Ren and Stimpy Series 1
Ren, Stimpy, Shaven Yak and Mr. Horse


Ren and Stimpy holds a special place in my collecting heart.  The original line produced by Mattel back in 1992 was the first action figures that I kept...MOMC.  Actually, I didn't keep a full set that way, but only a couple, opening the majority of the line.  But it was the first time I ever kept any figure in it's original packaging.

While I'd been collecting in general for several years before, I consider this a great turning point in my disease...uh, hobby.  Of course, I also loved the cartoon dearly, as these were still the days when John K. was taking forever to get a cartoon to screen, Nick was cutting as much as they could, and the show was still unique and unrivaled, long before the Futurama's, Family Guy's and South Park's made irreverent cartoons the norm.

Mattel did those first figures, but now Palisades has picked up the license to do this show justice.  They've had great success with their Muppets line, and fans have been anticipating the release of the first figures for months now.  At this last weekend's Wizard World show in Chicago, the line debuted in a big way!  Palisades shipped in a limited number of series 1 sets early, and also had the exclusive Firedogs set of Ren and Stimpy for the show.  On top of that, Billy West was on hand to sign figures and chat with fans!  I've included a shot of the packaged Firedogs at the end of the review, and should have a review up of those sometime soon.

I was afraid that by the time I hit the show on Saturday, that all the figures would be gone, but I got lucky and snagged a set.  The set was $60 at the show, and the higher retail that will come along with this set of figures might be a surprise to some folks.  Unfortunately, as more toy retailers bite the big one or simply cut back on inventory, higher prices are becoming the norm.

The first series consists of Ren and Stimpy of course, along with Mr. Horse and the Shaven Yak.  There's also the Firedogs exclusive set of Ren and Stimpy (coming to the Collector's Club very soon), and there was a Wizard World party exclusive of Log earlier this year.  That's it so far, although I'm sure we can expect to see more before the end of 2004.

Before we get into the review, I wanted to be sure to also point out that the original shows (seasons one and two anyway), in all their original uncut glory and with lots of extras, are finally coming to DVD this fall.  It's a good time to be a Ren and Stimpy fan!

Packaging - ****
They've once again used the clamshell packaging, and it works and looks terrific.  These are much larger than the Muppets clamshells, and show off all the accessories and figure great.  The graphics fit in with the line nicely, although the blue bugged me a tad at first - the Muppets are already blue.  Still, the overall impression that you get from first seeing these is that they look terrific.

Another nice feature this time around is that the logs are packaged in their own packages inside!  Each one comes in a small bubble that has a removable cardback.  Just carefully peel off three pieces of tape, and you can slip the card in and out of the bubble, allowing you to remove the log and still replace it later on in its package if you'd like!  Amazingly cool stuff.

There is one problem though, as the log package is twisty tied into the interior tray.  That tends to bend the log cardback slightly, although it was nothing that I couldn't straighten back out once I had the package open.

And while the cardback for the figures is funny, the log cardbacks are hilarious.  This is some really creative and imaginative packaging, and Palisades will be near the top of the list for best packaging of the year for this line.

Something that I've complained about with certain figures is the lack of instructions.  In this line, there's removable limbs and swappable outfits, and you really need some instructions to help you out.  Palisades didn't include it with the figures themselves, but they did provide an on-line version, another nice touch.  I suggest checking them out to, because otherwise you might find yourself a tad confused.

Sculpting - Horse, Yak, Stimpy ****; Ren ***1/2
All four of these figures sport the usual amazing Palisades sculpts.  The work is credited to Camelot Industrial Artists, and it's truly amazing.

This Ren is 'happy' Ren (there was to be a variant sad Ren in the cases, but that isn't going to happen.  Instead, the sad Ren will be available through the Collectors Club as a kit exclusive.  The sad ren sculpt was also used for the Firedogs exclusive).  Of the four sculpts, this is my least favorite just because it's not really an expression that I consider a Ren regular.  Still, they have the manicial look down, and the ears are straight up in a trademark manner.  The body sculpt looks great, with the right hand sculpted to hold accessories and the left hand in a standard pose.  He stands great on his own, and the plastic is nice and hard, greatly reducing the odds of limp legs over time.

Stimpy carries a fantastic expression, and also bears excellent proportions between his head, mouth, eyes and nose.  This is such a perfect Stimpy, from his expression to his scale to his hand sculpts to his removable legs that even fit inside his mouth that I don't know how they'll ever top it.  The assembly process here had to be much more complicated than usual - just consider the order that the face had to be assembled to manage to get the tongue inside the mouth! Again, the plastic is very stiff, and even though his chunky body is heavy, it's unlikely that his thinner legs will collapse under the weight.  There's no problem getting him to stand on his own.

The Yak is huge - it's hard to explain just how huge until you get your hands on him.  Even the photos with several figures together don't do him justice.  He completely fills the bubble, and there's no rotocast, hollow parts here.  This is a seriously hefty beast, and you'll be amazed at the size.  Trust me.

On top of that, the sculpt is amazing.  He needs to use a bit more of a moisturizing shaving cream...he has lots of little shaving bumps all over his body. The sculpt works extremely well with the articulation, and I love the expression they chose.  Although he's one of the heaviest action figures I've seen in ages, the legs and tail are designed specifically to maintain the bulk.  The hard plastic legs actually click in place, and the tail can be positioned in back to add a 'third leg' for maintaining balance.

I left the best for last - Mr. Horse.  If you thought the expressions on the other three were great, you will be blown away by Mr. Horse.  He's disgruntled, he's confused, he's annoyed, and it's all at the same time. The sculpt also works beautifully with the articulation, and you'll find a million ways that this guy looks good on the shelf.

The one issue he did have was with staying standing on his own.  His center of balance doesn't seem to work quite as well with his foot position as the other figures, and I suspect I'll end up using the display stand with him to avoid shelf diving.

Paint - Horse, Yak ***1/2; Stimpy ***; Ren **1/2
Unfortunately, the paint ops didn't quite live up to the sculpts across the board.  I suspect that it's something that you'll have to pay attention to, and do your best to pick out the nicest looking.

For me, Ren has the most issues.  There was bleed between some of the colors, especially between the red lips and white teeth, and the eyes and face.  It's not horrendous, but reminds me more of general mass market quality than specialty market quality.

The Shaven Yak had the nicest work, although both Mr. Horse and Stimpy were pretty solid.  There were a few minor issues here and there, mostly with poor definition between colors.  Some of the colors that cover large areas, like Mr. Horse's gray or Stimpy's red, had a few consistency problems, and in general this is an area Palisades will need to reiterate with the manufacturing plant.

While there were some quality issues with the plant, there's no issues with the color choices or style.  The paint masters were done once again by Ed and Jason Wires, and these look exceptional, just as you'd expect.

Articulation - Mr. Horse ****; Yak ***1/2; Ren, Stimpy ***
Palisades went the extra mile trying to add as much workable, useful and attractive articulation as they could.

Ren and Stimpy were the toughest of course.  Stimpy's stumpy body doesn't allow for much, but he has hips and shoulders and wrists.  The hips allow him to hit the sweet spot and stand perfectly, and with shoulder and wrist articulation - most other companies would have just given you shoulder - you have a decent amount of poses that are possible.

Ren has a great ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, and hips.  He can also stand nicely, and while the right hand sculpt limits the number of poses a bit, the ball jointed neck makes up for it.

Yak has huge ball jointed shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and tail.  While there's probably only a limited number of poses you'll want to put him in, you have more options than that.  I particularly love the wrist joints, because they allow you to do so much more with the shaving cream and shaver.

But the big winner here is Mr. Horse.  The unique neck joint allows him to look left and right along with up and down (although it leaves a rather odd gap at the mane in some poses).  There's ball jointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, and hips.  Both the elbows and wrists are pin joints that also turn, so you have a tremendous range of motion in the arms.  He can have his hooves on his hips, touch his chin in thought, or carry something in front of him.  "Yes sir, I like it."

Accessories - ****
Palisades loves to do accessories right, and they've really gone all out here.

Let's first discuss the stuff that comes with all four figures - the display bases and the Logs.  The bases work fine, although for the most part you won't need them.

The Logs are perhaps the coolest accessories ever.  They weren't an obvious idea, and yet they make complete sense.  They are huge, and can even be their own subset collection.  The possibilities are almost endless, and it was such a funny idea on the show, that it's fantastic that we've gotten them with the figures.

Each figure comes with a unique log - Ren with 'Action Log', Stimpy with 'Log for Girls', 'Invisible Log' with Shaven Yak, and 'Singing Log' with Mr. Horse.  The sculpt on all are fantastic, although the more complicated ones like Action Log or Log for Girls really shine.

On top of that, each figure comes with a variety of specific accessories.  Ren has a wingback chair that he can sit in, fez that stays on his head with a magnet, remote (not mentioned on the package), toothbrush, bag of 47 million dollars, and a big bag of Gritty Kitty litter.  The sculpts and paint ops are amazing all around.

Stimpy has his litter box, and by removing his legs (they pop on and off fairly easily) you can have him sit in the box perfectly.  He also has his hat (with magnet) and glasses for his Doctor Stupid outfit, a small chunk of shaving cream scum that fits on a finger (again, not mentioned on his package), and 'secret club' helmet.  The helmet fits perfectly on his head, although it's a tad tight.  The ear pieces fit nicely on the outside of the ears, and once I had it on him I left it for the duration!

The Shaven Yak has the fewest accessories, due to his bulk of course.  What he does have are critical though - his razor that fits nicely in his left hand, and two lumps of shaving cream, both of which are sculpted to fit nicely in his right hand.

Finally, there's Mr. Horse.  When you buy Mr. Horse, you aren't buying one figure - you're buying three!  His 'hair piece' (the tuft of mane and his ears) pops off, along with his tail and arms. This allows you to outfit in him two other ways.

First, pop off his arms, and snap on his sports coat!  This is the look he sported most of the time on the show, and is probably going to be the favorite.  The two halves of his coat - that includes unposable arms - snap together tightly and fit seamlessly.

Okay, pop that back off, and let's do the tougher outfit - Rubber Nipple Fetish! Fans of the show will remember this exceptionally funny episode well, and the fact that they've included his outfit is hilarious.

There's a different 'hair piece' that you can pop on, but it does tend to fall off too easily.  That's true of the regular head piece as well, and they should have snapped in slightly tighter.

Then there's a pair of rubber pants.  They are made of a very thick rubber, so while it is tough to get them on - I spent at least 10 minutes working on it - they aren't going to rip easily.  It's not impossible to get the pants on, it just requires some patience and determination.  Once I got them on though, I knew I wasn't going to be taking them off any time soon.  Fortunately I considered that in advance, and shot him in the other outfits first!

Next you work on the boots.  I found these almost as tough to get on as the pants, but not quite as bad.  It looks like there might be a difference between the right and left, but I wasn't sure.

Finally, there's a pair of rubber gloves for his hands/hooves, and these go on much easier.  Once you have him decked out in the costume, you'll be glad you stuck it out.  It's important to note though that while he had a little trouble standing at first, with the rubber boots on it was impossible for me to keep him standing without the display base.

I mentioned it before, but it's well worth mentioning again - Palisades provides some pictorial instructions for help in getting these accessories to work.

Fun Factor - ****
I don't know if any kids would find Ren and Stimpy all that funny these days, but if they did, these would be the toys for them.  For all those big kids, these are just what the Doctor Stupid ordered.

Between the excellent sculpts, terrific accessories, and amazing articulation, you'll have tons of fun goofy around with these guys.  Watch out for those co-workers - you may never get them to stop putting them in unique positions!

Value - **1/2
Palisades has tried their very best to give you as much as possible, since they knew that the tightening retail world was going to drive up the cost to you.  You can expect to pay $13 - $15 at most stores for these, but considering the Logs, the excellent accessories, and the size of figures like Yak and Stimpy, they counteracted the effect on the value quite nicely.

Overall - Ren ***1/2; Yak, Stimpy, Mr. Horse ****
I love this series.  I've always been looking forward to them, simply because of the phenomal work Palisades has done with the Muppets.  The photos had me excited, and once I got these opened up, they really blew me away.  The only real complaint is the slightly rough paint ops in some places, but I'm hoping we see that improve.  The prices are a bit much of course, but there should be no real surprise there, and Palisades has done all they can in adding in extras to help keep the value.

In case you're wondering, that's the sad face Ren next to the happy Ren in the photo to the left.  I was lucky enough to win the raffle in San Diego for the sad face prototype, and thought you'd like to see the two versions together.

I really, really, really have to have a Commander Hoek, Cadet Stimpy and Powdered Toast Man in this line.  If we manage to get those three figures at least, I'll be able to die a happy and fulfilled man.

Where to Buy - 
Palisades happened to air ship in some sets for the Wizard World show in Chicago this weekend, so I got lucky.  These should be hitting stores over the next couple weeks though.  On-line options (these are all still pre-orders, since the figures are just now shipping to retailers) include:

- Clark Toys has an excellent price on the set, at only $50 for all four!  They also have the individual figures for $15 each.  And if you're considering the Dr. Stupid mini-bust, they have that one for just $23!

- Killer Toys has the set available for $55, or individual figures for $17.

- CornerStoreComics also has the set for $55, but they have the individual figures for $14.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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