Released in 1994 by Playmates Toys, Monster Force was a modest toy line centered on a group of monster hunters who battled the classic Universal Monsters. It was a nice line for the time, but only included seven action figures and doesn't seem to be too in demand these days. When I checked the internet for Monster Force fan sites, the only one I found was last updated sometime in 2004. There was also a cartoon series, but I don't remember it; it only ran for 13 episodes. Unlike most of the things I've written about in Show & Tell so far, I really don't have too much of a personal attachment to the Monster Force. I only owned three of the figures as a kid and I probably got those marked down at Target (Lance, Tripp, and Dracula, if you're wondering). Still, I've always had a personal attachment to paranormal detectives and monster hunters of anytime. While my first action figure was a G.I. Joe, the first fictional universe I remember which enthralled me was Ghostbusters. More paranormal goodness after the break....
Despite being a bit of a scaredy kid, I was always enthralled by anyone who investigated and fought against the evil forces of the undead or the monstrous. Whether it was the Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo and the gang, Filmation's Ghostbusters, the Three Stooges, or even Sherman Hemsley in the 1987 film "Ghost Fever", I was captivated by those brave souls who went up against the undead. In the years since, I've become a bit braver and have also reveled in the exploits of Hellboy and the BPRD, Sir Edward Grey, Cassie Hack, the Justice League Dark, the Lego Monster Force, John Constantine, and others who have dedicated their lives to eradicating evil wherever it may lurk. I guess that's where Monster Force fits in. I would have only been about 11 or so when the line came out and probably because it disappeared rather quickly I just didn't have the time to grow attached to it. The only real memory I have of the line is begging my mother to buy me Doc Reed since we shared a name (she didn't). I wouldn't have even thought about this line if it weren't for an interview conducted by Poe Ghostal with sculptor Scott Hensey who worked on the line. As soon as I was reminded of the line, a short trip to E-bay netted me the entire series figures at a very reasonable price. The figures all come in around 5 inches and come with bases which give them a nice dioramic atmosphere when displayed. Set back and enjoy one of the lesser known lines of the mid 90's: Monster Force!
The Monster Force
Doc Reed Crawley
Luke Talbot (The Wolfman)
The Creatures of the Night
Creature from the Black Lagoon
Probably the coolest figure in the line, the Creature is also the largest. He's a beast. He features a really nice green and blue paint job that has a opalescent finish and lots of cool fins on his back and arms. Lots of spikes too, and check out his webbed toes and hands! He doesn't have any wrist or waist articulation, however. His base is a murky cavern floor which is accented by a treasure chest filled with removable coins and jewels. He also has a massive grappling hook launcher that can plug into the base. This is really a very cool looking figure with a nice head sculpt.
Overall, Monster Force was a cool little line that seems like it might of had potential. Perhaps it needed more monsters and characters to make it a success? Some research revealed that Playmates had plans for 2 more figures: Shelley Frank, the Monster Fighters flying psychic, and HoTep the mummy, one of the main baddies. There were also some vehicles planned, but those never happened either. While those are now left as footnotes in history, I'm still glad to have finally completed this line. They may not be the biggest or the best, but if the BPRD is busy, the Ghostbusters are sick, and the Justice League Dark are out to lunch, you can always count on the Monster Force.
*Update* Check out the Flickr profile of cmdrkoenig67. He has made some extremely cool customs of Shelley Frank, HoTep, and even his own imagining of what the Invisible Man might have looked like if introduced into Monster Force. Thanks, Commander!