Monday, February 23, 2015

Toy Review – The Simpsons: 25 of the Greatest Guest Stars – Weird Al from NECA

I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to own an action figure of one of my heroes, Weird Al Yankovic.

Okay, well – a figurine.

But I am excited nonetheless! Because this is one of my favorite musicians of all time and definitely one of the fathers of my own dorkiness!

Even if it is a Simpsons figure and I haven’t really dug The Simpsons in around a decade.

But this is Weird Al! I had to have it!

The last time I tried to preorder stuff from Toys R Us, they cancelled my order. Then, the next day, the items were up for sale on the website (I did not order them). I didn’t plan on ever preordering from Toys R Us again, but then they had this guy up for presale. I figured it was worth trying. I haven’t had much luck finding the few of these Simpsons figures that I want, so I wanted to cover every available angle to try and get this Weird Al.

Much to my surprise, I got an e-mail a few days ago saying that my order was fulfilled. To my even greater surprise, the figure actually arrived a few days later. The cardback was smashed because the ignoramuses at the Toys R Us distribution center used a box that was too small, but at least the figure is okay.

The yellow-skinned Simpsons figure.

Obviously this is not the ideal Weird Al Yankovic figure. While I’ll buy any Al that comes out, I would love to see Funko or Figures Toy Company sign a deal for Al and for UHF. Just imagine a whole line of ReAction or Mego-style retro figures. The cast from UHF and maybe a selection of Weird Al figures from his biggest videos.

Heck, NECA must have had to work out some kind of deal to do this one, so maybe they could produce one of their rock star figures or even do one in their retro cloth line.
That’s my dream, anyway.

First Glance

It’s amazing how well this simplistic, cartoony style can capture a likeness. It’s not just the hair, the glasses, the mustache, and the Hawaiian shirt. It’s that look on his face, too. 
 
Packaging

This diminutive Weird Al is lovingly ensconced in the simplest of devices – the tried and true, easy-to-open, just as easy to throw away blister card.

The cardback features a celebratory Homer Simpson in a tuxedo, seemingly applauding the figure in the blister and also generating sparkling stars with his hand claps. It’s a very appealing image that has probably sold figures simply on the basis of its undeniable Homerousness.

The back is designed with a fairly classic layout – scenes featuring the character, pictures of the rest of the wave, and – my favorite part of any cardback – a biography. Since I haven’t actually seen the episode that Weird Al appeared on, I appreciated this. It actually sounds like a good one, so I might have to check it out.

Looks

There’s no denying that this figure is Weird Al Yankovic, and it looks exactly like the art from the episode. 
 
I’m curious about the design process for the character. Obviously Al’s trademark Hawaiian shirt needed to be simplified somewhat, and his checkered slip-on shoes would have been a headache to animate. I’m more curious about the color scheme. Lots of green and orange going on here, which is not the most appealing color combination in the world. Why not blue jeans and white shoes? Or black ones? Something other than this eyesore of a palette.

But none of that is relevant to rating an action figure because that’s all on The Simpsons people. The question here is if NECA captured the character and they did.

The figure is a semi-solid plastic – not brittle at all. It’s fairly heavy for what it is.

The hair is great. Al’s mass of brown, curly locks have been translated quite well from real life to animation to plastic. They have a weight and a depth that looks just right in 3D. The glasses are also great. Rather than going the traditional route of painting eyes on opaque lenses, NECA sculpted eyes onto the face and used clear plastic with painted frames. They look great and the plastic they used is very clear and clean – not the muddy plastic that is so often used for eyewear on toys.

The likeness is great. It’s Weird Al. Even under the bangs you can see those eyebrows positioned in that “See what I did there?” way that Al has. His little mustache is funny. It’s odd that it’s black, but it also looks right.

Al’s shirt looks good. It’s nice, smooth lines and a flat shape that looks right for a button-up shirt. All of the buttons and details are sculpted cleanly and clearly. The painted flowers are precise and placed well. His pants are green and, uh, that’s it. I am impressed with the fact that his socks and the soles of his shoes are painted. That’s a nice detail that a lesser tot company might have skipped.

Accessories

Al comes with an accordion. It’s made from the same sort of plastic as the figure. There’s plenty of detail for something that’s based on animation and I’m impressed with the paint app, too. All of the black on the keyboard side feels like a whimsical extravagance compared to some other action figure lines. Obviously my standards are pretty low.

The one issue is that there’s an orange smudge on one of the keys that I can’t do anything about.

There aren’t any straps on the accordion, so you have to just sort of jam it into the figure’s hands. This actually works better than you might think.

Fun

What does not work is getting the figure to stand up.

You might have noticed the memory card under Al’s foot in all of the pictures. That’s there because the figure does not stand up when it is not holding the accordion. I assumed that they had to design it a certain way so that it could stand when it was holding the accordion. After all, if Al can’t stand there holding an accordion, what’s the point? I wasn’t too worried about it because I wouldn’t be displaying him without it anyway.

Of course, the figure doesn’t stand up with the accordion, either. It does not stand up at all. This is fairly ridiculous given that it is essentially a statue with four points of articulation. Also, there are no holes in the feet, so you can’t even put it on a stand.

The four joints are the neck, shoulders, and waist. They’re pretty pointless because the figure is sculpted in a very specific pose. Plus the fact that there is no combination of joint positions that allow this figure to stand.

Typically I won’t consider a figure much fun if all it does is stand there, but this one doesn’t even do that. But it does get points just for the fun inherent in the fact that it’s Weird Al.

Overall

I’m thrilled to own a Weird Al figure. That is definitely giving this a point more than it should get. It looks perfect and hits all the right design points, but it’s an action figure that is basically meant to be static that can’t even stand up. That’s pretty bad, Phantomaniacs.

I will say this – it is possible that the one I got is warped in some way that others might not be. It’s also possible that I could use a hairdryer or some hot water to get the feet into a better position. But you guys know how I feel about that – a figure should require no additional help from me when I open it. It should be ready to display or play with or whatever.

3 out of 5

If you’re a fan of Weird Al, you have to buy this. Maybe yours will stand. 
 
If you do buy it, I’d appreciate you buying it here to help out with the costs of running Needless Things. I promise I’m not spending the little bit of money I get from this and from our PayPal donation program on Twinkie Weiner Sandwiches:





No comments:

Post a Comment