South Park Series 4
A.W.E.S.O.M. - O, Goth Stan, Terrance and Phillip,

One of the best cartoons on television is South Park, still cranking out the satirical gold after all these years. Mezco has been doing their part by producing the excellent line of action figures, now on its fourth series.

This series contains four characters, instead of the 6 we received with the first three series. There's Terrance and Phillip, the classic pair from Canada packaged together, the Goth variant of Stan, the crippled comedian Jimmy, and perhaps the best Cartman variant yet - A.W.E.S.O.M. - O.

As you might expect, there are also variants within these figures. I'm not positive just how many yet, but I can tell you what I saw in the complete case at Hot Topic. There are no A.W.E.S.O.M. - O variants, at least not of the robot face (and let's pray to all things holy that they didn't do any variants on the hidden Cartman face underneath), and no variants on T&P. Goth Stan has a slightly open mouth (reviewed) and a thin frown. Jimmy has an open smile showing teeth, and a thin frown. And somehow I doubt that's it.

These are hitting Hot Topics first, but I have some online suggestions at the end of the review as well. Expect to pay around $12 - $13 each at most retailers.

Packaging - **1/2
The large clamshells work fine, but I'm always confused as to why they hide the accessories. I suppose some of them could be construed as inappropriate, but that's usually not the case, and by hiding them behind the flap, it makes it appear like you're getting far less for your money.

Sculpting - Cartman ****; T&P, Jimmy ***1/2; Goth Stan ***
I know a lot of folks aren't too thrilled by variants.  But even the most stone cold variant hater has to love this Cartman.  Not only was the episode hilarious, but the outfit is one of the funniest we've ever seen the fat ass wear.

Mezco went all out on him too, adding sculpted features, like buttons, tools, batteries, etc. all around the simulated cardboard body. The helmet is removable, and underneath is the exhausted, famished, overheated kid.  The sculpted hair looks great, as does the rubber 'seal' around his neck.  He stands great on his own of course, with those huge cardboard feet.

Terrance and Phillip are also solid sculpts, and done in a pretty good scale compared to the rest of the line.  Sure, they're just the same figure with different paint jobs, but because of the way they integrated the articulation with the sculpt, you can still get them to look fairly unique.  Like the previous Canadian, Ike, both Terrance and Phillip have springs holding their head together.  Blame Canada.

T&P have feet that are much too small to keep them standing though, so small black bases were included for both.  They work extremely well.

Jimmy is spot on as well, although his lack of eyebrows is a tad disturbing.  However, the sculpted hair comes down fairly far on his forehead, and looks great.  The sculpted crutches allow you to get him balanced and remain standing in a number of poses.  He also has a chin of sorts, which means he doesn't suffer from the same issue as Goth Stan, in which the curve of the face is lost in the curve of the body.

One of the issues for the previous line of South Park figures was that they didn't understand that on the show, the kids faces are complete circles, curving down in front of their shirts. Generally, Mezco has done a better job with this, cutting the head deeper into the body, and allowing the face throw a shadow onto the torso.  It's not perfect (unless, like in the case of Timmy and Jimmy, they actually get a chin), but it works pretty well.

Unfortunately, the design for the Goth Stan doesn't pull this off as well.  He appears more as a round ball sunk into the chest, reminding me more of the Mirage series.

His sculpted hair looks good though, as does the poof ball on top.  While I'm not a huge fan of this particular variant, little touches like the sculpted glove and sculpted cross earring make him better than he could have been.

Paint - T&P ***1/2; Jimmy ***; Cartman **1/2; Goth Stan **
Unfortunately, the paint remains one of the biggest issues for this line.

In my case, Terrance and Phillip had the best overall work, with no stray marks or poor cuts between colors.  There was very little bleed, and the bright blues and reds were consistent and clean.

Jimmy was next in line.  There's a little more slop with him, and I was disappointed that the painted eyebrows we see in the photo on the front of the package aren't on the figure itself.  They did choose two good mouth variations though, and I think either work really well for this character.

Cartman was a disappointment in this category.  He has the most small detail work of the series, with lots of neat paint possibilities with the sculpted gadgets and doohickeys.  Unfortunately, there's a fair share of slop here, with poor definition on the small details.  I do really like the shading the added to the 'box', making it even more realistic appearing, but overall the paint work on A.W.E.S.O.M. - O is a bummer.

On a high note though, his hidden face is fantastic.  A great choice of expression, and the addition of the dark areas under the eyes was an excellent move.

Goth Stan was the worst of the bunch though.  He had a number of stray marks in critical areas, like the eyes and hat, pulling down the nice work in areas like the dark areas under the eyes.

Articulation - **1/2
The articulated eyebrows on some past figures is one of the coolest features ever...but since only one of these figures has eyebrows (Cartman, under the mask), you shouldn't be surprised to see that there are none that are articulated.

Terrance and Phillip have cut shoulder where the arms attach to the front of the torso, a ball jointed neck (with limited movement), and jointed hips up inside their body.  The hips are fairly limited as well, but you can get a little distance out of them.  Of course, you can also bend the spring a bit to get a slightly different appearance to the mouth.

Goth Stan has a ball jointed neck, cut shoulders and cut waist, as does Jimmy.  That's the basic articulation we've seen with the whole line, so there's no surprise.

Cartman has a cut neck instead of a ball joint, and cut shoulders as well.  The cut neck is actually a great addition, since it allows you to turn the helmet to the side as well.  If the head didn't move, the helmet wouldn't be able to fit over it at any other angle.

Accessories - Goth Stan, Cartman ***1/2;  Jimmy ***; T&P **1/2
Cartman is the big winner in this category. He comes with the gripping arms standard, but with a set of open hands/arms AND another arm with the hand sculpted holding the small suppository that he was required to insert for Butters. And into Butters. *shudder*

The sculpts on the arms are great, with cool wrinkles in the material that remind you of the old expanding arms on robots like B-9. The gripping hands hold the shopping bags well, which are another nifty set of accessories. The sculpts are identical on the two bags, but that's not a surprise.

Finally, he has tube of toothpaste, although there's no lettering on it. This was his only chance for food at one point in the episode, and it's great to see such specific accessories being included.

Goth Stan has quite a few goodies too, although some are a little less useful.  There's the book of poetry and cup of coffee, although he can't really hold either one.  He does have an alternate left arm with a grip hand, but it's designed to hold the included cane, with the palm pointed downward.  The wrist isn't articulated, so you can't really hold the cup of coffee at the right angle.

Along with the cane and extra arm, he also has an extra set of legs, these done in a sitting position.  That's perhaps his coolest aspect, since we don't have any of the kids in sitting positions (uh, other than Timmy of course).

Since you're getting two full sized figures with Terrance and Phillip, I hadn't expected much in the way of accessories, but you do get two.  There are two fart poofs that can be attached to their butts.  They can turn as well, allowing slightly different angles.  Just like T&P, the are just two of the same, but they do look pretty funny attached.

Actually, T&P also come with small display stands to keep them upright, which have pegs that fit tightly into one foot on each character.

Jimmy has three accessories - a microphone and stand (all one piece), and two additional arms, both bulked up ala the Special Olympics/steroids episode.  Since one of these two arms, the right, does not have a crutch, it's a little tougher to get him balanced with this pair attached, but it is possible.

Fun Factor - ***
I suppose most 8 year olds shouldn't be watching South Park, but if they were, they'd love these figures. They're sturdy, and would actually hold up well to play, unlike many other specialty market action figures. They haven't forgotten the 'toy' roots that this type of figure has grown from, and that's nice to see for those of us that consider ourselves 'toy' collectors.

Value - Cartman, T&P ***; Jimmy, Goth Stan **1/2;
While there's a reasonable number of accessories with the three single pack figures, both Goth Stan and Jimmy are a tad light in terms of what you're getting for the money. Actually, at $13, they seemed a fairly average specialty market value.

However, with T&P, where you're getting two full (if mirrored) figures, and especially Cartman, who not only has bulk and a removable helmet, but some great accessories, you're getting a bit better than average value.

Keep in mind that at several online retailers, if you're buying the set, you can get these at around $10 each, which is a terrific deal.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Obviously, the paint is all over the board when it comes to quality, so look at everyone very carefully.  Also, the pegs on Jimmy's shoulders are a little small, so be careful swamping the arms to avoid damaging them.

Overall - Cartman ***1/2; Jimmy, Terrance and Phillip ***; Goth Stan **1/2
Both Jimmy and Terrance and Phillip look terrific on the shelf, and are excellent additions to the overall line. Now that Timmy and Jimmy are together, all is right in South Park.

And I can't say enough good things about the A.W.E.S.O.M. - O variant for Cartman, who would have been a four star figure had the paint application been better.

Goth Stan is the odd kid out this time.  He's not a terrible variant, and he might even be a bit better looking than the regular Stan, but the weak paint ops didn't do much for an already mediocre character.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - Cartman ****; T&P, Jimmy ***1/2; Goth Stan ***
Paint - T&P ***1/2; Jimmy ***; Cartman **1/2; Goth Stan **
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Cartman ***1/2; Goth Stan, Jimmy ***; T&P **1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  Cartman, T&P ***; Jimmy, Goth Stan **1/2;
Overall - Cartman, T&P ***1/2; Jimmy ***; Goth Stan **1/2

Where to Buy - 
I snagged these at Hot Topic hot out of the case, but there are a number of online options as well:

- Killer Toys has the set listed on pre-order for just $40, just $10 each!

- YouBuyNow doesn't have this set listed yet, but when they do, they'll put them up by variant rather than just in general. They usually run around $12. 

- Amazing Toyz has the set at $44, or the singles at $12 each.

Related Links:
I've had a fair share of reviews so far:

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

- 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.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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