Playmobil "Fi?ures" Figures Uncle Sam Action Figure Playmobil, 2011
Day #271: November 17, 2011
Uncle Sam Possibly The All-American Playmobil Figure from Germany
Playmobil "Fi?ures" Figures
Item No.: No. 5203, #8 of 12 Manufacturer:Playmobil Includes:Hat, book Action Feature:n/a Retail:$2.99 Availability: August 2011 Other: One of 12 "boys" figures, one of 24 in the initial offering
The announcement of the "Fi?ures" series in early 2011 was a surprise on multiple levels-- it came out in Germany and the USA all at once, which was odd, but it also included some very American figures like a football player and Uncle Sam. You can make a case for football being a sport and sports being international, but Uncle Sam is as American as apple pie and inadequate heath care-- that's our thing, don't you dare take it from us!
The schtick is similar to the LEGO Minifigure collections, with a few key differences. While they're the same price, the Playmobil figures seem to have far more parts and pieces, plus they're not the same construction as a typical Playmobil figure. They come to you in pieces for the first time ever, so you get to plug in the arms, legs, head, and so on-- and the assembly is really tight. It's not a one-time assembly, but breaking them apart will require some Excessive Force on your part-- so be careful, and be prepared for parts to go flying. The instructions actually have a specific order for assembly and disassembly, but after getting it together and apart once, I don't think I'll be doing it again. The parts are interchangeable with other "Fi?ures," as the mainline Playmobil men and women aren't supposed to come apart easily. (It is, however, doable.)
The figure is identified by his top hat-- the bags have unique numbers on them, but they aren't identifiers as to what figure is inside. You have to feel up and fondle the bag to see what you get, so I suggest you bring your significant other to the toy store and molest the bags for about 20 minutes. It seems that the hat was the only easily identified part, so look for that. The hat, jacket collar, book, and sleeve cuffs are all easily-removed parts, but you have to pop on the hair, beard, and pretty much everything yourself. It's like being a toy factory employee for about 14 seconds.
While figures in this line do include amazing facial decoration and spectacular accessories, this one doesn't. The head is the basic pale face with no painted details, just the mouth and eyes, plus a beard and the hairpiece. His only accessory is a blue book, which, frankly, I do not understand. When I think of Uncle Sam, I don't think of Uncle Sam's Little Blue Book.
The detail is about on par with most modern Playmobil. You get a star-spangled jacket, striped pants, a red vest and bowtie... and that's about it. The hat is so plain it's boring, he's usually depicted with a star or, in some cases, stripes on the headgear. Still, it's Americana through a German lens, so things like a dull top hat, white sneakers, and the book are charming, weird. When I first heard Uncle Sam existed I considered him a must-buy, and I'm not disappointed with my $3 purchase. (I also picked up Zorro, who I'll cover later. At press time I still need to pick up a couple of the girl pink bagged figures.)
As a line I'm not sure if I want "Fi?ures" to have any legs. I'm a big fan of the "Specials" figures, and we got about 12 of those per year, fully identified, boxed, and priced at $3-$4. The random element may help impulse and repeat purchases, but I usually only bought 2-3 Specials per batch, and in these series, I'm likely to only buy 2-3 "Fi?ures" per series. Sure, I'd like them all, and if they sold a boxed set I'd grab the lot of them, but I've got mummies, football players, and knights. Zorro? Uncle Sam? Not so much. It's novel and fun, yet while I do feel a strange compulsion to get all the LEGO ones I'm perfectly happy getting just a couple of the Playmobil guys.
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