Be Sharp Apu

The second mail away Be Sharps figure is hitting mail boxes all over the U.S. right now - it's Apu!  How do you get this figure?  Simple!  By any four wave 11 figures, clip the UPC's, and put them together with the order form (available with every wave 11 figure) and a check for five bucks for shipping.  He'll show up at your door shortly thereafter, and you can even check the status of your shipment at a special web site:

Be Sharps Offer Web Page

The first figure in this set was Homer, released before Christmas.  We'll get two more offers with waves 12 and 13 for Barney and Skinner, completing the quartet.  There are possible plans in the works for a playset, and the initial design is pictured here.  It's going to depend on how well the mail aways do, but if there's enough interest the playset may be released as a store exclusive.

Packaging - ***1/2
I certainly have no complaints with either the new packaging style or the mail away boxes.  They look great, and have plenty of good graphics and text.  They are collector friendly as well, and you can always return Apu to his cardboard tomb.

Some collectors will be upset though that the Be Sharps Homer package was different, using the old packaging look.

Sculpting - ****
I really like the look and style of this episode specific set of figures.  This looks just like Apu from that show, and the sculpting of the hair style and moustache are dead on.

Some may find the preposed arms an issue, but he is striking a great barbershop quartet style pose, and he looks great next to Homer.  I can't wait to have the complete set of four all together!

The big reason these figures look so good is the appropriate dynamic poses and facial expressions.  Many of the regular figures have had far more static appearances, often leading to the zombie effect.  With the limited articulation, this dynamic style is much preferred.

Paint - ***
Unfortunately, the paint operations are never the strong suit for Playmates, particularly on the WOS line.  There's some slop around the white, with bleed of the darker colors, and the whites of the eyes have the usual uneven edge.  The colors are consistent though, particularly the red of the vest.

Articulation - **1/2
There's no surprises here - neck, shoulders, waist.  However, the dynamic pose makes for a much better looking figure than some of the more static poses we've seen in the past.

Accessories - ***
There's only two, and since they are the same as Homer, their score is a little lower.  I realize it's unlikely that we'd get something new here, but the fact that the price to accessories ratio is still great is reflected in the next category, Value.

The two accessories are his hat and his cane.  While you'd assume these would be identical to Homer's, that's not the case.  The cane is slightly longer - about an eight inch - and the hat slightly bigger to fit Apu's bigger hairdo.  Both look great, but I have no idea why the cane is longer.  It's not enough that you can tell when they are holding them, but placing them side by side will show the difference.

Value - ****
Five bucks?  Sure, you have to buy four wave 11 figures and open them up, but for the majority of us that were going to do that anyway, this is a fantastic deal.  These could easily be my favorite variant set, outshining the Sunday Best set without a doubt.

Talking Feature - **
There's not much to say about the talking feature, since these will say the same things on the other playsets as the previous Homers and Apus.  BUT we'll get some very cool lines with the playset if it sees the light of day, and there is even talk of perhaps including snippets of songs.

Overall -  ***1/2
All I can say is keep them coming!  I hope we see some other episode specific variants after the Be Sharps, particularly the Stonecutters.  I think this is an excellent way to maintain sales of the line, spark further interest, and get some rather unusual variants into the collectors hands.  Let's face it - the odds of all four of these figures making it into a regular wave is pretty unlikely.  But by doing it this way, we are treated to a fantastic episode specific set of figures.

Where to Buy:
As I said, it's easy as pie.  Just buy four wave 11 figures.  Open them up, and fill out one entry form.  Include the four UPC's and a check for five bucks, and send it along to the address on the form.  That's all there is to it!  The offer is valid until the end of 2003, but you might want to be sure you pick up your wave 11 figures before that.

And the Be Sharp Homer is still available as well - just do the same thing with four wave 10 figures!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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