2003 Wizard World East Exclusive
Bunsen, Beaker and Rizzo

My family and I made the trip over to the lovely city of Philly last weekend to take in the Wizard World East show - and a few other sites as well.

One of the big attractions at the show was the Palisades booth and their exclusive Muppet figures for the show.  Remember that it was one year ago, at the first Wizard World East show, when they debuted the line with the exclusive Dr. Teeth figure.

This year, you could buy the 'Steppin' Out' Bunsen and Beaker.  Also available was an industry exclusive for the Wizard party on Saturday night - a black jacketed Rizzo!

While I'm on the subject, I'd like to say how great it was to see all the old Palisades folks, and the new ones, at the show.  They are always a great group of people, friendly and fun.  If you hit either SDCC or the Chicago Wizard World (or the Houston one for that matter) be sure to say hello!

Packaging - B&B ****; Rizzo **1/2
The boxes that Palisades is using for their exclusives work and look great.  These are based on the new blue packaging (yes, I know I had my camera set for the incorrect lighting in the package picture - it really is blue), with some great graphics and text.  They are also collector friendly, as you can easily take them out and put them back again.

Rizzo's little baggie isn't quite so spiff.  Out of need of course - you tend to try to keep costs down on something that's being given away - they go with the small bags, but at least the text on the card includes the date, time and the fact that it was a 'party giveaway'.

Sculpting - Rizzo ****; B&B ***1/2
There are very few companies that consistently turn out great sculpts, but Palisades is one of them.  There's little to complain about here, and the detail work and attention that's been paid to each character is readily apparent.

I took a half star off Bunsen and Beaker, not because the *quality* of the sculpt is poor, but because the choice of outfits here is fairly dull.  The tuxedos look fine, and with the Tux Kermit and Rowlf they don't look bad, but it's not a very exciting look or even one that most people will associate with this pair.

On the other hand, the Rizzo is perfect.  I will warn you though - he's tiny.  Not as tiny as he could have been, but still much smaller than the other figures.  See the photo at the very bottom to get some idea of the scale.

This was a tough figure for Palisades to do.  Do it to actual scale, and he'd be too tiny for any real detail.  Yet, he's an extremely popular character, and they wanted to do a great looking version.  That meant upping the scale, but they couldn't make him just as big as Kermit or worse, since they aren't going for a Food of the Gods look.  They compromised, and I think it was the wisest choice.

You could pick a nit and mention the seam in his nose.  It's there to allow for the whiskers to be inserted, and some people might find it distracting.  I don't have a problem with it however, and really like the solid nylon fishing line whiskers.

Paint - ****
All three of these figures are much better than my series 3 set - it's looking like that was a fluke, and I'm certainly glad.  There are some minor issues - there's a little black bleeding into the white of the sleeves, some of the white t-shirt on Rizzo is bleeding onto his fur, and Beaker's eye whites are a little sloppy, but overall they are extremely well done.

Particularly impressive are the tiny black buttons on the tux shirts, the silver buttons on Rizzo's jacket, and the gray trim on Rizzo's jacket.  These are very small details, and they are very accurately and neatly done.

Articulation - B&B ****; Rizzo ***
The articulation on Beaker and Bunsen is of course exactly the same as the originals.  They have neck, ball jointed shoulders, wrists, and waist.  Bunsen adds to that with hips, a pin joint on the left arm and a cut joint on the right.  Beaker has ankle and pin joint elbows.

While this isn't 30 points, that level of articulation isn't necessary here.  More importantly, all the articulation that is present works well have add value.

Rizzo is smaller, and as you might expect less articulated.  He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, waist and hips.  The joints work well, give you some decent options, and allow you to get him to stand easily on his own.

Accessories - Bupkis
The lack of any accessories is not unusual for an exclusive, particularly one like this Rizzo.  It won't hurt them too badly in the overall score, but it's still important to note.

Value - B&B **1/2; Rizzo ****
This is assuming of course that you got both of these last weekend.  Bunsen and Beaker cost $25, but considering the lack of accessories, that seems about $5 high.  Still, it's not an awful value, and I certainly didn't feel as though my pocket had been picked.

Rizzo was a great price - free!  Unfortunately, the ones on ebay are likely to run $100 or more.  Are they worth that?  It's a tough call, one each collector will have to make, but he's a great value if you were fortunate enough to attend the party.

Overall - B&B ***; Rizzo ***1/2
Three more great figures for the Muppet collection, even if they are exclusives.  The overall score for Bunsen and Beaker is hurt for me because of the theme choice, but you can't fault the paint ops, sculpting or articulation for that.  They did a great job with them, but they'll never be near the top of my favorites.

Rizzo is a little skimpy since he's a giveaway.  You can't really expect too much from a free figure.  Still, he looks great, and bodes extremely well for the regular Series 4 release.

Where to Buy - 
You can get the Bunsen and Beaker by being a member of the Palisades Collectors Club, or you can break down and buy one on ebay.  Ebay will be your only real resort for this Rizzo, but take heart that he is a very basic repaint, and this cool figure will be available, with a TON of accessories, as part of the next series shipping in the next few weeks.

If you're looking to pre-order series 4 with Rizzo, Link Heartthrob, Sam Arrow and Dr. Strange Pork, check out:

- Beans Toys has the set of four regular figures for $33 plus shipping, or you can get the four with the repaint Rizzo instead of the standard Rizzo for $36.  Check under their Muppet link, as they have a ton of the earlier stuff for great prices as well.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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