Palisades, makers of many excellent cartoon based action figures, picked up the license back when I was still in elementary school. Or so it seems. I can't even remember when they first announced having the license, but I do know that we saw prototype figures over a year ago. Why did it take so long for the first series - including Timmy, Cosmo, Wanda and Vicky - to hit? There were multiple reasons, but the number one reason was several attempts by Palisades to get the line picked up by the major retailers as a regular kids line.
Unfortunately, that never happened, and series 1 is hitting specialty shops only. With a pretty low likelihood that collectors will be all that interested, and a fairly poor chance for kids to see these at just specialty retailers, it doesn't look good for the line. If you're a fan and you see them, I'd snag a set, because I'm betting that not only was production very low on these, but that there won't be many more to follow.
Packaging - ***
Clamshells of course! The figures and accessories are much larger than you might expect, so the MOCers will have a tough time finding storage space. The insert backers are attractive if fairly basic, and the packages hold up great to shelf wear. As long as you can operate a complicated tool like a knife, you'll do just fine.
Sculpting - ***
I spent a lot of time on this particular score, because I couldn't make up my mind. You see, these are some awfully hard designs to take from 2-D to 3-D. With huge heads, small bodies, and lots of odd angles, the artwork really doesn't lend itself to plastic versions at all. So many of the issues that have cropped up with the final product are directly due to those basic cartoon designs. Still, some of these problems break my basic requirements, like the ability to stand on their own. In the end, things seemed to end up in the middle, with the goods and bads washing each other out.
It was close though, and they almost lost another half star in this
Cosmo is probably my favorite sculpt of the set. He has the wide eyed goofy stupidity of the show, and the proportions seem most accurate. The standing body sculpt has some personality to it, and his hand sculpts work pretty well with the overall design. I also like how the crown was suspended above his head with a clear plastic rod - the crowns don't actually rest on their heads in the show, but float in the air above them. His sculpt does restrict some of the articulation, both with the shoulders and with the neck, but you can get him to stand for a few fleeting seconds here and there. You'll definitely want to stick with the display base.
Wanda also has the floating crown of course, and she has the massive pink hair curl. I can't help but think that perhaps a slightly different facial expression would have worked better here, perhaps one reacting to Cosmo's usual stupidity, since the wide grin of Cosmo, Wanda and Timmy all start to look a little too much alike. Wanda is also the best candidate for other expressions, since she has a wider range of emotions than Cosmo. Still, the big grin works fine, and the proportions are well done. I didn't remember her having breasts on the show, but sure enough, she does. She
definitely can't stand on her own though, and even with the display base, it was pretty obvious that standing wasn't going to be in her long term plans. With the huge hair, her head is even heavier than Cosmo and Timmy's, making it difficult for her to manage any upright pose. Another minor nit is with her eyebrows, which seem a tad thicker and larger than on the show, but are close enough that only the major fans will probably notice.
Both Cosmo and Wanda are sculpted with a small hole in their left hand, making it possible for them to hold almost ALL of the smaller accessories. That's a huge plus in my book, making these much cooler than most cartoon figures, who often can't hold their accessories at all.
Vicky doesn't get the hand hole/peg treatment, but her hands are both sculpted in standard Vicky poses - one on the hip, the other telling you how it's going to be. For the uninitiated, Vicky is Timmy's evil babysitter, who seems to feel her sole purpose in life is to make Timmy's miserable.
Vicky's head sculpt is great, and she's wearing her angry eyes. She manages to come off as mean but not psychotic, and the scale between her and the other figures is pretty good. She's actually a bit bigger in relation to Timmy on screen, but this was a reasonable compromise. She can't stand very well on her own, so again, you'll want to stick with the display stand.
Timmy gets not one but two holes in his hands - he can hold accessories in both his left and right. The general shape of his head and size of his various parts are great, considering how difficult the transfer from flat cartoon world to real world was, and he is wearing his hat although it's not obvious from the front. However, he was the only figure to have a really
noticeable sculpting issue - his buck teeth. Yes, he has big buck teeth on the show, but they aren't as pointed and large as they are here. They should have been rounded off a good 1/16th of an inch sooner, and it's pretty obvious if you compare the figure to the artwork on the package. It puts Timmy at the back of the pack, but he has one feature no one else does - he can actually stand on his own, for long periods of time. The center of gravity with his giant noggin' is lined up with his body properly to allow for him to stay upright, so it is possible!
I mentioned scale in terms of between the figures, but not in general. These suckers are huge. Timmy stands at
4 1/2 inches tall, which might not seem like alot, until you realize almost all of that his head. Vicky stands over them at
Paint - **1/2
The paint ups unfortunately have more downs than ups. In general, the colors are good, relatively consistent, and bright. However, there's a fair share of bleed and poor definition between colors, especially around the eyes, which is so critical. If these were mass market toys, they'd fit right in with the pack, but as specialty market stuff they fall below average.
Most of the color choices seem accurate to the show, with the exception of Vicky's hair. She's definitely a red head on screen, but it's much darker here. It's still red, just not as obvious.
The articulation sounds good on paper, and in terms of number of points,
it's there, but not all the joints are as useful as they could be.
Wanda has a cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut joints at the arms and
a cut waist. Remember, her lower body pops off at that joint.
The shoulders don't have the range of movement you might expect, and I
really wish the wings had been articulated, but the posing possibilities are
reasonable if not great.
Cosmo has fewer joints, lacking the cut joints on the arms. He also
pops apart at the waist to switch legs.
Vicky has a cut neck as well, but it only turns about half way on
mine. I'm not sure if that's a restriction of the sculpt, or just an
issue with the one I got. She is jointed similar to Wanda, with ball
shoulders, cut arms and a cut waist. Her waist joint is actually above
the belly button, rather than below. She also has cut ankles, the only
one of the figures to have any leg articulation.
Timmy has the same articulation as Wanda, with a cut neck, cut arms, ball
shoulders and cut waist. Since he can hold accessories in both hands,
the extra arm articulation comes in handy.
Accessories - ****
When Palisades realized these were likely to be a specialty market toy, they also realized that meant low production runs and higher prices. To help compensate for that, they went nuts with the accessories, adding in all kinds of nifty goodies.
Every figure comes with the FOP display base, with the logo on the front, and peg holes for the extra versions of Cosmo and Wanda. The bases work pretty well, although I'm not quite sure where the best combination of Cosmo, Wanda and other figures is for each one. No matter how you do it, they tend to get a little crowded. Of course, it doesn't make sense to display a regular Cosmo and a altered state Cosmo at the same time (although I did it for the photos so you can see everything), so that will give you a little more space.
A little more background might be useful for those that don't watch the show. Wanda and Cosmo take on all kinds of various forms to avoid being seen by others. They're most common form - other than their normal look - is as Timmy's goldfish. But they've taken on just about every form imaginable at one time or another. Many of the accessories use that to their advantage.
Cosmo comes with a bouquet of flowers, Rock the pet rock (who is dressed up like Cosmo in crown and tie), a view screen with Jorgen Von Strangle on the screen, a flower version of Cosmo and Wanda, his wand, and an extra lower body with a clear plastic support rod. Using the rod and attaching it to the lower body and base allows Cosmo to 'float' in the air. This is a great idea, since that's how they spend most of their time, but doesn't work as well as you might hope. The angle of the rod and shape of the hole in the back of the extra lower body allows the head and torso to sit too far forward, pulling Cosmo off the peg pretty easily. Cosmo can hold the flowers,
and wand thanks to the holes/pegs. He can't hold the corn cob, but the
cob stands up fine on it's own. Hey, it's not just smarter than Cosmo,
it's better balanced!
Wanda has that same lower torso and clear support rod, and she has exactly the same issues with them. I managed to get her to stay on longer than Cosmo, but neither of them were going to be up there for the long haul. She also has her wand of course, versions of herself and Cosmo as balloons (with more clear support rods to attach them to a base), telephone, mirror, tropical drink and Da Rulez, the big book of fairy rules. Wanda can hold the phone, mirror, wand,
and drink as well.
Timmy comes with his nightstand that Wanda and Cosmo's bowl always sits on, same said bowl with a fish version of Cosmo and Wanda inside, a baseball, a Crimson Chin comic, a microphone from Fairy World, and his zombie gerbil Eddie. The drawer opens on the nightstand, and can actually hold the book, microphone and ball easily. Timmy can also hold the book and microphone in his hands.
Vicky also comes with a version of Cosmo and Wanda, this time as lipstick. She also has her diary, Doidles the dopey dog, a tape player, and a CD of music from heart throb Chip Skylark. In classic Palisade's style, the keep case opens and the CD can be removed.
One of the best features of many of these accessories is that they are episode specific. And I've also raved about using the pegs and holes to allow the figures to hold many of them, but it's worth mentioning again, because it increases both the display potential and fun factor so much.
Fun Factor - ***1/2
These were almost four star fun figures, but the difficulty in keeping them standing and in using the display stands hurt them a bit. My four year olds, who would be the perfect age for this stuff and love the show, had fun for awhile but did get frustrated with some of the features. Still, it's a pity they never made it to mass market, because kids would have responded well.
Value - **1/2
Most stuff on the specialty market these days runs $12 - $15 each. Considering the number of accessories with these figures and the sheer amount of plastic that went into their heads, they are a pretty average deal at around $14 each. Had they been mass market, they couldn't have ran more than $8 or so, but with such small production runs, the higher costs are inevitable.
Things to watch out for -
Pick out the best paint ops, particularly on the eyes. It's also a good idea to be careful working the shoulder joints, since the sculpt and paint tend to restrict them a bit.
Overall - ***
The final overall score hinged heavily on the sculpting score - had that
dropped another half star, then this one would have as well, all else being
equal. While these figures are far from awful, and do deserve the
three stars, I can't help but feel a little disappointed. The
difficulty getting them to stand, the slightly weak paint ops, and the less
useful articulation are all the big negatives. They did do a great job
capturing the appearance of the characters though (with the exception of
Timmy's teeth), and the accessory choices were outstanding. Catch me
on a bad day and these could have been **1/2, but today must be a good day.
I seriously doubt that we'll see a second assortment of this series,
which is too bad. A.J., Chester, Crocker, Crimson Chin, and even Mark
the Alien would have all made great figures.
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***
Where to Buy -
These have hit comic shops...but I'd be surprised if you found a comic shop that actually ordered them. They aren't exactly the usual fare of your basic comic shop customer. They are also at a number of online stores:
- omgcnfo.com has them for $13.50 each, or the set of 4 for $52.
- Clark Toys has the individuals for $15 each, or the set of 4 for $55.
- Killer Toys has them for $14 each, or the set of 4 for $53.
- CornerStoreComics has them for $14 each, or the set of 4 for $55.
- YouBuyNow has the individuals for $15 each.
Not too much this time around:
- Palisades has a great site, with excellent message boards on all their lines.
- JAKKS did a series of FOP toys too, one of which I reviewed as well.