While the price-per-figure isn't as good as the other sets, the kitsch makes up for it. This People at Play Atomic Family Putty and Green Figure Set is particularly interesting today, as it is a representation of the "Leave it to Beaver" family with two parents, four kids, a couple of pets, and various trappings of suburbia. It's possibly you may have known a family similar to this, and it probably wasn't yours - maybe you only saw people like this on TV. Because I get a huge kick out of mid-century artifacts and Space Race-era toys, this new edition of what I believe are classic figures (that Google makes it hard to research) are nothing if not weirdly neat. They're no Galaxy Laser Team - nothing is - but this is the kind of thing I think I'll buy more of to give to people during the holidays. It's also just a tiny bit larger than the aforementioned team.
The glossy HDPE figures come in 6 styles, with a 2 of each style in each color. The Classic Dad is right out of your Church of the Sub-Genius posters, complete with a pipe and for some reason a hammer. Perhaps he will get hammered. He looks fairly young and has a short-sleeved shirt. And is very very skinny. Perhaps it's just how we as a nation viewed ourselves - or how we as a nation actually are now - but there's not a lot of meat on those bones. This could be any TV sitcom dad from the earlier days of Nick at Nite, it's incredibly simple and given the pipe a fun choice for a line like this. I'm sure it's mostly going to collectors, but ever since Mr. Potato Head quit smoking it's tough to point out plastic people with that kind of an accessory. Kudos for leaving it in.
The Mom takes a traditional lady role, but not the one I'd have guessed. She's a gardener with a pot and gloves, ready to get her hands dirty. Her hair isn't too long and her pants are a little on the long side - also tight. She's a little shorter than Dad, and a hand on her hip says that she's had enough of your mischief, mister.
The older son Junior. He's got a football, and a High School sweater with a "P" on it over a nondescript preppie collared shirt look. I assume this was for Processed Plastics, and not indicating what he will be doing in the bathroom shortly. It's neat - he's right out of a housing brochure or some such.
Interestingly devoid of any sort of high school iconography is the cheerleader we call Sis. Her skirt is short, her arms are high. (Perhaps Junior is as well.) The sculpting here is actually pretty amazing, especially when translated to the final product. You'll note the hair and pom poms are nicely done, but there's also the waistband on the skirt with lots of great detail. The socks are distinct from the shoes, and the shoes have easily seen laces. The sweater also is nicely sculpted, but there's no logo or anything like that so that's kind of a shame. But hey, these things were probably designed years before I was born so why am I complaining? It's a good low-cost high-quality release of something I probably wouldn't be able to find otherwise.
In terms of plastic stage presence, Little Sister wins. She's doing something. The older four siblings are just kind of posing - they look like they could be standing still for a family photo. The little sister, by virtue of her jumprope, has to be moving - she's dynamic and active, as you can see with the hair and, of course, the rope. The leg also shows movement with the fabric on the pant leg, and the cat is largely uninterested in her while it hovers over a small ball. I assume the cat is a few seconds from being slapped in the face by a rope, soon to run under a sofa to never be seen again.
The cat is a cat. It's looking at you, judging. It's cute and very small. There's very little fur texture here, but it's still pretty decent. Compared to the dog, it's a snack.
The Little Brother is also here. He's about to throw a baseball with his right hand, and he's got a mitt on his left. Like the others, he could just be posing - he doesn't seem to be able to look as dynamic thanks to the baseball cap and the fact that he has both legs on the ground. Like the cat, the dog seems undersized as it doesn't come up very high on the small child. The dog does seem more than a little interested in that ball, which the kid just needs to friggin' throw already. You can tell the dog is interested - which is good, because the kid himself isn't overly interesting. The shirt and pants are there and the sculpting is, as always with these figures, pretty good.
And that's it! The colors look pretty good, with the green being a nod to radioactive material and the putty color more or less the skin tone of televised 1950s suburbia. At about 48 cents per figure they're unusually expensive for this company's offerings, but it's not like you probably need a dozen of each unless you're planning to give some away to people as gifts. If you're just getting a set for yourself it's a perfectly OK deal, as the figures are interesting and the real treat comes from hiding "Dad" in with a bunch of green army men. It's a truly bizarre set of figures by today's standards, but as a reproduction of something old it sort of makes sense. For all intents and purposes these are low-cost "dolls" rather than low-rent "action figures," but they're neat if you find the format interesting. They seem durable and the quality is there, so you do seem to get what you pay for. It should be noted that you get four times the Army Men in those sets, so if you're giving away figures I'd suggest running some numbers first. These are, however, much more interesting than green army men, as such I have to say it's worth the premium.
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