As most horror movie fans will tell you, there are very few horror movies that are as iconic as the original Universal Studios Monster movies. These are the movies that really started it all, introducing the world to the creatures that would haunt our nightmares for generations like Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. These stories have been retold and remade time and time again, but few of these retellings will ever hold a candle to the original films that introduced us all to these monstrosities. The crew at Diamond Select Toys recently released their all new wave of figures based on these legendary horror icons with the latest series of their Universal Monsters Select figures! The latest wave of figures includes The Creature from ‘The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Frankenstein’s Monster from ‘Son of Frankenstein’. and Diamond Select’s first ever original character design for this line that has never been seen in a Universal Studios monsters film, Van Helsing!
Today we’re taking a look at the Diamond Select Toys ‘Van Helsing’ figure! This figure is a bit of an oddity, as he is the first and currently only figure in this series that was entirely created for this toyline, and has never appeared in any of the classic Universal Studios Monsters movies. In that sense, he technically isn’t even a part of the ‘Universal Monsters Select’ toyline, but rather an unbranded companion piece that was designed to fit in with all of the UMS figures in your collection already. Either way, he’s a pretty awesome figure in his own right! Now let’s take a look at some of the details as to why…
Van Helsing here boasts a whopping twenty-two points of articulation in his 7” scale body as sculpted by the venerable Jean St. Jean. This figure features almost every ounce of articulation you could possible want from him, save for maybe a torso bend. He’s even got ankle rockers so that he’s super poseable in just about any action stance you can come up with for him to fend off the creatures of the night! What’s even better than the fantastic amount of articulation here, is the phenomenal sculpt that hides it all perfectly! I mean, yes, you CAN see some of the joins on this guy, but that’s pretty standard, and they don’t hinder the sculpt at all in their usage.
The sculpt itself is great, with a wonderful original character design for a very believable rendition of ‘Van Helsing’ to go with your Universal Monsters. His outfit looks very rugged, and very much like what you would imagine a monster hunter would wear. He’s got lots of straps and pouches on him, including a bandoleer belt of wooden stakes across his chest, and functioning holsters that really hold all of the weapons he comes with! The fact that his holsters are all 100% useable makes all the difference in the world for a figure like this. It’s really great to see him all loaded up with weapons as if he’s on the prowl for a vampire or whatever else the darkness might hold! His head sculpt doesn’t look like any particular actor, as this was a completely original design, so there isn’t anything to really hold it up in comparison to. Still, the head sculpt is really enjoyable as well, with a large scar across his right eye, sweet sideburns, and an epic beard-mustache combo that any monster in their right mind would run from!
As far as his pack ins, Van Helsing comes loaded! Literally! He’s got a stockpile of weapons packaged in with him, including a flintlock pistol, blunderbuss shotgun, a sword, and an axe! He also has the aforementioned bandoleer of wooden stakes across his chest, although they aren’t removable. It’s really nice to have had such a wide array of weapons packed in for one figure, a lot of figures really don’t come with much in the way of accessories so DST really went all out on this one!
Besides his weaponry, Van Helsing also comes packed with a ‘graveyard’ display base that features two tombestones and the escaping upper torso of Mina Harker (who you’ll remember from ‘Dracula’)! The display base itself features two footpegs to stand the figure on for maximum poseability, and the tombstones and Mina Harker are fully removable if you’re looking for a more basic stand. The inclusion of Mina Harker’s fully articulated upper torso is a really nice bonus! As part of the display base, it’s really cool to see that she has her own articulation so that she isn’t just stuck in one single display pose. It’s little touches like this that make this line so special and enjoyable!
As a whole, the Diamond Select Toys ‘Van Helsing’ figure is worth picking up if you haven’t already snagged him! He’s really one of the gems of this collection, and I know quite a few of you might pass over him just because he wasn’t featured in any of the classic Universal Studios horror films. Don’t miss out on this one, he’ll be a pain to hunt down later for sure! Once people realize how good this figure is, with his excellent level of articulation and extraordinary sculpt, he’s going to disappear from the market. He makes the perfect companion piece to your Universal Monsters Select collection, and is an amazing figure in his own right! Van Helsing is in stores now, along with the rest of the recent Universal Monsters Select line (figures from ‘Creature From the Black Lagoon’ and ‘Son of Frankenstein’), so don’t wait too long to hunt him down for yourself!