While I have been trying, and largely failing, to keep up with the new releases for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy lines,
there have been a few other lines that have largely dropped off my radar. Now that I have caught up with the Marvel Legends line,
it's time to also catch up on another line that I have been overlooking: NECA's The Simpsons Greatest Guest Stars line. I reviewed
series one and two back when they were released. And I have picked up the new series when they have been released. But they have
been stacking up in the corner waiting for me to get around to review them. And when I recently found series 5 at the local Toys R Us
store, I realized that it was high time for me to go back to break out series three and four. So first up is series 3 which includes
a whopping eleven figures: Lisa Simpson dressed as a magician, Penn Jillette and his partner Teller, Milhouse Van Houten, Stephan
King, Bret Hart, Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Burns and the three members of R.E.M.
Packaging - 5/10The packaging for series three is the same as the previous two series. Each figure comes on a narrow blister card with a limited amount of graphics on the front, just an image of Homer and the line logo. The back of the card has a brief description and images of the character and the episode where they showed up as well as images of all of the other figures in the series. The packaging is simple, but it does a nice job of keeping the focus on the actual figure. And if you are a MOC collector, it's nice that all of the figures have a consistant look.
Sculpting - Penn, Teller, Bret Hart & Milhouse 7/10, others 8/10The sculpting on thes figures is very well done. All of the likenesses seem spot on. The only major gripe I had was that Penn Jillette and Stephen King are so large compared to the other figures. But then I looked up their heights and found out that both of them are very tall in real life. So now the only complaints that I have are that Milhouse's legs are too skinny, they can't even support his weight when he is wearing his hat, and Bret Hart's forearms seem very small. But those are certainly minor issues. It is also worth noting that for some odd reason, both Penn and Teller had their figures sculpted in unusual poses for a line that typically has all of the figures in fairly neutral stances. Teller isn't too extreme. But his arms are positioned specfically to hold his energy ball accessory. Without it, they look rather strange. Penn is posed in a slight crouch, almost as if he is preparing to run at any second.
Paint - Mr. Burns 10/10, Others 8/10The paint work on all of my figures is terrific. There are no quality control issues as far as I can tell. The one figure that does stand out is Mr. Burns. He is suppose to glow in the dark to replicate his appearance in "The Springfield Files." I was initially disappointed that the plastic was translucent. But that quickly changed when I actually tried out the glow in the dark feature. He REALLY shines! You might not be able to read by the light. But you won't want him in any room where you are going to try to sleep.
Articulation - 4/10The figures all have just four points of articulation. They have rotating joints at the neck, both shoulders and the waist. That's about the minimal passable amount of articulation, but it does at least ensure that the articulation doesn't break up the sculpting much.
Accessories - Peter Buck & Mike Mills 6/10, Bret Hart, Nimoy & Mr. Burns 0/10, others 4/10This has not been a series that has come packed with accessories unlike Playmates Toys' World of Springfield line. But they do try to include any accessories that match the character's appearance in the show. So for this series, Mr. Burns, Bret Hart and Leonard Nimoy don't have any accessories. Penn and Lisa come with wands which each figure can hold, though Lisa's tends to slip out of her smaller hand. Teller has a cool looking, translucent blue ball of energy. But while the figure's hands and arms are sculpted to hold it. They don't do so securely and when he is holding it, he can't stand up without additional support or turning his hips sideways. Milhouse comes with a removeable hat and a stand. I was surprised to see the stand as this is the first figure in the line to include one. But since the hat is solid plastic, it adds enough weight that the figure can't stand up. So the stand is just a cheap fix for that problem. Stephan King includes a book. The sculpt is nice, but they didn't bother printing a title or anything on it which makes it rather dull. The singer for R.E.M., Michael Stipe has a microphone. But it is also pretty basic looking. The guitars for Peter Buck and Mike Mills are the best accessories of all. The both look great and are well painted. They are removable. But they also attach securely thanks to a small plug on the straps that connect to the figures' backs.
Value - Mr. Burns 6/10, others 4/10The Greatest Guest Stars line sells for $12 each. That is a pretty steep price for an individual figure. Fortunately there is no reason to buy every figure in the line unless you want them. I do consider Mr. Burns as a real standout in the line, both because it is an incarnation of the character that is loved by fans from a favorite episode and because the figure turned out so well, especially the glowing effect.
Happy Hunting:This could be a challenge. Series three for this line was released late last year. There have already been two other series in the line released since then. Most of the series in the line so far are still available in limited quantities online, though you often need to buy them in case quantities. Mr. Burns would be the most difficult in the series to find, but fortunately NECA shipped cases of just Mr. Burns to help fill the extra demand.