One of the things that's fun - and also somewhat frustrating - about collecting Imaginext toys is that Fisher-Price don't, apparently, believe in making a big fuss about upcoming releases. Like the toys themselves, this concept harks back to the pre-Internet days of old (yes, there really was a time when we didn't have access to the World Wide Web, shocking as that sounds!) where a trip to the toy store was a journey into the unknown and whatever toys were on the shelves came as a surprise. The fifth series of the line's incredibly cool Collectible Figures is a prime example of this: nobody knew it was coming until the figures just showed up. As a result, there's a little bit of a mix of new and previous wave figures currently at retail, so excuse us if we hop between these newer figures and some of the older ones...
So with that said, let's take a look at Series 5's Wolfman.
Is he a wolfman or is he a werewolf? Personally I'm going with ''Wolfman,'' due to the fact that it appears Fisher-Price's intention was to pay homage to the classic Universal Monsters (as fans will know, we've already seen versions of Dracula, the Gill-Man, Frankenstein's Monster and the Mummy appear in the line-up) so until they say otherwise, that's the naming convention I'm going with!
And with that out of the way, we'll move onto the figure himself.
Like many figures in the Collectible Figures line-up, the Wolfman appears to be a completely new sculpt. I don't see any parts here that are recycled from earlier figures (which is surprising but most welcome, as it gives him a very unique look.) As a result, he has a very different look to other figures in the line, which is a huge plus in my book.
In typical Wolfman fashion, he's clad only in his torn pants. That means there's plenty of skin (or fur...) on show, which gives the sculptor(s) plenty of scope to really go to town on selling the idea of this character being a beast-man.
There's some great up-close detail on the body sculpt, with the hirsute nature of the Wolfman being conveyed nicely. I love the fur tufts on his limbs and the pointed, claw-like fingers and the fur collar is a great little detail that truly sells the idea of him being covered in hair. It's also worth noting how lean his limbs are. The figure has a great, animal-man silhouette. I'm reminded as much of the Beast Folk from The Island of Doctor Moreau, especially the Universal adaptation, Isle of Lost Souls. There's a very Bela Lugosi-ish look to the figure...
Articulation is the standard Imaginext set-up (twist head, double-joint shoulders, twist wrists and connected, single hip joint) and the figure's unique sculpt works well with the rigging. As you can see, I tend to pose my Wolfman in a slightly hunched stance and it works well.
Paint is well applied and, unlike some Imaginext figures, pretty much covers every element you'd expect it to of the figure's sculpt. Sure, it would be cool if the claws were painted a different color and his ears (which should be the same color as his face) are lost against his hair but one the whole it's a satisfactory application.
The facial app comes via a tampo transfer. There are some cool details here (I love the unibrow, which, as fans of werewolf law will know, is one of the signs of lycanthropy) but the mouth is a little weird. From a distance it appears to be open (and blank) yet the Wolfman's bottom fangs are visible. Of course, it's supposed to be a closed mouth with chin detail but it doesn't quite read as that from some angles.
The figure comes with a chain set, presumably from where the unfortunate Wolfman - in human form - chained himself up in an attempt to avoid another rampage. It's a pretty neat accessory that can be recycled for another figure should you so wish. I just hope that it's strong enough to -
Wait! No! He's -
Look out! He's broken -
For the longest time the Imaginext Universal Monsters homage, which began back in Series 1 with the Mummy, lacked a Wolfman. Sure, we had the aforementioned bandage-clad, reanimated corpse, joined swiftly by Frankenstein's Monster, Count Dracula and Gill-Man (plus an assortment of other, peripheral terrors such as the Witch, Zombie and Bigfoot) but there was a definite Wolfman-shaped hole in the horror line-up...
The question is, was the Wolfman worth the wait?
The answer is a resounding ''yes.'' In fact, of all the ''Universal Monsters'' in the line-up, I'd probably go so far as to say that this is one of - if not the - best. From the awesome, unique sculpt to the creative (and relevant) accessory there's a definite step-up in quality with this figure. And given how much fun the Imaginext Collectible Figures are, that's saying a lot.
Sure, the paint app - as ever - could be a little more developed in a few places and the mouth tampo is a little difficult to read at times but these are really very minor points that do little to diminish just how cool this figure is.
And, like all Imaginext toys, there's so much potential to integrate this figure into your play worlds. He's the Universal Wolfman, sure, but he'll also work well going up against Batman (indeed, his pants look suspiciously similar to those worn by the Wolfman in the Animated Series episode ''Moon of the Wolf...!"), or battling against your Castle Knights. Or maybe one of your space-faring figures contracts Lunar 'Flu... Or your Pirates stumble across the cursed Wolf Medallion, which turns the wearer into a man-beast... As ever, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination...
But however you choose to integrate him into your world, be sure that you do, as this figure is an absolute must-have.