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Muppets Series 1

One of the most anticipated lines for 2002 is now hitting stores - the Muppets series 1 from  Palisades Toys.  I reviewed the Miss Piggy figure almost a month ago, so she won't be redone here.  I'll cover the rest of this series - Dr. Teeth, Bunsen Honeydew and Kermit - in detail.

With up to six waves already in discussions, various retailer exclusives, and a whole range of playsets, the Muppets line looks posed to be the major hit of the year.  Average retail should be around eight bucks, but only one of the 'conventional' toy retailers is carrying them - Toys R Us.  There are plenty of other on-line and specialty stores though that you'll find these at.  I have a whole list down at the end of the review.

I picked up this set at  Electronics Boutique. They will be carrying an exclusive Miss Piggy, which is currently available for pre-order, and Toys R Us is carrying the exclusive Tuxedo Kermit.  The exclusive Miss Piggy should be at most EB stores this week, and has started shipping to pre-orders as well.







Packaging - ***1/2
The card art and style are very attractive AND it stands out well amongst the sea of carded figures on the pegs.  There's a nice bio on each figure on the back, along with photos of the other characters in the series.  (The Beaker pictured on the card comes with the first playset, due in the next couple weeks).

It's not collector friendly in my definition of the word, but that's pretty rare for bubble/card packaging.  The theme of the package meshes with the license very nicely, and catches the eye - a great package convinces you to buy the product.  This package works in that regard. 

Sculpting - ****
While Piggy seemed to have a slightly large nose, I can't fault a single one of these three figures.  Dr. Teeth is dead on, with his classic facial expression.

Honeydew looks just like the little egghead should, at least from the sculpting stand point (I'll get to the paint ops in the next section).  All three are really fantastic, but Kermit knocked my socks off.

They nailed him, right down to some of the wrinkles in the material that you'd expect around the neck or elbows. Both Kermit and Honeydew have that textured appearance, making them look more like cloth than Miss Piggy does, with her smooth skin texture.

The longer I look at the sculpts, the more pleased I become.  There's a tremendous amount of detail in both the Honeydew and Dr. Teeth body sculpts, and all the work is done to perfection.

Paint - ****
I have absolutely amazing paint ops on my set.  I have heard some reports of people seeing troubles, either with Miss Piggy or Honeydew, but all the ones I've seen have been perfect.

And that's tough to do, particularly on Honeydew and Dr. Teeth.  There's so much detail, and so many different colors being used, that it's pretty incredible that they came out this nicely.

The only complaint you might have is with some of the particular color selections.  I know lots of folks feel Honeydew is too green, but I believe Palisades has stated that it's the exact color Henson Productions requested.  I know that with the Simpsons figures, Playmates was often forced to used colors from ancient licensing model sheets that look little to nothing like the characters today, so I can imagine something similar could happen here.

Also, I think Kermit is a *smidgen* too dark, but that's a tremendously close call, and one I rack up to personal taste.

Overall, the paint ops made my jaw hit the floor, and that's pretty damn unusual.

Accessories - ****
Dr. Teeth comes with two accessories, technically, although one is pretty crucial to the basic figure.  While his hat is removable, he looks pretty silly without it (poor guy has to hide that bald spot!).  The hat fits his head perfectly, and Palisades did a terrific job designing the perfect way to attach it without being cumbersome.  To round out his accessories, he has his keyboard, which will come in pretty handy with the announced Electric Mayhem playset.

Kermit also has two accessories - his coffee cup marked 'Kermit', and a Muppet Show television camera.  The cup fits perfectly in his right hand, and shows the attention to detail - there's even a little chip in the top.

The camera is great as well. The top half turns, while you can also move the handle.  The only way it could have been improved is if you looked inside and saw a little frame from the show, but now I'm really reaching.

Honeydew also has two accessories (do we see a pattern here?).  He comes with a neat little book that can be opened and closed, and his robotic bunny.  The rabbit has eight points of articulation - neck, lever, shoulders, hips and ankles.  Be careful though - the shoulders and hips have a tendency to be stuck with paint, and I snapped a leg trying to fee it.

All the figures come with the Muppets 25 Years based to stand on, although I had no trouble getting any of them to stand on their own.

Quality - ***1/2
Overall, I'm pretty impressed by the quality.  The construction seems solid, and the use of the bases makes them far less likely to shelf dive.

My only concern is that some of the plastic seems very soft.  Both Kermit's legs and the rabbit's legs seem likely to wilt over time ("McFarlane disease"), and that would be too bad.

They happen to share one other quality with McFarlane - the paint smell is going to get you buzzed if you open all four at once.  That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how your day is going.

Articulation - Kermit ***1/2, Honeydew and Dr. Teeth ****
Kermit has the least amount of articulation, probably because it would have been the hardest to hide (and his legs and arms are so thin).  He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, and hips.  Without wrists or elbows, it does limit his posability a bit.

That's even more obvious when you start playing around with Honeydew and Dr. Teeth.  They both have ten points, although different ones.  Dr Teeth has neck, ball jointed shoulders, wrists, waist, hips and cut joints on the calves.  Honeydew has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and hips.

The joints are well placed, and there's all kinds of posing you can do with both figures.  Dr. Teeth can play his keyboards just fine, and I can't wait to see what you'll be able to do with Honeydew in the Lab playset.

Value - ***1/2
The price on these seems to be averaging around $8, although some places are charging up to $10 each.  At eight bucks though, this is a great deal.  Sure, at $7 they'd get a solid four stars, but even at $8, you're getting McToys quality sculpts (for 'cartoon' characters) with excellent accessories and articulation.

Overall - ****
Homina Homina Howaaa!   These figures are simply amazing!  I can't believe how well they turned out, and I had pretty high expectations.  If you're thinking about maybe, possibly, being interested in this line, then pick these up NOW.  You can always get rid of them later, but I'll guarantee that three months from now these will be impossible to find.

Where to Buy
Toys R Us is the only conventional toy store carrying these, but Media Play, Sam Goody, Musicland, Electronics Boutique, and other specialty stores will also have them.  On-line:

- Convergence Comics has the best on-line price around at $29 for the set of four plus shipping.  They also have the Beaker/Lab playset for just $19! (MROTW Affiliate)

- Beans Toys has a great price at $33 plus shipping.  I've always gotten great service there as well.

- New Force Comics has them just slightly higher, at $36 for a set of four.  I've always gotten great service from Rick.

- KBKids.com also has them in stock and is shipping them right now, but their price is $40.  BUT use the coupon 'DENNYTOYS' and get five bucks off, bringing them down to a very reasonable on-line price.

- Electronics Boutique has them as well at $8 each plus shipping.  They have them in stock and are shipping right now! (MROTW Affiliate)


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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