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Dairy Queen

by yo go re

Despite the fact that half our name literally means "action figure," that's not all we limit our collections to. We've got plushes, cars, videogames, building sets, statues... and now, doll furniture?

Jakks Pacific, the company known for wrestling toys and nothing else, has a new line of girl-oriented toys called miWorld, "the only line of super realistic miniatures that allows kids to build, collect, connect, display, and play in all the trendiest stores and mall spots." In other words, fully licensed store playsets. Of course, since the "mall" is a dying concept, you probably don't know most of the stores they've licensed (Sweet Factory, OPI, Sprinkles Cupcakes, WTF are any of you?), but everybody's heard of Dairy Queen! Are there even Dairy Queens in malls? Apparently.

The miWorld sets are sold in two sizes: square Starter Sets and double-wide Deluxe Sets (as well as Figure Packs and bags of accessories). DQ is a Starter Set, so it measures 7¾" wide and deep, and 8½" tall, and has just two walls - the sets are designed to be modular, so the third wall will be formed by whatever business you decide is next door. Yes, that means the third wall won't have any detail on it. You'll have to be sure to only look at it from three o'clock to six o'clock - as in directions, not as in time. You can look at it any time you want. As long as you only look at it from the right angle (but not necessarily from a "right angle"). [What are you talking about? Are you high? --ed.] If you want to build your mall vertically instead of horizontally, there's a small support arm for the "empty" corner to keep things standing.

The walls have their stickers already applied, while the floor gets detail from a thin piece of cardboard that is only held in place by the pressure of the walls plugging in. For DQ, the left wall has a freezer case filled with cakes, and the rear wall shows the prep area: storage cabinets, the soft serve machine, and a window leading back to the kitchen. Since that would make for a very bare, boring store, the set also includes a 3" x 4⅝" x 1⅜" counter, a single booth seat, and a square table. The booth is black with red cushions, the table is tan, and the counter is blue, though you're meant to put a big faux wood grain sticker with a large DQ logo on the front. It really looks a lot better once you do.

But what really sells this set (to toy fans like us, at least) are the accessories. We start with the mundane - a digital touchscreen register for the counter, ketchup, mustard and napkin dispensers for the table, a red plastic tray, a cardboard standee advertising some various treats - and then on to the really neat stuff: the food.

The set includes two sundaes (one with hot fudge, the other with strawberry sauce) in clear blue bowls; cones (one vanilla, one chocolate); two Blizzards; a red drink in a clear cup; a hot dog and bun (yes, those are separate pieces); and an order of french fries. Did you know Dairy Queen sells normal fast food stuff, not just ice cream? They do, and it's the best. Seriously, DQ has the best fast food burgers around, no joke. Give it a try next time you're hungry, see if we're lying to you. Anyway, the dog and the fries have cardboard containers you have to fold into shape yourself. There are no instructions, but looking at a picture will help you figure it out easily enough.

As mentioned above, there are also Collector Packs, bagged accessory sets designed as "refills" for your sets. There are two different Collector Packs based on each store: one Dairy Queen refill includes an Orange Julius Smoothie, a purple Arctic Rush drink, a DQ cone, a hotdog and bun, and a box; the other has a Blizzard, an Orange Julius, a shake, a blue Arctic Rush, and two sundaes. So basically, all the same molds seen in the regular set, just in new colors - nice extras, but not necessary to enjoy the set.

The miWorld sets are kind of
hard to pin down, scale-wise. The shop girl figurines are about 4½" tall or so, but they also represent teenagers - so really, the sets seem like they'd be in scale with the 5" Doctor Who toys. That said, 4"ers (like GI Joe or Marvel Universe) don't look too out of place, and neither do 6"-scale offerings. A 7" toy would be pushing it a bit, but the accessories even look decent with some 12" figures. Basically, whatever kind of action figures you collect, you can give them a try in here and see if they work.

miWorld Starter Sets retail for $15, which doesn't seem like a bad price for the amount of stuff you get in the set. The Dairy Queen set is so cool, I'm tempted to pick up the cupcake place and the candy store, too.

-- 03/12/14

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