I love Palisades Toys with all of my heart, and it greatly pains me to say this, but this figure sucks. Well, this version, I should say. The sculpt is, as ever, amazing, but this variant version of Sam the Eagle as "Samuel Arrow" from Muppet Treasure Island leaves a lot to wish for.
First off, this figure is little more than a straight-up repaint. No new sculpts or cool accessories. What's worse is that Ghost of Samuel Arrow (GoSA) is only slightly repainted from the original version of the figure from Muppets Series 4. He is the exact same sculpt, but this time with his tail glued in and no magnet in his head (though, due to thorough sculpting, the original figure's hat will sit snuggly on GoSA's head). All that's really changed about him is a light grayish dry-brush all over him, with a tan-ish wash on his pants. Basically, all this does is bring out the immense detail in the sculpt of the figure (especially on the jacket).
The only "new" stuff this figure comes with
- his only accessories at all - are three 12" strands of felt kelp. That's right, felt. They're not even sculpted, just pressed and cut felt. Sure it adds more options to poseability, but it seems like a very cheap comparison to the high level of accessories that Palisades typically offers.
Now, I understand that this was a rushed figure, meaning that Palisades didn't have a huge lead time to get something together because this convention, the first-ever Wizard World Los Angeles, wasn't announced early enough, but I really think they could have done something better than this.
Palisades created the Summer Con Exclusive and they continuously set the bar for great exclusives (Adventure Kermit comes to mind), but this figure just ends up looking cheap and unexciting. In Muppet Treasure Island, Sam covers himself in flower and kelp to look like a ghost, and that's what this figure recreates, so couldn't they have done him whiter? Heavier washes and/or dry-brushes? Anything to set this figure farther apart from his predecessor?
The only real positive here is that GoSA features Sam's infamous "shifty eyes." This was contemplated as a surprise chase version for the original figure, and is currently under consideration as a chase for the upcoming "naked" version of Sam the Eagle. It's a cool little touch that really brings back the memories of the character, a genius touch, and it's nice to finally see it hit production. Also, I'm a sucker for Muppet Treasure Island figures, so I got that going for me, but still...
While the figure (not the accessories) definitely stands up to the high level of quality that Palisades has set for themselves, it certainly doesn't even come close to the originality or ingenuity that we have come to expect. Ultimately, I can't imagine this figure appealing to anyone but 'hardcore' Muppet collectors, and even I, an aforementioned 'hardcore' Muppet collector, have to just say that this figure is utterly passable. Nothing new, unique, or special here. I'm sorry Palisades, but it's the truth, that while this figure is still better than a lot of stuff out there, the Ghost of Samuel Arrow sucks... at least by the standards you've set.
What's the worst con exclusive ever? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.