Springfield Elementary School Bus

The latest edition to the Playmates Simpsons line is the Talking Elementary School Bus.  With the recent Treehouse of Horror 3 and Bowling Alley playset, and the imminent Main Street playset, we're getting buried in yellow plastic.

Similar to last year's talking Family Car, this time Playmates brings us the Springfield Elementary bus, piloted by the lovable stoner Otto.  Similar to the WOS line, the characters talk, and pressing the hood of the bus gives several lines of dialog between the kids and Otto.

The bus is not in scale with the WOS figures, and really isn't in scale with the car - it's slightly smaller than you might imagine.  I've included a picture at the bottom that shows the two vehicles together with Ragin' Willie.

I picked this one up at Electronics Boutique, and is shipping them as well.  They should show up at the Musicland family of stores, and at Toys R Us soon.  Retail is around twenty bucks.

Packaging - ***
It's packed in a similar fashion to the Family Car of course.  While it looks decent and is fairly sturdy, I'm looking forward to the planned changes in 2003.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpts on the kids inside - Bart, Milhouse, Ralph and Martin - is very good, especially since the scale is smaller than WOS.  Otto looks great in the front seat, but remember that these are only half bodies - there's no lower body.  The figure sits on top of the seat, and pressing each figure to the side activates the voice mechanism.

What I really like though is the sculpt of the bus.  Some folks will be disappointed that it isn't as large as they had anticipated, but the design looks great.  I like the slightly stubby appearance, and all the details are very nicely done.  My only question is, where's the stop sign?

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops on my set were good all around.  The lettering on the bus is clean and neat, and the face paint on each of the passengers (and driver) is well done.

Talking Feature - ***
Each of the characters has at least one line, and there are a couple dialog sets as well.

Bart - "Ah! Milhouse, Milhouse, wake up quick - look out the window!"

Milhouse - "No way Bart, if I lean over I leave myself open to wedgies, wet willies, or even the dreaded rear admiral!"

Martin - "Although I'm sure I'll receive a severe wedgie from my bus mates, I must remind you we should have been in school 10 minutes ago."

Ralph - "I dress myself" and "Me fail English - that's unpossible!"

Otto - "Oh, I stand on my record - 15 crashes and not a single fatality".

Pressing the hood - "I didn't know you played the guitar, Otto man."  "Hey, that's all I did in high school.  My old man said I was wasting my time and I'd never amount to anything...hahaha...
hahahaheehee...I, uh, oh.

"First one to the front of the bus gets Martin's lunch money.  What? Go apple! Go banana! Make way for grapefruit - go grapefruit! What the... *splat* Aaah...I can't see!" (braking/swerving noise).

Value - ***
At twenty bucks, it's a decent price, although $15 would have been far more palatable, particularly with all the Family Cars still on shelves.  I think this vehicle will be more popular than the car was, but it's tough to say just whether or not they'll sell through.

Overall - ***
Not the greatest Simpsons product ever produced, but not a bad toy either.  For the major fan, it's a must have, but the more casual buyer will have to look at it pretty hard and decide of the scale really fits in with their display.

Where to Buy - 
As I said, I picked this one up at Electronics Boutique where it was $22.  It should be around $20 at TRU when it finally hits.  On-line:

- the best deal I found was at Action Figure Express, where the bus is $24.95, BUT you can get some other Simpsons merchandise at 50% off with your order.  (MROTW Affiliate)

-  It's also at Entertainment Earth, but more expensive at $25.99 plus shipping. (MROTW Affiliate)

- And EB Online has them for $22 plus shipping, the best price I saw in a quick scan.  (MROTW Affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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