If you are a fan of the Simpsons or the World of Springfield toy line, you've probably
heard the news. It appears the line is going to come to an end this year. But don't
expect the line to go out with a wimper. And the latest playset, the Nuclear Power Plant
Lunch Room, seems to indicate that Playmates is going to go out on a high note with this line.
Packaging - 7/10If you've bought any of the playsets from this line so far, then you should be familiar with the packaging by now. The box has a large window that wraps around three sides and allows for full view of the playset. The graphics on the left side match the carded figures with head shots of Deep Space Homer, Handsome Moe and Brandine. There is one major change this time, both the figure and accessories rather than just the figure, are packaged in the front of the box so you can see everything that comes in the set.
Sculpting - Grimes 9/10 Playset 10/10It is tough to make a good 3D sculpt of a completely 2D character but with Frank Grimes they came about as close to perfection as you could hope for.The body and legs are simple but capture the proportions of the character. I've noticed that with some of the figures, the final product doesn't seem to match the character image on the back of the package. But that's not the case here. He looks like he just stepped off the screen.
The playset is also pretty impressive. Playmates managed to desing it to pack a maximum amount of visual detail along the walls while still leaving plenty of room in the center for the figures. The amount of detail included is quite impressive. The items on the counter such as the stack of cups, sugar dispenser and nondairy creamer all look great. They even included small details like the cracked walls and outlet next to the hot cocoa machine. Its biggest short comming is that the hot cocao machine is too small to fit in scale with the rest of the playset. (Though I'm rather curious as to how powerful their microwave is if it has to be plugged into a 220 volt outlet.)
Paint - Frank 8/10 Lunch Room 9/10The paint work on Grimmy is excellent. The colors are clean and consistent. There are a few lines that are less than clean, but you have to really look to see them. The only improvement I would like to see is to make the rims of the glasses thinner. In the past this was not possible to maintain their shape. But Frank's glasses seem to be made of a clear plastic with lenes and then the frame is painted black. A thinner application would make the glasses more on model but then he wouldn't look right with the rest of the line, so I guess it is an acceptable compromise.
The playset scores really high here due to the ecellent use of both paint and stickers. Most of the basic elements of the playset are painted such as the door frame, cabinets, fixtures on the walls, and the items by the coffee area: cups, creamer, sugar, etc... But then they went a step farther and included some amazing decals. The hallway through the doorway and the acid hole in the wall are both nearly flawless. The signs and postings on the bullitin board are also stickers and very impressive ones. The bulletin board has several of the humorous flyiers that have been used throughout the run of the show such as the softball signup sheet and the model building flyer from the Frank Grimes episode.
Articulation - 4/10If you have any World of Simpsons figures, you know what to expect here. Four points has been Playmates standard for this line since the beginning: shoulders, waist and neck.
Accessories 8/10The lunch room comes with six accessories: a table, half a box of doughnuts, a bowl of mushrooms, a half eaten sandwich, Frank Grimes' sack lunch and the flask of acid that Homer almost drank in the episode. The table, doughnuts, sandwich and bowl of 'shrooms help to complete the feel of a lunch room and all look great. But the acid and lunch bag are real standouts. Just like in the episode, the lunch bad is marked "Property of Frank Grimes". The lettering is clean and looks like it was handwritten. The flask of acid also looks great. It is molded in clear plastic and the bottom portion as a yellow tint to represent the acid. It also has a painted label that says acid.
Value - 7/10This really is a great playset visually and give you another area that is quite common in the show. The talking feature has become less and less useful as the locations have become more episode specific but there are still a few great lines. There are lines for the the entire Simpsons family, Burns, Smithers, Barney, Moe, Milhouse, Lenney, Carl, and Frank Grimes of course. If you can still find the set at $19.99 it is a great deal. Unfortunately many stores, if they haven't dropped the line, have raised the price to $24.99 or in the case of TRU, $29.99. At those prices, it isn't as great a deal but it is still a playset that you probably won't want to pass up.
Happy Hunting:Series 15 is just hitting stores now. Electronic Boutique stores have had them for a couple of weeks. That is where I picked up mine. You can also buy them from EB World.com They should show up at Amazon.com at some point. If you are looking to preorder future series, check out New Force Comics. As for brick and morter stores, both Target and Toys R Us have been stocking the line so far, though that may have changed with the post X-mas resets and in the case of Target, may vary from store to store.