Packaging - ***
The Simpsons mini-bust packages aren't Sideshows greatest work, but this is a
license that is very picky about how such things appear. Fox and Gracie
Films tend to like plainer rather than fancier, so I'm betting they had a lot of
say in just what these boxes looked like.
But while they aren't the most complex or
creative, they do provide both a sturdy, safe environment for your little yellow
friend, and a nice window to allow you to actually see the bust before
buying. That's a real plus, since busts can have the same issues with
paint and quality that action figures have, and they cost a whole lot more
Sculpting - Mr. Burns ****; Moe ***1/2
I had a few issues with the sculpting and design of the first series, but
this time both figures are outstanding.
First time around, they didn't capture the look
and feel of the particular characters as well as I'd have liked. This
time, both Moe and Burns look just like you'd expect, and the pose, position and
expression is da cheese. I have no idea what that means, but I heard
someone say it today, and I thought it sounded great, especially for someone
Moe has his arms crossed across his chest, bar
rag in hand, with his not quite mad, but definitely less than happy
expression. Mr. Burns looks like he just said 'excellent', with a sly
smile, shifty eyes, and fingers tented in front of him.
The only real issue with sculpting here is that
scale is a bit wonky with the busts. Moe and Burns are just as big - or
bigger - than Homer, and that throws things off a bit when they are all together
on the shelf.
Paint - ***
At first glance, the paint application looks quite good, but there are a few
issues, especially at this price point.
The most obvious problem spot is around the eyes
on both figures. There's some stray white, with less than perfect
definition between the white and yellow. The pupils are good however.
There's also some sloppy lines between the
various clothing colors, but the colors that cover large areas - like the jacket
or the apron - are nice and consistent.
Ah, but what about the actual colors? God
knows the average Simpsons fan knows exactly what color every piece of clothing
is supposed to be, so they have to be exact to avoid consumer outcry. If
you were unhappy with the first Playmates Moe and Burns...well, you aren't going
to be thrilled with these colors.
Moe has the white apron, blue shirt, the same as
the first WOS Moe. He also has much blacker hair, similar to first season
Moe. Burns has the gray suit with red tie, again the same as the original
WOS Moe. I don't have a major issue with either, particularly Mr Burns who
has been seen in this suit plenty of times. Sure, Moe could have had the
blue apron, and he would have scored better in this category had the color been
the more recent versions, but I'm not hitting them hard for this. It's
dictated by FOX, so I'll cut them some slack.
Quality/Design - Mr. Burns ****; Moe ***1/2
I mentioned the design briefly in the scultpign section, but let me
reiterate it here - the poses and expressions are great. The design of
these characters is superior to the first wave, and while I'm still disappointed
that we didn't get a more 'simsonized' pedastal, overall the design and qualty
of both busts is extremely good.
These busts are also smaller than some of the
other Sideshow lines, like Lord of the Rings or the Muppets, but that works very
well with this license, and the lower price point sure helps out the wallet.
Value - ***
Speaking of price point, at around $35 suggested retail (and prices below
$30 at some on-line retailers), these busts are a pretty decent deal.
Compare this to other lines, particularly the comic based ones like the Bowen
busts or the DC Direct stuff. At a higher price point (usually around
$40), you are getting a similar sized bust, with similar detail.
While these aren't as low end of an item as say,
the World of Springfield figures, they aren't much more expensive than the
playsets (and in many cases with the exclusive playsets, even cheaper).
There will only be a few made at a time, and while they can take up some shelf
space, they look mighty impressive lined up together.
Another good comparison is to the Hamilton
sculptures, which run $20 - $30 in most cases. These are certainly better,
larger and more impressive overall, and a great value in comparison.
Overall - ***1/2
The first four didn't wow me - they weren't bad, but fell in the land of
fair to middlin'. This pair is a big improvement, and now I can't wait to
get my hands on the Comic Book Guy and the Collector.
I'm a little disturbed by the inconsistencies in
the scale, but it doesn't ruin the overall appearance.