Moe's Tavern - where Homer can't even remember
his own name. Fans of the World of Springfield have been waiting for
this set for almost three years now, ever since it was first announced and
then cancelled by Playmates. The original
concept art was shown in the spring of 2000, but FOX refused approval.
So what was the scoop? As many people
assumed, FOX didn't want a 'bar' play set. Let's face it, this was
intended as a play set for kids originally, and what behavior could you
mimic with such a toy? Probably not the kind of behavior FOX wanted to
appear as promoting.
They weren't stupid however, and did say
that if Playmates could find an exclusive retailer, someone where the
likelihood of little kids getting exposed was lower, they'd agree. But
there was a major problem with that concept - cost. The usual run back
in those days for a play set was around 50-60,000 units. (This number
is lower now, but was valid then). Exclusive play sets were produced
in quantities around 20-30,000 max. Therefore, exclusive play sets are
smaller, costing probably around half as much to make as a full size set to
maintain the same kind of profit.
But Moe's couldn't be a smaller set.
Hell, it's crowded as a full size set! So that meant one of two things
- produce 50k of the things at a retail of $20-$25, or produce 25k or so at
twice the retail price. A very sticky situation indeed.
As long ago as the summer of 2001,
Electronics Boutique had already set their sites on this set. They
were going to get it as an exclusive, it was just up to working things out
with Playmates and FOX as to how much and how many. It would be
extremely tough for them to move a full run all by themselves, and even
after Diamond came in, it was pretty unlikely. Therefore, we see a
doubled price point on this set.
It's not a cheap set, but it's certainly one
of the most crucial sets they've produced. Will it the gamble by
Electronics Boutique pay off, and they sell through these at full
retail? Only time will tell.
Packaging - ***
This is the last of the old packaging. He also comes with a sticker
about the Be Sharps Homer mail away figure.
After seeing this again on the
shelf, I have to say I like the new design a little more. Had they
rotated the characters on the front, this overall design would have worked
better, but I grew tired of seeing Homer, Bart and Mr. Burns.
Sculpting - ****
There are two aspects to the sculpting - the set itself of course and
Duffman. Both are exceptional.
Duffman looks perfect, like
he's right off the screen. He has eight cans of beer around his belt,
all with nice detail work, and while he's pretty pre-posed (as are all WOS
figures) at least it's an appropriate pose. The smile works well, and
his right hand is sculpted to hold a beer mug.
While Duffman is nice, the real
beauty here is the play set. We've rarely gotten this much detail in a
set, and Moe's quickly leaps up to the head of the pack with the Comic Book
Shop, Kitchen and Krusty Burger as most detailed play sets.
There's no plain sections on
the walls, and everything is here that you'd expect - the phone, liquor
bottles and glasses on the shelves, the taps, the television, even the Love
Tester. That has it's pros and cons - while it's always great to get
so much detail, it makes the set extremely crowded.
I'm not sure that could be
avoided though. There's nothing superfluous here, and while we might
want this set to be larger than the others, the economic issues around an
exclusive that I mentioned in the intro would have priced it out of most
Paint (and stickers) - ****
This is one of the best sets for detailed paint and sticker work.
There's nothing plain about this set.
Of course, there's the paint apps and stickers on Duffman.
He seems to have less issues than some other recent figures, particularly
with the white of his boots and gloves. Whites have always been an
issue in the past, but these are clean and consistent. The Duff on his
chest is painted on, and looks excellent. The Duff labels on his hat
and cans are all straight and well applied. It's also great to see
that the cans say 'Duff Beer', instead of just Duff.
The set really shines as well. There are a ton of
unique stickers here, from the Love Tester and TV screen, to each of the
unique liquor bottles. Unlike the court room, which is fairly dull in
terms of color and sticker choice, this set leaps at you off your display
Articulation - **1/2
Do I really have to say it again? Please don't make me.
Accessories - *
After all those great new accessories with wave 11, we've been
spoiled. But even if we weren't spoiled, we'd be mighty disappointed
There is only one accessory - a beer mug, re-used several times
now. Maybe they couldn't think of anything particularly exciting, but
I think there are at least a few good choices. Where's Moe's
shotgun? Or even a dish of peanuts?
Talking Feature - **
One of the things most folks complained about with the Court Room was the
lack of lines. Here again, there's fewer than most will expect.
If you're looking for a complete list, head over to the Simpsons
Collector Sector. My favorites:
Yea that's swell, Duff wholeheartedly supports the designated driver
program... NOW Who wants to party?
All our founding fathers, astronauts and world series heroes have been
either drunk or on the cocaine.
You ain't thinkin' of gettin' rid of the dank, are ya Moe?
There's only 26 lines with current characters, far below the usual
30-40. I'm hoping that there are some for unreleased characters, and I
haven't used my handy little gadget to try to find them yet. But even
so, with Homer, Barney, and Moe having so few lines, it's likely that this
will disappoint quite a few folks.
The lines chosen however are almost all perfect. They are on topic,
and some of them pretty bold, particularly Wiggum's.
I had more foot peg problems with some of the figures, although I think
it's the figures themselves and not the set. There's a shortage of
room - finding a good spot for Barney is pretty close to impossible, and Moe
is on a bit of an odd angle in back if you use the foot peg.
Value - **1/2
I'm not beating this set up over price as much as some folks, because I
realize it's simple economics. If this set could have been released as
a regular set and sold through all the outlets, it would have been
$20-$25. I certainly wish that was so, but the much lower production
run of an exclusive is a killer here.
Overall - ***1/2
This could have been a four star, over the top set, if it had just had a
greater quantity of lines, and improved on the
accessories. Those two areas are what really hurt the set for me, but
even then it's one of the four best regular sized sets produced (the other
three being the Kitchen, Krusty Burger and Comic Shop), and one of the top
three exclusives (the others being THOH2 and Main Street). It's a must
have, and with the re-release of Moe with wave 12, I think the inclusion of
Duffman was perfect.
Where to Buy -
I picked it up at at local Electronics Boutique. On-line:
-EBGames has them at the same price of $40 plus shipping.
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.