Cabin Boy Gonzo and Rizzo
Wizard World LA exclusive

The Muppets line from Palisades is winding down over the course of 2005, but not before we get a handful of very cool additions. One of those was released at the Wizard World show in L.A. a month ago - the Cabin Boy Gonzo and Rizzo two pack.

This pair is from the Muppets Treasure Island film, and both sport their seafaring garb. Gonzo and Rizzo are both mighty popular characters with Palisades, and a quick scan of my shelf revealed at least six different Rizzos now, and 8, yes 8, different Gonzos.

These two fit in with the other MTI releases from previous years, including Sam Arrow (and the Ghost of Sam Arrow), and Kermit as Captain Smollet. They were available as a show exclusive for $20, but you can now pick them up through the Collector's Club  as well.

Packaging - ****
I'm a big fan of the boxes, since they are usually very collector friendly and easy to store. They are also usually easy to get open, but this time we do have a few more twisties than you'll like. Still, the box art is excellent, there's terrific text around the characters included, and the usual eye for design is obvious. Everyone should design packaging as pretty as this!

Sculpting - ****
Both these figures have hit four star sculpts before, so it's no surprise to see it here. The head sculpts are almost identical to previous versions, but that's certainly not a bad thing, and the body sculpts are more complex than any previous version.

Gonzo is sporting his ultra-cool pirate outfit. Well, actually they are both wearing cabin boy outfits, as the name implies. If you thought the outfit on Smollet was nice, you're going to love these. The soft coats, and detail work on the costumes is extremely nice, and both of these figures have leapt to the top of my list. I generally like the MTI theme anyway, and both these characters are some of my favorites. The combination is almost unbeatable!

Palisades has used various textures to simulate different materials, such as the fuzzy hair of the muppet or the dimpled surface of the coat. This really adds to the overall appeal, and they are one of the very few companies to do it consistently well.

The hands are sculpted to hold the accessories, and both hats are done in such a way as to remain on the head. Rizzo's hat has little notches for his ears, but I did have a tricky time getting them to work perfectly. Gonzo has the ultimate solution on the other hand, and his tuft of black hair pops out so that a peg in the hat can be inserted into his head.

Rizzo stands great, but I did have a little trouble with Gonzo. While he has leg articulation, the slightly odd sculpting to the legs and feet makes it a little tricky to find the best spot. However, once you have him standing, he stays up pretty well.

The scale matches up with the other versions and the rest of the line, and these two look great on the shelf with the other MTI versions. It's a pity we'll never get any other additions.

Paint - ***1/2
Again, the paint ops on the head is pretty much identical to past versions. There's the slight changes - a thicker line here, a slightly different color there - but these aren't obvious repaints, at least in terms of the heads.  There's really only one easily noticed change, and that's in the gap between Rizzo's two front teeth.  It now has a black line painted there, a first.  Personally, I preferred the original look, but it's not exactly a big difference.

The bodies sport all kinds of difficult details, from the stripes on Rizzo's shirt to the pattern on Gonzo's tie. Every place you expect detail, there is detail, so that there are no large areas of bland color or lost sculpting detail.

There's some dirt and roughness added to the clothing with a little dry brushing of color here and there, and it works fairly well.

There is a little fuzziness to some of the lines, but considering the scale, and the overall level of detail, I'm cutting them some slack.

Articulation - ****
Both come nicely articulated, so that there's at on of posing possibilities with the arms, and you can get them to stand and stay standing on their own.

Both have cut neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut wrists, waist and hips. Gonzo adds in a cut joint at the biceps, pin elbows and pin knees. While the knees don't have a huge range of movement, they do allow you to find that sweet spot where he stands for all eternity.

Having them both in the photos makes it handy to compare two different types of hip joints. The hip joint on Rizzo is a V-joint - the legs splay out into a v when sitting, since the joints angle inward. Gonzo has what is traditionally referred to as a T joint for the hips, since the legs can move forward and backward in a straight line, but can not move outward or inward.

Accessories - ***
Each figure comes with two accessories - a sword and a hat. I mentioned how the hats attach in the sculpting section, but they look great once you have them on. The swords are unique sculpts, each scaled for the proper character, and they fit easily in their hands.

While two accessories each isn't a huge number, it's pretty good for a convention show exclusive. Getting any accessories with an exclusive is getting to be a major achievement these days. The swords are also extremely nice, with very intricate hilts.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
Kids who love Muppets will love Muppet Treasure Island, and they'll love these figures. Gonzo and Rizzo are kid favorites to begin with, and silly versions, especially in a pirate theme, are perfect for play. There's lots of good articulation, yet the figures are fairly sturdy. And with a cutless for both, they can hack each other to death!

Value - **1/2
These aren't a great value, but are pretty average considering that they are an exclusive. It's also great that Palisades has the club to allow folks who aren't at the shows to get these.

Things to watch out for - 
I didn't have a single sticky joint problem, but as always, be aware that if paint got in the joint, don't force it. Take your time, since you don't want to break anything.

Overall - ****
I suspect I'm getting sentimental for the line already, but it will be sad to see it go. Perhaps that nostalgia is upping the score a tad, but I admit it.

These two go terrific with the other MTI figures, and make for an excellent little display. I've always enjoyed themes for sets of figures, and there's no better theme than pirates and the high seas.

Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ****

Where to Buy - 
Since the WWLA show is now long gone, you have far fewer choices to pick this set up, but it's still pretty easy if you're a Palisades Collector's Club member. I just touted all the cool reasons to join up a couple weeks ago over at Movie Poop Shoot, so I won't go through it again. But if you are a member, you can pick up this set for $20.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour