may become brittle. The more extreme poses you try to do, the more likely any creases in the suit may turn into cracks. Just something to consider. So while its articulated, the thickness of the suit means this guy is taking the same basic poses on everybody's shelf unless they cut open the suit and crazy glue some joints. Considering all the creature did in the movie was shuffle along....its par for the course tho.

Accessories - *
"BEYOND PERVERSION!". Here is the one area where I feel like raking Sideshow over the coals. When you ordered direct from Sideshow to get the EXCLUSIVE VERSION with METALUNA SPACECRAFT, I was pretty psyched. When I finally got the box opened I was actually shocked to find out how cheap the "exclusive pack-in" actually is. Firstly, I've seen better detailed toys come out of those bubble machines at the front of your local Grocery Store. Heck, I've seen GUM come out of those bubble machines thatís better looking. Itís the Metaluna spacecraft all right...its about 1" big, has almost no detailing, and it sucks. I was at least hoping for something that was maybe 2-3 inches long and OH I DUNNO came with a stand for it? Nope, Sideshow REALLY dropped the ball on this. Yeah it looks like the Metaluna Spacecraft, but if THIS is all they were giving us for the "Exclusive version", would it have been so damn hard for them to include the sinister ZAHGON ship with meteor too?? I give this one the finger, Sideshow should have done it larger, with better detailing, and given us a stand to display it next to the Mu-Tant. But they didn't.

Fun Factor - ***
Basically this is a 1/6 scale figure that could have easily been done in Polystone and cost about $250 bucks, but thankfully Sideshow decided to make it more real....a 1/6 guy in a non-removable rubber suit, and they pulled it off beautifully. Is it FUN? Sure, if your idea of fun is putting it up on your shelf in your Home Theatre next to your other 1/6 scale movie figures. Would I play with it? Absolutely not....I'd be too worried of the vinyl or plastic or whatever it is suit degrading over time. But man up on the wall its just plain Snazzy. You have to be in love with the subject matter. I feel about this guy the way alot of the old Universal Monster guys felt about Sideshows earlier monster figures. You either love it, or you don't. Me, I love it.

Value - ****
Its $50 bucks....its Sideshow..... its exceptionally sculpted, and its a fairly obscure subject matter. The figure is great, the stand is like every other Sideshow stand, the included exclusive pack-in is an embarrassment, but overall its good stuff. If you love 50's scifi, you must own this figure.

Overall - ****
What can I say? If they make an Exeter figure, I'll buy it. If they make a giant ant from THEM!, I'd buy it. If they made a 1/6 scale Invader from Earth Versus The Flying Saucers!...I'd buy it. Forbidden Planet figures? Oh hell I'd be all over those like nobodies business. Do you love 50's Sci-Fi? You MUST own this figure. Bring on more Classic Space Monsters! 

Things to watch out for -
Those Nigerian Emails promising you thousands of dollars if you can just help out Benhagen Gooniegoogoo, the Vice President of the Bank of Nigeria, who only needs a small deposit from you to help him get his millions out of the bank, after which he will immediately send you a finders-fee of $10,000 American Dollars for assisting him. Other than those, I donít think you can go wrong with this figure. *just* donít expect much with the Metaluna spaceship. I suppose you could say its "accurate" to the source material...but...its 1" long. Sad.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - **
Accessories - *
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ****
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
For the most part, online is your only option:

- Sideshow are currently sold out of both the exclusive and regular versions, both at $50.  You can get on the wait list though, if you really have your heart set on the exclusive.

- Alter Ego Comics has the regular for just $40.

- Time and Space Toys doesn't have the 12" version listed, but they do have a great deal on the 8" Sideshow version in a three pack with the Hunchback and the Invisible Man for just $30.


Figure from the collection of Brant Rusch.

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