SDCC Exclusive Culinary Catastrophe
Swedish Chef

This is rather unique - I just reviewed the Sideshow Toy Swedish Chef bust on Wednesday, and now today I'm reviewing the Palisades SDCC Exclusive Swedish Chef.  That's more versions of the Chef than I ever thought I'd see!

The San Diego Comic Con is the largest, best (trust me) comic convention in the U.S.  With representatives from many toy companies, it's THE place to see new lines, get the latest info, and drool over what's to come still in 2003.  It's also the place to get exclusives.

In past years, there's always been a few.  But this year the exclusives have gone wild, ripping their shirts off for your pleasure.  I gotta stop watching so much late night television.

At last count, there are over three dozen - yes, 36 - different exclusive figures or mini-busts planned for next week's show.  One of those is the Culinary Catastrophe Swedish Chef from Palisades.  He'll be $15 at their booth, and will also be available to folks through the Palisades Collectors Club.

The only other version of the Swedish Chef that Palisades has produced came with the Kitchen Playset earlier this year.

I'll be at SDCC next week, so if you'll be there drop me an email and we'll try to meet up!

Packaging - ****
A terrific looking box, sturdy, excellent graphics and text, and it's even collector friendly, all just for an exclusive.  What more could any collector ask for?  And if you pay special attention, you'll notice yours truly was mentioned on the back of the package!

Sculpting - ****
Did you like the sculpt the first time around?  Then you'll like it this time!  In the tradition of most exclusives, this Swedish Chef is a repaint of the one that came with the Kitchen Playset.  

The sculpt of the figure is dead on, and one of my favorite figures in the entire line.  With a perfect expression, great sclae, and hands sculpted to hold a number of accessories, he's a great example of toy sculpting at it's best.

Paint - ***
If there's anything negative about this figure, it's the paint ops.  It's not that they are messy - they're supposed to be!  It's that the effect they were going for just didn't quite work out as planned.

All the standard colors, like his nose, skin, shirt stripes, pants, shoes, etc are clean, neat and consistent.  There are slight differences, but the color combination is still very attractive and works well together.  I like the checked pants of the original a little better than the solid color here, but it's not a big issue.

The gimmick here is that there has been a 'culinary catastrophe', causing the poor Swede to be bathed in mess.  It sounds great on paper, but the paint application doesn't quite pull it off.

I was expecting explosion, and instead this looks like Chef just has a bad habit of wiping his hands on his apron.  The face has a slightly darker tinting, which looks like maybe they were going for a slightly sooty appearance, and there are a variety of colors of dirt and food stuffs on his apron, shirt and tie.  There's also a little flour on his nose and face, and some spray of flour on his pants and shoes.  That works the best out of the various sloppy spots.

The colors and application don't look bad - they just don't look like I would have liked.  Your mileage could vary greatly on this one, depending on what you were expecting to see.  I've included a shot of the back of the package that shows the original prototype, and that's what I was really looking forward to in terms of the paint.

Articulation - ***
The Chef isn't the most articulated Muppets figure, but his stocky body type doesn't really lend itself to a tremendous number of points.

He has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and hips.  That's actually quite good for a figure like this, and the arm articulation allows for lots of great poses with the various kitchen accessories.

Accessories - ****
Originally, they were hoping to include Lobster Banditos with the Kitchen playset but found it cost prohibitive.  Instead of the fans losing out, they decided to include them with the exclusive, and that is just another example of the creative thinking of the Palisades team.

There are three large banditos, and three revolvers for them.  I also count the chef's hat as an accessory since it's removable, and I'm happy to report that the magnet in this one is just as strong and tight as the original Chef.

The banditos kick all kinds of serious butt.  The sculpts are great, and each of the three is unique in more than one way.  The claws are different sizes, the hats are all different and even the moustaches vary.  Each can hold his pistol (those are identical) and the front arms/claws are bendy to allow for posing with the guns.

It's pretty rare that we get such cool, well done accessories with an exclusive, especially a convention exclusive.  Fans of the Swedish Chef are going to pick this figure up just so they can add the banditos to their Kitchen play set diorama.

Value - **1/2
At $15, you are getting a decent value.  This is the usual price for an exclusive, and since the regular figures sell for $8 - $9, it's not surprising to be paying a premium.  Sure, I would love to get them for closer to $12, but I can live with the current price tag.

Overall - ***1/2
Although he's not perfect, he's damn close to it.  I'm not hitting him up hard for the price in the overall score, considering he's an exclusive, and had the paint application worked a little better for me he would have been a four star figure.

As exclusive Muppets go, he's up there at the top of the pile.  I like him over less interesting exclusives like the basic Dr. Teeth repaint or even the Steppin' Out Bunsen and Beaker, but I'm betting that the Vaudeville Statler and Waldorf are going to take the top seat come Wizard World in Chicago.

Where to Buy - 
Go to the SDCC next week - it starts Wednesday night, the 16th, and runs through Sunday the 20th.  Buy it right from the Palisades booth!  Or join the Palisades Collectors Club, and you'll have the opportunity to buy it through them.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour