The Muppets weren't my thing as a kid. See, I was too old for them by the time they hit the air in full force on Sesame Street, already being 9 or 10. Sure it was cute, but I was already at an age where cute was definitely not cool.

And then came a movie on television that changed all that. It was The Frog Prince, starring Kermit of course, but also with a new character - Sweetums. Released in 1972, this movie started my interest in muppets in general, and Sweetums in particular, easily one of the coolest muppets ever developed.

So it should be no surprise that when Palisades announced they'd be doing a Sweetums figure, I was all over it. Poor Sweetums was a tough sell though to retailers, since to do him in anything approaching realistic scale meant he was mighty big, and therefore mighty expensive.

After getting bounced around for what seemed like forever, Palisades managed to swing him as an on-line exclusive with Oh My God, Cheap New Figures On-line. Yes, that's a huge name, but Sweetums is a huge figure, so it's all good. Not to leave out the international folks, Palisades also worked out distribution deals overseas, and I have a complete list at the end of the review of where you can pick this guy up. did a pre-order deal with these, and the majority of their stock sold out through pre-orders. However, they have a small number remaining for general sale, and they are going up for sale today, Tuesday November 16th. I don't expect them to last long, so if you think you want one of these, I'd act NOW. He isn't cheap by any means, but he's perhaps the best Muppet figure in an line of tremendous Muppet figures.

And if you're looking for useless Muppet trivia for the day, here's this - Carl Banas, who voiced Sweetums in the Frog Prince, was also the voice of Charlie-In-The-Box from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And now that photo below makes more sense...or not .

Packaging - ***
It's a box, it's a blue box, it's a huge blue box. The graphic design is solid work, with a very nice shot of the puppet himself on the front for comparison. There's also the exclusive logo printed on the front, but I'm still not 100% sure if the international distributors will put a sticker over this for their figures. I do know that is the only one printed on the box.

The window is large, which means it shows off the figure well, but is likely to get smooshed. If you end up storing a packaged one of these guys, I'd keep him in the white mailer box just to be safe.

Sculpting - ****
Sweetums is a tremendously ambitious figure to undertake. First, he's got to be huge. Second, he's a combination of very different materials, including his fine hair and wild clothes. Third, getting articulation in there without messing up the overall appearance requires creativity.

Even with these challenges, Palisades hits a home run. The sculpt is absolutely perfect, and there isn't a single thing I can find to complain about. Sweetums is a little small in terms of real scale, but I could not afford a proper scale Sweetums in either money or space. This one captures the feel of proper scale, if not pinpoint accuracy, and Kermit (along with the rest of the line) looks great posed with him.

The head sculpt is extremely impressive, and they gave us a sculpt on the hair to look about right, yet not detract from the overall appearance. The hair sculpt also works well with all the articulation in the head - neck, eyebrows and mouth - and there's far more range of movement than I had expected. You can easily tilt the head forward and back, side to side, and Sweetums is extremely expressive.

The body sculpt gives the impression of a multiple number of materials, imitating cloth and fur, nicely. The outer 'cloth' is made from a softer rubber, similar to some superhero capes. The big feet means he stands great in just about any pose, including on a single foot.  That's no easy task either, since this is a heavy, chunky figure.  No rotocast here, no hollow parts, he's all monster.

The foot and hand sculpts deserve special attention.  The sculpts are excellent, with fat fingers and toes, detailed just right, with fur all around.

Paint - ***1/2
While the big guy is mostly brown, or at least shades of brown, there's enough color to make him pop out on the shelf.

The earthy tones look best, with clean lines and soft colors.  Unfortunately, there's really only two colors to the fur though, with very little variation across his face and hair.

There's no tackiness with the paint, although I've heard some folks say their cloths were a little sticky.  I didn't have that issue, thankfully, since it's one that bugs the hell out of me.

The paint ops aren't quite perfect this time though, especially around the eyes and teeth.  The yellow of the eyes tends to bleed down onto the red bags underneath, and the white teeth show overspray onto the huge lower lip.

Still, my complaints on the paint ops are fairly small, particularly with such a large and complex figure.

Articulation - ****
I can't think of any additional articulation that Sweetums could have had.  There's eyebrows, jaw, ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, waist and ankles.  What more could you want?

The range of movement on these joints is excellent as well.  The neck moves much better than I had anticipated, and the hair sculpt causes very few issues.  The jaw was a tad loose, and keeping it shut took some playing around, but it was doable.  The rest of the joints were nice and tight, and Sweetums had no trouble holding poses.

I had to pop the eyebrows loose, but once they were, they moved up and down easily, and none of the eyebrow paint ended up on the eyeballs.  The knees and elbows are a little restricted, and I wish he could take a full sitting position, but overall I was really impressed with both the number and quality of the joints.

Accessories - Bupkis
Zippo!  Aaaghhh!  Sweetums desperately needs his club, but once he went from regular release figure to exclusive release figure, any chance for accessories died.

It's a pity too, because his hand sculpts are perfect for holding things, especially said club.  Anyone know a good looking club out there that might work?  Maybe I ought to just look around the back yard for a stick to whittle down.

Fun Factor - ****
My three year old son wouldn't put Sweetums down.  He ran around the house with him, and had to show everyone how he could make the jaw move up and down and do his own version of a Sweetums voice.  This is a kid who has not yet seen The Frog Prince, or any other Muppet movie with Sweetums in it.  This is just such a cool looking figure, in such a classic design, that kids will be drawn to it like an unattended chocolate cup cake.

Just don't let him hit the cat in the head with it.  You might be buying a new cat.

Value - **1/2
Whether you speak English or Dutch, this bad boy is going to cost you about the same.  Here in the U.S, he's $40, but shipping on such a large figure boosts the total to around $50.

Let's think about $40 though, and other figures in this category.  Okay, there aren't other figures like this out there - what other line has a non-rotocast figure 10" or bigger?  Nobody makes them, because they are so expensive to produce.

On top of that, this is a very limited figure.  Based on the cases we've seen photos of, omgcnfo got less than 6000 of these.  I'm betting world wide production was under 10,000 figures, and that's amazingly low for such a big action figure.

That limited exclusivity drove the costs up, unfortunately, but I'm willing to be happy that I got this figure at all.  Do I wish he was closer to $30?  Hell yes, but I'm also realistic enough to know how unlikely that is.

Overall - ****
If I were completely unbiased toward this particular character, the score might be a half star lower.  Even with such an amazing sculpt, paint ops and articulation, he's still damn expensive.

But this guy is so cool, so massive, so amazing, that I simply can't ignore the X factor.  If you're a Muppets fan, and especially if you've been buying the Muppets figures, you need to add this monster to your mix.  You're going to regret it if you don't, and this is a figure that's not going to get tremendously cheaper with time.

When it comes time to pick the best male figure of 2004, Sweetums is going to be extremely high on my list.  If you love all things muppet, I suspect the same will be true for you.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
If you're in the U.S., Oh My God, Cheap New Figures Online is the place to pick him up.  He's their exclusive, so that's where you need to go.  International options:

- like I said, is the U.S distributor.

- in Canada, you want to hit Silver Snail.

- in Europe (outside of the U.K.), your distributor is Audric's Toys (Acme Movie Store).

- in the U.K., Forbidden Planet (SciFiWarehouse) has them exclusively.

- finally, in Australia, your choice is Croftminster.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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