WOS New Years Eve Playset

Do something once, it's special.  Do it twice, and it's tradition.  And so we now have another tradition in the WOS world, right along with the yearly Treehouse of Horror playsets - a holiday playset.

Last year it was the Christmas playset.  This time around we get the five family members again, but now they are celebrating a week later on New Year's Eve.

The scene is the steps of the Springfield courthouse, and the year 2003 is predominately displayed.  That's unusual for the Simpsons license, as generally speaking they stay away from placing the characters in any specific time frame.

This playset is once again a Toys R Us exclusive, so don't expect it to show up at Target.  Retail is $39.99, and I suspect these won't be as tough to find, at least not as first, as some of the other exclusives.

This was originally planned as a Times Square playset, showing the Toys R Us store.  The concept drawing from Playmates can be see here.  That idea was shot down by Fox, but they finally came to agreement on this version.


Packaging - ***
Large, sturdy, and not collector friendly.  It's the same packaging we've come to expect - heck, I didn't even wait to take a picture of it this time around.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The five family members are all sculpted in a rather unique way, again very unusual for the Simpsons license.  I don't recall them being dressed in this way at any time on the show (although Marge has been dressed in a similar way), and this set doesn't represent anything that has actually happened on the show...yet.  I say 'yet', because it is very unlike Fox to approve a product that isn't directly tied to the show.  Perhaps this is a show we can expect to see this winter?

Homer and Bart are in tuxes, and both look extremely dapper.  I particularly like the Homer sculpt, especially once I had it in my hands.  He has a great 'woo-hoo' sort of expression you'd expect at such a celebration, and it works alot better in person than in pictures.

Bart is somewhat of a mixed blessing.  I like the tux, but the visible teeth make me think more of Hugo than Bart.

Lisa is nicely sculpted, and I think her facial sculpt is one of the best so far.  Much sweeter and less harsh looking than the original version, this one could quickly become my favorite Lisa.

Marge is also nicely done, and she at least looks somewhat like she has on occasion on the show.  Dressed up in a formal gown, she also has visible teeth, but it seems to work better for her than Bart.  She appears embarrassed because of the expression, and you can imagine that with Homer partying, she'd have reason to be.

Last, but certainly not least, is Maggie.  Again, they've done a very nice job, although they always seem to do good work with Maggie.

One additional note - all the figures have at least one hand sculpted to hold an accessory.  That's always a big plus.

The sculpting on the playset itself is outstanding, with great work on the ornamental lions, and the cement detail.  The set is thicker than you expect, with alot of heft to it.

Paint/Stickers - ***1/2
The paint work on this set is better than some of the other recent offerings, and I was surprised how clean the lines were, particularly around Homer and Bart's outfits.

There's more detail on those two outfits than is the norm for WOS, with lots of opportuinties for bleed or mistakes.  But they pulled them off nicely.

There is only one major sticker this time, depicting the wild party going on inside. There are some smaller stickers on the corners and for the banner though, and all are well done with good quality.

Articulation - **1/2
Neck, shoulders, waist.  Need I say more?

Accessories - ****
There's a total of eight accessories here, including the two top hats.  Both Bart and Homer's hats fit well and look good on, although Bart's had to be quite a bit bigger than Homer's to get it on over his huge head.

There are also a variety of new accessories perfect for ringing in the new year - a large noise maker, small noise maker, horn, 2003 flag, martini glass, and one of those little noise makers you blow on and it rolls out, making a tooting sound.

That means you can put one party accessory in the hand of each figure and still have one left over!  That's a record for an exclusive playset like this.

And while they aren't really accessories, there's also the great pole and star on top of the building.  The star can be moved up or down the pole, and gives the playset tons of height.

Talking Feature - ***
There's plenty of good lines, and I had far less trouble getting the figures to connect than on sets prior to this fall.  Maggie could have certainly used some more lines, but otherwise I can't complain.  

The default sound is a bottle rocket going off, or at least that's what it sounds like to me.  Like other exclusives, other figures beyond the five family members don't work on this set.  Also like most sets, this one has three pegs.

Homer - "It's a party doesn't have to make sense!", "What's the matter, Marge, I thought you loved jello shooters *slurping noises*", "For once maybe someone will call me 'Sir', without adding 'your causing a scene'.",  "Oh, it's like a rental car son.  Get all the mileage you can, then ball it up and cram it through the mail slot."

Marge - "Everybody, please be on your best behavior.  Bart, no grifting!", "I thought it was so opulent, like the Playboy Mansion, but non-sexual.", "Where's all that liqueur coming from?"

Lisa - "You look so glamorous, Mom!", "Who's playing that music?"

Bart - "Dad, you look totally classy.  You could be Abe Lincoln's father's boss!", "Mom, you are lookin' fab-u-lous!", "Hey, dad, how come you're wearing a tuxedo?"

Maggie - delighted squeal.

Value - ***
Forty bucks might seem a tad steep, and it is just a little high.  But if you consider the usual playset is $20 with one figure, and figures are usual five bucks, this set calculates out right at $40.  Now, you don't have quite as many accessories as you would if you bought five independent figures, and this set, while large, isn't quite as big as a normal set.  Still, it's a decent value overall.

Overall - ***1/2
I like this playset far better than I had thought I would.  The size surprised me first - the pictures really don't do it justice, especially in terms of it's height and thickness - and then I was surprised by how much I like the figure designs.

If you're a regular WOS buyer, don't skip this one until you see it on the shelf and can make up your mind with it in your hands.  You might be surprised just how good it turned out!

With Main Street hitting right now as well, and sales of the line back up again, it looks like WOS will be with us for quite awhile yet.

I've included a comparison shot at the end, showing last year's Christmas set with this one.  It's hard to get a feel for just how hefty this set is until you get your hands on it, but perhaps that will help.

Where to Buy - 
It's a TRU exclusive, and that's where I bought mine. You might get one through, but they aren't currently accepting any more orders.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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