It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. Well, that might be a bit of an
exaggeration. But this is a review for series sixteen of the World of Springfield toy line
and the figures are more than just fine. The sixteenth and final series of figures includes
Brain Freeze Bart, Evil Homer, Artie Ziff, Agnes Skinner, and the three geeks: Doug, Gary and
Packaging - 6/10Well, I have to hand it to Playmates, after four years and 16 waves of figures, they have remained remarkably faithful to the original card design. The original cards had a hand full of Simpsons characters on the left side of the card with the logo across the top and the figure in an irregular shaped blister. The design received an overhaul about halfway through the life of the line to the current incarnation but much of the original design remains. The Simpsons characters on the left have been replaced with a section of the 1000 faces of Springfield image. The logo at the top has been shrunk and a black bar added to the top. The blister is a more conventional shape with the figure in the center of the card and the accessories on the right side. The back of the card has most of the elements I like to see. There is a brief blurb about the license on the top. Under that is an image of the character as well as a photo of the figure on one of the compatible playsets with a list of all of the playsets on which the figure's "talking" feature will work. The bottom of the card has headshots of all of the figures in this wave as well as the last one as well as the final four playsets. When the line was still selling through more mass market outlets, this design was a very nice way of showing what else was available. With the line slowing down over the last year, it is now more of an indication of what you have already missed. Still, given that this is the last wave of figures for the line, changing the design now would be rather pointless.
Sculpting - Brain Freeze Bart 3/10, Evil Homer 5/10, others 8/10Brain Freeze Bart is a real disappointment for the final offerings of this line. The body is the original Bart body, legs and arms with a new head sculpt. The body is actually not a bad sculpt, but given this figure is supposed to depict Bart drinking a Squishee at least the arms should have been modified to hold a Squishee cup. The head sculpt is another turn off. I am sure that for at least a few frames on the show, Bart's face contorted as much as this figure's but since the first season or two, the animators have done a better job of limiting such wild takes. As a result, the head sculpt just seems too exaggerated.
Evil Homer is a simple sculpt, but it is nicely done. Unfortunately it isn't accurate to the show. In fact, it seems that Playmates somehow managed to merge two different character designs to create this figure. The final figure is based primarily on the little devil Homer that appeared on the shoulder of the real Homer. But it also incorporates elements from the Evil Homer design that most Simpsons fan were expecting, the real Homer dressed in a devil costume. The body is sculpted as a body suit, with the legs and arms ending at the wrists and ankles. The head sculpt is near perfect. And then there is the left hand. The fingers are sculpted as if Homer were in the midst of wiggling them in delight. It would capture the nature of the real Homer perfectly but isn't quite right for this version.
The rest of the figures are excellent. They are a wonderful final note for the line to end upon. But each of them has just at least some minor imperfection. For Agnes it's the texture of the Head sculpt. Trying to translate the wrinkles in her face and hair into a 3D form is extremely difficult. Playmates made an admirable attempt, but fell just a bit short. Artie Ziff is a great sculpt but the pose doesn't seem appropriate for the character. He looks like he is trying to do kung fu. Straight arms and legs would have been far better. Benjamin and Gary are pretty good as well. Gary is just slightly off in his posture. I don't recall him slumping quite so much. Benjamin is close as well, but the waist of the pants should have been sculpted higher. As it is they almost look like they are on his waist instead of half way up his chest as they should be. Doug is probably the closest to perfect. Only the pen in his pocket needs work. from the front it looks fine, but in profile, it is too deep.
Paint - Doug 5/10, others 6/10The paint work on the World of Springfield figures has usually had decent paint applications with an occasional imperfection. These are no different. Bart, Gary, Benjamin, Artie and Agnes all have clean paint applications with just minor issues of clumping and bleeding lines. Doug takes an extra hit due to the pen in his pocket once again. After they sculpted it poorly, Playmates had a chance to minimize the effect with the paint application. But by painting the entire depth of the pen, they managed to highlight the flaw. (Some have complained that Homer's hands are red since the art on the packaging shows them as yellow. But in the show, this version of Evil Homer was all red.)
Articulation - 3/10If 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 Evil Homer, Ben & Gary, Bart 5/10, others 7/10Homer comes with just one accessory, his pitchfork. It is very accurate to the show and can be held easily in Evil Homer's right hand. There isn't a lot of other accessories possible for this figure but I still feel like this comes up a little short.
Gary and Benjamin come with a hat from the Springfield petting zoo for each of them. The hats are unique. They are molded to fit correctly for each figure. While getting two unique accessories when you are already getting two full figures for the price of one is pretty good, the accessories aren't very exciting.
Brain Freeze Bart comes with three reused accessories: a Squishee, noise maker and comic book. Reusing the Squishee was almost a given for a figure based on Bart on a Squishee bender. But it is still rather pointless since the figure can't hold the cup any way. The best I was able to manage was to tuck it under the figure's right arm which works to some extent, but looks silly. The comic book and noise maker seem like more of an afterthought than anything else.
Doug comes with two new accessories and they are impressive. The first is another hat from the Springfield petting zoo. It isn't any more impressive than the ones that came with the two pack, but it is nice that it was included so that all three of the nerds could match. The other accessory is a computer. The computer is three pieces that are permanently attached. The monitor is screwed onto the top of the CPU and the keyboard is attached via a soft cable to the back of the CPU. Now I wish they had given us three of these so each of the nerds could have had one.
Agnes has the most accessories of the series. She has a neck pillow, opening locket with a picture of herself inside, her car keys and a reused picture frame with a photo of Skinner. All of these are quite imaginative and well executed. But none of them seem like the type of thing that is going to get a prominent place in any display.
Artie comes with three accessories: his prom king crown, trophy and photo of he and Marge. The photo is nice and can sort of be held, but it is more like sandwiching it between his hands and doesn't look natural. The crown is huge, large enough for Bart to use it as a hula hoop. It fits very well, with little risk of slipping down or falling off. The trophy is huge as well, coming up to the figure's mouth. Artie can hold it in his right hand, but it puts the trophy right in his face and the left arm interferes with it too.
Value - Bart 2/10, Evil Homer 4/10, Ben & Gary 10/10, others 7/10Bart is best left for custom fodder. He is a unnecessary variant of a character that already has a lot of better versions available. And the figure isn't that well done to begin with. Evil Homer isn't a bad figure, but he also isn't the version of Evil Homer that most people would have preferred. At $5.99 to $6.99, the two pack with Benjamin and Gary is an excellent value. The other three figures offer another chance to expand the WOS community. However, when compared to other lines on the market today, a four and a half inch figure with four points of articulation just doesn't measure up as well as the once would have.
Happy Hunting:These have shipped to Toys R Us stores already. I received my set from EBworld.com. They still have four of the figures in stock for $5.99. Evil Homer and Agnes have already sold out. Amazon.com has all six of the figures listed, but still lists them as not yet released. Plus they are charging $7.99 each for them.