Burn's Manor and Dr. Nick's

Simpsons collectors have been forced to endure the longest period without a new regular wave or regular playset since the start of the World of Springfield line, and they've been mighty impatient.

Finally, the new playsets are here - it will be a little while still before we see the wave 10 figures.  But Burn's Manor and Dr. Nick's Office are now shipping from Amazon, and should be at other stores soon.

With wave 10, wider release of Main Street, and the KBBL Radio Station all well overdue, it should be a pretty heavy Simpsons month in November.

If you're looking for up to the minute coverage of all things Simpsons, check out the Simpsons Collector Sector.  With the very latest information, pictures, and news, along with terrific message boards, you'll find just what your looking for.

Packaging - ***
Same stuff different day.  I've talked about these packages so many times over the last couple years I have absolutely nothing left to say, and that's damn unusual.

I'm looking forward to the proposed packaging change for 2003, if for no other reason than to have something new to say in this category.

Sculpting - ***1/2
I'm combining two things in this category - the sculpt on the figures of course, and the general sculpting on the playsets.

The playsets themselves are the big winners here, with some of the greatest detail we've ever seen in a WOS set.  The only two other sets that are similar in detail are the Comic Shop and the Kitchen.

Just like those two sets, we're treated to all kinds of goodies, from the books on the shelves of the bookcase in Burn's Manor, to the towel rack and sink details in Dr. Nick's office.  While almost every set had possibilities for this kind of detail, most end up like the Retirement Castle or the DMV - not quite as much as you'd like.

These two really stand out though, and they've catapulted up with the Kitchen and Android's Dungeon as my favorite sets.

So why the slightly lower score on the sculpting?  It's the figures themselves.  Mr. Burns is actually quite good, although he may not be a sculpt most folks are going to be all that excited about.  Nope, it's not really the figures, but the figure of Dr. Nick, that knocks off that half star.

The head and body sculpt aren't bad, although there's something slightly off with the smile.  It's not major though, and only hurts the figure slightly.  The big problem I have is in scale.  While Dr. Nick isn't a big guy, he's quite a big smaller than Homer and Dr. Hibbert for example, and while it might be accurate to Fox's specs, it seems off when they are all together.

On a brighter note, the arms for both figures are sculpted in such a way as to make the most sense.  Mr. Burns can clutch BoBo to his chest, and Dr. Nick is waving in his usual manner.  He can also hold all the small medical instruments (or test tubes) in his left hand.

Paint - ****
I had no issues with the paint ops on these sets at all, although I suggest being careful picking them out just like always.  The figures are notorious for having some figures with less than perfect work, so look over a few if you can before picking one out.

The colors are all clean and consistent, and the face paint and lines around the clothes are even and smooth.

I always include the stickers in this category, and they did a wonderful job in this department as well.  I particularly like the reversed name on the door to Dr. Nick's, and the choice of photos in Mr. Burn's Manor.

The one weird item, which I'm mentioning here since there really isn't a better place, is the snow effect for the small snow globe.  It's glued to the outside of the plastic bubble, which means it could theoretically rub off over time.

I also want to mention that Dr. Nick's hair is blue - I'm not sure if that's right or not, although it seems to be just from memory.  Still, you might want to keep that in mind if you were expecting black.

Articulation - **1/2
Remember what I said about the packaging? Same applies here - it's the usual four points, with no surprises.

Accessories - ****
They really went all out on the accessories for both of these sets as well.  Burn's Manor comes with the aforementioned BoBo and snow globe, along with the large red chair.  There's also a yellow grate for the fireplace.  And Burn's hat is removable as well. All of these are new accessories.

Dr. Nick's Office comes with a ton of stuff, including a Buzz cola (new ), rack of four test tubes (new - Frink's had three, and the tubes are smaller here), open pizza box (new), cotton ball container with lump of cotton balls to go inside (new), and three, count them THREE very cool medical instruments that attach to the back wall, all new.

That level of new accessories is pretty good for playsets, and I'm hopeful that it's what we'll continue to see with the Courtroom and Treehouse.

Value - ***1/2
If you can pick these up for $20 - that's still Target's price - you're getting a great value.  Drop a half star to a star if you're paying the $25 some other stores charge.

Talking Feature - ****
Burn's Manor has the better lines of these two sets, but the are both better than many of the previous sets in terms of line selection.

A particularly important point - I had no trouble getting several different figures to attach to the foot pegs just fine.  It looks like Playmates has that problem fixed.

For a complete list of lines, check out the Simpsons Collector Sector, but here's a couple of my favorites - Dr. Nick, "You need booze!"; Mr. Burns, "Due to my hectic schedule and lethargic sperm, I never fathered an heir."

Overall - ***1/2
I've had too many ***1/2 star reviews lately, but the stuff I've been seeing has just been damn nice.  These two sets are no different (although the other Simpsons item I'm reviewing shortly - the Bobble Heads - will break the streak), and WOS fans should be particularly happy to get such a great Dr. Nick's Office.  He was a must have figure for me, and although his scale is a bit off to my eye, I'm still extremely happy to have added him to my display.  Getting such a cool playset along with it is just gravy. 

Where to Buy - 
I bought mine at, since they were the very first to have them this time around.  It was that dock lock out that messed everything up for these sets and wave 10.  Target and Toys R Us, along with the Musicland family, should have them in soon.  On-line: 

- Entertainment Earth has them in stock, but you'll pay a little more at $50 for the pair.  They guarantee nice boxes though. They also have the Wave 10 figures in stock!  (MROTW Affiliate)

- If you want to pre-order WOS sets and figures, I highly recommend New Force Comics.  Always an excellent price with terrific customer service, if you don't mind waiting a little longer (since on-line stores usually get their WOS after bricks and mortar retailers) than New Force is the place for you.  They currently have these two sets still available for pre-order at $40 for the pair plus shipping.

- also has them in stock for about $22 each plus shipping.  No guarantees on the boxes though! (MROTW Affiliate)

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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