Packaging - ***
It's the new packaging, and already I'm running out of things to say about it. Looks good, still tends to warp over time, and the
proof of purchase has moved to the bottom of the insert flap.
Sculpting - Helen **1/2; Krusty, Quimby, Legs, Hawking
***; Kashmir ***1/2
Last series the sculpts varied from ** to **** stars, a pretty damn wide variance. This time things are a little more consistent,
and there's no stand out stinker. There are two stand out winners though, in Princess Kashmir and Stephen Hawking.
Quimby is easily my least favorite (overall) of this
wave. Now, some people will really like him, because they really like his one episode, but
I'm pretty lukewarm on him as a character goes. The sculpt is decent, but nothing to write home about.
Helen Lovejoy is next up on the Dullsville Express, although she's a major improvement on her husband. He's my least favorite
figure of the entire line, even worse than Database, so Helen is quite a step above that. She does look like the character, and the
style and pose are acceptable. She's just a dull figure.
Krusty is one of those so-close sculpts. He's wearing his tux, with the collar open, and had he been given a haggard appearance,
he would have been fantastic. Instead we get a slightly different happy face, and it doesn't quite fit in with the tuxedo outfit,
or how he usually looked in the tux. It's not that the sculpt itself is bad, just that a much better selection could have been made.
Legs may be one that hangs around on the pegs, simply because not enough people are into the gangsters. We already have Don Vittorio
and Fat Tony, and next series we get Legs. How far off can Johnny Tightlips be? The sculpt on
Legs is solid, and he's got a great
expression on his face, avoiding the zombie look entirely.
But the two big stand outs here are Princess Kashmir and Stephen Hawking. These two
figures are going to end up in office cubicles all across America. They are sure to be the most popular of this series.
The dear Princess is perfect, although I don't recall her being quite so, uh, large, on the show. I can certainly see how Homer got
himself into some serious trouble with this young lady. The sculpting is excellent, and there's enough
cleavage to make your Jenna Jameson figure jealous. Drooling Milhouse fan boys are going to love this figure.
She did lose a little because of the lack of a
belly button - didn't she have one on the show? Maybe not. More
importantly, mine also has an issue with her ponytail, which isn't inserted all
the way into the back of her head. Try as I might, I can't get it to go
the last little way in, and you can see the peg pretty clearly.
Hawking's sculpt, particularly on the figure itself, is excellent. They
managed to do something very difficult - portray his disability without it
looking too silly, too understated, or too overt. They walked the fine
line between capturing the look of the character without making it either too
obvious or too subtle. For that they get extra points.
But why does he only get three stars?
Because of two issues that I'm sticking in the sculpt area that really bug
me. First, while I've had other people tell me they have no problem with
the glasses, I can't keep them on either of the two I bought and opened.
The glasses are made of a very soft plastic, and don't sit on the ears and nose
very well. You can bend them to stay better for awhile, but they
eventually return to their initial position, and tend to fall off his face much
easier than any other eyesight impaired Simpsons figure so far.
The other thing that REALLY bugs me is the hand
pad/controller. It is set up to be held in his left hand, while his right
hand sits on the joystick on the arm of the chair. The pad is upside down
though, since when you place it in his hand the buttons face down (or out,
depending on how you want to look at it). Since it's already formed with a
loop going in that direction, and the peg holding it in place is designed to
only go in one way, you're stuck using it upside down.
Paint - Krusty, Lovejoy ***; Hawking, Legs,
Quimby ***1/2; Kashmir ****
No sloppy work here at all, and all the figures are an improvement over past
some of the past waves. Again, the dear Princess is an excellent example
of paint ops working perfectly. She has lots of small areas of pink, and
it would have been very easy to slop that on to the yellow, and very obvious as
well. But all the lines between her colors are clean, and I'm very
impressed by the quality. Add to that the use of clear plastic for the
veils, and you have a real winner.
Legs is great as well, and even Quimby, a figure
I'm not thrilled with, shines in this category. They managed to even paint
his socks a different color, which is a lot more detail than we usually see in
Lovejoy had some minor issues around her sweater
vest and bow, and one eye was a tad off. Krusty was the only one with any
real issues, and those were with the white, always a difficult color. Some
of the color below the white is showing through on the shirt and gloves, and
it's not as consistent across the figure as you'd like. Some folks are
also not going to like his gray coat with the black pants, and I thought for
sure he should be all in black.
Articulation - Hawking ***; rest **1/2
Gee, neck, waist, shoulders. No surprise there...but wait! Hawkins
gets a little better score, and he's the guy in a wheelchair! It's that
wheelchair that boosts his score, in an ironic sort of twist.
The Hawking figure is not a single sculpt with
the chair, although he is permanently attached. I suppose if you worked
hard enough though, you could detach him. It looks like if you did, he
might actually turn at the waist like the others, but at least you know his neck
and shoulders turn.
But the wheel chair has further 'articulated'
goodies. The wheels turn of course, and the propeller spins as well.
Not only that, but each blade snaps (loosely) into a specific spot! It's a
great touch, and really surprised me. The control pad and screen also
swing up and out of his way, so the chair is far more articulated than the
average Simpsons figure.
Accessories - ****
All the figures, even the boring ones, get great accessories again. And no
Helen has four accessories - a shopping bag,
bowling bag (sporting the name 'holy rollers'), bowling trophy, and wrestling
poster showing El Bombastico. I particularly like the bowling trophy, as
it's been a commonly customized extra for the line.
Krusty actually has the most accessories with
five - the microphone, microphone stand, coffee cup, Gabbo headline paper, and a
jewel encrusted clown nose that really fits on his nose!
Kashmir has the fewest with three - the framed
picture of her and Homer, the camera, and a boombox. The camera is a great
addition as well.
Quimby has his golf bag, one removable golf
club, his surf board, and a bowl of chowder.
Legs has some great mob accessories, including a
switchblade, rifle, photo of the missing Skinner, and a bill (money) counter.
Finally, there's Hawking. Technically the
only accessory is a beer mug (different from the previous ones), but since the
rockets, propeller, and boxing glove are all removable from the chair, you might count those
as well. More importantly, by making all those things removable, Playmates
has allowed you to have the normal looking wheelchair if you'd prefer!
That's another reason why this figure is such a stand out over the entire line.
Talking Feature - Hawking, Kashmir ***1/2;
Quimby, Krusty ***1/2; Legs **1/2; Helen **
The figures are predominately compatible with the new sets, except for
Krusty of course. That means most of the locations mean very little - why
would Kashmir say anything at Herman's?
The lines themselves are all fairly cool.
I don't have the Aztec Theater yet, but here's the line with the Military
Kashmir: "Oh, well, okay, but can we make
it quick?", "Well, um, my real name is Shauna Tifton" (I can
barely make this line out on my set, and "Put your hands off!"
Quimby: "I love each and every, uh, living
thing on God's green earth"; "I'm not paying you to talk".
Legs: "When he's done in there, I gotta
Krusty: "I'm just a tired, old hack.";
"You kidding? I stunk up the joint!"; "Krusty's not for
Hawking: "That's the smartest thing I heard
all day."; "If you're looking for trouble, you've found it."
Lovejoy: I couldn't get mine to work on any of
the pegs! That's a big negative for her of course. I gave her a
couple points assuming this was a fluke for me.
Of the figures, I like Hawking's the best, and
his retractable connector in the back of the wheelchair is a brilliant
design. Rather than have something like a cord hanging out in the way, you
can easily display him without a playset and never notice it. He got extra
points in this category just for that innovation.
Overall, the line selections aren't bad but they
are getting pretty light. With only one line for Legs in the shop, and
probably not a whole lot in the Theater, the talking feature is getting less and
Value - ***1/2
Still six bucks at Target, and still a great deal. It's not the five bucks
they used to be, but considering the quality of figures like Kashmir and
Hawking, it's still pretty damn good. How many other figures for any line
are under six bucks any more?
Overall - Hawking ****, Kashmir ***1/2, rest
Obviously, even with his flaws (damn glasses!), Hawking is the coolest
figure in this set and one of the coolest figures in the entire series.
Hawking actually requested that they make this figure, and I'm very glad he did.