-Review and photos by Scott Rubin

Since moving into the toys and collectibles market a few years ago, Cryptozoic Entertainment has tried a number of really interesting product lines with some ultra-popular fan-favorite licenses as well as their own in-house properties.  Among the latter is the wildly successful Cryptkins, which began as 2.25 inch tall, blind packaged vinyl figures of famous (and infamous) cryptozoological specimens… but adorable!  Fans and collectors have fallen in love with these little monsters, and after multiple series of small figures, pins, exclusives, multi-packs, and more, Cryptozoic has super-sized them with all new 5 inch scale figures called Cryptkins Unleashed!  We were lucky enough to get our hands on four of these new figures, and so today we’re going to take an in-depth look at Cthulhu, Chupacabra, Nessie, and Bob (a Cryptozoic original based on the company’s logo).


Before we look at the figures themselves, let’s check out their packaging.  While the original mini Cryptkins came in blind-reveal “crates,” these larger ones are a bit of a different animal.  First off, they’re most certainly not blind packaged, so you can see them in their plastic and cardboard environments.  They all share the same basic box, nearly cubicle with a huge, partly wrap-around plastic window giving you a clear view of the monster.  The package is decorated with neat green background art with terrain, swirling clouds, and a baleful yellow moon.  On the front panel are all the requisite logos and titles, with the individual character’s name at the top-right.  The non-window side panel on each box has beautiful artwork of its cryptid, done in the familiar cute and silly style that’s typified the Cryptkins. 


Last but not least, the back panel of the package has a “Collect All 8” graphic showing the other figures (including the Cryptozoic exclusive jumbo Cerberus and a mystery figure!).


When I say that these Cryptkins Unleashed are cute, I really mean it.  Just look at the photos!  In our quartet here we’ve got a nice selection of slippery and furry, bony and… tentacle-y.  They all have the signature big eyes and expressive faces, with relatively smaller bodies and silly proportions.  While the figures are deceptively simple, there are actually a lot of really nice details with subtle sculpting and some fun paint details breaking up their largely solid, bold colors. 


The full lineup of the Unleashed consists of creatures and characters from both series of Cryptkins (and Bob), though it’s important to note that Cryptozoic did not just take an existing small sculpt and enlarge it; these are all new with unique poses, and it’s especially notable with characters who were sitting in the smaller versions and are now standing in their larger forms.  Cthulhu, Chupacabra, and Nessie were all among the first series of Cryptkins, though other members of the initial eight Unleashed came from series 2 as well.


Seemingly always on the verge of being photographed clearly is Nessie, the beloved monster of Loch Ness.  One of the most popular and famous cryptids in the world, Nessie here takes the form of a cute and cuddly sea serpent.  He/she/it? looks vaguely like a cross between a dinosaur and a seal, with a chubby body, four flippers and a tail, and an aquatic/reptilian head. 


Nessie stands up on its hindquarters, seemingly waving its flippers with its mouth open in a huge smile.  There are some delightful curves and creases emphasizing Nessie’s heft, while everything about the head is designed to look cute from the little stubby teeth to frond-like “ears” and enormous bulbous eyes that, depending on the angle and for me at least, can evince a look of happy surprise.  Nessie is a couple shades of blue with a lighter shade on its underbelly and darker patterns on its back, while it has white teeth, a pink mouth interior, and captivating blood red eyes.


Unleashed Cthulhu, once a towering alien presence lurking beneath the sea and driving humanity mad in its wait to regain ultimate power… now totteringly approaches you beckoning for a hug.  The cosmic horror created by H. P. Lovecraft retains all of its original attributes, being mostly humanoid with wings and a cephalopod head.  In this case the monster has proportions somewhat resembling those of a toddler with short limbs, a tubby torso with bulging belly, and a great big head.  Cthulhu’s hands and feet end in three claws each, and with his left foot slightly forward he absolutely looks like he’s frozen in place as he’s walking.  There’s so much to enjoy in the sculpt from the “outie” belly button (do Great Old Ones have those?) to the diminutive tail and wings, the stubby spines running down his back, and of course the cluster of gently curling tentacles on his face. 


Cthulhu is a medium green at his extremities which lightens toward his core, has gray talons, and a bright yellow appears on his head flaps, wings, and tentacles.  Meanwhile, his eyes are as red as Nessie’s, and there’s a fun pattern of dark green spots on the top of his head.


The “goat sucker,” better known as the Chupacabra, has been spotted across the Americas and beyond, and is considered to be a vampiric hunter that preys on livestock and similar animals.  As gruesome as that sounds, the Cryptkins Unleashed version is anything but.  Instead the monster appears as a cute, almost cuddly creature complete with saggy lion belly and ruffled “fur” around its oversized head.  The uneven feet with one paw raised looks way more puppy playful than menacing or aggressive.  [Note: my particular Chupacabra doesn’t stand on all three flat feet perfectly evenly on most surfaces, but it still balances well on two.]  The little claws?  Cute!  The row of horns going over its head and down its back?  Totally non-threatening.  Uneven little teeth giving the appearance of both under AND overbite?  Adorable. 


My absolute favorite thing about the Chupacabra is the little sculpted squint on its right eye, giving it just the right amount of menace and mischievousness!  As with the original Cryptkin, this Chupacabra is a forest green that pales a bit on its belly with light gray claws and teeth, yellow spines, and the red eyes we’ve come to know and love.


Last, but certainly not least, is Bob.  Yes, Bob.  Now, if you look at Cryptozoic Entertainment’s logo, you’ll see a quite menacing character; this is the opposite.  Skull-headed Bob is cheerful, welcoming, and of course dapper in his snazzy suit!  He’s a short, doughy fellow dressed for a formal occasion, and his pose with one hand on hip and the other stretched out screams “what’s behind Door #2?”  He looks, to me, like a carnival barker or stage presenter, made all the more compelling with his tragically earnest eye sockets. 


Bob’s bare skull has an accentuated facial structure, bulbous “teeth,” no lower jaw, tiny nose hole, and tall, hollow eye sockets.  Oh, and then there’s the horn jutting upward at an angle from the top of his head, also short and chubby.  Bob is appropriately bone-colored, off white, while his suit and tie are black, his shirt red, and his shoes shiny patent leather.


In addition to supersizing their Cryptkins, Cryptozoic has also entered the hugely popular enamel pin market.  Check out their store for more, but today we’re looking at their exclusive Bob 10th Anniversary Pin!  Capturing the exact same character we looked at above, this heavy-duty pin features the adorable character on a super shiny background (seen through his eyes as well), with the banner “Celebrating 10 Years” over the Cryptozoic Entertainment logo at the bottom.  The pin is very nicely designed with a bunch of colors, and it looks great.  Even better, it’s strictly limited to a run of 666, and the price is $6.66 each!


Cryptkins Unleashed have been unleashed, and can be ordered now on Cryptozoic’s website.  Each of the four seen here are $15.  These figures are sturdy, have a nice heft to them, and look fantastic.  I really love their combination of “scary” monsters with cute and cuddly style, and Cryptozoic pulls it off perfectly.  They’re also a really good deal for the price, with better looks, sculpts, and paint applications than other similarly priced products out there.  There is additionally the jumbo Cerberus Unleashed vinyl figure as well as two exclusive variants of Bob (Halloween and Golden), each $25, if you’re looking for even more Cryptkins fun.

Review and photos by Scott Rubin.

Review samples courtesy of Cryptozoic Entertainment.