Simpsons Wave 12

Twelve waves. That's 72 figures just in regular releases, not counting the playsets, mail aways, exclusives, etc. etc. etc. Like the World of Springfield or not, you have to admit it's one of the most successful and varied lines of all time.

While there have been a number of lines with lots of figures - TMNT, Star Trek, BTAS, etc. - very few have ever had the character diversity of this line. I think there is really only one other, Star Wars, that has this kind of variety in it's character selection. Of the 148 figures currently released, 89 of them are unique characters! That's pretty amazing, and looking at how well series 10 and 11 moved on the pegs, it's unlikely we'll see the end of this line any time soon.

This wave contains six figures - Mr. Plow Homer (the only variant), Luanne Van Houten, Mr. Largo, Database, Don Vittorio, and Number One. Yes, this is definitely a wave of third string characters, but at least a couple were crucial to the line. There are also two repainted figures, Moe and Mr. Burns, that are packed in with some of the cases, similar to the way the Hank Scorpio was added to an earlier wave. This is the only wave that will have the repaints packed in with the regular figures.

They have been showing up at Gamestops and Targets so far, but should hit Toys R Us and Media Play soon enough as well. Basic retail is still around $6, and it's also amazing that the line has really only gone through one price increase - from $5 to $6 - over the run so far.

Packaging - ***
This new packaging doesn't thrill everyone, but I like it. With Wave 12, we get our second look at it, and can see how the character circles on the front of the card match up with the wave selection. While the artwork isn't the best, it's decent and looks good on the peg.

Sculpting - Database **; Luanne, Don Vittorio ***; Number One, Mr. Largo ***1/2; Mr. Plow Homer ****
For the most part, the sculpting on this series is solid. Luanne and Don Vittorio look as you'd expect, although neither leaps out at you as perfect. Number One and Mr. Largo look slightly better to me, both a tad closer to capturing the on screen look. And Mr. Plow Homer is perfect, with a slightly new head sculpt, and a dead on body sculpt.

The only disappointment here is Database, and that's not due to his appearance as much as his scale. If he is taken all by his little lonesome, he doesn't look too bad, but put together with the rest of the line, and he looks extremely out of place. It looks like Playmates is trying to get the kid's scale in line with the adults, and God knows it was way off with the early versions of the pint sized characters. The fact that they are trying to change scale is obvious because of the new stack of books given to Database, which are much smaller than the version re-used with many of the other kids.

Unfortunately, switching scale mid-stream, even when it's to correct a wrong, means that there is an inconsistency across the line. Since Database should be with the other kids, his diminutive size is all the more obvious. On top of that, many buyers will have a tough time justifying even the relatively inexpensive cost of this figure. He's overwhelmed by the package, bubble and accessories.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops on all six figures was great, although not quite up to some of the higher standards currently being set on other lines. There were still some sloppy lines and definition between colors, a bane of Playmates QA, but all the colors were consistent, and there was more detail with figures like Homer and Number One than in many other waves. The work on Homer's 'Mr. Plow' jacket is particularly well done.

If I have one complaint on the paint, it's the choice of gray for Largo's hair.  Me thinks that white might have been more show appropriate, but that's a tough call.

Articulation - **1/2
I think I've sang this song before - neck, shoulders, waist.

Accessories - Database ***; Mr. Plow Homer, Number One ***1/2; Luanne, Mr. Largo, Don Vittorio ****
It's tough to argue with some many new accessories. Here's a break down:

Mr. Plow Homer - removable hat, key to the city, Stockdale for V.P. T-shirt, stack of Mr. Plow fliers.

Number One - removable hat, Stonecutter book (not the same as the one that came with Stonecutter Homer), initiation paddle, beer stein (also a new sculpt).

Don Vittorio - clown bicycle, seltzer bottle, folded wad of money, removable coat, gun.

Luanne Van Houten - stack of moving boxes, tape dispenser, open box (marked 'Kirk'), can of lighter fluid.

Mr. Largo - metronome, chalk holder, sheet music, music stand, baton.

Database - stack of books, lunch tray, some sort of small horn.

As you can see, Database ends up on the short end of the deal again. Overall though, the accessories are great, with excellent choices and no re-use at all! There were places they had the opportunity to re-use things, but opted to go with new sculpts instead. Gone are the days of endless clipboards!

Talking Feature - **1/2
For a complete listing of all the lines, check out the Simpsons Collector Sector, where you'll find lines for every character in the entire WOS line on every playset.

The biggest issue at this point with the talking feature is finding playsets that will work with the newest figures. Since the number of playsets released has dropped in the last six months, there are fewer opportunities to include lines for the new characters. For example, Luanne and Database only work in one location, the  brand new Bart's Treehouse set. That makes the feature far less useful than it once was.

Still, some of the line choices are great, and we can hope to see additionally lines for these characters in other new sets.

Value - Database **1/2; the rest ***1/2
At six bucks these are still some of the best values around. Since Target is still carrying them, and getting them early, I'd try to find them there before breaking down and spending the bigger bucks at places like Sam Goody or Gamestop.

Database takes a hit here just cuz he's so damn small. Tiny. Miniscule. Really.

Overall - Database **1/2; Luanne, Mr. Largo ***; Don Vittorio, Number One ***1/2; Mr. Plow Homer ****
Mr. Plow Homer is a must have figure - great sculpting, great variant, great episode. The other characters in this wave are going to be dependent on your personal tastes. Some of them might be your own favorites, while others leave you cold. That's to be expected as the line moves into more and more obscure selections.

For me, the top three figures here were Mr. Largo (because he's right in the intro every week), Number One (to go with the Stonecutter Homer), and Mr. Plow Homer. Your mileage may vary.

Where to Buy - 
Media Play may end up with them, as they've carried most of the previous ones. On-line:

- Entertainment Earth has the set by the case for $75.  No telling whether you'll get the main six or the Burns or Moe though.

- ( has the best deal, with the full set of 8 - that's right, it includes Moe and Mr. Burns - for $48 plus shipping.  Since finding the short packs might be tough, this is certainly the easiest way to get a set.  Let's hope they really deliver what they promise on the 25th.

- At EBgames online you can buy five of the six new figures individually for $6 each, but for some reason Mr. Largo is missing.  They also have the new playset, Bart's Treehouse, available for purchase.


Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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