If you came here looking for Marvel Monday, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a month. I’m at the dawn of my first, and possibly only, Halloween Horror Month, in which I challenge myself to review only Horror figures straight up until Halloween. Last time I started digging into Jada’s new Universal Monsters lineup, and today I’m continuing with a look at The Gillman!
No, they don’t actually call him that on the package, but I think that’s always been his unofficial name. I’ve always had a soft spot for this creature and the movie itself. When I was a kid one of the networks used to show it in 3D every now and then. Actually, it might have been Revenge of the Creature. I’m not sure. Iw as only like 10 years old. It was a big damn deal, and you had to go get your 3D Glasses from a participating retailer. The 3D was pretty janky, but the underwater bits looked cool, and it made the whole thing a special event. My Dad used to make popcorn for it, and the whole family would watch. Good times! I’ve wanted a figure of this guy in my collection for quite a while now, so I’m pretty excited. I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging, so let’s dive right in!
The first thing I noticed about this figure was just how detailed the body is. He’s got various overlapping plates, as well as some lovely texturing for the scales. Add to that the sculpted ridge-like fins that appear on his back and the backs of his legs and arms, and it shows that Jada not only did their homework on this creature’s anatomy, but they invested in all the little details for the sculpt. If Dracula got away without a whole lot of sculpted detail in his suit, I can see where it all went here! I also really dig the lanky proportions of the Creature and the way he is clearly humanoid, but not quite human. There’s also some excellent detail in his webbed hands and splayed out flat feet.
And then there’s the coloring… oh, the coloring! This figure showcases how dynamic coloring can really make a figure shine. Not only is there a general mix of a light lime green with some darker shades, but he’s even got some gradient striping on his arms and legs. His finger and toenails are painted with a beige bone-like hue, and the entire figure has a wash to bring out some more of that lovely sculpt. I admitted last time, that I’m not that familiar with Jada’s work, but I certainly did not to expect this level of paintwork on one of their figures. I can’t think of too many of their competitors that could have done a better job at this price point.
You get two different heads for our fishy friend, one with a closed mouth and one with it open. They’re both OK, but I definitely prefer the open mouth head to the closed one. There’s something going on with the eyes and lips in the first portrait that looks off, whereas I think the second is just all around solid. It’s also the way I would prefer to display the figure anyway. Everything I said about the body rings true for the heads in terms of paint and sculpting. There’s a lot going on in the back of the head too.
I got a couple emails about how I didn’t run down the articulation for the Dracula figure, and it’s a good point. With reviewing so many figures from the same lines over and over again, I tend to take articulation for granted sometimes. Well, Gillman’s got it all going on. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and he’s got swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed up in the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint hidden under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed. The sculpt does a good job of hiding some of these joints, and about the only nitpick I have here is that I wish he could look up for some of those swimming poses.
Gillman comes with a few extras, including two hands. Well, only one hand that can be swapped out on the figure, and that’s a grabby left hand. The other hand is the fossil from the film. It’s a cool bonus, I guess, but I would have probably rather had a second grabby hand.
Next up, you get a harpoon gun, which feels like an accessory for another figure, but since we ain’t getting no Mark Williams figure, I guess they threw it in here. Maybe they were hard up on what else to include in the box. Really, getting two accessories that The Creature isn’t really meant to interact with feels odd.
And finally, you get a net, which is a much better choice. It’s made out of string and it’s big enough to cover poor Gillman. I hate this part of the film. I felt so bad for the fishy bastard.
So far, Jada’s Universal Monsters are doing just fine. Dracula was solid, if not exceptional, but The Gillman here is nothing but exceptional. It may be that I was well past ready to have The Creature figure in my collection, but really I just think that Jada did a fine job on this release. The coloring and sculpt are excellent, the articulation and quality control are beyond reproach, and while I nitpicked a couple of the accessories, they certainly aren’t bad. And now that I’ve gone and tossed a B&W filter over him, I’m ready to see Jada roll out that B&W edition as some kind of exclusive. Gillman seems to be the hardest figure to find in this assortment. I had to hunt a bit. But he seems to be turning up for pre-order now at all the usual places.