Toy News and Reviews

Muppets Series 7 ó Click for a Larger ImageMuppets

Series 7

Itís that time again, little ones:  Time for your once-upon-a-time weekly dose of the Toyman!

This week we will be reviewing the new Muppets figures, the seventh series in the successful line by Palisades Toys.  Series 7 consists of Kermit as Captain Abraham Smollet (from Muppet Treasure Island) (with Polly Lobster), Beauregard the janitor, Johnny Fiama the lounge singer, and Frog Scout Robin (Kermitís nephew).  Another fantastic (and unusual) line-up in this amazing line of figures.  You can never say that Palisades isnít giving the fans what they want.  Weíve gotten the most major players in the Henson universe, as well as some of the most obscure.


Initial Thoughts

Iíve always had a soft spot for the Muppets.  I watched all the original episodes of The Muppet Show as a child, saw the movies, even was a fan of the short lived Muppets Tonight series.  Thankfully, Iím not the only one, as can be proved by the success of this line.

Palisades deserves just as much credit as the characters do.  They make fantastic toys:  Perfectly sculpted, great character choices, consistent releases, and amazing interaction with their fan base.  These are great toys, so letís go ahead and talk about them.

Packaging 

Johnny and Beauregard in Their Clamshell ó Click for a Larger ImageAnother wave of figures in the ever-so-popular clamshell packaging.  Sturdy, attractive ó you know the drill:  They look great, but they are hard to open.

The card designs are great, and Palisades adds all the right touches.  The current wave is featured hanging out on the Muppet logo; the back has a picture displaying the entire line as a group.

The blue really stands out on the pegs.  Itís been a while since the packaging changed, but this new blue packaging is much more appealing than the original red packaging.  Robin and Capt. (Kermit) Smollet ó Click for a Larger ImageAll the accessories are clearly displayed; the figures are prominent; and if you were so inclined to keep your figures carded, they would look good that way.

Bottom line:  The packing looks great, and since Palisades is their own worst critic, theyíll find something wrong with it eventually and make it even better, no matter how perfect it may already be.  5 stars out of 5!

Sculpts  -

Palisades gives fans the unique chance to see in-progress sculpts of some of their figures.  They often show early sculpts at cons or on their website, and Palisades is quick to point out what they plan to change.  Itís an amazing insight into the way a company sculpts its figures, and it shows how dedicated Palisades is to getting these figures just right.

Beauregard Size Comparison ó Click for a Larger ImageBeauregard is my favorite character in the line.  He is the biggest and heaviest sculpt.  As with all the Muppets, the texture of the original puppets is recreated for his "skin," and it really adds a great detail to the figures.  Beauregard's hair hangs perfectly; the fur on his hands and feet is well-sculpted; the wrinkles in his clothes are perfect; even his hat fits perfectly on his head.  (And the magnet innovation Palisades uses for the hats works great.)

Johnny Fiama looks like heís in the middle of belting out his latest hit.  He holds his microphone perfectly and even has tassels on his loafers!

Robin is the smallest of the bunch, but no less detailed.  His uniform is well-sculpted, his hands hold his accessories well, and he couldnít look happier to be on his camping trip.  The one drawback is that Robin's hat is sculpted on.

Kermits of the World, Unite! ó Click for a Larger ImageAbraham Smollet (Kermit) looks great.  He was my favorite Kermit for two days (before Adventure Kermit arrived), and his Captain's uniform is amazingly detailed.  All the layers of his clothing hang right, his coat is well textured, and even his hairpiece looks good.

Beauregard gets 5 stars.  Johnny gets 5 stars.  Kermit gets 5, too.  But Robin only gets 4Ĺ.  Why the lower score for Robin? Everybody canít be perfect, and his hat being sculpted/glued on really bothers me.  Sure, I know it may be too small for a magnet ó but so was Rizzoís hat, and it was a separate piece.

Articulation  -

Palisadesí motto is ďPlay With It,Ē and with the amount of articulation they squeeze into their well-sculpted figures, how can you do anything but play with them?

Johnny has 14 points of articulation.  Kermit has 13.  Beauregard has 12.  While Robin has a ďpitifulĒ 10.

Frog Scout Robin Has a Super-Cool "Accessory" Hidden in His Trunk ó Click for a Larger ImageRobin is limited by his size, but 10 useful points of articulation in a figure this small is pretty impressive.

Beauregardís sculpt hinders his leg articulation, but he's mobile enough to hold his mop and broom appropriately.

Kermit is missing the waist joint the others have but can be posed in a fencing position that looks natural.

And Johnny can move as smoothly as he sings

Johnny gets 5 stars in the articulation department.  Kermit and Robin get 4Ĺ each.  And Beauregard gets 4.  All fantastic scores, but the difficulty in moving Beauregard's legs brings him down a little more than the rest.

Paint  -

Palisades knows that the paint job can make or break a figure.  There have been some problems in the past with overspray and slop, but they seem to have been resolved.  In this line, everyoneís colors are consistent and well-applied.

Beauregard Gets a Five-Star Clean Sweep ó Click for a Larger ImageBeauregardís plaid shirt is perfect.  Even the ⅛ of an inch that hangs out the ends of his jacket sleeves is painted!

There are numerous shades of green on Robin, and they all look great.

Kermitís uniform looks great, although there is a little bit of inconsistency in the gold trim of his jacket and that of his hat.

Pinstripe Johnny, Appearing All Week! ó Click Here for a Larger ImageJohnny is the standout, as well as being the repaint in the line.  This time around, Johnny comes in 3 versions:  The pinstripe suit, a maroon suit, and a silver suit.  You can pick your favorite or buy all three.  (Iíve always thought the pinstripe suit looked best on him, so thatís the one I picked up.  The stripes are all perfect, straight and consistent.  Itís an impressive paint job, to say the least.)

Johnny gets the full 5 stars in any of his paint jobs.  While I prefer the pinstripes, they all look great.  Beauregardís plaid shirt is a great added detail and keeps his score at 5 stars as well.  Kermitís gold trim inconsistencies keep him at 4Ĺ stars.

And the little bit of slop on Robinís tie and around his eye brings him down to 4 stars.  (Robin's eye paint isn't horrible, but it is something to look out for.)

Accessories 

Palisades never slouches in the accessory department.

Beauregard gets a functional mop bucket, a mop, a broom, and his hat.  They are all well-sculpted and appropriate.

Johnny has a stool, a microphone, a record album (with sleeve!), and a framed picture of himself.  The repaints of Johnny have all the same accessories, just repainted.  (Different pictures and different albums.)

Robin with Rizzo ó Click for a Larger ImageRobin's "Accessory," Rizzo the Rat! ó Click for a Larger ImageRobin has a giant trunk with a sheet of stickers to apply to it, his Scout book, a backpack, a bag of trail mix, marshmallows on a stick, and a fire to roast them over.  Having a lot of accessories to accompany a small figure makes him a better value.

Kermit has his hat, scabbard, sword, and the best accessory of the line ó Polly Lobster.  Polly is almost a separate figure; heís a little smaller than Smollet with Polly Lobster ó Click for a Larger ImageRobin and has one point of articulation, in his neck.  Well-sculpted, well-painted, and the perfect companion to Captain Smollet.

In the accessory department, the entire Series 7 of the Muppets gets 5 stars.  Thatís a lot of stuff to accompany four figures that are already impressive on their own!

Price 

Priced around the $10 mark, these are impressive figures for the money.  You get a great sculpt, amazing accessories, good paint jobs, and fantastic articulation ó all at a price that is both fair and competitive.

MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND Figures to Date ó Click for a Larger ImageFor Palisades to keep these figures at such a reasonable price but to keep making each series better than the last is quite a feat.  For price, these figures get 5 stars!

Overall Playability 

A great line of toys.  They arenít perfect, but they are so close they may as well be.  The small inconsistencies are so small that they may as well be ignored.  But, to be fair to everyone, I wonít ignore them.  The entire line gets 4Ĺ stars.  Well worth picking up, but make sure you get the best paint jobs you can find.


And now for this week's news:

Head to Spawn.com for this week's news:

  • The Conan line-up has finally been revealed.

  • Pictures of the Reborn Series 2 line-up are finally shown.

  • And you'll also find the announcement of several new 12Ē figures, including a 12Ē "Wings of Redemption" Spawn.

You can also check out the con exclusive silver Sandtrooper at rebelscum.com.


Questions and Answers

This week we have a few questions to answer.

David writes in to ask:

What is that playset your Minimates are standing in front of?

Dave, that playset is a custom I built after seeing a different version of it at the San Diego Comic Con last year.

It was built using the Imaginext Rescue Station as a base and a lot of glue and paint.  I still need to finish it.  It needs a few signs and possibly a billboard, if I can find one in the right scale.  Basically I reconfigured the set into a look I liked, sanded down the excess pegs, filled in the gaps and holes with epoxy putty, and then painted it.  The excess accessories (figures and a truck) made my nephew a happy camper.

T.B. wrote in to ask:

Do you ever write a negative review?

Iím sure I will eventually, T.B.  I usually only buy figures I really like, but I do occasionally pick up a bum figure ó and when I do, youíll be the first to know.

What with the high standards most toy companies are putting themselves to these days, itís getting harder and harder to buy bad toys.  But, then again, I did buy the Planet of the Apes toys ó and have you seen the Van Helsing toys yet?

And finally, Jack writes in to ask:

Where do you keep all those marvelous toys, and can we see them all?

Well, Jack, thankfully I have an understanding wife who overlooks my toy-buying habits and allows me to keep them locked away in their own little room.  One day, when I finally get all the toys off the floor and onto shelves, I will gladly show them off.  In the meantime, why donít you show me and all of my readers your toys?

Thatís right, readers!  Send in your collection pics!  I would love to see them, and Iíll even showcase the best in future columns.

I guess thatís it for this review, fellow toy hoarders.  Until next time, Toyman out!

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