So there's one more addition to my Simpsons collection recently, Lego's ssecond series of Simpsons Minifigures hit shelves recently.
Following up on the quite popular series one from last year, this series includes all new versions of the five core members of the
Simpsons family and Milhouse as well as ten new characters to populate your Lego version of Springfield. So get ready to spend some
time feeling up foil bags, because series two is here.
Packaging - 4/10The Simpsons minifigures, as with most of Lego's individual minifigure assortments, come in blind bag packaging. Each figure is sealed in a small, three and a half by four and a half inch foil bag. The front has images of nine of the figures in the series as well as the logos for the line and Lego. The back is used for all of the necessary legal fine print and the UPC. The bags are attractive enough. But they are lacking in information, namely all of the characters included in the series. That was less of an issue with series one which came in display cases that showed all of the characters in that series. I have yet to see anything similar for series 2. There is a checklist included in each pack. But that isn't all that convenient if you don't have one with you in the store. The bump codes on this series also seem to be much less reliable. I ended up with twice as many duplicates this time around before I gave up on the bump codes and looked for the figures I wanted by touch.
If you do want to know which figure is inside each blind bag, you can refer to the bump codes along the bottom seam of each bag. But as I said, I did not find them to be very reliable. From what I could tell, the figures are mixed in the displays, but not evenly distributed. So it helps to ccheck figures from throughout a case to decrease your chances of getting repeat figures. Beyond that, I found the best meathod of ID'ing the figures was to first feel for the legs to detirmine if it is one of the adult or child figures. Then you can feel for the accessory or accessories to narrow it down further. The only big challenge is that many of the adults come with nearly identical accessories. Homer, Hibbert, Selma, Comic Book Guy, Crabapple and Smithers all have 2x2 flat tiles for accessories. Crabapple and Comic Book Guy both have cups that can be identified by feel to ID them. And Smithers can be identified by the addition of a 2x2 studded tile as well. Selma can be identified by the unique shape of her head. But that still leaves Homer and Hibbert who are very difficult to tell apart.
Sculpting - Dr Hibbert 7/10, others 8/10Being Lego minifigures, every figure uses the same body and either the standard minifigure legs for the adults or an unarticulated, shorter pair of legs for Hans Moleman and the children. The only unique parts are the heads. And even there, they reused the heads from series one for the five Simpsons family members and Milhouse. That's slightly disappointing, but not a realy problem since they all look great anyways. All of the new characters' likenesses are spot on except for one minor issue with Hibbert. He is the only figure to lack any sort of neck. As a result, his head seems slightly too large for his body. There's also the issue of Marge, Lisa and the other females still using fabric for their dresses which doesn't drape quite right and leave an opening at one corner. But I suppose that is a necessary evil to allow the legs to move.
Paint - 8/10The paint work for all of faces is well done. And as is to be expected, the patterns on the bodies for the clothing are exceptionally neat and well executed.
Articulation - adults 5/10, kids 4/10Each minifigure has a rotating neck, rotating shoulders and rotating wrists. The adults also have articulated hips that allow the legs to swing forward. The articulation is fairly basic. But there's only so much you can expect on such small figures. And of course, since they are Lego pieces, the tight tolerances mean all of the joints can hold a pose well without sticking.
Accessories - Lisa & Maggie 8/10, Frink, Willy & Bartman 6/10, others 4/10Maggie and Lisa have the best accessories, the family pets Santa's Little Helper and Snowball II. Bartman comes with a slingshot and a cape. Frink has a flask. And Willy comes with a plunger. They are not particularly exciting accessories. But they are at least somewhat unique/unusual. The rest of the figures have relatively generic accessories such as drink cups, Moleman's driver's license, or an x-ray of Homer's skull. It's nice that they included something for each character. But for most of them, the accessories are pretty forgettable.
Value - Homer & Marge 4/10, Lisa & Maggie 5/10, others 7/10Lego minifigures sell for $4 each in most stores. That's not a bad price given the size of the figures and the fact that this is the only current line that offers a fan a chance to build up a siginficant portion of the cast of the Simpsons. Where the value starts to drop is the six characters that are repeats from series one. (And five of those six were also part of the Simpsons house set if you purchased that.) I'm willing to give Bartman and Fallout Boy a pass since they are fairly distinct and important variants. And Maggie and Lisa have come with the family pets. But it's only the completist in me that made me buy Sunday Best versions of Homer and Marge since I already have the more recognizable series one versions. Of course, all of this is also predicated on the assumption that you are just buying the figures you want and not wasting money on doubles of figures. But since they are sold in blind bags, it takes a little extra effort to pull that off.
Happy Hunting:The Simpsons minifigures blind bags were released in May. Depending upon how many your local stores ordered, there is a decent chance that they may have sold out of the initial shipments already. But the good news is that the Simpsons series seem to be getting a lot of retailer support. So I have still seen them in stock in Walmart, Target and Toys R Us stores recently. Toys R Us also has them available online and they are available directly from Lego.com as well.