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Quack, Quack, Waddle, Waddle: Diamond Select’s 1966 Penguin Bust

DST's perfect Penguin mini-bust is due spring 2015.

DST’s perfect Penguin mini-bust is due spring 2015.

Umbrella Fella…
While I’ve enjoyed nearly everything about the Gotham television series’ first fall season, especially Robin Lord Taylor’s scenery chewing portrayal of the young Penguin, there will always be a special spot in my heart for Burgess Meredith’s version. His emotive squawking got many an imitative 6th grader, myself included, in hot water at school but it was irresistible to mimic.

Color My World…
In 1966 my family was the first on our block to have a color TV which automatically designated our living room ground zero for every friend on Wednesday & Thursday evenings at 7:30. Along with the pop art biffs, bangs and pows, Penguin’s psychedelic purple top hat and tie were the most eye popping things to behold on that fresh CRT.

A Rogues Gallery of Diamond Select Mini-Bust Prototypes. Licensor Approval Pending.

A Rogues Gallery of Diamond Select Mini-Bust Prototypes. Licensor Approval Pending.

Busted…
Keeping “Boomer” generation collectors enthralled (we waited ages for this franchise to license goodies)Diamond Select Toys has announced a late spring 2015 release for their latest Batman related mini-bust. It’s a spot on sculpt of the Burgess Meredith Penguin right down to the monocle. It will join the already released Adam West Batman, Burt Ward Robin, Ceasar Romero Joker, and soon to be available Frank Gorshin Riddler (January 2015).

At NY Comic Con back October, DST was also showing yet to be authorized prototypes of Julie Newmar as Catwoman and Otto Preminger, the blue skinned Mr. Freeze. Yvonne Craig in Batgirl guise would clearly be a welcome addition to the mix.

The mini-busts average six inches tall and share a base that features bat-signal/city-scape artwork from the classic show’s opening credits.

Diamond Select's Batarang and Batman Logo serve double duty.

Diamond Select’s Batarang and Batman Logo serve double duty.

“Boomer”-Rang…
If you are expecting Santa to slide down your chimney with the 1966 Batman DVD box set, you could do worse than add DST’s Batarang bottle opener to your stocking stuffer wish-list. It’s gonna take a raft of six-packs to get you through 120 episodes.

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Re: Animator – Diamond Select Toys Halloween Treat


Diamond Select Toys just unleashed a sweet treat for your Halloween bag in the form of an animated video featuring their line of Universal Monsters figures. Created by Alex Kropinak, the man behind the madness of the Marvel “What The …..?” series, the short follows a trio of Halloween candy hunters to some surprising doorways. In just over a minute we get a slew of cute vignettes of which I especially love the Metaluna Mutant conjuring up a giant candy corn on the old interocitor.
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Scripted by Kropinak and DST Marketing Supervisor Zach Oat, the film nicely displays the expanded articulation of DST’s newest additions to the line, Son of Frankenstein and a beautifully revamped Creature from the Black Lagoon. It also affords a cameo appearance to their first original concept Van Helsing character.
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SkeletonPete Says…
Thanks to the Diamond Select gang for this excellent surprise. Having spent a healthy chunk of my early teen years creating backyard “jungle” adventures using a collection of 12 inch G.I. Joes, I’m always appreciative of a nice piece of stop motion animation like this one. The miniature sets are an inspiration for us toy photographers and Kropinak utilizes a touch of CGI for the atmospheric effects. This truly makes me pine for a proper animated version of Ray Bradbury’s The Halloween Tree.

Word is Diamond Select will continue it’s Universal Monster line next year. A super articulated Wolfman would be awesome, but I’d be just as happy to see them do something left-of-center like a Henry Hull Werewolf of London. I’m also really curious to see what their next original creation will be.

DST will launch it's "Nightmare Before Christmas" Mini-Mate Series with Jack Skellington.

DST will launch it’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” Mini-Mate Series with Jack Skellington.


Additionally Diamond Select will kick off their The Nightmare Before Christmas Mini-Mates series via shops participating in Halloween ComicFest, with a great Jack Skellington figure that was on display at New York Comic Con a week ago.

High Stakes: Van Helsing Joins Diamond Select Monster Series

Diamond Select Toys' Van Helsing action figure prototype as seen at Toy Fair 2014.

Diamond Select Toys’ Van Helsing action figure prototype as seen at Toy Fair 2014.

Van the Man…
Diamond Select Toys is taking the opportunity to expand the monster line with a unique design of their own. DST’s Van Helsing, is an armed-to-the-teeth vision of the vampire hunter with a wizened and battle scarred countenance. With his axe, rifle, pistol and bandolero of wooden spikes he’s clearly a determined and formidable foe for the feral creatures of the night.

With many of us still cringing from the loopy Hugh Jackman misstep of 2004 Van Helsing was a risky choice. Fortunately DST presents him as an effective cross between the grandfatherly character portrayed by Edward Van Sloan in 1931 and Anthony Hopkins’ frenzied doctor of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (1992.)

The Van Helsing “Select” version is the most ornate of the three new Wave 5 boxed packages. The base provides a cemetery scene with dual tombstones and vicious vampire bride Mina Harker pouching from her grave.

More Monsters…
I’ve been stalking Diamond Select Toy’s fifth wave of Universal Monsters figures since they first appeared as early prototypes in DST’s Toy Fair Booth back in 2013.

These two newest 7 inch scale action figures present Boris Karloff as The Monster from Son of Frankenstein, and a new version of The Creature From the Black Lagoon. The Jean St. Jean sculpts are created with “super articulation,” giving the models many more poseable points of movement than their previous incarnations.

DST has announced these items in blister-carded Toys “R” Us Exclusive configurations (already on the shelves) as well as “Select” boxes, available shortly in comic book shops, or for pre-order. The “Select” versions add extraordinarily detailed bases and props.

Inspector Krogh "lends a hand (and arm) to Karloff's "Son of Frankenstein" TRU Exclusive. Image Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys.

Inspector Krogh “lends a hand (and arm) to Karloff’s “Son of Frankenstein” TRU Exclusive. Image Courtesy of Diamond Select Toys.


The Monster is portrayed with a slightly more gaunt look than Karloff lensed in the original 1939 film. He is clothed in his signature “Son of” wooly vest, a look that will forever remind me of Sonny Bono’s preferred garb in the 1960’s. In addition to more articulation The Creature update trumps its Wave 1 predecessor with, to my eye, a sculpt more accurate to its film appearance and a glossier aquatic paint finish.

“Armed” and Dangerous…
The “Select” Son of Frankenstein comes with an awesome Kenneth Strickfaden inspired piece of electrical laboratory gear that will remind old school collector’s like myself of the similar rig that was part of Aurora’s classic Bride of Frankenstein tableau. No Son of Frankenstein collectible would be complete without the wooden arm of Lionel Atwill’s Inspector Krogh for the monster to swing around. For me it’s a must have, and I’m glad to report it comes in both packaging configurations, so you won’t be torn (hee, hee.)

SkeletonPete Says…
While I’m happy to learn that Diamond Select will continue to offer Universal Monster figures in another wave next year, I also applaud the initiative to bring some of their own creative juice to the monster mix.

The Aurora Plastic Model Company did this quite effectively in late 1960’s. Their Forgotten Prisoner of Castle Mare, The Witch, and The Guillotine models were equally cherished by collectors. In fact they are the only intact original Aurora models I still have. The others succumbed to an ill advised tangle with a barrage of firecrackers one fateful Independence day.

Black, White, and Red All Over: DST’s “Sin City” and Garden Warfare Collectibles

The Yellow Bastard Box Will Be The First 2 Inch Mini-Mate Sin City Set from Diamond Select Toys.

The Yellow Bastard Box Will Be The First 2 Inch Mini-Mate Sin City Set from Diamond Select Toys.

Hot Town, Summer in Sin City…
August 22 seemed forever away when I first spied it as the release date for Sin City 2 in Diamond Select Toys’ 2014 New York Toy Fair booth last February. Now it’s yesterday and the follow-up to Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez’ most graphic and novel of graphic novel inspired films is in general release.

Of the tie-in’s previewed by DST last winter, the three Sin City Select Action Figures representing Nancy (Jessica Alba), Hartigan (Bruce Willis) and Marv (Mickey Rourke) have already hit the shelves. Production versions I’ve seen look really good, with the 2005 film’s range of whites, grays and blacks rendered with subtlety over the Jean St. Jean sculpts. These display boxed “Select” models are each supplied with appropriate stands

Sin City's Nancy, as Portrayed by Jessica Alba,  "Select" Figure is Already Available.

Sin City’s Nancy, as Portrayed by Jessica Alba, “Select” Figure is Already Available.

The action figures will be followed shortly by two Mini-Mates box sets. The first – due momentarily – is the Yellow Bastard Box featuring Nancy, Hartigan, Senator Roark and YB himself. Box set two will arrive in the fall and feature Marv, Wendy, Kevin and Cardinal Roark. This set is based on Miller’s story “The Hard Goodbye.” Both sets include interchangeable parts, accessories, and what looks like a slew of weapons.


Victory Garden…
If you prefer more color in your collector life, DST will accommodate with a selection of zombie whacking flora and their undead foes based on the insanely popular Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare game from Popcap and EA. The aptly named “bloom and doom” roll out will begin in September and there are a number of standard, specialty store, and Toys “R” Us permutations.

A Wonderful Selection of Plants Vs. Zombies Characters is Coming From DST in September 2014.

A Wonderful Selection of Plants Vs. Zombies Characters is Coming From DST in September 2014.

Here’s the breakdown directly from Diamond Select:
Each set of two 5″ scale action figures will include one plant and one zombie[…] The assortment includes:
– Gatling Pea with Scientist Zombie
– Camo Cactus with Foot Soldier Zombie
– Chomper with Engineer Zombie
– Shadow Flower with All-Star Zombie


Additionally, two box sets of Minimates mini-figures will be available in early September, one at Toys “R” Us stores and one at comic shops and specialty stores. Those two sets include:

Toys “R” Us set:
– Foot Soldier Zombie, Scientist Zombie, Chomper, Sunflower, and two Pea Shooters

Comic shop/specialty stores set:
– Engineer Zombie, All-Star Zombie, Cactus, Sunflower, and two Pea Shooters.

DST’s Best Bust Yet: Going “Meta-loony” for the Mutant

DST's Metaluna Mutant Bust Bank is due Halloween 2014

DST’s Metaluna Mutant Bust Bank is due Halloween 2014

I love Diamond Select Toys‘ range of Bust Banks and back in February at the New York Toy Fair I got a sneak peek at the prototype for this one but could not reveal the details. It’s my favorite so far, for its great sculpt and killer color palette. So I’m thrilled to share DST’s notice for what I think is the best bust bank yet, the quirkiest of Universal Monsters from This Island Earth, the Metaluna Mutant.

Brain Change….
DST’s official communique says “The Universal Monsters are not dead yet! This year, Halloween will bring one more vinyl bust bank to join the monstrous line-up, the Metaluna Mutant! Whether you love him from This Island Earth or the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 takedown, he’ll make a big impression on your shelf, with high-quality sculpting and paint details. Plus, his brain alone will hold several dollars in change, thanks to the coin slot on his back! Packaged in a clear polybag. (Item #JUL142037, SRP: $22.99)”