Muppets series 3
Scooter, Zoot, Rowlf and Lew!

Palisades Toys has on their hands one of the greatest toy lines of all times in the Muppets.  I don't say that often, and while I've loved the series so far, I haven't said it quite so emphatically before about this line.  But now that I have series 3 in my hands, I can honestly say that this is one of the greats, and 10 years from now everyone will have it on their top 10 lists.  This latest wave isn't perfect, as you'll see in this review.  But overall this is a fantastic series.

This latest series includes Scooter, Zoot (with a paint variation, similar to Floyd in the last series), Rowlf and Lew Zealand.  They retail for $7-$8, depending on where you find them.  They are just starting to hit, so don't get too worried if you haven't seen them yet.

The Zoot repaint is packed one per case, but since there was little trouble finding the Floyd last series, I don't think you have much to worry about here.  At least not yet - I think this series might be the magic series that causes this line to really take off.

There will be a Toyfare only exclusive of a superhero version of Scooter hitting comic shops this coming Wednesday.  DON'T FORGET!  That's this Wednesday, the 12th of February.  That's the only way you'll get this exclusive, at least for cheap.  Or as cheap as Toyfare exclusives are.

There's a ton of pictures for this review, since I felt all five figures really deserved some attention.  Keep scrolling down to see them all!

Packaging - ***1/2
We haven't gotten the packaging change yet, but the old version is still tops in my book.  Great looking text and graphics, and they have captured the feel of the Muppet Show perfectly.  There's no waste either - the cardback isn't twice the size of the bubble.  That's not a minor issue to people that are MOCers.

The switch to the new packaging will occur because of the expansion of the license into other areas like the movies.  It's great to see Henson working well with Palisades to try to get the best and coolest figures out to the fans.

Sculpting - ****
Every one of the sculpts is top notch. All of them have that dimpling that has been preferred by collectors and matches with reality fairly well.

There's minor points here or there - I think that folks will find Scooter's eyes slightly off, or perhaps some of the dimpling not done quite as well as previous figures.  But for the most part, they will be minor complaints.  The sculpting is one of the strongest aspects of this line, and this series keeps that ball rolling right along.

I'm particularly happy with the details - the wrinkles of Scooters jeans and jacket, the hair of Zoot, the ears on Rowlf, the outfit on Lew.  As a matter of fact, Lew Zealand is going to be one of those sleeper hits I believe - they've captured his look perfectly, and because of all the great color and an excellent design, he looks terrific even if you have no idea who he is.

All the sculpts work well with the articulation to allow the characters to use the accessories correctly.  That's true with Lew throwing a fish, to Scoot looking at his clipboard.

Paint - **1/2
When I grabbed these off the peg, my first thought was four star figures all the way.  But when I got them home, and opened them up, I found one major area that hurt them overall.

The paint ops on this set, at least the ones I grabbed randomly, are not nearly as nice as previous waves.  Every figure had some level of issue, and some of these issues were obvious in multiple places.

One of the biggest problems is the consistency of the paint.  The green of Scooter's jacket, the black of Rowlf's tux, the red of Lew's jacket, and both colors of Zoot's shirt, all had trouble being consistent across the figure.  There were light and dark spots, and obvious areas where brush touch ups had occurred.

Other places simply showed sloppiness.  Both of Lew's strips were missing color, and there's a huge red mark on the back of his hand.  There was some bleed around the eyes on Scooter, and even Zoot had less than perfect paint work.

In the past, Palisades has set a new level of excellent paint ops with these figures.  I'm hoping that I just got unlucky with this set, but be very careful when picking out your figures.

Articulation - ***1/2
There's plenty of articulation on every figure, and the joints all add value and work nicely.

Scooter has a ball jointed neck, which really works well in giving him a ton of posing options.  He also has ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and knees.

Zoot has neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, ball jointed hips, and knees.  He can easily hold his sax to his mouth, or in any number of other positions.

Lew has neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, knees and hips.

Rowlf has neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, wrists, waist and hips. The articulation and sculpt work together to give Rowlf the ability to play the piano.  Ah, and he also has articulated ears, that can move front to back to allow his head to turn side to side.  Excellent!

The paint around the ball jointed shoulders is going to rub off pretty quickly, and that's something you'll have to live with I guess.

Accessories - ****
While the sculpts are great, the big deal with this series is the FANTASTIC accessories!  Every one of these characters has a great set of well thought out extras.

First, every figure still comes with a display stand, but they are smaller now, round and with no logo.  They work fine, although I didn't have any trouble getting any of these figures to stand fine on their own.

Zoot has the fewest accessories, but his work great.  The sax comes in two pieces, which pop together pretty easily.  You can also open up the case and place both pieces inside for a perfect fit.  There's also his removable hat (using a magnet to attach again) and a sheet music stand.

Lew comes with three fish, and his fish bucket.  The bucket has a removable lid, that also has a smaller opening lid in the center.  The paint ops and sculpt on the fish is terrific.

Scooter comes with a TON of stuff appropriate to him.  There's his skateboard (with a peg for his foot), radio with moving handle and tons of detail, megaphone, clipboard, chinese takeout food, and cup holder with two fast food drinks.  Again, everyone of the accessories is nicely done, although he can only hold a few of them in his hands.

But the most amazing accessories come with Rowlf.  He has his bust of Beethoven, and his piano.  The piano opens on top, to show the innards, and there's a brace to hold the top up.  The keys are hidden by the cover, but it also opens and stays up, allowing Rowlf to tickle the ivories.  The sheet music stand on the piano also flips up and down, and the sculpt and detail on this instrument is amazing.  How they managed to do this for eight bucks is absolutely beyond me.

Value - ****
You're only paying seven or eight bucks for these, and you're getting an amazing value.  Great sculpting, tons of accessories, and excellent articulation in a 6"-7" figure.  You won't find a better deal anywhere these days.

Overall - ***1/2
The only negative here was the poor paint ops. That's pretty surprising considering what fantastic ops we've gotten on previous waves, and I was disappointed to see it.  But the sculpting, articulation, and accessories are amazing!  If you aren't collecting this line, you'll regret it down the road.  And if you are collecting this line, congrats on having good taste!

Sure, you might not be interested in the license, and I can certainly understand that.  But if you love the Muppets, you need to be collecting these.  You won't ever be treated to a better set of action figures for this wonderful license.

Where to Buy:
Your local Electronics Boutique could have them any day now.  On-line:

- Aisle Sniper has a case for $90, which comes out to $7.50 each.  If you have someone that wants to share, that works well, and you're sure to get that Zoot chase figure.

- if your looking for just a set of the regular four, Beans Toys has them for $33.

- Big Bad Toy Store also has the set of four for $35, but their shipping is a flat $5.

- Ebgames will let you buy just the ones you want for $8 each, and I believe they are already shipping.

Keep scrolling down - I took a ton of photos!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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