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Tonight we’re taking a look at one of the all time great Universal Monsters, the Creature from the Black Lagoon! Although the creature came several decades after Dracula, Frankenstein and most of the “classic” Universal monsters, he’s one of the most recognizable. The 1954 film is notable for not only it’s incredible special effects but for breaking away from the B-movie mold that it was intended to be.


Although there have been several toys of the “Gillman” since his arrival there have been few as accurate and well rounded as this figure from 1999 by Sideshow. This 8″ action figure features the amazing likeness of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and is fully poseable with 12 points of sculpted articulation. He makes the perfect candidate for our 31 Days of Halloween.

Sculpt:
The first thing you’ll notice on this figure is the incredible sculpt. Sideshow is known for their amazing 12 inch figures but these 8 inch versions show all the meticulous sculpting excellence that the Sideshow brand is known for. These were actually some of Sideshow’s earliest work but you can see the mark of excellence in the figure from head to toe.


He has the “gasping” fish face.

The creature always looked like he was gasping for breath when he was above water. This is represented here by his mouth being slightly agape. The rest of the face is highly detailed with plenty of gills and little traces of his swamp heritage. We can clearly tell that this is the classic fish monster.

All of the fins are well represented including those ones on the back. Even the ones on the back of the arms are there, which often is left out of creature sculpts. It’s hard to say for sure but I would guess that Sideshow looked at a lot of stills from the Creature from the Black Lagoon movie to get these fins perfectly screen accurate. The creature has really never looked better.

Gillman’s hands feature an incredible amount of sculpting on them as well. There are small suckers on the inner palms as well as really well done fingernails. There is a fair amount of sand-like wash on the nails, showing that this creature just walked right up out of the filthy black murk below. Despite a relatively simple design there was a lot of intimate details in the creature costume and they’re all here.

The articulation barely shows up in the sculpting and doesn’t break it up very much at all. While that does limit the articulation some, it helps make the sculpt appear more solid. It’s one of the concessions you have to make to have the character better represented.

 

Paint wise this figure has tons at work. It appears as though he’s actually cast in a fairly light green and then covered with wash after wash of blacks, browns and perhaps even a darker green. The end result is beautiful with even more details coming out in the light. There are even assorted spots that have been hand painted in dark browns and yellows to add more diversity to the paint.

Articulation:

This figure features a fair amount of articulation but it certainly doesn’t compare to most figures of today. In fact Toy Island’s version of this character from a couple years ago has quite a bit more articulation… However, that doesn’t mean that this guy is a statue. Far from it. The creature has plenty of simple, but effective cut joints that get the job done.

Because the creature himself wasn’t all that mobile in the movie, the limited articulation works. He’s got enough joints to stalk some prey and looks pretty good in a few swimming poses. It would have been nice to have a ball jointed pair of feet though so he could do some perfect swim poses.

The scale is somewhat unique as this is a pretty big figure. He doesn’t really fit in with most modern lines and is simply huge to others. However, he does fit in well with GI Joe Sigma 6 toys and makes a perfect foil for them. If you’re looking to beef up your Sigma Adventure Team, this guy would make for a fun villain.

Accessories:
Sideshow’s 12 inch figures are known for coming with some pretty good accessories and they continue that trend here. The creature comes with a pretty nifty display base that looks like the lagoon as well as has a name plate on the front. This is the kind of figure that could double as a statue and I like that. Much more than I like statues themselves.

 

He also comes with a harpoon gun. I find this interesting because the gun can’t be held by the creature himself. Instead this appears to be a weapon for someone to fight him with. Of course they didn’t sell any regular human figures for him to fight, so this will have to go with your Sigma Joes again.

Finally he comes with a pretty cool net. This net is just a tad too small, but it’s of pretty good size overall. I’m not sure it would catch the creature, but he looks decent displayed with it.

Additional Notes:
I really like this figure. He’s simple on the surface but below that he’s pretty complex. His scale and such is a bit alarming but I liked him so much that I decided to whip up a little silent comic. Here he is coming from the lagoon and catching two Sigma Six Adventure Team guys off guard.

 

 

 

Value:
These originally retailed for about $10 or so. That was pretty costly in 1999, but in today’s market that’d be a steal. I paid about $20 for this guy a year or two back. He’s a pretty rare figure nowdays and actually runs around $60-$75 on the secondary market. I have to wonder if these figures are commanding that kind of price why Sideshow hasn’t re-released them?

Score Recap:
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Harpoon Gun, Net, Stand
Value – 7
Overall – 8 out of 10

Despite the low value and average articulation, I’m giving this guy a pretty high rating. Why? Because I love the Creature from the Black Lagoon and this figure really captures him well. When it comes to the creature there hasn’t been a ton of good options through the years. I had an old Remco 3 3/4 one for years with a missing right foot because I loved the creature so much. The fact that he fits in with my Sigma 6 GI Joes is just a bonus.


Where’s the white girls at?

This figure could be better and he’s certainly not worth the high prices he commands on Ebay. However if you’re able to pick him up at a reasonable price, you should definitely give this guy a go. He’s one of the nicer Universal Studios Monster toys to date.

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