Simpsons Busts wave 2
Moe and Mr. Burns

This week I've done two Sideshow reviews, and two Simpsons reviews - in only three reviews!  Tonight is a Sideshow Simpsons product, the second wave of their popular mini-busts.

Wave 1 was a big wave, taking care of the majority of the family - Homer, Bart, Marge and Lisa.  This time it's only two characters, the ever popular yet always grumpy Moe and Mr. Burns.

These are available at the Sideshow site for $35 each.  The first wave had an edition size of 5000, but these two have dropped to 3000 each.

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 green.

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 who's yellow.

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.

Where to Buy - 
Sideshow direct is your best bet, although you may find them at some comic shops, and certainly at toy shows.  Both Mr. Burns and Moe are $35 each, with the next series of Apu and Comic Book Guy coming soon.  The best of the entire series will be The Collector, due to hit before the end of the year.  He's an edition of only 1000 though, so I'm betting he won't make it past the pre-order stage before selling out.  Also - 

- Alter Ego Toys has the next wave up for pre-order at just $28 each, a great price!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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