Where The Wild Things Are

McFarlane Toys have been a leader of unique licenses, innovative sculpting, and amazing detail for the last decade.  Now, after a couple questionable choices in the last year in outside licensing (can anyone say Slapshot?) they've produced a beautiful line of figures based on the famous Maurice Sendak story, Where the Wild Things Are, written in 1963.

Children have loved this fairy tale for many years, and parents appreciate the simple beauty of the story.  The characters are visually arresting, and seem a perfect avenue for McToys to produce a line.  These are selling at most retailers, but I picked them up on line from Amazon/TRU for $47.  Amazon always has a ten buck off coupon (right now it is AMAZSPECNNVV), so you can pick them up for about $45 shipped.

Packaging - ***
These are far too heavy to be carded, and so they come boxed in very attractive boxes.  The graphics are bright and appropriate to each character, and you can remove the figure from the box without completely destroying it.  Sure, the three or four twisties used to hold them in are tied in some sort of bizarre Asian torture knots, but snip the wires and the slide right out.

Sculpting - ****
Simply amazing.  McFarlane Toys is well known for their great sculpts, but even these are above their usual ability.  Each of the characters looks perfect, with the sculpting of the hair, faces, horns, all coming together to produce one of the finest looking lines ever manufacture.  The sculpting really is that good.


Articulation - Bupkis
There are four points on most of the figures, occasionally 5.  Usually the arms have some sort of cut joint, as do the legs.  Those who have tails might be able to move them, but overall, the articulation is severely limited.  I wouldn't hold that against them too much, except that half of these figures have a tremendous failing - they can't stand easily on their own.  Bernard, Max and Goatboy are okay, but Emil, Aaron, and Moishe are doomed to eventually weaken and droop, while Tzippy is a complete loss right from the start, unable to stand in any position.  I have to admit that I was tremendously disappointed when I opened these up.  They showed such promise, but it was not to be.

UPDATE  - I managed to break Tzippy's right leg free, and was able to provide a more stable pose.  I'm not thrilled with it, but it's certainly better than it was.  I'm upgrading the Articulation score from Bupkis to *1/2.



Quality - **
For the McFarlane lover who likes their toys heavy, these will score well.  I suspect you could kill someone, Columbo-style, with one of these babies.  However, this extreme heaviness in the body and head means that the legs are even more likely to wilt with time and cause the figures to droop.  And as is often the case, one of my figures dropped a leg right out of the box.  I was able to reattach it, but this seems to be a much greater problem for McFarlane than other companies.

Accessories - ***
Not a lot in the area of accessories, but Max comes with his crown and scepter, and every character comes with a neat little stand.  Unfortunately, these stands don't help all that much with the figures that are doomed to topple.


Value - ***
I'm assuming these guys will be eight bucks at most stores.  The best value is Max and Goat Boy, who come as a two pack along with Max's accessories.  If you just consider what you're getting, six bucks would be a much more appropriate price point, but I'm sure that there aren't that many of these figures being produced, so the lower demand that an unusual license like this pulls means higher prices are necessary.

Overall - **1/2
If the simple lack of articulation had been the only problem, these figures would have gotten ***1/2 easy.  Let's face it, with chunky bodies, big heads, and stubby limbs, these characters aren't really well designed up front to be turned into any sort of highly articulated figure.  But the sculpting is amazing, and extremely true to the source material.  Of course, the big problem here is the poor design.  These characters should be able to stand on their own, and it's a simple matter of center of gravity.  The designers surely know that if the center of gravity of heavy figures like this isn't positioned around the one point they have standing (most of them have their second leg in the air, unable to touch the ground in any way), they will topple and fall.  A fix would be simple - include a thin steel rod, maybe three inches long.  The rod can run from the stand to a small hole in the figures posterior - no jokes, please.  By using this rod at the center of gravity for each figure, you'd never have the problem of them slowly bending and wilting over time.



Goat Boy

Individually, I rank them as follows - Max ***1/2, Bernard ***1/2, Goat Boy ***, Moishe ***, Emil **1/2, Aaron *1/2, and Tzippy, well, Tzippy is truly the one to completely avoid if you don't feel the absolute need to have the complete set.

I'll readily admit that my opinion has been colored by my disappointment.  When I opened these figures, I felt like I was Charlie Brown, and McToys was Lucy, pulling the football out from under me one more time.


UPDATE - since Tzippy is posing much better now, I'm upgrading the overall score from **1/2 to ***.  Also, Tzippy himself would rank a **.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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