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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Fozzie, Scooter, Kermit, Gonzo
Muppets Action Figures

Diamond Select Toys
Date Published: 2016-04-13
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Muppets Fozzie action figure by DST

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Introduction

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful line of action figures based on a wonderful set of characters - Palisades' Muppets. The line was strong for several years, resulting in waves of action figures, multiple scales, play sets, and much love.  Fans adored the line, and it has gone down in history as one of the very best, certainly of the last 20 years.

With Disney taking over the Muppets and a new show on television, there's a renewed interest in merchandising. While I reviewed a LOT of Muppet product back in the day, it's been a staggering 11 years since the last time I looked at anything related to the beloved puppets. Thanks to Diamond Select Toys, that finally gets to change.

They picked up the rights to the license, and have started their new action figure line with a set of three figure packs.  This new line is in a 7" scale, but that means these figures are the right size to fit in with actual human 7" figures, not that they are scaled around their own 7" internal scale. This makes them much smaller than the old Palisades' series.

This first set of three packs includes Scooter and Fozzie, Kermit with his nephew Robin and the rabbit Bean Bunny, and Gonzo with Camilla. I'm personally counting Scooter, Fozzie, Kermit, and Gonzo as the 'figures' in this wave, while Camilla, Bean, and Robin are 'accessories', but you get the general idea.

Each set will run you around $23, although you can get a deal if you buy the entire wave online at once. They already have wave 2 up for pre-order, which includes a set of Statler and Waldorf, Animal with his drums, and Bunsen Honeydew with Beaker.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Muppets Scooter action figure by DST

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Packaging - **1/2
I generally like the Diamond 'select' packaging, but with this first series there's a huge amount of waste. They've kept the packages a similar size to their Select packaging for other 7" scale lines, which generally come with lots of accessories or a large diorama. While these have a fair number of accessories, the smaller size means there's a ton of unused space in the packages, something I'm counting against manufacturers these days.

It's not collector friendly of course, and you'll have to tear it up to get the figure and accessories free. Each package includes a small booklet that shows the overall line and includes a DST mail in survey.

Muppets Fozzie, Scooter action figure by DST

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Sculpting - Scooter **1/2; Kermit ***; Fozzie, Gonzo ***1/2
Word is these were sculpted by Gentle Giant, and the work is solid across the board.

My favorites are easily Gonzo and Fozzie. Both capture their look from the show the best, and the internal proportions seem most accurate.  This is the tux version of Gonzo, and I'm hoping we see some other variants, like a daredevil outfit, or something a bit more casual.  The texturing on both Fozzie and Gonzo could be a little sharper, but overall they really do look terrific. A nice plus is that both designs also work quite well with the articulation.

Muppets Fozzie action figure by DST

Remember, these are small. That's likely to be the biggest complaint that DST gets, and it will be interesting to see if fans will make the switch.  Fozzie is the tallest of the set, coming in at about 4 1/2", while Gonzo is much shorter, at around 3 1/4" tall. I've included a group shot, as well as one with a Palisades Swedish Chef and a couple other figures to give you some idea of the difference.

Scooter falls on the other end of the spectrum for me.  Once again, they did a fine job integrating the articulation into the sculpt, but the face and head seem off. Maybe it's a little too narrow, or maybe the nose is just too pointed...it just doesn't seem like it's Scooter to me. YMMV, of course.

Kermit falls in the middle. I really do like the work on the head and torso, with a good internal scale between the two and the proper neck folds included. On the negative side, there's an annoying mold line around the top lip and sides of the head, and the skinny arms and legs are simply too straight. It's not that they are too skinny, but rather that they are too straight, with no contour at all. This makes them look more like sticks, particularly when they are done in a hard plastic like this.  Kermit is just under 3 3/4" tall, while Scooter is just over.

All the figures stand great on their own, even skinny legs Kermit, and can hold the accessories in their sculpted hands.

Muppets Kermit action figure by DST

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Paint - Scooter **1/2; Fozzie, Gonzo, Kermit ***
Unfortunately, the paint work isn't quite up to the same level as the sculpting.

However, it's important for you to keep in mind that these are macro photos. These figures are very small, and the photos will often show you details you would otherwise miss in hand. That being said, there's still enough issues clearly visible to drag down the score in this category.

The worst work is on Scooter. That stray paint mark on his nose is quite obvious, as is the sloppy coverage on the white of his eyes and glasses. The lines and edges of his costume are pretty weak, and there are several other places where stray paint marks appear.

Muppets Scooter action figure by DST

Kermit is the best of the bunch, but then he's pretty much just green. It's not easy though. The white eyes could be a tad cleaner, especially where the join the head, but there are far fewer stray marks, and the green is consistent in coverage and finish.

Most of Gonzo's slop, while clearly visible in photos, is harder to see in person. His eyes are the biggest problem again, but most of the poor edges on the costume - like around the flower - are tough to see in hand. Still, considering the price point, these details need to be cleaner.

Finally, there's Fozzie. The body is clean and consistent, but it's the eyes (and nose) that have poorly defined edges and bleed. The spots on the scarf need to be more consistent, and even the eyebrows should have a sharper look.

Muppets Gonzo action figure by DST

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Articulation - ***1/2
One of the highlights of this new series is the added articulation and posability. The older Palisades line was fairly limited, although the company did do some pretty amazing things with some of their other cartoon lines with articulation.

DST has a good rotating hinge neck, shoulders, wrists, ankles, elbows, and knees on all these figures. On some, like Scooter, the hips have the additional hinge that allows greater range of movement, and waist joints exist where possible.  The amount - and usefulness - of the articulation is quite impressive. Perhaps the best feature (after the neck, of course) is the rocker ankles, which allow the feet to remain flat even in deeper stances.

Some of the joints are a little more restricted by the design or sculpt than others. For example, Fozzie's thicker arms tend to make the elbows a bit less useful, and Gonzo's tux can get in the way as well. But overall, the range of movement and posing potential is quite high for all four.

All the joints were solid and sturdy too, even the tiniest of them. I didn't have any trouble with stuck joints, and didn't feel like anything was prone to break or snap.

Muppets Kermit action figure by DST

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Accessories - Scooter ***; Fozzie ***1/2; Kermit, Gonzo ****
As I mentioned earlier, I'm counting some of the smaller figures as accessories, which boosts the score for the associated characters in this category.

But that doesn't mean that Scooter and Fozzie, who come together in the same pack, don't have a nice number of extras.  Scooter has two - his megaphone, and a clapboard. He can hold both, although it can be tricky, especially for the megaphone. The clapboard is a little over sized considering the scale, and it could use something written on it, but it's a minor nit. You can write something yourself, if you're so inclined.

Muppets Scooter action figure by DST

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Fozzie does slightly better, and all three extras are really well done. There's his trademark hat, as well as a rubber chicken and his Groucho glasses. The glasses fit nicely on his face when you get them in just the right spot (the ear pieces have to go under the ears, not over), and he can hold the chicken on his own in his sculpted hands. The hat is a bit of a wobbly fit - I wish they'd used a magnet to keep it in place - but it looks good in various poses.

Muppets Fozzie action figure by DST

Kermit has a ton of goodies, starting with the two additional characters, Bean Bunny and Robin. Bean is a surprising inclusion, considering he's never been a major player in any of the shows or movies.  I think his biggest role was in Muppets Christmas Carol, and in most of the later movies he didn't have much in the way of speaking lines.  Still, he's damn cute, and they did a nice job with his size and style here.

Robin is less surprising, having been Kermit's nephew for a very long time, and even being featured on a recent episode of the new show. Again, the round, small figure looks quite good, but the body and head don't quite seem the same scale. I think Robin needed to be a little more fluid from head to torso, and dropping the neck joint might have made for a better looking final product.  Robin was first in The Frog Prince, one of my favorite Muppet shows, along with another personal favorite, Sweetums. Let's hope we see a Sweetums in this scale to go with him.

Robin and Bean are quite small of course, coming in at about 2" each, but both have articulation. Neck, shoulder and hip joints allow for some basic posing.

Kermit also has his banjo, ukelele (I'm assuming, since it has four strings), stool, log, and director's chair. He can work with any of the instrument/seat combos, although my personal favorite is the banjo, sitting on the log. Remember, Kermit is left handed. The detailing on some of these accessories is a little soft and sloppy, but it's a minor nit overall.

Finally, there's Gonzo. He also has an extra character in Camilla, his long time love. While she's just a big PVC, I wasn't expecting much else, and the sculpt and paint work on her are quite good.

He also has an easel with a small cardboard sign for the Great Gonzo, his trademark horn, a bag of popcorn, a large stage light, and a coffee mug.  He can hold most of the extras in his hands with a little patience and creativity, and the scale is reasonably good throughout. The cardboard sign is packed in with the Muppets brochure and can be easily overlooked and tossed out, so don't forget to forage for it.

It's worth mentioning that nothing folds up - not the director's chair, not the easel, not the lamp legs. While that would have been a nice touch, at least all three are very sturdy and unlikely to wilt over time.

Muppets Kermit action figure by DST

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Muppets Gonzo action figure by DST

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
With a nice assortment of accessories, a nice set of inter-related characters, and some great articulation, these make for excellent collectibles AND toys. With the new show on the air, and the old show and films easily available, kids will enjoy adding these guys to their toy box, and adult fans will get a kick out of posing them together on the shelf. Just don't take them to work, unless you want to return from lunch to various tacky alterations to your display.

Muppets Gonzo action figure by DST

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Value - **
At $23, they're pushing it a bit with this scale.  Were these 7" scale figures that were actually 7" - or close to it - the story would certainly be different. But most are at 3 - 4", making it a tougher sell.  With characters like the upcoming Statler and Waldorf and their balcony pieces, this score will certainly go up.

Muppets Bean, Robin  action figure by DST

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Things to Watch Out For -
While I didn't have any trouble with the joints, I'd still take some care when first working with them right out of the package. Some are quite tiny, and if stuck, could be damaged while freeing them.

And remember, Gonzo's sign is packed in the plastic bag with the Muppets pamphlet. Don't simply toss it out without opening it up.

Muppets Kermit action figure by DST

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Overall - Scooter **1/2; Kermit ***; Fozzie, Gonzo ***1/2
I have a hunch that the biggest issue people will have with this series is the size. They are quite small, and until you see them in person, you probably won't get a proper image in mind.  I've been against the smaller scale since it was announced. While I get the whole 'in scale with other 7" figures' argument, I don't think it will sell well with fans. The Palisades line might be more than a decade in the past, but many of the figures are still available at reasonable prices on the secondary market, and still influence the concepts and opinions of collectors.  Look no further than the Simpsons to see a similar situation. Playmates produced a highly successful line of figures that adult fans of the show loved. Once that lined ended, several attempts were made by other companies to produce figures, including McFarlane, with little success. It wasn't until NECA produced their Celebrity series, done in the same scale and style as the earlier Playmates series, that they had relative success, producing more than three dozen new figures to add to the collection. I also think this is why lines like TMNT can maintain popularity through so many variations in the style of the show: they've done a decent job maintaining scale.

Whether the switch to a smaller size will end up hurting them or helping them is still too early to predict, however.  While I might not like the idea, I do like these figures, and I'll be picking up every wave they produce. One of the potential positives from a smaller scale is the possibility of play sets, and I'd be all for it.

Out of this first wave, Scooter was my only real disappointment, and both Fozzie and Gonzo are terrific.  With two pairs that are personal favorites of mine in the next wave, I have very high hopes for the longevity of the line.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Scooter **1/2; Kermit ***; Fozzie, Gonzo ***1/2
Paint - Scooter **1/2; Fozzie, Gonzo, Kermit ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Scooter, Fozzie ***1/2; Kermit, Gonzo ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **
Overall - Scooter **1/2; Kermit ***; Fozzie, Gonzo ***1/2;

Muppets Series 1 action figure by DST

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has the singles for $23 each, or the set of three for $66.

- Entertainment Earth has the full set for $68.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered lots of Muppety goodness over the years, but much of it was in the beginning, back in the early aughts. The last Muppet review I did was the Rainbow Connection Kermit, and that was 11 years ago. Before that, we had Uncle Deadly, Frog Scout Leader Kermit, Palisades wave 7, Cabin Boy Gonzo and Rizzo, Super Grover, Palisades' wave 9, Sweetums, the Backstage Playset, Mini-Muppets series 3, the retailer exclusive versions of Animal, Super Beaker, Palisades' wave 8, exclusive Tuxedo Gonzo, Mega Camilla, Ghost of Sam Arrow, Adventure Kermit, Mega Gonzo, Sideshow's Muppets busts series 4, Palisadies' wave 6, Pigs in Space Playset, Mini-Muppets Christmas Carol set, Palisades' series 5, Mini-Muppets wave 1 & 2, Vaudeville Statler and Waldorf, Koozebane Kermit, Sideshow's Busts series 3, Palisades' wave 4, Mega Animal, Super Scooter, Kitchen Playset, Sideshow's mini-busts series 2, Mega Beaker, Palisades' wave 3, Crash Helmet Gonzo, Electric Mayhem play set, Palisades' wave 2, Sideshow mini-busts series 1, Invisible Spray Fozzie, Tuxedo Kermit and Vanishing Cream Beaker, Muppets Labs Play Set, Palisades' wave 1, and Miss Piggy. *whew*

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

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Muppets Kermit, Fozzie, Scooter, Gonzo action figure by DST

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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