Packaging - ***1/2
The box is rather large, but the odd shape of the play set makes that
necessary. The graphics are great, and the box is shaped in a slightly
irregular way. The top is slightly wider than the bottom, giving it a
rather unique look. Add in the flowing edge of the window, and you get
a box that really does remind you of the show in a basic visual way.
One note though - Max is taped into the tray, and when you are removing
the rest of the set from the twisties, there might be a tendency to pull the
whole thing free from the tray. That could break the string that's
holding Max in place before it tears the tape, so cut or remove that first.
Sculpting - **1/2
This set is quite small compared with other deluxe sets. The
Grinch himself stands barely over 1" tall, and the set itself is only
about 8" tall by 8" wide.
That small scale means that the Grinch and Max aren't going to have much
detail. The best sculpting here is on the sleigh itself, with its pile
of packages and bulging sides. The mountain itself matches with the
style of animation nicely, including some nice texturing for the snow and
The quality of the sculpt, considering the scale, is actually pretty
good. Oh, sure - Max and the Grinch are pretty basic, but that's to be
expected. If you don't mind the scale, then you're going to be much
more enamored with this set than I was.
This scale means a loss of detail, and in some cases, that really does
hurt. Just look at poor little Max, who at this scale looks more like
a hunk of brown modeling clay than the adorable dog.
For me, the set is simply too small. I think in general, the
reduced scale playsets that McToys has done - along with this one, there was
the Lost set and the upcoming Lard Lad as well - are simply not as appealing
to fans, particularly when it's in such a stark contrast to the scale of the
regular line. You can't display this with the regular figures, so it
ends up as a stand alone item. This might be more successful with a
Christmas theme - you can stick it on the mantle as a holiday decoration -
but it doesn't do much for me.
Paint - ***
Again, considering the scale, the paint is pretty well done.
They've used very little of the black highlight lines (there are some around
the Grinch's mouth, collar and wrists), which is smart considering how small
the figures are. As it is, the one around his mouth stands out rather
starkly with the white teeth and green face, but it does give some
differentiation between the mouth and face.
The best technique is the use of blue to create shadow on the white snow
and on the huge bag on the sled. This works well both in context with
the cartoon, and just in general as a technique to give some pop to the
Articulation - *1/2
As you might expect, there's no real articualtion here. The tipping
action feature requires that the sled can move, and having Max suspended on
the length of string means he swings around as well.
Accessories - Bupkis
There's nothing to be attached or removed from the basic plastic
statue. This isn't a factor for me on the overall, but worth noting.
Action Feature -**
The action feature for this set consists of a button, hidden as a rock on
the base, that when pushed tilts the sled. Yep, it tilts the sled
toward Max, rather than toward his eminent doom. Whoop.
The button works fine, although pushing it and releasing it does tend to
knock the set over. The sled is quite heavy, and the base is fairly
small, so the rocking motion is more than it can take. But hey, you
can hold on to it with two hands, can't you?
Or you could if you actually cared about this really lame action feature.
Fun Factor - **
Although it's based on a kid's show, this is clearly a pop culture
collectible for the adults that loved the show as a kid. A set like
this is the perfect example of pop culture Precious Moments. As such,
even with an 'action feature', it's meant for lookin', not playin'.
Value - **
This set runs about the same as other deluxe sets from Mcfarlane - $20 to
$25, depending on the retailer. At $25, I'd dock it another half star.
Considering that they just gave us the very cool Island of Dr. Hibbert for
about this same price, this set comes up a bit short on value.
Things to Watch Out For -
Other than the caveat I mentioned on removing the tape on Max before
removing the set itself from the tray, you should be fine.
Overall - **1/2
I love this show, and am very happy with most of the regular series
releases. Unfortunately, the scale on this set really doesn't do much
for me, hurting my overall. Factors like Accessories, Articulation,
and Fun Factor have no real impact, since I don't personally expect those
features here. The sculpt and value are the most important for me, and
in the end, there's also that certain something that factors in...that
feeling of 'damn that's cool' that I like to get when I just sit back and
look at something on the shelf. For me, that's missing here.