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Uncle Gilbert

The Munsters
by Monkey Boy

First things first, I'd like to thank Diamond Select for generously providing an Uncle Gilbert for OAFE to review.

Second things second, I'm not a Munsters fan. I was aware of the show in syndication when I was younger, much like I was aware of The Addams Family, but I was never really into it. Nevertheless, I was extremely excited about the Uncle Gilbert figure in Diamond's third series of Munsters figures. Why so? Perhaps some context will help...

The Munster family has many branches, and one branch is inhabited by uncle Gilbert, a strange, dapperly dressed undersea creature. A resident of the Black Lagoon, he once asked the family to hold onto $180,000 in Spanish doubloons he had salvaged from various shipwrecks.

Yes, "Gilbert" here is actually the Gillman, aka The Creature From the Black Lagoon, from that movie, the... uhh... The Creature From the Black Lagoon. And I loves me some Creature. I've never seen the Uncle Gilbert episodes of The Munsters (and YouTube only directed me to some band called "Uncle Gilbert") so I can only assume he's your typical "Civilized Savage" role reversal type. Think "Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer" or "Smart Hulk."

I'm always on the lookout for Creature toys, and there's no shortage of them out there. Mezco, Sideshow... indeed, even Diamond Select has given us their take on the Creature. While that figure left a lot to be desired, Diamond has already teased an updated figure of the classic Gillman with improved paint, sculpt and articulation. In the meantime, Uncle Gilbert is a nice stopgap, and considering the glut of standard Creature figures out there, it's refreshing to see an unorthodox take like this.

As I mentioned, finding clips of Uncle Gilbert online is easier said than done, but based on the photos I turned up, Diamond's figure captures his look nicely. The bio text says he's in the 7" scale, but he clocks in just over 8". He's dressed in a full overcoat and scarf, but you can still tell he's got a fancy suit underneath, on account of the black pants sticking out the bottom. The clothes are detailed very well, with realistic wrinkles that aren't overly textured.

The Creature-y bits are nicely done, particularly the head. I wouldn't be surprised or upset if it was re-used for their upcoming Gill-man figure. It's much more on-model than their previous release, and has all the necessary bumps and wrinkles. The hands and feet are a little softer than I'd like, but it's a minor nit to pick.

The paint is well done, if not particularly stellar. His coat and hat are beige with a darker brown wash to bring out some details and sculpted elements like seams and buttons. His scarf is white with a blue wash, his pants are shiny black, and there's a little bit of white peeking out of his cuffs and collar to represent his dress shirt. His exposed skin is a dark green with a forest green wash to bring out the details. His finger and toenails get beige paint apps, and his eyes are gold with black pupils and rims, plus a tiny white dot to serve as a highlight.

If I had to register a complaint, it would be that some of the straight edges are a bit sloppy, particularly the band of his hat and his exposed cuffs. And as a minor gripe, the green used for the skin is too uniform. However, neither of these are deal breakers, and the overall paint is easily as good as or better than most comparable figures on the market these days. China. What can you do, amirite?

DST first gained widespread attention with their Marvel Select line, which were basically out-of-scale, less-articulated versions of Marvel Legends, so it's always a little pleasantly surprising when a newer Diamond figure is well articulated. Gilby gets a balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, peg biceps, pegged and hinged elbows, peg wrists, peg waist, balljointed hips, peg thighs, hinged knees, and balljointed ankles. He doesn't get double-hinged knees or elbows or mid-toe hinges or anything crazy like that, but he's got way more joints than I expected, and it's not like you expect acrobatics from Uncle Gilbert in any event. His coat does restrict his upper leg articulation, as is expected, but as I said, he's not the type that needs to able to strike the Iron Man pose.

Gilbert is accessorized with his hat and a base that mimicks wooden planks. I was tempted to include his scarf as an accessory, since it's technically removable if you pop off his head, but it leaves him looking pretty pencil-necked. His fedora is nice, but its brim turns up a little too much and tends to make it look like a tiny sombrero. Nevertheless, I do love me some removable hats and helmets, and I'm glad they included his hat. His base is nice, but he thankfully doesn't need it to stay standing (his large feet help with that).

That's not all he gets. Remarkably, this is an 8" specialty market figure that includes not only multiple accessories, but parts for a Build-a-Figure! SHENANIGANS! Gilbert gets the upper and lower parts of the Munsters' staircase, which, when completed, will feature a hinged opening section of staircase between them that reveals the snarling head and flaming nostrils of Spot, Eddie Munster's pet dragon.

This isn't a perfect figure, but I love it. Granted, a lot of that is the concept, but the execution is very solid. We have to give Diamond kudos for continuing to release 7" scale figures with largely unique sculpts, multiple accessories, and BAF parts in a climate where more and more companies are scaling down, cutting corners and raising prices. If you're looking for a fun, outside-the-box take on the Creature, Diamond's Uncle Gilbert shines. Ugh... that was... the worst pun... the worst pun ever... so bad... so, so bad. I'm sorry. Oh god, I'm sorry.

-- 10/08/13

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