As we move through convention season, we get closer and closer to the lamented end of Palisades' Muppet line. The regular line has ended, and only a few exclusives still await us. But Palisades seems determined to go out on top, giving us some of their best work right at the end, really pouring their all into the exclusives. At Wizard World Philadelphia, they released their Frog Scout box set.
Palisades had already released Frog Scout Robin in Series 7, but until now we'd been alone. In this set we get Robin's uncle Kermit and a generic Frog Scout, to help round out your troop.
Frog Scout Leader Kermit is wearing a smart little ensemble of a khaki shirt and olive shorts - all the better to show off his creepy, spindly legs. You know that mental disconnect you got the first time you saw one of your high-school teachers in a pair of shorts? Maybe it was a Senior Ditch Day picnic, maybe it was a students vs. staff rollerhockey game, whatever - it was the day you realized that the guy who stood at the front of the class in a shirt and tie looked like an unspeakable goof when you could see his legs.
This Kermit is based on the body of Palisades' very first Kermit - nice synchronicity to close out the line, huh? Of course, though we say he's "based" on that Kermit, he is in no way a repaint or anything lame: while the exposed bits of his green skin look to be of the same mold as that older figure, his clothes are all brand-new sculpts. The detailing in the wrinkles is great, and his little pockets are just so cute. He's even got a neckerchief!
There are plenty of keen accessories in the box with Frog Scout Leader Kermit, but only one is undeniably his: in true Palisades style, Kermie's got a magnetic hat. Of the many things Palisades did absolutely right with their Muppet line, this is one of them. Yeah, that sounds like faint praise, but there's nothing worse than a figure with a "removable" hat that is either permanently stuck on its head or won't stay in place. When a Muppet gets a hat, a powerful magnet imbedded in their head makes it latch firmly into place. Beauty! Frog Scout Leader Kermit's hat starts responding to the magnetic field about two inches from his head. Considering that the figure is 4 1/2" tall, that's damn impressive.
Kermit moves at the neck, shoulders, waist and hips, as well as the ends of his sleeves and shorts. The points of articulation where his limbs poke out of his clothes can stick a bit, so be careful moving them. One of Kermit's legs was bent by its time in the packaging, so his feet don't rest flat, but a dip in some hot water will cure that. Shame Palisades didn't give us any display bases with this set - even a flat disc with a peg would have worked.
Frog Scout Leader Kermit wouldn't be much of a leader if he didn't have any Frog Scouts to lead, so there's one included in this set. The generic Frog Scout is, from the neck down, the same figure as the Series 7 Robin: a 3" figure that moves at the neck, shoulders, sleeves, waist and legs. Like Frog Scout Leader Kermit's feet, the generic scout's feet don't quite line up properly.
The scout's uniform is designed well, from the patches on his shoulders to the creases on his shorts. His belt buckle and the buttons on his shirt pockets are gold, as is his woggle. Go ahead, touch his woggle - it's okay. He likes it. Even his little schoolboy cap is detailed with tiny stitches. The hat is permanently attached to his head, and he's wearing it at a slight angle, the little thug.
The Frog Scout has a different head than Robin, with a rounder face and a closed mouth. There are two paint variants of the scout: one green-skinned, one blue. The froggies were released in equal amounts, but the blue seems to be more popular, judging by the number of fans looking to trade scouts. It's no surprise, really - the blue contrasts nicely not only with the green Frog Scout uniform, but also with the green skin of Kermit and Robin, giving the Frog Scouts a bit of diversity.
Palisades reused a few accessories for this set, but they make sense. First of all, we get the same backpack that came with Frog Scout Robin. It's a very nice piece, detailed to look just like a real outdoorsy backpack - straps, pouches, all that. The flap at the top opens, and the included book - also reused from Robin - fits inside. The book, previously a light green Frog Scout handbook, is now a darker Frog Leader Manual (2nd Edition). It can be opened to Section 3.2: Knowing Your Flies. Did you know that there are more than 100,000 species of flies, and that they are found on every continent in the world? The Frog Scouts did.
From Pepe the Prawn comes a pair of binoculars, just the sort of thing Scouts would need in the great outdoors. Since Pepe had a hole in his hand to help him hold his binoculars, there's a peg on the left side. However, neither Kermit nor his Scout have a matching recess, so all you can do is hang the 'nocs around his neck - and even then, the cord is about 1/3 longer than it should be.
That's it for old accessories; Palisades also included two new ones. The most scout-specific is a 4" fishing pole that's as detailed as any Muppet accessory, with a (non-movable) handle on the reel and three eyelets on the rod. Both Kermit and the Scout can hold the fishing pole, but it really seems designed more for Tiny's use.
The final accessory is a Muppet eggplant - yes, a purple veggie that has nothing to do with the Frog Scouts. Part of the fun of The Muppet Show was the puppetification of everyday objects: it wasn't just people and animals that were turned into felt and foam creations, but also mailboxes, telephones, cakes, rocks... anything could spring to life. Of course, "anything" also included a lot of fruit and vegetables, since so many sketches took place in the Muppet Kitchen.
Anyway, they could only include so many accessories with the kitchen, so Palisades spent the rest of their time with the license packing Muppet Vegetables into any available space they could find. And oh, could they find some spaces perfect for packing in the veggies! Thanks to their determination, the Swedish Chef has a veritible cornucopia of living garden delights to massacre.
What unproduced Muppet are you saddest that we will now never see? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.