Universal Monsters: Metaluna Mutant Figure Review
8 Inch Scale
By: Diamond Select
Halloween means more horror figures out on the shelves, thanks to Diamond Select Toys and their Universal Monsters license. They hit most of the big names in previous years, but this Halloween season they surprised us with some of their best figures to date. Including the awesome and ominous Metaluna Mutant, from the film This Island Earth, which is what we’ll be taking a look at today.
This Island Earth is sort of the quintessential 1950’s sci-fi movie featuring plenty of atomic concepts that were big in the era. The film is actually pretty good even today, though it’s definitely dated. Many fans may remember it because it was lampooned in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. That no doubt introduced the infamous Metaluna Mutant to new audiences.
Sideshow Toys also produced a Metaluna Mutant figure back when they had the Universal Studios license. He was in the 8 inch format as well, but was far less articulated and detailed than this figure. There are currently two versions of Diamond’s Metaluna Mutant out there. This version, which was sold exclusively to Toys R Us and a slightly more expensive version that is sold at comic shops and eccentric retailers. That version comes with Interlociter device from the film, but the figures are identical.
The packaging is nice, but nothing to write home about. There’s a nice Universal Monster logo on the front and a still of the Metaluna Mutant’s head with his film title on there. It doesn’t say Metaluna Mutant anywhere on the front of the package, but that’s to be expected I guess.
The back shows off the rest in the series, but it should be noted that it only shows the TRU versions. I think it should have pictures of the deluxe versions as well. Gotta let people know! Especially in the case of the Phantom, where the figure is dramatically different. There’s also a brief recap of the film each character is from.
The sculpting here is amazing. When Sideshow was doing these figures, their Mutant just seemed to be lacking a bit of something. Diamond’s other monster sculpts haven’t always been that sharp (although they’ve been good) but their Metaluna Mutant takes the cake. He just looks awesome.
Head to toe, Diamond Select nailed the sculpt. Diamond is really cranking out some of the best sculpting around these days. Every one of their properties is really quite good in this department.
Of course the real challenge in something like this is the paint. This can hold even the best sculpts back. Amazingly, Diamond has knocked this out of the park too.
The paint applications are mesmerizing. It looks so realistic and detailed. This Island Earth had some really crisp and bright colors for it’s time and they’re recreated in this figure. Every little vein is pulsating with deep reds and the rest of the work is just as nice.
I particularly like the highlight wash, which is perfectly applied just enough. There is a lot of really good detail that’s brought out and it helps with the stark contrast of the Mutant’s pants. Which also have a nice shiny tint to them, just like in the movie.
“What’d you say about Momma Metaluna?!”
The sculpt really emphasizes his imposing nature. This is one of those designs that’s so iconic, that if it’s messed with too much it could become almost goofy looking. Sideshow had some issues with that, where their Metaluna looked a bit dumpy and weak. Not so, here.
Scale wise, he’s quite big. He’s around 8.5 inches tall. That really makes you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth out of this guy. Especially at a $15 price tag.
This is another area where companies have struggled in the past. Metaluna Mutant has such a strange design that it’s hard to figure out how to articulate him. I’m happy to report that Diamond Select was more successful than any company before it… But they’re still not entirely successful.
He has a ton of leg articulation which gives him a wide range of movement from the waist down. I do wish he had some hand swivels or maybe even articulated claws. Diamond tried some interesting stuff here, by giving the Mutant swivel hinge ball joints at each segment in his arm. Likewise they gave him a ball jointed neck and feet.
Unfortunately it doesn’t all work as well as you might hope. The neck joint is on a ball, but it barely acts like a swivel. The arms appear to be cuts as best I could tell by peeking under there, but his shoulder design restricts their movement no matter what is there. The arms are limited when you first get him out, but I found that if you twist his balls around (that should get some interesting Google search traffic) that you can get more movement out them. It’s all about trial and error.
At $15 and higher, you’d expect to have an accessory or two. The deluxe version comes with his communicator unit, which looks awesome… But it’s also a few dollars more than this one. So does he come with anything?
Indeed he does! The Metaluna Mutant comes with a stand. It’s not exactly useful though, as he stands fine on his own. Even with his top heavy head and long gangly arms. In fact the stand itself is kid of odd because although it has peg holes for his feet, they don’t pop in. They just slide in, which means as an example, you can’t lift the figure up and bring the stand with it. His feet just pull right out of the pegs. I assume the pegs are too small.
The stand at least looks cool, as it’s part of his home world during the Zagon’s attack. It’s got a fair amount of detail, but it’s not very large and won’t inspire any dioramas.
There aren’t many accessories that he could have came with in the first place, so I guess something is better than nothing. It definitely has me interested in picking up the deluxe version, though, just so I can get the Interocitor.
These days to find any figure for $15 is pretty good. Especially one that’s of a licensed property, with good articulation, great sculpting and the like. Even though his included accessory is weak, this is a big figure and it feels like a great chunk of value just on size alone. The incredible sculpt and such makes me happy that Diamond Select is able to get us figures like this at under $20.
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 10
Paint – 9
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Stand
Value – 8
Overall – 9 out of 10
This is a really nice figure. It’s not perfect but it’s probably the best version of this character released to date. That’s never a small feat, particularly when other companies have done nice versions. He’s quite playable, which is a great addition as well.
The Metaluna Mutant figure could use a couple of tweaks here or there to make him an overall stronger figure, but Diamond Select should be proud of the work they’ve done here. I do wish they’d go back and redo Frankenstein, Mummy and the Gill-Man to have this improved articulation, though. Keep checking in all month long for more monster reviews during our 31 Days of Halloween!