World of Springfield Wave 9 

It's already been over three months since I last reviewed a regular World of Springfield release of figures.  Yep, it was way back in March!  With the release of wave 9, your Simpsons collection could top 100.  These six take the total to 101, one of the largest lines in recent history.

Wave 9 has the usual six figures - Disco Stu, Rod and Todd Flanders, Busted Krusty, Prison Bob, Sunday Best Lisa and Sunday Best Grampa.  As you can see, four of the six can be considered 'variations'.

They are hitting some Targets right now, although I only found half the wave there.  I picked up the other half at Software Etc, and since many TRU's are getting in the new playsets right now, they should have them soon as well.

Packaging - **1/2
Word on the street is that we'll see a packaging change in 2003.  Woo hoo!

Sculpting - ***1/2
For a wave made up predominately of variants, that's a pretty good sculpting score.  But they've done an excellent job on several counts with this wave.

First, all of these are new sculpts.  I've included some comparison pictures so you can clearly see the differences.  For example, Sunday Best Lisa has a much longer lip and nose, stretching her face out a bit.  It's a drastic improvement over the previous sculpt.

Likewise, Grampa Simpson is completely different, and I think even Prison Bob, the closest head sculpt to the original, has been changed slightly.  It appears to me that his eyes have been adjusted slightly, and it works well.

Rod and Todd are great for two reasons - first, they look just like they do on the show, although the 'zombie' effect is a bit obvious here; second, they are far better in scale than most of the kids.  Check out the shot with Bart, and you can see how much better they're scale is than his.

Disco Stu is a solid sculpt, although for the figure that most people were most anticipating, I think he's one of my lesser favorites of the wave.  Don't get me wrong - he's good.  It's just that with only his one arm in his disco pose, and his legs forced to be straight for the voice chip, he doesn't look like the wild and crazy Disco Stu you'd expect.

My favorite of the series is Busted Krusty.  He looks exactly like he did when they were shooting his mug shot, and with variants I love it when they sculpt unique and show specific faces.  Sure, this isn't the usual Krusty, but it's not supposed to be.  He fits in great with Prison Bob and all the cops we've been treated to so far. 

One last note on the sculpting - all the figures have hands sculpted specifically to hold their accessories.  Always an important touch!

Paint - ***
I didn't have too many paint issues this wave, with the exception of Disco Stu.  Everyone's lines were clean and neat, the colors were consistent, and there was no glopping or slop.

However, Stu had two problems for me.  First, his glasses were very poorly done, with sloppy lines and even some spots on the frames missing paint.

Second, which is even more noticeable, was the extreme color difference between his chest and neck.  With that open shirt and flowing chest hair, it's pretty obvious that the yellow on his chest is a completely different shade than that of his head.

I'll mention it again, although I'm not saying it's a bad thing - the non-shiny plastic is extremely obvious in this wave.  Just check out the picture of the two Lisa's to see what I mean.

Articulation - **
Neck, waist, shoulders.  

Accessories - ***
I think we sometimes take for granted all the extremely cool accessories we are treated to with this line of figures.

There's very little reuse this time around, and everyone has something cool and unique.  Sunday Best Lisa comes with her chocolate Easter bunny, tithe basket for church, and removable hat, all new.

Prison Bob comes with his rake, knife, nuclear bomb and detonator, also all new.  Busted Krusty has a ton as well, with a new gun, bag of money, handcuffs (the only reuse), and the number 4 sign for around his neck.  Yes, you can get it to fit by removing one side of the lanyard from the sign.  Look on the back and you can see which end is the correct end to pull.

Sunday Best Grampa has some reuse, the bible, but that's it.  He also comes with a jar of pomade, bottle of aspirin, and stick of beef jerky.

Rod and Todd have the least exciting, and only two accessories.  There's the Good Samaritan game board, and a photo of their late mom.  The photo frame is a reuse of course, but the game board is all new.

Disco Stu also has three new accessories, and one of them is simply too cool.  There's his album and the chart showing disco record sales, both new.  But the piece duh resistor is his  disco ball.  Now if there was just someplace to hang it!

Playmates could have cheaped out all over the place here, reusing other square backgrounds for things like the chart, or giving Krusty the same gun as the police.  But they resisted the urge, and we're definitely luckier for it.

Talking Feature - ***
If you're looking for all the lines, head over at the Simpsons Collector Sector.  I will reiterate that these new, less often featured characters are going to have a tougher and tougher time finding places to talk, and lines to say.

Value - ***
Six bucks is what you want to pay, and try to avoid the higher $7-$8 the specialty shops will charge you.

Overall - ***1/2
I like this wave quite a bit better than wave 8, and while Disco Stu is a little disappointing, collectors should be happy to get their first Krusty and Grampa variants, along with a great Lisa.  Rod and Todd go nicely alongside their dad, but now Maude is an absolute must!

Where to Buy
I found these at Target, where you'll get the best prices.

On-line, there are plenty of options:

- New Force Comics.  Rick has the best prices around, but you need to pre-order.  On these you're out of luck (and if you ordered them from him, he is hoping to start shipping next week), but he has pre-orders up for wave 10 and beyond right now.

- Bean's Toys has the set for $35 plus shipping still available as a pre-order.  That's just under $6 each before shipping.

- Entertainment Earth has them in stock at $50 for a set of six.  If you want to buy a case, which is evenly packed with two of each figure, it's only $70.  That comes out to $5.83 each plus shipping. (MROTW Affiliate)

- Electronics Boutique also has a great on-line price of $6 each before shipping. Just head over to the action figure page. (MROTW Affiliate)

- as a last resort, has them in stock as well, for about $8 each plus shipping.  Search under 'simpsons'. If you use the code 'CHNKBKAMZNLT' you can save $5 off a $35  order, so the set of six would be $43 before shipping. (MROTW Affiliate).

Figures from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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