Judge Snyder/Court Room Playset

World of Springfield product comes in huge waves, crashing down on the unsuspecting collector like a financial tsunami. January has brought us another of those waves.

First it was wave 11. Next, today's reviewed product, the Courtroom play set with exclusive Judge Snyder figure. And within days the next exclusive play set, Moe's Tavern. Just buying one set to open means you'll be coughing up another $90 at least, and that's if you're buying them at the lowest cost available.

While the Courtroom hasn't had quite the anticipation of a set like Moe's, it still has been a set folks have looked forward to. With Busted Krusty and Prison Sideshow Bob, the Blue Haired Lawyer and Lionel Hutz, and plenty of officers of the law, there's no shortage of figures that fit in nicely with this set and the honorable Judge.

Packaging - ***
Change is good. It keeps you young, flexible and alive. I think change in the packaging of a line is refreshing.

Is this package layout better or worse than the previous? It's pretty much a wash for me. Unlike the exceptional design on the All Star Voices sub-line, which really worked for me, this new artwork does what it needs to, but doesn't
knock my socks off.

And it goes without saying that requiring a screwdriver to open a toy always drives me nuts.

Sculpting - ***
The work on Judge Snyder is solid, although not earth shattering. It takes a little to get used to his beard style and position in 3D, but overall he looks fairly close to the show.

There's a bit of a bug eyed expression here, perhaps more noticable with the Judge than other characters since his eyes are actually smaller than most. But he's a worthy addition to the line up, and looks great posed behind the bench.

Paint (and stickers) - ***
The colors here are pretty basic, and not particularly eye catching. You can't fault them for that though, as the usual courtroom isn't meant to be a bastion of beauty, but a sedate room of intelligent thought. Too bad it doesn't work out that way in real life.

The sticker showing the jury is a good choice, and the member selection is acceptable. The sticker for either side of the flag looks great, although I've had some issues keeping it stuck. The only disappointing sticker is the one behind the bench itself. I think more detail could have been added to the court 'seal', and it would have livened up an otherwise drab paint scheme.

Articulation - **1/2
Neck, shoulders, waist. Thank God he's wearing pants under the robes!

Accessories - **1/2
There are four accessories to the set - American flag, gavel, law book, and guilty verdict.

It looks like all four are new sculpts, although I didn't go through every book accessory released to double check. The gavel sculpt is great, and it
fits perfectly in his right hand.

There are really two issues. First, I can't get the flag to stand on it's own. It's simply too top heavy, and the only option is to lean it against the wall of the set just right. EDIT:  Okay, I'm an idiot.  There is a small peg on the left side of the set (right side if you're looking at it from the front) that you can plug into the bottom of the flag.  Problem solved!

The second is one of selection. Most people would have much preferred the clown desk decoration to the law book and guilty verdict. Throw in the line about "the clown is down", and you would have really raised the cool factor of the overall set.

Talking Feature - ***1/2
This set has the normal number of lines, but they are spread out over a wide number of different figures. That means most figures only have one or two max, including stand by's like Homer. That will disappoint a few folks. The other disappointment comes with the restricted room in the set. Large characters like Wiggum or Quimby will be tough to get on any peg, although they have lines in the set. Had the front of the witness box opened, it might have made it a little easier to get them in there.

If you're looking for a complete list, head over to the Simpsons Collector Sector.  My favorites:

Judge Snyder
Let the opening statements commence.
This verdict is written on a cocktail napkin -- and it still says guilty.
Order, order. We don't care about your blintzes.
Mr. Hutz, do you know you're not wearing any pants?

Sideshow Bob
I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for these meddling kids.

I'm not used to the laughter of children. It cuts through me like a dentist's drill.

Chief Wiggum
Hey, where is Sideshow Bob and that guy who, uh, eats people and takes their faces?

Lionel Hutz
If I hear "objection" and "sustained" one more time today, I think I'm going to scream.

How many can I put you down for? A lot?
Please say a lot. I need this.
Shut up, Gil. Close the deal, close the deal.

Blue Haired Lawyer
Let the record show that the witness made the drinky drinky motion.

I didn't have any major issues with the pegs this time, when you can find a character than can fit in the space. In particular, both the Blue Haired Lawyer and the Judge himself fit great.

Value - ***
I'm grading this at the $22-$25 that these are going for at most stores. I'd like to have seen slightly better accessory selection here, but if you can find it at Target for twenty bucks, you can add a half star to the score.

Overall - ***
This is a nice set, and the completist will have to be sure to grab it along with all the real life lawyers and law students. For the casual buyer, it's probably not high on the list, unlike a set like Moe's, but I'm happy to have added it to my miniature Springfield.

Where to Buy - 
I picked it up at at local Target, where the playsets are still about twenty bucks. On-line:

- EBGames has them at the very reasonable price of $20 plus shipping.

- Entertainment Earth has them listed at $30 each.

- Beans Toys should have them in soon, but don't have them listed as in stock yet.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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