Simpsons Bendies Series 2

One of the more interesting Simpsons related booths at Toy Fair this year was NJ Croce.
You'll recall that they produced a boxed set of bendable figures in 2002, based on the
family members. At Toy Fair, they had the second series, along with a great looking
Treehouse of Horror zombie set.

The second series has since been popping up all over the place. It is based on Homer's
work, with characters from the Power Plant. Homer's there of course, in his hard hat and 
tie, along with Lenny, Carl, Mr. Burns and Smithers. There's also Blinky, the special figure
added only to the boxed set.

NJ Croce will also be selling these bendies individually, but the box sets will always
have one unique figure. It was Santa's Little Helper with the first series, and Blinky
with this set. The zombie set had a zombie version of Snowball I.

Retail is around $18-$20 depending on where you pick it up. I have a couple sponsors 
listed at the end that are carrying these at good prices with great service. Check them

Packaging - ***
The boxes are a pretty basic design, but the colors and style look great. You can easily check out the whole set, and there's decent text and descriptions. The only negative is that the boxes seem to end up damaged easily, so the MIBBers might want to be careful picking out a nice one.

Sculpting - Mr. Burns, Lenny, Blinky, ***1/2; Homer ***; Smithers, Carl **1/2
This was a mixed bag if I've ever seen one. I believe that it's due to the style more than anything else - the blocky, angular Gumby style simply works better for some figures than others.

Mr. Burns really looks extremely good, particularly from straight on, but from the side as well. The stooped shoulders are there, and the head can be tilted at just the right angle. Lenny is also an excellent sculpt, and his skinny nature works perfectly here. And Blinky is Blinky - at least if he was a Gumby fish.

Homer is somewhere in the middle of the road. The facial expression is the same as the first version, although it works better here for some reason. It does look like the pupils are smaller, which might help, and the hat looks good.

Carl and Smithers are on the other end of the spectrum for this boxed set. The style translates into a wide head for Smithers, and very wide features on Carl. They aren't terrible sculpts by any means, but don't live up to the others.  One other oddity is worth mentioning on Lenny...his arms are awfully long.  They are much longer proportionally than the other figures, and it looks a tad bizarre to say the least.

The other thing I wanted to mention in this section is that every figure stands fine on his own as well, a great thing for something like a bendy.

Paint - **1/2
The paint ops seem to have improved a little from the first series, but there are still plenty of issues with poor definition between some of the colors, especially white and any other color. Fortunately that wasn't true with the whites of the eyes, which were all well done.

The paint also tends to have a tacky feel. I suspect it's due to the type of paint necessary to remain flexible enough for the bending motion not to crack it. And if you think McToys gave you a buzz, just take a big whiff when you crack these babies open!.

Articulation (bendiness) - Mr. Burns, Lenny ***1/2; Smithers, Carl ***; Homer **1/2; Blinky Bupkis
Let's face it - Blinky is just a soft PVC. But all the others do have some bendy going for them, although how well it works depends on how skinny they are.

The first series took a hit in the bendy department, but let's be honest - none of the figures were really good choices for bendy limbs. Maggie has tiny arms, Bart and Lisa have very short arms and legs, and Marge's legs were almost non-existent. Only Homer had a chance, and his fat legs make doing too much bending difficult.

With this set, there's some far better characters to work with this action. Mr. Burns and Lenny have great action in both their arms and legs, and even their neck can be twisted around. Smithers and Carl aren't quite as good, with more limited leg bending, and Homer is still pretty much limited to his arms. Overall though, that's an improvement for this series.

Accessories - ***
If you took this category literally, this score should be bupkis. There are no traditional accessories.
But rather than complain about something I wasn't even expecting, I thought I'd score them here on the inclusion of Blinky (and SLH before, and others in the future). The idea of including a special sixth figure with the boxed sets is great, particularly considering the wise choices so far. Perhaps we'll even get so lucky as to see a Mr. Teeny or Bobo in the future!

Value - ***1/2
You're getting six figures for around twenty bucks. Okay, Blinky isn't a full size figure, so he's only really worth a couple bucks. That still means that the individual bendies are only about $3.50 each, and that's a good deal.

Overall -  ***
While these got the same overall score as the previous set, I was happier with them in general. The sculpts on several have improved, and the bendy nature of Mr. Burns and Lenny was a welcome sight. Obviously the fatter figures are never going to bend quite as well as the skinnier figures.

I really liked themed sets, and was very disappointed to see the mini-figures from Playmates tank. I'm hoping that we get some future bendy sets that match up with specific episodes, and I think the THOH sets should do great.

Where to Buy:
I've seen them at Media Play and Spencer stores so far. On-line:

- JGP Toys has the set available for $20. I've always received excellent customer service there, and never been disappointed.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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