Last year we were treated to some wonderful Rudolph ornaments by Enesco,
sold at CVS stores, along with a series of plush figures. Millions
of people feel that this is one of the three greatest Christmas shows ever
done, ranking with Charlie Brown's Christmas and the Grinch. With
that many fans, how long would it be until we got action figures?
Not long. This year we are being treated to a fantastic set of
figures based on the well loved show. These figures are from Playing
Mantis, and should be available at a number of retail locations.
However, the special multi-packs, like the one above, is only available
through the stores owned by Media Play (Suncoast, Sam Goody and On
Cue). At $17 for all three, it's a great price.
The set pictured above contains the Snowman, Yukon Cornelius, and
Hermey the Elf/Dentist. Also available is a second set of figures
that includes Rudolph, Clarisse and Santa, with a few rabbits, raccoons
and misfit toys thrown in. There is also a Deluxe Abominable
Snowman, or as he's more affectionately known, Bumble. He's selling
for $9.99 at most stores.
Packaging - **1/2
It's not too exciting, but the back of each package shows the entire line,
along with the PVC set. Both the cards and boxes show the snow and
trees from the animated show. The card must be destroyed of course
to free Bumble, but at first I thought I'd be able to remove the others
from the box without damaging it too much. That wasn't the case, as
the way it's designed requires you to hack it up to get them out.
But if you like to keep them in the package, you can see them well and
appreciate their great looks.
Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpting on all these figures is absolutely wonderful. The
style captures the show perfectly, and Playing Mantis has outdone
themselves. Minor complaint - the arms on Cornelius seem a bit too
long, but otherwise these are excellent.
Articulation - ***1/2
The biggest surprise on this series is the wonderful articulation! I
hadn't expected it, and I figured we'd be lucky to get four or five
points. Bumble sports 7 points - neck, shoulders, wrists, and
thighs. Burl Ives, uh, I mean the Snowman, has 8 - neck, shoulders,
elbows, wrists, and waist. Hermey, the elf that wants to be a
dentist, has 9 points - neck, shoulders, wrists, waist, ankles, and a
single cut between the legs. And good old Yukon Cornelius also has 9
- neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and each leg. This articulation
is also useful, allowing the arms, legs and heads to take a great variety
of poses. Other companies should take note, especially since all
this articulation is very discrete.
Quality - ***
The quality is a little iffy here. The plastic on some of the
figures seems cheap, for example on Yukon's head. I'm concerned that the
arms might have a tendency to come loose as well, but I haven't had any
trouble yet, unlike many McToys I've opened in the past. Nothing
fell off right out of the box, so that's a good sign.
Accessories - ***1/2
Not only is the articulation great, the accessories are too.
Unfortunately, Bumble only comes with the star he placed on the tree. The
Snowman comes with a removable hat, his banjo and of course his
umbrella. Hermey has the most accessories, with his removable hat,
two Bumble teeth, his pliers, his hammer, and a book on Dentistry.
Finally, Yukon comes with his pick axe, knife, hammer and bear claw
Design - ***1/2
They get extra points on for the well designed hats on the Snowman and Hermey. The use of the well designed articulation, along with the
neat fur on the Bumble Snowman shows imagination and creativity. Can
you tell I think these figures are great!
Value - ****
Bumble is a little expensive, but even at ten bucks, he's not bad.
And the three packs are a great value at less than six bucks each.
Considering the overall quality, accessories and sculpting, these are one
of the best values this year.
Overall - ***1/2
These are the best thing Playing Mantis has done so far. I hope they
continue to produce this type of high quality, creatively designed
figures, and fans of the show should reward them by getting out there and
purchasing these. Nine times out of ten I'm surprised in a negative
way by the figures I buy. They don't live up to the pictures or
hype. But every so once in awhile I'm surprised in a positive way,
and this is one of those occasions. Excellent work!
BTW if you're looking for info on the show, a great page