BUILD:BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN from SFMuk Admin's blog

Maker: Polar Lights (re-issue from Aurora)


Type: Injection moulded kit


Price: Approx. £18


Availability: Getting hard to find




Many people consider The Bride of Frankenstein to be both the best horror film ever made and the best sequel of all time. Released in 1936, four years after the success of Universals original Frankenstein, and once more helmed by the eccentric Brit director James Whale, and starring Boris Karloff who's immortally was assured both for his underrated performance and the unsurpassable make up job provided for his monster. This sequel would also iconogrophise Elsa Lanchester into pop culture with her uber-electrified hairdo as the monsters would be, hissy fitted mate.


Horror and figure kits have never been my forte. So I don't know what made me purchase this kit, perhaps it was the box art, or just curiosity, there was some aura about it that Saturday afternoon that just made me explore and take a chance on something different. Unfortunately, for anyone enticed by this review, that Saturday was a few years back in the last throws of model obtainability at my local shop.


Although I'd take it out and look at it, only now did I feel capable of tackling it. Initially made by Aurora in 1965, this is the 1997 Polar Lights re-issue. To my knowledge, (not that I am too concerned), and although there is some re-tooling according to their website, Polar Lights faithfully reproduced everything to do with the Aurora kit, including the box shape, known as an Aurora longbox, and packaging. No scale is given but I would put it at about 1/12.




What you find upon opening the lid is a box brimful of kit parts carefully packed. Once removed, it's pretty impossible to pack them back snugly, so there is a lot on offer. The parts are broken up into three sections. First, there's the figure itself, then the laboratory setting, and lastly the laboratory equipment.




The Lab set itself consists of a floor and a near wall that when constructed will only be tabletop height to the rest of the model, with the detail parts to make the table and its supports and various lightning receptors, aswell as chains.




The wall itself consists of a shelf segment, which will support various beakers and equipment and, ofcourse, the all important bunsen burner.








Although they are still in the bags in these pictures, so I won't get lost, you can make out the various bottles, and even discarded body parts, although the ripped skin and arteries resemble some kind of beastial fur. There are even lightning sparks to round it all off.




The figure itself is very appetising. Coming in at about 1/12th, the sculpt is highly detailed and impressive.


Swathed in bandages, and with beautifully delicate looking arms and hands. A really choice rendition for the queen of monsters. The head is split into three sections, two halves for the hair and one face piece.


The hair and ear parts are excellent in sculpt, mold and detail quality.




The face itself is pretty astounding. Being only slightly bigger than a thumbnail, it could easily have been a disaster, but the detail is pretty much superb. Although the lashes are a bit oversized and the overall impression and cheeks a bit on the chubby side for the more refined looking Miss. Lanchester, the expression itself is spot on.




As usual, you have the exploded diagram to work from, so it would seem that this is either Aurora's innovation that Polar Lights uses to this day. Or just a 60's thing. Never the less, it has stayed the test of time.


Overall opinion then is you have everything you need here and more to make one superb diorama of the ultimate gothic dollhouse set.




Painting


The film is ofcourse black and white, and no colour references exist at all from the period. In Gods and Monsters, Bill Condon's mostly excellent biopic of James Whale, we are given a recreation of the shooting of the films climax and it is here that we get to see a possible researched version of the set and The Brides makeup. Only, I don't have this to hand, but for reference material, it would definitely be a good place to start. So, instead, I decided to go it alone and trust my own judgements.




First off, I painted up the parts that would make up the overall set. For the table and metal parts, I turned to my old fave, gunmetal.




The table the body would eventually lay on was a bit of a sting point. Basically the box art and instructions state that it should be brown/wood. Yet if one compares the detail of the wooden shelf to the slabby metal look of the table, I think it is evident which direction should be taken. Secondly, being that the whole plot point requires electrical transference into the body of the bride, that pretty much clinches it for me. 

Whether the film itself uses a wooden table with metallic parts is a possibility, but for my kit, it won't.


I've never been good at replicating wood. But with this kit, there is not much need as the detail does most of the work, and most of the shelf will be buried under masses of equipment.


For the concrete/bricks, I made them grey, which will be drybrushed with black detail later in the painting process. The chains are the only metal parts that I went for a rusty look, again, no reason, just preference.




As to the all important rendition of the figure. I went for a dirty white for the bandages. The hardest decision was what to do for the skintone. Options are limitless, greens, greys, black and white, flesh colour.




There is this film poster, which is clearly from a production photo but has been colourised and makes her look pretty human, which may be closer to the truth than one might think. But it's not the look I am after.


I decided to go for a light blue, so light, that its hard to acknowledge in the pictures and will be easily mistaken for grey. But as long is it is a different tone to the bandages, I'm fine with that.




I was curious to see if the colours used would blend together overall so I tried some test fits to get an overall impression with her environment.






With this hurdle covered, it was time to begin the delicate process of painting the face. This sort of work terrifies me, and I don't know how you figure modellers on here can manage to bring so much life to your work. Its truly something beyond my capabilities. The details are so small at the best of times and its frightening work indeed to paint. Never the less, it was bite the bullet time.


I chose an almost black, but grey mix for the lips and eyes and brows. For the hair, I went for a dark brown and added some red highlights. Then for the all important white streaks, these were pretty much weathered on. I then continued the weathering process a little more on the rest of the body and it was time to see some more test fitting.








For the rest of the detail parts, I pretty much continued the process of gunmetal for all metallic things such as trays and stands. The discarded body parts I went for a dirty beige scheme, and there is a small block of organ parts that go into the tray which ofcourse means its time to get the reds out and go for gore.




Admittedly, there is a lot you can do with the painting of this kit, and you could really go to town with it, but I must admit there are parts I did not bother with as they were not necessary for my ‘photo session' usage. My main focus would be solely on the figure of the bride.


Construction


Construction is pretty user friendly overall. I really liked the shelf as it also has its own brackets to attach to the wall and this attention to detail and realism was great.


I remember that I had a few problems with the fit of the brides neck into the body. The reason for this is I wasn't totally satisfied with the overall look and found the neck too long, or the head angle too low, so I cut into and sanded down the locators in the neck to adjust this slightly.


The bride herself, I definitely used some filler on. There is a preference point where the face attaches to the neck and hair. Basically, she has scar tissue, but not the ugly stitching that her male counterpart is famous for. Hers are deeper, but less A+E. I made them more discrete with filler.


The clear parts will have very noticeable join seams, well, they're clear, so you can't do anything about it and would have been better off as a one piece, but that would have made painting the interior liquids tougher.


The only major hassle I found were the chains. They connect into the four electrodes around the table and then link into each corner of the table. To actually achieve this though was pretty hairy, and would have resulted in the chains or their interlock parts snapping. So I pretty much left them alone.






Other than that, there's not much else to complain about. You are left with a really nice kit.


It's definitely a lot of fun, and pretty intricate in an engrossing way. Its also fascinating bypassing the instructions colour guide and just imagining what everything might have looked like.


Definitely a thumbs up winner. Thanks for looking.


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By SFMuk Admin
Added Nov 22 '13

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