The Creature from the Non-Copyright Infringing Lagoon
Our obsession with the awesome Imaginext toy line continues, as today we take a look at another figure from the third wave of blind-bag Collectible Figures, the Gill-Man!
Aquatic Alien or Lagoon Lurker?
As with the other Imaginext figures we've looked at, the Gill-Man is yet another homage to an established character. In this case, it's pretty obvious that somebody at Fisher-Price just got through watching The Creature from the Black Lagoon, as the Gill-Man is a dead-ringer for the classic movie monster.
And that's by no means a bad thing. Along with the line's Dracula, Mummy and Frankenstein it's clear Imaginext is going for fans of Universal's classic monsters (and I'm betting we'll get a wolfman next...) in much the same way as LEGO did with the very cool Monster Fighters line (more on that later...)
But, as is always the way with the Imaginext line, we get a little extra something in the form of some very cool accessories that can then transform him from regular swamp-denizen to... aquatic alien? I'm not entirely sure. And that really doesn't matter, as half the fun of the Imaginext line is they way they allow you to ''fill in the blanks'' and create your own stories. So yeah, when he's not part of my Monster Squad, the Gill-Man is an alien from a water-covered planet.
As you can see, he comes with two accessories: a bright red (and somewhat high-tech) trident/spear and, coolest of all, his own personal oxygenated water supply helmet, complete with ''water'' tank on the back.
As you can see on the close-up, there are some cool little bubble details cast into the helmet, which really give the impression of the helmet being filled with water. It's a small detail but it works really well to ''sell'' the idea of it being a self-contained environment.
The figure uses the standard Imaginext set-up, although the neck is cast as a solid ''cowl'' piece (to incorporate his gills and reptilian neck folds.) That aside, he has the usual - and excellent - shoulder joints (that move in two planes), twist wrists and joined-leg hip joints. If you've read any of my other Imaginext Reviews you'll know I always lament the fact that the legs can't bend individually but it's a minor issue I'm learning to live with.
The paint app is pretty good, with his fish-eyes being nicely detailed and a cool tampo transfer of sharp, fang-like teeth. I'm not sure what the red parts are (a mustache? gills?) but they look cool and add a nice pop of color to break up the two-tone green of his scaly body. The accessories are also pretty good, paint-wise, although as you can see in the above images, some of the yellow on his hood/helmet is a little loose.
And finally, just for fun, here he is with his LEGO counterpart...
Like all the Imaginext figures, the Gill-Man is an awesome little toy. If you like the classic Universal Monsters, you dig space aliens or you're a fan of unpretentious retro toys then there's a lot of fun to be had here.
As a kids' toy the Gill-Man is a cool figure. He can be that bog-dwelling monster your PlaySkool Marvel Heroes can battle, or he can be an aquatic alien to team up with - or again, fight against - your Imaginext spacemen. Or he can be the creature menacing your pirates. Or whatever else you want him to be. It's great to see a toy line that promotes imaginative play but also manages to appeal to older collectors looking for a vintage vibe and if you fall into either category you should grab this figure before he's gone.
If you love retro-style figures, blind-bag toys, creature toys, LEGO's much-lamented Monster Fightes line or the Universal Monsters then this is definitely a figure you'll want in your collection.