Gentle Giant Simpsons Bust Ups Series 2

There's not a ton of Simpsons product out there these days, but we haven't yet hit the great drought of a decade ago either. Gentle Giant has just released the second series of Bust Ups, with a food theme, including Homer and the Gummi DeMilo, Wiggum making his famous chili, Apu and his cousin at the Kwik-E-Mart, and Bart getting a little too close in his attempt to lick the mixer blades in the Simpsons kitchen.

GG has already announced and shown photos of series 3 (music themed) and series 4 (another THOH theme). BTW, if you check out the photos on the GG site, click on the single photo to see a slide show of all four Bust Ups in the set.

This second series is now hitting online shops and stores like Hot Topic. Expect to pay around $6 each, and as usual, there's a couple chase variants. Gentle Giant doesn't blind box the Bust Ups, and there is a photo of the set you're getting on the outside of the package. However, they include 'blind chases', variants of the main figure that might be inside.

In this series, there are two variants of the Homer/Gummi DeMilo. The more common is clear green, while the rarest is clear pink. Have oodles of fun trying to find these, and trying to figure out what the hell you're going to do with all those extra Homer sets.

Packaging -  ***
Unlike the cool little coffins we got with the first THOH series, these are basic boxes. However, they are nice, hard plastic boxes, very sturdy and very easy to store. Hey, even if you don't want to put the set back in, you can use them for other stuff! Why buy you're girlfriend an expensive jewelry box when she can just as easily use your leftover Bust Ups packages? Sure, it might be the end of your relationship, but the odds are she was going to dump your butt anyway.

Sculpting - Wiggum, Homer ****; Apu  ***1/2; Kitchen ***
There's a whole lot of detail in these sets, although some of the faces are off a bit, and the scale can be wonky.

The Kitchen set is a perfect example of the good and bad, all wrapped into a single Bust Up. The detail work on the kitchen itself is amazing, from the cabinets to the accoutrements. But the head sculpts on both Bart and Marge are off slightly, and the scale between the two is also poor, with Bart being larger than he should be in comparison with Marge's size.

The detail work on the other three is also great, especially Homer and Wiggum. On these two sets, I was much happier with the likenesses, and specific scene chosen worked really well in this style.

Scale is an odd bird for all these scenes. If you compare with series one, these guys look pretty good with the Kang/Maggie, but are smaller than the Devil Flanders. This wildly varying scale is just something that will be part of this entire series, as it is with some of the other Bust Ups, like the Corpse Bride.

Paint - **1/2
Considering how small these are - each set is only about 2 inches across, and Homer only stands 1 1/2" tall - the paint detailing and quality is pretty good.  It's not great, and your nekkid eye won't see as many problems as you will in the photos, but it's decent.

There are lots of small details added with the sculpting, and most of these are highlighted with paint. Colors seem accurate and consistent. The application itself is also consistent, with no gloppiness or thin coverage.  There is some bleed though between many of the colors, and stray marks are an issue.

Now, people are going to look at the photos and say "But I see slop!"  Yes, you will - but those photos are very clear close ups.  Your eye, good as it might be, won't see nearly as much as the camera lens does.  Still, I had enough issues with the paint to stick with a pretty average to below average score.

Design/Build - Homer, Apu ****; Kitchen ***1/2; Wiggum ***
One of the features that really stands out with this set is the complexity of the designs, and the precision that they fit together.

These sets have far more pieces than previous Bust Ups, largely because they are full dioramas and not just busts. The fewest number of pieces is 7 in the Kwik-E-Mart, with the Homer set having the most at 11.

Of the four sets, my favorite is the Gummi DeMilo. It has the largest number of pieces, and yet fits together with the smallest tolerances. I also had excellent success with the Kwik-E-Mart, but there were some minor issues with both the Kitchen scene and Wiggum's set. Marge had some trouble fitting into her peg hole, and I managed to snap her neck trying to get her to work. Wiggum had the opposite issue, with several of the pieces fitting in a little too loose, especially the clear top for the boiling chili.

Still, these were very minor issues, and Gentle Giant has managed to pull off visually interesting designs with a whole lot going on in a very tiny space.

Fun Factor - *1/2
These aren't toys, and they aren't for kids to really play with. I'm not going to be banging this score up against my overall, because I know they aren't supposed to be toys, but it's worth noting here in case you were considering them. Obviously, the small parts aren't good for young children, and even the under ten set are likely to get frustrated putting them together. Fans of the show that are older than that (and let's face it, most Simpsons fans are well past the ten to twelve bracket) will enjoy them, once they have them assembled.

Value - **1/2
I paid $7 each at Hot Topic. Not a particularly good value, even if they are nifty little snap together models. Still, these sets have many more pieces than the usual Bust Ups, and the fit is amazingly good, so I'm going with an average score here.

If you pick these up closer to $5, like you can at some online retailers, than you can easily add another half star to this score, and you'll be getting a very solid value.

Things to watch out for - 
When putting the pieces together, go gentle, especially with Marge and the slushy sign at the Kwik-E-Mart. The plastic isn't so hard it snaps, but you can break the smaller pieces (like Marge's neck - believe me, I have first hand experience) when pushing them into the slots.

Overall -  ***
These little guys are pretty impressive considering the scale. They aren't quite perfect, but the thing that continues to impress me the most is the number of pieces that pop together and form a tight little scene, with little room for error.

My favorite is Homer, with the Kitchen set and the Wiggum set in the middle. The Kwik-E-Mart is my least favorite, simply because it is the least visually interesting to me. Your mileage will vary though based on your tastes, but the entire set is well done, so most Simpsons fans will find something here to their liking.

The score is lower this time around though because I had more issues with the paint application than I did with series 1.  Perhaps they were trying to do too much, because there is more detail here than the first time around, but that hurt the final overall score.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Wiggum, Homer ****; Apu  ***1/2; Kitchen ***
Paint - **1/2
Design/Build - Homer, Apu ****; Kitchen ***1/2; Wiggum ***
Fun Factor - *1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***

Where to Buy -
I snagged my set at Hot Topic, and ended up getting raped on Ebay for a clear green variant. I still have to find the clear pink *sigh*. There are online stores that have these in as well, cheaper than Hot Topic:

- Amazing Toyz has the full set in stock for $21.49, or individuals for $5.49 each.

- YouBuyNow has the singles in stock for $5.99 each.

- CornerStoreComics hasn't listed series 2 yet, but still have some of series one for just $20 for the full set, or $5.29 each.

Related Links:
I have had so many Simpsons reviews that they get a page dedicated to their links all to themselves!

And if you just want to see series 1 of the Bust Ups, check out my earlier review.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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