Koozebane Kermit

This has been a truly terrific year for action figures.  We're getting great work on various lines from just about every company on the map.  But one line stand out for me in it's detailed sculpting, quality, paint work, articulation, accessories - it's the complete package.

That's the Muppets from Palisades.  The latest release is a Target exclusive Koozebane Kermit.  Palisades now has a much broader license to the Muppets figures, but when they first started a little over a year ago they only had rights to the old Muppet Show.  The only time the 'reporter' Kermit showed up on that show was when he was reporting from the planet Koozebane.  Therefore, the only way they could do this Kermit was as his Koozebane version.

Target just started carrying the Muppets line with series 4, so this is their first exclusive.  It's shipping with the regular figures, three or four to a case, so finding him shouldn't be too difficult.  The only Targets carrying them are the ones with three aisles of action figures, so the smaller Targets won't be getting them in.

The Muppets now retail for $8.99 most places, and the Kermit exclusive is the same price as a regular release figure.

Packaging - ***1/2
I really like the clamshell packaging. I'm glad McToys is using it, and I'm glad Palisades is using it. It's sturdy, and gives the company so many more possibilities on the insert. These look terrific, will stand up to all kinds of shelf wear, and are easy to pack away for the MOCer. Sure, they could be collector friendly, but that's so rare in the world of carded figures it's tough to beat them up too much about it. I do wish we were getting actual Muppet photos on the insert though, instead of just the figure.

Sculpting - ****
The head sculpt is of course the same Kermie head sculpt we've seen before. The paint ops are slightly different, but we'll get to that later. The body is new of course, right down to the hands. I'm assuming they're the same feet, but hey, I'm not much of a foot person.

The detail work on the overcoat, pants, shirt, etc. is all in line with the standard we've come to expect with the Muppets line. The figure looks absolutely terrific, and leaped to the head of the Kermit pack as my favorite. I'm actually pretty surprised by how much I like this figure, as I wasn't really expecting too much. But there are all kinds of cool display ideas with reporter Kermit and other action figures, Muppets and other lines as well, and the figure is dead on to the source material. This version blows regular Kermit and Tux Kermit right out of the water for me.

One important feature of this sculpt to note is that he stands TERRIFIC on his own. Unlike the first Kermit who has a bad case of droopsies over time, or the Tux Kermit who still has a tendency towards bad posture, this Kermit stand perfectly straight, on his own, no problems with falling over.

Paint - ***1/2
There have been occasions where the paint ops on the Muppets figurs haven't quite lived up to my expectations, but it's been quite some time since that's been the case. I didn't have a single major issue of any kind with the paint, with just the tiniest amount of a bad edge between the eyes and green face. There was no glopping, no overspray, and all the colors are clean, consistent and bright.

Some of the paint has changed slightly. His tongue is darker in this version, and the pupils of his eyes slightly smaller, at least on mine. That works nicely, and actually improves on an already excellent figure. I have heard reports from some folks of bad eyeballs, but I didn't see any paint issues on the half dozen I've come across.

Articulation - ***1/2
Kermit has plenty, particularly considering his size and design. There's neck, ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and ankles that turn. As I mentioned earlier, Kermit stands great on his own, and you can pose him in all sorts of reporter-like poses with the arms. The left hand is even sculpted with a pointing finger! Back to you, Miss Piggy...

Accessories - **** 
There are five accessories with Kermit - a male, female and child Koozebanian, a small chunk of Koozebane terrain, and a microphone. All sport the same exceptional sculpting and paint application that the figure has.

The three Koozebanians are all unique and very cute. The camera doesn't show it well, but the colors are more distinct between them than the photos reflect. Their sculpts are great, and the paint application is very clean. The same can be said for the small Koozebane base, and all three little figures can stand on various spots. The base also includes two of the little flower like guys (Merdlipans? Something like that...) sculpted into it. The Koozebanians also have articulation at the shoulders, giving you a little freedom with the arm pose.

The final accessory is the silver microphone. It fits in Kermit's right hand, although it's pretty tiny. The entire mic is silver, so there's not a lot of paint detail, but it's not a major issue.

Value - ***
The price of Muppets has gone up to $9 at most retails. That's true at Target as well. Under normal circumstances, that would have hurt the overall value score. But you're not paying any more for this although it's an exclusive, which helps offset the dollar increase.

Overall - ****
I'm very happy with this figure, and quite surprised at how much I like it. I'm not a huge Kermit fan, but this version is really growing on me, fast becoming one of my favorites of the series. It's not going to displace Rizzo, Beaker or Chef at the very top of the food chain, but for a variation it's extremely nice.

Where to Buy - 
This is currently a Target exclusive, so that's where you better head. In more general terms, here's some good on-line places to pick up the regular releases:

- Bean's Toys has the set of 4 Series 5 figures up for pre-order for $36, and if you haven't picked up series 4 yet, they have them for $33.

- Killer Toys has the series 4 set available for $35, but they also have series 1 and 2, for those just getting into the Muppets, for just $35 a set.

- EBGames has the individual figures for $9. This includes the repaint figures for each wave, and right now you can pre-order the Janice repaint with series 5 or the Beauregard repaint with series 6. This is an excellent way to be sure you get the short packed repaint figures.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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