Frog Scout Leader Kermit

The saddest event of 2005 in the toy world will be the passing of the Muppets line. This series will rank high on my best lines of all time list, and is easily the finest series produced by Palisades to date. They've always done good work, but with the Muppets they were always even a step beyond themselves.

But all good things must end. Actually, all the bad ones end too, but nobody ever complains about that. The line has only a handful of releases left. There's the SDCC exclusive of the Penguins 2 pack, the exclusive of Uncle Deadly (with three versions), and the Palisades Direct release of the Rainbow Collection Kermit.

The list got shorter a couple weeks ago with the release of the Frog Scout Leader/Frog Scout two pack at Wizard World Philly. The two pack is also now available through Palisade's nifty Collector's Club for $20.

Packaging - ***1/2
It's a box! No big surprise there, but once again it's not only pretty and attractive, but sturdy, shows off the figures well, and is quite easy to store. It's even somewhat collector friendly, although getting the twisties back on is more work than it would be worth.

I particularly like the outdoorsy theme to some of the graphics, and the humorous text. Some folks may be annoyed by the 'blind' packaging here though, because you won't know if you're getting a blue Frog Scout or a green Frog Scout. Yes, there are two versions, and completists are sure to want them both. Worse, some folks are going to prefer one color over the other (I like the blue better, since it adds some nice color to the display with Kermit and Robin), and they won't be able to choose for themselves.

Sculpting - Kermit ***1/2; Scout ***
Once again, Palisades pulls off a terrific looking Kermit variant. Here he is in his dorky little Scout Leader uniform, complete with hat. The head sculpt isn't unique, but the body certainly is. I'll probably end up mentioning this several times, but they've went with a very stiff plastic here, so his little legs are much less likely to wilt over time.

I did have to bend his feet around a bit right out of the package, because the twisties had them turned up slightly. But they held the new position fine, and he's been standing great on his own ever since.

One of his hands is sculpted in the usual half closed, pinky out, position, and works great for holding the book or the fishing rod. The other is completely open.

This Frog Scout isn't labeled as Robin, he's just another of the tadpoles. He does have exactly the same body as Robin though, but with an all new head sculpt.

This head sculpt is closed mouth, with the hat further back on the head and turned slightly to the left. There's something slightly off for me about the closed mouth sculpt, and the mouth is turned downward quite a bit. It's not as good as the Robin head sculpt, but they had to give us some variety to keep things interesting.

The scout's left hand is sculpted to hold the rod perfectly, and he also stands great on his own. Again, I had to do a little manual bending on his legs because of some mild warping from the twisty ties, but the rigid plastic held the new position well.

Paint - ***
Unfortunately, the paint ops aren't quite as clean as we've come to expect from this line.  The body work is pretty much on par, with very little slop or bleed on the colors of the uniforms and bandanas.  The eyes on both are slightly disappointing though, with bleed between the skin color and the white of the eyes.  The pupils aren't quite as well masked as you'd expect either, and this pulls down the score slightly.

Articulation - ***
Both of these figures have about as much articulation as they could get, considering the basic design of the characters.

Not surprisingly, the frog scout has the same articulation that Robin had before him - neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut joints at the sleeves, waist, but joints at the pant legs, and hips. He poses pretty well, although the limited neck movement means you can do much about that down turned face.

Kermit has the exact same number of points, in the exact same places. Again, he can pose fairly well, although he won't be doing any tai chi stances or advanced yoga positions. Other than using some sort of ball jointed neck, I don't think there's really much improvement that Palisades could have had on the articulation of the overall line, or these two in particular.

Accessories - ***1/2
There are six accessories in total - Kermit's hat, the fishing rod, the binoculars, the FSL Handbook, an eggplant and the backpack.

You'll recognize a couple of these right away. The backpack is the same one that came with Robin, but painted in a matte finish instead of a gloss. It fits perfectly on the scout's back, and opens and closes easily for storing goodies.

The handbook has important information on knowing your flies, but is a reuse of the same style book from the Robin figure. Still, the new printing looks great, and it displays well with Kermit.

Recognize those binoculars? Those would be from Pepe, from series 5. The big giveaway here is the post on the left side, which fit into a hole in Pepe's hand. Unfortunately, no such hole exists in Kermit's hand, and I'm disappointed to see it not included. The binoculars do fit around his neck, but it would have been sensible for him to be able to hold them, since a post to do just that was already provided.

That leaves us with the three new accessories, the eggplant, Kermit's hat and the fishing pole. The pole looks good, even if it's basic, and works well with either figure. Scale is pretty good too, although a fish (even one from Lew) could have been a nice addition.

Kermit's had has a good sculpt, and fits great, due to an AMAZING magnet. Seriously, don't get your finger between the hat and the head, for it will be crushed by the awesome power of this magnet. I held the hat an inch away from his head and SNAP!, that baby popped right into place.

The eggplant goes great with the kitchen, and looks just like an eggplant muppet should.  The paint ops are a tad plain, but that's to be expected considering the vegetable.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Good articulation, good accessories, and good sculpting all add up to good fun. The limbs on these figures are also very sturdy, and unlikely to break easily with normal play. Kids who love the Muppets will enjoy these, and the Scouting theme makes them all the more fun.

Value - **1/2
Forking over a Jackson for these won't kill you, but you won't feel like you've gotten the deal of the century either. There are two figures though, they are an exclusive, and the line is ending. It's no surprise that these aren't cheap, and actually, I'm pretty surprised they weren't $25.

Things to watch out for - 
Be a little careful breaking free the cut arm joints, right at the sleeves. These were painted tight on both figures for me, but because the arms are made of a very stiff plastic, it wasn't nearly as risky working them loose as it often is. Still, don't go wild at first, and take your time.

Overall -  ***
This Kermit fits right in with the overall line, and looks terrific with his cousins on the shelf. It's also great that you can set up a cool little display with Kermit, Robin, and one or two of the Frog Scouts, all sitting around the camp fire, cooking up one of Lew's fish.

If the paint ops were cleaner, this would have scored another half star, but we've seen better work from Palisades, and we've seen them do it with the Muppets.

For me, the last big release of this line with be Uncle Deadly. Oh, I'm looking forward to the Penguins and Rainbow Connection Kermit, but Uncle Deadly will be the last truly cool character that we'll be getting. Reviewing him will involve some seriously mixed emotions, sort of like when your mother-in-law drives your new car off a cliff.

Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Kermit ***1/2; Scout ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -  
Your best bet is through the Palisades Collector's Club, where he's just $20. You can always resort to ebay as well, although I wouldn't recommend it.

Related Links:
I have way too many Muppets reviews to even begin, but you can find them pretty easily by heading over to the 'all reviews' page and searching on 'muppet'.

However, the one review most closely related is for series 7, which includes the Frog Scout version of Robin.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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