Playmobil 5562 Wild Life Beavers with Backpacker Playmobil, 2015
Day #1,588: December 5, 2016
Beavers with Backpacker Hiking Dangers
Wild Life Figure Set
Item No.: No. 5562 Manufacturer:Playmobil Includes:Leash, dog, human, backpack, two beavers, tree, stick Action Feature:Beavers can sort of eat through the tree Retail:$9.99-$11.99 Availability:2015 Other:Beavers with Butt-Head
I was just going to do one week on Playmobil but I was having fun - so here's another one. The Beavers with Backpacker set is part of a decent Wild Life theme, deploying the usual mix of new and existing parts. The beavers are a new dark color, the human hiker is a new configuration, the dog is new, and the gnawed-up tree is new.
There's enough new in here for a collector to say "hey, I need that." If you collect animals or share a fondness for beavers, surely you'll find something you like here. A big selling point for me was the tree, which doesn't so much have a mechanism for its collapse. There's a peg and a hole - so you pop it apart with your hands and drop the felled lumber nearby. It would've been a great place to put in a new mechanism, but unless there's a lumberjack attack action coming down the road it wouldn't get much reuse. Playmobil's very fond of recycling parts and pieces, although not as much as LEGO. It's a neat tree - somewhat short, but it'll look nice near your other trees. It stands freely without a piece of ground for stability.
If you like big brown beavers and you wish you had a pair, today's your lucky day. These ones have darker fur and have jointed hind legs and a posable tail! Some critters lack the moving parts we crave, and the sculpting is classic. To put it mildly. Playmobil's ethos on animals have changed a bit over the years, with older toys hewing to the original concept for the line - these ar basically children's drawings. Kids will emphasize certain features (eyes, mouths) and eschew others (noses, ears) so most creatures were designed similarly. Horses were initially very simple, and other creatures were generally more simple shapes. If you compare the beavers (a design from 2003) with the recent river otters (2016), you'll see a much greater emphasis on realism in scale and proportions with improved deco and less articulation. The beavers have little hands to hold on to twigs and legs to pose them to look like they're nibbling on a tree - plus the jointed tail to slap down building materials. Their painted white buck teeth are a little sloppy, and their eyes remain undecorated. Despite being somewhat recent, they certainly look like much older designs.
The hiker is your typical 3-inch male figure - by now, you know the drill. He has a unileg, jointed wrists, jointed shoulders, and a neck which actually limits the range of movement to that of a normal human. The messy blonde hair and shirt look like typical hiker fare, and he has a clip-on backpack that's a little tough to make fit without a little force. He can hold his accessories quite well - a set of binoculars and a dog's leash function nicely.
The dog has longer ears and is unpainted, with a fuzzy little face and no painted eyes. At this point I'm not sure when Playmobil decides to do eye deco or not, but we did get jointed hind legs and a jointed neck - which a lot of the older pooches lacked. He's a cute little guy, and the rubbery leash fits perfectly over his neck. I hope the stretchy plastic survives play and time, as reins and leashes in other toy lines don't always survive the long haul. It's still a nice accessory, and its grip has that retractable handle that all the cool dog owners have these days.
The big question on most Playmobil toys for me is "So is this a good deal?" My metric is usually a simple math formula - if it's a box with multiple figures, and the average cost per figure is $2 or under, it's a good deal. Since this set fails that test, I'd have to say that the overall experience is pretty good for ten bones - I paid a little more at Hobby Bench in Phoenix, because the chain has been part of my toy buying life for decades and I hope it survives for years to come. A little tree and some critters would be worth $6 easy, and the figure with the backpack, sticks, and accessories more or less seems worth $3-$4. If you're someone who just wants a goofy little set for your desk or for your kids, it's a good one. Seeing as a bag with a couple of small animals is $6-$10 these days, you could do a lot worse.
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