Buffy Palz
Halloween set

For a show that hasn't been on the air in years, Buffy (and Angel) continue to cruise along the licensing highway.  Palisades Toys is releasing a second series of their popular Buffy Palz very soon, but in between we've got this nifty boxed set that's an Action Figure Express exclusive.

I say popular, because the Buffy Palz seem to sell better than the other lines of Palz, and even as well or better than other mini-figures from other companies.  It may be only a regional thing, but the Buffy Palz have done quite well in these parts, with the exception of the Media Play exclusive three pack, which was clearly overpriced.

This set is based on a very specific episode - Halloween.  Yep, that was the episode's title, and it involved an old 'friend' of Giles named Ethan Rayne.  Ethan opens a shop in town selling costumes, just in time for the holiday of course, and Xander buys a military uniform, Buffy an 18th Century outfit, and Willow picks out something a tad, well, slutty.  Willow chickens out though, and ends up putting a sheet over top to be a ghost.

Ethan casts a spell, invoking the name of the God Janus, and people who bought their costumes at his shop turn into whatever they are wearing.  Therefore, Xander becomes the ultimate G.I. Joe, Buffy believes it's several centuries earlier, and Willow becomes a ghost.  A slutty ghost.

Cordelia is also included in this four pack, dressed in her cat outfit.  She didn't buy her cat outfit at Rayne's shop though, so she's still just a chick in a cat outfit.  You can find the set at Action Figure Express for just $30, and they are throwing in their exclusive Vampire Buffy palz for just a $1 more!

This set of figures takes full advantage of the transforming feature of the Buffy Palz line. Each of the four figures come with a second outfit, called their 'high school' outfit.  In the box they come in the Halloween outfit from the show, but each has additional arms, legs, or torsos to create a completely different figure.  I've photographed each one in both outfits, with the Halloween outfit first, and the school outfit second.

Packaging - ****
This is a HUGE box, about 18" long.  It shows off the figures pretty well, including the special card, along with all the swappable body parts.  It's easy to store as well, and is very collector friendly with ZERO twisties.  Nice work!

Sculpting - ***
Obviously, these figures don't rely on detailed sculpting.  There is some here though, predominately in the hair and extra outfit parts.

The little sculpting that's here is done well, and matches up pretty well with the show.  The hair style on the hot version of Willow is particularly good, but all the hair styles match up pretty well.  Buffy even has the hair on one side over an ear, with the hair covering the ear on the other side.

If you're looking for detailed sculpts, stick with the 6" figures from Diamond Select.  But if you're a fan of the mini-figure style, AND a fan of the show, then these will be right up your alley. 

Paint - ***
With the lack of sculpting, Palz rely heavily on the paint ops to provide detail and personality.  Generally, the paint ops have been exceptional on past lines, but this time they're a little closer to average.

The best work is once again on the faces.  Each character has two faces, one on either side of the head.  In general, one face is for the Halloween costume, and one face for their 'high school' costume, but you can mix and match in some cases.  The best example of this is Xander, who has a great 'looking to the side' expression that will work any time.

The body work isn't quite as good as the face work though, especially when it comes to the divisions between major colors.  The whites and blacks are particularly susceptible to bleed and overspray, and I was pretty surprised to see so much of it this time.

Most of the really small details are extremely good though, including jewelry, bows, and thin pin stripes.  Still, there's enough issues that this set scores a half star lower than the first series did.

Articulation - ***1/2
Palz have a ball jointed neck (but the extremely short neck doesn't allow for a lot of tilting), ball jointed shoulders and hips, pin elbows and knees, wrist, ankles and waist.  There's plenty of posing possibilities, and as mini-figures go, these are quite well articulated.

The bodies come completely apart of course, and that's one of the attractions.  My only issue this time was that a couple of the figures came apart a little too easy, especially the hands and arms.  Be careful that you don't drop a hand or foot someplace without realizing it, only to find out too late that your Palz is suddenly suffering from a disability.

Accessories - ***1/2
There's on shortage of accessories here, and if you're a fan of the transforming feature of these figures, you'll be in heaven.

Cordy comes with the standard school girl outfit, but I don't know what the hell Buffy is wearing.  The plaid pants and weird tank top are not her best look.  Willow has her jeans and Earth girl shirt for day wear, while she sports her sleazy look as a ghost.  Finally, Xander has the military outfit, including jacket, for the Halloween look, but a complete outfit, including another jacket, for his school look.

Most of these figures actually share very few parts, often nothing more than the head, hands and feet.  That means you have a ton of extra parts here, and if you get creative you can find all kinds of good uses.

There are two additional accessories with this set.  There's the bust of Janus, the two-faced God, that Ethan Rayne used to conjure his spell.  Of course, Janus is done in standard Palz style, complete with removable hair.

The second accessory is one of the trading cards, showing Willow from the episode, and including the classic bit of dialog from the show:

Giles - "So everybody became, uh, whatever they were masquerading as."

Willow - "Right.  Xander was a soldier and Buffy was an 18th century girl."

Giles - "and, uh, your costume?"

Willow - "I'm a ghost!"

Giles - "Yes, um, well, the ghost of what, exactly?"

Fun Factor - ***1/2
I would have loved these when I was a kid, Buffy or no Buffy.  The Palz style is a ton of fun, and the swappable parts and double faces makes for all kinds of good.

These also work well with the Lego and Playmobil sets, so you can throw them in with the mix with kids that love those toys.

Value - **1/2
Unfortunately, value is not something that these little figures represent.  Fun yes, great value, no.

At $30 for the set, you're spending about $7.25 each.  That's not as bad as the $8 you'll probably pay for the regular series figures though, and these have a ton of extra goodies AND they're exclusives.

Still, these need to get closer to $6 each for them to really take off.  Let's hope that the orders for future series get big enough to warrant cheaper prices.

Things to watch out for - 
Try not to lose any of those tiny body parts - the cat will eat them.  And won't be happy afterwards.

Overall -  ***
If you like mini-figures, you'll like Palz.  They have all the features of other mini-figures - great articulation, tons of fun, interesting characters - but with the added cool of swappable body parts and looks.

The price is still a bit restrictive though for people other than hard core Buffy fans to pick them up, and this set has more issues with paint problems than we've seen in the past.

Still, I have my series 2 figures already on pre-order, and I'm looking forward to the various show exclusives we'll be getting later this year.

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

Where to Buy -  
Since this is an Action Figure Express exclusive, they are your best bet.  They have it for $30, and for just $1 more you can throw in a Vampire Buffy Palz figure.

Although it's an exclusive, there are other on-line stores also carrying this set.  And if you're looking for the very soon to ship series two of the Buffy Palz, check out:

- Amazing Toyz has the full set of six for just $43, or the individual figures for $8 each.  They also have the AFX Halloween exclusive for just $30!

- has some of series 1 still available, and should have orders up for series 2 soon.

- Time and Space Toys has series 2 already in hand, and selling the set of $6 for $60.  They also have this AFX Halloween exclusive for $40.

- However, if you're a member of the Buffy Collector's Club, you can pick up the AFX exclusive for just $30, and they have series 2 in stock for just $48 for all six!  You can sign up to be a member for $50, and you get the uber-cool Libray Playset for the Buffy 6" figure line absolutely free!

Related Links:
Let's stick with the Palz theme:

- Here's a review of the first series of regular Buffy Palz.

- and if you're looking for other Palz lines, check out the X-Files series from Palisades as well.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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