Life In Plastic: TOY REVIEW: Uncle Gilbert (The Munsters)

Gilbert-Opera

This is my Halloween costume.

I’m serious. My Halloween costume this year is Uncle Gilbert – sort of. My trench coat is pea green, so all the colors will be altered to be a little darker and earthier, but the essential idea is the same: “Dapper Creature from the Black Lagoon.” And yes, I WILL post pictures after Halloween!

Gilbert-Booklet

I’ve never watched much of The Munsters, so I had to bone up a little bit on this one. Uncle Gilbert appeared in one episode – “Love Comes To Mockingbird Court.” In it, he was planning to visit his relatives, and sent some money on ahead to them for safekeeping. Most of the episode is about how “some money” happened to be $140,000 in gold doubloons, and somebody tried to rob the Munsters by romancing their niece. Gilbert himself appears for the last thirty or so seconds and makes a few jokes – he got the coins from shipwrecks, he hates being dry, and he is indeed the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He sounds like an old-fashioned tycoon, but is clearly a lot of fun to be around, and the family likes him. That’s it.

Gilbert-Unboxed

Oh yeah, and the mask in the show is awful. You can see the actor’s mouth. basically, my costume will be on par with it even though I’m cheaping out. But you know, the show isn’t why I bought this figure. It’s because it’s a Dapper Creature from the Black Lagoon. In a fedora (a homburg, to be precise). I’m about as likely to pass that up as I am to do the Charleston while balancing on a telephone pole. So, Diamond Select has been making Munsters figures in the 7″-8″ range, and let’s see how they did with this one!

Gilbert-Packaged

PACKAGING: ***1/2

Daaaaaang, this box is BIG! Marvel Select likes to pack its figures in tremendous blister packs that not only protect he figures, but can probably kill a man. The cumbersome size is my only problem with this, as otherwise it looks great, has good info, and is utterly user-friendly. It also gives a decent litle bio for Uncle Gilbert that pretty much tells the joke from the episode.

Gilbert

SCULPT: ****

Uncle Gilbert’s sculpt is AWESOME! His Creature parts look just like the Creature – and thus better than the mask in the episode – and his clothing looks like it should. The pieces aren’t simply recognizable, they are also textured to look real. Now, I should take off points for inaccuracy… but I won’t. In the episode, Gilbert’s coat was open and over his shoulders like an inverness cape, and he took it off after entering the Munsters’ home. The toy keeps it shut, likely because the tooling is less of a hassle this way – and also, it looks a lot cooler/funnier like this than just putting him in a suit.

Gilbert-Scarf

His scarf is removable if you pop off the head, but that leaves his neck looking awkward – it’s better to leave it on. So, here’s the Gill-Man, ready for a night out on the town! Even with those minor costuming inaccuracies, the sculpt really is awesome and I can’t complain about a single thing.

Gilbert-Face

PAINT: ***1/2

For the most part, the paint is pretty solid on Gilbert. His coat is molded in tan plastic, so there are no worried of scrapes or slop, with some paint for his shirt’s cuffs and collar peeking through. His skin is bright forest green, with pink in the mouth and some black and gold for his eyes. overall it’s good, but he has a few slop issues on some of his finer details, such as the shirt cuffs – though thankfully the eyes are just fine. Also, the paint job completely lacks washes or any special detailing, which is most evident on his face and hands. Even just a light bit of shading would have really helped this sculpt, but it’s all missing here. The scarf does have a wash of its own, which only accentuates the fact that it is missing on the main body.

Gilbert-UpTheStairs

ARTICULATION: ***1/2

Uncle Gilbert has a ball-jointed neck and ankles, ball-and-socket shoulders and elbows, hinged knees, swivel wrists and thighs, and I think he has ball-and-socket hips, but his coat constricts their movement. That’s still a lot! Way more than I would have expected, too.

Gilbert-DoffHat

Gilbert can take a decent number of poses, though he can’t exactly sit down. His arms feel a little stiffer than they should, and I noticed that his left can pull closer to his body than his right. It makes a few good poses difficult, but I have to say that overall his articulation is A_okay, and likely a little better than expected.

Gilbert-Stairs

ACCESSORIES: ***

Firstly, Gilbert comes with a piece of this set’s Build-A-Figure, the Munster staircase with their pet dragon. The whole thing looks intricate and awesome, but Gilbert only comes with three of the bottom steps plus a loose fourth one for the top. With some effort, you can actually wedge that fourth one in there, thus producing the illusion that they are all one staircase. It’s a nice diorama piece on its own, and it makes me pine for the days when lots of toys came with this much terrain.

Gilbert-TakesOffHat

Gilbert also comes with a random piece of floor to stand on – again, it’s pretty nice, nothing special, but I am happy to see it on top of the huge staircase. It just adds value to this figure.

Gilbert-Hat

And finally, Uncle Gilbert has the best accessory ever! His hat. He’s got a cool hat – a homburg fedora. The hat is made of soft-ish rubber, and although it’s painted well, the sculpt has a few issues. The brim is too thick and too curled, making it look like a sombrero from a lot of angles, although putting it on his head backwards can remedy some of this a little bit. If the hat were just a little thinner and flatter, it would have been flawless, but as it stands it’s just pretty good.

Gilbert-CreatureHat

Besides, you can always put his hat on other Creatures from the Black Lagoon.  Go ahead, I won’t blame you.  Fedoras make everybody classy!

Gilbert-HatInHand

The other issue comes from what Gilbert is missing. I would have gladly sacrificed the extra floor piece in exchange for his cane – Gilbert had a black, silver-tipped old rich guy cane, and it’s missing here. Maybe even some of those doubloons would have been cool, but I feel that he’s really missing that cane. So as awesome as the stairs are, and as glad as I am that he has his hat, Uncle Gilbert’s accessories could stand some improvement.

 Gilbert-Enter

VALUE: ***

This figure is going to run you $20 to $30. $30 feels a little expensive, although it matches today’s prices, and you do get a lot of bang for your buck – as much as I’ve been complaining, this really is a fantastic toy with a lot of extras.

Gilbert-Nosferatu

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

It may be impossible, but try to get the Gilbert with the smoothest hat. I fear that they all look like sombreros, but there just may be one or two out there that are curved properly.

Gilbert-VsCreature

WHERE TO BUY:

Uncle Gilbert is out now, so check Toys R Us, your local comic book and toy stores, and of course Amazon.

Gilbert-MerMan

OVERALL: ****

Nitpicks aside… BAHAHAHAHA! Sorry, this is just an awesome toy. I can’t emphasize that enough. Sure, its execution isn’t perfect, but this toy’s concept more than makes up for it, and I am basing my Halloween costume off Uncle Gilbert.  This fellow is going to keep a prominent place on my display shelf for a long, long time – he might even move into the living room after I wear the costume this Halloween!

Gilbert-SeaCreature

By the way, a smart thing to do if you’re dressing as a geeky-obscure character is to have a cover story – some way to explain your costume without referencing the source material. So, what should I say? That the Creature got rich selling swampland in Florida? Give me some ideas, people!

 Gilbert-KevinSmith

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