I’m packing up the action figure collection. Most of the Star Wars is now packed, as is the G.I. Joe, and last night with great sadness I packed up two of my favourite lines of all time: ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends and Palisades Toys’ awesome Muppets line. Where I’m going there won’t be the room to display them all and so they will be going into storage for the foreseeable future.

The strength of the Muppets action figure line was the respect Palisades gave it. It would have been too easy to take the crude rudimentary shapes of the Muppets and come up with something simple and cheap. Palisades instead went all out.
All too often in production, costs get cut and a sculptor’s work gets ‘smoothed’ down, the detail lost as the prototype passes to production. Likewise the paint gets simplified, reduced to a certain number of applications. It’s why the finished product rarely matches the prototype.
The Muppets line was different. The sculpts were detailed, and even today you’d have to hunt down some pretty high end couple of hundred dollar collectibles to find anything as detailed. Little magnets buried beneath the sculpt allowed hats to stay in place without unsightly pegs. The paint was also mind-blowing, unrivalled even some 9 years later. The late Ed Wires really got to show off his skill here as a painter, and the line remains probably his best ever work. Palisades didn’t cut down the number of paint apps and as a result the figures were absolutely stunning.

If the figures were great, then the playsets were insane. Palisades went all out to make playsets that haven’t been bested in nearly a decade and probably never will. The Electric Mayhem stage took on rival companies’ musical based products and taught them a lesson. Here we had a Muppets product that was better and more detailed than a high end Metallica box set. Incredible.
My favourite, however, will always remain the Swedish Chef’s Kitchen. Every cupboard, draw and door opened, there was a ridiculous number of accessories – there was even an ice tray in the fridge. I maintain it was the greatest playset ever made. I fell in love with it, and it still manages to take my breath away all these years later.

I was told that the playset actually lost the company money, but rather than compromise on quality, Palisades decided to take the hit. That kinda sums up the kind of company Palisades was.

Sadly Palisades never seemed to match the awesomeness of their Muppets line and in a tough market, they were defunct by 2006. It was a sad day. Not only were they friends, but they were a truly awesome company, who cared about their products and their fans.

And so it’s with a great sadness that my collection is being packed up. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can display them again.