World of Springfield
Wave 11

I had to do some serious hunting this weekend, but sure enough, I came across a full set of the latest wave of Simpsons figures, wave 11, at a nearby GameStop.

Okay, it wasn't exactly nearby, being a 50 mile round trip.  But close enough for a toy collector.

There are six figures in this set, with only ONE, count him, ONE, variation.  That's a great variation too - Plow King Barney.  The other figures are all new characters, including Kirk Van Houten, the Blue Haired Lawyer, Gil, Ranier Wolfcastle, and Larry Burns.

Yes, some of these are getting mighty obscure, but that's to be expected after producing over 125 figures.  Hell, I've lost count, but figures like Wolfcastle and Gil are still extremely high on many people's must have lists.

The are retailing for $6.99 at GameStop, but there's already some reports of these hitting Targets where they should be a more reasonaly $5.99.  Toys R Us should be getting them soon as well.

One other important note about this wave - it's your chance to send away for the Be Sharps Apu figure, second in the Be Sharps mail aways.  Just clip four UPC's, send them along with the form and a check for $5, and you'll get your Apu in no time.  I've included a photo of a test shot Apu at the bottom for reference.

Packaging - ***
Hmmm - well, we've gotten our new packaging, and I think I like it.  I like the greater amount of red, and I like the use of the character faces from this particular wave on the front.  I'm assuming those circles on the front will change with each wave.

It's still going to take a little getting used to though.  There seems something more simplistic in it's design, more straight edges and confined photos.  While I don't like it as much as the All Star Voices packaging, I do think it's a good change, and opens the door for them to do the re-issues more easily this year.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpting on this series makes it one of the overall strongest waves.  All the characters are well done, portrayed very close to the source material.

Wolfcastle has the appropriate size, and yes, he wore those 'zoot suit' style pants on the show.  He's sculpted wearing a watch, and has a sly grin on his face.

The blue haired lawyer is probably the most obscure of this wave, yet his scale and sculpting are solid.  There's no zombie look here either, and this trend toward more expressive looks on the faces is certainly welcome.

You'd swear Larry burns is just about to say "ooo, ooo", he looks so much like Dangerfield (who voiced him) and the character.  With another excellent expression, the disheveled tie, and the slightly bent knees, Playmates is doing a great job of giving character to the figures through the sculpt.  Many in the past have simply stood with straight arms and legs, and no expression - that's certainly no longer the case.

Gil could be my favorite of the line, again with a very disheveled look and pleading expression.  You can almost hear him begging.  I do know that the use of the red jacket, which he only wore in the real estate episode when he worked with Marge, will annoy some folks.  It works fine though, and the red is a welcome color on the shelf.

Kirk Van Houten makes a great addition to your display, adding him right next to Milhouse.  Of the sculpts, he's my least favorite, having something slightly off about the head.  I'm not sure it it's too think, or simply not quite the right shape, but he doesn't ring as true as the other figures.  Still, I'm again very happy to see the more expressive look on his face, and the addition of great squinty eyes under the glasses is a nice touch.  The glasses are removable - they aren't glued on - but the posts are fairly deep in his head so it takes a little effort.

Last but not least, we have Plow King Barney.  With Mr. Plow Homer coming up, it only made sense to get this version of Barney.  And let's face it, there's not too many great variations you can do on this character.  His scale is good with the other Barney, and he has a slightly less drunk and disorderly appearance.

Paint - ***
The paint ops were here and there on this wave.  Some of the figures looked excellent, while others had some pretty obvious flaws.

I think this simply speaks to the continued lower general quality of the paint application on WOS.  It's not terrible, but it's not at the quality of a line like the Muppets.

The place to pay particular attention is the whites of the eyes.  Several have a lot of white on the yellow of the face, and others were missing small spots of the white.

There is a major plus to the paint ops on this series though that kept this score from losing another half star.  The Plow King paint work on the back of Barney's jacket was perfect, and looks terrific.

And while it really isn't paint ops, I did want to mention that it appears as though this is once again the shinier plastic.  Ranier looks slightly less shiny than the other figures, but these are definitely not the dull yellow we've had the last few waves.

Articulation - **1/2
I think we've sung this song before.  Neck, waist, shoulders.

Accessories - ****
I believe we have a first in WOS history, after 10 series - not a single reused accessory!  That's quite a feat considering there's four or five accessories for every figure, and the desire to use a clipboard with a couple most have almost killed them.

But no clipboards here.  Kirk comes with four accessories - his folder full of divorce papers, tissue box, doodle pad with his picture of Dignity, and his demo tape.

Larry Burns has a small picture of a much younger Monty Burns, the Springfield sign, a sign that says 'Gone Drinkin', his briefcase, and a bag of squash candy.

The Blue Haired Lawyer has his glasses (they might not be considered an accessory by everyone, but they do come packaged separately), evidence tape, briefcase, yellow legal pad with some terrific doodles, pencil and bottle of Colonel Kwik-E-Mart's Kentucky Bourbon.  He has five or six, depending on how you count the glasses.

Ranier has a dumbbell, award trophy, Radioactive Man script, and Powersauce bar.

Plow King Barney has his crown, baby bottle, champagne bottle in ice bucket, cel phone (how many different phones does this make now?) and baseball bat.

Gil has some of the best accessories though, with a very cool Doleco computer (with a sticker on the back detailing the hardware), bottle of Promo Seltzer, tongs and stinky socks, foot ruler, and pile of gambling chips.  These accessories cover many of Gil's failed employment opportunities.

Talking Feature - ***1/2
I had less trouble with these foot pegs than with others in the past, and while there aren't tons of lines for these characters, there still some good ones.

For a complete list of all the lines, head over to Simpsons Collectors Sector.

Value - ***1/2
I'm grading these based on paying $6 each - if you paid the $7 I did, drop another half star off.  Considering they are licensed, the number of unique accessories, and the continued talking feature, I'd say $6 each is a terrific value for this line.

Overall - ***1/2
Of this wave, there's really only one 'meh' figure, and that's the Blue Haired Lawyer.  Still, he'll work great in the courtroom, and there's at least two outstanding figures here in Gil and Larry Burns.  Ranier, Plow King Barney and Kirk are all well done, so overall, it's one of the better complete waves in recent history.

And don't forget to send that Be Sharp Apu coupon in!

Where to Buy - 
As I said, I picked them up at a local GameStop.  They (and the related stores, Software Etc. and Babbages) seem to be getting the figures and the next playset, the Courtroom with Judge Snyder, in first.  On-line:

- Big Bad Toy Store, Beans Toys, and JGP Toys will have these available eventually.  They don't have pre-orders up for them yet, but should list them when them come in.

- Action Figure Express has a case of 12 listed at $65 plus shipping.

- EBGames has each listed for $6 plus shipping, to ship on the 21st of this month.

Keep scrolling down, as there are a ton more photos!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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