X-Files Palz
Scully, Mulder, Cancer Man, Conundrum, 
Frohike, Gray Alien, Flukeman, and Pfaster

While the truth might still be out there, the X-Files lives on only in syndication. But it's popularity remains, and it's no real surprise that it is also still a popular license for action figures.

Then again, maybe it is surprising. Mcfarlane did one series based on the movie, with fairly weak bottom line results. Moore Action Collectibles tried to pick up the gauntlet and get another series out, but it never made it to production. Right now, Sideshow is doing a series of 12" figures though, and these seem to be doing much better, largely due to the limited nature and high quality.

Palisades has jumped in shadowy world of government conspiracies and nasty aliens with a line of X-Files Palz. Palz are their mini-figures, block-like toys that have lots of personality and fun.

The first series is now hitting stores, and includes 8 main characters - Mulder, Scully, Deep Throat, The Conundrum, a Gray Alien, Donnie Pfaster, Flukeman and Melvin Frohike. There are also three 'chase' figures, Captured Scully, Men in Black Mulder, and Demon Donnie Pfaster.

I picked up my set at the local Media Play for about $7 each. As always, I have other online options at the end of the review as well.

I just recently learned that the second series of X-Files Palz, which hasn't been completely finalized, will be 'blind' packaged.  That means you won't know which ones you'll be getting when you buy one.  And yes, the chases will still exist.

Buying a case will guarantee you get a set of the regular figures, but you may still not get the chase figures.  This is a terrible idea in my opinion, and could spell the ruin for all the Palz and 4" figures Palisades has planned.  And yes, they plan on going blind across the board with the smaller figures.

First, this will drive away completists, since they will have no interest in buying multiple figures playing the action figure lottery, trying to hit a chase they need.  And while completists aren't everybody, they make up a big segment.  They are also very valuable to have on board, since they'll buy entire waves, whether the figures are all that great or not.  What they won't do is fall for this ploy.

Second, you'll also lose casual buyers.  There are lots of folks that might just want two or three of the next series, but they aren't going to have any interest in playing the lottery to get them either.  And once folks find out that series 2 will be blind packaged, there is very good odds that the sales of series 1 will get effected.  If I only want key characters, and one of them is CSM who's planned for wave 2, why bother with picking up any of wave 1?

This is a bad marketing idea, and I'm truly sorry to see Palisades attempt it.  I think the outcome will be bad all around, and that's never nice to see.  With blind packaging, the price is supposed to drop from $7 to at least $6, but even a buck less will mean nothing if I've got to buy 10 figures to get the one I want, which could easily be the case for the chases.

Packaging - ***
These are on small cardbacks with thin bubbles. They are very attractive, although somewhat similar from character to character. They'll store easily though if that's your thing, and will hold up pretty well to peg wear.

Sculpting - ***
If you're looking for complex, detailed sculpts, don't look at mini-figures. It's not their style or design, but they do have some nice sculpting touches that makes each figure unique and different, and they can actually capture the essence of the character in even this simple design.

The hair sculpts is one way that they've managed to capture that essence, especially with characters like Frohike, Scully and Mulder. In other cases, there is actually some face sculpting - I think this is a first with Flukeman. The Gray Alien also has a uniquely shaped head, another first for the Palz series. Using small touches they manage to make everyone of these characters instantly recognizable.

Extra parts on certain figures, like the skirt on Scully or the extra large shoulders on Flukeman, further add specific details to the general Palz body.

Paint - ****
If the sculpt details are light, you can be they rely a lot on paint ops to convey appearance. That's definitely the case here, and it's nice to see that the paint ops are so terribly clean and neat. I'm not sure how they are doing it, or even what kind of masking process is being used, but just look at how clean and neat the puzzle piece design on the Conundrum's body is, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Further examination will expose other excellent detail work - the fine wrinkles on Flukeman, the individual stripes on Donnie's shirt, the beard stubble on Frohike. All of it is clean and neat, and the quality is quite impressive.

The only character with an extreme expression is Flukeman, but that makes sense. The rest are basic expressions, but they work fine for the characters.

Along with the excellent paint, there is excellent text and graphics on the many small accessories.  Scully's monitor has something up about someone, and that someone is a Palz figure.  Likewise, on the circus poster and the Lone Gunman paper, pictures of people are actually Palz, in keeping with the theme of the line.

There's also some sort of inside joke with the circus poster, but I'm not sure what it is...

Articulation - ***1/2
If you've bought other mini-figures, you won't be surprised by the articulation of the Palz. There's neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. The hips and shoulders are designed to give them a tad more range of movement than many other mini-figures, and the pieces can be disassembled and swapped around to create whatever wacky guys you want.

The joints are tight, they hold together pretty well, yet are easy enough to swap around. The hold lots of poses, and are surprisingly versatile.

Accessories - ****
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this set is the nifty accessories that come with every figure. There's some reuse in some cases, but for the most part it's only there when it makes sense.

Everyone of the figures has a small 'X-file'. This is a simple single sided file printed up with barely legible text. There is also a small clear plastic clip for every one of them to allow the figure to hold the file easily in a hand.

Scully and Mulder have the most reuse, but that's not surprising since you'd expect them to carry some similar items. They both have a gun, flashlight, cell phone, and F.B.I. badge. The badge has different labels of course, which sport nifty little graphics and text.

Mulder also has a copy of Chung's "From Outer Space", and Scully includes her desktop computer, both the monitor and the keyboard. I was particularly impressed with her machine, since it's pretty well scaled and very nicely detailed.

Frohike, one third of the Lone Gunmen, comes with a laptop with a hinged lid, hat, whiskey bottle, cable de-scrambler, and a front page of the Lone Gunman paper. All the accessories look great, and the clear clip can be used on the newspaper as well, allowing him to hold it in either hand. The hat fits on his head over his hair, but I had a tough time keeping it in place.  BTW, I realize that the laptop ended up in Mulder's photo somehow...not sure how, but anything is possible.

Deep Throat has a hand gun and cel phone, but both are different sculpts than the ones that come with Mulder and Scully. He also has the MJ data file that looks like a clear hard plastic data tape. Finally, he has a gas mask which fits under his neck, with prongs similar to a fork lift.

Then there are the less than human characters. Donnie Pfaster has the sympathy wreath from the funeral, a couple shampoo bottles, and a little packet of 'human' hair. Did we get some of Ken Lilly's DNA with this set? If you know Ken, you know he wasn't the donor.

The Gray Alien comes with a really spiffy little autopsy piece that snaps on his chest similar to how the gas mask snapped on Deep Throat. It makes it appear as though he's splayed open on the operating table. He also has a nitrogen container, and a small alien fetus that fits nicely inside. I did have to remove the handle from the fetus' container to get the larger nitrogen canister to close with it inside. Finally, the Alien also comes with a UFO photo, perhaps something for his wallet.

The Conundrum has a large cauldron, just right for any Palz to fit inside, a half eaten fish, and a circus poster of Jim-Jim the Dog Faced Boy.

Finally, there's my favorite, Flukeman. He comes with just two unique accessories, but they are so perfect. One is a little flukeworm, just right to crawl down your throat. The other is a nifty outhouse, from the Lilly (Lilly, get it?) Sanitation Service. YOu can pop Flukeman's head right onto the inside of the seat, giving any other Palz figure the story of a lifetime. I almost sat on a snake in an outhouse once as a kid, and I thought that was special, but it was nothing compared to this. 

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These mini-figures are toys, first and foremost, not pop culture sculptures. They need to be fun to have any value, and they are definitely fun. With lots of accessories, great articulation, and good quality parts and assembly, they are a ton of fun for any kid old enough not to choke on them.

Value - **1/2
At about $7 each, these are some expensive little figures.  It seems to be the trend for mini-figures to be expensive, but it still hurts when you are looking to pick up a full set of all ten figures, and realize you'll be dropping over $70!

Still, the price on these is a pretty average value compared to other lines. It does mean that the demand won't be what it would be at $4 - $5 each, but the current economics of the action figure market is dictating these higher prices. At least Palisades has done what they can to add value through a ton of accessories.

Things to watch out for - 
Be a little careful with your outhouse door.  Opening it too far can break the hinges pretty easily, as my four year old son figured out all on his own.  I'm sure it was some sort of scientific experiment.

Otherwise, things were great across the board, and I didn't have any issues with any of the figures.

Overall - ***1/2
This is the second series of Palz from Palisades, the first being the Buffy series. While that series had the extra cool feature of transforming outfits, this series sports new sculpt details and some extreme paint ops. I think the Palz are an excellent style of mini-figure, and the attention and care that Palisades brings to every line takes them above the norm.

Now I have to find one of those Demon Donnie's...damn chase figures!

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy - 
I picked these up at Media Play, and other specialty retailers should have them in now. You can also find them online:

- Killer Toys has them individually for $8 each.

- CornerStoreComics has them individually for just $7 each, or $54 for the set of eight regular figures.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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