Faces of Springfield
Moe and Barney

Last August we were treated to the first series of 9" Simpsons figures from Playmates, called the Faces of Springfield. The first series was an exclusive with Target, and consisted of Homer, Smithers and Mr. Burns.

The second series is now out, and appears to no longer be an exclusive. It contains only two figures this time, but is showing up at Toys R Us and Electronic Boutique currently. Moe and Barney join the previous figures in the line up, and continue the tradition of uber-cool accessories.

The figures retail for around $15, and most of the first series is still available at Targets, at least in my neck of the woods. With the second series hitting, perhaps we'll see a price break on the older figures. One can always hope!

Packaging - ****
I love these boxes! Nope, they aren't particularly collector friendly, since there would be a whole lot of effort involved in getting the figure back in if you were so inclined. But the design and style is eye catching and informative.

My favorite feature is the die cut 'fifth panel' flap on the front. It is cut in the shape of the characters head, and pops open to reveal a great character biography. A lot of thought and work went into these packages, rather than the relatively generic stuff we see with most lines, including the usual WOS cardbacks.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The sculpts are very similar to the original WOS figures, but these aren't simply two-ups.

The Barney sculpt is my favorite of the two, and is different from the WOS version in both the hair and lips.  The hair is more like the show, disheveled and sticking up, and the lips have less of the 'burp wave' running through them.  Overall, he looks quite a bit better than the basic WOS version.  The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and work fine.

Moe is a tough one.  This sculpt is much less angry than the original WOS version, which is a good thing.  But there is still something not quite there.  Perhaps it's simply because Moe is such an ugly mug, that no matter what you do it's tough to pull off the perfect sculpt.

Scale is pretty good on these so far, although I still think Smithers is too big for the rest of the line.  These two fit in well with Homer and Mr. Burns.

Paint - ***
The paint ops on both figures is average, with relatively clean lines, but some slop around the eyes and shirt sleeves.

There certainly isn't much detail in these.  At such a large scale, with such basic paint application and colors, it would be nice to see some cleaner lines, particularly around the whites of the eyes.  But it's not terrible, and what little detail there is works fine.

Ah, but what about color selection?  Unfortunately, we get the same colors for Moe as the original WOS figure, which are inaccurate for most of the show.  I'm sure this is based on the old FOX color templates for the character, but they are very outdated when it comes to poor Moe.

Articulation - **
These figures have the same basic articulation as both the small scale WOS and the first series of FOS - neck, shoulders, and waist. That could be better in the 5" scale, but it's unforgivable in a 9" scale. Cut wrists or elbows are a no brainer, and I think that at this price point something imaginative could have been done to improve the posability.

Accessories - ***1/2
The accessories were a huge selling point for the first series, and they are pretty good this time around as well - not as great as the first time, but decent. 

The accessory selection is what really shines, but the quantity is off from the first series.  Barney comes with his bowling ball, beer mug, and jar of pickled eggs.  While all three look terrific, that's far fewer accessories than Smithers or Homer came with last summer.

Moe has three as well - his pair of boxing gloves from his days as Kid Moe, his bowling ball (unique to him), and a Flaming Moe, the drink that made him famous, if only for a short while.

Again, that shows some great selection, but adding in a shotgun or even just a bar rag would have been nice.  They got us used to tons of great accessories with the first three figures, so dropping back now is more noticeable.

Value - ***
Fifteen bucks isn't a bad price for figures in this scale.  The sculpting is good, with some great accessories, but I suspect we'll see the first series on clearance at Target before it's all said and done.

Overall - ***
I like these figures, but the large size is certainly an issue for display.  Most folks prefer the WOS scale simply because it's tough to have 100 figures this huge.  Still, these are a nice off shoot, and I wouldn't mind getting a few more like Wiggum, Apu, or Flanders.  If you've got the room to display them, I'd recommend picking them up.

Where to Buy:
I've seen these at the EB stores and at a local Toys R Us so far.  On-line:

- EBgames has them at their site for $15 each plus shipping, ready to ship immediately.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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