Mini-Muppets Series 1

Palisades and Muppets - the two are becoming synonymous.  There is the original Muppet line, just about ready to ship it's five assortment, and the larger Mega Animals, with two already in our hot little paws.  Now comes the small scale line, called Mini-Muppets.  That might seem appropriate at first, until you get these not so mini PVC's in your hands.

The first two boxed sets are now hitting stores - one set includes Miss Piggy, Gonzo and the Snowths, done as a pair but one PVC figure; the second set includes Thog, Sam the Eagle, and MahNah Mahnah.  Retail on these is around $15 a set, depending on the retailer.

At this summer's Wizard World show in Chicago, Palisades had an industry giveaway based on this line.  It was the Miss Piggy PVC, repainted wrapped in an American flag.  I have her included in some of the pictures below for comparison.

More PVC's are planned, and the next two sets will be based on the Muppets Christmas Carol.  If these do well, we can expect even more Mini-Muppets in our future.

Packaging - ***
These come boxed rather than carded, and that's a nice change for a couple reasons.  First, they are easier to store for the MIBBers, less prone to damage, and are collector friendly (since they are easy to open up and replace later).  They aren't quite as sturdy as the clamshells, but they're a lot easier to remove!

The text and graphics are great, following in the excellent packaging design that Palisades put in place with series 4.  I do hope we see the return to the pictures of the actual Muppets on the packages though.

Sculpting - ****
I'm extremely happy with the sculpts on these PVC's.  There's a ton of detail, particularly on figures like Sam and Thog.  Getting the texture and look just right is crucial to giving these the real appearance of the actual Muppet, and they've managed to do it as well in this small scale - perhaps even better in some cases - than in the bigger scale.

A word about the scale - it's great because it will allow for some figures that we might not have gotten otherwise, like Thog.  He'd be huge in the regular scale, and unlikely to ever get produced, but in this smaller scale we can get these larger characters.  He's no lightweight even here, standing as tall as the Simpsons or Clerks figures.  He's solid too, and that's one hell of a lot of plastic.

The figures all stand great too, thanks to the square bases they are attached to.  I'm happy they went with square rather than any sort of oval or circle, since this allows them to stand closely and neatly, and gives them a little more stability.

Paint - ***
The paint ops on these sets vary wildly - some, like mine, are great, with very few issues.  Others show problems from head to foot.  I've heard and read plenty of horror stories about bad paint jobs from others, so be very careful picking yours out!

Mine has a few issues - Mahnah Mahnah is the worst of my bunch, with lots of sloppy spots, rub marks on the hands and arms, poor definition around the glasses and nose, and in general a poor job.

Gonzo is next up, with some minor sloppiness around the face and clothes.  He's not terrible though, and is certainly much better than Mahnah.  He does have some marks on his balloons though, which is less painful than it sounds.

Sam is very clean, although he's also one with far less detail.  His feet could be a better yellow - the color they've used could use another coat, as the darker color of the plastic is showing through a bit.  But overall he's at least clean and neat.

Thog is the winner of the paint lottery, with a perfect application all around.  Even the white and green on the small flowers is well done, but I have to reiterate - PICK YOUR'S CAREFULLY!  Lots of folks have had issues with their paint ops, so I might have just gotten lucky. 

Articulation - Bupkis
These are PVC's - that means no articulation.  I really hated that with the Clerks figures, but these cost half what they do, and that's a huge difference.  

In case you were wondering, I love PVC's.  I have nothing against unarticulated figures, but I still expect value for my money, and don't expect to pay the same for a PVC as a half way decent action figure.  These will take a slight hit on value, but not as much as PVC's costing even more than these do.

Accessories - Bupkis
There are no accessories either, but a couple of the figures are sculpted with something in their hands.  Gonzo has his bunch of balloons, and this is the first good use of twisty ties I've ever seen.  Thog has a couple flowers in his left hand.  Sure, that doesn't get them any stars in this category, but it's worth mentioning.

Since these are PVC's, neither the accessories category or the articulation category is going to count much against the overall score - neither are really facets of a PVC figure to begin with, and you need to compare a PVC against another PVC.  But it is important to note for those that might be wondering.

Value - **
The other category where these take a hit is value.  It's not as bad - not by a long shot - as the Clerks figures, but these are still a buck to two bucks too much each.  The better value here is the set with Thog and Sam, both larger figures, but even then the price needs to be a tad lower.  Let's face it - they're big Homies.

Of course, the lower run on these (since major retailers didn't pick them up yet) is also driving some of this higher cost.

Overall - ***
I compare these a lot to the Clerks figures, and with good reason. Both lines are designed as big PVC sets, not action figures, and as such need to be judged against other PVC's (predominately).  Neither are a great value, but the Mini-Muppets are slightly better, giving them a slight edge when it came to the overall score.

I'm hoping we see wider distribution with future sets, and therefore lower costs.  And I'm betting that the paint application issues are addressed by Palisades by the next release.

Where to Buy - 
No major retailers have picked these up yet, so you'll need to check out the specialty stores like Sam Goody or Electronics Boutique.  On-line:

- Beans Toys has both sets for $30 plus shipping.

- EBGames has the sets available separately, $15 each.  They also have preorders up for the next two sets, also at $15 each.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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