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Review of Celebrity Simpsons action figures
Tom Jones, Weird Al, Buzz Aldrin Elvis Costello

NECA
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Introduction

NECA is hitting us with a huge - HUGE - wave of Celebrity Simpsons this month.  There are 12 figures in the wave, although the number of 'celebrity' versions is really just five. That's because there are the four I'm reviewing tonight - Tom Jones, Weird Al, Buzz Aldrin and Elvis Costello - plus all five members of the band Aerosmith, and the band only counts as one celebrity, at least when it comes to these figures. And yes, that means there are three other regular Simpsons characters that are part of this wave - a Homer, Marge, and Otto.

I'll get to the rest of the wave soon, but I wanted to start with these four first because they are really the heart of what this line is all about.  Tom Jones is one of the earliest (if not the earliest) celebrity appearances on the show that NECA has plasticized, having been on in Season 4. In the episode "Marge Gets a Job", Mr. Burns sent Smithers to kidnap Tom Jones to serenade Marge.

Next up is another musical member, Elvis Costello. In season 14, Homer goes to the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, where Elvis is an instructor. The show was titled "How I Spent my Strummer Vacation".

If you haven't noticed, the whole musical thing is a major theme for the Celebrity series, so it's no surprise that the third figure tonight is another musician, albeit very different from the others. It was just back in season 19, in the episode "That 90's Show", that Weird Al made his appearance, doing a parody of a parody of a parody...

Finally, at least for tonight, is the only non-musical member of this wave - Buzz Aldrin. Long time fans remember him from the classic episode "Deep Space Homer", first aired in season 5. Playmates produced the Deep Space Homer variant from this episode as well, and now he has Buzz to join him on his extraterrestrial travels. I've included a photo of the two of them together as well.

These have just started to hit, and will run you about $15 each, depending on the retailer, and you can get some decent deals if you go for the whole set.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Packaging - ***1/2
I really like the packaging style, and the amount of text on the back is terrific. They go over the episode itself in some detail, and provide thumbnails of the rest of the line. That means there's a ton of specific character personalization with each cardback, which is always a big plus in my book.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Sculpting - ***
While I'm thrilled to have all four of these, my favorite is Weird Al. Like Leonard Nimoy or Mark Hamill, he's the ideal celebrity for the nerdy fans. The sculpted hair looks great, and I love the glasses and mustache.

My next favorite is Buzz Aldrin, another solid sculpt with more detailing than usual. Not only do you get to add another figure to the WoS display, this one goes with specific older figures perfectly!

Then there's Elvis Costello, complete with his whistle sculpted on his chest. The grin is a little weird, but it's a tough expression to capture in this style.

Finally, it's Tom Jones. It's not that I don't love Tom Jones, although he was more my mom's generation than mine. He is easily recognizable, thanks to the hair style, but otherwise he's a pretty average looking Joe. Or Tom.

These are all in a 5" scale, and come in around that point with appropriate variation for the specific character. They stand well on their own (Elvis was a little tricky, but you can find his center of gravity with a little effort), and the hands are designed to work with various poses or accessories.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Paint - ***
The majority of the paint work is decent, but not exceptional. Colors are bright and consistent, but there is minor slop along some edges, and the eyes on all the characters could be a bit straighter. There's no outright Marty Feldman's in the group, but the pupils are slightly wonky on every one.

It's worth noting that the white space suit on Buzz is darker, slightly more off white than the Playmates Homer version. It's not a major difference, but it's obvious in person. It's also more detailed, making him the more impressive astronaut...as it should be.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Articulation - **1/2
You pretty much know the story here - cut neck, cut shoulders, cut waist. All four of these are identical, and all these joints work pretty well.

And yes, even Buzz has a cut neck. You simply pop off the face plate, and you can turn the head side to side within the helmet.

As I've said before, I wish we'd gotten wrist articulation as well, but I can understand the reasoning behind leaving it out.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Accessories - Elvis ***1/2; Buzz, Tom, Weird Al ***
These four run the gamut from little to lots when it comes to extras, but at least everyone has something.

It's pretty basic for Tom Jones, who has his microphone. It looks good and fits perfectly in his left hand. Perhaps a chain for his ankle would have been a nice extra too, but it's not really an issue.

Buzz Aldrin might not appear to have anything extra, but I'm counting his removable face plate for his helmet. As I mentioned in the articulation section, you can position his head independent of the body, but that requires having a removable plate, a nice touch by NECA overall.

Weird Al only has one extra, but his is very large. His accordion fits nicely between the two hands, which are sculpted perfectly to cradle it. It has some reasonable detailing too, considering the overall simplicity of the animation style.

Finally, there's Elvis. He has his removable hat and glasses, as well as his guitar. You might wonder why his glasses are removable and Al's are not, but remember - we saw him in the episode without them, when Homer broke them.

The hat fits on his head pretty much just one way. The interior is sculpted to fit over the hair just so, but it looks good with a slightly jaunty tilt. The glasses are a bit big - even by Costello standards - but stay in place with normal handling.

His hands are not sculpted to hold the guitar in a normal pose, but rather off to the side.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
I'm assuming you're buying these because you're a huge Simpsons nerd. If you are, I'm betting you have more than a few of the World of Springfield figures from Playmates for these to partner up with, and in that case, they are a load of fun. They aren't really kid's toys - there's not the right type of conflict on the show for them to be all that interesting to the average 8 year old. But for the fan of the show, they are a dream come true.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Value - **1/2
They've started edging up in price, with the last wave around $13, and this wave around $15. That's still well below the 'collectors' series like Game of Thrones or Star Wars Black that are $20 a pop, but with the limited accessories, I'm sticking with an average value rating.

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Things to Watch Out For -
If you're picking them off the shelf, look for the best paint jobs possible.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm pretty happy overall with this wave. My math tells me they've done 20 of the 25 planned celebrities so far, but we haven't seen the wave 5 line up announced yet. There's still a good number of serious fan favorites left, and I'm betting at least one of the five slots will go to another large band. With Toy Fair coming up next week, I'm expecting an announcement.

Out of this set of four, Weird Al and Buzz are both musts.  I can't imagine passing over Elvis, but if you had to skip one, I suppose you could leave poor Tom on the peg. I wouldn't, but then I'm pretty much a sucker for all things Simpsons.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Elvis ***1/2; Buzz, Tom, Weird Al ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has them for $15 each, or the set of 12 for $190.

- Entertainment Earth  has a case of 24 figures for $275.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I covered wave 3 in three parts - here, here and here. I covered series 2 in two parts, here and here, as well as two parts for series 1, here and here.

And you'll want to hit up my full list of all kinds of Simpsons related reviews right here.

Discussion:
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Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

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

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