Simpsons Faces of Springfield

Playmates got small with the mini-figures, and now they've got big with the Faces of Springfield.  This line of 9" figures is a Target exclusive, and the first series includes Smithers, Mr. Burns and of course, Homer.

Priced at $15 each, they should be showing up at your local Target any day.  Targets across the country are doing their summer reset, and lots of new toys should show up over the short haul.

Packaging - ****
Playmates has really raised the bar with their recent packaging, and I can't wait to see what we might get next year for the regular WOS line.  First the mini's had show trivia and DYN's, along with episode specific pictures - now Faces of Springfield gives us something a little different.

On the back of each box is a long and detailed show synopsis, along with some photos that look an awful lot like the Rocket USA tin signs to me.  But the neat feature here is on the front.

The large picture of each character, die cut on the front, seems cool enough.  But not until I got one of these in my hands did I realize it's not just part of the box front, but a separate fifth panel!  It opens up to reveal a great character bio!  Also, even though you may throw the package out, you can cut the front character flap off, and have a neat little character card. 

Sculpting - Burns ***1/2, Smithers ***1/2, Homer **1/2
The sculpts really vary here.  Mr. Burns is the standout, and looks terrific.  The style and detail are just right.

Smithers isn't bad, and although he got just as good of a score as Mr. Burns, the sculpt isn't *quite* as nice.  There's nothing terrible about it, but something just seemed slightly off to me.

Homer is clearly the worst, and the 'screaming zombie' look simply doesn't fit the pose of the body.

All three suffer from one similar problem: the hand sculpts don't work well with the accessories.  They all are capable of holding one of the accessories, but only with some effort, and only one of the three items.  

Paint - Burns ***, Homer ***, Smithers **
When it comes to the paint ops on these, I was disappointed.  It's clear that they are hand painted, and unfortunately it shows a little too clearly.

Burns isn't terrible, but even he has sloppy lines on the socks, cuffs, and around his neck and eyes.  At least the suit color is consistent and smooth.

Smithers is the worst, at least from the batch I picked up.  His coat had rub marks on the back, and the coat color wasn't consistent.  I'm also disappointed in the detail on the work badge - I can read 'Springfield Police Dept' on the 3" version of Wiggum, but this badge has a square and three lines.

Homer is in between.  The ops are somewhat similar to Burns, with slightly sloppy lines. 

Articulation - **1/2
These have the same four points of articulation, just like the WOS figures and the mini's.  Cut joints on wrists, elbows or ankles would have been nice in this scale.

Accessories - ****
Here's where this series really shines.  Every figure has some very cool accessories.

Homer comes with Pinchy the Lobster, an ultra large Gummi DiMilo, and a huge hoagie.  The hoagie is a bit meh, but the clear statue and Pinchy are both stand outs.  Great sculpting really makes a difference on these accessories.

Mr. Burns also has three accessories, very similar in nature to the WOS version.  There's a wad of money, and Blinky inside a fish bowl.  There's also Bobo, the bear he stole from Maggie.  Again, the sculpting and paint ops are terrific.

Finally, there's Smithers.  He comes with three accessories (actually six if you're being picky), and two are simply outstanding.

First, there's three albums.  I think they missed the boat on what stickers they used - "It's Raining Men" would have fit so much better - but they're decent.

The other two are fantastic!  There's a great Malibu Stacy doll, along with a nicely scaled computer with nekked Mr. Burns screen saver.  The neatest thing about the picture of Mr. Burns is that they even pixilated it a little, so it really looks like a computer screen!

Quality - **1/2
I wish these had been solid - instead, they are hollow plastic, very much like a plastic bank.  They are fairly soft, and you want to make sure you don't leave them in a hot car.  Trust me on that one.

Value - ***1/2
These are selling for $15 at Target, and considering the cool accessories, size, and exclusivity, that's not a bad price at all.

Overall - Burns ***1/2, Smithers ***, Homer **1/2
Burns is clearly the winner of these three, and around my neck of the woods the buyers are grabbing him first.  I was a bit surprised, assuming that most folks would grab Smithers right out of the box, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

I do think Homer may end up hanging around awhile, but the other two are likely to sell pretty well.  If this series does well, we're likely to see at least one more series, perhaps two.

Where to Buy - 
I do believe I've mentioned it once or twice, but these are a Target exclusive.  Check your local Target stores, especially over the next couple weeks as they do their toy aisle reset, and you should find them.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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