Toy Review: Fresh Monkey Fiction Naughty or Nice Wave 1: Krampus

I've recently been looking at several action figures I ordered from Fresh Monkey Fiction's first wave of "Naughty or Nice" line. The first two - Classic Santa and Zombie Santa - were absolute successes in my opinion. I'm going to ruin a bit of the suspense by telling you upfront my opinion of the figure I'm looking at today, Krampus, is a bit more mixed. There are absolutely aspects I love, but it's the only one of the three I'm not entirely convinced was worth the price.

Part of it comes down to what that price was: the other two ran me $37 each, which is steep for the scale but - between the quality of the figures and the great accessories - not at all unreasonable. Krampus is one of the line's "deluxe" figures, which means he came with a few extra accessories, including a fabric cape and sack. But it also meant the price tag jumped to $50, which is pushing what I expect high-end figures in this scale to go for.

I should probably acknowledge there was a cheaper alternative. In addition to the Deluxe Krampus, this wave also included a standard version with the demon disguised as Santa (i.e.: in the Classic Santa colors) for $37. I went with this one, because I wanted the darker coat. The Santa one also has brighter fur - essentially a light blue - which made him look even more like Beast from the X-Men. I decided to spend the extra $13 - I was curious about some of the extras, as well.

I want to clarify that I still love the sculpt. This looks extremely cool and does a good job invoking the character while still being an original design. That said, I have a few complaints, though at least one was something I was aware of before buying.

I don't blame Fresh Monkey Fiction for reusing the body and coat from Santa, but it does mean some aspects of the character are off-model from classic illustrations and costumes. The most obvious of which is his legs. Traditionally, Krampus has goat legs and feet, not human ones. I understand this would likely have been cost-prohibitive to pull off, particularly in the first wave, but it's still worth acknowledging. Similarly, the coat - a clever repaint of the one Santa has on - looks pretty good but doesn't resemble the way the character is typically depicted. Again, all this was clear from the photos when I preordered, so I certainly wasn't surprised in this regard.

That's the custom Krampus I made back in 2016 on the right. I won't pretend he's a hundredth as nice as Fresh Monkey Fiction's, but I did manage to get the legs right.

Articulation is basically the same as the other figures I reviewed, with one trivial but kind of odd exception. The two Santa figures had an ankle rocker (for those who aren't complete nerds, that's an extra joint in the ankle allowing the foot to pivot side-to-side in addition to back and forth) on the right side and not the left. Krampus's is reversed: his left foot has the rocker, and the right doesn't. I have no idea why, nor does it matter, but I felt like mentioning it.


Let's talk accessories, because this is where things get complicated. In terms of quantity, Krampus comes with a lot. When they say, "deluxe," this is what they're referring to:

Let's go through the list: you're getting a tail, two green cookies, a black plate, a cup with removeable black drink, two pieces of coal, a list, a gift (with removeable lid), a green cape, a green sack, a green stocking, and a base.

Most of this is identical to similar accessories accompanying Santa and/or Zombie Santa, which is fine. However, the majority of these also aren't all that useful with the figure, which is less fine. I mean, the cookies/black milk (or Coke or whatever that's supposed to be) don't seem particularly "Krampus" to me. The coal and list make a little more sense. The ominous gift and stocking sort of work, too.

Maybe they're just supposed to be mint chocolate chip?

I've discussed the base in my earlier reviews, and the verdict's the same here: it's neither interesting nor necessary for the figure to stand.

Then there's the sack and cape. I like the concept here, but the shiny green fabric and white trim are too cheerful for the character and design. This is a real misstep - these actually work better with Santa than Krampus.

Aside from the price, the reason the accessories are an issue is that there are absolutely things they could have included that would have worked with the figure. Krampus is often depicted with a switch, and he has a very distinct sack for carrying kids away that looks nothing like this one. I also wouldn't have minded an alternate head (admittedly, they spoiled me with the other releases). There are things this could - and really should - have come with instead of this stuff.

The coal is hard to photograph, but that's what he's holding.

Now, let's talk about the tail. Depending on how you're looking at this, it may or may not even qualify as an accessory. It comes detached, it's removeable, and the figure works with or without it, so I'm talking about it here.

Regardless of how you look at it, there's a problem. Or at least there's a problem with mine. The ball joint wasn't sized right, so I spent some time trying to work it in place. Eventually, I used a knife to shave it down, but before then I twisted it, and it's started to crack just below the joint. It's still intact for now, but I've owned enough toys to know it's probably only a matter of time before the tail snaps off for good.

This is in part a quality issue, in part a production problem, and also a little bit my fault for not being more careful. But I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a collectible at this price point to be constructed a bit better. Regardless, I recommend being exceptionally careful with this piece.

Ultimately, this one's a little bit of a disappointment, particularly compared against the superb Classic and Zombie Santa figures. That said, he still looks really good. Despite everything I've said here, I don't regret buying him - I really do love the sculpt and overall appearance. But this is the one figure from those I've purchased in the line where I don't really feel like I got my money's worth.

Still cool as hell, though. No denying that.