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Celebrity Simpsons
Britney Spears, Tony Hawk, Mark Hamill, Lucy Lawless
NECA

Tony Hawk Simpsons action figure by NECA


If you're a Simpsons fan, then NECA is making you a very happy camper this year. Their Celebrity series is bringing collectors a set of figures based on a wide range of famous people that all played themselves on the show. This is a great concept on its own, but by doing it in a similar style and scale to the old World of Springfield (WoS) line from Playmates, they've given fans the chance to expand their already huge display of figures.

I already covered the first half of this 8 figure wave - the three members of the Who, and Maggie. Tonight I'm completing the set with a look at the final four - Mark Hamill, Tony Hawk, Britney Spears, and Lucy Lawless.

They've already announced series 3, which includes fan favorites Leonard Nimoy, Penn and Teller, and even Stephen King.

These are shipping now, and you can find them at various online stores as well as your local Toys R Us. Expect to pay around $12 - $13 depending on the retailer, and even the character.

Packaging - ***1/2
The front of these bubble and cardback packages is pretty straight forward, with it's overall red color and 25th anniversary logo. It's the back that really sets them apart, where we get a ton of personalization, right down to the info on the episode that the particular celebrity starred.

They aren't collector friendly of course - you'll have to tear them up to remove the figure - but thankfully there's only one twisty tie to remove.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Mark Hamill Simpsons action figure by NECA
Britney Spears Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Britney Spears Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Lucy Lawless Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Tony Hawk Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Mark Hamill Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Britney Spears Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Lucy Lawless Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Tony Hawk Simpsons action figure by NECA
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Celebrity Simpsons action figure by NECA

Sculpting - ***1/2
Mark Hamill was my most wanted out of these four, due largely to his nerd-cred. His face and hair sculpt are fantastic, making him easily recognizable even in Simpsons format.

I'm not quite as big of a fan of the static pose, however. The hands are a bit awkward, and with the limited articulation there's no way to get him in a comfortable stance. He stands about 5" tall, making him about the norm.

On the opposite end of height is Tony Hawk, a tall man in real life as well. Here he's about 5 1/2" tall, and stands great on his own. Again, it's a pretty static pose, but with Tony it works a bit better. The hand and arm position is a tad more life-like, so he looks relaxed, not awkward, in his basic stance.His left hand is sculpted to hold the skateboard as well.

Britney is a bit of a weird one for me, if for no other reason than I never expected to own a Britney Spears action figure in any style or format.

She is sculpted holding a Springfield Pride trophy in her right hand, left hand on her hip. The stance actually works for a couple decent poses, certainly more than I could get out of Mark Hamill. Pair her up with one of the several Mr. Burns figures you have, and you'll be good to go.

I have to admit to being surprised at seeing a Lucy Lawless figure as part of the second wave. We already have a Lucy figure in this format, released with one of the classic Treehouse of Horror playsets from Playmates. It seemed oddly redundant to get her again, although as a celebrity playing herself on the show, she certainly fit the concept.

There are some slight differences between this release and the old school version, and you may find yourself liking one more. To get an idea which is more accurate, check out this screen shot, as well as this one

Her hair is clearly longer on the NECA figure, hanging down a bit further in front. I like this look better, although due to the changes in animation from frame to frame, either can be considered accurate.

Her face is a bit rounder as well this time around, and that's not a change I'm a big fan of. The thinner, longer face of the original WoS figure works better for me.

Finally on the plus side for NECA is the costume detailing. While the original figure was quite good for WoS standards, this new version has much better detail definition in the armor and skirt.

Perhaps the only real serious nit with Lucy is that she's too short. NECA is paying attention to scale with most of these figures, and it's obvious when you put Mark next to Tony. But why is Lucy so short?

No matter which Xena version you prefer, this particular figure highlights an important aspect of the overall series. Even though the figures fit in generally with the old WoS line due to the choice of scale and basic design, NECA is making them their own. And that's a very good thing.

Paint - **1/2
Unfortunately, this is the one category that is letting me down so far. I can live with the limited articulation and accessories, but they need to tighten up the paint work.

It's pretty obvious at the cut lines, like around Britney's top, or Tony's pads. And while most of the eyes are decent, poor Lucy has some sort of walleyed thing going on that messes up the overall look.

On the plus side, they went with the black hair on Xena, rather than the lighter brown of the old figure. This seems much more accurate to me, and makes for a nice contrast against the costume.

Articulation - **1/2
These aren't highly articulated, nor should they be. Job one was to give us WoS-style figures of new characters, and they wouldn't be WoS-style if they had ball joints aplenty.

There's a cut neck, cut shoulders, and cut waist. The waist joint is actually one more than the old WoS figures had.

While the low score here doesn't hurt my overall - I don't want them altering the articulation at the sake of the style - I do wish we had a couple more cut joints where they would be hidden and unobtrusive. For example, both Tony and Mark could use cut joints on the arms below the sleeves. This would allow you to better position the hands, and make them a little less stiff. Still, it's a minor nit, and I'd rather they give us the look of these than the extra articulation.

Accessories - Tony Hawk ***; the rest Bupkis
Clearly, accessories and extras aren't a big part of this series. I can live with it, but it's still nice to get at least a little something here and there.

With Lucy, Britney and Mark, there's jack. Nada. Zilch. Or as the score says, bupkis.

Tony Hawk is a huge surprise, with not one but TWO accessories. There's the obvious skateboard, with a great looking painted design on either side. He can ride it as well, if you're so inclined.

His helmet is also removable, something I wasn't really expecting. It takes a little work, since it fits tightly over the hair, but you can do it.

If we could get two accessories with every character, I'd be in heaven.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I'm a huge Simpsons fan, and I love my old WoS figures. That makes these NECA Celebrities a huge amount of fun even for an old man like me. Being able to add to an existing display with all new characters is a rare thing indeed, and one I'm really enjoying.

Value - Tony Hawk ***1/2; the rest **1/2
Collecting action figures has become an expensive hobby, but these are staying on the lower side of things, coming in at around $12 or so each. It's not an amazing bargain, but it's a pretty average deal on the current market.

I did give Tony some extra love though, because of the two accessories. Hopefully we'll see more of that when it's appropriate to the character.

Things to Watch Out For -
If you're buying at the local store, watch for the best paint you can. Pay particular attention to those eyes!

Overall - ***
As a certified nerd, I was most looking forward to the Mark Hamill figure in this series. As a fan of the show, I was least interested in Britney and Tony, as I'm not a fan of either directly, and they both come from episodes in the early 2000's, a period I consider one of the worst in the overall history.

As you might expect, I have a completely different reaction to the figures now that I have them in hand. While I'm still very happy to have Hamill and Lawless, neither really knocks my socks off. The slightly awkward pose on Hamill and the lack of any accessories is probably the core issue.

But Tony Hawk comes with two pretty cool extras, and because of the sculpt on Britney, she's perfect to display handing Mr. Burns the award. Both of these work great with the earlier figures (pop Tony on his skateboard and he can ride alongside Bart), making them my favorites of the second wave.

There's plenty of photos, so please make sure you scroll all the way down to see them.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Tony ***; the rest Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - Tony Hawk ***1/2; the rest **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Entertainment Earth has the set for $100 with free shipping, or the singles for $14.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the set at $100, or the singles at $12 - $14, depending on the character.

- Fanboy Collectibles has the set of 8 for $100 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
This second series was big - I already checked out the first four figures in the wave last week. I've also looked at the new Simpsons Lego mini-figures in two parts, here and here. Other recent items include the mini-figures from NECA, as well as the first series of NECA's larger figures in two parts, here and here. I have a full listing of my past Simpsons reviews here, as well as a long feature on the World of Springfield here.

Discussion:
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Britney Spears Simpsons action figure by NECA


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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