I'm back from a week long trip to San Francisco, ready to right up those
reviews once again. And first up is this terrific new playset from
Playmates, the Treehouse of Horror. Playmates continues to amaze me
with the breadth of selection and the quality of toys they are producing
for the Simpsons.
This set is a Toys R Us exclusive, out just in time
for Halloween. I wouldn't wait around too long to pick it up either,
as I expect these to go very quickly. Priced at $30, you get the
playset along with four, count them four, characters - Bart as the Fly
from "Fly vs. Fly" from THOH VIII, Homer from "King
Homer" in THOH III, Burns as Dracula from "Bart Simpson's
Dracula" in THOH IV, and Flanders as the Devil from "The Devil
and Homer Simpson" in THOH IV.
Sculpting - ****
Once again, Playmates manages to capture these figures perfectly.
Since the only reuse here is Bart's body, it's also quite amazing that the
price point was so reasonable.
Packaging - **1/2
Pretty basic stuff here, but at least the graphics of the four included
figures are colorful and accurate. This box is slightly thinner and
taller than the regular playset boxes, so that all four characters can be
plainly seen. It's fairly well constructed, although you have to destroy
it to get the set out.
Accessories - ***
There are a couple accessories included. Flanders has his ever
present removable glasses, and a pitchfork. There is also the small
Krusty doll (as seen in the THOH III segment "Clown without
Pity"). I'm not including the detachable trees, gateway or
headstone - I count that as part of the playset itself.
Design - **1/2
I'll hit them up on the paper background as part of the quality, so I'll
let that slide here. They have moved the speaker from the bottom of
the playset to the top, hidden behind one of the tombstones. This was
a great idea, since it allows the already clear voices to come through all
that much better. The gate, tombstones, and details on the playset
are fantastic, and it contains even more references to other THOH
episodes. On the paper background you can see Marge as the witch
from "Easy Bake Coven" in THOH VIII, the transformed Snowball II
from Bart's Nightmare on THOH II, Kodos and Kang from several different
episodes, a Zombie from "Dial Z for Zombie" from THOH III, and
Burn's teeth in a jar from the same episode as the figure, "Bart
Simpson's Dracula" from THOH IV. On the playset itself, you see
the aforementioned Krusty doll behind one tombstone, and the gremlin from
"Nightmare at 51/2 Feet" from THOH IV.
There is one major design flaw here, however. There is a very
limited number of ways that the figures can be placed on the set.
Burns only works in the center, and Flanders works best to the
right. If you place him to the left, his foot covers up the
button. Homer doesn't fit well on any of the slots, due to both his
size and the placement of the slot on his foot. So you're pretty
much stuck with Bart on the left, Burns in the middle and Flanders on the
right with Homer off the set altogether.
Articulation - **1/2
The same four points for most of these figures that the others have
had. Homer has neck, shoulder and thighs, which adds an extra point
to him. The articulation is not the strong suit of these figures,
but I can allow that due to the strong sculpts and excellent detail.
One other interesting point to note here - Burns does have the standard
four points, neck, shoulders and waist, because they bothered to give him
a lower body underneath the cloak. If this had been Hasbro, we'd
have gotten one solid chunk of plastic for a body.
Quality - ***
Overall the quality is very good. They lost points on one count -
the paper background is rather flimsy and likely to have problems.
Paint - ***1/2
The paint work is pretty consistent here, except you should watch around
Homer's eyes. The gray colors of Homer are a nice touch, since that
is what he looked like in the episode (black and white). The only
down side is Flanders legs, which aren't brown but a dark red. I'm
not sure if they looked that way at some point in the episode, however.
Value - ****
Here's four figures, plus an excellent playset for thirty bucks. On
top of that, it's an exclusive, notorious for being more expensive.
So here's a fantastic value, and Playmates should be congratulated not
only for producing such a wide variety of characters but for doing it at
such a terrific price point.
Overall - ***1/2
Another excellent job by Playmates. Although the playset isn't quite
as perfect as say, the Kwik-E-Mart, it's still extremely good. The
mere idea that we've gotten figures of some of the best Treehouse of
Horror figures, available at a large chain, and at a great price, is
reason enough to give these guys great marks.
Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford