For the second, and most sadly, final, year running Palisades brings a Muppet Treasure Island themed Muppet exclusive to the Wizard World Los Angeles (though its actually in Long Beach, about 40 minutes south of L.A.). Last year we had "Ghost of Sam Arrow," a figure somewhat rushed into production that simply lacked the flair and uniqueness that we've all come to expect from Palisades' exclusives. This year, however, they are totally back up to snuff with the 2-pack of Cabin Boy Gonzo & Rizzo.
The sculptural detail on the figures is, as we expect from this line, top notch. I am a huge, huge fan of textured clothing and both jackets and pants feature plenty of it. There is also some very nice subtle dry brushing on them enhancing the amount of texture. I would have liked some texturization on the vests, but both figures look and work fine without it.
Articulation, on the other hand, is one area where no shortcuts were taken: it runs rampant through these lil' scalawags! Rizzo has swivel neck, balljointed shoulders, wrists (at the coat cuff, not the shirt cuff, for those interested), waist and V-Crotch. Sadly, his tail is not positionable in any manner, would have been a definite advantage. Gonzo sails hard with swivel-neck, balljointed shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, T-crotch and knees. The knees are one of those things that you just don't expect or even need, but are very cool to have.
Accessories include a beanie for Rizzo, a hat for Gonzo, swords for each, and a removable "tuft" for Gonzo. The hair-sort of thing that "grows" out of the crown of Gonzo's head is not glued in on this figure, and it is that "peg hole" that is utilized to keep his hat on. Rizzo's beanie is held on by much the same manner as the regular Rizzo's cap – tiny grooves and a hearty push.
The swords are very cool as well, the "hilts" of each are, well... normally, I'd say "surprisingly" detailed, but this set is from Palisades – the masters of detail. So the hilts are quite detailed, especially Gonzo's dragon-esque one. But somehow, there's just something awkward about Muppets wielding blades...
Paint has always been a tricky issue with the Muppets and while there are no major complaints here, the paint is not quite... perfect. I know pinstripes and the like, are a [female dog] and a half to do in toy production, but these are a little too soft/hazy in my opinion.
Similarly, a lot of the finer paint detail, like that on Gonzo's hat and coat look more airbrushed than painted, which is not what I would expect for this level of detail. Also, the eyes, which have been a chronic point for trouble also suffer – most notably Gonzo's very uneven pupils. All in all, though, the paint isn't bad enough to halt purchase of this set, just something to be aware of. Not matter what little qualms there are, it still kicks the shuzoola out of Marvel Legends.
I love Muppets. I love Muppet major characters. I love Muppet major characters in "variant" outfits. I love the Muppet Treasure Island sub-theme in the Muppet toy line. And as such, I love this two-pack and have been eagerly anticipating it for a very long time!
My only complaint here is that there won't be any more MTI figures. Muppets has had a very long and beautiful life as a toy line and I just want to take this moment to applaud Mike Horn for giving this license a home and to Ken Lilly for making a line that will always be remembered as "one of the greats," as a line for others to be modeled on. Sure there are "tons" of more figures I would have liked to have seen come out, but at the end of the day, my god, what a beautiful collection we all have. You owe to yourself and to your collection to get this 2-pack, it's simply too cool not to have.
Think Palisades will pitch a hissyfit about this review like they did last year? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.