South Park Series 6

South Park continues to hit on all cylinders on the small screen.  The last three episodes around Imaginationland were hilarious, and by the time you read this they'll have wrapped up this season with their final episode.  But while the show rolls on, it appears that perhaps the figures won't.

Series 6 is hitting pegs and online retailers now, and includes Ming Li Cartman, Mr. Slave, Starvin' Marvin and Nurse Gollum.  But is this the end?  Rumor has it that the South Park series is ending, and with no new series announced at this point, it seems quite possible.  I think all our lives will be a little less fulfilled without a Sexual Harassment Panda action figure on our shelf.

These guys retail for around $12 a pop, depending on the retailer.  Online is your best bet at this point, but I'm assuming Hot Topic and FYE will eventually get these in.

Packaging - ***
More of the same here, at least if you've been buying the earlier figures.  I've always like the basic design and graphics, but once again the large size hurts the feel of getting something for your money, particularly with Starvin' Marvin and Cartman, who are mighty small in that big bubble.

Sculpting - Mr. Slave, Ming, Marvin ***1/2; Nurse Gollum ***
Mezco has done a great job over the course of this series with the sculpts, and this line is another winner.  The scale is good between adults and other adults, kids and adults, and even from kids to kids.  They all stand fine on their own, even figures like Marvin.  And there are cool extra sculpting features on a number of the figures.

For example, while Nurse Gollum isn't my favorite sculpt job overall (which is in part due to the very basic nature of her character that really doesn't allow for much 'flair', unlike Mr. Slave), she has a groove sculpted into her left hand to allow her to carry the clipboard.  That kind of small detail goes a very long way with me.

Ming's sculpt isn't anything surprising, but I was pleased to see the tube top actually sculpted onto his torso, rather than just painted.  Starvin' Marvin has very good proportions, including the size of his head and body, but I will admit that some folks will be annoyed by the clearly visible seam line around his chin.

In the end though, it's Mr. Slave that's my favorite sculpt of the bunch.  There's more to work with here in terms of details like the chaps and vest, and they take advantage of that.

As I said, the scale is consistent, with the kids in the 4 1/2" range, and the adults in that 6 1/2" range.

Paint - ***
The one category that has been a long term issue for this series is paint.  It's not terrible here, but there are still a few key issues to point out.

Most of the lines are clean and well cut, although some of the finer lines, particularly on the costume of Mr. Slave, show some slipping.  The annoying rub marks on the finish are there as usual, and I'm not particularly keen on the inclusion of the dark line under the noses of Mr. Slave and Nurse Gollum.  I realize they're trying to make the small noses more apparent, but it doesn't work for me.

I know that Mr. Slave has at least two expressions, but I haven't hear of any other variations on Nurse Gollum, Ming or Marvin yet.

Some of the accessories, like the turkey (especially his eyes), show more slop than others.  The Frog King, for example, looks outstanding, but not every accessory sports that same level of quality.

Overall, the paint is reasonable, but not outstanding considering some of the other specialty market lines out there.

Articulation - Marvin, Mr. Slave, Cartman ***; Nurse Gollum **1/2
One of my favorite aspects of this line is the articulated eyebrows that they've often - although not always - given the kids.  Because the animation on the show is so simple, there really is just two major ways that the show emotion: with the eyebrows and with the mouth.  The figures usually come with different mouth expressions painted on, allowing you to choose your favorite, and the articulated eyebrows means you have the ability to alter their expression even further on the shelf at home.

Cartman, aka Ming Li, gets extra points here because he has the eyebrows.  It also seems like they are a bit thinner this time, sticking out a little less from the forehead.  That might just be my impression, but they do look a little less like they're 'stuck on' than some of the past attempts.

He has the rest of the usual Cartman articulation, with the ball neck (that's restricted a bit more than normal due to the hair), cut waist and cut shoulders.

Marvin isn't super articulated by any means, but he has about as much articulation as I think they could give him. There's an excellent ball jointed neck with a full range of movement, as well as cut shoulders and a cut waist.  The big shock for me was that he stands fine on his own, even with the huge head and tiny feet!

Mr. Slave also has a terrific ball jointed neck, allowing you to add some personality to his poses, as well as ball jointed shoulders and a cut waist.  On top of that, he has cut ankles, an oddity for this line, but it allows you to put the small cowboy boots in the sweet spot so he stands great on his own.

Nurse Gollum has a ball jointed neck, but this time they buried it in her shirt to go for a look that's similar to the animation.  She also has cut shoulders and a ball waist, but of the four, her limited articulation is perhaps the least useful. She does stand great on her own though.

Accessories - Marvin ****; Mr. Slave, Ming ***1/2; Gollum **1/2
Generally, the accessories for the overall series have been one of the key selling points.  Using episode and character specific usable items, they've built up a very nice stockpile of goodies.

Nurse Gollum has the fewest items this time around with just two.  She has the very specific award, shaped like a head with a conjoined twin attached to the side, and a clipboard.  While the clipboard is fairly plain, it was nice to see the sculpted groove in her left hand to allow her to hold it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Marvin, who comes packin' some serious stuff. There's the tray of shrimp, his suitcase (complete with luggage tag attached with an actual chain), can of creamed corn, a 'normal' turkey (as opposed to Gobbles, who we've never gotten from Mezco), and an extra left arm that is holding the watch that started the whole situation.

That's quite a few unique items, and all of them fit with the character extremely well.  I particularly love the inclusion of the watch, done in a way that actually adds value.  Had it just been a random watch that could easily get lost and that Marvin couldn't hold in his tiny hands, it wouldn't have done a lot for me.  But by sculpting it as part of an alternate arm, I'm more likely to display it on the figure.

It is a little weird that we got this turkey, but never a Gobbles.  Obviously, the turkey was key to Marvin's intro episode and I wouldn't want them to not put him here (or give us Gobbles with Marvin instead, since that would make zero sense), but it does make me just wish even more that Timmy had come with Gobbles.  Of course, you have two options there - customize this turkey into a Gobbles, or pick up the Mirage version of Timmy although the Gobbles that came with him is a bit bigger.

Between these two are Ming Lee Cartman and Mr. Slave.  Mr. Slave comes with only three accessories, but all three are fantastic.

First, there's Lemmiwinks, the classroom gerbil that, uh, traversed his neither regions in his intro episode.  Next up there's the Frog King, also from the intro episode (as well as the season 8 episode in which Paris Hilton gets to take the same trip as Lemmiwinks).  Finally, there's the Catatafish, also from Mr. Slave's intestinal tract, who gave Lemmiwinks a riddle to solve on his journey.

All three of these guys are great sculpts and paint jobs, and you'll have all kinds of fun explaining to your fiancÚ's father, who just happens to be a minister, exactly who they are.

Ming Li comes with her, uh, his purse, which fits perfectly in the sculpted right hand.  There's also the Terrance and Phillip dolls that the kids were so desperately trying to win from the carnival game, which both have a post on their back that fits into a second, alternate left hand/arm.  This extra arm pops on and off easily enough, and makes holding the dolls quite easy for Cartman.  I mean 'Ming'.

Fun Factor - **1/2
I don't know that I see many kids actually 'playing' with these, but they're sturdy enough.  These certainly aren't delicate and fragile Nerd Hummels, but the license and lack of articulation kills a bit of the Fun Factor.

Value -**1/2
Paying around $12 for these is fine, even for the smaller figures at this point.  With many lines up in the $15 - $16 range at this point, getting these at a $12 price point is actually a solid value.  In fact, get them closer to $10 - $11, and add another half star.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much.  I was a bit worried about the tiny extra arm that comes with Marvin, but the post and arm are actually quite sturdy, and pop on and off smoothly.  The only possible way you could screw up is if you thought it was his right arm, and destroyed that one trying to take it off.  Don't do that.

Overall - Mr. Slave, Marvin, Ming Li ***1/2; Nurse Gollum ***
This line has had it's ups and downs, but it's one that will last for a long time on my display shelf.  Of course, that's partly due to how much I love the show, but Mezco has managed to do the show proud with the overall series.  It will be too bad if this is the end, but if it is, at least I got a Mr. Slave figure.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Mr. Slave, Ming, Marvin ***1/2; Nurse Gollum ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Marvin, Mr. Slave, Cartman ***; Nurse Gollum **1/2
Accessories - Marvin ****; Mr. Slave, Ming ***1/2; Gollum **1/2
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value -  **1/2
Overall - Mr. Slave, Marvin, Ming Li ***1/2; Nurse Gollum ***

Where to Buy -
Online is your best option right now, although I'm hopeful that we'll see them at Hot Topic and FYE soon.  Expect to pay the higher price point there, however.  Online options include:

- Amazing Toyz and CornerStoreComics have these in for $11 - $13 each depending on the character, and the set of four for $45.

- Related Links -
I've covered pretty much the entire series, as well as the old series from Toycom:

- I split series 5 into two reviews, one here and one at QSE.

- I reviewed series 1 of course, which has the very cool Cartman figure, along with series 2, series 3, and series 4

- and let's not forget that Mirage did series 1, series 2 (I reviewed Towelie separately), and series 3 of their figures before packing it in. They also did an exclusive Mr. Hanky.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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