Monday, May 6

Review & construction: The creature from the Black Lagoon (and his lady friend) in 1/8th scale from Moebius Models

Moebius Models have brought out their second kit the Classic universal Movie monster The Creature from the Black Lagoon. This figure brings not only a lady friend but sits on a base to suit as well – we look at the  kit and put it together to see if it is indeed a monster or maybe just a little nipper….

Moebius 1/8 Creature from the Black Lagoon
Injection moulded kit
1/8 scale
Height: 8-1/2" (215.9mm)
$44.99US


"Something told Julia her new boyfriend didn't want 
a relationship - only external fertilisation "
The 1954 movie “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” was a worldwide hit which became a classic horror film well known to many who hadn’t even seen the film.  The creature was played by Ben Chapman on land and Ricou Browning in underwater scenes. His prospective lady friend was played by the very lovely Julia Adams. The story went that an expedition to the Amazon uncovers this prehistoric half-man half fish creature – he is the last of his species and he wanted to find a mate….. Do yourself a favour and watch it – it’s almost so bad it’s good – My favourite type of film. Go to the regular places to see more about the film – Wikipedia, IMDB etc. – here is the trailer..
video

Let’s get onto the kit from Moebius...

Let’s start at the box – I gave a little “wow” when I opened the shipping box it came in – the first impression I had of the kit was very nice because of the excellent packaging which includes a little cave scene backdrop on the reverse side as well as the monster and “victim” on the cover. There is also a little promo page on the back in colour telling you all about the movie and the monster – nice.
The pose of the Creature is depicted holding his victim as he searches for water to make his escape – there was an earlier kit from Moebius of the monster swimming underwater – but I would rather have this kit as the female victim and the base lend a lot to the scene, making this a ready to go vignette.  Let’s look at the sum of all the arts before we put him together for you..

Lets start by getting the paperwork out of the way – The instructions:
I would like to credit Moebius on their instructions – they always put that little extra effort in it seems to make the kit feel like you bought it in your childhood. The feel of the instructions is like that of an old kit whilst the actual steps are well thought out and very easy to follow – the best of both worlds. Well done on them!


This kit is funny in the way that accuracy isn’t really a thing you can attribute to a movie costume – I suppose there aren’t any line drawings of this around! Just some old photos of the suit and of course the movie itself.  Below is a rare colour promo shot which is pretty good to go off.
"Simple simon says"
Therefore colours can only be guessed at – as they are here in the instructions – you have “suggested colours” instead of prescribed ones – which for an aircraft modeller usually is a real relief! You can go to town with whatever you like to colour wise - a little blue in those gills? Eat your heart out!
The kit of this classic Universal monster and his beau comes on three regular sprues and two different torso halves – one of the monster’s torso and one pair for the victim as well as a small 60cm squared(ish) base for them to be displayed upon.

I say regular plastic but this is not quite that – the creature is a lurid green colour and the female victim is in a flesh pink colour. The plastic is a very hard type of variety which is a little more like a puzzle or toy variety so you will need some hot glue to make it stick. I used a regular brush type liquid with no problems.

There is a little bit of excess plastic around the sprue stalks themselves and where the plastic mould gets thin like on the skeletal hand (part of the creature’s ancestor) bit this isn’t a concern at all. The surface detail of the torso of the monster (suit) is excellent and it look realistic compared to some shots of the suit I have found from on-line archives  - and no these aren’t the ones you get in costume shops but the real suit.

The sprues in order:

The head and leaves:
There is an alarming sprue with the face of the gaping creature here looking pretty menacing, plus a large fern-like plant that goes into the base and maybe the “missing link” great relative of the creature in the form of a little lizard.. Some flash on the sprue stalks but none on the parts really.

There is an excellent little plaque you can use as well in the same font Universal used in the movie – pretty cool.
“Look-into-my-eyes, look-directly-into-my-eyes”
Fins. Flippers – head and arms..

Like I was saying earlier there is a little bit of flash on these parts especially the skeleton hand – due to the nature of the very thin plastic – it takes a few careful moments on each one to remove though and isn’t a problem. The texture on the hands especially is pretty nest though.
The torso

Here is a picture of the actual monster suit from the set.
 The torso halves are split in half vertically and so need to joined them across many scaly lines on the “monster suit” This could cause some problems if there are any construction gaps – and on initial fitting there are just that  - some “interesting “ gaps it looks like we will need to remedy.
The lady victim
 She is lovely in reproduction and she has a pretty face…for a plastic figure of course… The arms and legs all come on a single pink sprue whilst the two halves of our fair maiden are split vertically down the middle like the creature’s torso.
The base

The green large base looks like the surface of the planet booger or something from Star Trek – the lurid green will come up very well after a paint and dry brush and even some fake scenery water and sand? You have the choice whether or not to use the movie placard - and there are two nubs to fit into the creature’s heals - though only one at a time fits! Maybe I was drunk but it still gives him a secure anchor point.
The box itself is part of the kit – there is a removable promo coloured page on the back (excellent) once you take it off there is the backdrop of the cave the creature dwells in underwater – double excellent! When used with the base it looks the part – ill show you at the end
Well that is it for box content – but what a rubbish review if I don't at least put it together? – I hear ya!

Construction

Well ladies first! The victim’s fine facial features look  very delicate and indeed like she is passed out – her features are of an excellent quality for an injection moulded kit.

The two parts of the head – face – neck and hair – go together easily but you will need to secure the face with the v-shaped neck to the front torso first unless you want to do a lot of wiggling around later. Take this tip from me.
I put the head together first and it took me a lot of wriggling around with a long stick to make her v-shaped neck sit properly in her torso – next time I will read instructions – and follow them!

In the picture above you can see the long seam that you have to remedy right down her side – sandpaper sticks (I used a sided nail block which are the best thing ever.)  and some superglue were used to fill some gaps especially around the lower leg joints. You must of course make her legs silky smooth – this is a real kit for the foot fetishists out there I reckon!
You can see all of the hands and flippers here in a line up – can you spot the skeleton hand used in the movie on the left? – it was how a plot device to let the party know they were on the track of the monster.
The hands went on last – they really did look like Barbie™ hands to me – after paint their delicate fingers and toes will look very nice. She really looks like she is falling from certain angles - really nice sculpture...

Though she really goes this way round though on this kit!

The bush for the diorama and the Lizard went together no problems – I think in the future before I paint the lizard I'll make him look even more like his cousin!
The Creature’s head: He goes together like a green sandwich – really easily and the layers of the flaps of his face/gills hide any seams you may have – the likeness is very good compared with the movie.

 You must do the arms next – as then the arms fit into the sockets on the torso – you have to remove a part of the neck locating pins for the torso – not that you need them so no problem – the arms can move once in the torso but they are restricted by the rest of the torso to pretty much the pose you see on the box.
The monster’s torso is split down the sides – this is as I thought perilous though there really isn’t a much better way to do it. The push in/capture holes  to secure him in place are tricky to fit together and need to be started at one end and followed thru to the other  - I chopped mine off to just stick him together




I started securing this kit with a LOT of hot glue at the top shoulder area and worked my way down - Once the arms are secured in and the torso is together to lock everything in you are left with a 2mm gap in the waist area of the kit.  Ohh no – how to sort this without losing detail?

Superglue and superglue accelerant are what you need - combined with a lot of very strong looking plastic clamps and some time to properly set and harden it all goes solidly together. Then you can carve in the direction of the scales to make in effect your own surface detail without any imperfections – this is in fact an easy fix and not as big a deal as I thought. Although I still haven’t painted the kit I reckon it will look very good in the finished article.

 The insides of the legs also needed some gap filling
You can see where I have replicated the lumpy texture on the vertical wist seam with hot glue and a hard brush applicator – it worked very well as the superglue sealed it all up as well. Rock solid!
The feet fit in really easily (like a pair of flippers) and they zips on the rear of the "suit" are a great little bit of detail

The head didn't quite well – with a lot more hot glue it all settled in there a lot easier. There is a very slight gap in the right hand side neck which was solved with a bit of superglue again.
The hands can only be put in one way on the right side thanks to the notches in the cuffs – smart work from Moebius. The hands do look at a funny angle until you get to the next step.

Come on - come at me bro!!!
Penultimately you are nearly ready to paint – but first you have to thread your maiden thru the monster’s grasp! It is a really weird fit but once I there you need no glue. I cannot explain it as well as the pics can – so here they are – “Torvill and dean!”
No no no - seriously - here are our couple






And here is the scenery – complete with creepy hand of his great grandaddy…
And here they are together  - cue the Barry White music
Yes I am having some fun with this review – because this kit brings a smile to my face. I really liked building it even though the fit was sometimes challenging it DID all fit together and it looks great once (nearly) finished. I do not fear the paint though as the texture of the skin would be great to dry brush and wash and pigment.
I could have done with a decal to make the paisley outfit our victim wears on the artwork and in the movie – but that is it – it is an excellent kit for not just sci-fi and monster model makers but those who need to kick back and just build something fun!

Recommended to those who like some fun in their life – and foot fetishists alike !! A great kit.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Moebius models for sending us this kit to build and review

Below is the kit painted up from Moebius' sits showing how a good painter might do with this kit - quite impressive