Sweet Zombie Jesus, it has finally happened. It has taken more than six months, but the third series of Toynami's Futurama figures have finally arrive. You say you don't care? Well bite my shiney metal ass. The show's move to Comedy Central along with the release of the new shows with Bender's Big Score means that there is more interest in the license once again. And with the release of this third series of figures, Toynami has not only completed the core trio of the cast: Fry, Leela and now Bender. We also get a Kif Kroker figure to serve along side series two's Zapp Brannigan. And if that is not enough, those who have been buying the figures all along will finally have an opportunity to complete the Robot Devil build-a-bot.
Packaging - 3/10The packaging for the third series is largely the same as the first two series. The window boxes give you a nice view of the figure and some of the accessories. The back has a basic description of each character. While I like the extensive use of images from the show, the muted color pattern still seems inappropriate for the license. It is also worth noting that they changed the images that were used on Kiff's box from those of the previous figures. The boxes are also quite a bit deeper than they needed to be.
Sculpting - 8/10The character designs in Futurama are not that complex, so there isn't a lot of details to get wrong on a sculpt. But that also means that any error, even if it seems minor, will stand out. And to the credit of the sculptors, there is almost nothing to seriously critise here. Also to their credit, they did not take the easy way out and reuse the old MAC mold for Bender. There are pluses and minuses to both sculpts. The new one doesn't have the mouth sunken in quite as far as the MAC version. But it is also slightly smaller which I'm not thrilled about in general. But that does mean that his feet can actually fit underneath his body. Kif's sculpt is simple but accurate. The only qualm I have about it is the pose they choose for him. The combination of a narrow stance and a large head make him quite top heavy and not very stable. They tried to rectify that by making the head hollow, but that just leave you with a big seam on the back of his head. Ideally, I would have like to see them try to make his head and body out of flexible rubber to reduce the weight further. It would have also been fitting for the character whose body is a series of fluid filled bladders.
Paint - 8/10The paint work of both figures is simple, clean and well executed. I have no problems with the quality control. There is a noticeable difference between this version of Bender and MAC's Bender figure though. The colors on Toynami's figure is more muted with a matte finish compared to the darker grays and glossy finish on the old figure. I like the old look better on its own since it look more like a real life version of Bender. But Toynami's figure matches the style of their other figures and the cartoon better.
Articulation - Kif 4/10, Bender 6/10Articulation hasn't been a strong suit of these figures. And due to the character designs, that's not surprising. But that doesn't mean that we can't hope for more. Kif's six points of articulation consists of rotating joints at the neck, shoulders, wrists and waist. That's nice. But there really aren't any other poses that you can do with that articulation, especially if you want the figure to stand on its own. Bender also has six points of articulation with rotating joints at the neck, shoulders and hips and a hinged chest comparment door. But he also has the advantage of having bendable arms and legs. I was disappointed that after the Robot Devil's arms had rotating wrists that they did not do the same for Bender. But beyond that or possibly making his limbs retractable, Bender has all the articulation he needs.
Accessories - Bender 6/10, Kif 3/10 or 5/10 if completeing the Robot DevilThe accessories for Kif and Bender are some of the least impressive of the line so far. Kif has a cowboy hat, a picture of Amy, a Brain Ball and the Robot Devil's legs. At first glance, I really liked Kif's accessories. The hat and Brain Ball looked great. But the hat adds yet more weight to an already top heavy figure making him very difficult to stand. And the Brain Ball was just begging to be made of rubber so that it would bounce. But instead it is made of hard plastic. It looks nice as it is, but it could have been much better. Bender reuses several of the accessories from the MAC Toys figure including a stack of money, a liquor bottle and a can of Robot Oil. In 2001 they were pretty cool accessories. But seven years later, they are really showing their age. Toynami could have done much better. But Toynami redeemed themselves with one simple feature: interchangable eyes. Bender comes with three sets of eyes with different expressions: angry, indifferent and scared. And if those three expressions aren't enough, you can also pop Bender's head off entirely and replace it with Nixon's head jar! That one feature is enough in my book that I wouldn't have cared if they had skipped the other accessories entirely. Actually I would have rather have gotten more eyes instead of the reused items. Bender's parts for the Robot Devil are a mixed bag as well. He comes with the RD's top hat and a cane which you really don't need. At least they did a nice job with them. They even included a magnet in the hat so that it will stay on the Robot Devil's head without leaving any exposed peg holes when it is removed. Very nice. But where is the solid gold fiddle?
Build A Bot - Robot DevilIt has taken almost a year, three series and six figures, but we can finally finish our Robot Devil Build a Bot figure. I wish I could say that he managed to exceed all of my expectations. While there is nothing wrong with the figure technically, the sculpting and scale are accurate to his initial appearance in the first season, his design doesn't translate well to a figure. His larger frame which has even less sculpted detail than the other Futurama figures just seems rather plain. His articulation is the best of any of Toynami's figures so far in the line and includes a hinged jaw, rotating neck, shoulders, wrists, waist and hips. Plus you have the added movement provided by the arms, legs and tail being bendable. The fact that they even made a few accessories for him is impressive. But while the top hat and cane are nice, I would much rather have gotten his golden fiddle or a set of interchangeable hands to swap with Fry. At the very least they could have made his hands so that they could hold his cane securely. Don't get me wrong, the Robot Devil isn't a bad figure. But it is my least favorite Futurama figure to date.
Value - 6/10Toynami's Futurama figures usually sell for $12 per figure or more depending upon where you buy them. That isn't very cheap for such simple figures. But for specialty market figures, it isn't a bad price. With Bender being such a core character to the series, unless you already have the MAC Toys version, he is well worth picking up for any fan of the series. Kif's figure is a bit more limited in terms of posability, but he looks great next to Zapp Brannigan and you will need him if you want to complete your Robot Devil figure. However, going forward as the characters choosen for this line become progressively more obscure, Toynami is going to need to pay more attention to the otherwise minor shortcomings of the figures or their value is going to drop rapidly.
Happy Hunting:The Futurama line is only available through specialty market stores. That is not to say that they are hard to find though. I ordered mine from Big Bad Toy Store. But they are available from many online stores. You may also be able to find them in your local comic shop or stores like Hot Topic.