Mega Animal

It's a given that if you have a successful figure line in one scale, you try to transfer that success to another scale. And if you're going from a small scale to a larger scale, you can often save costs if the original sculpting was done using a '2 up', or sculpted figure twice the size (or more) of the final production figure.

Such is the case with the Muppets and the Mega line. The 6" figures have been very popular with the Muppet fans, and Palisades began producing a larger scale series with the Mega Beaker. The second figure in this Mega line is now shipping, and it's another fan favorite - Animal.

The Mega Animal figure is available at the Sam Goody family of stores, including Media Play, and runs for about $25. You can also pick them up directly from Palisades if you happen to be at one of this summer's conventions.

Packaging - ***
Palisades always produces eye catching, colorful packaging. Mega Animal is the first release to use the new blue package art, under the more general banner of 'Muppets', rather than the Muppets Show banner of the past releases. And just like always, it's eye catching and colorful. I'm still not sure if I like it better though, and it might take some time to grow on me. It's fairly collector friendly though, if you don't mind replacing a lot of twisty ties.

Sculpting - ****
The first Mega figure, Beaker, was identical in sculpt to his smaller cousin. Not so this time around, as Palisades has given us an improved - at least for this scale - head sculpt. The hair is wilder, and there's more overall detail than in the smaller version.

That's great, although the overall appearance of Animal, both in this version and the smaller one, isn't quite as appealing to me as many of the other figures. Perhaps it's his overall gangliness, or perhaps it's the bent leg pose. Whatever the case, it's not quite the perfect sculpt for me, but may be just right for you.

You can't fault the figure for overall attention to detail though, and there are some nice touches like the large metal chain attached to his neck cuff. The new head sculpt is particularly nice, and if you're a big Animal fan, this is likely to be one of your favorite figures in your collection.

Paint - ****
The paint application is damn near perfect.  There was a little over spray on the rope belt onto the pants, but it was very minor, and there's plenty of detail here that could have had issues.  Instead, the paint looks great, with even consistency across the colors and great detail work.

Articulation - ***1/2
Animal has a ball jointed neck joint, eyebrow and mouth, ball jointed shoulders, cut biceps, wrists, hips, ankles and a waist.

Some of the joints were a little loose, and getting him to stand on his own takes a little work.  That solid head of his weighs a ton, so it throws him off a bit, but you'll find the sweet spot with a little effort.

Both the eyebrows and mouth work much better than the smaller version, and you shouldn't have the same issues getting the joints unfrozen.

Accessories - ***
Mega Animal comes with his trademark drum sticks, and the fit nicely in both hands. There's not much to say about them, since they look exactly like you'd expect, and aren't really a complex or unusual item.

Value - **1/2
I can be a cheap bastard at times, and of course I'd like to see the Mega figures in the $20 range. As it stands, they aren't a terrible value, and I certainly don't feel ripped off, but $20 a pop is really the sweet spot. I'm betting that the production run size precludes them from getting them down into that price range, at least at this point.

Overall - ***1/2
I'm not as big of a fan of the Mega Muppet line as I am the smaller line, but this figure is certainly an improvement over Beaker.  With the basic accessories and the new head sculpt, you're getting a bit more for your money, and he looks terrific on the shelf.

Where to Buy - 
As I mentioned earlier, I've seen these at Media Play and Sam Goody store so far. You also have some on-line options:

- Aisle Sniper has him available for shipping at $24.95 plus s/h.

- Beans Toys has him still as a pre-order for $24.99, but they also have some series 1 and series 2 sets available, along with great pre-order pricing on series 4, 5, and 6!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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