Diamond Select Mini-Mates, "Kings of Fools" Quasimodo and Esmeralda
Toy Fair 2012 revelations continue with a look at Diamond Select Toys. In this centennial year of Universal Pictures, Diamond Select is poised to continue their roll-out of licensed Universal Monsters figures with an interesting assortment of creature creations. Product waves 1 & 2 gave us exceptional interpretations of the “top tier” in Universal’s horror hierarchy, featuring Frankenstein, Count Dracula, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Select packaging added great extras like the Mummy’s massive sarcophagus and a jaw-dropping Julie Adams figurine for the Gillman to menace.
Phantoms and Mutants and Moles, oh my…
Waves 3 & 4 – due in September 2012 and 2013 respectively – will offer an intriguing variety as we dive deeper into the monster pantheon. Some of my favorite characters will be represented including silent horror icon Lon Chaney Sr. in the role of The Phantom of the Opera and the mother of all bug-eyed monsters The Metaluna Mutant from 1955’s “This Island Earth”. Select packaging will again include impressive extras (pipe organ, Metalunan Interocitor) and collectors should be aware of some Toys R Us variants. The Invisible Man is listed for a Toys R Us September 2012 release also but wasn’t on display – or was he?
The pictured Wave 4 prototypes (some still awaiting licensor approval) give us a sneak peek at the next range of silent through 50’s options. This time Chaney Sr. portrays Notre Dame’s hunchback, Quasimodo. Boris Karloff’s Dr. Jeckyll is complimented by his monstrous Mr. Hyde in select “roof top” edition. Karloff’s J&H terrorized comedians Abbott & Costello and is a fun, unexpected, choice. I’m extremely jazzed to add The Mole Man (“The Mole People”, 1956) to the collection. I always loved those creepy claws.
More Monstrous Fun…
Other goodies expand the “Retro Cloth” line with Series 3’s “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Creature From the Black Lagoon” and Munsters fans will love the details on the “racer” garbed Herman, Grandpa, and Lily characters due for September 2012 release. The Munster kids – werewolf Eddie and and misfit Marilyn – will arrive in a two pack this summer and sometime in the future we may even be treated to a Munster’s mansion grand stairway, with house pet “Spot”.
For those strapped for shelf space (like myself) the very popular Mini-Mates figures can quench your collector itch without making you a candidate for an episode of Hoarders. A nice option for memorabilia minded Dads and Uncles, the design ingenuity of these blocky little babies always makes me chuckle. Mummy and silent Hunchback sets are in the pipeline for later this year.
Diamond’s newest Universal related product is a line of vinyl “Bust Banks”. Starting with the Frankenstein monster (prototype pictured) and the Black Lagoon Creature. Imagine the coolness factor of carting these puppies to the local TD Bank change counting machine. Both are slated for September 2012.
Diamond continues to produce quality sculpted figures in packages priced to give buyers the opportunity to own display pieces as well as keep pristine packages for their collections. Considering that Frankenstein’s bride was on the short list for the Universal Monsters line, my personal wish-list would include Ernest Thesiger’s Dr. Pretorius (complete with bottled homunculi), Dwight Frye as Fritz, and of course Colin Clive as Dr. Frankenstein.
Keep an eye on SkeletonPete for information on Diamond’s first wave of “Mad Monster Party” figures, and hit Ken Pierce’s PiercingMetal Musings for Toy Fair coverage, soon to include Marvel Select, DC Direct and superhero mini-mates.