FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 1

Welcome, Toyhounds, to the first part of my Favorites from 2017 and I’m not really here. In fact, I’m probably out on my patio smoking a cigar and getting caught up on my stack of comics. If you’re confused about why you’re reading some kind of canned bullshit and not an actual review, I’ll refer you back to yesterday’s post where I explain everything. If you’re up to speed, then we’re going to dive right in to my first five favorite additions to my collection from 2017. These are in no particular order, so let’s go…

DC “Designer Series” Frank Cho Wonder Woman Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles: There was never any doubt that I’d have a statue from DC Collectibles on my Favorites list this year, because I picked up some great ones. But which one to choose? I waited a long time to get a version of Adam Hughes Wonder Woman in my collection and she turned out great. Likewise both the Babs Tarr Batgirl and the Deluxe Harley Quinn Bombshell were superb releases. In the end, I went with Frank Cho’s Wonder Woman because it’s just such a wonderful representation of the character, and it is executed flawlessly. I love the costume design, the paintwork is nearly perfect, and I really dig the materials DCC is using for flesh tones on these pieces. Cho’s Wonder Woman is not only my favorite DC Statue pick up in 2017, she may very well be my favorite statue of all my collection.

Transformers “Titans Return” Jumpstarters by Hasbro: This is only the second item on my list, and I’m already cheating by giving one slot to two figures. But that’s OK, because I couldn’t break up the Titans Return Jumpstarters by showing preferential treatment to one and ignore the other. If I wanted to really cheat, I could have taken up a lot more spots on my Favorites List just from Titans Return alone, so getting me down to just two was quite the achievement of willpower. It’s no secret that I loved this line, and there were a lot of figures that could have landed on this list, but in the end I had to go with Topspin and Twin Twist as my favorites. Not only are these great figures, not only are they superb updates to their G1 toys, but the fact that we got official Jumpstarters from Hasbro still boggles my mind. These are so good, that I ended up selling off my far more expensive third party Jumpstarters.

Ghostbusters Firehouse by Playmobil: If you had told me a few years ago that we’d be getting a Ghostbusters Firehouse playset in 2017, I’d have called you a raving lunatic and poked out one of your eyes as a lesson not to f*ck with me. And yet here it is! What’s even more baffling is the fact that it came from Playmobil. Now, I may be a little biased, because PlaymoSpace and Playmobil Pirates were my jam growing up, but even if I wasn’t already sold on the brand, I probably would have jumped at this. With their track record for going nuts on parts and accessories, and their easy to customize figure buck, Playmobil turned out to be the perfect fit in this otherwise unthinkable union. Yes, I could have just as easily listed the Ecto-1 here, but c’mon… this is the freaking Firehouse! And Playmobil did a beautiful job with it. It’s almost a pity this set didn’t come out closer to Christmas, because it would have been a perfect review for Christmas Morning!

Epic Marvel Quarter Scale Deadpool by NECA: I’ve been trying to stay away from NECA’s Quarter Scale figures. They’re amazing figures and very reasonably priced, but I really don’t have the space for them. Nonetheless, there are some releases that are no-brainers, and when they first revealed Deadpool, I knew I had to make an exception. And I’m glad I did! This figure truly lives up to the name Epic. The sculpt is phenomenal, the accessory count is over-the-top, and despite being such a big figure, he is loads of fun to play with. NECA absolutely surpassed themselves with this figure and it is some of the best work I’ve seen out of anyone all year long.

Star Wars Rogue One TIE Striker by Hasbro: I’m probably as surprised as you are to see this on the list, but this toy just impressed the hell out of me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t even buy it until it hit deep clearance. Star Wars vehicles aren’t what they used to be, but this one feels like it belongs among the best of them. Sure, I could have done without the Nerf gimmick, but apart from that this is a quality toy and a cool design from what has become one of my favorite Star Wars movies of all time.

And that’s it for my First Five Favorites of 2017. Come on back tomorrow and I’ll wrap up my list of the good stuff!

Playmobil Ghostbusters Firehouse (#9219)

Once again, folks, DC Friday is being preempted so that I can get to some Playmobil Ghostbusters goodness. Sorry about that, but rest assured, it will return next week when I get back into checking out some DC statues. And now… on with today’s content…

There’s something about getting a playset in a big box that still feels like something special. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of the magic of being a little kid at Christmas, or maybe it’s because so few of these things are made anymore that it’s become a rare occurrence. Either way, I knew after only a few moments after getting Playmobil’s Ecto-1 set up that I would need to get the Firehouse to house it in. Well, it arrived earlier this week and I’ve had some time to play around with it. If this set had come out anywhere near December, I probably would have held off opening it until Christmas, but that’s still a ways off, so I’m diving in right away!

In typical Playmobil fashion, the illustrations and photos on the box let’s the product do the talking. Sure there are some digital effects, but for the most part what you see on the box is what you’re actually getting inside. Also, the box is huge, although it’s not terribly deep, so right off the bat you just know there’s going to be a lot of assembly here. You can also tell that from rattling the box or by looking at where it proclaims that there are 228 pieces inside!

Open her up and you’re presented with more than ten bags of pieces, plus a bunch of loose bigger pieces, and a bag with instructions, some rubbery splotches of green slime, and a sticker sheet. I knew right away it was time to brew up a pot of coffee and tuck in for a fairly lengthy build. Granted, a fair number of those 228 pieces include the figures, equipment, and furnishings, but even putting together the structure itself was more involved than I was expecting, and I’m no stranger to Playmobil! I should throw out a warning, that while it’s probably possible to disassemble the Firehouse and get it back in the box, it’s not something I’m willing to risk, which means somehow I’m going to have to find the shelf space for this beast!

The instructions are pretty good, although the bags aren’t numbered like LEGO sets, so while you may be finding most of the pieces in a step in one bag, some might be in another. As a result, I played it fast and loose with the steps, and I still did OK. A lot of putting together the actual building involved these red square joining pieces and this Playmobil tool. I’ve had Playmobil sets ever since I was a kid, and I’ve never even seen one of these before! The worst thing about the entire build was putting together the two staircases. Each step had to be individually inserted (something like sixteen in all!) and it took a ridiculous amount of force to get them together. Also, the tool didn’t help with it and my thumbs were almost destroyed by the time I was done. Let’s start with a look at the figures that are included, then a look at the Firehouse itself, and then I’ll go floor-by-floor to look at the furnishings and accessories.

The set comes with a whopping five figures! These include Ray Stantz in a clean uniform, Janine Melnitz in her civvies, Louis Tulley with the brain scanner/kitchen colander on his head, Egon Spengler in his “doing science” outfit and forehead spotlight, and the Library Ghost from the beginning of the movie. I’d say all of these are excellent, except the Library Ghost just doesn’t do much for me. It’s neat to have another ghost, but this was probably a tough design to translate to the Playmobil aesthetic. The clean suited Ray comes with a Proton Pack, Ghost Trap, PKE Meter, and a weird looking device that I don’t recognize. The inclusion of this figure also means that Playmobil has to release at least one more set with a clean suited Peter Venkman… THEY HAVE TO!!! As for Janine, Louis, and Egon, they’re all very Firehouse specific, so it’s great that Playmobil included them here. Seeing as how the figure two-packs can range up to $10 at retail, I think these figures add a lot of value to this package.

Here’s the exterior of the Firehouse and I think it’s a damn fine approximation of the building from the film. All of those windows and all of the brickwork are part of the assembly process. I think the only thing here that’s a bit of a letdown is the door on the side is just a sticker and it’s scaled a little too small. Then again, this is a Playmobil set designed for kids, so I’m probably being way too critical! There’s a fire hydrant beside the building and you get the iconic Ghostbusters logo on the sign above the garage door.

The garage door opens and building those tracks for it to do that is fairly involved. Moving inside, you can see that there are three levels, each accessible by those damn stairs! Seriously, my poor thumbs are still hurting from snapping all of those together! I’m going to start at the top and work down. Keep in mind, you really are free to deck this thing out any way you want, I just followed (more or less) the suggestions on the box.

So the top floor is Janine’s office. She’s got a desk with a computer and keyboard, a second piece of furniture with a phone and a lamp, an office chair and a stool. The drawers on that other piece of furniture actually open and you can put little Playmobil stuff in them. The monitor shows a map of the city with a Ghostbusters emblem indicating ghost activity. She also comes with an issue of Playmobil Today featuring stories about the Ghostbusters and their equipment. You can also see the fire alarm just to the side of the banister. “WE GOT ONE!!!”

You also get a pizza in a box! What? No Chinese Take Out???

There’s a fire poll that connects all the floors and a sliding hand grip for the figures to slide down on.

The middle section is the lab area, which houses all the scientific equipment. You get the device that they hooked Louis up to with a screen that shows an image of a Terror Dog, indicating that he’s possessed. The equipment itself has all sorts of buttons and gauges and it’s even branded with the Ghostbusters logo. It includes a chair and the monitor sits on a cabinet with three opening drawers. Here you can also see a floor lamp, and a video camera on a tripod.

A closer look at the bookcase in the background shows it contains a couple of cooking pans, a test tube rack with three test tubes, a jar of green slime, and a copy of Tobin’s Spirit Guide!

You also get this rolling cart with a few scientific flasks, a microscope, and a stray test tube. SCIENCE!

And there’s a coffee decanter for Louis to hold. “YES HAVE SOME!” I’m really impressed with all the great stuff they packed into the science area and I’m already on the hunt for some other Playmobil sets that might allow me to expand it even more.

Moving into the garage level, there isn’t a whole lot going on down here, but you do get the containment system, which opens up and you can put a trap in there. If you’re like me and you have most of these sets then you’ve got a lot of Ghost Traps by now, which gives me a spare to keep in the unit. The detail on this thing is mostly stickers, but it looks great. It has a couple of handles, one to open the door and one to flush the machine. I really dig the hoses coming up out of the top.

Of course, the reason there isn’t a whole lot else going on in the garage is because they had to leave room for the Ecto-1 to fit, and it does indeed fit… granted just barely, but I’m not complaining, because it looks great in there and it’s one of the biggest selling points about this whole set.

Now, obviously all this playset don’t come cheap. I was able to get mine for regular retail price off of Amazon for $69.99. Right now it’s selling for a little more than that and without the free Prime shipping. When you break down everything that comes in this box, I think the asking price is fair, especially since it’s the exact same price that Playmobil charges for their largest Pirate Ship sets, which are obviously not licensed. My point is, you aren’t getting soaked just because it’s an official Ghostbusters product, and you get a lot of goodies in the box for your money. I’ll be honest, I probably would have ponied up more money if I had to, because I never in a million years would have guessed that we’d get an actual Ghostbusters Firehouse playset like this ever again. The fact that it’s from Playmobil is both bizarre and fantastic at the same time. I have only one set left to pick up, the Hot Dog Stand with Slimer, and I’m going to nab it as soon as I find it. I’m still going to hope we see some more sets out of the Playmobil-Ghostbusters fusion, but my gut tells me this may be it, and if that’s the case, well… Playmobil certainly gave it their all and did a fantastisc job.

More Playmobil Ghostbusters Sets! (#9221, 9223, and 9224) 

What? No DC Friday? Nope, not this week. I’m actually caught up on reviews for my DC collection right now and I haven’t had time to go into storage and pull out some old stuff. And so I’m re-purposing the next two Fridays for other things. Never fear, DC Friday will return in two weeks! In the meantime…

Yup, I got some more Ghostbusters sets from Playmobil and today I’m going to knock out three of them! While each of these come in enclosed boxes, the two smaller ones are pretty much just figure packs, and even the larger Stay-Puft set just features the one larger and one regular figure. Of course, I’m not complaining, as these sets all do their part to build up the Playmobil Ghostbusters Universe and they compliment each other nicely. They also provide the rest of the team to go with my Ecto-1. If you have any experience with Playmobil sets the packaging should be familiar to you. While the deco has been branded for the license, everything else is the same. You get photos of everything that comes inside on the backs of the boxes and there is some minor assembly required and stickers to apply, mostly for the Proton Packs and Ghost Traps. Let’s start big and work our way down…

Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man and Ray Stantz: The name is pretty self-explanatory, as this set includes Mr. Stay-Puft and Ray Stantz, the heart of the Ghostbusters! I really love the look of Stay-Puft and I’m happy they didn’t redesign him to look like a giant Playmobil figure. He’s cast in a great looking white pearlescent plastic and features some bright blue and red paint.

Indeed, even if you’re in the market for a Stay-Puft and don’t care anything about Playmobil, this figure would still probably scratch your itch. It’s not as big or impressive as the Diamond Select Stay-Puft Bank that I display with my Mattel Ghostbusters, but to be fair this is supposed to be a smaller scale anyhow. Really, my only complaint here is in the articulation. Sure, I expected a big hollow figure and I didn’t expect any articulation in the legs, but I was a little disappointed that the head doesn’t turn. At least the arms will rotate at the shoulders and the hands swivel at the wrists. All in all, he’s a great looking figure and still fun to play with.

The other half of this set, Ray, features a marshmallow-soiled uniform, which may irk some collectors, who are looking for a set of the guys all in clean uniforms. I find that I don’t mind it so much. It definitely adds a little personality to the figure, especially since Ray otherwise just looks like a standard Playmobil guy. Luckily, he has his name on his shirt and he also comes with his Ecto-Goggles to help further distinguish him. The Proton Pack is an amazing piece, and identical to what we saw in the Ecto-1 set. The wand can peg to the side for storage and it also comes with a particle stream effect piece. Moving on to…

Peter Venkman, Dana, and The Terror Dogs: This is a really well-rounded set of four figures, as it gives you not only Peter and Dana, but also the pair of Terror Dogs, another Ghost Trap, and another PKE Meter. We’ve seen the equipment before, so let’s just take a quick look at the figures…

Like Ray, Peter features a soiled shirt, this time with green slime. Once again, if you’re looking for a clean set of Ghostbusters, this is likely to irritate you, but I’m still happy with it since it gives a little more personality to the figure and further helps to identify him, along with the name on the uniform. Peter wasn’t really known for carrying around the PKE Meter, but it’s cool that Playmobil is throwing us extra equipment. Hell, I’ve got plenty of PKE Meters and Ghost Traps just from the four sets I own.

Dana features her possessed look from just before she turned into one of the dogs. I think it’s a pretty good attempt at the character while still sticking to the Playmobil aesthetic. They also managed to keep the hip articulation while doing her sculpted gown. I love her demon eyes! Who the hell would have ever imagined that cute and innocent Playmobil would ever do ladies possessed by demons!

Not to mention, the The Terror Dogs! These are fantastic little sculpts that manage to be both adorable and still easily recognizable from the film. They feature articulation in all four legs, the neck, and their jaws will even open! My only complaint here is that I wish Playmobil had made this a bigger set that included a rooftop playset. I would have gladly paid an extra $15 for the altar with a Gozer figure and a place to put the dogs. I think that would have been amazing. And that brings me to the smallest set…

Egon Spengler and Ghost: The last set completes the Ghostbusters team with Egon Spengler, as well as including two actual ghosts!

Playmobil did a find job recreating Egon with printed glasses and a crazy pompadour! He comes with a Proton Pack with proton stream, a PKE Meter, and a Walkie-Talkie. It feels like Peter should have come with the Walkie, but I’m not complaining. I can just give it to him, anyway.

The Ghost Trap comes with a ghost that you can plug into it. Oh, so that’s what that hole is for! He’s a pretty jolly wisp of Ectoplasm, as he’s smiling even though he’s about to get sucked into the torture-dimension that I like to think comprises the inside of those Ghost Traps. Playmobil really needs to release a variety of these ghosts to plug into the different traps. Hell, go ahead and blind bag ’em, I’ll buy tons! It’s a simple plastic shell, but if you put an LED behind it, it makes for a pretty cool effect.

The other ghost is a regular figure and I call him Dapper Ghost, because he looks like a proper 19th Century gentlemen. The figure itself is partially translucent and has some skeletal paint apps on him. The overcoat and hat are both regular opaque plastic. I really dig his mutton chops and his little mustache. As much as I love this guy and all his personality, I wish Playmobil would have given us one of the ghosts from the film. This should have been Library Ghost or Taxi Driver Ghost. Still, he’s cool.

That’s four sets down and two to go. I’m still hunting the Hot Dog Stand with Slimer and the Firehouse is on its way to me as I write this article. Right now, I’m just basking in how great it is to have the whole team with my Ecto-1. As with most Playmobil sets, the fun is getting them all together and that’s certainly the case here. These adorable little spook hunters are all ready to go on adventures. These sets were $20, 15, and 10 respectively, which seems a bit high when I compare it to the same $45 I spent on the Ecto-1. Sure, it’s a lot of figures and accessories, but Stay-Puft was the only really substantial piece and he’s nowhere near as complex a toy as the Ecto-1. That’s OK. I’m still fine with the value here and I’m hoping that Playmobil isn’t done with this line yet.

Playmobil Ghostbusters: Ecto-1 with Winston Zeddemore and Janine Melnitz (#9220)

I know, it’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve done an Anime Saturday post and I’m not doing myself any favors, because the prize figures and Figmas have been backing up on me something fierce. I didn’t have the time to do one this weekend either, but I really wanted to get to checking out this Ghostbusters Playmobil set earlier in the week and when it didn’t happen, I decided to suck it up and review it this weekend. As for Anime Saturday, it will return next weekend. I’ll be on vacation by then and spending it watching a lot of anime and playing a lot of video games, so I’ll be good and ready for it… Promise! 

It’s been six years since I last opened up a Playmobil set and with the Ghostbusters Anniversary this past week, it felt like the time was right to break that terrible streak and check out one of the new Ghostbusters Playmobil sets. Playmobil and I go way back and rather than waste time here, I’ll refer you to this post back in 2011 when I talked a little bit about what the line has meant to me. Quite frankly, I’m just too damn excited to dig into this set right now, so let’s Go… Ghost… Busters! Oh, wait. Wrong Ghostbusters. My bad…

In terms of packaging, Playmobil hasn’t changed much. The larger sets still come in boxes that are easy to open and pretty good for storing the toys in when you’re done. I usually like to take one of the biggest boxes in a series and use it to store the contents of a bunch of sets. In the case of this series, Playmobil eschews the regular bright blue deco in favor of one a little more faithful to the Ghostbusters brand. One of the most curious things about Playmobil is that they never put the name of the sets on the box. Instead sets have simple numbers, similar to LEGO. They’re also quite content with showing off the toys themselves rather than waste your time with a lot of fancy box art. Back in the day, Playmobil had a great series of space toys called PlaymoSpace. They should have done that here. PlaymoBusters. PlaymoGhost. Mmm… Maybe not.

Ah, there’s nothing quite like breaking into a box of Playmobil. Inside, you get the partially assembled Ecto-1, several bags of pieces, instructions, and stickers. These aren’t really building sets, but there’s a lot of fun to be had putting everything together. Playmobil is all about lots and lots of accessories and pieces and everything working with everything else. The bulk of assembly for Ecto-1 involves the wheels and all the gear on the top. It took me about a half hour to get everything together and stickered. You also get some slime splashes in the box, which are made of rubbery plastic and stick to the car. Probably cool for the kids, but I haven’t bothered to take these out of the plastic. Anyway, before we get to the main attraction, let’s check out the figures!

As the box states, the set comes with Winston Zeddemore and Janine Melnitz. Obviously, Playmobil is engaged in marketing shenanigans here, making you buy a bunch of sets to get the whole team, but I’m fine with that. I’ve now decided that I’m getting them all anyway and I absolutely love that they put Winston and Ghostbuster Janine in what will likely be the most desired set. If you’re familiar with Playmobil figures, there’s nothing new here. They come on standard male and female bodies, with articulation in the neck, arms, and hips.  The printed uniforms are really nice. I like that they didn’t just use the same printing, as there’s a little bit of variation on the belt gear between the two figures. The printed portraits are pretty great too. I just can’t look at Winston’s face without smiling. That’s a face that tells me “if there’s a steady paycheck involved, I’ll believe in anything you want.”

The proton packs are quite detailed, especially by Playmobil standards. They even include the tiny warning labels and the wands can store on the backpacks by plugging them into the sides. The packs themselves clip onto the figure around the shoulders and waists. The figures can hold the wands slung under their hands to sort of mimic the way they were wielded in the movie.

You also get a pair of proton streams that plug right into the end of the barrels. At this point, I’ll remind everyone that Diamond Select released $25 Ghostbusters figures with proton streams that had no way of attaching to the wands and later had to rectify that by including adapters if you bought more figures. Hey, I’ve got nothing against DST, but I think it’s funny that between the two, Playmobil got it right.

You also get a Ghost trap with a foot pedal. The doors on the trap are hinged and you can open it. There’s a sticker that depicts the horrible pocket torture dimension that the ghosts are sucked into.

And finally, you get a PKE Meter, which is just a static piece with a sticker for the display, but cool nonetheless. Moving on to the real showpiece of this set…

The Playmobil Ecto-1 is absolutely glorious. What I love the most about this thing is that it doesn’t feel overly stylized or super-deformed to make it kiddie friendly. It’s just a damn nice reproduction of the vehicle in the 4-inch scale. Sure, some of the stickers make it look a little animated. It’s definitely a toy first and a showpiece second, but I think it looks damn great. As a Playmobil fan and middle aged child, I’m happy to play with it, but as an adult collector, I’ll be proud to display it too.

There are a fair number of stickers to apply, but I was happy to see that all of the Ghostbusters logos are printed directly onto the vehicle. Some nice touches include the official-looking Ecto-1 NY licensed plates and the fact that the headlights are actually clear plastic, even if the spot lights are just stickers. The tires are actually rubber and the hubcaps are removable. I’ll also note here that the Ecto-1 features electric lights and sounds via three AAA batteries. Some of you may know that I’m not all that into electronics in toys like this, so I haven’t even picked up any batteries for it yet. The box says it has a siren and the lights flash. If I ever get around to trying it out, I’ll attach a video.

Playmobil did a nice job with the crazy array of equipment and sensors on the top of the vehicle. You get all sorts of hoses and tanks and god only knows what else up there.

The back door opens up to have access to equipment storage. You can even fit the proton streams in there if you want. Still, it’s kind of hard to get in there from the back, but luckily the entire top lifts off.

Here you can see there are places to put up to four proton packs and a place for a single ghost trap. This is also how you get the figures into the front seat, since the doors don’t open. There are also two additional seats in the back so you can fit up to four Ghostbusters in the Ecto-1 at any one time.

The going price for the Ecto-1 seems to be around $50-55, although I was able to grab one off Amazon for $45 shipped and I’m pretty content with that price. Granted, you could probably get a bigger Playmobil pirate ship with a lot more pieces for around the same price, but no doubt some of the cost here is going to the license. And that alone is pretty special, because I can’t recall Playmobil ever doing licensed sets before. There’s no doubt about it, this set is fun and Playmobil put a lot of thought and love into designing it. It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that I immediately ordered three more sets, which should be rolling in over the next week. I have not ordered the Firehouse Playset yet, but it’s going to happen. God help me, I have no idea where I will put it, but it’s going to happen.

Playmobil: Knights Deluxe 2-Pack (#5888)

It’s been a little bit since I revisited the Playmobil line. I had bigger plans for features on this line of toys in 2011, and while I got to look at a number of the Pirates sets, I was never able to expand onto some of the other sublines. Nonetheless, while I was picking through some of the post-holiday leavings at a local TJ Maxx, I found this lone Knights 2-pack hanging on one of the pegs. Let’s see what we got…

The set comes on a big bubbled blister card, similar to what we’ve seen before in one of the Pirates 2-packs. Playmobil doesn’t really name these things, which makes it difficult to classify them, apart from the Lego-style product numbering system. In typical Playmobil fashion, there’s hardly any writing on the package, as this line tends to let the product speak for itself. You can clearly see everything you get in the bubble, as it’s all layed out nicely, but the flipside of the cardback also catalogs everything you get as well. I find these product photos useful on the boxed sets, but it seems kind of redundant on these carded sets. This set contains a total of 28 pieces, which include two figures, a horse, a weapons rack and plenty of weapons and accessories.
The horse is a pretty generic black horse with a brown saddle. Apart from the neck, it isn’t articulated, but he interacts well with the figures. You can easily repurpose him if you have any of the other themed sets that might require an extra horse. The knight on horseback is a black clad guy with a brown beard. His grey armor includes a helmet with black plume, arm plates and a breast plate, all of which can be removed. He also comes with a nice double-edged battle axe. He’s a little generic, but I’m cool with that, and the removable armor means you can get a couple of the same figure and make some changes if you’re inclined to army build your Playmobil knights.
The other knight is grey suited with a brown piece around his neck that is sculpted to look like fur. He has a baldric that can hold his sword in the front and has a clip in the back to hold another weapon. He has two clip on arm bracers and a very cool helmet with a moveable visor and horns. This guy also has some really freaky brown eyes that are looking off to the side. I keep the visor down to hide those frightening eyes.
The rest of the gear includes a nice weapons rack with two poleaxes and a shield. There are two additional slots to hold more weapons. You also get a wolf flag standard on a pole.
I absolutely love the size assortment of these Deluxe sets. With two figures and accessories and a horse, you really get enough stuff to start playing even if you don’t own another Playmobil toy. On the other hand, it’s a great way to bolster your ranks if you own a bunch of the Knights sets or even if you’re lucky enough to own one of the castle playsets. The set originally retailed at around six bucks, which is a great value, but picking it up for $3.99 really is an amazing deal.

Playmobil: Pirate Camp (#4292)

Last time we checked out the Skull and Bones Pirate Ship. It was a fantastic set, but let’s face it, there’s some extra room on that ship. And that’s where today’s set comes in. The Pirate Camp is actually meant to be set up on shore, tucked away in some hidden cove, but when you break down this set and figures, it really fills out that pirate ship fantastically. Let’s see what we’ve got…

There’s that iconic Playmobil box. As usual, the box let’s the pictures do the talking. The front panel shows the toys displayed in action and the back panel has a photo catalog of everything you get inside the box. The set is designed to be a makeshift camp where the adorable little Playmobil pirates divy up their loot and probably try to doublecross and murder each other. Inside the box you get three baggies packed with the figures and accessories. Apart from the table top, there’s no real central piece in this set, it’s basically just four figures and a ridiculous amount of accessories.
                              
                             
The four pirate figures are pretty good, albeit a little less elaborate than the ones that came with the ship. I’m perfectly fine with that, because this lot looks more like standard crew and swabbies, and that’s exactly what my pirate ship needs. They’re a scruffy looking bunch and one of them is even a chick! They’re also a well armed bunch, as this set comes loaded with weapons. You get two muskets, six pistols, and a sword. It’s more than enough to arm this motley band and still have some left to hand out to your other Playmobil pirates.
The table consists of a board with sockets to plug the four large barrels into as supports. I love the way this works, since you can just disassemble it and use the barrels on the ship. Honestly, I doubt I’ll ever display the table, although you could set it up on the deck of the pirate ship if you want, and I suppose the board itself would make a decent makeshift raft or loading ramp. You also get a bunch of smaller barrels, two wicker baskets, a couple of candlesticks, a sack, a bottle of booze, and a lamp.
How about treasure? The set comes with two small chests, a bunch of gold nuggets, a bunch of gold coins, and a baggie of precious stones. The gold pieces are all vac-metalized, which makes them look awesome.
The Pirate Camp set retails at just under seventeen bucks. I’m pretty happy with that price, although if you compare it to the Soldiers Boat at twenty, I’ll confess it does seem rather high. You do, however, get a lot of great stuff in here and if you own any of the pirate ships in this line, this set has everything you need (except maybe some extra cannon) to outfit your ship with extra crew, treasure and accessories. Then again, it’s also plenty of fun all by itself or as an addition to one of the pirate island playsets.

Playmobil: Skull And Bones Pirate Ship (#5950)

Today we’re checking out the one set that convinced me to start buying Playmobil again. When I spotted this big box in the aisle at TRU I almost couldn’t put it down. It was only through sheer willpower that I was able to leave the store without buying it. Of course, that willpower faultered a few days later and I wound up ordering it and the rest of the sets we’ve been looking at online. The Skull and Bones Pirate Ship is a great way to see a lot of what makes Playmobil so much fun.

The box is classic Playmobil. There’s hardly any writing on the box, and it lets the pictures sell the set. The front panel shows the toys in action and the back panel shows a photo catalog of exactly what you get in the box. As one of the larger sets, the box is pretty heavy duty and is designed to be opened and closed so you can store your set in it if you so choose. Keep in mind though that a lot of disassembly is required to get everything back into the box. Once opened, you’re treated to the ship’s big hull, an instruction sheet, and baggies containing the sails and rigging, the figures, and the other accessories. There’s a fair amount of room inside the box, so if you plan on expanding this set with other sets, you can fit a lot more stuff into the box for storage.
Putting together the ship, or more accurately the sails and rigging, takes a little bit of time. There are quite a few clips to put in place and you want to take your time and do it carefully so as not to tear anything. The sails in this set are a bit more cloth and less like the papery sails in the Soldiers Boat set we looked at earlier this month, but they can still be fragile around the edges.
You get three pirate figures, and they’re all fantastic. Two of them look enough like Captains that its hard to tell which one is intended as the master of the ship. I’m going with the guy in the red coat, eye patch and peg leg, just because he’s wearing more gold. The figure in black garb with the skull belt buckle looks like he should be pretty high up the chain of command too. The third figure looks more like a swabby. He doesn’t have shoes or a proper hat, but he does have a bandalier that can hold both a dagger and a sword. The set also comes with weapons to outfit the pirates. You get one flintlock pistol, three unique swords, and one dagger. The best thing I can say about these figures is that I would have been more than happy to buy them in single packs, that’s how good they are.
In addition to the weapons, you get some gear and treasure to load into the ship. There are two red barrels, one of which can be used to store swords or muskets. You get a lantern that can clip onto the mast. There’s the same water bucket we saw with the Soldiers Boat set. And lastly, you get a blue treasure chest, which is different from the last two blue chests we saw. This one actually has a spring loaded lock. You also get a baggie of coins to put inside. Unfortunately, these aren’t vac-metalized like the ones that came with the last set we looked at. They’re more drab and coppery.
And then there’s the ship itself, and it is huge. Unlike the Soldiers Boat, the stickers are all pre-applied on this one and I’m cool with that because they look great and add a lot of character to the ship. It features a total of four sails, each of which are in some way articulated and you can change which side the front and rear sails are tethered to. Each side of the mast features red plastic rigging that the figures can clip on to and the top mast includes a crows nest with the plastic pirate flag. As always, the ship floats in water and there’s a place on the bottom where you can attach a battery powered motor, which can be purchased separately.
The aft section of the ship has a rotating wheel for navigating and a square intent in the deck to place the treasure chest so it won’t slide back and forth in rough seas. The fore section of the ship has two firing cannon, which can be aimed through the cannon holes.

The Skull and Bones Pirate Ship retails at just under thirty-five bucks, and I think that’s a pretty good deal. This set comes with everything you need to start having fun, but as we’ll see next time, there’s plenty of room to expand on it with another set to add more crew, weapons and gear, and I’ve got the perfect set in mind. What’s crazy is that this isn’t even the largest pirate ship in the Playmobil fleet as they offer. In fact, they have at least two pirate ships that dwarf this one.

Playmobil: Treasure Transporter With Row Boat (#4295)

Arrrr! I know I promised ye pirates today, but I might have fibbed a little. Actually, I wanted to feature the two pirates sets I have on consecutive days and I haven’t decided what I’m posting about tomorrow yet, so I opted to look at this Playmobil set instead. Technically, it is part of the Pirates line and we know this because it’s got the adorable little Playmobil pirate face on the box right next to the set number. But these guys look more like Conquestadors to me. I suppose we could get into a whole semantics argument over the meaning of the word pirates, but let’s not and just move on.

This set comes in the standard and very iconic Playmobil box. Have you noticed how I keep capitalizing Playmobil and its never capitalized on the packages? Sorry, just can’t help myself. Once again, the front of the box shows the toys in action and the back of the box shows a picture catalog of everything you get inside. Unlike the larger sets, which open up easily after cutting the tape, you practically have to tear your way into these smaller boxed sets, much like a Lego set. There’s that Lego-Playmobil comparison again. I can’t seem to escape those. I just realized that I didn’t take a picture of the contents after opening the box, which I’m a little peeved at myself over. Suffice it to say the boat comes loose and you get a couple of baggies of figures and accessories, along with an instruciton book and catalog.
The figures are really cool, and as I said, they look more like Conquistadors than Pirates, but either way, they’re obviously hauling a crap load of ill-gotten loot so they’re fair game for either the Playmobil Pirates or the Playmobil Royal Navy. As much as I do like the figures, I do miss the way the vintage Playmobil sets actually had vac-metalized armor and helmets whereas the armor on these guys is just printed on and their helmets are just a matte silver. Not a deal breaker, but just me longing for the way things used to be. Each figure comes with a baldric and a sword to put into it. I haven’t seen a lot of other current Playmobil sets featuring Conquistadors, so I’m not sure if this set is just a one-off fancy for the Pirate line, but I’d love to see more coming, especially a large sized Spanish Galleon.
       
The little boat in this set, is definitely not a Galleon, but just a row boat that’s just big enough for both figures and their treasure chest. You assemble it just by putting in the boards that form the seats, snapping on the flag and putting in the oars. The treasure chest is the same one that came with the Deluxe Soldier 2-pack we looked at earlier this week and there’s a baggie of gold coins to fill it with. Surprisingly, the coins are vac-metalized. Cool!
So, this little set may seem all that impressive after the Soldiers Boat from the last Playmobil feature, and the figures in it don’t necessarily fit in perfectly with the pirates and the royal navy figures in the series, but I still like them a lot and the boat and treasure certainly make a nice addition to the whole line up and can be used to expand any of the Pirates sets. Plus, the set retails at just under fifteen bucks, and it’s hard for me to argue with that!

Playmobil: Soldiers Deluxe 2-Pack (#5946)

So, last time we looked at the Soldiers’ Boat and what better way to compliment that set than with a pack of more soldiers and a little more gear to buff it out? Are these bilge rats up to the task of taking on the Playmobil pirates? Let’s find out…

Traditionally speaking, most Playmobil sets come in boxes and if I recall correctly even the single figure sets used to come boxed. I only first noticed these more modern looking carded packs within the last couple of years or so, but I’m certainly no expert so they could have been around for a while. The card still maintains that iconic minimalist blue Playmobil deco with the front declaring that the set contains 21 pieces and the back showing off photos of exactly what you get. The photo catalog of pieces seems to make more sense on the boxes, as the toys are laid out inside the bubble so that you can easily see exactly what you’re getting. It’s kind of redundnat here, and that space might have been better spent showing what other toys were available. But, hey, that’s just my two cents. I do like the way you can preserve the bubble and tray to store the figures and gear and keep them organized.
The two figures include one soldier and one commander type. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be an Admiral or a Captain, as I’m not up on the uniforms and rank insignia of the Playmobil Royal Navy, but for my purposes, he’s a Captain. He’s a great pick-up for me because the one thing I bemoaned about the Soldiers’ Boat is that it didn’t come with a Captain. Problem solved. He’s actually got the same printed shirt as the Soldier, but that’s the beauty of versatility of Playmobil figures. Add some white pants, gold epulettes, cuffs and a sword sash, and a majestic hat and he becomes very officer-like. He’s also sporting a printed mustache and white hair, painted buckles on his shoes and he comes with a sword. Nice! The other figure is one of the exact same figures that we saw in the Soldiers’ Boat set. But that’s cool because he’s definitely an army builder and by god we need cannon fodder for our horrifically bloody Playmobil battles against the bastardly pirates. [bastardly? really?? -FF] He comes with the same musket and bayonette from the previous set too. You also get a map and a flag.
The treasure chest is a very nice piece as well, which is great to stow on the boat from the last set. It’s actually two pieces and not just hinged with bendy plastic, so you don’t have to worry about it stressing and breaking from opening it too many times. If you have any of the smaller vintage Playmobil chests from the pirates or knights series, you know where I’m coming from. The treasure included in these Playmobil sets is usually pretty spectacular, but in this case all you get is a couple of giant gold nuggets. They’re pretty drab and make me long for the day when Playmobil used the shiny vac-metalized finish on the booty. The cannon is very similar to the one included in the previous set, only the carriage for this one is molded in red plastic. It still fires, and you get two cannonball missiles with it.
This little set retails for just under seven bucks, and when you look at the prices of single carded 4-inch figures these days, I’m not complaining. I can buy stuff like this for seven bucks all day and with a smile on my face, because it really feels like I’m getting a lot of bang for my buck. It’s a great little set all on its own, but combine it with the previous Soldiers’ Boat set and you’ve really got a little force ready to go out scouring the seas for those filthy pirates. Tomorrow, we be takin a little break from Playmobil, but when I comes backs on T’ursday, We be meeting them some of them pirates! Arrr!

Playmobil: Soldiers Boat (#5948)

Arrr, Matey’s. If ye going to be having pirates, you be needing people to chase em. Ahem. And that’s where the Soldier portion of Playmobil’s pirates come in. I thought I’d kick off the Playmobil festivities with a look at this awesome medium range set that gives you a good start to building some advesaries for your pirates to fight.

The set comes in the standard Playmobil blue box, which has become pretty iconic by now. You’ll note that there isn’t a lot of writing on the box, and that’s largely an effort to keep it multi-lingual. I think it’s cool because these toys pretty much speak for themselves. You get a picture of the toys in action on the front and on the back you get photos of everything that comes in the set. In this case the set contains 55 pieces, which may not sound like a lot, but it does include a nicely sized ship, two figures, and a good number of accessories. The medium to larger Playmobil sets have boxes that open up like a cake box, and are sturdy enough so that you can use it to store the toys. Inside, you get the boat’s body, a number of deck boards all rubber banded together, a couple of baggies containing the figures and accessories, a baggie containing the sails, mast, and rigging, an instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet. Phew. If you like putting things together, here’s where the fun begins!
In my introduction a few days back I noted that despite being lumped in a lot with Legos, Playmobil are not building sets. But that’s not to say you won’t have to put these sets together, and the ships especially require some time to set up because of the sails and rigging. This one isn’t so bad, though. All you do is snap in the decks and fasten the sail to the crossbeam. The sail in this set is more of a soft paper than actual cloth and it’s rather delicate. The punched holes for the plastic fixtures are also close to the edges, so you need to be extra careful not to tear it. Part of me would have preferred a molded plastic sail for durability, but there’s definitely something cool about the way this simulates a real cloth sail. There are some big colorful stickers that need to be applied. Larger Playmobil sets tend to have any stickers already in place. As with all the Playmobil ships, this one floats and has a spot under the hull where you can attach a battery powered motor (sold separately for about seven bucks), which is such an awesome idea it nearly blows my mind. The boat also features a section of the deck that opens to store extra accessories.
The two figures are typical Royal Navy types with some excellent printed decos to make them unique. I would have liked if one of them looked more like the Captain of the ship, but they’re still great figures. I should point out that the figures in this  set is strangely deficient on weapons, as you only get a musket and bayonette. A sword or pistol would have been cool. You do, however, get a firing cannon with two projectiles, which is perfect for positioning on the ship or using ashore if you have any of the land based playsets. Other accessories include a small barrel, a water bucket with ladel, a telescope, and the 18th century equivalent of a bullhorn.
Playmobil toys sometimes get a reputation for being expensive, but as we’ll see this week that’s something of a misconception. True, the vintage and retired sets and pieces can go for crazy money, as can some of the special limited releases. But the price tags on the modern sets that you can buy off the shelf at your local TRU are pretty darned reasonable. Case in point, today’s set was just under twenty bucks. For that price you get a good sized boat, two figures, and a fair amount of extra stuff. And as we’ll see tomorrow, these sets are delightfully expandable thanks to Playmobil’s many figure and accessory packs.