Simpsons fans rejoice - Playmates continues to give us characters we
thought we'd never see in plastic form! C'mon, be honest - did you
really ever believe you'd get to have a Barney or a Flanders? Now
you can, along with the cool Intellivoice chip technology with the
playsets. The five new figures in this assortment are - Pin Pal
Homer, Sunday School Bart, Chief Wiggum, Barney, and Ned Flanders.
Smithers is pictured on the back, but not yet released.
These are showing up at K-marts first, oddly enough. However,
they are just now showing up at Target as well. The rumored case
assortment is true across the board right now - 5 new figures, one each
per case, and 7 old figures from wave 1 (3 Homers, 2 Barts, 1 Burns and 1
Krusty). These are still the very reasonable $4.99.
Accessories - ***
Excellent choices in accessories for the most part. Wiggum has his
coffee cup, donut and night stick. Homer has his ball and bag.
Flanders comes with his bible, very cool chef hat, and spatula.
Barney has a sub sandwich and glass of beer. And last but not least,
Bart comes with a bible, slingshot and Radioactive Man comic. My one
complaint is that we've seen our first accessory reuse with this
series. The slingshot was included with the first Bart, and the
bible is the same for both Flanders and Bart.
Sculpting - ***
This set is hit and miss. Homer is almost - I say almost - a
straight repaint of the original. He does have slightly new
sculpting on his shoes and on his shirt, adding buttons for example.
But he is close enough to a repaint to be considered one. All the
others are new sculpts of course. Of the other four, they hit the
mark beautifully with Wiggum and Bart. Both capture the characters
fantastically, and although some might think Wiggum is too big, if you
look at pictures from the various Simpsons books you'll see the scale when
compared to Homer is actually pretty darn good.
The same can't be said for Flanders and Barney. While not awful,
there is something that doesn't quite work here. For Barney, it's
not his size - again, he is usually drawn fatter and taller than
Homer. For me, it's the hair that isn't quite right. For a
better adaptation, just look at the UK Burger King figures. As for
Flanders, I think the open mouth look isn't quite right. I'd have preferred
a more carefree, hi-diddly-ho look.
Packaging - **1/2
Same as wave 1. The card art is very colorful and includes plenty of
Simpsons style. Obviously, you have to destroy these packages to get
to the figures, but for the MOC collectors, the card stock is heavy and
most of the figures I've seen have had little shelf wear.
Articulation - **1/2
The same 4 point articulation we've seen all along. All of the five
new figures have neck, shoulders and waist. Actually, that's
probably enough articulation for these toys. Also, most of the hands
(although not all) are well sculpted to hold their accessories. The
major exception here is Pin Pal Homer, who can't hold his bowling ball to
save his life.
Value - ****
Where do you get $5 figures these days? Let alone figures with cool
accessories, AND voice chips. Yes, you have to have the playsets to
get the appreciation of the voice chips, but these things beat the living
daylights out of the Commtech chips produced by Hasbro.
Intellivoice Chips - ***
As I said, these are far superior to the similar attempt that Hasbro made
with their Episode 1 Star Wars figures. The lines are straight from
the show, and the characters are each able to interact with more than one
of the playsets. If you are only buying certain playsets though,
you'll want to read the boxes carefully to make sure you get the ones that
give you the sounds for your figures.
My only complaint here is that both the Homer and Bart chips are just
reused from the original figures. I know that Playmates has to find
some ways to keep costs down, but I would have been even more impressed if
they had some additional sounds from these two.
Overall - ***
Are they perfect? No, there's a couple minor nits I have, but
overall these are a terrific value. They are certainly far superior
to the old Mattel figures, and the terrific variety we're already seeing
bodes well for this line. If you're a Simpsons fan, I highly
recommend you get out there and grab these - let's show Playmates and Fox
just how much we want to see all the characters!