Hey gang, Today is a landmark day here at Mike’s Collection. It is my 365th toy review. That might not seem like a big deal but considering I began this blog a mere 365 days ago I think it’s a pretty decent accomplishment. I’ve been collecting toys since I was a kid but it seems that it recent years my collecting has ramped up. There are so many great figures being released these days and so many brands that I loved from my childhood have been resurrected that it seems like I’m discovering new toys to purchase more frequently than ever before. Not since I was an 8 year old flipping through the Sears Wish Book have I had such a long want list of upcoming action figures. Between G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Marvel Universe, Beast Saga and all of the other odds and ends I’ve picked up this year my wallet has taken a serious beating. I’ve been buying so many figures the past few years that my shelves are flooded with them and I have hundreds more packed away in bins. It’s gotten to the point where as I buy new ones, older ones have to be boxed away in the closet to make room for them. Each time I bought a new figure I’d tear him out of his package excitedly and then I’d plunk him onto a shelf already jam-packed with figures where he would become just another face in the crowd. It was too the point that no one would ever notice when I added new pieces to my collection, even my friends that were prone to notice such things. It struck me as such a shame to buy these things and not be able to share the excitement with anyone else; to have them go so unappreciated. But then I had an idea.
For several months I had visiting a review style blog called JoeaDay.com written by some dude named Rob Buzan. I had actually discovered his blog through a news style blog called GeneralsJoes. It’s hard to believe but I’ve been visiting Generals Joes almost daily for more than a decade now. I discovered the site, written by a fella named Justin, back in 2002 when the G.I. Joe brand was revived for what has since been called the new-sculpt era. I’ve reviewed a number of those figures such as Neo-Viper, Switch Gears, and Barrel Roll. The toys were not readily available locally and so I had to purchase them online where I was paying inflated prices. In order to determine whether the toys were worth my hard earned dollars I searched the web for reviews of these new figures. That’s how I found Justin and his site GeneralsJoes. He had Joe news, reviews and dio-stories. It was a great site that it became and remains my one-stop-shop for all G.I.Joe related news and reviews. A couple of years ago Justin and some other guys began a Joe podcast called “What’s on Joe Mind?” that they recorded on a weekly basis. It was on one of these podcasts that they read an email query from listener Rob Buzan. They answered his question and plugged his blog where he was reviewing a new G.I. Joe figure every single day. I decided to check it out and have done so ever since, for more than a year now, and Rob never misses a day. It’s very impressive. Those guys were my inspiration so I want to thank them and encourage you to check out their blogs if you’re a Joe fan.
So my idea was why I don’t I start a blog in a format similar to Rob’s. Except rather than focus on a single brand like he does I decided to review all of the toys in my collection. This way when I bought a new toy I could snap some pictures of it in different poses and write out a thoughtful review. It made buying all these figures feel less pointless because I was actually doing something with them. The review process forced me to spend a little more time appreciating each figure and it also allowed me to share the pros and cons with anyone who stumbled across my site. I’d love to think that one of my reviews convinced a casual reader, who may have found me via google just as I found Justin back in the day, to go out and purchase one of these toys. On the odd occasion this blog felt like a chore but most of the time it’s been a joy for me to write and I hope you’ve been enjoying it as well.
Speaking of my readers I want to thank my friends who have been supportive all along the way, frequently commenting on my posts. Adam, Andrew, Miguel, Guy and others thank you. I want to thank new readers that have found my site and have checked back regularly like Paul, Sidus, and Glenn. I want to thank my brother Doug who is a frequent reader and played a big part in why I love these little plastic men so much. Regular readers probably feel like they know him by now because he comes up so much. I know this is kinda gay but I want to thank my mom. She’s never understood my toy collecting and has questioned me multiple times over the years as to why I do it and I was never able to make her understand. She checked out the blog out of curiosity and has since told me that she’s read through nearly the entire thing. She has emailed me a couple of times regarding the site and said the kindest things, including that she finally understands my passion for these action figures even if it isn’t her cup of tea.
Lastly I want to thank my girlfriend Vanessa who was 100% behind this idea when I first posed it to her back in December 2011. She helped me set up the site, she bought me the digital camera that I use to take all my pictures, she reads the blog faithfully (not all the posts though because I’ve snuck a few zingers in at her expense that I know she missed otherwise I would’ve heard about it), she’s been understanding of the many hours I spend hidden away in my man cave writing, plus she allows me to have these items displayed in our home. She also buys me action figures to review when special occasions roll around. Which brings me to the toy at hand. Sorry it took so long to get to. I tend to ramble.
Vanessa was with me at Strange Adventures a while back when I spotted this Frankenstein figure on the shelf. I admired the thing a while but decided not to buy it. I had recently completed my set of Mego-style Universal Monsters and didn’t want to start collecting them in a new format so soon. Apparently Vanessa went back to the shop on her own and picked it up as a Christmas present. When I told her that I would be posting my 365th review today she was proud of me. When I started the blog I had initially hoped to maybe write a review a day like Rob but I quickly started missing days and was soon off schedule. I had my doubts whether I’d get 365 done in my first year and yet with a little hard work I made it. Vanessa thought the feat warranted a brand new figure to review for my 365th post. She handed me one of my wrapped Christmas presents last night and told me to open it up. Staring back at me was Frankenstein.
This figure is made my Mezco Toys. It is the first in a line of stylized action figures based on Universal’s Classic Monsters. The package advertises The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mummy to be the next two releases in the line. The package also features a nice pic of Boris Karloff in the monster make-up on each side and the interior has a cool green background with a picture of the electrified conduits used to bring life to this lumbering thing. It would make a nice display piece if you opted to keep it mint in the box. Of course that’s never been my style, I had to open it up immediately.
This is a really nice figure. Like the Mego Frankenstein I have this figure has actual cloth clothing. However the Mego could be categorized as a doll where this one could not. Only his shirt and jacket are actual cloth; his pants and boots are sculpted. If you wanted to take his jacket off you would literally have to cut it off of him. Since the clothing is not removable you might wonder why they’d even bother going that route, I’m sure a figure sculpted completely in plastic would have been cheaper and easier to produce. I’m guessing they did it this way to elevate this figure above your standard action figure-fare. The shirt fits him like a tight sweater and is nicely textured while the jacket hangs loose providing some movement to what would otherwise be a stiff figure. The jacket is pre-ripped so I assume he bought it at American Eagle. The pants and shoes don’t offer much to talk about but I will mention again how much I love Frankenstein’s giant boots. They big feet appear as they did on screen and help to anchor this figure which stands about 8” tall.
The sculpting done on the character’s head is amazing. In my Mego Frankenstein review I mentioned how disappointed I was with the figure’s likeness to Boris Karloff. Well that has been rectified here. Not to say that this is a photo realistic representation of the man because it’s not supposed to be. This is a hyper stylized figure with exaggerated features. The head is much larger than it should be with all of the distinguishing features magnified for effect. I love the creative approach to the design. They didn’t go too far over the edge which might have resulted in this figure looking like a super-deformed manga, but just far enough so that you can tell that this is a contemporary figure where some creative license has been taken. The features are exaggerated but avoid being cartoony. The face on this guy is heart-breaking. They really captured the subtle humanity Karloff infused into the character. Aside from the near perfect face this toy’s head features all of the other Frankenstein staples: a flat head, scars, and bolts in the neck.
The articulation is rather disappointing but given the stiff nature of the character I can give them a pass on that I suppose. He has no leg articulation and his arms only move at the shoulders. His head swivels and I was surprised to find that he has an articulated torso under his sweater. The paint job is the cherry on top of this reanimated sundae. I love that they went with the black and white palette here. The sickly green skin is one of the worst aspects of the Mego, not to mention his red lips. The only color on this figure is a few small dabs of red on his cuts and scars. The gray scale used is very effective and anything but drab. I really like this figure. I think it may be a surprise late contender for my year-end top ten list. Stay tuned. 9 out of 10.