Ghost of Sam Arrow

Palisades has been the King of Exclusives with the Muppets line.  The started the whole line off with a show exclusive, and they do several each year.  The first specific show exclusive for 2004 is the Ghost of Sam Arrow, released last weekend at the Wizard World show in Los Angeles.

Like most show exclusives, he's fifteen bucks.  He's also a repaint of a previous figure - the wave 4 Sam Arrow from Muppets Treasure Island - and comes with some seaweed.  If you watched the film, you'll remember the scene.  If you didn't, it's unlikely this will be an exclusive that interests you.

Packaging - ****
I love the boxes the use for their show exclusives.  Great for display, sturdy, excellent graphics and imaginative text, and the icing on the cake - they're collector friendly, allowing you to remove the figure and put it back later if you so desire without ruffling a feather on Sam's head.

Sculpting - ***1/2
It's the same excellent, detailed sculpt we got of Sam back in wave 4, so how you going to complain about the quality?  The detail work is excellent, and I love the texture of the feathers.

Of course, the big question is - if you have the wave 4 version, what does this one offer?  Nothing at all in this category.

Paint - ***
This is the one category in which this figure really offers something over the original.  Whether or not it's worth it to you is the real question.

This figure is a subtle but MAJOR repaint.  At first glance, it appears to be pretty much the same figure, but EVERY color on this bird has been altered.  They are washed out, 'ghosted', and worn now.  Where the first Sam was clean, snappy and perfect, this Sam is worn, faded and dirty.

The most obvious changes are to the 'feathers', jacket and pants, but all the colors - the red stripes, the black belt, even the yellow feet - have been altered.  I've included photos from both the front and back of both figures for your perusal.

But that may not be enough to convince you to buy another Sam.  The big change that might push you over the edge is his eyes - he has the shifty eye expression so common to his character.  Unfortunately, the pupils on mine aren't perfect, and one is shifted over further than the other, but I'm not sure if this is a common issue or not.

Articulation - **1/2
When I reviewed wave 3, I went a little too easy on Sam.  He's got a reasonable number of joints, but certainly not an amazing number.

There's neck, shoulders, waist, elbows, hips, wrists and legs.  Only problem is, many of these have a very limited range of movement due to the sculpt, including the elbows, wrists and legs.  You will be able to pose him nicely with his seaweed, but don't expect too much.

Accessories - **1/2
Sam comes with three strands of seaweed, each cut from a sturdy material.  They could rip, but not without pulling on them pretty hard.  The material is printed with a vein pattern on the leaves, and drapes very nicely over the figure.

And that's why I'm glad they went with the cloth rather than plastic.  Plastic would have never looked right, and wouldn't have had the natural droop that the material does.  This seaweed actually looks like it's hanging off him wet.  Rubber might have been the only other material soft enough to hang properly.

But even though I like the seaweed, that's pretty light for such an expensive exclusive.  Considering all the cool items we got with the original, this small number of inexpensive accessories is disappointing.

Fun Factor - **
I don't think any kids will be clamoring for their chance to wrap seaweed around Sam's neck.  He's not much of a 'conflict' figure, and he's not distributed in a way that makes it possible for many kids to get him, even if they did want him.  He's a collector's action figure, not a kid's. 

Value - *1/2
These were $15 at the show, just like the majority of exclusives.  That's pretty steep for a repaint with some cloth seaweed.  Considering all the cool accessories we got with the original for half the price, it's tough to call this figure a good value.

Overall - **1/2
This isn't the worst Muppets exclusive Palisades has produced - I think that honor belongs to the Electonics Boutique repaint Crash Helmet Gonzo, who was a repaint with no meaning, whereas at least GOSA is an actual 'outfit' from a movie - but he's certainly near the bottom.  If you already own Sam, you'll have a tough time justifying the purchase of this one.  Of course, the serious (i.e. insane) collectors will snap him up, but he's not for the faint of heart.

Palisades has spoiled us with some of their exclusives, and the recent release of Adventure Kermit makes poor Sam look all the weaker.  But compared to other show exclusives from other companies, he's pretty much on par...average...a regular **1/2 figure.  Something like Kermit is clearly a four star figure, and to only compare Sam against something like Kermit, ignoring other companies, doesn't make sense.

If you got A's all the time in class, but blew a midterm and scored a B, would it be fair for the teacher to tell you "Yea, it's a B compared to everyone else, but since you always do so well, I'm giving you a D."  You can't ignore Palisades other work completely, but to only compare against it would penalize them for doing such a good job on other figures, and that's simply not fair.

Where to Buy - 
My nephew was kind enough to pick him up for me at the Wizard World show in Los Angeles last weekend, but you'll be able to pick him up through the Collectors Club later this week.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour