40422 Frankenstein’s Monster Review

Posted: September 27, 2020 by Keith_Lowry

The Frankenstein’s monster Brickheadz set (40422) is here, just in time for Hallowe’en 2020 – a year that has already been horrific enough, thank you very much.

The set is also a tie in with the Universal film company and their roster of monster movies and characters. Mary Shelley’s estate is probably not seeing any of the royalties from the licensing here.

On a coffee table, but wary of the flame from the candle.

The monster goes together just like any other Brickheadz figure with SNOT bricks forming the core of the build. There are some nice printed parts for the forehead and jacket front – as well as two (plus a spare) silver 1×1 round plates. The rest of the set is as expected with lots of black and grey pieces – the monster recreated here is definitely from a black and white film.

Very cinematic

As I mentioned in my review of the Hagrid and Buckbeak Brickheadz set, the figures suffer from not being articulated and having single set expressions. This makes them hard to photograph effectively.

However, with the monster it’s not so bad. He was never really known for his ability to emote and provoke empathy. The blank expression he wears suits him perfectly.

Prof. Frankenstein plugs in the charger.

After a couple of shots of the monster on a coffee table (one of the natural Brickheadz habitats) I tried to do something a bit different. I wanted a classic shot of the castle lab, with the monster on the slab and a mad scientist doing crazy things.

I created a very quick MOC and decided that I’d get a suitably odd angle from using my Nikkor 28-300mm lens with a 12mm macro tube added to it. This allows me to get very close to the subject while maintaining a wide angle field of view.

How close is that lens?!

As you can see, the end of the lens has to be very close to the subject in order to focus, and I also had to set the aperture number very high to get a useable depth of field. So I was at f/22 and I had to give myself a lot of light to get a reasonably short shutter speed.

Even with a flash on one side behind a large diffuser and a large diffused lamp on the other, I still needed a shutter speed of 1/4 sec at iso 800.

To try to add more interest to the lab scene I added a non-LEGO prop – the electricity seen in the top right of the picture comes from a BBQ lighter, which was clamped to the tripod and had to be manually activated at the same time as the picture was taken. It wasn’t quite as exciting as I hoped in the final shots, so I added a bit more glow to it in post.

The monster loves nature.

Once the monster had been brought to life by the mad scientist he went outside to explore nature. Luckily he found some nearby moss and bokeh, by climbing the 6ft to the top of my garden wall. There was also a bit of mist hanging around (must have been left over from the Hagrid and Buckbeak shoot…).

After spending a bit of time being spooky and emo on the wall, the monster realised that he had a new ability.

He could turn his head!

Actually I had customised him, replacing a row of plates in his neck with tiles and a 1×1 round plate. Sadly, due to the way the head was built, the pivot for the head couldn’t go in the centre of his neck, so he only looks to the right (unless you take his head off and change the plate placement, which is undignified for him).

Strolling about, not a care in the world.

It was at this point that I realised that he looks very much like Gir from Invader Zim and that really LEGO should make Brickheadz for the characters from that show. They have the perfect proportions for it, and the eyes would work well too. Maybe I’ll do an Ideas project for that, anyway.

While I was day-dreaming about early 2000s pop-culture references, the monster had wandered off and got into a spot of bother with the local towns-folk.

Denying the supremacy of science again.

In a tale as old as time, scientific progress was treated with suspicion and violence, and the poor monster was chased up a hill by minifigs with flaming torches, pitchforks and plungers!

To get the scene right for this shot I set up a black backdrop in my garage, with my mossy plant pot and some sticks for trees. To get the right mood I lit it from either side with LED lights with orange and yellow gels. I wanted to light the monster well and have the towns-people silhouetted as much as possible, which I just about achieved.

In my garage.

Behind the ‘trees’ I placed a moon shaped light, which also helped frame the monster nicely. I used the 28-300mm lens again, this time without the macro tube and at it’s fullest zoom, which helped fore-shorten the scene and make everything appear closer together. I ended up with a shutter speed of 1.6 secs at f/16 and iso 400.

The lighting was caught quite nicely by the LEGO flame pieces in the torches, but I added a few more effects in post – adding a glow and some particles into the atmosphere above them. Again I used my trusty facial mister to add some fog to the floor.

I had fun shooting the monster and think he’s one of the better Brickheadz around. I may not even disassemble him for parts!

He’d make a great present for a horror fan and will look good on any IKEA shelf, coffee table, or desk you may care to place him on.

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