It's been three months since the last wave of Simpsons figures hit the
shelves, and fans have been chomping at the bit. The wait is finally
over, and there's nothing to be disappointed in here!
This is Wave 4 (or
Series 4) of the Simpsons figures from Playmates. They've got a real
winner on their hands with this line, and I believe it will carry through
2002 extremely strong. This wave includes Patty, Groundskeeper
Willie, a two pack of Itchy and Scratchy, Casual Homer in his undies,
Ralph Wiggum and Lenny.
These are hitting Meijers and Targets in the
Mid-West right now. I've heard of them showing up in Illinois, Ohio,
Michigan and Pennsylvania so far, so they should be in your neck of the
woods any day. Meijers is selling them for $5 each.
Packaging - ***
The packaging hasn't changed - much. They've added the words Series
4 in a black bar on the right, obviously to make it easier to pick them
out from the others when you're scanning through the peg. They've
switched things around a little on the back as well. There is now a
bar code on the bottom right, and that meant they moved a block of text
from the bottom to the upper right to make way for it. Otherwise, it's the same
Sculpting - ****
This series is stellar. We only get one remake - Homer in his
underwear - and even that one has a great body sculpt.
Patty is a tad
top heavy from all that hair, but I haven't had any trouble yet getting
her to stand. Lenny does have trouble standing if you try to put his
accessories in his hand out in front of him. His feet are pretty
small, and he's pretty tall.
The scale on these figures is great as
well. Willie seems a little tall, but not bad. Ralph is a good
height, and the proportions on the others fit within the line.
is one complaint with the sculpting on this line it's with the
hands. Willie has one completely closed so he can only hold either
the shovel or rake at a time. Lenny has one hand in an open
position, and Itchy, Scratchy and Ralph all really only have one useful
Articulation - **1/2
As usual, these figures only have four points - neck, shoulders and
waist. Itchy & Scratchy are slightly different, since Itchy is
so small. He doesn't have a waist joint, so he only has the three
points of articulation, and although Scratchy doesn't have a waist joint
either, he makes up for it with a jointed tail.
Accessories - ***1/2
This series has gotten a better sculpting score from me than the last, but
the accessories score drops a bit.
In this set of six figures there are
18 accessories. That's a great number, but unfortunately 7 of these
are practically identical from earlier releases, and another 3 are almost identical.
That leaves only 8 new accessories with these figures, and some, like
Lenny, don't have a single new item.
Now I don't mind the re-use of
accessories. It's understandable to keep costs down, and for the
most part they are at least making sense with it. For example, the
Casual Homer comes with the remote, can of Duff and bag of chips from
earlier figures. But at least that makes sense in the context of
New accessories include Ralph's rocket and keys, Willies
shovel and rake, Homer's sunglasses (although I'm sure we'll see these on
Bleeding Gums Murphy), Patty's workout video tape, and Itchy &
Accessories that have been slightly altered included
Ralph's Radioactive Man comic, Patty's clipboard with Otto's driving test
on it, and Patty's picture of Skinner.
Identical accessories from
previous lines are Ralph's set of books, Homer's remote, chips and beer,
and Lenny's donuts, bowling bag and beer mug.
Talking Feature -
The talking feature is still as cool as every, but as we get into these
lesser characters, we get fewer sets that they work with and fewer lines
when they do.
Paint - ***1/2
The paint work on all the figures I've seen so far has been great. I
haven't seen any trouble with the eyes like we've seen occasionally on
past waves, and all the colors seem to be pretty much on the mark.
Then again, I'm color blind.
Value - ****
At $5 a pop, these are still the best value in the action figure world
today. Playmates really has a winner on their hands, and stores like
Toys R Us should be ashamed for upping the price to six bucks on their end
to try to squeeze more money out of the collectors. Do your shopping
elsewhere for these if you can.
Overall - ***1/2
Every wave seems to get better. Maybe it's just because all of these
characters are favorites, but this wave has the most consistent cool
factor so far. Even with another Homer in the bunch, they've managed
to put together a killer set.
Where to Buy:
As I said, I picked these up at Meijers for only $5 each. I'd
recommend either Meijers, Target or Wal-mart for bricks and mortar stores,
since Toys R Us charges a dollar more, and KB Toys charges three dollars
On line, there are lots of spots carrying them, so check
around. A couple I've dealt with:
- New Force Comics. I've
bought from Rick many times, and he's always fast and reliable. You
can order a case of figures from him for $58 plus shipping, so your cost
per figure is about $5.25 each..
Earth. Another store that is always fast and reliable.
They are selling cases for $70 plus shipping though, so your cost per
figure is closer to $6.75 each. (MROTW affiliate)
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford