Review: Diamond Select Muppet Action Figures

Published: June 13, 2016
Categories: Feature, Reviews


Those of you who know me or are familiar enough with my writing are aware of one of my biggest points of contempt with Disney’s ownership of the Muppets.  As Spaceballs‘ Yogurt put it so wisely, Merchandising!  There’s a minimal amount of Muppet stuff on shelves right now, and so so so many missed opportunities for Disney to make a buck, which we are more than happy to give them.

But one Muppet licensee is doing it right.  The good folks at Diamond have not one, but two lines of very different Muppet toys currently available.  And that doesn’t even count the glassware and mug!  And they match all of the criteria I need in my Muppet merch: They’re affordable, they’re not too hard to find, they look cool, and they show a great respect for the characters.  See, Disney?  It’s not that hard.

Diamond recently sent us a batch of their Muppet toys to review (half of which will be covered in our review coming up in a few days), so we got some hands-on experience with a fully articulated Kermit, an incredibly expressive Fozzie, and a rarely-seen Bean Bunny!  Read more about the Diamond Select Muppet toys below!

diamond-boxesHere’s a peek at the packaging for the toys.  If you saw these in person, you’d be shocked as to how large they are.  This is going to be one of my few big complaints about the line.  Are they so big so you feel like you’re getting more bang for your buck?  Or so they’ll be more prominent on a toy store shelf?  Or to show that these are quality action figures that don’t conform to the basic rules of toy packaging??  A potential shopper might pass on these for looking too pricey, or for noticing how much empty space there is inside.  A toy store might not buy as many, knowing they won’t be able to fit more than two on a shelf at a time.  Aside from the fact that they’re so big they can serve as housing for a small refugee family, the characters are easy to see, well positioned, and eye-catching.  In any case, you’re just going to throw away the plastic anyway, so who cares about the box?

diamond-kermitsetKermit’s set comes equipped with his nephew Robin, the first Bean Bunny toy in years, two instruments (a banjo and a guitar), and three things to sit on (a stool, a log, and a director’s chair).  The first thing you’ll notice is how on-point the character designs are.  Kermit’s face is a little bit sharper than the puppet, but he has far more expression than any other plastic Kermit toy I’ve ever seen.  Robin looks just like his puppet counterpart, and they couldn’t have come any closer to Bean Bunny’s original design if they took a mold of the Muppet*Vision 3D star.  Robin and Bean only have a few points of articulation, so they can’t move around a whole lot, but Kermit is loaded with about 19,000 joints and bendy pieces.  Which is actually a huge problem, because Kermit has these skinny legs and a top-heavy body, so too much articulation means he doesn’t stand very well on his own.  This is where a figure base would’ve come in handy, or one of those stands for a wooden drawing model doll.  Thankfully, he still looks very comfortable in his chair or on the ground or in Fozzie’s arms or wherever you choose to prop him up.

diamond-gonzosetGonzo’s set comes with his ladyfriend Camilla, an easel with a Gonzo daredevil ad, popcorn, coffee mug, trumpet, and light.  Gonzo is incredibly lifelike, and just a joy to play with.  Camilla doesn’t move much, but she looks so much like the puppet, I’d consider buying a few more packs just to pad out my collection of Muppet chickens.  I wasn’t able to fit the trumpet in Gonzo’s hands very well, which pretty much makes that prop completely useless.  The other accessories, aside from the easel, don’t really fit with Gonzo, and I don’t know if I’ll find any good use for them when I inevitably find a permanent display for these toys.  But I guess since Gonzo and Camilla look so tiny, they had to fill out the rest of the packaging somehow.  (Gee, if only the box was a little smaller, that wouldn’t be a problem!)

diamond-fozziesetFozzie and Scooter round out the final pack, along with a clapboard, Fozzie’s hat, a rubber chicken, a megaphone, and Groucho glasses.  Fozzie is probably my favorite toy of the bunch, as he seems to be able to strike any pose I can think of, all while having minimal issues with staying standing up.  It’s a bummer that his hat isn’t magnetized like his Palisades counterpart, but it still fits well on his head.  Scooter is almost perfect, but as a lot of us feared, his glasses aren’t quite right.  That’s because the glasses are actually a separate, removable piece.  They’re held on with a rubber band (more on that in a minute), which I was afraid to remove, lest I somehow lose the tiny glasses.  Or accidentally swallow them, since they’re smaller than my daily Flintstones vitamin.

diamond-kermitrobinbackTwo interesting things to note, which you can’t see by looking at the toys while in their packaging: Kermit has a tiny bump on the back of his head where Jim or Steve’s knuckle would show through, while Robin’s back has a small wrinkle which is also present in the real puppet.  The attention to detail is staggering on these toys, and they’re obviously being worked on by some very dedicated Muppet fans.

diamond-scooterbackSpeaking of backs, I thought it was worth showing off the back of Scooter’s jacket, which has the Muppet Show logo, as it should.  Don’t worry folks, you can rest easy knowing that Scooter’s coat is accurate, obviously the biggest priority in the world today.  In this picture, you can also see the rubber band behind Scooter’s head, holding the glasses on.  And there that rubber band will stay, as previously stated with the whole fear of swallowing thing I mentioned earlier.

So, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking about bacon, Adventure Time, and how to avoid politics through November.  But you’re also thinking about how the Diamond Select toys hold up against the previous standard for Muppet action figures, the Palisades toys.  Well, isn’t it lucky for you that this article is being written by an obsessive Muppet merchandise collector who owns the full Palisades series?  So lucky!

diamond-kermitsThe Kermit toys sure do have a history of trouble with standing!  The Palisades figure either allows his legs to be straight but Kermit becomes hunched over, or he can go knobby-kneed and upright.  Meanwhile, the Diamond Select Kermit has balance and top-heavy issues.  The Diamond toy wins when it comes to both poseability and likeness to the puppet.  He also doesn’t have a perpetually extended pinky finger, as if he’s frozen during tea time.

diamond-gonzosI have to admit, I love both versions of Gonzo (thank Frog Diamond didn’t put him in his daredevil costume… again).  The Palisades one looks slightly more like the puppet to me, but they’re both eerily accurate.  The size of the Palisades toy also allows for a little more detail, like the texture on his nose, but it’s still pretty easy to overlook when you’re not standing the two next to each other.  Which I did.  So ignore that picture, I guess.  And everything I’m saying.  Or have ever said.

diamond-fozziesAs I said before, Fozzie’s my favorite of the Select bunch.  Palisades’ Fozzie wasn’t able to do much, what with no joints in his elbows or knees, but the new Fozzie can do just about anything (except keep his hat on).

diamond-scootersScooter is just a tough character to get right.  He’s pretty basic below the neck, but his head is a really specific shape with perfectly placed glasses.  A centimeter off, and he just doesn’t look right.  I think I prefer the Diamond version, but just by a hair.  Though it’s satisfying to see how similar the clothing is between the two.  So really, it depends on whether you prefer Scooter’s jacket to be zipped or unzipped.

diamond-robinsRobin is a huge improvement from his Palisades brethren.  The former Robin had no articulation, was forced into an awkward sitting pose, and didn’t even look all that much like the puppet, especially in the face.  The new Robin looks a lot closer to the real deal, is able to move his arms and legs, and doesn’t look like a Frog Prince reject.

diamond-camillasCamilla’s changes are much more subtle.  She’s not looking up at the sky anymore like the Palisades one does.  Her wings are much easier to see, making her look slightly less like a feathered McNugget.  And the proportions of her face are much more puppet-accurate.  But the sad fact is that nobody will want her if she isn’t able to keep up the egg production.

diamond-beanBean is miles above his Palisades counterpart, mainly because he doesn’t have one.  Yay for Bean!  Bean Bunny for President!

The bottom line is this: These are gorgeous toys.  The detail and articulation makes them a must-buy for any Muppet fanatic.  But be forewarned about the issues like balance and tiny removable pieces.  If you’re crafty, plan ahead with putty or makeshift stands or MacGuyvered paper clip creations.  And then push your Palisades toys to the side and make room for Diamond Select.


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by Joe Hennes –

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