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Family Guy Series 1 and Living Room
Crazy Interactive World - Playmates Toys

Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys


One of the most successful lines of the 1990's was the World of Springfield by Playmates Toys. With more than a hundred characters and dozens of playsets, the line was the best Simpsons collectible series ever produced, and likely to ever be produced.

A key feature was the interactive nature - place the figures on a playset and they said classic lines from the show. Different characters worked on different sets, and multiple sets were usable by various and sundry characters. The line came to an end in 2004 with the release of the 16th wave of figures, but it's still a favorite among Simpsons fans. Check out my look back at the series for tons of info.

Flash forward seven years and once again Playmates is doing up a cartoon series with an interactive angle, only this time it's the popular Family Guy. They've just released the first wave - Peter, Stewie, Brian, Cleveland, Quagmire, and Halloween Stewie - along with the first playset, the Griffin Living Room with Lois.

I haven't seen these at retail yet, but I"m expecting to pay around $10 a pop for the figures, and $30 each for the playsets. I'm going to cover the Living Room and two of the wave 1 figures tonight - Peter and Stewie. I'll hit up the other 4 figures in the next week or so.
Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys

Packaging - ***
The packages look great - just don't try to free the figures without some series tools.

To be fair, it's just the playset that is encased in a practically impenetrable tomb. The figures are in standard bubble and cardback packages, with classic show graphics and decent text. Since I'm combining the score for the figures and the playset, the overall is a bit better than if I was going just off the playset.

Why? Because you'll need to get through twisties, and bands, and screws (yep, have that screwdriver handy!) to free the set.

Sculpting - Playset ***1/2; Lois, Peter, Stewie ***
Since Mezco produced several waves of Family Guy figures during the 00's, there's bound to be comparisons made. I've included a shot with the two Peter's together to give you some idea of the difference in style and scale.

Personally, as much as I like the Mezco figures (and I really do), I like the Playmates versions slightly better. I think the slightly rounder head and squatter body match up better with the actual cartoon, although that's always tricky - even the cartoon look varies from scene to scene. However, while I like the figure better from the waist up, the Mezco version matches the show better from the waist down, where the curve of the legs is a bit smoother.

Peter's arms tend to stick out a bit on the sides, but that's due to the design of the ball jointed shoulders, which give a bit more range of movement than the standard cut joints but create a bit of a visual issue.

Peter comes in at just over 4 3/4 inches tall. I've also included some shots of he and Stewie with the World of Springfield figures, since compatibility between the two lines is a big plus. My WoS figures are all boxed up right now, so I had to borrow a couple from a friend (thanks, Chris!) along with a playset. 

I think Peter is scaled to Homer, who wasn't the largest of the WoS line. CBG and Barney, for example, were much larger than Homer, but I think putting Peter more in line with the Simpson's patriarch makes sense.

Stewie is huge compared to the adults, but that's no surprise - all the WoS kids were too. A big part of that has to do with the electronics, since the feet have to be large enough to allow the connections to be the same size. He stands about 2 3/4" tall.

His head has that classic football shape, and the left hand is sculpted in a pointing gesture. While he's big compared to the adults, he looks great with Bart.

Lois is well done overall, and the facial features are properly proportioned. They body proportions look good too, but there is something off about the nose. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it doesn't quite capture the shape on screen. She's just a little shorter than Peter at about 4 1/2".

They playset itself has plenty of sculpted detail. The entertainment center is right were you'd expect it from the show, and the pictures of the kids on the wall look great. The landing even has enough space to allow Stewie to stand on a step.

There's only the back wall this time, no side wall, and I don't know if that's the design we'll see with all the sets or not. If so, it is a change that will be a positive for some folks (let's face it, that side wall always restricted what you could do with a set), and a negative for others (the side wall also added some very cool dimension to certain sets, like the Android's Dungeon).

This set is larger than the old WoS sets, coming in at 7 1/2 inches tall, 4 1/4 inches deep, and 9 1/2 inches wide.

Paint - Peter ***; Lois, Stewie **1/2
One of the areas that plagues most mass market companies is paint ops. Getting them clean is a constant source of difficulty.

Here, Peter is the clear winner. Most of the cut lines are fairly clean, and his eyes look terrific - straight, and sharp.

Stewie has great eyes, but the cut lines around his jumper are fairly fuzzy and weak.

Lois falls in the middle. She has one eye that is a bit lazy, and there's something about how the whites are painted that makes one appear slightly larger than the other (it's not). The costume, lips and hair are good, but there's some fuzzy cut lines on the shoes as well.

There's also a glossy look to the skin tone, especially on Peter, that I'm not so sure about. It may grow on me, but for now I'm not a big fan.

Articulation - Peter, Lois ***; Stewie **1/2
For the most part, these figures are more articulated than the Mezco versions, and they are certainly more articulated than the old WoS figures.

Stewie and Peter have cut neck joints, while Lois has a ball neck - but it only allows for a little tilt action. Lois and Peter have ball jointed shoulders, they have cut elbows at the sleeves, and Peter has a cut waist as well.

The on screen design of these figures limits just how much articulation they can have, and Playmates has done a pretty good job here. It will be interesting to see if the cut elbows remain consistent with the adults, or whether other joints come and go depending on the designs.

Accessories - ***
Everyone comes with a couple of goodies, although some are a bit better than others.

I don't know if you want to consider Lois an accessory or not, but I don't. Instead, I'm happy to count the two additional accessories that the playset comes with as hers...sort of.

That would be the television stand and television, which you can place wherever you'd like. I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we get a second living room set to go with this one that includes the couch.

Stewie comes with Rupert, who is sculpted to sit on his own. That works great, since Stewie's hands would clearly be too small to hold him. There's also a sippy cup, and Playmates loves to add cups and mugs and glasses for all their characters.

Speaking of which, Peter comes with a frosty mug of beer, as well as a moonshine jug. Both fit in his hands nicely, and can be used in any number of drunken poses.

Sound Feature - ****
This is where the series really shines. Playmates took some lessons from the old interactive sets and improved the overall design.

The living room only has two connections, not three. While that might seem negative at first, you have to remember that people often complained about the three connections on the WoS sets, since there was rarely enough room to fit three characters comfortable at one time. With this living room you can have two characters on the connections with plenty of room to move one or two more around to places of your choice.

The connections themselves have improved as well. On the old sets, the figures snapped into place on plastic pegs, and if they didn't snap on correctly or tightly enough, they might not speak.

That shouldn't be an issue now. Playmates has made the connectors much shorter, and used two strong magnets to hold the foot in place on the base. Putting on and taking off figures is much simpler, and I didn't have a single issue with a figure connecting properly.

Each of these three figures speaks when attached to the base, but if you attach a figure with no lines, the doorbell rings. The list of sayings are:

Peter - "Uh oh..."; "Hey, I'm on vacation!"; "In your face!": "Oh, ho...oh that is a train wreck"

Lois - "You gotta push back a little, you gotta get a little rough!"; "You want a fight, you got one!"; "Clean up this mess!"; "My daughter needs a make over like there's no freakin' tomorrow"

Stewie - "How delightful!"; "You know what else is gross? *farts*"; "You clever, clever shrew!"; "Excellent - the mind control device is nearing completion"

As you can see, each has four sayings on the set. I'm not 100% sure that's it for these since they play in random order, but I'm betting it is. The set plays around 40 lines, once you add in the other figures.

All of the lines are sharp, loud and clear. As I review the rest of wave 1, I'll point out what those figures say with this set as well.

Fun Factor - ***
It's the playsets that make these fun - these make for terrific cubicle toys. Let's be honest, Family Guy is not deep satire, but a whole bunch of punchy one liners strung together by manatees. It works for me, but there are plenty who aren't as amused.

Value - ***
Considering that the figures had hit around $7 each at retail back in 2004, the ten dollar price point isn't too surprising. Also considering that most other figures in this scale are running a couple bucks more and lack any electronic feature, and you start to get a feel that the value is pretty good.

Likewise, the old playsets were already $20 - $25, depending on the retailer. If these are around $30, that's not too much of an increase considering that regular action figures can run $18 at mass market these days.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing!

Overall - Playset ***1/2; Figures ***
As a big fan of Family Guy and the World of Springfield, these figures fulfill two desires. First, I get a wide range of action figures that talk based on the show. Second, these figures are in rough scale with the WoS releases of years gone by, allowing me to mingle the two universes on the display shelf.

I'm not sure this series has the legs that the Simpsons did, simply because the fans don't seem quite as ravenous when it comes to collectibles based on the property. Then again, the same was true of the Simpsons for many years, but that changed - perhaps that will alter with Family Guy as well, and perhaps these figures are just the trigger to create that change.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - Playset ***1/2; Lois, Peter, Stewie ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Peter, Lois ***; Stewie **1/2
Accessories - ***
Sound Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall - Playset ***1/2; Figures ***

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Big Bad Toy Store has the set of 6 for $63, and the playset for $33.

- Entertainment Earth has the wave 1 case of 12 figures, evenly packed, for $130. They also have the living room playset for $34, and just the set of six wave 1 figures for $65.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
It's been awhile since I reviewed any Family Guy merchandise:

- a couple years ago, we had the Blue Harvest bobble heads.

- I reviewed most of the Mezco series, including wave 1, wave 2, wave 3, wave 4, wave 5, wave 6, wave 7, and wave 8.

- there's the boxed sets, including the Peter and Lois two pack, series 1.5 family boxed set, and the Peter and Chicken two pack.

- Finally, there's the review of the large talking Stewie, and the deluxe Evil Monkey.

Discussion:
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Family Guy action figures by Playmates Toys


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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