Planet of the Apes

This week I went monkey hunting.  Now mind you, finding a monkey in the action figure aisle these days isn't too tough, what with King Kong still hanging around, animatronic monkeys of several variaties about, and even some of the Tarzan figures still hanging on the pegs.  But I was hunting specific monkeys - Planet of the Apes monkeys.

The movie will be out in early July, and so the influx of product has just begun.  I found the 6" action figures at a local Super Wal-mart.  The super part seems important if you want to find them now - I tried several regular Wal-marts with no success.  They are ringing up at the extraordinary price of $9.82.  There are nine figures in the entire set, but only five have shipped so far - Attar, Ari, Daena, Davidson, and Limbo.  The other four still to come include Krull, Pericles, Thade and a generic Ape Commander.

Packaging - ***1/2
I'm usually very hard on most bubble packaging, but this time Hasbro has done about as good a job as possible.  The graphics on the package are fantastic, with great color and detail.

The backs of the cards contain information on the movie, the specific character, and show the other figures in the line.  Everything you'd want - the only negative here is that it looks like Hasbro went a bit on the cheap since they are using the tri-lingual packaging for the U.S. release.

The bubble is rounded and shaped so that there is very little chance that it will crush.  It is also very sturdy, and for the momc collectors, it will hold up well to peg wear.

To top it off, the cool Planet of the Apes insert and the gorilla face insert can be removed and used in your display.

Sculpting - ***
I saw five of the nine figures, and I'm basing my rating on all five.  Since I bought Davidson and Attar, and their sculpting was the best, it might seem like I'm being a little rough.

Davidson really does look like Wahlberg.  The hair color is a little light, but the face sculpt is extremely good.  Likewise, the head and body sculpt on Attar, the gorilla soldier, is excellent.

The other sculpts are a little more hit and miss.  Daenna, the new girl, is probably the weakest.  Ari is fairly good, but is hurt by some poor paint wash on her face, and her glue on hair.  The hair fits awkwardly on some of the figures, so be picky.  And lastly, there's Limbo, one of the elder orangutans.  His sculpt doesn't stand up to the level of Davidson or Attar, but it is due heavily to the poor paint application.

Articulation - ***
I really wanted to give these figures a higher score on articulation, since it's clear Hasbro is trying.  Most have ball jointed shoulders, and they average around 7 to 9 points each.  Davidson has 9, with neck, ball jointed shoulders, waist, one cut joint elbow and wrists.  Attar has even more at 12, with neck, ball jointed shoulders, wrists, cut joints on both arms, waist and hips.  But others, like Ari, have only cut joint shoulders, with bodies that are almost solid.

Another good sign is Attar's shoulder pads.  When most companies put shoulder pads on figures, they just glue them on, limiting the usefulness of the ball jointed shoulders.  Instead, Hasbro used their heads and put the pads on pegs, so that they lift up when the arm lifts up.  It's a smart move, and a nice touch.

The lack of leg articulation is still and issue though, particularly with Davidson.  What the hell is he doing in this pose?  It appears as though he's about to break into some sort of monkey disco dance.

Accessories - ***
In this assortment, it varies wildly by figure.  The Davidson and Attar figures are perfect examples.

Davidson comes with a helmet with moving visor, small gun, and some sort of 'tracker' that I'm sure will make more sense once the movie comes out.  But the gun fits only so-so in his hand, the tracker doesn't fit well at all, and the helmet just sits on his head - it doesn't snap into any sort of collar!

Paint - ***
The face paint on some figures like Davidson and Attar is neat and well done.  Unfortunately, the wash on Limbo, Ari and Daena isn't as good.  Compare several to find the best.

Value - **
These figures are seven buck values, maybe eight bucks if you buy them at KB.  Almost $10?  No way - I suspect that Wal-mart has made a mistake, and you'll see them cheaper there as well very soon.

Overall - ***
If I was only reviewing this set based on the Davidson and Attar figures, I'd have given these another half star.  On the converse, if I had only found Daena Limbo, they would have lost a half star.

The packing on the cases must be pretty good, since there were multiples of all five figures on the pegs.  I'm betting that Daena is the short pack if anyone is, and that would be a wise choice on Hasbro's part.

Where to Buy - 
Super Wal-mart seems to be the first to get these in, but I'm sure we'll see them at Toys R Us, Target and K-mart soon enough.

I wouldn't bother buying on-line at this point, since you should see these buggers in quantity at lots of stores any day.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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