Great Pumpkin Red Baron Playset

I've reviewed the new Good Ol' Charlie Brown line from Playing Mantis, the Great Pumpkin line, and now the first playset is out - Snoopy as the WWI Flying Ace.

This playset is the first of several announced, and is labeled a 'deluxe' playset.  It includes light up pumpkins, spooky sounds and flying sounds.

Target is putting a big push behind these right now, although Toys R Us will also be carrying them.  I found this set on an end cap at a local Target with the three packs and single carded figures of the first two lines.

Packaging - **
The box is attractive, with Great Pumpkin grapics and text on the line, with pictures of the other figures.  It's not collector friendly, but the large window shows off the set and figure fairly well.  Overall it's serviceable without excitement.

Sculpting - ***
The sculpting on the figure is nothing you haven't already seen if you read the Great Pumpkin review (or picked these up yourself).  This is exactly the same Snoopy, with nothing changed.  He's cute, but the arm sculpt still bothers me - the paws are practically stubs on the ends of his arms.

The sculpting on the set itself is a different story.  The pumpkin patch has great details, and the dog house, while somewhat plain, looks just as you'd expect.  The only negative is that the door isn't a door, but just painted black.  The base is sculpted to allow the other bases to snuggle up next to it.

For the final touch, on top of the dog house is a small indentation carved out to allow Snoopy to put his heiney without toppling off.

Paint - **
The paint ops on the playset are great, at least on the one I picked up.  All the details on the various Jack-O-Lanterns are well done, with straight grins and clean eyes.

Snoopy's face paint is iffy, with a squiggly smile that appeared to vary in quality from set to set.  Be particularly careful when picking him out.

But I took off points here because of the advertised stickers.  On the box it says there are Halloween stickers included to decorate the dog house.  Once you get it open, you do find a sheet of stickers, but they are window static stickers, and don't work on the dog house.  You have to use them on a window, and they are very tiny for something like that.  There's a note (that looks quickly produced) that says to get the stickers for the dog house, you have to call Playing Mantis.  I gave them a call, gave them my address, and they said they would send along the stickers.

Articulation - ***1/2
Snoopy has neck, shoulders, an angled waist and ankles.  This allows him to sit or stand, and he can do both positions nicely.

Sitting on the dog house is another story.  While he can pull it off, it's a pretty precarious spot.  The indentation on the top doesn't work very well, and the design seems like several others in this line (like Lucy's witch hat): a good idea poorly executed.

Accessories - **
Snoopy has the exact same helmet and scarf as the regular Great Pumpkin version.  Oddly enough, he doesn't have any Woodstock.

That's pretty light for accessories, since they are both straight re-uses.  Even a re-used Woodstock or food/water dish would have been nice.

The dog house isn't actually attached to the pumpkin patch base, and you can recreate those great dog fights of the strip.

Sound/light Feature - *
This was the biggest disappointment for me.  Just like the Simpsons sets, the deluxe Peanuts sets are supposed to have sounds.  On top of that there's a light up feature on the Jack-O-Lantern's.

Each time you push the button (the top of one of the pumpkins), a sound plays and the pumpkins flash.  The flashing feature works fine, although it's a little dim.

But the sounds...oh my, the sounds.  The box advertises 'flying sounds' and 'spooky sounds'.  I get exactly one of each.  That's right - there's one sound of Snoopy starting up the Sopwith Camel, and one that is supposed to be spooky, but sounds like an elephant in heat.  Was that from the show?

Value - *1/2
I paid $16 for this set at Target.  Considering that a Simpsons playset or a Muppets playset are around $20, that the figure is just a repack with completely re-used accessories, and the sound and light feature is weak, and you can see why I think $16 is certainly overpriced.

Overall - **
No matter how nostalgic I am over the Peanuts line, I can't honestly ignore the serious problems with this set.  The base looks good, but the disappointing sounds, high cost, and lack of accessories really hurts the overall score.

The new Rudolph toys are hitting stores right now, so hopefully I'll have a good review on those coming up!

Where to Buy - 
I picked these up at Target, and TRU will be carrying them as well. 

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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