THE WOLF MAN
VAN HELSING: MONSTER SLAYER (JAKKS PACIFIC)
Hey, remember when Hugh Jackman starred in a Van Helsing movie? I know, I know, you were trying to forget. Why’d I have to go and bring it up again? Well, the reason is very simple: there were toys. And, big shock, I had a bunch of them. For the most part I’ve phased them out of my collection, but one item still remains. It’s the subject of today’s review, The Wolfman, who within the context of the film isn’t the usual “wolfman” Larry Talbot, but is instead Velkan Valerious, brother to…oh who really cares? He’s a werewolf. There ends the list of interesting things about him.
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Wolf Man was released as part of Jakks Pacific’s basic Van Helsing: Monster Slayer line. There were a couple minor variations on this basic figure; mine’s the one with “magic transformation color change,” which pretty much translates to “the actual Wolf Man bit has this clear patch at the front.” The figure is just under 4 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation. The actual figure is just an un-transformed Velkan figure, which has him sporting the Bruce Banner shredded pants (they never did explain in the movie where those pants when he was the werewolf, by the way). The sculpt was okay. None of the figures in this line were particularly noteworthy, and Velkan seems to be the middle-est of the middling sculpts. The proportions of the sculpt are passable; the hands and feet seem a little small, and the shoulders are definitely set too far apart, but that’s about it. A lot of the work, especially on the body, definitely seems a bit rudimentary for the time when this was released. The head bears a passing resemblance to actor Will Kemp, though he’s completely clean shaven here, and he wasn’t in the movie. There’s some nice detail work on the hair, so that’s cool. The paint is also pretty basic. He’s mostly just molded in the appropriate colors. The only real paint work is on the face, which seems oddly dirty. He wasn’t exactly squeaky clean in the movie, but it seems a bit odd when compared to the rest of the figure. The “Wolf Man” part of this Wolf Man figure is actually just a rubber suit that you pull over the Velkan figure. I’m gonna be honest, it’s not ideal. The basic sculpt is fine, but since it’s just thick rubber cover, there’s no actual articulation, and since it’s just rubber and not something sturdy, there’s actually no way for the thing to stand, especially with Velkan inside it. Also, since the “magic transformation color change” bit requires the piece to molded in clear plastic, and paint on rubber is prone to chipping, the figure is invariably left with random clear patches all over. Why exactly didn’t they just make this a whole separate figure?
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
So, believe it or not, I actually liked Van Helsing when it was released. In my defense, I was 11. Anyway, I ended up getting a bunch of the figures for my birthday that year, and the Wolf Man was one of them. He was always my favorite of the bunch, so when I got rid of the set, he remained. The figure’s not anything to write home about; he’s a kind of bland figure based on a flat character from a mediocre movie.