Simpsons Be Sharp Centennial

Okay, on Sunday night I said the whole week would be Chrismas stuff, and I still have plenty of holiday joy to share, including The Christmas Story Old Man, the deluxe Charlie-in-the-box, and the new Rudolph figures.

But I came across the new Toys R Us exclusive Simpsons play set for the Be Sharps figure, and had to get that one in here pronto.  This set is sized similar to a regular set, with a Wiggum as Dolittle figure included.  It has four pegs instead of three though, so that all four Be Sharp exclusive mail away figures can be placed on the set at one time.  With all four hooked up, you'll hear them sing a short section of the song 'Baby On Board"!

The set is a TRU exclusive, so that's where to search.  It retails for $39.99, and the SKU # is 733698.  The run size looks to be pretty small at around 13k, easily the lowest run of any WOS set.  You might be seeing a decent number of THOH4 sets at the store right now, but don't let that lull you into complacency if you really want this set - they made at least 20k of the THOH4.

BTW, for all the latest info on anything WOS, you should be checking the Simpsons Collector Sector.  They have a good listing of the TRU warehouses, and the allocation for each.  They also let you know when each warehouse has received their shipment.

Packaging - ***
I almost docked these down another half star, since the screws are getting annoying.  Still, this package has some extra attention, including using the small circle pictures of just the Be Sharps figures.  They also make it very clear on the playing of the song, and the graphics are attractive and bright.

This is actually a play set that looks pretty good MIB, since you can see everything from the front, unlike some past sets where things were hidden underneath or pieces have to be assembled.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I have no serious complaints on the sculpt, although I suspect some folks are going to comment on the slightly weird shape to Wiggum's head.  It seems to be designed that way to make the hat look right when it's on, but without the hat he looks a little...odd.

The set itself doesn't have a ton of detail, but it does have the huge guns jutting out of the back, draped with the banner.  The only oddity here is the floor of the set.  I haven't watched this episode lately, but the 'wooden plank' look for the base doesn't really fit visually with the idea that this is the bridge of a battleship.  Maybe it was drawn that way on the show and I just didn't notice, but it stands out here, at least to me.  It's also possible that they were on a platform on the deck, and that's what we see here.  I'm not docking them seriously for this, since it might be my mental breakdown that's at issue, and not the design.

Other than the odd head, the Wiggum sculpt is great.  The outfit has plenty of detail, more than the usual WOS figure, and the fake mustache looks excellent.  The hands are also sculpted nicely, the left to hold the microphone and the right in a gesture.  They look pretty good, although the left hand holds the microphone at an unusual angle.

One other sculpting detail worth mentioning is the banners on the front.  Each has a ton of wrinkly goodness, and doing them in relief instead of as a sticker was an important addition.

Paint - ***
I didn't have any issues with the overall quality of the paint ops, but things are very basic here, at least on the set.  Outside of the red, white and blue banners on the very front edge, the colors are very basic and there's little paint detail.  But the expansive colors, like the battleship grey and white banner, are consistent and clean.  The letters on the large banner are also done very well, with no over spray issues on the white.

The sticker looks good on the background, with lots of color and graphics, but it is a sticker.  In terms of color outside of this sticker, this is one of the weaker sets.

The paint application on Wiggum is great.  Unlike the set, there's a nice variety of color, and the smaller details like his watch and coat buttons are painted separately.  I have very few problems with poor definition between colors, over spray, or bleed on the figure, but as always, take at least three looks at the figure you're buying before committing.

Articulation - **1/2
Wiggum has neck, shoulders and waist.  Big surprise if you just got off the boat, but I think everyone else is well aware of the articulation.  Wrists would really be nice on these figures, and would make posing with the mic even better.

Accessories - **
For the first time in ages, the accessories score on a WOS item is low.  But this is the first time in ages we've gotten any re-used figures at all, let alone two of only three.

The set comes with a hat for Wiggum, the microphone (reused) and the mic stand (reused).  They work fine here, but at this price point you'd expect a little more.

Talking Feature - ***1/2
The set is designed to work as much exclusive sets do - with only a specific set of figures.  Usually, like THOH or the NYE set, the figures are actually included with the set.  In this case, they assume you've gotten the four mail away Be Sharps, but the set is still only designed to work with these and Dolittle Wiggum.

There's a decent number of lines for those characters though, most of them show specific.  The box says 15, but I counted at least 17.  Maybe by 15, they mean 15 lines unique to this set:

*panting* "Where we going, where we going" *panting* "No...nooo...noooooooo!"
"The Be Sharps" *laugh*
"Can't blame a guy for trying." *laugh*
"You're all under arrest."
"This bird's going to fly!"
"Get the tear gas."

"We'd like to dedicated this next number to a very special woman.  She's a hundred years old, and she weighs over two hundred...tons."
"The Be Sharps!"

"Barbershop is in danger of growing stale.  I'm taking it to strange new places!"

"Gentleman, US magazine just came out with its 'what's hot and what's not' issue.  We're not."
"Only one question remains gentlemen.  What do we call ourselves."
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press - we take great pride in announcing the formation of Donut Records."

"It may not be glamorous, but it's good, honest work."
"It is a great dishonor to my ancestors and my God, but okay!"
"By the many arms of Vishnu, I swear it is a lie."
"This tune is not happening."
"How about the Be Sharps?"

And when all four are plugged in you get "I'm telling you it's mighty nice, each trip's a trip to paradise, with my on board!"  The default sound is fireworks.

There's some issues though.  First, you'll only get Dolittle's lines in demo mode, and I'm sure some folks will be annoyed by that.  Second, while I think it's a great idea that you have to have the Be Sharp figures plugged in to hear the song - maybe driving more folks to get the mail-aways - I had some issues with a couple of the connectors.  If you have trouble getting one of the figures to work with a connector, you're screwed.  I did finally get them all working reasonably well, but this may be an area of contention for some sets.

Value - **1/2
Target sells regular sets for $20, but ever since the FAO boy came over to TRU, their prices have been getting more and more ridiculous across the board.  The regular playsets are now $30 at TRU, and this exclusive, with only one more peg than a regular set, is $40.  That's at least ten bucks overpriced, but I'm sure that the low run is driving a lot of this, as is any additional rights costs for the song.  At only 13k, you have to admit that costs are going to be quite a bit more than the usual set on a per unit basis.

Overall - ***
This set almost lost another half star overall. Why?  Because the set is fairly basic in design, the accessories are disappointing, and the price is too high.  But then I considered the cool factor in getting the clip from the song, the extra connector so all four figures can stand together, and a play set revolving around both the mail-aways, and a cool episode.  That managed to squeak out another half star, but this is definitely a set that only the uber-collectors will be picking up.  I think Playmates and TRU knew that, and that's why the run is so low. 

Where to Buy - 
Toys R Us is the place to be shopping.  On-line:

- It's a TRU exclusive, so that means the only regular on-line retailer to have it is their web site at  Unfortunately, it's no longer available for pre-order.  However, it's worth getting on the email list because if it's like the THOH4 set, you'll see them pop up again as folks that had them pre-ordered find them locally, and cancel their on-line orders.

- Also at is the exclusive Flash Back set.  I'm mentioning that here, because this set is exclusive to the ON-LINE STORE only.  You won't see it at the bricks and mortar stores, so if you want it you better order it now, while it's still available.

Also, if you haven't picked up the Be Sharp figures yet, you should be able to still get all four.  Homer might be a problem, but I'm not sure.  Each of the last four waves has had an offer slip for the mail away figure - buy four regular wave figures, and send in the POPs with the form and five bucks, and they send you the figure.  The offers are all good through this December 31st, but you should hustle it up if you haven't already sent for them.  With the recent shipping of Barney, all four are also shipping to those that have sent in their info.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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