Playmobil follows up last years launch of the Fi?ures line with another two-fold series. This second series certainly trumps the first and goes far towards establishing Fi?ures as fun collectible series and a valuable piece of the overall Playmobil collection. We get more interesting, more diverse and all around more appealing figures this time around! Here, we examine the second series' wave of Boy-Themed figures.
Continuing to follow Lego's lead, each wave comes in a uniquely colored package, this Aqua-Green for Boys and Golden Yellow for girls. I really, really, really like these color choices, especially as a pair and more importantly because they don't play into the tired old Blue vs. Pink conceit we saw with Series 1. Along with these better packaging colors we also get an improved insert which features all 12 figures in the wave on side and an illustrated suggestion on how to mix'n'match parts on the other. The latter is a little underwhelming and I think they'd do well to show how four figures can be combined to created four figures rather than how they make up one. Best of all, though, is that the "checklist" side now includes assembly instructions at the bottom - a huge improvement as these Klickies are not as intuitive or as easy to construct as a Lego mini-figure.
Just as with the first series, the back of the package comes with series of numbers stamped on it. In theory these should tell you what figure you're about to be purchasing without having to go through the time-consuming, finger-aching feel testing. However, we all learned on Series 1 that these numbers weren't always consistent. It's unclear if they are only specific to their case, palette, region, factory, etc.
And now, if you'll pardon the name-guessing... the figures:
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Alien Villain
A clear riff on the Darth Vader look, it's not the most engaging design they could have gone with. The patterning on the chest is a little too "generic circuitry" for me and lacks any truly iconographic element necessary to really make this guy stand out. I do dig the helmet though, and if it hasn't already I'd like to see it show up in the Knights theme. The parallel-barreled gun is a neat idea but it looks better from top-down rather than straight-on. What really makes this release special is the use of the "alien head" from one of the many defunct attempts at Playmobil Space. I steered clear of that line but am happy to have access to the head in a nice "one off" way like this because, turns out, it's pretty cool! Like standard heads the eyes and mouth are in-set brown plastic while the head is based on a smaller than normal cylindrical core with the face coming off of it with great, raised, angled cheeks. Shockingly he has a removable hair piece too which, though slightly triangular, provides the standard "plug" for the helmet to fit on. It's a pretty cool piece too, with some layering in the back, but the blonde/yellow coloring nearly ruins the overall look. I very much wish they'd gone with any "un-human" color (especially if it could be translucent like the recent Lego Aliens) would have gone a long way to making this a much cooler figure. In fact, I dig the head so much I wish they'd gone with a more ornate cape and left out the helmet!
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Bandito
So I don't know what to make of this guy. At first I was pretty excited for him for the new Western theme re-launch, plus he comes with a guitar and sombrero! However, his face is clearly angry/mean and therefore... what? I can't armybuild a Mariachi or Cantina band out of him now, nor can he aptly be a bad guy since he has no weapon... it's kind of a conspicuous fail. That said, he is a nice figure, with the torso cleanly and elaborately painted and the sombrero is much more sculpturally detailed that I anticipated. The guitar is neat and is actually a two-piece part with the back of the body snapping into place. He's definitely worth getting and certainly an accessory swap while help him out a great deal, but if only they had just left him with a standard face I would have bought two or three more.
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Basketball Player
While I'm not into sports at all, this is a pretty fun figure. I didn't have a Playmo basketball before, which is actually firm plastic (like the hair pieces) with two slits for the "fingers" to slide into. Add to that the all-new Afro hair piece and you got one funky figure! The outfit seems a little retro, so between the jersey and the hair I like to think this is more of an 80's Olympics team member - but that's me. Also, if you're wondering why Black Klickies get to have whites around their eyes it's because they face insert is cast in white plastic and the iris/pupils are painted on the eyes - neat! They did a great job of matching his chest color to his arms and head, and that's no doubt thanks to a solid white base coat (which can just barely be made out on the left edge) over the red plastic of the torso.
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Bavarian
"Bavarian"? Does that make sense? He's certainly some sort of classic German man, and he even gets a counter-part in the Girls Series! I really hope they keep up that in the future, it's a great way to cross-sell. At any rate this guy gets a Alpine hat with little white feather/fan, a separate coat piece and, most adorably, a little shaggy wiener dog. Aaaaw. I really like the classic-ness of this figure and he'd fit in well with most 1900 AD and on themes. I can't wait to dig through my accessories and give him a frothy beer stein!
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Elvis
This series' "recognizable historical figure" is the surprisingly recent but delightfully eccentric Elvis! He comes with a microphone, high-collared cape and an all new hairpiece that not only has the signature pompadour but sideburns as well! Once open and in hand I was a little surprised they didn't use the "big belly" body for him, as that would definitely perfect the likeness, but perhaps they wanted to play things politely. And heck, as is I think about it this could also make a decent Liberace if given a piano! Just another silly, fun figure that is perfect for this line - the kind of thing with humor appeal to Joe Average walking through the store. If I collected the City theme I would definitely set up a costume party thanks to this guy!
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Knight
Unlike Series 1 this series not only gets just one Knight, but one that is actually worth having! His armor is all silver, placing it in the vastly preferred realm of historical plausibility. However, it is pretty conspicuous that he isn't wearing gloves or gauntlets. He gets a shield with a Red Dragon logo which is a bit too flashy for my taste though the serpent is pretty cool (and isn't that the icon of Wales?), and best of all the sticker is already applied! The helmet is new to me but is familiar and thus I think there are no new pieces here. The face surprisingly has big "angry eyebrows" and even a Mike Tyson cheek tattoo. It doesn't matter much as the face is fully covered by the helmet but they seem like interesting, if not odd, choices.
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Ninja
Now this is one of the more enjoyable ninja's they've made. He's got the signature black outfit but with enough gold detailing and red clothing highlights to keep him from being too drab. I especially like that he gets both a katana and nunchuks. The doubling up make him certainly feel more of a threat, though his bandana is a little silly as it is taller than his hair. Interestingly his whole face is painted on, and unfortunately it's pretty sloppily done on mine. I had just assumed they had an alternate "Asian" head/face insert. He's a cool figure and certainly worth adding to the growing Asian sub-collection they're releasing.
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Pirate
The Poster Boy for Boys Series 2 is the ever popular Pirate, and while that risks tedium he has several changes that bump up into the must-have realm. At first glance he just looks like any other Pirate, but in reality he has a far more elaborately painted torso and a black long coat on (were only that Playmo Hands removable I would be buying duplicates purely for the coat and arms). More impressively, though, he comes with a new hair piece that has a separate bandana piece in-set on it - very cool! Production-wise it's quite impressive too because the hair is clearly molded in black plastic and the bandana in red, though it appears to be one solid piece of plastic. He gets... a Crystal Skull!!! I figured it was just the existing stand-alone skull sculpt but in fact it's an all new piece that is almost identical to the skull on the Skeleton. It's the same size and has the same "neck joint" as the Skeleton's skull but has a more angled nose and more clearly identified eye sockets, each sunken to a flat base. The reason for that is to provide a suitable surface upon which to place two "diamond stickers" for eyes. I chose not to go that route for this one but will absolutely be buying at least one more (to use the skull as decoration for my anticipated Western Saloon) and will diamond-ize that one. The Pirate also gets a little wooden stick upon which the skull fits. It's such an incredibly simple but infinitely excellent accessory - it just allows for so much imagination. If you have kids that are into Playmobil this is a must have for them, trust me!
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Prisoner
This is one of the figures I was most excited for when I saw the pictures from Toy Fair. A Striped-Pajamas Prisoner - how awesome is that!? (Very awesome, is the correct answer) However, the promise is lost in the execution. Sadly the stripes are only on the legs and the front of the torso. He just looks 'wrong' without stripes on the arms - that's practically a deal breaker. He does come with a little cap, which is oddly sculpted with an angled top and painted with only two stripes, again only on the front, which forces you to have it on highlighting the crookedness of sculpt. The promotional pictures make me think it's just painted in the wrong place on mine, but who knows. He comes with the ball-and-chain from the Ghost (it's in plastic, not metal, this time) and I can't wait to put a pick axe in his hands. I really, really wish he had striped arms. Had he I would absolutely be buying a ton of these, but as is, it's just a cute one-off. Oh, and I'd like to mention that his clothes are actually off-white, a light cream color, which is a very nice touch.
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Rockstar
Hooboy... when I saw this guy I was completely prepared to write a "freak-out" rant about how Playmobil had lost it and abandoned their fans but I was wrong, it's actually an interesting bit of innovation. See, my problem was the face - while I'm always a bit miffed that every figure has to be smiling, it's core to their nature that they have that same, identifiable face, but this douche, with his big wacky mouth seemed to scream out "hey kids, these toys are hip and edgy," to which I could barely hold back the chunder. In reality, though, he has both classic and new faces. The head is a new tool that actually allows the hair piece to fit on frontwards or backwards. The front has the standard, brown plastic Playmo-Face while the back has this ridiculous tampo printed mess. I'm an insanely thankful for that, and while I applaud the innovation I beg them to go back to basics and stick to the standard face. Beyond that, the big silly hair is both silly and big, and is predictably cast in rubber. I like his purple shirt and tie torso plus he comes with the new long coat piece. I'll also note that his arms do not have the stripes shown in promo photos which is actually a big improvement in my opinion (donate them to the Prisoner!).
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Skateboarder
Man, if the face on the "Rockstar" pissed me off then this one enraged me. At least the former was a significant departure, this one is just the douche bag-y, hipster version of the classic Playmobil face and it... oooh it just makes me so angry. Fortunately he's got the alternate-face head so a quick spin of the neck and hair solves the problem perfectly. Now you get a Bieber-haired, vest over lime green hoody-Tee douche bag hipster on a skateboard - and that I'm okay with. If I saw someone wearing this in real life I would, clearly, judge them (and do so harshly) but as a toy it actually works quite well and he'll fit excellently with the City theme. The skateboard has a hole in it into which plugs the foot-wedge thingy, plus you'll need to pop the wheel/axle pieces into place (and mine came with three of those, by the way).
Playmobil - Fi?ures 2 Boys: Space Hero
This figure almost talked me into not completing the set, but fortunately(...?) my completist nature and desire to review the whole set won out. I see what they were going for here but I don't like it. It's clearly some kind of Japanese-y Space Hero Captain Man meant to be a futuristic Superhero, but it just falls apart. The color choices are, in particular, to blame here as the deep blue and bright white just don't mesh... they're not exciting to look at. Then there's the raccoon mask, but it works well with the rest of the figure in that Power Rangers sort of way. I dig the implicit pairing with him at the Alien Villian, that's smart line planning, and I dig that cleaver reuse of the helmet, which I'm pretty sure was from the Knights theme a few years back. While I don't much care for the figure I like the idea of a Playmo-Superhero (they can try again next year) and am glad to have the neat double-barrelled ray gun.