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Bender and URL - Futurama

Futurama wave 9 Wooden Bender action figure by Toynami


New episodes of Futurama are back on television, and fans are rejoicing. The quality of the first few episodes of the new season was a bit hit or miss, but it's great just to have one of the best animated shows back with us.

Toynami is still doing action figures, although the snail's pace of releases has turned into more of a snail stuck in tar pace. Series 9, including URL and the Wooden Bender, has just started shipping.

Unlike past series, there's no sign of a Build A Figure in this wave. Originally, it was scheduled to include Morbo (who was shown, along with Lrrr, at last summer's SDCC), but there's no sign of him. Rumor has it that he and Lrrr are now Wave 10, rather than BAF's. With wave 10 scheduled to be released in early 2011, we should know fairly soon, but there are no pre-orders up at any online retailer that I know of yet. To further confuse things, there have been reports that the pair would be 'deluxe' figures due to their size, although your guess is as good as mine as to what that might entail.

These two can be had for around $15 each, or $25 for the pair, at a number of online retailers. While URL has been on the show from the start, the wooden Bender is very episode specific, coming from the fourth season. The episode was "Obsoletely Fabulous", in which Bender turns on technology and has a band of obsolete robots downgrade him to wood. While some may be annoyed by more Bender variants, at least this one is very visually unique.


Futurama wave 9 URL action figure by Toynami
Futurama wave 9 URL action figure by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 Wooden Bender action figure by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 URL action figure by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 Wooden Bender action figure by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 Wooden Bender action figure by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 URL and Wooden Bender action figures by Toynami
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Futurama wave 9 URL and Wooden Bender action figures by Toynami
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Packaging - ***1/2
Very colorful, very attractive, with some nice character personalization - what could be better? If they were collector friendly, that's what! Good news, everybody! They are!

You can remove the figure and the accessories without damaging the box, which is always a plus.

Sculpting - ***
URL looks like he's supposed to look, but he's never been a particularly interesting character to me, visually or emotionally. There are some sculpted details, like the edges of the costume, visor, and arm control pad. Scale is pretty good (he's about 6 1/4" tall) and he fits in well with the rest of the line. He also stands good on his own, and can hold the included weapon in his right hand.

Bender might be a variant, but I have to admit that I prefer him over URL. The wooden look is certainly unique, and the bark has just the right amount of sculpted texturing. He's shorter of course, coming in at about 5" without his 'twig'. He stands great on his own as well.

Paint - ***1/2
Most of the paint work is solid, if not exceptional. There's not a ton of small detail work, and much of the plastic is cast in the appropriate color, but the paint work that's here has fairly clean cut lines and consistent coverage.

The white on URL is particularly well done, right down to the 'POLICE' logo. The yellow badge looks good, and the control pad on his forearm includes a couple tiny buttons.

The wood-like body of Bender is nicely done as well, with black lines highlighting the bark design.  The arms and legs are a tad darker than I recall from the show, but it's a minor nit.

Toynami is using the same set of swappable Bender eyes that they have used on at least two previous occasions. While it might seem odd that the eyes are gray while the rest of Bender's body is wood, it's actually screen accurate. Toynami got lucky on that one!

Articulation - **
While these are articulated much like the rest of the series, the sculpt will probably make people think there's additional joints here that aren't.

Both have a cut neck, and the heads are easy to remove (and swap, if you feel so inclined). The arms have cut shoulders, and there are cut wrists. Both figures also have cut joints at the top of the legs, and Bender adds cut ankles.

URL looks like he has some ball joints - he doesn't. Bender looks like he has pin elbows and knees, but he doesn't. In Bender's case, that's probably not a terrible thing (those joints, especially the knees, would probably be weak) but it's worth noting.

Accessories - Bender ***; URL **1/2
URL comes with his baton, which is really a light saber. The clear plastic blue blade looks good, and it fits nicely in his right hand.

Bender comes with two additional sets of eyes, giving him three different expressions. These are re-used from previous Benders, but they're are still a nice inclusion. They also swap easily and fit tightly.

Fun Factor - ***
These aren't super articulated, but they have enough articulation to be reasonably good toys. If you know any kids that love the show - which, with it back on, is an actual possibility - then they'd enjoy these. However, they really are intended for the big kids otherwise known as 'collectors', or by their wives, 'hoarders'.

Value - **1/2
At around $15 (or less if you buy them as a set), the price is about average on the current market. With past releases, the extra BAF parts improved this score, but without that inclusion, these fall to a more average value.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing!

Overall - ***
I'm glad to get two more figures in the Futurama series. And if you have to have another Bender variant, this is a good one to have.

But neither of these are really doing a lot for me. They're decent figures, with nothing seriously wrong with them, but they aren't the most exciting set we've gotten from Toynami.

But Morbo and Lrrr? Those two would breathe new life into this series - let's just hope they make it to the pegs.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - **
Accessories - Bender ***; URL **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Circle Red has the set for $25.

- Big Bad Toy Store has the singles for $14 - $15 each.

- Entertainment Earth has the pair for $25.

- Things From Another World has them in a case of 8 (four of each figure) for $90.

- for the UK buyers, Forbidden Planet has URL for 10 GBP.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered most of the Futurama figures:

- the last series, wave 8, included Mom and another Bender, as well as completing the BAF of Roberto.

- then there was the first half of Roberto, Hermes and Farnsworth.

- previously there was series 6 with Amy and Clobberella.

- there are reviews of series 5, series 4, as well as the Robot Santa and Santa Bender SDCC exclusive, and series 3 in a couple reviews, since I didn't get them all at the same time.  Here you can see Bender and the Robot Devil BAF, and here's Kif.

- I also covered the second series and first series as well.

For more Futurama stuff:

- Toynami got their feet wet with the Futurama I-men.

- there's the series 1 set from MAC, along with the Toyfare exclusive Leela.  There was also some Christmas ornaments, a larger scale (8") Nibbler.

- Rocket USA did some cool die cast figures and the tin wind up Bender.

- there were also quite a few bendies, including Kif and Leela.

- and if you're looking for the unique, try the Horrible Gelatinus BloB, or the Brain Slug!

Discussion:
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Futurama wave 9 URL and Wooden Bender action figures by Toynami


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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