Marvel and Disney Princesses

I'm pretty sure the pack rat gene exists.  The desire to collect a ton of crap seems to run in families, that's for sure, and both my youngest son and daughter appear to have acquired it.  Since my wife collects zippo, nada, nothing, the pack rat gene must also be the dominant one.

Their latest thing is Zizzlingers.  Perhaps one of the attractions is that there's a set to collect for boys (Marvel characters) and a set to collect for girls (Disney Princesses).  This way they're both sort of buying the same thing, but not really.

Zizzlingers are basically PVC figures, not a lot different than you might find in the more expensive gumball machines, but with a pretty interesting gimmick.  They come inside a bag with some powdered chemicals.  You shake the bag to mix the mad scientist powders together, and toss the bag into a bowl of hot water.  There's lots of fizzing and, well, zizzling I suppose, and all that's left (in theory) is the two or three PVC figures in the water.

The only stores I've seen these at so far is Target, but some other similar Zizzle products have popped up at Meijers, so these may follow.  Expect to pay around $4 - $5 for a package that will containe two or three PVC's.

Packaging -  ***
The package serves the main purpose first - keeping the bag and it's contents from spilling.  There's a plastic outer shell, with a cardboard backer.  Cut open (carefully!) the plastic shell and you'll find an inner plastic bag, along with some instructions.

The graphics and text on the package are useful ("Drop! Fizz! Find!"), but the key here is the inclusion of the entire wave of figures on the back.  There are 24 Princesses or 24 Marvel Supeheroes to collect, and since the packaging is blind, expect to end up with plenty of duplicates.

However, figures aren't consistently packed together - thank God - so you might get one of the two that you don't already have.

Sculpting - Princesses ***; Marvel **
Let's keep in mind that these are basically PVC figures, and not the most expensive versions either.

Of the two sets, the Princesses are the better work so far.  They are done in a slightly anime style, but with a lot of consistency in terms of design.  You'll still be able to tell Snow White from Cinderella, but placed together on a shelf, they make a great display.

I had started my daughter on collecting the Princesses before my son noticed the Marvel figures.  Unfortunately, these have been a little disappointing.  He only has a few so far though, so I'm hopeful that perhaps the Spider-man or Hulk (both of which look pretty good on the back of the package) will turn out better.

The sculpted poses for the Marvel line is more dynamic, but less consistent.  Scale is more of an issue here, and similar to the Battle Dice characters, it seems like size in relation to each other is all over the place.

Some of the characters are less interesting visually than others as well, and since they are blind packed, you're going to get the chafe with the wheat.

Paint - *1/2
The paint work here reminds me of your usual Happy Meal toy.  Again, these are very much like something you'd get out of those $1 prize machines at the local supermarket.

There's bleed and overspray between colors, sloppy small detail work, and these won't stand up to the quality of some of the higher end PVC work, like what we saw from Palisades or Mcfarlane.

Articulation - Bupkis
This won't count against them for my overall score, but it's worth noting again that they are PVC figures - don't expect any joints.

Game Feature - **
There's also a game feature with the figures.  On the bottom of each is either an elephant, mouse, snake, bird, or mongoose.  Mouse beats elephant, snake beats mouse, mongoose beats get the picture.  Think rock/ paper/scissors.  Each person playing puts one of the figures in their hand, everyone reveals, and the person with the winning symbol on the bottom takes the other person's figure, until someone is without.

It's an amusing game for my kids, at least for short periods, but they're five.  Anything much older than that will find it pretty dull pretty fast.

Fun Factor -***
The gimmick actually helps here, making them fun for kids to open and get excited over.  The bubbling action works pretty good, although the entire package doesn't necessarily melt each time.

A nice touch is that the Princesses contain powder that turns pink when it fizzes, and the Marvel turns blue.  Of course, that's assuming that boys want the Marvel figures, and girls want the Princesses.

Value - **
At $4 or so, these aren't cheap by any means.  I'd really value the figures at around a buck each, and they really only stack up to Happy Meal toys in terms of quality (although that's not too much of a slam - Happy Meal toys have improved tremendously over the last 10 years).  If you get two (or possibly three), you're still paying a buck or two for the fizzing action.  It's cute, but I'm not sure it's that cute.

Things to watch out for - 
When you're opening the package, be careful.  You can slice into the paper bag if you're wild enough, and the paper bag can also tear pretty easily when your shaking up the chemicals.  Trust me on that one - I speak with the voice of experience.

Overall -  Princesses **1/2; Marvel **
These aren't going to knock your socks off by any means, but if you have younger kids looking to collect their favorite characters, these are worth a look.

I'm disappointed in the Marvel figures, and may steer my son away from them at this point, particularly if the next pack or two turns up nothing particularly interesting.  However, the Princesses are great for my daughter, who loves all things Disney, and finding good collectibles for girls in the under $5 category isn't that easy these days. 

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Princesses ***; Marvel **
Paint - *1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Game Feature - **
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **
Overall -  Princesses **1/2; Marvel **

Where to Buy -
The only place I've seen these at so far is Target, although other retailers like Meijers, Wal-mart ant Toys R Us may pick them up.

It's also worth noting that the company that produces these, Zizzle, is the same guys that will be producing the much anticipated 3 3/4" mass market Pirates of the Caribbean line later this year.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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