Hanna-Barbera Series 2
Yogi, Captain Caveman, Fred and Dino,
And Johnny Quest


For us kids growing up in the sixties, Hanna-Barbera cartoons were da bomb. Oh, the cartoons didn't have the sophistication of a Simpsons or even a Fairly Odd Parents. They didn't have perfect animation, or amazing writing, or any of that silly stuff. Instead, they were simply great fun. Anyone over 35 has their own personal favorites, but they were all happy when Mcfarlane announced they were doing action figures based on the old shows.

Now, not all Mcfarlane fans were thrilled. This isn't a property that lends itself particularly well to midgets in fishnets and busty S&M babes, like some of the more 'tortured' lines. But for those with fetishes that extended beyond leather and chains, and included animated cavemen and goofy gorillas, the announcement had much promise. The first series was a tad rocky though, and not just because it predominately featured the Flintstones. 

The second series is now hitting in a little wider distribution (they were in Canadian Toys R Us stores before Christmas, but still haven't seen any wide release in the U.S.), and is likely to be much more in line with what collectors had been hoping for.

This series includes a whopping seven figures - Captain Caveman, Yogi Bear, Penelope Pitstop, Johnny Quest, Magilla Gorilla, another Tom and Jerry, and another Fred Flintstone, this time with Dino. Tonight I'll be covering Yogi Bear, Captain Caveman, Johnny Quest, and Fred with Dino. I'll cover the other three in a later review. I bought these online, but they SHOULD be showing up at some Toys R Us stores eventually, and perhaps Meijers if you live in the mid-west.

Packaging - ***1/2
They've stuck with the clamshells, which is just alright by me. I like how sturdy they are, and how well they hold up to shelf wear. They can be a bit difficult for MOCers to store, but at least they won't bend and crush too easily when packed away. The paper inserts are all uniquely designed, highlighting the particular show and particular characters quite nicely. They also show off some of the other figures in the line on the back, and have a reasonable amount of descriptive text.

Sculpting - Johnny Quest, Captain Caveman ****; Fred, Yogi ***1/2
I complained pretty loudly about the first series of these figures, with at two of them (and the deluxe set) being completely ridiculous, and another two being mediocre at best in terms of the overall design. I'm happy to say that this trend has been totally reversed with this set.

Lets start by talking about Fred, since both of the series 1 versions were so poorly executed. This time around we get a truly iconic old school moment, with Dino on top of Fred licking his face. This a classic moment for Fred and Dino, played over regularly on the show and in the opening sequence. Fred has dropped a bottle of milk, which can be seen spilling out the top, as Dino goes to town on his face. Both figures are scaled well, and the size and shape of Fred's nose is a bit better this time around. Dino is actually removable from Fred, and has pegs on his feet that attach to holes on Fred's torso.

The Yogi Bear, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith diorama also look terrific. The two bears are sculpted with appropriate expressions as they run from the ever vigilante ranger. Yogi's hands are sculpted in very specific ways - the left to hold his hat on and the right to carry the picnic basket. Again, scale is good, although Boo Boo's head seems a smidge big. It's tough to tell though, because the proportions of characters changed from show to show and even scene to scene in many of the old cartoons.

Next up is Captain Caveman. Caveman is holding a dinosaur above his head, with his bright cape flowing out behind him. The wild whiskers look fantastic, and there are lots of small touches to the overall design that improves the appearance. For example, there is a depression sculpted into the stomach of the dinosaur for Caveman's hand, setting it into his body a bit rather than just resting on the outside. That looks much better, especially since the caveman AND the dinosaur are removable from the base and each other.

Of the four cartoons represented here, Johnny Quest was my least favorite as a kid. Only after watching Venture Brothers as an adult did I gain any appreciation for Johnny, Rex Bannon, and the rest of the gang. But that lack of enthusiasm for the show does not effect the fact that of the four dioramas, the Johnny Quest is the best. A classic battle is portrayed between Johnny and a swooping pterodactyl, above a rocky, volcanic surface. Bandit cowers near by, while Johnny uses a rocket pack to aid him in defeating the monster. This is another iconic look, and the diorama and figures are the most complex of the four. Bandit is a completely separate figure, while both the pterodactyl and Johnny are removable from the base. In fact, this base requires not one but four pieces to be attached, along with attaching a wing to the dinosaur. It's clearly the most complex design, and they managed to pull off the execution almost flawlessly.

Cartoons tend to have far less detail work in the sculpts as well, as is necessitated by the show designs. But with Johnny, you get some great skin texturing on the dinosaur, along with some decent, if not perfect, flame work. Johnny is a bit big - or the pterodactyl a bit small - but the scale between Johnny and Bandit is great. Hey, just pretend it's a baby pterodactyl.

All four of these are really dynamic designs, and the sculpts give the impression of action and movement through out. With this kind of work, I'm looking forward to the third series even more.

And if you're wondering about scale, these are all in that 4" or so range, and display quite nicely with the first series.

Paint - Johnny Quest ***; the rest **
Unfortunately, where the sculpts excel, the paints fail. The cartoon lines so far released by Mcfarlane, including the previous series and the Simpsons stuff, has not exhibited the same level of paint quality as their more 'adult' lines. That's too bad, since errors are so much more apparent when dealing with large expanses of a single, bright color.

Or maybe that's part of the issue. Perhaps the many colored, small detail figures with lots of wash allow for more errors to go unnoticed. Here, where a bright color can cover half the figure, any imperfection is clearly visible. There are plenty to see on almost all four of these figures.

Johnny does the best of the set. There's only a few stray marks, and most of the colors are consistent in coverage and shade. There's a slight highlighting to the rough texture on the body and wings of the pterodactyl, and even the white body of Bandit is pretty clean. Oh, it's not four star work by any stretch of the imagination, but the issues that are here are minor enough to be acceptable.

The other three dioramas and figures don't fair as well. There are stray marks all over the place - the diamonds on the dinosaurs back with Caveman, the ties on Boo Boo and Yogi, and even on the back of Dino. Glue is obvious in a number of spots, and there appears to even be some randomly spilled glue on the back of Caveman's green friend.

They did correct one of the technical issues I've had with some of the previous Fred's, at least slightly. His lower face IS a slightly darker tan then the rest of his face, giving him a little of that five o'clock shadow appearance. For someone like me (the color blind), it's not a big enough difference to notice immediately, but on close inspection even I see it.

Articulation - Johnny ***; Yogi **1/2; Captain, Fred *1/2
All these figures sport more articulation than the original series, but none of them are really intended to be poseable outside of a couple standard ways.

Fred is the least articulated, largely due to the design. He's laying on the floor already, so there's only so much you're going to do with articulation. He does have cut shoulders, so you can place his arms in a few different poses. Dino's neck does have a cut line, but it's glued tight. The Mcfarlane website claims that both Fred and Dino's neck is articulated, but both appear to have been glued at production.

The Yogi set has the same articulation on all three figures - cut neck and cut shoulders. That let's you have a little control over the running poses. Surprisingly, all the leg cuts are glued tight.

The Captain Caveman set has joints at the neck and tail of the dinosaur, and a cut joint on the left shoulder of the Captain himself.

Finally, there's Johnny. He has a cut neck, cut shoulders and cut waist, making him the most articulated (and articulate, I suppose) of the group. The pterodactyl also has a cut neck, cut tail and cut right hip, and since he can be positioned on the rod as well, there's quite a bit of variation you can give his pose.

Accessories - Johnny Quest ***; Fred: Bupkis; the rest **1/2
Most of these actually come with what I would classify as accessories, although they are really static dioramas. This score isn't going to greatly effect my personal overall, but knowing what's here can help you decide.

Captain Caveman has his club, which fits in his left hand. I suppose you could display him without it, raising his fist in victory instead of the club, but I'm not sure why. It fits in his hand easily, and stays put.

Johnny has a small knife to fend off the attack. I'm not sure it's going to do him much good, but it's a whole lot better than just shaking his fist at the beast. He also has Bandit, who is a completely separate figure with no pegs that limit where he can be placed. That goes a long way to increasing the score for him.

Yogi and Boo Boo have a very cool picnic basket, with lots of goodies sculpted inside. The lid doesn't open any further than you see it though, so don't expect to pop it open and see more hidden details. The handle is articulated, so you can pose it in Yogi's hand at various angles.

Fred doesn't have any extras, as both Dino and the milk bottle are intended as part of the basic diorama. 

Action Feature - Fred, Yogi **; Johnny, Caveman Bupkis
While the line has generally had a pseudo-action feature for every figure, I can't find one for either Johnny or Captain Caveman. I'm not complaining in the least bit, and this fact won't hurt them in the Overall. In fact, it will probably help them.

Yogi's set has the same feature we saw with several of the first series - the figures attach to springs on the base so they bob around when ever you touch them. When you're shooting photos of them with a slow shutter speed and narrow aperture, so that you get a nice, long depth of field, this bobbing around is damn annoying. But in general, it's a fairly innocuous action feature.

Fred's is a bit different. There's a wheel on the back of the base, and when you turn it, Fred's legs bob around as though Dino's kisses are quite tickleish. You'll turn it once, and never again.

Fun Factor - **1/2
Considering these are a cartoon line, you'd expect them to be a bit more 'playable'. Then again, this is a cartoon line that's decidedly aimed at adults, with an emphasis on nostalgia. Unless your kids happen to get Boomerang on cable, they aren't going to know who any of these guys are, with the exception of Fred ("the guy in those Fruity Pebbles ads") and Tom and Jerry, which still runs on several stations.

The design of the figures tells you that McToys realizes this. They're intended for display more than play, and that was probably a smart move on their part.

Value - ***
If you pick these up at $10, they're a three star value. That's what they'll be at Meijers if they ever show up, and they will probably only be a buck more at Toys R Us. There's quite a bit here between the multiple figures and the bases, so you're getting a good price on what really amounts to a mini-diorama.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you're picking these out on the shelf, you clearly want to watch the paint. If you're buying online, you'll be playing the paint application lottery.

Also, be careful with that damn rod for the pterodactyl. Better to get it in sorta right, then bend it like I did. 

Overall - Johnny, Captain Caveman ***1/2; Fred, Yogi ***
These four dioramas (and in fact the entire seven figures in this series) are a marked improvement over the work in series 1. That's always good to see, and makes me long for series 3, which includes two of my favorite characters, Secret Squirrel and Morroco Mole. Unfortunately, I have my doubts that we'll ever get to see the third series at retail. This series did not see very good distribution, which can only mean that series 1 wasn't a huge hit. And when the second series gets poor distribution, you know it doesn't have a chance to redeem the line, even when it's such a big improvement.

With such a huge improvement in design, it's a real pity to see the poor paint quality drag them down. With better quality paint work, a couple of these could have easily been four star sets. Even with the paint problems, most hard core Hanna-Barbera fans should pick these up. They capture the feel of the shows extremely well, and who knows - if enough people buy Captain Caveman, maybe I'll get my Secret Squirrel.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt -  Johnny Quest, Captain Caveman ****; Fred, Yogi ***1/2
Paint - Johnny Quest ***; the rest **
Articulation - Johnny ***; Yogi **1/2; Captain, Fred *1/2
Accessories - Johnny Quest ***; Fred: Bupkis; the rest **1/2
Action Feature - Fred, Yogi **; Johnny, Caveman Bupkis
Value -  **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Overall - Johnny, Captain Caveman ***1/2; Fred, Yogi ***

Where to Buy -
Like I said, you may get lucky and find them at the local TRU or Meijers, and perhaps Kaybee. But the best bet is to order them online:

- Clark Toys is always a good choice for Mcfarlane product. They've already sold out of several of the figures though, and the remaining ones will cost you $12. They have a great price on series 3 though, with the set of four just going for $40, and the deluxe set at $20.

- Time and Space Toys has the figures in stock, but the prices range from $10 to $18, depending on the character. Clearly, some of these will be more popular than others.

- If you're in the U.K., Forbidden Planet has these guys listed at 10 pounds each. 

Related Links - 
So far, I've reviewed all of series 1, plus the series 1 deluxe set and the series 2 deluxe set. The other three figures in this series will be getting the review treatment very soon. Mcfarlane's web site also has up a feature on the series.

Oh, and it's worth pointing out this amusing story about Dino. Well, it was amusing to me, anyway. While the article mentions that they had expected the plastic figure to disappear fairly soon, it's three years later and the last reports are that it's still looking just fine. See for yourself here.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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