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Monster High
Werewolf & Dragon Starter Pack

(Produced by Mattel)

A toy review by Mark Patraw
Posted on 8/19/13


This modular doll comes entombed in a plastic and cardboard box that measures 11.5 inches (29.2 cm) wide and 12.8 (32.5 cm) high. Depth-wise, it's kind of wedge-shaped, with one side 2.3 inches (5.8 cm) thick and the other tapering off to only 0.9 inches (2.2 cm). The front of the box consists primarily of a clear plastic window displaying all of the doll's separated components, as well as a couple of photos of the assembled Werewolf and Dragon dolls. The back of the box depicts eight images of possible combinations that you can create with the two Starter Sets (this one and the Vampire & Sea Monster kit) and three of the Add-on Packs (Insect, Skeleton, and Three-Eyed Ghoul). The box does a really good job of displaying the product (only the disassembled doll stand isn't visible) and exhibiting what the Create-A-Monster process is all about.

Getting everything out wasn't too troublesome, but it might be taxing for children or the impatient. First, you need to get the box open. If you're not going to save anything, or just don't care, you can take the direct approach and cut or tear it open, but, the plastic tabs connecting the exterior plastic "window" to the cardboard backing do slide out without too much coaxing (the bottom ones are taped down to the cardboard, so, I just pulled out the top and side ones, which provided a big enough gap to slide out the interior trays). Next, you've got to get those top and bottom trays separated. There are a bunch of those little plastic tags keeping them anchored together--I could have carefully snipped these off, but I went with the brute force approach instead, ripping it free. You now have direct access to all the goodies! Thankfully, most of the doll components just pop out of their individual depressions in the tray, but some of the elements are anchored with more plastic tags (the werewolf ears, wig, jacket, and dress) or a rubber band (the wig). As those things are all directly attached to the toy, I was much more careful here, using nail clippers, from the back of the tray, to snip off the plastic tags, and gently removing the rubber band with my fingers. You might want to hang onto that clear rubber band, as it's perfect for putting her hair up. As of the writing of this review, I'm not sure if I'm going to keep the trays and box or pitch them--while the package does take up a fair amount of space (something I'm always in short supply of), it's also the ideal place to put the doll when and if I disassemble it for storage.

Oh yeah, there's also a single page instruction sheet folded up in there as well. Assembling the doll and stand are pretty straightforward, but it never hurts to have some guidance. Note that the diagrams on the right are for the Vampire & Sea Monster set, while the ones on the left are for this one (the stand assembly diagram applies to both). It was doubtlessly cheaper to make one instruction sheet for both kits, and that completely avoids the potential problem of accidentally packing in the incorrect paperwork too.


The heads and hands are made from soft, rubbery vinyl, while the rest of the body is hard plastic. Unfortunately, the fingers on the gray hands got a bit warped in the plastic tray--I suspect I could easily fix that with the old hot and cold water trick, but I haven't attempted it yet. The "Dragon" components are molded in pale pink (which is too close in hue to human flesh, they should have went with something more unnatural, like green), the head has large scalloped ears, and the limbs feature a great scaly texture. Painted green fins jut out from the lower extremities, and one thigh and upper arm have emerald tattoo scale patterns on them too. In contrast, the "Werewolf" anatomy is molded in light gray and is almost completely smooth, other than the facial features and textured (but unpainted) panties. Because the Werewolf has separate ears, there aren't any sculpted on her noggin. The assembled doll has eleven points of articulation: ball-jointed neck and hips, and pin-and-post jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. There are no waist or ankle joints, which is too bad, but she's pretty poseable nonetheless, and her arms and hands are particularly expressive. All the gray and pink body parts are completely interchangeable, although they look odd when you mismatch them (something you won't have a choice on when it comes to the single torso). The paintwork on the eyes and lips is very clean and properly aligned. I don't care for Mattel's practice of painting fangs on top of the lips of many of their Monster High dolls, including these two, but that's just my personal preference.


You get two outfits and one pair of boots with this set. Considering the mix-and-match nature of this wave of toys, it would have been nice to have another pair of footwear and some additional garments (a scarf to cover up the mismatched gray torso when using the pink limbs would have been ideal).

The first outfit, that the body is clad with in the package, is a simple green mini skirt and halter top. I wasn't too keen on this ensemble at first, but, once I started playing around with the doll and taking photos, I warmed up to it. The skirt has two different patterns on it, one half is green with white and dark blue polkadots, and the other sports a yellow and spring green scale pattern. The skirt opens and closes via a strip of velcro and there's a black "belt" running around the top. The top is made mostly from the same polkadot pattern as the skirt, with a small triangle of the lighter scale motif on the chest. It also opens and closes with velcro and has two black straps that go around and tie behind the neck. Given the coloring and patterns, these two items are probably intended for the Dragon, although, unfortunately, they reveal more of the gray skin of the torso than the black and purple outfit does. Speaking of which, while it doesn't match that well, the skirt, worn around the neck, sort of works as a scarf with the other ensemble, if you want to try to cover up her gray decolletage.

The second outfit, which I much prefer to the green one, consists of a black and purple dress and a coordinating jacket. The top of the dress opens and closes with a velcro strip and is just plain black, but the colorful bottom portion has a pleasing pattern of vines and swirls, accented with crescent moons. I do find myself wishing that, instead of a one-piece dress, this article was a separate top and skirt, because that would have provided more mix-and-match opportunities (I should note that it is possible to squeeze the green halter top over the dress, which doesn't look too shabby). The jacket has a purple crescent moon pattern on it and frilly trim. While it's pretty short/small, in my opinion, the jacket is the most attractive piece of clothing in this entire set. There's also a cut-out rectangular section in the back to accommodate the dragon wings (two smaller holes probably would have looked better).

The black, open-toed, high-heeled boots have white crescent moons on both sides (a design element doubtlessly meant to channel the Werewolf persona). They're relatively minimalistic in appearance, but the sculpted stitching and seams looks realistic--I like them. The boots fit VERY snugly; you've really got to push/pull hard to get them on/off, even with slits down the backs to facilitate the process. Mattel states on the package that the doll can't stand on her own, but, because the boots provide a flat surface area, with these on, she can remain erect unassisted if you can get her center of gravity balanced right (I wouldn't trust the doll to stand on her own for long periods of time though). It's too bad that the Dragon and Werewolf didn't both get unique footwear (methinks alligator or snake skin boots would have went well with the reptile theme), but these look good with either build, but then, black tends to go with everything, right?

I'm a bit surprised that Mattel didn't provide any jewelry with this set. Some bracelets/bangles or necklaces would definitely have helped spice things up. Earrings would have been great too, but, as none of the ears are actually pierced, they'd have to be clip-ons.


The hair is a very vivid magenta with lilac streaks and looks fabulous. The bangs are cut short in the front, but the back and sides are pretty long (almost six inches in length). The hair on the right side of my wig is a bit longer than the left side, although it's not particularly noticeable. The ends have a tendency to get fairly tangled and frizzy, which brushing can only tame for a short time. The hair is rooted into a rubbery wig cap, which plugs smoothly into either head via a long peg. The wig looks pretty seamless on the heads, provided you don't pull/style the hair up too high, revealing that it isn't rooted. I really wish that there were two of these, in different colors/styles, to further differentiate the Werewolf and Dragon, but you'll certainly have no shortage of wigs to choose from if you buy several of the Add-on Packs.

Dragon Wings

These are molded from rubbery, translucent green plastic and plug into the two holes in the back of her torso. At first I thought that these must be the same sculpts as the ones that came with the Monster High character Rochelle Goyle, but comparing photos, the Create-A-Monster ones are slightly different, which is surprising, given that toy companies love to reuse molds whenever they can. The backs of the wings have a nice, scaly textured pattern on them, but the interiors are smooth. Given that the Dragon's skin is pink, I think the wings would have looked better in a matching hue (or, alternatively, the Dragon limbs and head could have been molded in green plastic, which I think would have appeared more convincingly reptilian, although I suppose that then Mattel would have had to change the color of the green dress too, so it'd contrast with the green skin). Because they're relatively small, the hair tends to obscure them if you have it down, so, my preference is to pin up her tresses for the Dragon persona so that the wings can be seen clearly. On a related note, I think it would have looked great if this set had also included the tail from the Monster High character Jinafire Long (who just happens to be a dragon girl too), molded in pink plastic, with a hole in the torso's posterior to accommodate it.

Werewolf Ears

To be honest, given the light grey complexion of the Werewolf persona, she looks more like a sheep than a wolf to me, albeit one with fangs! While the sculpt and coloration are fine, I don't like how the Werewolf ears were implemented. First and foremost, the design relies on bending the plastic around locks of the wig's hair to attach them; aside from looking hokey (and not staying in place very well), my primary concern is that eventually that hard plastic is going to wear out, from the stress of repeatedly bending it, and break, rendering her ears useless. I have two suggestions as to how the ears could have been handled better: The first, and easiest, idea would have been to simply attach them to a headband (ideally transparent, so that it could be freely swapped onto any other wig color.) The second, and more difficult to implement, solution would have been to have coordinating holes in both the heads and wig cap that pegged ears could plug securely into. Don't get me wrong, I think animal ears look good on Monster High dolls (all you need to do is look at any Clawdeen Wolf doll for proof of that), I just don't like the methodology that Mattel chose to employ for attaching them to the doll's wig in this case.

Display Stand

The stand comes disassembled in three pieces (base, shaft, and doll-gripping prong) and is molded entirely from black plastic. Putting it together is easy. The shaft snaps securely into the base and the prong simply slides onto the cross-shaped shaft; the prong can then be adjusted, up or down, to whatever height you like, which is a welcome touch. All you have to do is snap any Monster High doll's waist into the prong's arms, and you're all set to go. Fully assembled, the stand is a little shy of nine inches tall. It's a fairly simple structure, but functional and well-designed. Oh yeah, the base has some nice details sculpted in relief on it too: the "Monster High" words and ribbon-wearing skull logo, spider webs, stars, circles, and some other shapes I don't recognize (maybe a pumpkin?). While it is possible to get the doll to stand without support (provided she's got her boots on), it's probably safer to have her clamped onto the stand if you're going to leave her displayed for any length of time, particularly if you have her up on a shelf where she might suffer damage if she fell.

Hair Brush

Like the stand, this is molded completely in black plastic and the sculpt is really nice. The "head" of the brush is shaped exactly like the ribbon-wearing skull logo and the words "Monster High" run down the handle in raised relief. It has twenty "teeth", arranged in five rows of four. I brushed her wig out several times throughout the photo shoot and the item works well enough. At 3.6 inches (9.2 cm) in length, the brush is on the small side for my big adult hands and I doubtlessly look ridiculous while using it (just imagine a grown man, hunched over a doll, carefully brushing out her hair, scary right?)


Here's an assortment of photos I took of the doll in a variety of poses with different combinations of body parts, clothing, and hair styles. She's standing under her own power, without any kind of support, in all of these images.

Even with the ear issue, I ultimately preferred the Werewolf persona to the Dragon, and coming from someone that likes mythological reptiles a lot more than lycanthropes, that's saying something (although I still say she looks more like a sheep than a wolf). Without the ears, I think the gray skin tone successfully suggests that she's undead too.

Cost and Value

I got this on clearance ($12.49 + sales tax) at one of the two local Shopko stores, which was a pretty sweet deal, as that's cheaper than a basic Monster High doll. The original asking price was $24.99, which seems a bit high to me (for comparison, the local Wal-mart has them for about $20). Shopko has both of the original Starter Packs, and, for a while, I was torn between this one and the Vampire & Sea Monster kit, but, I ultimately reasoned that this one was the better value as it contained more unique pieces (the ears and wings), and the scaly pink limbs in this set were more visually interesting from a sculptural standpoint. The Add-on Packs cost about $11 and they typically contain a new head, lower arms and hands, lower legs, shoes, a simple outfit, and a wig. I found both the Mermaid (she's got a beautiful tail that completely replaces the legs) and Harpy (nice feathered arms and dress) Add-on Packs tempting, but I figured I'd better evaluate the Starter Pack first before seriously entertaining the purchase of additional components for it. The Create-A-Monster sub-line doesn't seem to be as popular as the "normal" Monster High dolls, so I'd wager that I'll be seeing these with even deeper price cuts in the near future, which would be the ideal time to snag a bunch of those Add-on Packs!

As long as you don't pay too much, I think you're getting a fair amount of stuff for your money. Again, I really wish that this set included two bodies and wigs, instead of one of each (some jewelry would have been nice too), but, at the end of the day, this is a Starter Pack, so you can't expect everything.

For Parents

The manufacturer recommends this doll for children six years and older and Mattel warns that this item is not for children under 3 years of age, due to the choking hazard posed by small parts. Opening the package and extracting some of the pieces might be problematic for younger children. Getting the boots on and off requires some serious muscle power, so don't be surprised if they need help with that too.

  • Clearanced price was a steal!
  • Mix-and-match toys are always fun to mess around with and encourage creativity.
  • With the exception of those tight boots, the doll parts, clothing, and wig are all fairly easy to swap around and seem pretty durable.
  • While not strictly necessary, the stand and brush are welcome additions.
  • The doll variations you can create with this set as-is are fairly limited. To get the most out of this toy, you may want to consider purchasing some of the Add-on Packs, or another Starter Pack, for more part and clothing options.
  • This set would have really benefitted from the addition of a second torso molded in pink plastic.
  • The soft, rubbery fingers on the gray hands are slightly warped from how they were packaged, but I expect they'd be easy to fix with the old hot and cold water trick.
  • The design/implementation of the werewolf ears could have been handled better.

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