Simpsons Bust Ups series 4
Treehouse of Horror

It seems like only yesterday - and actually, it was only a few weeks ago - that the third series of Simpsons Bust Ups from Gentle Giant hit the pegs. And now here's the fourth series, in all it's busty goodness, hanging on the peg at my local Hot Topic.

This series is another Treehouse of Horror set. It includes Bart as a werewolf, Homer as Death, the good/evil Krusty doll, and Hibbert as a vampire, holding the gorilla Grampa. As usual, there are two variants in the series. Krusty comes in both evil and good varieties, although I don't have final confirmation yet on which is normal and which is the variant. You'd assume that the evil would be normal, since it's the one in all the promo shots and on the package, but early rumors are that it's actually the variant. I've bought two myself, and gotten both good Krusty's. Believe me, I'll be mentioning that some more in the review. The other variant is the usual clear plastic treatment, this time applied to the Homer as Death.

These run $5 - $6, depending on where you buy them, and should be at most retailers soon, if not already.

Packaging - Krusty **; the rest ****
Once again, just like wave 1 that was THOH themed, we get little coffin shaped boxes. I love it, and these show off the four available figures nicely, and can work as great little Halloween boxes once you've stripped the labels.

Ah, but what about Krusty? Well, here's the rub. On the front of his box, all big and beautiful, is Evil Krusty, wielding a knife. The only problem is, the odds are greatly against you actually getting that figure. For some reason that is completely oblivious to me, GG made the asinine decision to go with the good Krusty as the regular figure, making the one ON THE PACKAGE the variant.

Now, I have no problem paying for an evil Krusty and getting a good Krusty if the good one is a rarer variant. That's just a case of 'oh, cool - I'll buy another to get the evil Krusty', because while I didn't get what was on the package, I got something a little 'rarer', and when I pick up another odds are I'll get my expected evil version.

But not here. Here, I buy another and my odds are that I'll get the thing NOT on the package again. I can only hope that this was an error at the factory, and that Gentle Giant themselves didn't come up with anything this utterly stupid.

Sculpting - Bart, Krusty, Hibbert ***1/2; Homer ***
If you haven't picked these up before, you might be surprised by the small scale. And they are tiny, usually running between 2 and 3" base and all. They manage to produce some excellent tiny sculpts, and engineer the pieces to fit together tightly yet easily. You can forget scale here - a character like Bart is as big or bigger than gorilla Grampa - but within each little diorama scale is usually decent.

Of the four, Bart is easily my favorite. Perched up on the table with the box of Krusty-O's and dead rats, he's ready to chow down. The little table legs may suffer from wilt over time, since they are awfully thin, but perhaps the angle they're on will prevent it.

Homer gets a lower score than the rest in this category because of two issues. First, out of the package the scythe blade is badly curled. I'm betting that this is a very common issue, and is a result of getting jammed into the tiny box. Getting it to look reasonable is going to take some effort, and considering the usual quality of the bust ups right out of the package, I was disappointed.

His bigger issue is one I've never seen before - poor engineering. Normally all the pieces fit together perfectly, and the display works great. But in Homer's case something weird has happened - he doesn't sit flat on the ground. His long gown flows down past the line of the base, causing him to wobble. I've tried rearranging parts, but I can't get it worked out. If anyone else has had more luck than me, please let me know.

One other note on scale - this Krusty doll is actually a great scale to go with the WOS figures!

Paint - ***
As usual, the paint isn't quite as good as the sculpting. Considering the very small size of these, and the fairly low price point, I'm not particularly surprised.

The biggest issue is stray marks, particularly on the faces. The cuts between colors are decent, but there's enough bleed that it's noticeable. Some of the sets (like Bart) have much more paint detail, and generally what's here is well done. It's certainly deserving of an above average score, but it's not at the quality level to make it higher than three stars.

Articulation - Bupkis
Just in case you weren't aware, there's no articulation. And no, this won't effect my overall score.

Accessories -  Bupkis
See above.

Fun Factor - **1/2
While these aren't designed as 'toys' per se, there is the basic building function. Kids will enjoy putting them together and sticking them on the shelf, but that's about the end of it.

Value - ***
The value rating has increased for these, as it appears the price is dropping. You can find them pretty easily at six bucks a pop, and plenty of places are selling the set for $20.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much. I'm betting most folks will have issues with Homer's scythe being bent, but take some care trying to straighten it. I plan on using hot water first, then a little time in the old freezer, but I can't guarantee it at this point.

Also, the little legs on the table with Bart are very easy to break, so take your time inserting them in the base. I'm fearful of the wilt - it may become an issue over time.

Overall - Bart, Krusty, Hibbert ***1/2; Homer ***
This series didn't hold much surprise in scores for me. Once again, the sculpts are excellent, especially at the scale. And once again, the paint is really the biggest issue. They're a fun little group of figures that will fit in nicely with the series 1 THOH bust ups.

Ah, but there is that Krusty issue, which is more than a little surprise. I didn't ding Krusty himself for it - he can't help it if he's good or evil. But I'm still astounded at what appears to be the decision to make the normal Krusty, the good Krusty, the Krusty that isn't on the front of the box or in any of the promo photos, the Krusty you're most likely to get. This is a Treehouse of Horror set, right? Evil Krusty is really the point, right? What in the name of all things unholy were they thinking?

Perhaps the factory got their good and evil orders crossed. Of course, even if it was initially the factory's error, GG could have made them produce the balance of evils, throw out the excess good, and got things back on track. But instead they went forward with this...someone needs to have the Evil Krusty doll under the Christmas tree this year.

Score Recap:
Packaging - Krusty **; the rest ****
Sculpt - Bart, Krusty, Hibbert ***1/2; Homer ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value -  ***
Overall - Bart, Krusty, Hibbert ***1/2; Homer ***

Where to Buy - 
Online choices include:

- Amazing Toyz doesn't have them listed yet, but they should have them around $5.50.

- YouBuyNow doesn't have them listed quite yet, but when they do, they'll be $6 each for the singles.

Related Links:
I've reviewed series 1 and series 2 of the Simpsons Bust Ups so far. And if you're looking for someplace to discuss them, try either the Simpsons Collector Sector (for all things specifically Simpons), or the Gentle Giant Collectors boards (for all things GG!).

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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