WOS Power Plant Lunch Room Playset
with Frank Grimes

In the early days of the World of Springfield, two play sets shipped with every wave.  But the sets started to warm the shelves, and Playmates decided to switch to one set per wave.  Some of have been extraordinary, others less than ordinary, but you always knew they were coming.

So when series 15 hit the shelves last week, you knew that the next play set wasn't far behind.  The Power Plant Lunch Room set, with Frank Grimes figure, hit right after, and both Electronics Boutique and Media Play has them available.  I'm betting it won't be long before we also see them at in stock, and on the shelves at Toys R Us.  The set will run $20 - $25, depending on the retailer.

While this location was seen in many episodes, this particular version is based very heavily on the episode called "Homer's Enemy".  Frank Grimes is everything Homer isn't - hard working, bright, dedicated, loyal - and yet he's never caught a break.  Homer's ability to have everything and yet be so clueless and stupid drives Grimes over the edge and to his own death.

This is a fascinating, dark episode, and fans either loved it or hated it.  I am in the loving it camp, but it still surprised me that we finally got this unique but one shot character.

Packaging - ***
Hey, I'm getting bored with it again.  It is sturdy, and I like the smal circle pictures of the rest of wave 15, but the overall design is still rather bland.  The only thing saving this from losing another half star is the change to include the small accessories on the front bubble.  This allows you to see what you're getting, and it's an improvement over past sets where the accessories were hidden.

Sculpting - ****
I found both the set and figure sculpting to be well above average, even for this line.

Frank looks just like Frank, and even a casual Simpsons fan might recognize him.  Okay, maybe only a hard core fan, but it's still a dead on sculpt.  One of the cool features this time is his glasses - they have small pegs to hold them into his head, avoiding the problem earlier figures had with them falling off, and they have actual plastic lens!  The lens are very clear though, and look terrific.  

Grimey's hands are sculpted to hold a couple of the accessories, and his scale is good with the other Power Plant employees.  Looking at him in 3-D makes him look even more like Michael Douglas' character in Falling Down.

The play set has a ton of exceptional detail, from the Styrofoam coffee cups, to the salt shaker.  They came up with a pretty unique technique to sculpt the bottom fliers on the bulletin board to make them appear as though they are hanging off the edge, and this is easily one of the best sets in several waves.

Another aspect of this set that I really like is the open space.  Although there's lots of details, and the set looks great, there's also plenty of open floor space.  I had no trouble getting four figures plus the table to share the set, and that's due to it's excellent design.

Paint - ****
It's pretty rare that I give a WOS play set such high marks for paint, but let's remember that I'm including the stickers in this category.  And the stickers are truly amazing!

The paint ops themselves aren't anything to sneeze at either - the lines are all clean, colors are bright and consistent, and even poor old Grimey didn't have a single issue.  The variety of colors on the set also help make it stand out, but there is a missing paint op on the stain on the floor.  It's sculpted though, so it must have been a cost cutting move.

The stickers are where this set really shines though.  The melted wall in back looks great with the use of the sticker, and it lines up perfectly with the sticker behind the door.  There's lots of great color, and it fits the episode perfectly.

The stickers on the announcement board pay tribute to a ton of episodes, including this one.  They include an employee performance chart, headed downward of course; an safety chart for 1976 to present, headed up of course; a NOTICE: from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission: "As of July 7, all fissionable material, including high-level liquid and radioactive waste, must be placed in some sort of container."; Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Safety Violations - gum used to seal crack in coolant tower, plutonium rod used paper weight, monitoring station unmanned, nuclear waste shin-deep in hallway (all checked); a Notice to all employees: Mr. Burns is happy to announce the annual Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Picnic on August 16. Attendance is mandatory. No Exceptions. Sincerely C. Montgomery Burns;  the softball sign-up sheet with 1. Homer 2. Simpson 3. Lenny 4. Carl 5. Frank Grimes 6. Mindy; and my favorite, the children's model-building contest flier specific to the Grime's episode, done in exacting detail.

That is a terrific level of detail, and everyone of the fliers ties back to specific episodes.  I'm truly impressed!

Accessories - ***1/2
The set comes with five accessories - a small table, flask of acid, Grimes lunch bag, his sandwich, a box of donuts, and a plate of what looks like mushrooms.

The sculpting and paint ops on all the accessories is great, although the box of donuts is a reuse.  The acid is particularly well done, and fits in so well with the episode and the play set lines that it's my favorite.

Articulation -  **1/2
Grimes has his usual articulation - neck, shoulders and waist - and the set itself has no moving parts.

Talking Feature - ***1/2
I've been rough on this feature on many of the recent playsets, simply because it's run its course.  With fewer sets and more obscure characters, it makes it very tough to match up the figures with reasonable sets and get good lines.

But this set shows it can still be done.  Of course, that's predominately due to the great Frank Grimes set of lines:

"I'm sure we all have a lot of work to do."
"I don't think we're being paid to sleep."
"This whole plant is insane."
"My name is Frank Grimes."
"Oh....that's my degree in Nuclear Physics. I'm sure ya'll have one."
"Your eating my special dietetic lunch."
"You nearly drank a beaker full of sulphuric acid." 

They also went with mostly lines for appropriate characters in this set like Burns, Smithers, Lenny, Carl, Homer or Grimes.  There's a few for other figures like Bart, Lisa, Marge or Milhouse, but even these are very specific to the location and make complete sense.

The default sound this time is the power plant alarm.  They've also re-engineered the on/display/off switch on the bottom, making it into a 'z' pattern.

Value - ***1/2
At $20, this is a great value.  I just paid twenty bucks each for a Catwoman and Penguin figure.  They had two accessories, and a very basic base.  Here I get a great figure, five accessories, and an excellent play set all for the same price - and it's an expensive license on top of it!

Overall - ***1/2
This is almost a four star set - almost.  I've raised the bar again this year on getting four stars, but even so I was very tempted with this set.  The sculpting is excellent, and the attention to show specific detail is wonderful.  I feel sorry for those that despise this particular episode, because they'll miss out on one of the best sets in recent times.  I only wish we'd get a Mindy Simmons figure now!

Where to Buy - 
I've seen this locally at a Media Play store, but it's slightly higher there.  Your local EBGames should get it in soon, or you can pick it up online at:

-, where it's just $20.  You can also pick up the whole series 15 set there for a great price.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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