The set comes in an attractive box, very similar to the final WOS
packaging, most likely due to the tight control FOX has over such
things. They did add some interesting text, including the
round bubble that points out that the demon has never been sculpted
Another nice touch is a series
of shots right from the actual episode on the back of the package,
showing the use of the torture device.
But if you hate twisties, than
the 7 or 8 that are here won't make you a happy camper.
Sculpting - ***
Translating 2 dimensional figures into 3 dimensions is far harder than
folks often realize. These characters morph and shift scale
and proportions from one scene to the next, and can look entirely
different from one angle in 2-D than another, making it tough to
capture them to everyone's satisfaction.
McToys has done an fine job here
though, with a few minor nits. Most people will like the
demon, particularly since he's a new character.
Unfortunately, these figures won't be sitting right in the WOS display,
as they are in a 4" scale. That inch is a huge difference,
and they come closer to Star Wars scale than they do WOS scale.
I can understand the scale
change if they plan on doing new sculpts of already created characters,
like a Flanders or an Apu in normal outfits. If they did them
WOS scale, and you already have a WOS version, why buy a new
one? At least by altering the scale, they might suck you in.
However, I haven't seen any
plans where they will be doing any characters in 'normal' outfits any
time soon. The first series of regular figures appears to all be
manimals from the THOH episode, and from the plans I've seen, episode
specific characters are the main idea. If that's the case, I
think it would have been smart to go WOS scale to attract more of the
old school folks.
Either way though, it's not a
major issue. I'm a little more disappointed in the issue with
scale between Homer and the demon, because the demon is much smaller in
relation than I remember him. This kind of character to
character scale issues drove me nuts with the WOS line, and I was
really hoping we wouldn't see the issue here. It's not bad
enough in this particular set to lose a lot of points, but I'm also
hoping it isn't an indication of bigger issues to come.
My other issue here is the mold
and assembly lines on the figures. This is not something
we're used to seeing on Mcfarlane product, and it's quite evident on
both Homer and the Demon. Had it just been Homer, I could
have chalked it up to the playset action feature, but with mold lines
running around the Demon's head and torso, I'm afraid it's a bigger
One of the highlights of the
sculpt is Homer's hair. Rather than sculpting it as bumps on
his head, it's done separately and attached. This adds a nice
new detail to the figures, and helps set them apart from their earlier
While the scale between figures
is a little off, the internal proportions of each figure are extremely
good. Homer's head to body ratio is spot on, much better than
the WOS counterpart. This is the kind of thing that will make
the non-playset figures coming out in series one really stand
Paint - ***
I'm not quite as happy with the paint as I am with the sculpt, and
there are more issues than I normally expect from McToys.
One of the additions to these
figures is the use of black highlight lines around edges. Of
course, in the cartoon there are black edges to any part of the
figure. In the earlier WOS figures, there were
none. Here, they've added them back in, attempting to capture
the feel of the drawn cel.
It's very hit or miss
though. Had they not been serving expresso shooters at the
plant the day mine was painted, it might have worked out
better. The thickness of the lines varies quite a bit,
especially on Homer, and there are lines just about everywhere - eyes,
mouth, collar, sleeves, pants, cuffs, etc. etc. etc. Like a
wash or drybrush technique gone wild, too many lines end up becoming
too obvious, and don't blend in the way they should ideally.
Also, those that were done with a heavier hand, like around the eyes on
my Homer, end up looking out of place. Those done very thin,
with a light touch, look great.
There's also a little more
inconsistency here than I'm accustomed to from McToys. The
blue of the Demon or the yellow of Homer for example, aren't quite as
consistent over the full course of area covered as I'd expect.
Articulation - **
The Simpsons and articulation are two words that just don't go
together, it seems.
The Demon has a cut neck, and
semi-ball jointed shoulders. That makes these less
articulated than WOS, something that I thought was hard to do.
Homer's articulation doesn't
really count, since he's simply designed to work with the action of the
playset. His shoulders have cut joints, but the rubber restraining
strap keeps them pretty much in one place. Both legs and his
jaw move as part of the overall action feature.
Accessories - **
There's a whole bunch of tiny donuts, all on the single strand running
up to his mouth. There's a couple colors of pink, and of
course, chocolate. The other donuts on the other stacks are
That's about it for accessories,
and while it would have been nice to get the smaller second demon as
well, at this price point I can cut them some slack.
Playset Action Feature
The Ironic Punishment set has the feature portrayed in the
episode. Homer is force fed donuts after selling his soul for
a donut. Of course, the irony is that this isn't any sort of
punishment for Homer.
The crank on the back of the set
turns, pushing up the donuts in the stack in front of Homer's
face. At the same time, his upper jaw (and head) tilt back to
open his mouth, and his feet dangle in glee. As you turn the
crank, the donuts fall into his mouth, and drop out the bottom into a
chute, ending in a small tray in back.
The concept is fantastic, but
the execution isn't entirely smooth. The handle on my crank
doesn't want to consistently turn the rod, spinning uselessly much of
the time. It takes a lot of patience and effort to get the
donuts up the pole, and the timing is iffy at best. I managed
to get about two thirds of the stack into his mouth on one try, and
that was enough tries for me.
While it was frustrating to get
it to work smoothly, I have to give them extra props for coming up with
a creative and imaginative action feature.
Fun Factor - **
The action feature on the set was the key to the fun, and
unfortunately, kids will just find it frustrating. The set
works well enough for adults, but it's just not smooth enough for the
under 10 set. Still, I won't hit them too hard on this in the
overall, since the set (and all Simpsons action figures) aren't really
intended for kids, no matter what FOX might think.
Value - ***
At $20 (and under if you shop
around), this set is a better than average value. You're
getting a decent size set, with a cool new figure, and a good if not
flawless action feature. Mcfarlane tends to beat other
companies on price, and this set is no exception.
Things to watch out
When unpacking the sets, be
very careful with the thin rods that hold all the donuts.
These are very easy to break - I speak from experience. Also,
you can lose one of those donuts in about 3 seconds if you're not