Packaging - ***1/2
This is still the original package style
- with series 4 we'll see a major change. Originally Palisades only
held the license to the Muppet Show, and this style package reflected
that. The license is expanding, and with series 4 and beyond we'll see
that carry over to the card art.
The box is huge, solid, and well
designed. You can see just about everything, but there's a ton of
accessories hidden in a cardboard insert.
It's not collector friendly, but once you free this playset you'll never
consider putting it back.
Sculpting - ****
The amount of detail in this playset is astounding. From the tiled
floor, to the stone floor and wall around the stove, to the wood grain on
the cabinets, every detail is present.
Chef looks terrific as well, although his
size will throw some people. He's the largest figure in the line to
date, but remember that his hands on the show were real hands, and therefore
he had to be a much larger muppet.
All the detailing on the figure that you've
come to expect is there, right down to the more realistic appearing
hands. The hands are also sculpted to hold a wide variety of the
Every time I look at the set I find
something new to marvel at. The stove and refridgeerator are my
favorites right now, because the amount of attention that was paid to the
various shelves, doors, and detailing. But the entire set shows that
level of detail, including drains in the sinks, the brick walls above the
countertops, and the textured windows.
Damn - I wish my kitchen was this cool.
Paint - ****
On my set, there were occasionally sloppy spots, some around the fridge, some
around the tile floor - but considering the sheer number of colors and
amazing amount of paint detail, I'd say it's amazing how few problems there
I love the painted ceramic and steel look of
the stove and refridgeerator, and the colorations on the brick, tile and stone
are extremely realistic. The more you play around with the set and
look at the various details, the more you'll find to love.
The paint application on Chef is perfect as
well. There's a ton of detail here too, with the stripes of his shirt
and checks of his pants, but there was no bleed, sloppy lines, or
inconsistent colors anywhere to be seen.
Articulation - ****
Chef has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and hips.
It all works well, and allows him most chef-like poses. He's not going
to be doing any complicated kata stances, but then he never did on the show
The set has all kinds of mobility as
well. I counted 15 separate drawers or doors that open. I've
never seen this level of quality on any playset ever before, and Palisades
is going to have a tough time ever topping this set.
Accessories - ****
I counted 42 accessories. I'm assuming I haven't already lost
anything, although with this many tiny pieces it's always possible!
Here's my count:
Large pot and lid (2)
Small pot and lid (2)
Frying pan and lid (2)
Talking cake (1)
Bunch of vegetables (1)
Cutting board with other stuff on it (1)
Plaid dish cloth (1)
Decorative plates (4)
Sausage links (2)
Salt and pepper shakers (2)
Bag of flour (1)
Bag of sugar (1)
Fire extinguisher (1)
Meat tenderizer (1)
Tennis racket (1)
Electric mixer (1)
Mixing bowls (3)
Small wood cutting board (1)
Jumper cables (1)
Muffin pan (1)
Chef's hat (1)
And a funky white shelf that I think goes in the fridge, but I couldn't quite
figure it out.
That's an AMAZING number of
accessories. All of them are well scaled and sport great sculpts and
excellent paint jobs. Now I have to add to it with additional
accessories from other sets, especially in the fridge!
There were some plans to include Lobster
Banditos with the set, but they just couldn't get them in at this
price. However, there will be a convention exclusive messy
Chef available later this year at the San Diego Comic Con (and through
the collectors club of course!) that will include three of the lobster
Value - ***1/2
The set cost me $35 at Media Play, but many on-line outlets are selling it
for less than $30. Had I found it on a shelf for $30, it would be a
four star value with no doubt whatsoever. Even at $35 it blows away
the competition. Is this superior to the usual $50 Batcave? No
possible question. Is this superior to the usual $35-$50 Simpsons
playset? Absolutely, considering the level of detail and accessories.
Overall - ****
I'm a huge fan of playsets. They are dioramas that spice up your
display when done well, and I've NEVER seen one done this well. This
is easily the finest mass produced playset ever, even better than the
vintage Mego sets of old. I've never seen this level of accessories
and detail in any playset.
Ken Lilly and Mike Horn at Palisades have
hit their high note - I suspect they'll spend the rest of their careers
trying to top this one.
Don't screw up - if you're collecting the
Muppets line, buy this set the first time you see it. Don't wait for
sales, don't have second thoughts - buy it. If you love the license -
even if you don't - you will not be disappointed in this set. To give
you some indication of the demand for this set, Entertainment Earth has one
of the higher prices on the net for it at $35 plus shipping, and still sold
out just through pre-orders.
Bork! Bork! Bork!
Where to Buy -
I found this one at Media Play, so Suncoast and Sam Goody should have them
in as well. On-line:
Toys has this set up for $28, but they haven't received their shipment
quite yet. That's a great price though, and they also have the first
two playsets, the Electric Mayhem and the Muppets Labs, in stock and ready
to ship for just $23 each!
Sniper has the set for $30, and they also have quite a few of the
individual series 2 and 3 figures available.
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